More Personnel Cuts Coming at the Pentagon

In August, Bloomberg News reported having obtained a Pentagon planning document that revealed proposed cuts to its civilian workforce of as many as 6,300 workers. The cuts would occur if Sequestration continues into FY2014, something that seems a foregone conclusion at this point.

While substantial, a cut of 6,300 positions represents less than 1 percent of the DoD’s 750,000-person workforce. In a telephone interview with on August 25th, Gordon Adams, a professor at American University and former budget official in the Clinton White House, said “It’s an awfully small number. It needs to be substantially larger; maybe by a factor of five … The big problem the Pentagon has is the back office.”

And, support positions (the “back office”) is precisely where the Pentagon plans to save the money required to pay for its weapon system procurement programs and combat forces. The Bloomberg article says the Army would lose more than 2,100 workers from a 263,900-person civilian workforce, and the Navy would cut as many as 2,672 of 214,000 people. Other DoD agencies would cut 1,500 people from a projected 137,000-person force, with most coming from the Defense Contract Management Agency.

Read the Bloomberg article here.

The article also says that DoD does NOT plan any furloughs for 2014, instead opting for outright dismissals, known in the industry as “reductions in force” or RIFs. It also speculates that an FY2014 RIF would have to start almost immediately, with some of the paperwork in process no later than September 15th.

Cuts of that magnitude will have wide-ranging effects. If DCMA takes that much of a cut, it seems unlikely that it will make any real progress on its Contractor Purchasing System Review (CPSR) backlog. It also seems highly unlikely that DCAA will get the headcount increases it has been counting on to help clear its audit backlog.

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