The Air Force’s director of force management policy, Brig. Gen. K.C. McClain, says of the service’s implementation of the National Security Personnel System, “We are pleased with our progress and will continue to make adjustments where necessary.” Currently, the Air Force has entered about 39,000 of its 128,000 civilian employees into the new performance-based system. The service plans to shift another increment into NSPS in October, followed by one in March that will include Air National Guard employees. In May, a panel of three US Court of Appeals judges sided with the Pentagon in a case brought by the American Federation of Government Employees union over the labor relations portion of the new system. The union has appealed to the full courts. And, lawmakers seem inclined to side with the union.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.