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National Security Professional Development (NSPD) Interagency Personnel Rotations Program Guidance

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
National Security Professional Development (NSPD) Interagency Personnel Rotations Program Guidance

In order to support the implementation of the NSPD Interagency Personnel Rotations Program, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is issuing the attached guidance on performance appraisal and general requirements for all NSPD programs, including the rights and responsibilities associated with returning from interagency rotational service.  This guidance is in accordance with the National Security Human Capital Strategy mandated by section 1107 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.  

If you have any questions, please contact Veronica Villalobos at

Attachment:  NSPD Interagency Rotation Program Performance Appraisal Guidance and General Requirements (below)


The purpose of Executive Order 13434, National Security Professional Development (NSPD), is to ensure the Government prepares its national security professionals to carry out coordinated national security operations with their counterparts in other Federal agencies and in non-Federal organizations.  The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act §1107, Interagency Personnel Rotations, promotes the education, training, and experience of current and future professionals in national security positions in executive branch agencies.  The performance appraisal process can assist agencies employing national security professionals to accomplish this.

In a memorandum issued on January 12, 2016, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provided guidance to agencies on effective performance management, which emphasizes the establishment of a high-performance culture to enable agencies to achieve their missions and successfully manage their personnel.  In this memorandum, OPM acknowledges the importance of establishing high-quality performance management systems and programs; however, OPM also recognizes the ultimate success of these tools and processes depends on a commitment to regular and substantive implementation rather than the superficial completion of a limited number of rote procedures a few times a year.  To that end, OPM is instructing agencies to apply the philosophy of "Performance Management Plus" where the "Plus" is employee engagement. 

In short, to achieve a high-performance culture, supervisors must be empowered and encouraged to regularly and effectively engage their employees in all stages and aspects of their employment.  This will ensure leaders support the success and growth of employees, including frequently participating in dialogues with employees to understand their needs and issues relating to work, as well as providing opportunities for employees to apply their strengths and further develop their knowledge and skills. By achieving a high-performance culture, agencies will best accomplish their missions and also serve as model employers that optimize the hiring, management, and retention of top talent.

Performance appraisals provide the opportunity for agencies to employ the principles of Performance Management Plus by providing meaningful engagement and improved communication between the employee and the supervisor, particularly as it applies to what the employee needs to accomplish to contribute to the achievement of organizational goals.  Countless studies and case histories demonstrate employees feel most empowered and enabled to succeed and grow when supervisors involve them in continuous dialogue on: position expectations; alignment of position responsibilities and agency mission; progress toward achieving expectations; and areas of strength or needs for improvement.  In addition, the appraisal process can help identify developmental opportunities that enable an employee to progress to his/her full potential.  Such development can help facilitate meeting organizational needs as well as the employee’s personal development goals.  When using rotations to develop employees, both the Host and Home Agency supervisors need to coordinate to ensure the proper performance expectations are in place.  This remains true for NSPD program participants.  Agencies shall follow the procedures detailed in their established performance appraisal system and applicable program, and apply that policy to NSPD participants.  


Employees actively participating in the NSPD program under a rotation agreement.


• Rotational assignments should be handled in the same manner as other interagency details 

• Agencies participating in the program may authorize the rotations as reimbursable or non-reimbursable details, depending upon the circumstances and in accordance with GAO guidance

• Employees participating in the program may be given assignments for periods of up to 120 days and the assignments may be extended in 120-day increments

• While participating in the program the employee’s position of record does not change and at the end of the detail, the employee returns to his or her original position at the home agency  


The Home Agency supervisor will —

1. Provide the Host agency supervisor with a copy of the participant’s current Performance Plan to align expectations and assignments during the rotation with the participant’s elements and standards

2. Incorporate the rotation as part of the participant’s Individual Development Plan (IDP); actively engage with the participant during the rotation; and proactively seek performance input from the host supervisor 

3. Be clear with the participant about how his or her performance during the rotation will be factored into his or her annual evaluation (how the rotational accomplishments will be assessed in terms of the performance elements or standards in the employee’s annual performance plan)

4. Be available to participant and continue to maintain all records 

5. Support the participant’s transition back to the home agency

The Host Agency supervisor will —

1. Use the appraisal system and applicable appraisal program of the home agency to assess performance during the rotation

2. Identify elements and standards in the participant performance plan that will be used to assess performance during the rotation; work with the home agency supervisor to determine how information on performance during the rotation will be captured and communicated to the home supervisor

3. Establish rotation appraisal begin and end dates for capturing performance during the rotation

4. Craft meaningful developmental assignments, tasks, and duties based on the specific developmental goals identified by the participant and the home supervisor; and evaluate progress throughout the term of the rotation assignment

5. Engage the participant by having frequent touch-point discussions (i.e., brief but regular and meaningful communications to discuss priorities and needs)

6. Provide valid, regular, and timely data to the participant for feedback on performance progress, including varied perspectives from multiple stakeholders where appropriate

7. Provide coaching and development to help the participant succeed and flourish

8. Supply performance review input to the home supervisor and the participant upon completion of the rotation

The Participant will —

1. Work with the home supervisor to ensure the annual performance plan includes rotation goals 

2. Work with the host supervisor to develop a plan to maintain contact with the home organization (i.e., keep home supervisor informed of progress) 

3. Work with the host supervisor to ensure the participant understands the expectations of the rotational assignment, and how the assignment is aligned to agency goals

4. Complete the rotation goals identified in the performance plan

5. Alert the home agency project team contact if problems/issues occur 

6. Provide input to annual appraisal, if required by the home agency program, capturing experience and results attained during the rotation 

7. Provide  the home supervisor with feedback on the rotation experience and its value to the participant’s overall development