deLeon reviews QDR and NSPS transition

Tuesday - 1/18/2011, 6:53pm EST

Rudy deLeon, Senior Vice President of National Security and International Policy, American Progress

Click to hear the interview.

Download mp3

The Quadrennial Defense Review, released in February 2010, sets the Defense Department's long-term strategies.

The independent panel charged by Congress to review the QDR was tasked with examining the strategy and budget in "this very complicated period we're living in," said Rudy deLeon, former assistant defense secretary, in an interview with In Depth with Francis Rose.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates faces both the challenges of funding near-term solutions with troops in the field, as well as investing in capabilities for the future -- all while under budgetary constraints, deLeon said.

The debt ceiling and deficit reduction commission recommendations "all put pressure on DoD as the largest piece of the discretionary budget," he said.

The scope of the QDR was summed up in December by panel co-chair Stephen Hadley in an interview with In Depth. Hadley said, "What we found was the diversity of security challenges looking forward is so large, and the range is so great, that no Presidential administration since the end of the Cold War has been able to write a national strategy document that, over the course of time, seemed to have held up."

deLeon said the challenge is obviously to cover national security but also, he added, "our economic security is a huge component of national security, making sure that you have the resources to cover your needs both today and tomorrow."

NSPS transition
As of October of last year, DoD had transition about 165,000 civilians -- about 75 percent of the total workers to transition -- out of the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) to the General Schedule (GS) system. In an interview with Federal News Radio, John James, the Director of the NSPS Transition Office, had described the transition as "very successful."

deLeon said the review of NSPS was that the system was very complicated and created "tremendous confusion" over bonus pay and the pay pool. However, the establishment of strategic goals was something the entire workforce embraced and found "moral enhancing," he said.

"One of our lessons from the NSPS study was too much too quickly just created too much confusion," deLeon said. "Our study said do a total reconstruction. Congress took it a step further and said just go back to the GS system and reestablish trust in the system."

Rudy deLeon is the Senior Vice President of National Security and International Policy at American Progress in Washington, D.C.