Position Classification


Date: November 17, 1997



       Suggested Improvements

       General Provisions
       Position/Assignment Changes

       Delegation of Classification Authority
       Correction of Classification Deficiencies






**This policy document supersedes previous instructions for delegation of position classification authority contained in the Headquarters Department of the Army, DAPE-CPM, Revised Instructions for Army-Wide Implementation of Managing Civilians to Budget (MCB), October 15, 1990.


1-1. Purpose. To provide the Department of the Army policy and implementing guidance for delegating civilian position classification authority to commanders, managers, and supervisors throughout the Army.

1-2. Applicability.

a. This document applies to all military and civilian Department of the Army managers and supervisors of civilian employees, heads of Joint Activities with Army civilian employees, and Title 10 Civilian Intelligence Personnel Management System (CIPMS) managers and supervisors.

b. This document applies to positions covered by personnel demonstration projects except where approved statutory/regulatory waivers conflict with its contents. In such cases, the demonstration project plan is controlling.

1-3. Exclusions. This document does not apply to positions in the Nonappropriated Fund (NAF), Federal Junior Fellowship Program, Worker Trainee Opportunity Program, Senior Executive Service and positions under the pay plans for ST and SL.

1-4. Suggested Improvements. The proponent for this document is Office of the Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs)(OASA(M&RA)). Suggested improvements should be submitted to

     200 Stovall Street
     Suite 4S43
     Alexandria, Virginia 22332-0340.

1-5. Supplement. Major Army Command (MACOM) and Field Operating Agencies (FOA) may supplement this guidance consistent with the responsibilities and accountability intended in this document. Supplements and requests for exception to this document must be forwarded to OASA(M&RA)for review.



2-1. General Provisions.

a. The purpose of delegation of position classification is to enhance the personnel management authority of supervisors by providing maximum control over the positions in their organizations. Supervisors and managers should increase their knowledge of the classification system, use the classification services of the Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC), and obtain advisory assistance from the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) to use the delegation most effectively.

b. Managers and supervisors are encouraged to make full use of modernized tools such as the Position Description Library (PDL), Core Document (COREDOC), standardized CIPMS factor degree descriptions (for CIPMS positions only), and guidance provided in Civilian Personnel On Line (CPOL), to include the Personnel Management Information and Support System (PERMISS). Commanders, managers and supervisors must assure that the major duties and responsibilities in the selected position description (PD) are assigned and performed.

c. A key principle of delegation of position classification authority is that 5 U.S.C., Chapters 51 and 53, and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position classification and job grading standards govern the classification of civilian positions. Decisions made by OPM, Department of Defense (DOD) OASA(M&RA) and MACOMs on substantially identical, similar or related positions may not be overruled. These decisions are binding. For CIPMS positions, DOD standards or Army guides govern the classification and decisions made by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (DCSINT) are binding.


d. Position classification applies to the duties and responsibilities of a position, not the person assigned to the position. Managers and supervisors must evaluate the work assigned and related requirements to do the work without regard to sex, race, color, age, religion, or national origin. Exercise of classification authority must be consistent with Army goals for equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.


e. Under the Labor-Management Relations program, classification decisions are not negotiable. Managers and supervisors must assure that recognized labor organizations are consulted on associated personnel actions as required by 5 U.S.C., Chapter 71. Personnelists in the local CPAC will provide advice and assistance on labor-management relations matters.


2-2. Position/Assignment Changes

a. Classification Accuracy. Commanders, managers and supervisors are expected to execute position classification authority responsibly and within the intent of the law, regulation or executive order. Managers and supervisors should strive for 100 percent accuracy, but no less than 90 percent of positions must be accurately classified.

b. Position Description Adequacy. The PD should include a concise description of the major duties, appropriate factor level descriptions, the percentage of work time spent on each major duty (normally at least 25%), and the nature and extent of responsibility for carrying out the work. The major duties represent the primary reason for the position's existence, govern the qualification requirements, and justify the permanent designation of the title, pay plan, series and grade. The PDs established by managers and supervisors must accurately describe the work assigned and include sufficient information to support the classification of the position. PDs should be in the format of the grade controlling standard. Failure to achieve at least 90% adequacy of content of PDs will constitute a program deficiency.

c. Temporary Duty Assignments. Assigning work not described in the PD is permitted on a temporary basis to meet short term mission requirements. If the temporary duties require a different knowledge or skill, and/or comprise a substantial amount of the employees' work time (approx. 25 percent), then the rules for details should be applied (e.g., within 30 days, an SF 52 should be issued with a statement of duties). If the duties continue, then the PD must be revised and reclassified within a reasonable time (120 days).

d. Change in Permanent Duty Assignments. A major change in the position occurs when major duties in the PD are no longer assigned or new assignments are made that (1) change the nature of supervision exercised over the work; (2) change the knowledges, skills and abilities required to perform the work; or (3) delete a major duty. If any of the conditions in d(1), (2) or (3) occur and the PD is not revised timely, then the employee is misassigned and prompt corrective action is required. Managers and supervisors must ensure that PDs accurately describe the duties assigned and that their subordinate employees are performing the major duties in their PD. Failure to achieve at least 90% accuracy of assignment will constitute a program deficiency.

e. Organization and Position Design. Commanders, directors, managers and supervisors must design organizations that use the lowest grades feasible to accomplish the mission; provide for career progression when possible; eliminate excessive layers of supervision; and avoid the assignment of employees to position descriptions that do not match the work assigned and performed. Commanders, directors, managers and supervisors must comply with related directives for position management, including supervisory ratios and senior grade controls when exercising their delegated classification authority.


3-1. Delegation of Classification Authority.

a. Authority to classify civilian positions has been delegated to MACOM and FOA commanders/directors Army-wide. This includes authority to determine and certify the title, pay plan, series and grade of civilian positions in accordance with controlling position classification standards, regulations, and statutory requirements.

b. Commanders and directors may redelegate classification authority to their managers and supervisors who may, in turn, redelegate authority through their subordinate supervisory chain. Classification authority will be delegated to supervisors only for positions under their direct supervisory control. Classification authority will not be delegated to someone on temporary assignment or detail. Redelegations must follow the chain-of-command and must be kept accurate. Under no circumstances will the classification authority of the supervisor/manager exceed the level of authority delegated to the senior commander/director.

c. When commanders/directors choose not to delegate position classification authority to subordinate managers and supervisors, the authority to classify civilian positions will be exercised by the appropriate servicing CPOC and/or retained and exercised by the commander/director. Delegation to CPAC or other non-managerial/supervisory personnel is prohibited.


d. Supervisors will not classify their own position. Classification of subordinate positions which will result in an upgrade of line supervisors or managers in the chain-of- command must be approved at a level in the chain-of-command which is beyond the possible impact.

e. Commanders/directors must delegate classification authority in writing and assure that official files are maintained in the organization or the CPAC. Delegation letters must identify each supervisor by title and specify the classification statutory and regulatory responsibilities. The delegated authority can not be exercised until required training has occurred. A sample letter is at Appendix I. Appropriate changes should be made to the sample letter where CIPMS positions exist. Managers should coordinate with their local CPAC on maintenance of the official delegation files and organizational listings that show the current delegations by organization and position title, and location within the management chain of the organization.


3-2. Correction of Classification Program Deficiencies.

a. When a review by higher authority reveals serious deficiencies in position classification (i.e., classification accuracy rate falls below 90% or more than 10% of employees are misassigned), corrective measures must be implemented and may include all or any part of the authority being withdrawn. During the period of corrective action or withdrawal of authority, a management level beyond that involved in the deficiency will take such measures as are necessary to implement a corrective plan of action and remedy the deficiencies noted. When the commander/director overseeing the corrective action is satisfied that the responsible official has developed and implemented corrective measures for the proper exercise of job evaluation authority, authority may be redelegated to the official.

b. A change in the delegated classification authority must be documented in writing and the servicing CPAC advised of a change in the authority. When the delegation of authority is changed or withdrawn from any level of management, the authority to classify civilian positions will be redelegated to the appropriate CPOC and/or delegated and exercised at a management level beyond that involved in the deficiency. Such a change in the position classification authority of a manager will also change the redelegation of authority made by that manager to his/her subordinate supervisors and managers.



4-1. OASA(M&RA) will:

a. Develop agency-wide policy and related guidance on position management and classification. Monitor command progress in delegating classification authority to the lowest practicable level.

b. Periodically evaluate the position management and classification program. Monitor MACOM/FOA development of accountability measures for redelegation of classification authority. Assess program trends and command/agency initiatives for correction of unfavorable conditions and attainment of the Army objectives.


c. Develop instructions and monitor use of the electronic position description library, Core Document, program guidance published in the Personnel Management Information and Support System (PERMISS), and other automation and modernization tools.

d. Provide technical advice and program direction to MACOMs and CPOCs on the Department of the Army position management and classification objectives, policies and overall program operation.

e. Develop standardized training materials and distribute to MACOMs and CPOCs for implementation of required training.

4-2. MACOM and FOA Commanders/Directors will:

a. Conduct a high quality position classification program.

b. Implement the delegation of classification authority consistent with this document.

c. Assure compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements for accurate description and grading of civilian positions; affect corrective action, including withdrawal of authority from subordinate commanders, as appropriate. A rate of compliance below 90 percent or other identified program deficiencies requires corrective action.


d. Develop and implement MACOM/FOA accountability measures consistent with this document, and monitor program indicators for evaluating PD and

classification accuracy. Direct or provide participants for on-site evaluation of position management and classification programs.

4-3. The Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, IPMO will:

a. Develop policy and related guidance, in coordination with OASA(M&RA), on CIPMS position management and classification, and develop Army Occupational Guides.

b. Analyze CIPMS classification decisions issued at lower levels for consistency and, as necessary, initiate classification consistency reviews.

c. Serve as final appellant authority for DA CIPMS employees.

d. Provide technical advice and program direction to CPOCs on overall CIPMS Position Management and Classification program operations.

4-4. Installation and Field Activity Commanders/Directors will:

a. Delegate and exercise position classification authority in accordance with the Army objectives and guidelines contained in this document.

b. Assure managers and supervisors receive required training and that proper accountability measures are established and implemented for position classification.

c. Take appropriate action to correct promptly inaccurate classification, misassignment of employees to inappropriate position descriptions, or other error conditions.

d. Assure obligations to recognized labor organizations, as required by 5 U.S.C., Chapter 71, are fully met.

4-5. Managers and supervisors will:

a. Attend training and exercise delegated classification authority in accordance with relevant position classification standards, pertinent OPM and DOD appeal decisions, and DA appeal decisions as well as other headquarters regulations, policy guidance and statutory requirements. Contact the CPOC when technical information is needed on interpretation and application of classification standards and related directives and it is not readily found through the CPOL.army.mil website or other readily available sources.

b. Make full use of modernization tools such as the PD Library and COREDOC which have been approved by OASA(M&RA) to streamline classification processes. If the tools are not applied, consider classification advice provided by the CPOC and prepare supplementary position classification analysis to document the management decision.

c. Assure that organizations and positions are structured consistent with the Department of the Army program objectives described in paragraph 2-2e of this document.

d. Fulfill responsibilities to recognized labor organizations under 5 U.S.C., Chapter 71 and appropriate negotiated agreements.

e. Apply new position classification standards to positions when exercising delegated authority.

f. Coordinate with CPOC and provide management documentation requested by OPM or DOD for processing classification appeals.

4-6. The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) will:

a. Provide continuing advice and assistance to commanders, managers and supervisors regarding general procedures and requirements of classification such as PD format, location of guidance under the CPOL.army.mil website on types of classification standards and their use, how to use PD library and COREDOC to produce PDs, modifying PDs, avoiding misassignments, reorganization and position management plans.

b. Coordinate training requirements to arrange for facilities and training devices, announce and schedule required training, and assist the MACOM and CPOC with providing training for commanders, managers and supervisors on position management and classification. Provide instruction to managers and supervisors on the use of COREDOC, PD Library, and other modernization tools related to classification.


c. Provide advice and assistance on program objectives and accountability for position classification authority.

d. Assist management in maintaining official delegation files and advise on procedural requirements for any changes or withdrawal of authority.

4-7. The Civilian Personnel Operations Center (CPOC) will:

a. Exercise delegated authority to conduct position inquiries, develop position descriptions and classify positions when managers elect not to exercise their classification authority. Make full use of PD Library and COREDOC to streamline the classification process.

b. Conduct studies for position management and consistency reviews, application of new standards and guides, the restructure of organizations and positions, and alignment of grades across the region.

c. Provide continuing advice and guidance directly to commanders, managers and supervisors regarding execution of the classification program, and consistent application of OPM, DOD, OASA(M&RA) and appropriate MACOM/FOA and CIPMS directives and requirements. Information and advice will also include recommendations for corrective action, as required.

d. Provide direct assistance to managers and supervisors on the interpretation and application of position classification standards and job grading standards. In situations related to potentially controversial or other unusual conditions, the CPOC may provide a written advisory opinion on the classification of a position.

e. Coordinate arrangements with the CPAC and participate in training commanders, managers and supervisors on position management and classification as required.

f. Call to the attention of commanders/directors and CPACs new features in Civilian Personnel On Line (CPOL) website and PERMISS, classification appeal decisions and consistency requirements, new classification standards, and other matters related to position classification.

g. Process personnel actions, assure actions where modernization tools have been used are processed promptly, and maintain accurate position data in the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System (DCPDS).



a. Commanders and directors at all levels are ultimately responsible for the integrity of the position classification program. Delegation and exercise of classification authority must comply with statutes, regulatory requirements and

executive orders issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the OPM, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), OASA(M&RA) and, for CIPMS, the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence.

b. Commanders/directors at MACOM, FOA and Installation/Activity levels are expected to establish procedures for assessing program trends and maintaining

awareness of special situations associated with classification decisions by

subordinate managers and supervisors. Particular attention should be given to cases which may (1) be precedent setting in nature, (2) result in inconsistent grading when compared to substantially identical positions in the organization, or

(3) disrupt sound alignment of grades. The commander/director is expected to ensure that binding evaluation decisions by OPM, DOD and OASA(M&RA) are observed and that errant situations are corrected promptly, to include revocation of classification authority if necessary. Failure to conform with legal and regulatory requirements will result in withdrawal of position classification authority from the commander/director until such time as training and other corrective measures assure there will be adequate compliance.

c. The CPOC will provide technical advice and assistance directly to managers and supervisors when classification decisions warrant reconsideration. Disagreements on the content of proposed position descriptions and/or the classification determination will be resolved within the management chain, and through the installation/activity to the MACOM, if needed.


a. Commanders, directors, managers and supervisors must be trained and oriented in all position classification legal and regulatory responsibilities prior to delegation of authority. Under no circumstances will classification authority be delegated until appropriate training has been completed.

b. The OASA(M&RA) will develop a training module for presentation by the MACOM/FOA with assistance from the CPOC and the CPAC. This formal classroom training will provide knowledge of the basic principles, theories, concepts, processes and procedures of position management and classification.
As a minimum, this training will include instruction on:

   (a) job characteristics that impact classification;
   (b) the basic structure of the General Schedule and Federal Wage systems;
   (c) occupational groups and series;
   (d) classification standards, supplemental guides and DOD/OPM/CIPMS appeal decisions;
   (e) writing position descriptions;
   (f) position analysis and evaluation;
   (g) classifying supervisory and leader positions;
   (h) using available tools such as COREDOC, PD Library, and CPOL.army.mil, to include PERMISS;
   (i) defining temporary assignments, details and permanent changes in assignments;
   (j) recognizing position management conditions that impact classification such as senior grade control, supervisory ratios, outside pressure to upgrade, RIF placement, etc.

c. Managers and supervisors should obtain refresher training on the use of COREDOC, PD Library and other automation tools from their CPAC.

d. Managers and supervisors should complete correspondence courses or other supplemental training in classification, where appropriate.


a. OASA(M&RA). The OASA(M&RA) will monitor use of modernization tools such as the PD library, COREDOC, OASA(M&RA) standardized position descriptions, and guidance in CPOL.army.mil website, including the content of guidance in PERMISS. The OASA(M&RA) will conduct periodic evaluation of the position management and classification program. Evaluation measures will include an assessment of position and organization structures, classification accuracy, position description adequacy, incidence of misassignment, senior grade limits, use of modernization tools, and the impact of classification decisions on EEO and labor-management relations programs.

b. MACOM and FOA. Commanders/Directors will monitor implementation progress and periodically evaluate the position management and classification program. Evaluation measures will include an assessment of position classification accuracy, position management, position description adequacy, incidence of misassignment, senior grade limits, and the impact on EEO and labor-management relations. MACOM/FOA Commanders and Directors who exercise classification authority and/or choose to redelegate position classification authority to subordinate commanders, managers and supervisors must meet the Army objectives in paragraph 2 of this document for avoiding misassignment and attaining job description and classification accuracy.

c. Installation/Field Activity. Commanders and Activity Directors will periodically assess trends and progress in the position management and classification program. Commanders/directors will coordinate directly with the CPOC to define standards of adequacy, revise operating procedures, resolve controversies, and obtain technical advice on classification actions that (a) affect grade, position and organizational alignment; (b) are inconsistent with correctly classified positions; (c) are not compatible with the command mission and functions requirements of an organization; and/or (d) are precedent setting. Commanders and Directors who exercise and/or redelegate classification authority must meet the Army objectives for avoiding misassignment and attaining position description and classification accuracy.


(Office Letterhead) DATE

MEMORANDUM FOR (Commander or Manager's Title)

SUBJECT: Delegation of Position Classification Authority


Reference Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) memorandum dated ____________ , subject as above.

You have completed the required training and are delegated authority to classify civilian positions under your supervisory control to the appropriate pay plan, title, series, and grade. This delegation carries with it the responsibility to assure that all such classifications made by you are in accordance with Title 5 of the U. S. Code, governing Office of Personnel Management (OPM) position classification standards, Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of the Army (DA) classification guidance, MACOM instructions, and OPM, DOD, and DA decisions resulting from appeals and advisories. This authority does not extend to your own position. In addition, classification of subordinate positions that would result in an increase to your own grade must be approved at a level in your chain-of-command which is beyond the possible impact.

This delegation of authority is effective _____________ . It will be terminated if you leave your position, if you fail to execute this authority properly, or if warranted by other extenuating circumstances.

(Signature Block)