House Armed Services readiness subcommittee members are questioning whether the Pentagon’s new National Security Personnel System, authorized by Congress in 2004, was the right approach—and collectively seem to think the NSPS needs to be fixed through additional legislation. A big stumbling block has been efforts to incorporate the Defense Department’s union employees—efforts that have faced continued legal challenges. At a March 6 hearing, John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, complained that the Pentagon rebuffed union efforts to work out differences, saying, “DOD made clear they simply wanted unlimited authority with no effective outside review.” Business and labor negotiation expert Marick Masters, said that DOD was “moving in the right direction” in its pay for performance effort but had failed miserably on the labor relations aspect, developing a plan that “eviscerates collective bargaining.”
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."