FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Questions related to transition to DCIPS Grades (updated 22 April 2011)

Questions related to 5 August USD(I) memo

DCIPS OVERVIEW

What is DCIPS and why do we need it?

In the policy development of pay for performance under DCIPS, was the Senior Executive Service Management System considered?

How does DCIPS relate to the Pay Modernization effort at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)?

How does DCIPS differ from the National Security Personnel System?


DCIPS OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE

What is the occupational structure of DCIPS?

What are mission categories and occupational groups?

What are DCIPS work categories?

How are work levels established in DCIPS?

Does DCIPS have more than one pay band in its occupational structure?

I'm familiar with the term "GS" for the General Schedule pay plan. What does the term "IA" mean?


DCIPS CONVERSION ISSUES

How is band placement determined at the time of conversion?

Does this method of determining band placement continue after conversion?

Do I need to do anything to ensure my position converts to the consolidated DCIPS pay bands?

My position does not seem to clearly align to the DCIPS structure. What should I do?

I am currently in a career ladder position with promotion potential to the GG-12 level. At the time of conversion, will my placement in the band be based on my current grade level or the target grade level of my position?

My position was converted to NSPS but has been identified for conversion to DCIPS. How will my conversion be handled?


IMPACT OF DCIPS

What happens to my retirement, health insurance, and other benefits when I convert to DCIPS?

Will basic civil service protections be preserved - such as whistleblower protections, equal access, prohibition against favoritism, and veterans- preference?

How does DCIPS impact the Fair Labor Standards Act?

Does DCIPS impact who maintains my official personnel file or how I receive my paycheck?


DCIPS PAY ISSUES

How will my General Pay Increase (GPI) and locality pay be affected?

I am currently employed overseas. Will my Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) be impacted by my DCIPS pay?

Will I still receive within grade increases (WGIs)?

How will I advance within my pay band?

How are grade and pay retention handled under DCIPS?


STAFFING ISSUES

Can a component still establish developmental positions under DCIPS?

I have a critical vacancy in a Professional work category in pay band 3. There are several seemingly qualified individuals in the Professional work category in pay band 2. Can I simply promote one of those individuals to pay band 3?

As a supervisor, do I retain my ability under DCIPS to reassign employees within a particular band?

I have a vacant position that needs to be filled on a temporary basis. Can I temporarily promote or detail an individual to fill it?

There were provisions in the old GG system to promote an individual as a result of an accretion of duties. Can this still be accomplished under DCIPS?

I still have questions regarding hiring flexibilities under DCIPS. Who should I contact?

For personal reasons, I found it necessary to take a position in a lower band. If a position similar to my original position becomes available, will it be necessary for me to compete for that position?

I was employed by a competitive service organization prior to my appointment to a DCIPS position. Does this mean that I can no longer apply for positions that are open to -status- candidates only?

How are trial periods handled under DCIPS?


DCIPS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

When does the DCIPS evaluation period occur?

Why are ODNI performance elements posted on the DCIPS website?

How does the process of setting performance objectives work?

Can components develop a standard objective for employees in like positions?

Can I receive a rating of -Outstanding- even if my supervisor does not rate me as a 5 on each performance objective and each performance element?

What is the impact of an unacceptable rating?

How will feedback at the end of the year be handled?

Who will provide oversight to the performance management process?

Once I move to the pay-for-performance system, will I continue to be eligible for special act, on-the-spot and time off awards?


UNIQUE SITUATIONS

How will an appraisal and any pay increase or bonus be handled for an employee detailed to a joint duty assignment (JDA)?

If an employee is recalled to active military duty, will they still be included in the pay pool? How will they be evaluated and rewarded?

How will the DCIPS equivalency protocol be applied to military ranking?

How will an employee-s placement in a particular pay band be treated for quarters- purposes at overseas locations?


FURTHERANCE OF DCIPS

What next steps must the DoD Intelligence Community take in order to advance DCIPS?

When and how will I receive additional information about DCIPS?

When will DCIPS be fully implemented?



DCIPS OVERVIEW


What is DCIPS and why do we need it?
  • The Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS) is the human resources management system for the Department of Defense (DoD) intelligence components and other intelligence positions as designated by the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.
  • DCIPS strengthens our ability to face the ever-changing demands placed on the intelligence community.
  • We need a single human resources system for Defense intelligence that appropriately recognizes and rewards our employees- performance and contributions.
  • We need better tools to attract and retain high-quality employees.
  • DCIPS is part of the initiative to establish common standards for the intelligence community-s personnel as described in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA) of 2004.

In the policy development of pay for performance under DCIPS, was the Senior Executive Service Management System considered?
  • Yes. In the formation of the DCIPS Pay for Performance System, all current Federal programs, to include the Senior Executive system, were considered. Best practices, as well as lessons learned, from several different pay for performance programs were incorporated into the DCIPS model as appropriate.

How does DCIPS relate to the Pay Modernization effort at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)?
  • The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) and the DCIPS Implementation Team are working closely with ODNI to integrate the personnel flexibilities needed to support the changing landscape of our Nation-s intelligence needs. DCIPS policies and practices are aligned with appropriate consideration of the DNI IC-s Human Capital Strategy.

How does DCIPS differ from the National Security Personnel System?
  • DCIPS derives its authority from Title 10 of the U.S. Code and utilizes a common excepted service civilian personnel authority for its civilian intelligence positions within DoD. The majority of DoD, by contrast, uses Title 5 authority for the administration of its civilian positions.
  • There are a number of differences between DCIPS and NSPS, to include pay band structures, performance rating processes, performance payouts, etc.
  • Although further conversions to NSPS were recently suspended, the Administration has reaffirmed its support for pay-for-performance systems, and in particular DCIPS. The conversion of intelligence positions to DCIPS is ongoing.


DCIPS OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE


What is the occupational structure of DCIPS?
  • Mission categories, occupational groups, work categories, work levels and pay bands comprise the DCIPS occupational structure.
  • A common occupational structure promotes consistency across the Defense Intelligence Enterprise and the Intelligence Community

What are mission categories and occupational groups?
  • Mission categories broadly classify work as it aligns to budget categories for the National Intelligence Program and the Military Intelligence Program.
  • Mission categories include Collection and Operations; Processing and Exploitation; Analysis and Production; Research and Technology; Enterprise Information Technology; Enterprise Management and Support; and Mission Management.
  • Occupational groups include positions that have similar qualifications and career patterns.

What are DCIPS work categories?
  • Work categories are broad sets of work that cross all related occupational groups and are characterized by common qualifications and types of work.
  • There are three DCIPS work categories - Supervision/Management; Professional; and, Technician/Administrative Support.

How are work levels established in DCIPS?
  • Work levels are designed to define work in terms of increasing complexity, span of authority and responsibility, level of supervision (received or exercised), scope and impact of decisions, and work relationships associated with a particular work category.
  • There are four DCIPS work levels - Expert (Level 4); Senior (Level 3); Full Performance (Level 2); and Entry/Developmental (Level 1).

Does DCIPS have more than one pay band in its occupational structure?
  • Yes, DCIPS has five pay bands.

I'm familiar with the term "GS" for the General Schedule pay plan. What does the term "IA" mean?
  • The designator "IA" denotes the pay plan for the DCIPS Pay Bands. It applies to all positions included in the five pay bands of the DCIPS occupational structure.


DCIPS CONVERSION ISSUES


How is band placement determined at the time of conversion?
  • Technician/Administrative Support positions, GG-01 through GG-07, will convert to pay band 1. Those at the GG-08 through GG-10 level will convert to pay band 2. GG-11 and above will convert to pay band 3.
  • Positions at any grade in the Technician/Administrative work category whose primary responsibilities are supervisory will normally convert to pay band 3. However, when the work supervised is predominantly work level 1, the position shall convert to pay band 2.
  • Professional work category positions, GG-05 through GG-10, will convert to pay band 2.
  • Professional and Supervisory/Management positions, GG-11 through GG-12, will convert to pay band 3. Those at the GG-13/01 and 13/02 levels will convert to pay band 3. Employees at the GG-13/03 through 13/12 and those at the GG-14 level will convert to pay band 4. Those at the GG-15 level will convert to pay band 5.

Does this method of determining band placement continue after conversion?
  • No. The rules above are for conversion purposes only. New positions must be classified using the DCIPS work category and work level criteria to determine the appropriate pay band.

Do I need to do anything to ensure my position converts to the consolidated DCIPS pay bands?
  • No. Conversion happens automatically based on your permanent position of record. You may, however, visit the DCIPS website (http://dcips.dtic.mil) to learn more about the DCIPS occupational structure and to utilize the conversion calculator to determine your actual band placement upon conversion.

My position does not seem to clearly align to the DCIPS structure. What should I do?
  • It is recommended that you first speak to your supervisor to verify that your current position description is properly classified. If there are additional questions, your servicing personnel office should be able to assist with the conversion determination. In rare situations, a component may need to contact OUSD(I) to determine if a waiver to the conversion guidelines is warranted.

I am currently in a career ladder position with promotion potential to the GG-12 level. At the time of conversion, will my placement in the band be based on my current grade level or the target grade level of my position?
  • You will be converted into the pay band structure according to your current grade. Any career ladder promotion(s) and accompanying pay increase(s) that would have been granted under the graded system will continue if requirements are met.

My position was converted to NSPS but has been identified for conversion to DCIPS. How will my conversion be handled?
  • As you have already converted to a banded system, it will be necessary for your servicing personnel office to classify your current position using DCIPS work category and work level information to determine your appropriate placement in the DCIPS pay band structure. You will not receive a WGI Buy-in as you are already part of a pay banded system.


IMPACT OF DCIPS


What happens to my retirement, health insurance, and other benefits when I convert to DCIPS?
  • DCIPS does not impact the rules governing retirement benefits and eligibility, health and life insurance, leave, attendance, or other similar benefits.

Will basic civil service protections be preserved - such as whistleblower protections, equal access, prohibition against favoritism, and veterans- preference?


  • Yes. In its enactment in 1996, DCIPS has fully affirmed employees- core civil service protections such as merit systems principles, veterans- preference, whistleblower protection, and due process. The implementation of DCIPS does not change these protections.

How does DCIPS impact the Fair Labor Standards Act?
  • Not at all. FLSA provisions remain unchanged.

Does DCIPS impact who maintains my official personnel file or how I receive my paycheck?
  • No, you will continue to receive personnel support in the same manner as it was provided prior to DCIPS conversion. Likewise, the manner in which you have effected your payroll withholdings, allotments, etc., and have received your paychecks will not change


DCIPS PAY ISSUES


How will my General Pay Increase (GPI) and locality pay be affected?
  • Under DCIPS, an annual "floor" will be established that will represent the minimum amount of salary increase an employee performing at or above the successful level (level 3) will receive. The "floor" will be determined each year but will initially be equivalent to the GPI (General Pay Increase) that is provided to General Schedule employees.
  • Under DCIPS, locality pay has been replaced by Local Market Supplements (LMS). Initially, DCIPS LMS will be tied to General Schedule locality pay areas and the associated locality rates until a market pricing methodology has been developed that can replace the current government-wide locality pay methodology.

How does the process of setting performance objectives work?
  • You are encouraged to propose objectives and have an open dialogue with your rating official. The rating official considers this information when setting the final objectives. The performance plan and IDP are final when the rating official communicates them to you in writing following approval by the reviewing official. Performance elements, standards or work objectives cannot be grieved or appealed.

I am currently employed overseas. Will my Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) be impacted by my DCIPS pay?
  • No. You will continue to receive COLA and any other benefits or allowances applicable to your OCONUS work location in addition to your basic pay.

Will I still receive within grade increases (WGIs)?
  • Under the consolidated DCIPS pay bands and performance management system, there are no "step increases" as they currently exist in the graded pay system. Instead, pay increases and/or performance bonuses are based on your performance.
  • Upon conversion to the consolidated DCIPS pay bands, eligible employees will receive a salary increase based on the length of time accumulated toward their next within grade increase. This is known as the "WGI Buy-in."
  • Employees at the step 10 level or above of their grade will not receive a WGI Buy-in at the time of conversion as there is no further salary increase due.
  • Employees on pay retention are ineligible for a WGI buy-in.

How will I advance within my pay band?
  • Increases to salary within a band will be determined during the pay pool process and will be dependent upon a number of factors, to include your performance rating, position in the pay band, distribution of salaries and performance ratings of other employees within the same pay pool, and the pay pool budget.

How are grade and pay retention handled under DCIPS?
  • Because the DCIPS occupational structure is comprised of pay bands instead of grades, grade retention is no longer necessary.
  • Employees on grade retention at the time of conversion will continue to receive the rate of pay that correlates to the employee-s retained grade and step. If the employee-s converted base salary exceeds the rate range for the assigned pay band, the employee will receive indefinite pay retention under DCIPS.
  • An employee on pay retention will convert to DCIPS based on the pay of the permanent position of record. If, after conversion, the employee-s base salary exceeds the rate range for the assigned pay band, the employee will be placed on indefinite pay retention until the rate range for the employee-s pay band encompasses the employee-s salary.


STAFFING ISSUES


Can a component still establish developmental positions under DCIPS?
  • Yes, developmental positions may be established through the full performance level. As the work level for full performance under DCIPS is level 2, this means that developmental positions may be established in the Professional work category through pay band 3.
  • Developmental positions may not be established in pay band 4 or 5 as the work level for each of those bands is established only at the Senior and Expert levels.
  • The establishment of developmental positions must be accomplished as part of a formal component program and approved by OUSD(I).
  • As part of that developmental program, an employee may be promoted noncompetitively to the established full performance work level for the work category.

I have a critical vacancy in a Professional work category in pay band 3. There are several seemingly qualified individuals in the Professional work category in pay band 2. Can I simply promote one of those individuals to pay band 3?
  • No. Under DCIPS, advancement from one pay band to another is a promotion and normally requires competition. There are some specific exceptions to this rule but in this situation the position must be opened to competition.

As a supervisor, do I retain my ability under DCIPS to reassign employees within a particular band?
  • Yes, you have the flexibility to reassign an employee at the same band level. These actions can normally be made noncompetitively. However, in some cases, such as reassigning an individual from a position in the Technician/Administrative Support work category to a position in the Professional work category, both in pay band 3, the new position must be filled competitively as it provides higher pay band potential.
  • There are no permanent pay increases for reassignments to another DCIPS position in the same band.

I have a vacant position that needs to be filled on a temporary basis. Can I temporarily promote or detail an individual to fill it?
  • You may detail an individual to the position but temporary promotions, i.e., temporary assignments with an increase in pay, are not used under DCIPS.
  • The employee-s assumption of additional duties should be documented by an appropriate detail personnel action and clearly noted in his/her performance appraisal. By doing so, the employee is assured of consideration for a potential performance-based pay increase or bonus for his/her additional contributions during the annual pay pool process.

There were provisions in the old GG system to promote an individual as a result of an accretion of duties. Can this still be accomplished under DCIPS?
  • Yes, a noncompetitive promotion may still be effected as a result of additional duties and responsibilities assigned to the position.
  • The component must ensure that the additional duties do not adversely affect another position and that the employee meets all eligibility requirements (or qualifications) for the higher work level.

I still have questions regarding hiring flexibilities under DCIPS. Who should I contact?
  • Each DCIPS component is responsible for developing its individual staffing procedures. You should contact your servicing human resources office or your component-s DCIPS point of contact for additional information.

For personal reasons, I found it necessary to take a position in a lower band. If a position similar to my original position becomes available, will it be necessary for me to compete for that position?
  • You may compete for the position if it is announced or, at the component-s discretion, you may be reappointed without competition.

I was employed by a competitive service organization prior to my appointment to a DCIPS position. Does this mean that I can no longer apply for positions that are open to "status" candidates only?
  • If you attained competitive status as a result of having been continuously employed by a competitive service organization for three or more years, you will remain eligible for consideration for positions that are open to status candidates only.
  • If you do not possess competitive status, you may apply for positions that are advertised as "open all sources" or "open to the public."

How are trial periods handled under DCIPS?
  • All employees newly appointed to DCIPS will be required to serve a two-year DCIPS trial period.
  • An employee serving a trial period at the time of conversion into DCIPS pay bands will complete the trial period in the new position and will be deemed to have completed a DCIPS trial period.
  • Current Intelligence Community (IC) employees who are in a trial period, and who are appointed to a DCIPS position, will finish their trial period in the DCIPS appointment and will be deemed to have completed a DCIPS trial period.
  • Employees who have served a trial period in another IC organization are not required to serve another trial period.


DCIPS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT


When does the DCIPS evaluation period occur?
  • The evaluation period for all employees under DCIPS is 1 October through 30 September of each year.

Why are ODNI performance elements posted on the DCIPS website?
  • The six performance elements are standard across the intelligence community and measure "how" employees complete their objectives. These are six global-attributed behaviors that apply to all employees.

How does the process of setting performance objectives work?
  • You are encouraged to propose objectives and have an open dialogue with your rating official. The rating official considers this information when setting the final objectives. The performance plan and IDP are final when the rating official communicates them to you in writing following approval by the reviewing official. Performance elements, standards or work objectives cannot be grieved or appealed.

Can components develop a standard objective for employees in like positions?
  • Components are discouraged from developing standard performance objectives for employees because objectives must be tailored to the unique responsibilities and assignments of individual employees and provide the specific objectives that each is expected to accomplish. Employees and supervisors are encouraged to use iSuccess, an on-line application tool, to help develop effective job objectives. iSuccess is a self-paced, interactive course that uses a step-by-step approach, as well as a "virtual coach" and "virtual employees" to teach employees how to write SMART performance objectives and self-assessments.

Can I receive a rating of "Outstanding" even if my supervisor does not rate me as a 5 on each performance objective and each performance element?
  • Yes. The overall rating is an average of the performance element rating and the performance objective rating. An overall rating of 4.6 or higher will result in an Evaluation of Record of "Outstanding."

What is the impact of an unacceptable rating?
  • If an employee receives a rating of "1" on any performance objective, the overall evaluation of record is a rating of "Unacceptable." However, the supervisor should complete the evaluation to document the employee-s performance for the record. There is no entitlement to an annual increase (the DCIPS "floor"), local market supplement, performance-based increase or bonus.

How will feedback at the end of the year be handled?
  • Feedback is an essential element in the DCIPS performance management process and will help to make employees more aware of how their performance is being evaluated. Meaningful dialogue throughout the evaluation period is encouraged and the midpoint review is an excellent opportunity to reinforce employee strengths and correct weaknesses. After the appraisal has been approved by the reviewing official and Performance Management (PM) Performance Review Authority (PRA), the rating official will discuss the final evaluation of record and performance for the year with the employee. The rating official should be prepared to discuss the employee-s accomplishments, as well as any areas that may be deficient or need attention, and use their own written narrative to explain the logic behind the rating.

Who will provide oversight to the performance management process?
  • DCIPS requires appointment of a Performance Management (PM) Performance Review Authority (PRA) as part of the process. Typically the PM PRA is a senior executive, senior employee, or board of executives within the chain of command of the employee. The PM PRA reviews and approves ratings at the end of the evaluation period for consistency across the organization.

Once I move to the pay-for-performance system, will I continue to be eligible for special act, on-the-spot and time off awards?
  • Under DCIPS, the pay pool process serves as the primary mechanism for recognizing and rewarding employee performance. However, DCIPS policy on awards does provide for honorary and limited monetary awards outside of the pay pool process.


UNIQUE SITUATIONS


How will an appraisal and any pay increase or bonus be handled for an employee detailed to a joint duty assignment (JDA)?
  • An employee detailed to a JDA of 90 days or more will be evaluated by the gaining element, i.e., the component to which detailed, with input from their parent organization. The employee will be considered for a permanent salary increase in the parent organization-s pay pool process, but considered for a bonus by the gaining element. If the employee has been on a JDA for fewer than 90 days, the employee will be evaluated by their parent organization and considered for both a permanent salary increase and bonus by the parent organization based on that evaluation.

If an employee is recalled to active military duty, will they still be included in the pay pool? How will they be evaluated and rewarded?
  • Yes, employees who are absent due to uniformed military service will be considered in the pay pool process. They will be given an increase to maintain their relative position in the pay band. With regard to appraisals, employees who return to their civilian positions following a period of uniformed military service, and who do not have the required 90 days of service under a performance plan during the current rating period, will be awarded a presumptive rating of record. The presumptive rating will be their last summary rating of record prior to departure for uniformed military service, but not less than a summary rating of "Successful" for the rating period that has closed.

How will the DCIPS equivalency protocol be applied to military ranking?
  • On 31 July 2008, the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (USD(I)) approved the DCIPS pay band military grade equivalencies as follows:
    • DCIPS Band 5     O-6
    • DCIPS Band 4     O-5
    • DCIPS Band 3     O-4
    • DCIPS Band 2     O-3
    • DCIPS Band 1     O-2

How will an employee-s placement in a particular pay band be treated for quarters- purposes at overseas locations?
  • DISES, DISL and pay band 4 and 5 employees will be placed in Quarters Group 2.
  • Employees in pay band 3 will be placed in Quarters Group 3.
  • Pay band 1 and 2 employees will be placed in Quarters Group 4.
  • Further information regarding overseas travel and quarters groups can be found in the Department of State Standardized Regulations.


FURTHERANCE OF DCIPS


What next steps must the DoD Intelligence Community take in order to advance DCIPS?
  • The DCIPS Implementation Team - consisting of representatives from each organization - meets weekly to continue to develop and refine requirements.
  • The requirements are being issued in the form of Volumes. Four Volumes have been signed thus far as Final or Interim Final policies - DCIPS Introduction (Volume 2001), DCIPS Pay Administration (Volume 2006), Occupational Structure (Volume 2007), and Performance Management (Volume 2011).
  • Additional volumes are pending release and cover topics such as recruitment and staffing, workforce reshaping and professional development.

When and how will I receive additional information about DCIPS?
  • The DCIPS website is updated on a regular basis with key information and additional frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • The same website is available on the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet), Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System (JWICS).
  • Communication efforts are ongoing and training is being developed and will be available to employees and supervisors prior to conversion.

When will DCIPS be fully implemented?
  • Converting the entire DoD Intelligence Enterprise to all aspects of DCIPS will take approximately 2-3 years. Conversion of all components will be completed by October 2009 with some individual positions to be converted by February 2010. The first DCIPS performance-related payouts will occur in January 2010; January 2011 will be the first payout that will include all DCIPS components and positions.