Answer: This demonstration project was originally authorized under Section 4308 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 1996. The project was initially designed in the 1997 – 1999 time frame by a Process Action Team under the authority of then-Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics with the participation of and review by DoD and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The OPM approved and published the final project plan for the AcqDemo on January 8, 1999, in 64 Federal Register (FR) 1426 – 1492. The NDAA for FY 2004 authorized the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) and most AcqDemo employees converted to the NSPS in 2006. Section 1113 of NDAA for FY 2010 repealed the NSPS and directed conversion of all NSPS employees to their previous pay system by January 1, 2012. All NSPS employees formerly in AcqDemo were transitioned back to AcqDemo during the month of May 2011.
On January 7, 2011, the original demonstration project authority was repealed and codified at 10 U.S.C.1762 pursuant to Section 872 of the Ike Skelton NDAA for FY 2011. With the enactment of Section 872 of the Ike Skelton NDAA for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, Congress extended the authority for AcqDemo until September 30, 2017, and increased the total number of persons who may participate in the project from 95,000 to 120,000. Congress further extended the authority for AcqDemo to December 31, 2020, in Section 846 of NDAA for FY 2016. Through Section 867 of NDAA for FY 2017, Congress provided that the Secretary of Defense shall exercise the authorities granted to the OPM under 5 U.S.C. 4703 for purposes of the demonstration project. Congress further extended the authority for AcqDemo to December 31, 2023 and increased the limit on the number of participants from 120,000 to 130,000 under Section 844 of NDAA for FY 2018.
Participation by organizations and teams with an acquisition mission in the demonstration project is voluntary. Participation has varied over the 19 years of AcqDemo. From a starting population of 4,000 in 1999, it increased to a peak of 11,392 in 2006 just before NSPS started. Since the return from NSPS in 2011, the AcqDemo population has grown to over 40,000 with approximately 2,780 employees covered by union bargaining units. Federal Register Notice, 82 FR 52146-52150, contains two lists of organizations eligible to participate in AcqDemo as of November 9, 2017. Any interested organizations not so listed must apply to be considered for participation following the procedures outlined in the AcqDemo Ops Guide, Chapter 2. The criteria for eligibility is contained in 10 U.S.C. 1762 and is provided below:
“(i) at least one-third of the workforce participating in the demonstration project consists of members of the acquisition workforce”; AND
‘‘(ii) at least two-thirds of the workforce participating in the demonstration project consists of members of the acquisition workforce and supporting personnel assigned to work directly with the acquisition workforce.”
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 2 and Federal Register Notice, 82 FR 52146-52150, November 9, 2017.)
Answer: AcqDemo is designed to provide a personnel management system that increases our ability to attract, retain, and motivate the highly qualified acquisition workforce. AcqDemo’s Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System, (CCAS), is designed to provide an equitable and flexible method for evaluating and compensating the workforce. By rewarding high contributors and withholding remuneration from low contributors, CCAS is intended to attract and retain a highly qualified workforce of employees who are motivated to maximize their contributions to the acquisition mission.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6 and Federal Register Notice 82 FR 52107, Section C.)
Answer: Within six months after the authority to conduct the AcqDemo project under 10 U.S.C. 1762 is terminated, employees in the project shall convert to the civilian personnel system created pursuant to section 9902 of title 5.
(Reference 10 U.S.C. 1762(g) and (h).)
Answer: Initial entry into the demonstration project for organizations with employees transitioning to AcqDemo will be accomplished through a full employee-protection approach that ensures the initial placement of each employee into a broadband level without loss of permanent pay. As a rule, GS employees will be placed into the AcqDemo career path and broadband level that corresponds to their occupational series, permanent GS grade of record and basic pay at the time of conversion. Employees currently on grade and/or pay retention will be placed in the appropriate broadband level that is commensurate with their existing grade. After this transition, any changes in the rate of basic pay will be based upon employees overall contribution score, other contribution-based actions, promotion, or other personnel actions.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 2 and Chapter 6.)
Answer: Individuals occupying a GS career ladder position under the Pathways, Recent Graduate, or Presidential Management Fellows Programs or under other traditional career ladder programs or positions scheduled for conversion to an organization or team participating in the AcqDemo may remain in their career ladder position as determined by their participating organization. In doing so, however, the employees would not be eligible to participate in the Accelerated Compensation for Developmental Positions program if not placed in an AcqDemo position and pay plan when their organization converts. Once the employees reach the full performance level for their positions, they must be transitioned to their appropriate AcqDemo position and pay plan.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 2.)
Answer: The current General Schedule (GS) job classification process is both time-consuming and complex. AcqDemo is designed to create a simplified classification process so that managers can readily use it to classify positions. The AcqDemo classification system is also simplified to reflect the changes from the current GS system to a more generic broadbanding system. AcqDemo differs from the OPM classification system by utilizing only three factor levels instead of the nine evaluation factors commonly used in the OPM Classification Standards.
The three AcqDemo factors are Job Achievement and/or Innovation, Communication and/or Teamwork, and Mission Support. The broadband factors are the basis for classification, and assessing contributions and performance. Each factor contains descriptors and discriminators for each respective level within the relevant career path. The factors and descriptors are used to classify positions in the appropriate broadband level as well as to measure an employee’s contributions and performance and ultimately used in compensation decisions.
The position classification changes streamline and simplify the process of identifying and categorizing the work done within an organization. This is evident with replacement of the old GS Position Descriptions (PDs) to the new Position Requirements Document (PRD) format.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 3.)
Answer: Broad-banding consolidates several General Schedule (GS) pay grades into a broadband. The broadband levels replace the current General Schedule (GS) fifteen-grade structure. The fifteen GS grades are arranged into three or four broadband levels within a career path in accordance with recognized advancement expected within the occupations assigned to the career path. Currently, the 15 grades of the GS are used to classify positions and, therefore, to set pay. Under AcqDemo broad-banding with several grades banded together, more flexibilities are created for setting basic pay.
Each broadband level defines the minimum and maximum rates of basic pay for that broadband. Broadband level pay ranges were derived from base pay rates under title 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 5303 of the banded GS grades. The lowest basic pay rate of any given broadband level is step 1 of the lowest GS grade in that broadband level. Likewise, the highest basic pay rate of any given broadband level is step 10 of the highest GS grade in that broadband level. The broadband levels represent basic pay only and are labeled I, II, III, or IV. Comparison to the GS base pay table is used in setting the minimum and maximum basic pay limits of the broadband levels. As the rates of the GS are increased for any annual across-the-board GS pay increase, the minimum and maximum basic pay rates of the broadband levels will also increase.
The common objectives of broad-banding are to do the following:
Reduce the number of distinctions between levels of work at the different grade levels, thereby greatly simplifying the process and eliminating substantial paperwork for employees to advance to another level of work and pay.
Allow for more competitive recruitment of quality candidates at differing rates within the appropriate broadband levels.
Allow employees to move within the broadband to higher levels of pay, based on level of work performed, without going through a competitive promotion process.
The use of broad-banding provides a stronger link between pay and contribution to the mission of the organization. An employee can more easily be compensated at the level which reflects his/her contribution to the goals of the organization.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 3.)
Answer: AcqDemo maintains the eligibility requirements in 5 U.S.C. 2108 and 5 U.S.C. 2108a for determining the veterans’ preference eligibility of each applicant. However, AcqDemo further defines the process for application of veterans’ preference in a hiring action. Under AcqDemo, veterans’ preference points are not used in the hiring rating and ranking process. Instead, when making final selections, any candidates with veterans’ preference should be considered for appointments if they are found to best meet mission requirements.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 4.)
Answer: While it is recognized that many NH-II positions require full performance work above the entry-level which may not be met by the ACWA standard as written, the use of selective placement and/or quality ranking factors may still be used in addition to the ACWA requirements to distinguish higher level knowledge, experience, skills, and competencies needed for fully successful performance.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 4.)
Answer: The AcqDemo broadband system does not utilize grades. The former fifteen GS grades are arranged into three or four broadband levels within a career path in accordance with recognized advancement expected within the occupations assigned to the career path. Under the broadband system, promotions will occur when an employee moves from a lower broadband level to a higher broadband level, e.g., an employee is promoted from an NH-II broadband level to an NH-III broadband level. External to the promotion process, basic pay increases within a broadband level are determined by an employee’s annual assessment under the Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System (CCAS).
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 3.)
Answer: There are a number of AcqDemo benefits applicable to employees at the top of their broadband level. Examples include:
The annual across-the-board increase, or General Pay Increase (GPI) provision, is still available to AcqDemo employees at the top of their broadband level based upon their eligibility. If they are at the top of their broadband level, they may receive the full GPI since AcqDemo will adjust the broadbands upward each year according to any GPI.
A 2% funding floor that may be used to provide pay increases and/or for a carryover award for employees in a pay pool. Employees may be eligible for yearly carryover cash awards if their contribution assessment indicates they should receive a larger increase. This amount varies with employees' contributions. For example, if the proposed pay increase for a particular employee would raise his/her basic pay above the maximum basic pay of his/her broadband level, the carryover award provision could be used to give the amount over the top of the broadband level to the employee in a cash award.
Very high scores are available to recognize an employee for exemplary contributions; the results of which are substantially beyond what was expected and warrant a score exceeding the top score for the highest broadband level in the employee’s career path. A very high score is reserved for employees at the top broadband level of their career path, i.e., NH-IV, NJ-IV and NK-III. If the employee’s contributions are awarded a very high score, the score must be one of the three numerical scores assigned to the very high score level for the employee’s career path.
There is a Sabbatical provision that enhances employee development and the organization’s effectiveness.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6 and Federal Register Notice 82 FR 52107, Section C, Overview, and Section D. Evaluation Results.)
Answer: Locality pay is not based on contribution. All employees will be entitled to the locality pay authorized for their official worksite in accordance with 5 CFR Part 531, Subpart F, if eligible. In addition, the locality-adjusted pay of any employee may not exceed the rate for Executive Level IV under 5 U.S.C. 5304(g)(1) and 5 CFR part 531.606(a).
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 5.)
Answer: As a point of clarification, GS pay adjustments authorized under 5 U.S.C. 5303 are based on the cost of labor, not the cost of living. GS pay adjustments are linked to changes in the Employment Cost Index (ECI). The ECI measures the overall rate of change in employers’ compensation costs in the private and public sectors, excluding the Federal Government. The ECI does not measure the cost of consumer goods and services. These adjustments are not tied to an inflation index. They are an attempt to bring Federal pay in line with private sector pay.
Each year the broadbands will be adjusted upward to be equivalent to the new GS base pay schedule when changed by any General Pay Increase (GPI). The GS base rates may be adjusted each January under the provisions in 5 U.S.C. 5303. Under AcqDemo, the minimum and maximum basic pay rate of each broadband level will be adjusted at the same time as the GPI. The amount of the increase calculated for an organization’s AcqDemo employees will be based on the amount of any GPI, is allocated for use in that organization’s pay pool fund, and disbursed to employees based upon their contribution assessments under the Contribution-based Compensation and Appraisal System (CCAS). Once basic pay is established the appropriate locality pay is added.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6, CCAS.)
Answer: The law prohibits AcqDemo from proposing any changes to the retirement system. Retirement calculations will continue to be determined as they are today, with any basic pay increases you receive under AcqDemo counting toward your High-Three.
(Reference Operating Guide, Executive Summary.)
Answer: Promotions under AcqDemo happen the same way they occur in the General Schedule (GS) system. Most promotions will be competitive. However, AcqDemo has retained capabilities for noncompetitive promotions such as maximum broadband level promotions, accretion of duties promotions, and re-promotion to a position previously held.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 5.)
Answer: This person should continue to be rated and paid using the temporary promotion information. This means in CAS2Net they should be left with the temporary promotion on their file. Following the cycle, the previous permanent record will need to be filed and replaced with the temporary promotion (now a permanent promotion) information.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6.)
Answer: The employee should now be rated against the permanent position taking into consideration the achievements while on the temporary promotion and whether these achievements will enhance the employee’s contribution and performance while in the permanent position. In CAS2Net, the temporary promotion should be removed from the record. Both the contribution/performance assessment and the CCAS payout determination will need to be re-accomplished using the permanent position information.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6.)
Answer: Employees must be in AcqDemo under CCAS on September 30 and have served in their AcqDemo position under CCAS for 90 calendar days or more immediately prior to the end of the CCAS rating cycle. The end of the rating cycle is considered to be close of business on September 30.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6 and Federal Register Notice 82 FR 52128, Section D.2.c.)
Answer: A discussion of compensation strategy to include the definition and use of control points is provided below. This discussion will be included in the next update of the AcqDemo Operating Guide, Chapter 5.
General. AcqDemo includes appointment flexibilities designed to make DoD’s acquisition organizations more agile and improve their ability to compete for talent, especially from the private sector. A key flexibility that distinguishes AcqDemo from General Schedule (GS) is its use of broadbanding,which allows movement through the broadband without the need for staffing actions. Broadbanding makes available a broader range of assignment flexibilities within a broadband level as well as position values. Currently, basic pay adjustments within a broadband level are made only with the AcqDemo CCAS Contribution Rating Increase (CRI). However, a study is underway for a new flexibility that would allow a basic pay adjustment within a broadband level external to the CCAS process.
Position Compensation Value. As the compensation value of organizational positions are identified, managers may consider utilizing appropriate means to preserve those values. Compensation methodologies include identifying the value of the position. The overall contribution scores (OCS) or values may be identified against an organization’s position management structure and associated Position Requirements Documents (PRDs). Once identified the values are considered during hiring actions and in determining compensation to recognize contribution assessments. Means to preserve the identified compensation values may include the establishment of control points.
Definition. Control points are defined as compensation limits within a broadband level based on an organization's position management structure and assessment of the difficulty, scope, and value of positions. Control points are developed to ensure compensation equity and consistency within the organization. Compensation limits may be stated as a monetary value, soft or hard control point, internal pay range within the broadband level, or an overall contribution score. Control points are published in local business rules.
Maintaining Equity with Comparable Systems. When compared to their counterparts in other compensation systems, e.g., GS and Science and Technology Reinvention Laboratory demonstration projects, employees under a control point should maintain equity with the normal pay progression scenarios in these systems. For example, for positions equivalent to GS-14 in value and level of difficulty, management may consider establishing control points based on the basic pay ranges of the lowest referenced GS grade in the appropriate broadband level, i.e., GS-14, step 10, for the NH-IV broadband level. A control point or a maximum OCS may be considered and if chosen will require management decisions to establish an appropriate compensation value or to increase an employee’s basic pay above the identified compensation value. The use of such methodologies establishes compensation equity, consistency, and transparency for employees and supervisors alike throughout the organization.
Reality Check. No matter what the compensation methodology, over time positions reach a plateau where basic pay growth levels off, some at the top of a position’s basic pay range and others at various points within that range due to an employee’s contribution and the difficulty, scope, and value of a position as dictated by an organization’s position management structure and compensation strategy.
Governance. Each AcqDemo Participating Organization has authority to manage and oversee its compensation policies within overarching USD(A&S), HCI, and/or AcqDemo Program Office policy and guidance. The Head of a Participating Organization approves the use of control points. The Personnel Policy Board (PPB) or equivalent board develops and recommends control point guidance and business rules; and oversees implementation and operation. The PPB reviews and evaluates impact of control points on workforce hiring, retention, and compensation, and communicates results to workforce, senior leaders, and HCI.
Requirements for use of control points:
a. Control points must be documented on the Position Requirements Document (PRD) and in job announcements.
b. A Participating Organization must have an exception process to approve/deny compensation above a control point.
c. A Participating Organization must provide outreach and communication to its workforce on the use of control points.
d. When the results of the annual CCAS process are released to the workforce, information on the use of control points must be included.
Answer: The CCAS provides an effective and flexible method for assessing and compensating the AcqDemo workforce based on their contribution to the mission of the organization, rather than based on the amount of work accomplished and job longevity. It differs from the GS System - instead of basing the appraisal on how well a specified job is done (i.e. performance), the appraisal process is based on the job done well (i.e., contributions). It is based on the value of the job to the mission of the organization. CCAS provides a direct link between levels of individual contribution and the compensation received.
In addition, CCAS provides a common set of contribution factors that state what is important to the mission of the organization. Jobs done by individuals are evaluated against these contribution factors. Job growth is available to all by increasing contribution against descriptions of level of contribution for the factors. Providing a common set of factors is one way CCAS achieves fairness in appraisal.
Equity in pay is achieved by making annual basic pay adjustments that move toward the same basic pay for the same contribution. This means that those who are underpaid for their contribution will have larger increases and those who are overpaid for their contribution will have smaller increases. In time, this process will achieve equity in pay.
The CCAS will provide at least four important improvements:
a. Promote increased fairness and consistency in the appraisal process
b. Improve ability to compensate and reward employees in a timely manner commensurate with their contributions to the organization
c. Better convey to employees the key factors associated with advancement in their occupational series; and
d. Focus attention on measurable contributions and productivity.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6 and Federal Register Notice 82 FR 52107, Section C, Overview, and Section D, Evaluation Results.)
Answer: The CCAS cycle begins on October 1st each year. Supervisors and employees should plan to meet soon after the cycle beings and review the employee's career path, broadband level, factors, and weights (if applicable). Together they should agree on what types of contributions the employee will plan to make over the next rating cycle. The supervisor is also encouraged to review with each employee the expected contribution level (Overall Contribution Score [OCS] range) corresponding to the employee's current basic pay. Remember, the OCS range may change when employees receive their basic pay adjustments in January of the following year. Any changes to the expected contribution level, due to basic pay increase, should be discussed when the supervisor and employee review the Part I, on the Contribution-Based Compensation and Appraisal System (CCAS) Appraisal Form, which details the CCAS assessment results. Remember, AcqDemo encourages frequent and informal feedback throughout the appraisal cycle to include a mandatory supervisory mid-point review.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6 and Federal Register Notice 82 FR 52128, Section D.2)
Answer: When an employee cannot be evaluated readily by the normal CCAS appraisal process due to circumstances that take the individual away from normal duties or duty station (e.g., long-term full-time training; active military duty; extended sick leave; qualified family and medical leave; full time union representation; leave without pay, etc.), the Pay Pool Administrator, with the advice of the Rating Official and Participating Organization’s HRO, will document the special situations in CAS2Net. The Pay Pool Administrator will then determine which of the following five Presumptive Status options to use, guided by local business rules and with consideration of any special legal entitlements such as the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) which may affect that determination:
1) Presumptive Status 1: New AcqDemo hires with less than 90 calendar days immediately preceding September 30th who are not eligible for an annual CCAS contribution assessment; or
2) Presumptive Status 2: For examples such as extended sick leave, leave without pay for personal reasons, and qualified family and medical leave, presume the employee is contributing consistently with his/her EOCS representative of his/her basic pay level and fully successful performance by recommending the EOCS for the OCS and Level 3 – Fully Successful rating of record; or
3) Presumptive Status 3: Consider recertification of last contribution assessment and performance appraisal for following circumstances:
a. For employee with absence due to long-term full-time training, an extended rotational/developmental assignment, emergency relief efforts, AWOL, or similar work related absence, presume the employee is contributing at the same contribution level and performance level as the last approved OCS and rating of record.
b. Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) legal entitlements, if employees who left their job to undertake military service are eligible to be reemployed, they must be restored to the job and benefits they would have attained if they had not been absent due to military service or, in some cases, a comparable job. In this case, recommendation is for the pay pool manager to re-certify the employee’s last contribution assessment OCS if greater than the current EOCS and the last CCAS rating of record if higher than the last approved rating of record; or
4) Presumptive Status 4: Prolonged Absence Due to Work-related Injury or Full Time Union Representation Duties. A Presumptive – Status 4 may be used as a rating of record for purposes of RIF for those periods in which an employee did not receive a performance appraisal due to a prolonged absence resulting from a work-related injury approved for compensation pursuant to an Office of Workers' Compensation Program or while performing the duties of a full time union representative. A Presumptive – Status 4 presumes the employee is contributing consistently with his/her EOCS representative of his/her basic pay level by recommending the EOCS for the OCS and an overall Level 3 – Fully Successful rating of record.
5) Presumptive Status 5: Reserved for Reduction-in-Force related Procedures for Employees Absent for Military Service. For reduction-in-force purposes, employees who are absent for military service will receive a CCAS assessment, a recommended OCS, and be assigned a rating of record provided they have performed work for 90 consecutive calendar days immediately preceding prior to September 30 (the end of the rating cycle) and under an approved contribution plan for a minimum of 90 consecutive calendar days. If an employee absent for military service has not performed work 90 consecutive calendar days immediately preceding the end of the cycle and under an approved contribution plan for a minimum of 90 days and has no rating of record under any performance management system within the previous four-year period, the employee will be presumed to be contributing consistently with his/her EOCS representative of his/her basic pay level and will receive the rating of record most frequently given among the actual ratings of record in the same competitive area.
(Reference Operating Guide, Chapter 6.)
Answer: Under the new guidance for a CIP, if an employee’s annual Overall Contribution Score or a contribution factor score during the year falls above the upper rail of the normal pay range, the employee would be considered to have inadequate contributions and receive a Rating of Record of Level 1 – Unacceptable. Likewise, if the employee’s performance fails to meet the quality of work and required results for the goals and objectives set forth in his/her contribution plan on at least one of the appraisal factors, the employee would receive a Performance Appraisal Quality Level (PAQL) of 1-Unacceptable as the annual assessment or as an individual factor assessment during a rating cycle. In either situation, it is required for a supervisor to include mandatory consideration of a CIP that may result in a contribution-based action when determining the appropriate course of action to take. See column DF of the Data Tab of the CMS to determine which employees would be under consideration for a CIP.
(Reference AcqDemo Operating Guide, Chapter 7.)
Answer: CAS2Net User Guides are available under the “Training” tab on the AcqDemo website. Click here. Click on them under Training as illustrated in the screen capture below.
Answer: There are hot links to each tab on the Instructions Tab. Just click on the hot link for the tab you want to see.
Answer: From the Add-ins Button, click “customize” then you can rename Pay Pool numbers to more meaningful names, revert to original names, or even change display order of Pay Pool data. Alphabetical default may not make sense given the data. Also, if Wildcard Statistics have been created, use the Wildcard Radio Button to reorder Wildcard data. See screen captures below.
Answer: Your browser has stored the old version of the Calculator. Hit CTRL and F5 while in your browser to request a complete page refresh. To access the Conversion Calculator please click HERE: