Toward "Flexible Uniformity"? Civil Service Reform, "Big Government Conservatism," and the Promise of the Intelligence Community Model
journal contributionposted on 01.05.2012 by James R. Thompson
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As the Obama administration pieces together its own civil service reform program, it may find solutions to key reform challenges in an oft-overlooked Bush administration human resource management initiative in the national security arena. While press and scholarly attention focused largely on the administration’s reform efforts at DHS and DoD discussed at length in the article by Kellough, Nigro, and Brewer in this symposium, the development of a common personnel framework across the United States Intelligence Community went relatively unnoticed. I argue, however, that human resource management changes made pursuant to the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 provide a potential model for the Obama administration as it tries addressing three key reform challenges that have long-plagued federal personnel management: replacing the General Schedule with a modernized approach to compensation and classification, achieving a balance between uniformity at the executive branch level and flexibility at the agency level, and reconfiguring the Senior Executive Service.