THE PERFECT STORM
CAUGHT IN THE EYE
By now we’re all familiar with the furious force of nature as demonstrated by three killer storms: Katrina, Rita and Wilma. They left a trail of death, destruction and financial damage in their wake and we’ll be a long time recovering.
Those storms are over, but the storm that is the National Security Personnel System (NSPS) is just beginning. With the formal publication of the final regulations on Tuesday, November 1, 2005—NSPS has become a full-fledged hurricane and we now have 30 days and counting to brace for its fury.
NSPS is driven by disdain for workers and their rights, disregard for justice, disrespect for Congress, and pure arrogance. It is time for Congress to step in and stop this injustice now!
If each of us does not do everything in our power to derail NSPS in the few remaining days ahead, then we will share the ultimate responsibility for the damage that it does.
Write, fax, e-mail and call your member of Congress and both of your Senators, now. Tell them this is a critical issue. They are either with us in active opposition to NSPS, or against us. And, we will be watching.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest patriots, warned against “unwarranted influence,” not by a foreign power, but by elements of a shadow government from within that he dubbed the military industrial complex. In his farewell message to the American people, three days before the inauguration of his successor, President Eisenhower said: “The disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
That disastrous rise of misplaced power is present today within the Department of Defense in the form of the neo conservative right wing ideologues who have created so much havoc for America. They have adopted the battle cry penned by Grover Norquist, one of their own, who said: “Government must be shrunk down so small that we can drown it in a bathtub.”
Their distaste for government doesn’t grow out of a legitmate concern for controlling costs and creating efficiencies; they see government as a roadblock to their ambitions to attain power and profits. It impedes their opportunities redirect public resources into their pockets.
The DOD’s neo conservative radicals led by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, together with their conservative friends in Congress, hatched NSPS as a scheme to take over the Department of Defense and to undermine the influence of career military and civilian personnel who might challenge them.
The authors of the NSPS crawled out from under the rocks of the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation in the very first days of the Bush Administration. They brought with them the blueprint for the NSPS and first published it on January 10, 2001, more than nine months before Muslim extremists hijacked airliners and attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. September 11 has come to be called the Pearl Harbor in the war on terrorism, but 9-11 was not the reason for NSPS, merely the opportunity.
NSPS does nothing to improve the security of America; it is a malicious scheme to destroy the civil service, reduce civil service employees’ wages and benefits, and to hand over government jobs to private contractors.
NSPS reduces DOD’s civilian workers to the status of “employees at will,” with fewer rights than Wal-Mart workers. The NSPS personnel manual looks like it has been plagiarized from McDonald’s.
When it was designed, the U.S. Civil Service system was an example of enlightened, contemporary, progressive personnel rules. Its primary purpose was to eliminate cronyism and corruption in government employment. Despite what its detractors now claim, it works well; perhaps too well. It contains merit protections. It rewards performance, but it also protects against arbitrary and abusive practices. Its flaws can be remedied with more transparency, more justice and better management.
The presence of collective bargaining and a voice on the job through independent trade unions helps to balance the flaws of the current civil service system. But, NSPS would replace the rule of law with the rule of the jungle.
Instead of trying to perfect the current system, preserve its assets and improve on its deficits, NSPS scraps the entire system in favor of dictatorial rule.
NSPS will replace personnel protections that safeguard against absolute power and dishonesty with new opportunities for cronyism, favoritism and abuse. It will impose an old fashioned autocratic management system—the old “I’m the boss and you’ll do what I say, or else.” It attacks the values and the worth of the current workforce. It replaces a system based on mutual respect and trust with a totally subjective system based on the rule of power.
When Congress gave the Pentagon authority to change its system of rules, it drew a bright line requiring the DOD to honor the rights of employees to collective bargaining, union representation and an independent system of third-party adjudication of grievances. The Pentagon totally ignored that bright line and subverted those restrictions at every turn. Consequently, the Pentagon’s rules are illegal and will be immediately challenged in court.
Moreover, the Pentagon has hidden the true cost of NSPS—a cost that we estimate will exceed $4 billion. The Pentagon has long been adept at bookkeeping and accounting schemes. They built the F117 Stealth Fighter without ever disclosing its budget to public scrutiny. So, the fact that they refuse to disclose the NSPS budget isn’t surprising, merely another indication of the arrogance of DOD’s top leaders.
In short, NSPS is driven by disdain for workers and their rights, disregard for justice, disrespect for Congress, and pure arrogance. It is time for Congress to step in and stop this injustice now!
There are only 13 days until NSPS Perfect Storm
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