The Senate Armed Services Committee, which often has acted as the starting point for personnel policy changes not only for DoD and government-wide, has held hearings into “civilian personnel reform,” the first step on that side of Capitol Hill toward potential major changes in personnel policies. Testimony from former DoD officials of both parties focused on the long-running issues of difficulties agencies face in hiring and retaining high-quality employees; gaps in needed skills in the workplace that in part are a result; barriers against reassigning employees as work needs change; inadequate or ineffective training; inadequate rewards to employees for good performance and for taking initiative; and the often complex and long processes of addressing poor performance or misconduct. Many of those observations echoed those in a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank. Several members of the committee of both parties said they favor changes–potentially to be carried out through this year’s defense spending bill–although they focused on different issues. Similar issues are on the plate in the House side, although the focus there on government-wide matters so far has mainly been on use of official time, on-the-clock time for federal employees with union roles to perform certain union-related tasks. No federal employee organizations testified at the Senate hearing, but those groups typically argue that problems with the civil service system are ones of execution, not of design. They say management should make more use of the incentives and rewards already available, and that reducing due process protections would increase the risk of favoritism, discrimination and political manipulation of the workplace.