In a Federal Register notice consolidating policy changes made over time in its acquisition workforce demonstration project, DoD said the project has succeeded in increasing “workforce satisfaction with the personnel management system while providing quality acquisition products to DoD customers.”

In operation since 1999, the so-called AcqDemo is the only demonstration project based on an occupation across rather than an agency or component. As is typical in such projects, it features streamlined hiring authorities, simplified job classification with pay banding, greater management flexibility in setting and adjusting salaries, and specialized training and employee development programs.

It cited advantages including:

* “hiring timeliness was significantly improved. AcqDemo succeeded in retaining ‘high contributors’ and increasing the separation rates of ‘low contributors’ without damaging employees’ overall sense of fairness”;

* “people who entered the acquisition workforce and were covered by an AcqDemo pay plan were retained longer compared to those in the general schedule plan. Retention was 24 percent higher for the AcqDemo pay plan than for the GS plan”;

* in annual employee surveys, employees under the project “reported being more optimistic about opportunities for promotion and were more likely to believe that their organization is retaining the highest-performing employees among their peers in the organizations selected for comparison”; and

* “unionized employees have fared well in AcqDemo as compared to unionized employees in the GS system. AcqDemo provided higher starting salaries, paid higher salaries overall, and offered a more rapid increase in salaries.”