The AFGE union has said a recent Bipartisan Policy Center report’s suggestions for overhauling personnel policies at DoD would be reminiscent of the National Security Personnel System and that it would oppose them if the Pentagon or Congress attempted to put them in practice.

The NSPS, which operated for several years in the Bush administration before being shut down early in the Obama administration at the urging of AFGE and allied members of Congress, involved pay banding with pay for performance. It also initially sought to restrict union and disciplinary appeal rights, although those never were carried out in the face of opposition.

The recent report focused on oft-cited criticisms of the GS system, that it is outdated and doesn’t allow management to either effectively reward top performance or penalize poor performance. The union, though, said the report “largely mimic reforms that have been rejected in the past” that “would undermine the government’s merit-based civil service system.”

“Calls to make it easier to fire a federal employee by decreasing due process rights or speeding up the removal process are ‘dog whistles’ for making the career service subject to the partisan or personal whims of a few supervisors or political appointees,” AFGE said.

“The flaws of that system were well-documented and there is certainty that a revival would reproduce all the discriminatory effects of its earlier incarnation,” it said.