Memorandum, HQDA, DAMI-CP, 25 September 1991, Subject: Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS) Position Management and Classification Policies, Issues and Information (CIPMS Memo No. 6)








A. What sources are available on CIPMS classification?

1. AR 690-13, Chapter 3;

2. Guide for Classifying General Schedule Positions in the Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System, and the AOGs issued as appendices to the Guide (Throughout the discussion below, this source is referred to as the Guide). The Guide was transmitted by DAMI-CP memo, 11 Jun 90, Subject: Guide to Classifying General schedule (GS) Positions in the CIPMS and Implementation of CIPMS PGS for Supervisory/Managerial Positions.

3. The Guide was supplemented/updated by a series of HQDA memoranda that published Army Occupational Guides (AOGs) or made corrections as follows:

a. DAMI-CP memorandum, 11 Jul 90, Subject: Implementation of the Army Occupational Guide (AOG) for the GS-1701/1712 Series within the Civilian Intelligence Pers0nnel Management System (CIPMS), published the first AOG for training and education as Appendix E.

b. DAMI-CP memo, 24 April 1991, Subject: Implementation of Army Occupational Guides (AOGs) for the Intelligence Specialist Series, GS-132, and for Scientific and Technical positions in Intelligence Production, transmitted Appendices D and F.

c. DAMI-CP memo, 24 May 1991, Subject: Change Pages for the Army Occupational Guide (AOG) for Intelligence Specialist Series, GS-132, and the Multi-Series Guide for Scientific and Technical Positions in Intelligence Production, provided corrected pages.

d. DAMI-CP memo, 24 June 1991, Subject: Implementation of the Army Occupational Guide (AOG) for Nonsupervisory Work in Security administration, GS-080, for Positions within the Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS), transmitted Appendix C.

4. CIPMS Supplement to Army's Program of Instruction for MCB, September 1990, transmitted by TAPC-CPP-I memo, 18 Sept 1990, Subject: Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS) Supplemental Program of. Instruction (POI) for Managing Civilians to Budget (MCB). This publication provided training materials on CIPMS classification policies and procedures.

5. Articles .on classification in the CIPMS Update memoranda.

6. DAMI-CP memo, 21 March 1990, Subject: CIPMS Qualification Standards for GS-132 (Intelligence Specialist) and GS-080 (Security Specialist) (CIPMS MEMO No. 2), and DAMI-CP memo, 26 Oct 1990, Subject: Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System (ACTEDS) for CP-35. Although not strictly classification documents, CIPMS qualifications standards and the CP-35 ACTEDS plan provide insight on intelligence disciplines/functions.

B. What is still being developed or is planned?

1. AOGs for Intelligence and Threat Support positions and for Combat Development positions.

2. An AOG for Technicians, GS-086, Security Assistant and GS-134, Intelligence Assistant.

3. An AOG for Professional/Administrative career path positions suffering high turnover rates such as GS-334, Computer Specialist.

4. A separate CIPMS Senior Intelligence Executive Service is being planned.

5. Standardized Job Descriptions should be developed by many commands and some large installations/activities to further streamline the classification process. Similarly, MACOMs may be providing other guidance, such as policy for delegation of authorities, where to send appeals, etc.


A. General

1. Why is position management so important in implementing the CIPMS classification program?

a. The ClPMS classification program is new. Although many of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPMs) rules and some of its structure for classification have been adopted by CIPMS, some have not been translated into CIPMS and some have been changed. It will take some time to learn how it affects positions and organizational structures. The. CIPMS Primary Grading Standard, for instance, is different from that used by OPM under Title 5. It has five factors instead of nine and gives different credit or weight than given to similar factors or combinations of factors under OPM's Factor Evaluation System (FES). Supervisors and personnel specialist need to revalidate the position management concepts and grade level allocations that have been used to verify they still work under CIPMS.

b. At the same time as CIPMS was implementing its new system, two other changes happened. They will have an impact on and require assimilation into an organization's position management program.

(1) The Management of Civilians to Budget (MCB) program is resulting in many levels of supervisors having both budget and classification authority. While this was greatly desired by most CIPMS managers, it may also result in less control and equity across organizations in the treatment of position classifications. Individual managers are encouraged under MCB to make more decisions but should not make them in a vacuum. What they do must make sense and be compatible, but not necessarily identical, to what is happening in other units of their larger organization/MACOM. Position management, therefore, linked to a larger organization view point can often achieve more equity and economy than if each supervisor works. alone.

(2) The second change was the DoD Appropriations Act of 1989 which prohibited all of DoD from using the number of subordinates as a factor in grading supervisory positions. Traditional procedures in the OPM classification system, and initia11y mirrored in the National Security Agency (NSA) primary standard adapted for CIPMS, included both a rule requiring three subordinates before a position was classified as a supervisor and consideration of the number of subordinates in calculating the final grade. Coupled with the fact that most OPM classification standards made it difficult to reach higher levels without becoming a supervisor, our structures were sometimes more layered than necessary- that is, many small units in order to have as many "higher graded" supervisors as possible. This resulted in elevated payroll costs due to poor supervisory ratios and OPM, DoD and Army programs and goals to correct this problem. It is now hoped that position classification policies resulting from the DoD Appropriations Act de-emphasizing the numbers of subordinates and position management policies promoting larger supervisory to action officer ratios will result in more efficient and less costly organizations.

c. The CIPMS Primary Grading Standard (PGS) and AOGs allow a technical track to recognize higher levels of technical work, including technical management/leadership, without formal supervisory responsibility. And, the supervisory standard (PGS, Part 3) does not use the number of employees supervised as any criterion, relying instead on the program importance and the structure of the organization. As a result, we should see fewer numbers of supervisory positions, especially as MCB spotlights their cost.

2. Why did we develop a system which we can't afford?

a. The traditional/OPM classification system was one of the primary reasons for the services obtaining the law creating CIPMS. The standards, in many cases, were old and did not apply well to today's much more technical and complex intelligence and security world. Furthermore, OPM's classification rules and practices were not always similar to those followed in the rest of the Intelligence Community, particularly, NSA, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). This hurt the services in .attracting and retaining the best qualified people. Congress agreed that the intelligence community needed personnel systems which had at least the potential for being comparable. Although the cost may be such that "parity" will take time to achieve, especially during the current period of retrenchment, the services can begin to close the gap under CIPMS.

b. Position management and MOB gives organizations tools to control the implementation of the classification program within budget constraints. However, such implementation is going to require careful consideration of many factors, including employee morale. Some employees (including supervisors) have thought that CIPMS was going to be an automatic upgrade for everyone. Although this was never to be the case, the reality of needing to closely control costs (i.e., promotions) for at least the next few years may disenchant many. A more appropriate message to employees should rather focus on the long-term rather than numbers of immediate promotions.

3. How can we tell what the effect of the implementation will be? 0r When must the PM be applied in order for us to control the costs?

a. This question and answer is a key to the successful implementation of CIPMS classification. Taking time to plan and the planning itself could ensure a smooth transition. The traditional approach of leaving standards to the CPO to apply without active involvement of management will not work well with CIPMS. Management must work together with the CPO to determine probable costs of direct implementation and ways to implement with more efficient organization and position structures. The article on position management in the CIPMS Update No. 3, dated 1 April 1991, lists several considerations and other position management references.

b. The best time to start to determine the effect of the guides is before they are applied; that is, during the formal testing of the AOGs, perhaps during an informal "test" of the Primary Grading Standard, Part 3, for supervisors and managers. The tests should be conducted so that management can predict the effect if the standards were applied to the present organization. (If managers are fearful that false expectations will result from too much employee involvement, "blind" tests without conversion charts or direct specified factor degrees could be used.) Then, management must begin to examine .the relationship between that effect, their budget, and various alternatives, including some possible reorganizations for fewer supervisory positions or organizational units.

c. Planning cannot stop here. Many of the draft "tested" AOGs will be modified based on test results and may not give the same results when finally implemented. Upon receipt, final AOGs should be carefully reviewed to determine the extent and effect of changes on local positions. Then final position management options can be proposed and the AOG actually implemented.

4. What actions should be taken to prepare for implementation of AOGs?

a. Form a working group of functional managers and civilian personnelists to plan, supervise and carry out the implementation.

b. Study and discuss the AOG together, determining common definitions for terms, ensuring competent understanding of CIPMS classification principles, and sharing knowledge of the work being performed at the installation or activity.

c. Redraft job descriptions in CIPMS format. Utilize all CIPMS efficiencies, such as much shorter duty statements and requirements such as documentation of conditions of employment.

d. Correct those things that you have been meaning to for some time but have put off, such as the correction of titles or misassignments, establishment of upward mobility positions, etc.

e. Tentatively evaluate each position, referring difficult classifications and "borderline" evaluations to a pre-established process for resolution.

f. Search for economies in structuring individual positions and organizations. (Consolidate higher graded work in fewer positions, etc.)

g. Check the classifications of supervisory and managerial positions to ensure they were not affected by the implementation of a non-supervisory AOG.

h. Present findings with options to top management for decision.

i. Effect personnel management actions within 180 days of local receipt of each AOG.

B. Roles

1. How can the intelligence/security functional managers better work with CPOs and resource managers to implement the classification program? Won't they always disagree?

a. The classification system cannot be implemented without the functional expertise in the program areas supplied by program managers. For example, the functional specialists and managers need to identify how their programs fit different parts of the standards and guides, to help define terms and explain both functional and organizational relationships and occupational disciplines. The functional managers need to work with the CPO and budget personnel to determine the classification impact and alternatives, and work on what controls or directions may be needed, such as procedures for borderline positions or possible review levels for upgraded positions (especially those projected to raise two or more grades), to control cost and ensure equity.

b. The CPO has the expertise needed in how the classification process works, how classification terms are traditionally defined (and how CIPMS may have changed some of these), and, of great importance, how the new system may affect other parts of personnel management. For example, a manager needs the CPO to advise on how changes in grade levels may affect current employees and recruitment.

(1) Position classifiers know many ways to organize work and positions to cost less money. They can examine the structure with more objectivity and can advise management of the impact of certain structures or grade levels on the overall organization or on other organizations, morale, upward mobility and other work force issues.

(2) Staffing specialists know many different competitive and noncompetitive approaches and recruitment sources which can be used in the recruitment process. They can recommend the use of various types of recruitment and recruitment sources which will assist management in obtaining sufficient top quality candidates from which to make a selection. They can also advise in those cases when management may need to restructure jobs in order to obtain sufficient candidates.

c. Resource managers, both manpower and budget, have expertise in how to structure organizations for greater use of manpower and how to plan for budget requirements and the alternatives available during execution. Under the implementation of MCB, a manager must learn how to better plan future organizations and positions for budgetary constraints and impacts. Cuts in budgets are always difficult to handle; both the CPO and budget specialists can work with managers to plan new ways to meet the requirements that the former system did not have the flexibility to use.

2. What role(s) should the MACON play in PM?

a. First, it must be realized that MACOM means the functional and personnel partnership at MACON headquarters. Together, MACOM intelligence and personnel management directorates should determine policy on such issues as roles and responsibilities in the appeal process and delegation of authorities under NOB.

b. Another role the MACOM should play is in determining the nature of controls, if any, which may be needed to ensure consistent and cost sensitive application of CIPMS classification. For example, jobs or major duties which are similar throughout the command may be classified more consistently if the MACON approves standardized position descriptions or evaluations, definitions of tens, or MACOM-unique Factor Degree Description interpretations. A MACON might want to develop a factor matrix (See the Multi-Series AOG for S&T positions in Intelligence Production) for an entire group of positions. A MACOM may also wish to prescribe procedures for reviewing initial determinations that a position will raise more than one grade due to the implementation of the AOG.

c. Other important roles for MACOMs are in providing assistance and conducting post-implementation reviews. The assistance may range from budget guidance to publicizing the methods used to structure organizations at other installations or centers. Reviews made could also aid in maintaining consistency and in identifying problems which need to be addressed.

3. How can/do installations or local levels really affect PM? Is it truly needed at this level? What does an immediate supervisor with or without MOB authority need to know about PM?

a. Position management begins when individual tasks are identified. and placed in a specific position or assigned to an employee. This process normally begins at the initial supervisory level.

b. Supervisors cannot be effective and think that position management is done by the CPO and funding by the resource management office without their involvement or knowledge. Under MCB, supervisors have the authority to decide if a position warrants upgrading and also have the responsibility to know when it's too costly to effect or otherwise unwise to implement.

c. The immediate supervisor needs a basic knowledge of the effect of-various assignments on grades. For example, he/she should know that neither volume of work nor quality of performance equals higher graded work; should know some of the characteristic differences between clerical, technician, and professional-administrative career path knowledges and duties; and should know the basic standards that classify the positions in their unit. In working with the CPO, positions and organizations can be better designed for cost and recruitment, for EEO and long-term retention, and for current employee abilities. Without taking into account these position management considerations, the local level manager could end up with an organization which must be cut in the future due to lack of funds.

4. What can be done to prevent unequal implementation across organization lines, particularly at local levels?

a. Consistent application at a local installation is aided through the working partnership of knowledgeable managers (to include Activity Career Program Managers (ACPM)) and CPO specialists. They should be maintaining an awareness of the classification program's implementation across organizational lines, of potential areas of disagreement, or of problems as they arise. They should be getting together periodically to discuss issues, plan, and reach agreement on such things as definitions of terms and procedures for handling certain problems. Part of this same group's job is to raise problems for resolution that they cannot resolve to whatever levels are appropriate above the installation.

b. One traditional problem in achieving consistency is in determining if there is a "consistency" problem; that is, many times what are thought to be like jobs are-not. One particular tool needed is learning to look at "whole" jobs. Too often, what happens is two or more employees who share a similar responsibility in different organizations compare their grades. If the grades differ, then, the employees claim unequal implementation without knowing that the responsibility being compared is only one part of jobs which are significantly different when taken in totality.

C. PM Tools.

What are some specific steps we can take to manage CIPMS positions and money better?

Several steps have already been mentioned as answers to previous questions. Position management steps help not only the structure's efficiency, but also usually increase employee morale through greater enjoyment of the work itself. Other steps would include many of the following:

1. Carefully consider the need for supervisory positions, trying for 100 percent of the position's time in supervision and management-related responsibilities rather than requiring supervisors to also personally perform technical work. (Instead, use senior employees and leaders for the technical work.)

2. Design positions which can be filled through career ladders, recruiting at lower levels. Make sure a viable Upward Mobility Program is established and used as often as possible.

3. Align tasks between positions for maximum use of time at the grade for which the position is paid. Eliminate tasks .or activities which are not necessary (may require permission or coordination). Consider using positions for multiple functions.

4. Create as few layers of review and oversight as necessary and possible. Each layer of review adds expense.

5. Consider the organization structure in terms of CIPMS and non-CIPMS employees and units. Divide duties as carefully as possible. Make use of military positions for supervisors or move CIPMS employees higher in the organization when disparate grades cause problems.

6. Consider the use .of creating an even graded professional-administrative career ladder with all the grade levels used; that is, GS-5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and so on. Such positions usually need to be similar only within the installation or command (see AR 690-13, paragraph 3-3b). Managers have more options under an even graded system in promoting employees as they learn the positions, and could have an overall lower cost. The single-grade interval ladder is now being used by DIA.


A. System Structure

1. How was the CIPMS Classification program, particularly the Primary Grading Standard, developed? Can we change. the program or PGS?

a. Change is not only possible, it is assumed. The CIPMS classification system was designed to allowed for quicker changes than the OPM system normally. requires. It can be quicker because the approval process stops at OSD not with OPM or Congress. However, the problem with change is still the time needed to make that change; that is, to develop, justify, negotiate, approve, and implement a change between all three services. For example, the change in the supervisory guide needed in 1989 (see II.A.l.b(2) above) required nearly six months of work.

b. The PGS is the hardest to change. Its adaptation from NSA required over a year to negotiate. It was chosen for use because the services needed a common base for comparability, because it was already in use by an intelligence organization (NSA), and because it had already been proven over time. AOGs are easiest to change, or to update. OSD approves series definitions, official titles and career paths; Army determines structure and coverage of the guide. When changes are needed, any level within Army or the other services can submit suggestions for revision or review.

2. Why are AOGs necessary? Couldn't we have used the PGS directly?

a. The PGS was not adapted from a stand-alone document. The NSA system from which it was taken used explanatory notes which assigned the Factor Degree Definitions (FDDs) to levels of individual performance and their specific organizations. NSA also has a centralized personnel office which is responsible for all its classification. In addition, they use their own series structure and supplementary series guides. Neither NSA's explanatory notes nor the series guides were broad enough to be applicable to the services. AOGs were the services' substitute.

b. In addition to being a requirement of the DoD manual, Army has two major reasons for needing AOGs: (1) the diversity in Army's intelligence and security missions and functions; and (2) the many servicing CPOs spread throughout the commands. Shorter versions or other methods of ensuring equal treatment using only the PGS might not be compatible with these realities. The key question has always been "What will most likely result in consistent and equitable classification across Army." (Remember, the requirement for "Equal Grade for Equal Work")

3. How do the systems adopted by Navy and Air Force differ from Army's? What ensures equal treatment?

a. Both Navy and Air Force intelligence functions are more centralized with one or few servicing CPOs. Navy has assigned, for instance, only one CPO to do all classification world-wide. Navy uses brief guides which combine grade band descriptions for classification, qualification and training purposes. Supplementing these are standard position descriptions for nearly all of their positions. Air Force's system is still under development with no finished guides but several in draft stages. They are testing, however, direct application of the PGS to GS-132 positions.

b. The PGS and grade band chart are the primary standards of consistency between services. The guides and systems developed from them must be adequate for comparison if a problem is surfaced between services. The CIPMS Advisory Group (CAG) and OSD (Assistant Secretary of Defense, Force Management and Personnel) are the final arbitrators for major problems of comparability. (See Para F.1 and 5, Chapter I or DoD Manual 1400.34-M, DoD Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS) Policies for a discussion of their roles and 'responsibilities for classification.) Any of the services can raise an issue in the CAG or to OSD, if necessary.

4. Why do the AOGs take so long to be developed?

a. The AOGs are developed by committees of functional people together with personnel guidance. Most people usually work on the guides as an "other duty as assigned." The committees have to work hard to ensure a match to the Primary Grading Standard and equity across the functions covered.

b. The time taken is used to:

(1) gather information and determine coverage;

(2) develop multiple drafts;

(3) coordinate and review at many levels of use including several functional reviews;

(4) officially test (The official test time is required to be a minimum of 60 days. Extensions have been requested in each instance so far);

(5) perform a final analysis of the test results and make needed revisions;

(6) obtain formal coordination and approval (including, in some cases, OSD approval of the occupational series definition); and,

(7) complete printing and distribution.

5. How can it realistically work to have subordinate employees at the same or higher grades than the supervisors?

a. Placing subordinate positions in the same grades as supervisors is not rare, and placing them in higher grades is rare but not an anomaly, in either the traditional OPM system or in the NSA system adapted by CIPMS. Most of the time, this occurs when the positions are affected greatly by individual performance as in cases of many scientific and engineering research organizations. In such cases, the subordinate position warrants its grade due to the technical creativity and originality required rather than to any relationship with the hierarchy of the organization which impacts upon the supervisory grade. In fact, such positions may still be technically supervised in terms of the evaluation of the results and guidance on priorities of assignments without limiting the originality and creativity expected.

b. The CIPMS supervisory grading criteria in the PGS, Part 3 does not have a rule which places the supervisory job above the highest grade level supervised. (Neither does the new OPM Pilot which most of DoD must use.) This may result in more instances of higher graded subordinates than previous methods of classifying supervisory positions. For such times, it will be important for management to recognize the difference and value in the career tracks and expertise of the incumbents. A difficult problem may occur when this happens as the result of a CIPMS employee supervised by a lower-graded non-CIPMS position.

c. On occasions when such a grading structure might occur, and management does not support the difference, then action needs to be taken to change the situation. Such actions might include re-engineering the non-supervisory position to place major responsibilities elsewhere, moving the position to a different place in the organization (that is , under a higher graded supervisor), or using a military position for the supervisory position.

6. How/when can the GS-16/17/18 and SES/SIES levels be actually used when the position classifies to these levels in the AOGs and/or PGS, Part 3?

PGS/AOG points and grade levels are only one criteria for assignment to these levels. Other criteria are still to be determined. IPMO will keep all offices informed of progress on the subject. Until decisions are made and programs established, positions classified by CIPMS can be graded no higher than GS-15.

B. Terms

1. Why do the AOGs and the PGS use generic terms such as activity and program?

a. Background:

(1) The PGS, like OPM's Factor Evaluation System (FES) primary standard, is a generic guide, meant to cover a wide range of like and unlike positions at every organizational and technical level .within many services. In order to accomplish such a task, terms such as program, major program, controversial, highly controversial, complex, highly complex, routine, non-routine, element, activity, and department are commonly used to differentiate between levels.

(2) The PGS was adapted from NSA. The adaptations made were to broaden the scope from a chiefly cryptological intelligence orientation. In addition, several terms were substituted for key words in order that they would have consistent meaning when used by Army, Navy, and Air Force. For instance, a key word in the NSA PGS was "Agency." We first thought to substitute the word "command. "Navy's definition of "command", however, is different from that of Army's and Air Force's. Therefore, the word "activity" usually replaced NSA's term "agency." Also, the word "agency" in the NSA PGS always meant NSA, Air Force, Army, etc. However, when asked how NSA credited different levels of involvement with Army, Navy, and Air Force, NSA informed us that the treatment differed depending upon "program". If the "program" discussed was performed at only one specific level of the department, that level was usually credited with "agency" status. For example, the Missile and Space Intelligence Center (MSIC), a center under the Army Intelligence Agency may act as Army's agent in working with NSA on one or more missile weapon systems. Because intelligence efforts within the services are quite often performed chiefly at levels lower than command levels (such as in MSIC's instance in the example), the services wanted to mirror this flexibility in interpretation. We therefore replaced the word "agency" with "activity", understanding that "activity" could in some contexts be applied either to the HQDA level or a level like MSIC.

b. Nature of Definitions: (1) The problems with trying to define any term are that: (a) the definition, then, becomes regulatory or is treated as such; (b) many traditional ways of defining terms such as size, location, funding, etc., become outdated too quickly to be useful; but (c) that, if terms are not defined in some manner applicable to all users, there will probably be some misuse or inconsistency in application. Therefore, there needs to be "room" in any rule/definition for exceptions which seasoned classification and management judgment can recognize.

(2). For example, suppose we were to say that, within Army, the term "activity" would mean major command. Then, many offices would demand that a position operate at the MACOM headquarters' offices before credit could be given at the level stating "activity." However, many times programs run within a MACOM are actually operated at only one part. of that MACOM rather than at headquarters. (Action officers at headquarters levels may only have limited oversight or monitoring of the program.)

(3) Or, for another example, suppose we were to define program in terms of Congressional funding or dollar amounts. Within intelligence, many of the programs are funded through DIA or NSA rather than directly to Army. Therefore, some interpreters would then say that Army's efforts in these areas are parts of DIA/NSA programs rather than major DA programs. The problem in specifying dollar amounts has also been evident considering the years of high inflation we experienced in the 70s and 80s.

2. What are some general rules Which could be used as guidance in defining or interpreting the terms at the MACOM or local levels?

a. General Guidance: Principles to use in defining and interpreting-specific terms:

(1) Place the word within the "spirit and intent" of the entire factor in which a generic term appears. For example, the word "Activity" appears in PGS, Part 2, FDD E-6, Supervision Received, as follows:

Assignments are made in terms of over-all Activity missions and policies. The employee selects objectives, plans and methods independent of any review. Delegated authority is complete. Broad policy questions or major problems of coordination are resolved in conference with advisors and/or personnel of other Activity elements. Recommendations for new projects and alteration of objectives are usually evaluated for such considerations as availability of funds and other resources, broad program goals, or national priorities. Results of completed work are considered as technically authoritative and are normally accepted without significant change. The wording of the entire FDD partially defines "activity" since very few levels of organization would have positions which require this degree of authority or independence, work on "national priorities" or answer "broad policy questions," etc.

(2) Place the word within the "hierarchy" of terms from one FDD to another. For example in the PGS, Part 3, FDDs C-4 through C-6, Work Relationships, the levels progress from contacts within Activity elements, to high ranking officials both within and outside the Activity, to ranking officials of other government agencies, or with executives of corporations. The work discussed progresses from non-routine problems to significant or controversial issues to extremely controversial or critical long range plans. Actually identifying the activity "elements," the ranking officials, the non-routine problems versus controversial problems, etc then should be done in situations which could be misunderstood; that is, if one organization is to be identified as the "activity," then name the elements of that activity.

(3) Use the same interpretation or definition of terms from one factor to another. If "activity" is identified for the interpretation of Factor C, that interpretation would also be used to define "activity" for other factors and in both PGS Parts, supervisory and non-supervisory. (And, of course, for other position classifications.) organizational decisions on the interpretations of the terms should be made a part of the record for all users to insure more consistency.

b. Specific Terms: Three terms are more specifically defined below with the purpose of giving examples of considerations which need to be made. Activity is defined as an" organizational term; program is defined as a term involved in interpreting many levels; and complex is defined as a technical concept in classification. (1) Activity. "Activity," as discussed above was quite often the term substituted for "agency." As such, it is most often used at the higher levels. Several levels (e.g., commands, centers) in Army might meet these characteristics, but the person classifying the position needs to remember that the next higher level in the PGS is the Department or joint organization. (a) The word "activity" is used to delineate levels at FDDs C-5 and E-6 in PGS, Part 2, and at FDDs B-5, C-5 and 6, and D-5 in PGS, Part 3. Note, as used, most organizations at the level described would always have one or more sublevels.

(b) The activity's size and programs normally require the establishment of policies and regulations rather than just supplements or standard operating procedures (see PGS, Part 2, FDD B-3).

(c) This level is normally applied only to organizations large enough to require an administrative staff responsible personnel, budget, supply, logistics, etc., or an administrative staff responsible for liaison with centralized offices which have these programs.

(2) Program. (a) Two words defined by the PGS are program and project, with the program being long-term and involving projects. However, in addition to projects, a "program" has many components which may be regarded by people within them as programs by themselves. NSA's application of "program" focuses on its relationship to mission and function statements, to funds and resources, and to size in terms of supporting programs and components.

(b) DA considered the definition of program in OPM's Pilot supervisory guide a problem. Although it may be difficult to apply the concepts within intelligence (and includes the term "agency")', DA suggested the following definition in comments to OPM:

The mission, functions, projects, activities, laws, rules, and regulations which an agency is authorized by statute and funded to administer and carry out. Exercise of delegated authority to carry out program functions and services constitutes the essential purpose for the establishment and continuing existence of an agency. .The focus of programs within the Department of Defense is on maintaining a high 'level of national defense preparedness.

(c) The different levels or components of programs or major and minor programs, etc., play a role in the definition as well. Using the guidance in establishing overall definitions, both functional and personnel management need to work together to describe actual or typical "programs" which meet different levels. The position classification specialist can advise managers on how such terms are traditionally defined in terms of different occupations. Examples, however, should be reviewed on a periodic basis in order to ensure their continued match to the factor degree levels and the current environment. Once again, consistency between positions and between those classifying positions is best ensured when the agreements are documented for all to use.

(3) Complex. (a) Complexity, like crucial or controversial, may be "in the eyes of the beholder." Few people may want to admit that their work or program is less than complex. However, in classification terms, complexity is usually in a hierarchy starting with basic and routine through non routine to complex to highly complex, up to "state-of-the-art."

(b) Complexity in assignments has most often been derided in terms of scientific and engineering work. Borrowing from discussions in OPM guides covering such work, complex features would typically be characterized by (i) modification, adaptation, or compromise with standard guides, precedents, and techniques; or, (ii) by special considerations of planning, scheduling, negotiating, and coordination. Complexity in work requires substantial analysis and evaluation of alternatives and a thorough knowledge of a variety of guides, precedents, methods, techniques, and practices in solving a problem.

(c) Examples of complex work would vary greatly. in the technical aspects of the work. They would include such characteristics as the number of alternatives, modifications, precedents, and disciplines/functions or broad intelligence/security areas involved. Special considerations might include the nature of constraints (e.g., time, money, relationship to other programs), visibility of the work, and meeting differing needs of more than one major organization or agency. Both the degree and the number of these features in the work would affect the placement of the work at "complex" or "highly complex." (Engineers and scientists who would like more specific examples may refer to the OPM PCS GS-800 Grade Level Guide for Test and Evaluation Work in Engineering and Science Occupations, March 1990, pp. 7-9.)

C. Interpolation

1. What are some examples of situations where interpolation between factor levels would be appropriate or normal?

a. See the Guide and the CIPMS supplement to the MCB Program of Instruction both for discussions on procedures and for actual examples. Some additional examples might include the following:

(1) The position is an expert in a narrow area rather than a broad one when the guides progress from beginner to expert by expanding to broader areas. This often happens at headquarters' levels.

(2) The position has a lot of independence but the program itself circumscribes the range of action.

(3) The position has many guides, rather than a few, and the problem is determining even which guide(s) to use. The factor progresses from guides which state exact procedures to few guides which give little aid; but the factor does not address positions which have many guides which vary in content and sometimes conflict.

b. There should also be an example of when interpolation is not appropriate as when classification in many factors has an "add-on" feature. This means that as a position progresses in an element or subelement, it assumes all of the lower levels. In these instances, the full higher level is awarded. The best example of this is in the factor, Essential Knowledges. When a position operates at a full level of performance, it can be assumed that the base level of knowledge and skills and any interim levels have been obtained and are also used. However, most duties require all the knowledge of the full higher level and are credited as such rather than interpolating between all the levels through which the position has passed. (This does not apply to a mixed position in which some major duties might actually be performed at much lower levels.)

2. When there is more than one incremental level between FDDs and many different people classifying jobs, how can consistent interpolation be attained?

a. Consistent application of interpolation will require both knowledge and experience with the system. The test results to date have shown widely varying practices from some organizations which have not yet used it to many individuals who use it but are averaging between factors without taking time to think it through. The Guide and the CIPMS supplement to the MCB Program of Instruction give some examples of the process.

b. The most needed classification tool is writing down the thought process used. For example, documenting what would place the position at 65 points, 70 points, and so on, will help to ensure sound judgement and provide a tool in other position classification actions. When factors have many incremental levels, this procedure will result in more consistent, reasonable interpolation than a process which always averages points rather than considering the worth of what the position has and does not have; or in trying to remember from one position to another why certain points were awarded.

c. Coordinated organizational-wide action may be a good tool if the organization has many position classifiers or if there are many similar positions in subelements of the organization. Actions might include:

(1) Discussion between people classifying similar positions as to proper levels of interpolation and reasoning for decision; having another person/classifier check reasoning or independent classification and comparison of results;

(2) Determine and use standard descriptions or evaluation statements with the interpolation standard, standard factor matrices, or interpretations of Factor Degree Descriptions.

d. Request advisory determinations in borderline or controversial cases from MACOM/IPMO-PERSCOM as appropriate.

D. Study of PGS

1. How does the grading criteria differ between the nonsupervisory and supervisory/managerial PGS parts?

While both parts use five factors and the same rules in application, the factors differ somewhat. Both parts use similar guidelines and work relationships. However, nonsupervisors are rated against supervision received while supervisors are rated against supervision exercised; supervisors are given points for scope and variety of operations while nonsupervisors are rated on the scope of authority and effect of decisions; and, finally, nonsupervisors are given points for essential knowledges while supervisors are rated against the grade level of the work supervised. The weight of the factors also varies slightly. See attached chart (attachment 1).

2. When is or can the PGS, Part 2 be used? Can it ever be used without an AOG?

a. The Guide discusses several major instances when Part 2 should be used. They occur when: (1) the person classifying the position decides the position may be above or below the maximum and minimum degrees shown in the AOG; (2) further clarification of the basic subelements of a factor at any degree is needed; and.(3) the position doesn't appear to match the examples at a factor degree description. Suppose an AOG begins the nonsupervisory factor for guidelines at degree B-2, and the person classifying the position determines that it should be below that degree. Then, the PGS, Part 2, FDD B-1 will aid in determining the point level to be allocated. Or, in some AOGs, such as Section A for Operations in the GS-132 AOG, the FDDs were designed to be used with more reference to the PGS in that only one example of a function is given at each FDD without further explanation or examples of other disciplines.

b. Part 2 is not currently authorized for use without an accompanying AOG. When an AOG is not available to cover the nonsupervisory duties, OPM standards are used to classify those duties. If a special situation occurs which deserves consideration for direct application, an exception should be requested.

3. Why wasn't a guide developed to aid in applying the PGS; Part 3 for supervisors?

a. In many ways, supervisory and managerial work are "occupational categories" of their own; that is, the personnel, organizational and program authorities typically follow certain patterns regardless of the specific occupations in the organization supervised or managed. Those typical patterns are what Part 3 point rates.

b. Further explanatory material for supervisory and managerial positions would need to address specific organizational missions, structures, policies, and procedures. If MACOMs or lower management levels decide such material would aid those classifying the positions, guidance considered might include standard position descriptions, factor degree interpretations by typical organizational levels, standard evaluation statements, or a standard matrix of factor degrees by grade level.

4. How are leader positions classified?

The term "leader" can cover two very different kinds of positions:

a. An employee who is a technical leader or program manager may not have any administrative authority over other employees, but may coordinate work, projects, or whole programs among others working in the same subject area. When the responsibility is concerned solely with the technical or program aspects of the work without administrative authority over others, that responsibility is credited through use of nonsupervisory standards. For example, in most of the AOGs the higher factor degree descriptions discuss "senior" workers, technical team leaders, and program managers specifically.

b. Some positions are both technical and administrative leaders. Administrative leadership can include a variety-of duties such as making short work assignments, review of the work of the team for technical acceptance, provision of training and guidance, approval of short amounts of leave, and the coordination of the work with other organizations, but does not include the full range of supervisory duties, especially not official assignment of overall work or performance evaluation.

(1) If the position is in the clerical or technician career path, a one-grade interval series, the Guide, Appendix B, states how such positions are classified under CIPMS. The Guide mirrored OPM's rules for work leaders in similar positions.

[NOTE: Appendix B of the Guide inadvertently retained a requirement to lead three (3) or more employees before-credit could be given. Please remember that the DoD Appropriations Act of 1989 prohibits the use of numbers of employees supervised in whole or in part in the classification of positions. A change to Appendix B has been issued with the transmittal of the GS-080, Security Specialist AOG.]

(2) If the position is in the professional-administrative career path, normally a two-grade interval series, the leader duties should be point rated against PGS, Part 3, under the rules explained in the Guide, Chapter 3-4. Some of the lower levels of the FDDs will apply to such positions, although interpolation may be necessary depending upon the various authorities delegated.



1. Since there are still many positions-graded partially or wholly by nonsupervisory OPM standards, how do the two systems compare?

The best discussion of the differences is included in the CIPMS Supplement to the MCB Program of Instruction - see Handout CSP 3-1c (attachment. 2). The major similarity is that CIPMS adopted the series and grade structure of the traditional OPM system, although changes in the structure may be proposed without OPM approval. Major differences include the uniform use of a point-rated system with five factors rather than the variety of approaches used by OPM such as the OPM Factor Evaluation System (FES) with nine factors; the use of interpolation when a position does not fully meet a factor degree rather than use of the rule of going to a lower degree if one degree level is not fully met; and the fact that the administration of the program, to include the adjudication of appeals, is within Army and DOD.

2. If OPM publishes a standard covering positions for which an AOG is planned, is the OPM standard still to be applied?

The answer would vary depending upon several factors such as the planning stage which the AOG is in (i.e., how soon will it be available), the expected impact upon CIPMS organizations and positions if the standard is implemented versus the impact of a delay, and the number of CIPMS positions which the new OPM standard covers. In making a decision on the implementation, the time required to implement both an OPM standard and later an AOG is important. When a delay is not announced by the IPMO, a request for such a delay should discuss these factors as a minimum.

3. Why was the PGS, Part 3 applied to all CIPMS supervisory and managerial positions, even when the technical work of many of the positions is still covered by OPM standards?

a. The DoD Appropriation Act of 1989 (see II.A.l.b above) required all of DoD to change the procedures used to classify most of the' supervisory positions. The supervisory standards of both OPM and CIPMS, in addition to others, were changed to meet the law. A tri-service working group studied many options for changing the CIPMS standard as well as adopting the OPM Pilot. The recommendation, approved by the GAG and DOD, was to limit the change to one element in the-CIPMS standard.

b. Therefore, those classifying supervisory positions would have to learn a new procedure; it was a matter only of how many procedures would need to be learned. If the CIPMS supervisory standard could be used for all covered positions, organizations with all CIPMS positions would need to learn only one new standard. Other organizations might still have to learn to apply two standards in order to also cover non-CIPMS positions. However, no one would be required to apply two different standards to the same positions.

4. How is the PGS, Part 3 different from the OPM Pilot Guide for supervisory Positions?

a. Both standards are point-rated factor systems. However, several of the factors are completely different and the rules of application differ. The CIPMS standard parallels the nonsupervisory Part 2 in that it has five factors and uses the same rules of application, such as interpolation. The OPM Pilot does not use Guidelines as a factor, and CIPMS does not use Reporting Level as a factor. Both guides use the scope of the position, the authority of the position, contacts, and the grade level of the positions supervised, although these factors are sometimes named or combined differently.

b. In addition, the CIPMS Supplement to the MCB Program of Instruction, issued September 1990, contains full details of CIPMS supervisory classification procedures, including an example job description and evaluation statement.

5. How is a non-CIPMS supervisor given credit for CIPMS subordinates?

Non-CIPMS supervisors are given credit for CIPMS subordinates through the procedures of the system in which the supervisory position is classified. If OPM standards cover the supervisory position, then OPM's classification system is applied. For example, the general method of crediting non OPM-graded positions (e.g., military positions) has been to construct an OPM grade for the position through applying related OPM standards.

B. Mixed Positions:

How do you determine the grade of a job which has duties covered by more than one AOG or AOG section, by OPM standard and AOGs, or by PGS, Part 3 and any of the above?

1. The Guide has a full discussion of mixed positions in Chapter 3-5. Mixed positions can be very difficult to classify, and the full expertise and seasoned judgment of a position classification specialist is many times not only helpful, but necessary.

2. AOG test results have also indicated some misunderstandings in the basic procedures of working with mixed positions:

a. As much as possible, separate the duties according to AOG, AOG section, supervisory and nonsupervisory, OPM standard, or even grade level.

b. Determine the series and grade level of each duty as though the duty were the whole job.

c. Determine the final series and grade level by the effect of each duty and its classification on the entire job. For example, suppose one major duty occupies 25% of the time and is GS-132-12; a second duty is GS-343-12 and occupies 20% of the job; and a third duty is supervisory over both GS-343 and 132 work, occupies 55% of the time, and is GS-13. The position would probably be classified as a GS-132-13. It is only probably, because lines of recruitment and qualification factors must also be considered.

C. Position Comparison:

Is it proper to compare positions?

1. In CIPMS, as in OPM's system, positions are to be classified against a common standard rather than against each other. The problem with position-to-position comparison is determining what is alike when there is an infinite variety of position duty and organizational structures impacting on the classification. (See also II.B.4 above.)

2. In recent history, court cases have resulted in OPM-directed as well as Army-directed consistency studies. Generally, these have been based upon the belief that similar positions classified under the same authority should be alike in classification. (Defining the level of authority which would be considered applicable has sometimes been a further problem in such rulings.) Although some inconsistencies have been found, generally the studies have served to illustrate how different the positions actually were.

3. When an employee believes, however, that his/her position is the same as another position but classified differently, this deserves attention. This is particularly true if the two positions are in the same organization and classified by the same authority. When questions result at any level, they should be raised to a level of authority which is over both positions in question. Justification and results of the review need to be documented and in many cases shared to determine further impact.

D. Position Descriptions

1. Why was the draft AR policy changed in the final AR to require the CIPMS format on all PDs? [NOTE: Comment has been received from the field that this practice places a burden on the classifier when implementing new OPM standards to positions not covered by AOGs. This requirement is now under review. Recommend, it not be enforced at this time pending final decision.]

a. An article in CIPMS Update Memo #3 specifically addresses the AR policy changes. Briefly, the reasons included the simplicity of using the same formats for ell CIPMS positions; the advantage of having the format quickly identify a CIPMS position--a signpost for anyone reviewing it; the fact that the change would make no difference in the number of formats to learn for people using both systems, but would make fewer formats for those using only one system; and that test results have consistently identified position descriptions in different formats (and outdated ones as well) to be a major problem in gaining accurate test data.

b. One misunderstanding some readers have had is on the requirement itself; that is, the rule does not require offices to immediately change all position descriptions. The CIPMS formats should have been used, however, only as new or revised position descriptions were needed.

2. If the classification of a position is determined by an OPM standard, where or how are the areas needed for that standard discussed?

Placement of the material in the evaluation statement, in an additional "other" category, or within the body of the description was optional. The decision should have been based on what was most practical for the amount of material which needed to be covered and where it was the easiest to identify and evaluate.

3. Why does CIPMS use short duty statements? Won't this make it harder to prove/substantiate the grade?

First, the AOGs are typically much more descriptive and closely related to the work than OPM standards written for the entire competitive service. Therefore, position reviews should more clearly match descriptions without extra wording. Second, the CIPMS goal was to have simpler descriptions with less verbiage, promoting more accuracy and, perhaps, promoting less "overwriting," a continuing problem under the OPM system. If-more explanation is required, the explanation will probably closely match one of the factors and should be placed within that factor degree description.

4. Where do you place the factors and point values used for CIPMS classification?

The CIPMS Supplement to the MCB Program of Instruction shows examples of placement. Factors and point values can be placed to the right of the factor's name/title. on the Job description itself.

5. Where/how are conditions of employment treated or discussed?

CIPMS does not have a specific rule for placement of conditions of employment. A separate paragraph as an "other" after the discussion of the factors is one option.

6. How will DISCAS codes and/or skills codes play a role in the position description and program?

a. DISCAS codes represent functional and occupational specialties common to the DIA, Army, Navy and Air Force Intelligence Community. They can be used in the recruitment process for careerists to code their experience and for selecting supervisors to screen candidates for positions through a central computer system. They are a/so used as basis for creating skills codes.

b. Skills codes are related to the new Army automated personnel management system (ACPERS) and to the CIPMS classification system through the AOGs. Skills codes are attached to positions present and past rather than to the employees (as used in DISCAS); they will be needed on the job descriptions when final codes are approved for use.

c. Many skills codes have been staffed in 'the Spring and Summer 1991. It is now expected that they will be ready for at least optional local use in 1992. Skills codes will be valuable tools for future occupational studies. With them we will be able to get a better handle on what types of intelligence work is really. being done within Army and where. With that knowledge we should be better prepared to produce classification and qualification standards and support mobilization planning.

7. Are the Essential Knowledges (Factor A - Nonsupervisory positions) and Required Knowledges, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) (addressed in supervisory positions) the same KSAs used in the recruitment process?

A job description is not the only source (e.g., qualification standards, classification standards, etc.) used to determine KSAs for recruitment purposes. KSAs for recruitment are determined by a job analysis normally performed by either the staffing specialist and/or subject matter expert(s). This documented analysis is required to meet criterion related, content or construct validity required by law and federal wide regulation for competitive and excepted service positions. During the job analysis a KSA indicated in the job description may be eliminated as a screening factor or combined with one or more other KSAs. For example: A KSA in the job description which is among the most important requirements for performance of a major function of the position but could be acquired within a reasonable period of on-the-job training is eliminated; or, a KSA in the job description which is essential to job performance but will not distinguish outstanding candidates from. barely acceptable candidates is eliminated.

8. How is CIPMS easier to use than OPM's system?

a. CIPMS has shorter duty statements averaging only a few lines or sentences versus large paragraphs.

b. Many of the FDDs within CIPMS AOGs can be used directly, with little modification, in position descriptions.

c. CIPMS AOGs are Army oriented. Examples more closely relate to actual work. Comparison of work to the standard should therefore be quicker and less equivocal.

MORE QUESTIONS? Contact IPMO--DSN 356-5204, Com (703) 285-5204; or PERSCOM (TAPC-CPP-I)--DSN 221-8720, Com (703) 325-8720.

- Classifier reconsideration of total points is recommended when borderline between grade levels

OPM FES FACTORS (Nonsupervisory)

- Essential Knowledges

  • Factor 1 with 9 levels
  • 45-55% of total weight *
  • wording of levels same
- Supervisory Controls
  • Factor 2 with 5 levels
  • 11% of total weight
  • Similar wording for 1st 3rd & 4th degree levels
- Guidelines
  • Factor 3 with 5 levels
  • 11% of total weight
  • Essentially identica1 wording for 5 levels
- Scope and Effect
  • Factor 5 with 6 levels
  • 9% of total weight
  • Credits properly performed work & effect on public concerns as well as programs
- Personal Contacts & Purpose of Contacts
  • Factors 6, 7 with 4 levels each
  • Combined 4.5% of total weight
  • Difficulty of contact credited in both systems; no credit to supervisory contacts but all of Factor 6 credits level of contact
- Other FES factors include:
  • Complexity - 6 levels for 9% of weight
  • Physical demands - 3 levels for .6%
  • work environment - 3 levels for .6%
- Army may use NSA approach to borderline grades for second evaluations with supervisory involvement


- Knowledge Required

  • Factor A with 9 levels
  • 25% of total weight
  • wording of levels same
- Supervision Received
  • Factor E with 7 levels
  • 21% of total weight
  • 2nd & 4th levels have many similar ideas
- Guidelines
  • Factor B with 6 levels
  • 19-20% of total weight
  • Adds a 6th level
- Scope of Authority & Effect of Decisions
  • Factor C with 6 levels
  • 19-2D% of total weight
  • Measures consequence of error and effect on pro-gram and mission
- Work Relationships
  • Factor D with 6 levels
  • 15% of total weight
  • No credit to supervisory contacts; level of contact only at higher levels but importance of contacts to job counted at lower level

* Percentages for FES from benchmark averages