ARL Demonstration Project

Implementation Date: June 7, 1998. Amended January 21, 2000.

Over the last 30 years, many studies of the Department of Defense (DoD) laboratories have been conducted on laboratory quality and personnel. Virtually all of these studies have recommended improvements in personnel policies, organization, and management. In order to respond to the findings of these studies, the ARL personnel demonstration project encompasses streamlined hiring processes, simplified position classification, Pay for Performance, and modified RIF procedures.

With the participation of and review by the Department of the Army (DA), the DoD, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) designed a Personnel Demonstration Project. The purpose of the demonstration project is to develop and implement a personnel management system that will enable ARL to obtain, maintain, and retain the highest quality workforce possible to accomplish its mission in support of national defense. There are four primary objectives of the demonstration project:

  • Provide ARL increased authority to manage human resources.
  • Enable ARL to hire and retain the best qualified employees.
  • Enable ARL to compensate its employees equitably at a rate that is more competitive with the labor market.
  • Provide a more direct link between levels of individual performance and the compensation received (Pay for Performance).

The demonstration project covers all ARL employees except Senior Executive Service (SES) members; scientific and professional (ST) employees (above GS-15); and trade and craft employees. The project will be reviewed and evaluated throughout its duration by OPM, DoD, DA, and ARL. In addition to evaluation topics such as goal attainment and employee and management acceptance, the project will be assessed for cost containment.

For more general information on demonstration projects, click here.

ARL Personnel Demonstration Project Features

Project Army Research Laboratory
Status Implemented June 7, 1998. Amended January 21, 2000.
Purpose To achieve the best workforce for the mission of the laboratory, adjust the workforce for change, and improve workforce quality.
Participants ARL civilian employees under Title 5, except those in the SES, ST, and FWS pay systems. Total population: 1,967
Unions Employees are represented by AFGE, NFFE, and IAM/AW.
Staffing Extended probationary periods: up to three years for engineer/scientist occupations, two years all others. Modified term appointments (up to six years total) with conversion to permanent position if original hiring action was competitive.
Pay A broad banding system is used. Almost all employees eligible for general pay increase and locality pay. Employees receive additional pay increases based on their evaluations under the Pay for Performance Management System. Pay Band V developed to create a new category of positions, the Senior Scientific Technical Manager.
Classification The present system of OPM classification standards used for the identification of series and occupational titles of positions. New and simplified standards developed for occupational family and pay band determinations.
Classification Appeals Waived Section 5101-5102, 5104-5107. Appeal through DoD to OPM.
Performance Management Employee's performance is part of the pay for performance system, which more directly links pay and performance.
Reduction In Force Competitive area limited to occupational family and locality. Uses four basic factors with performance adding additional years.
Misc. Voluntary Emeritus program, sabbaticals.

Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2010