Project initiatives strive to achieve the best workforce for the acquisition mission, adjust the workforce change, and improve workforce quality. Key features of the demonstration project include direct hire and streamlined hiring authorities and processes including a modified term appointment authority, broadbanding, a simplified classification system, and a Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System (CCAS). Broadbanding combines numerous occupational series into three career paths and groups several General Schedule grade levels into each broadband level with no steps. The simplified classification system replaces OPM classification standards with three contribution factors and replaces multiple position descriptions with generic position requirement documents. The CCAS links compensation to employees' contributions to the mission through annual contribution and performance appraisals.
Specific initiatives are:
- Simplified Classification System
- Five External Hiring Authorities
- Simplified Hiring Processes
- Expanded Supervisory and Managerial Probationary Periods
- Expanded Detail and Temporary Promotion Authority
- Voluntary Emeritus Program
- Simplified, Modified Reduction-in-Force Procedures
- Accelerated Compensation for Developmental Positions
- Supervisory and Team Leader Cash Differentials
- Contribution-Based Compensation Appraisal System (CCAS)
- Academic Degree and Certification Training
- Student Intern Relocation Incentive
Broadbanding within AcqDemo is the grouping of acquisition occupations with similar characteristics into three career paths with four broadband levels for each career path. It is designed to facilitate pay progression and internal assignment of duties, and to allow for more competitive recruiting of quality candidates at differing pay rates.
It is important to understand how broadbanding works, since employees' professional growth and compensation relate directly to broadbanding. Advancement within broadband levels is contingent on contribution to the mission and advancement to a higher broadband level requires a promotion.
Broadband levels replace the familiar GS grades and steps
in the demonstration project.
In the demonstration project, all current occupations will be grouped into the following three (3) career paths:
- Business Management and Technical Management Professional (NH)
- Technical Management Support (NJ)
- Administrative Support (NK)
Three Career Paths and Broadband Levels
As shown below, there are four (4) broadband levels for the Business Management and Technical Management Professional and the Technical Management Support career paths. There are three for the Administrative Support career path.
Business Management and
Technical Management Professional (NH)
Technical Management Support (NJ)
Administrative Support (NK)
Each of these levels represents natural breaks in professional growth. In other words, level I represents entry level positions; level II, journeyman level positions; and level III, professional or master level positions. Level IV correlates to senior management or master level positions, as well as experts within their functional specialty.
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2) Simplified Classification System.
Under the demonstration project, the classification system is simplified. The current GS system includes 434 occupational series grouped into 22 occupational families. While the occupational series and titles are retained, the occupational families are replaced by the three career paths (NH, NJ, NK).
Under the demonstration project, a standard set of three classification level and appraisal factors has been developed for each career path—Factor 1. Job Achievement and/or Innovation; Factor 2. Communication and/or Teamwork; and Factor 3. Mission Support. These factors comprised of expected contribution criteria and broadband level descriptors and discriminators, as aligned to the three career paths and their broadband levels, will be used for broadband level classification and employee contribution assessment.
Classification authority is held by Heads of Participating Organizations who may delegate this authority to subordinate management levels. However, classification approval must be at least one management level above the first-line supervisor of the employee, except in those instances where the employee works directly for the Head of the organization. In other words, a direct supervisor may not approve the classification of an employee, but his or her boss (or a higher level manager) must.
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3) Five External Hiring Authorities.
General Principles. Recruitment efforts are designed to attract diverse candidates who are representative of all segments of society; merit factors shall be the basis for selecting individuals; practices follow guidance in DoDD 1020.02E, “Diversity Management and Equal Employment Opportunity in the DoD”; displaced employee procedures shall apply; and organizations must ensure transparency, accountability, and auditability in hiring practices.
Veterans’ Preference. Veterans’ preference eligibility under 5 U.S.C. 2108 and 2108a applies without change and is treated as a positive factor when making a selection from external sources. When making final selections, any candidates with veterans’ preference should be considered for appointments when they are found to best meet mission requirements.
The five external hiring authorities are listed below:
- Direct Hire Appointments for the Business and Technical Management Professional Career Path
The Head of a Participating Organization may appoint qualified candidates possessing at least a baccalaureate degree required by OPM or DoD qualification standards covering acquisition positions and/or qualified candidates for those positions involving 51% or more of time in direct support of acquisition positions in a critical acquisition career field classified to the Business and Technical Management Professional, NH, career path, without regard to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. chapter 33, subchapter I (other than sections 3303, 3308, and 3328 of such title).
- Veteran Direct Hire Appointments for the Business and Technical Management Professional and Technical Management Career Paths
The Head of a Participating Organization may appoint qualified veteran candidates to acquisition positions in a critical acquisition career field and to those positions involving 51% or more of time in direct support of an acquisition position classified to either the Business and Technical Management Professional, NH, career path or to the Technical Management Support, NJ, career path, without regard to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. chapter 33, subchapter I (other than sections 3303 and 3328 of such title). The term “veteran” has the meaning given that term in 38 U.S.C. 101.
- Acquisition Student Intern Appointments
The Head of a Participating Organization, without regard to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. chapter 33, subchapter (other than sections 3303 and 3328 of such title), may appoint candidates enrolled in a program of undergraduate or graduate instruction at an institution of higher education leading to either:
- A baccalaureate degree in a course of study required by OPM or DoD qualification standards for an acquisition position in a critical acquisition career field; or
- A degree the completion of which (including any additional essential credit hours or related experience in an acquisition-related field as defined by DoD internal issuances) provides competencies, knowledge, skills, etc., directly linked to an acquisition position’s requirements (selective placement or quality ranking factors) for one of the critical acquisition career fields.
- Scholastic Achievement Appointment
This process provides authority to appoint candidates with degrees to positions with positive (specific) education requirements. Scholastic Achievement Appointments allow the acquisition workforce to compete with the private sector for some of the best talent in the ranks of new college graduates. External, qualified candidates can be competitively appointed to broadband level II or III positions in the Business Management and Technical Management career path when they have:
- an undergraduate degree,
- at least a 3.0 overall grade point average,
- a 3.25 GPA in the field of study appropriate for the occupational series,
- and meet OPM basic qualification standards, or
- a graduate degree and/or experience in the field of study required for the occupation,
- at least a 3.5 GPA on a scale of 4.0, and
- meet OPM basic qualification standards
Modified Term Appointments
An appointment authority, based on existing term appointments, which may extend up to five years with a one year, locally-approved extension for a total of six years.
For example, employees may be hired for Modified Term appointments to carry out special project work; staff new or existing programs of limited duration, fill a position in activities undergoing review for reduction or closure; replace permanent employees who have been temporarily assigned to another position, are on extended leave, or who have entered military service. Employees hired under modified term appointments are in a temporary status but may be eligible for conversion to career conditional or career appointments after a two-year period of continuous service, provided the initial recruitment advertisement stated the conversion opportunity and the employees have been considered to have adequate contributions for two appraisal cycles (including the current cycle) immediately preceding conversion.
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4) Simplified Hiring Processes.
The goal of the simplified hiring processes is to enable AcqDemo Participating Organizations to expedite the hiring and appointment of qualified persons to acquisition positions as well as to direct support positions in any of the fifteen acquisition career fields using the approaches described below:
- A name request may be submitted to expedite the appointment of a qualified candidate identified through a Participating Organization’s targeted recruitment actions.
- A certificate of eligibles may be developed from qualified applicants to a vacancy announcement who have been evaluated or rated under an appropriate assessment methodology such as the Administrative Careers with America examination, USA Hire, or OPM category rating procedures.
- This demonstration project established a streamlined AcqDemo Delegated Examining- Category Rating process. This process may be used to fill both acquisition positions and those in direct support of acquisition positions covered by this demonstration project.
- When there are no more than 25 applicants for an acquisition position or a direct support position in any career field, the “Rule of Many” process may be used to refer applicants. Under this procedure all eligible applicants may be referred. Veterans’ preference eligibility will be determined when making final selections. When making final selections, any candidates with veterans' preference should be considered for appointments if they are found to best meet mission requirements.
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5) Expanded Supervisory and/or Managerial Probationary Periods.
New supervisors, that is, those who have not previously completed a civil service supervisory probationary period, will be required to complete a one-year probationary period for the initial appointment to a supervisory position. An additional supervisory probationary period of one year may be required when an employee is officially assigned to a different supervisory position that constitutes a major change in supervisory responsibilities from any previously held supervisory position, e.g., moving from a journeyman level supervisory acquisition position to a Critical Acquisition Position or moving from a Critical Acquisition Position to a Key Leadership Position.
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6) Expanded Detail and Temporary Promotion Authority.
Current regulations require that temporary promotions and details for more than 120 days to higher broadband level positions than an employee currently holds or previously held must be made competitively. Under the demonstration project, AcqDemo Participating Organizations would be able to effect temporary promotions and details to higher broadband level positions than AcqDemo employees currently hold or previously held without competition as long as the temporary promotion, detail, or a combination of a detail and temporary promotion does not exceed one year within a 24-month period to positions within the demonstration project. If any detail and/or temporary promotion is needed beyond one year, competition is required. In addition, renewing the detail or temporary promotion in 120-day or other short-term renewals is waived under this demonstration project.
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7) Voluntary Emeritus Program.
The Voluntary Emeritus Program is designed to ensure continued quality acquisition by allowing AcqDemo retired or separated civilian employees who served in either DAWIA-covered positions or positions in direct support to DAWIA-covered positions and non-AcqDemo retired or separated civilian employees and former military members who worked in DAWIA-covered positions to accept retirement while still retaining ties to the acquisition community. The Voluntary Emeritus Program will permit former employees to share their knowledge through mentoring and training less-experienced professionals. Volunteers are not paid a salary nor any other compensation except for reimbursement of official travel expenses and allowances. Those applicants selected for this program must complete a Voluntary Emeritus Work Agreement.
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8) Simplified, Modified Reduction-in-Force (RIF) Procedures.
The AcqDemo RIF process has been redesigned to make separations in RIF based primarily on the basis of performance as required by 10 U.S.C. 1597(f). A CCAS assessment, i.e., Outstanding, Fully Successful, or Unacceptable, of the quality of performance exhibited by an employee in achieving expected contributions is added to the annual contribution assessment process. An average annual rating of record obtained from the two most recent assessments in the four-year period immediately preceding the RIF is used as the primary retention factor in RIF. The primary retention factor is followed by veterans’ preference and DoD service computation date RIF.
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9) Accelerated Compensation for Developmental Positions (ACDP).
AcqDemo will implement ACDP to provide recognition for employees in DAWIA-covered positions and those in positions requiring 51% or more of time in direct support of acquisition positions classified to Broadband Levels I, II, and III of the Business and Technical Management Professional Career Path who:
- Are participating in formal training programs, internships, or other developmental capacities; and
- Have demonstrated successful or better growth and development in the attainment of job-related competencies; and
- Have demonstrated effective accomplishment of a level of work higher than that represented by an AcqDemo employee’s Expected Overall Contribution Score (set by current basic pay) under CCAS.
ACDPs may be awarded twice per appraisal cycle but not sooner than six months after the effective date of an ACDP for a basic pay increase ranging from 0% not to exceed a 10% increase and a growth in an employee’s Overall Contribution Score.
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10) Supervisory and Team Leader Cash Differential.
Supervisory and team leader cash differentials may be used by Heads of Participating Organizations as an additional tool to incentivize and compensate supervisors and team leaders as defined by the OPM General Schedule Supervisory Guide or Leader Grade Evaluation Guide in situations where:
- Organizational level and scope, difficulty, and value of position warrants additional compensation;
- Supervisory and/or team leader positions are extremely difficult to fill; or
- Salary inequities may exist between the supervisor’s or team leader’s and non-supervisory/non-team leader subordinates’ basic pay.
A supervisory cash differential may not exceed 10 percent of basic pay and a team leader cash differential may not exceed 5 percent of basic pay. Because the differential is not part of basic pay, supervisors or team leaders who are at the maximum basic pay for their respective broadband level may still receive a supervisory cash differential. It is paid on a pay period basis with a specified not to exceed date of one year or less; reviewed every year at the same time as the CCAS annual assessment and may be terminated or reduced as dictated by fiscal limitations, changes in assignment or scope of work, and/or an employee’s removal from the supervisory or team leader position regardless of cause. Termination or reduction of a cash differential is not an adverse action and is not subject to appeal or grievance.
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11) Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System.
The Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System, known as CCAS, is central to the Demonstration Project. CCAS measures both an employee’s contribution to the mission of his/her organization and how well he/she performed in achieving that contribution as defined by a contribution plan. CCAS also provides much greater compensation flexibility: an employee has the opportunity to earn a larger-than-average basic pay increase if the contribution justifies it. On the other hand, an employee could also earn a smaller basic pay increase, or no increase at all (except locality pay), if the contribution and performance does not measure up. Under CCAS, employees are rewarded just as their contributions and performance merit; those not contributing or performing at the required level will have to do better in order to receive monetary rewards.
CCAS received a number of changes as a result of the current refresh. These are described below:
- Assessment Factor Reduction
Assessment criteria for both Employee Self-Assessments and Supervisor Assessment have been reduced from the original six factors (Problem Solving, Teamwork/Cooperation, Communication, Customer Relations, Leadership/Supervision, and Resource Management) have been incorporated to the proposed three factors of Job Achievement and/or Innovation, Communications and/or Teamwork and Mission Support.
- Appraisal Eligibility
Added the requirement that employees must have served under CCAS for 90 consecutive calendar days or more immediately preceding September 30, the end of the appraisal cycle.
- Very High Score
Included two additional scores above the maximum score available for each of the three career paths to provide more flexibility in assigning an appropriate score based on contribution results.
- Performance Assessment
In order to comply with 10 U.S.C. 1597(f), the CCAS has been modified to embrace an overall assessment of the quality of performance an employee demonstrates in achieving his/her expected contribution results during an appraisal cycle. This assessment is conducted in conjunction with the contribution scoring process and is used in the determination of an employee’s retention in the event of a reduction in force.
- Contribution Rating Increase (CRI) Carryover
When a CRI, an increase in basic pay, exceeds a control point in or the maximum basic pay of an employee’s broadband level, the pay pool panel has the option of authorizing a CRI carryover lump sum payment for the amount that exceeds the control point or the maximum of the broadband level.
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12) Academic Degree and Certification Training.
Highly trained and educated personnel are essential to the success of the acquisition workforce. The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) authorized degree training for acquisition coded positions through the year 2001. In other words, the government may pay an employee for completing a degree or gaining a professional certificate in certain circumstances.
This demonstration project extends the DAWIA authority for degree and certificate training for the duration of this demonstration. It expands its coverage to provide authorization at the local level to pay for qualifying educational programs for acquisition direct support positions included in the project. For example, if a qualified employee is taking a course, even an elective, required to attain his/her degree, the demonstration project authorizes the government to pay for the course.
Funding and administration for this training are the responsibility of the Participating Organization. Since it will probably be limited by funds availability, employees should contact their manager if interested in participating.
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13) Student Intern Relocation Incentive.
Recruitment of students is often limited to the local commuting area of the employing organization as college students frequently cannot afford to relocate to accept student intern job offers in a commuting area different from that of the college/university they are attending or their permanent home residence. To alleviate this barrier, the Head of the Participating Organization may approve relocation incentives for new student interns and relocation incentives to student interns whose worksite is in a different geographic location than that of the college/university enrolled or their permanent home residence each time the student interns return to duty at their official worksites.
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Employees may be eligible for a sabbatical—an opportunity to engage in a work or study experience that will contribute to their professional development. This program can be used for training with business, manufacturing, or on-the-job work experience with public, private, or non-profit organizations. The only constraint is that the activity must contribute to both an employee’s development and his/her organization’s mission. If selected, employees will be paid their full salary and allowances and accrue federal service time while on the sabbatical. Employees approved for a paid sabbatical must sign a service obligation agreement to continue in service in the covered organizations for a period of three times the length of the sabbatical. The service obligation begins when the training is completed.
The acquisition demonstration project sabbatical program will be available to all demonstration project employees who have seven or more years of Federal service. Sabbaticals last from three to twelve months, and must result in a product, service, report, or study that will benefit the acquisition community and increase the employee’s own effectiveness as a member of that community. Funding for the employee’s salary and other expenses of the sabbatical is the responsibility of the Participating Organization. The employee will return to their home organization upon completion of the sabbatical, therefore, no funds for Permanent Change of Station (PCS) will be authorized. Interested employees should apply through their chain of command.
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