Yesterday, Congressman Ken Calvert (CA-42) reintroduced legislation aimed at creating a more efficient civilian workforce at the Department of Defense (DOD). The Rebalance for an Effective Defense Uniform and Civilian Employees (REDUCE) Act (H.R. 340) would require the DOD to make civilian workforce reductions in a systematic manner without compromising our ability to maintain a strong national defense over the long term.
“A critical component of our national security strategy is the proper allocation of scarce federal resources,” said Rep. Calvert. “The continued growth in our civilian staff at the DOD comes at a time when we are reducing the number of active-duty military personnel – something is clearly wrong with that equation. Simply put, if we fail to correct this trend our uniformed soldiers, not to mention American taxpayers, will suffer the consequences. The policies established by the REDUCE Act are not extreme measures, but rather they responsibly adjust the numbers of the civilian staff at the DOD over a number of years.”
The Growth in the Civilian Workforce within the DOD:
- From FY01 to FY14, the civilian staff has grown by 15% while total active military has declined by 4%.(Source: Defense Manpower Requirements Reports)
- Since 2009, the size of the Office of the Secretary of Defense civilian workforce has grown to more than 2,000 people, or nearly 18%. (Source: Eaglen, Mackenzie. About That Boom! in the Pentagon’s Civilian Workforce. Time Magazine. 20 Jun. 2013.)
- The Joint Staff grew from 1,286 people in 2010 to 4,244 people in 2012, a 230 percent increase. (Source: Weisgerber, Marcus. Pentagon, Regional Staffs Growing Despite Orders to Trim Personnel. Defense News. 2 Jun. 2013.)
- According to former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, each defense civilian reduction of 7,000 personnel saves at least $5 billion over five years. Using his numbers and calculating a 15% reduction from the current level of 770,000 civilian employees, H.R. 340 would save $82.5 billion over the first five years.
“I continue to believe that he savings generated from the REDUCE Act should stay within the Department and be redirected to fund Service priorities such as modernizing weapons systems, readiness, resetting the force and, most importantly, providing for our fighting men and women in uniform,” said Rep. Calvert.
“Many of our civilians at the Pentagon and around the world do a fine job but their growth is unsustainable.” continued Rep. Calvert. “Our current and retired military leaders have widely acknowledged the need to establish a more efficient defense workforce in order to preserve our national security posture in the future. However, actions speak louder than words and I continue to believe Congress will ultimately have to force DOD’s hand to implement these necessary changes.”
The requirements of the REDUCE Act will accomplish the following:
- Reduce our Defense civilian workforce by 15% by FY 2022. This percentage was recommended by the Defense Business Board, a trusted, authoritative, and independent source of expertise.
- The Department of Defense civilian workforce would remain at or below this established cap of a 15% reduction for Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026.
- The Department of Defense civilian Senior Executive Service career appointee workforce will be reduced to 1,000 by 2022 and remain at or below 1,000 employees for Fiscal Years 2022 through 2026.
- Provide the Secretary of Defense the authority to use voluntary separation incentive payments and voluntary early retirement payments in order to achieve the required reductions in personnel.
- Provide the Secretary of Defense the authority to assign greater weight to job performance versus tenure in a Reduction in Force then the Secretary currently has.
- Require a two-fold reporting requirement for this Act: (1) a report from the Secretary of Defense covering the progress and impact of the requirements of this Act in the annual budget request for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2026. The Secretary of Defense may also report to Congress on the impact of the provisions at any time throughout the year (such as when submitting the report on achievement of performance goals as required by Sec. 116 of title 31 of the United States Code on “Agency performance rating.”), (2) a GAO study, no later than 3 years after enactment of this Act, that shall examine the progress and impact of the requirements of this Act.
In the development of the REDUCE Act, Rep. Calvert and his office consulted with respected defense officials and experts, including: Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England, Former Under Secretary of Defense Dr. Dov Zakheim, Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, and Major General (Ret.) Arnold Punaro (Member of the Defense Business Board).