Pentagon officials say that the Office of Personnel Management has given “provisional” certification for DOD’s new senior executive service performance appraisal system. Officials call the OPM approval an “important milestone” in the Pentagon’s effort to “attract, retain, and reward top talent.” The new SES pay cap will rise from $149,200 to $162,100. DOD’s 1,217 SES members can now “lead the way” for the department-wide National Security Personnel System performance-based pay system, said David S.C. Chu, the Pentagon’s top personnel official. How soon remains a question, because DOD’s shift to NSPS has come under fire from unions. (DR 11/21/05)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.