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Much has been made of the growth in the civilian workforce during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Some
in Congress would like to slash budgets by telling DoD to do the same with less—slashing the DoD’s
workforce without also proposing to reduce the Department’s mission commensurately.
Cutting civilian personnel, and lumping all civilians together to take a 15% cut, for instance, demonstrates
a lack of understanding of DoD’s missions and the kind of work necessary to meet those
requirements. The DoD’s workforce should be managed by what makes the most sense for DoD’s
mission and the taxpayer. It is a fact that the civilian workforce grew from 687,000 in 2001 to 807,000 in
2011. As the DoD Comptroller’s Office made clear in a recent paper, the increases in the civilian
workforce either saved money by substituting less expensive civilian employees for more expensive
military and contractor personnel or addressed urgent Departmental needs.
Approximately 20,000 civilian positions were created in order to better supervise contractors who provide
hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons and services to the Department. As the Comptroller noted,
“The Congress and the acquisition community have supported this increase (in the civilian workforce)
because the resulting acquisition savings far outweigh the increase in personnel costs.”
“(I)nsourcing—using DoD civilians to perform functions then being done by contractors—” continued the
Comptroller, “added 17,000 civilians to cut costs and minimize the chances that contractors were
performing inherently governmental tasks.”
It is not clear whether the Department will be able to enforce comparable cuts in the contractor
workforce. To provide some context, the Senate noted in 2012 that spending on service contracts had
more than doubled to more than $150 billion over the past decade while civilian personnel costs held
relatively steady, even after the exclusion of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
Sequestration threatens our national security—it is the enemy. We must defeat proposals to arbitrarily
slash the size of the civilian workforce because such efforts will only increase costs, undermine readiness,
and provide no benefit to our military. It is not the solution for our country’s budgetary woes, and
focusing on the real drivers and providing thoughtful solutions will ensure our national security.
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4)
Rep. J im Moran (VA-8)
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Rep. Dave Loebsack (IA-2)
Rep. Austin Scott (GA-8)
Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-6)
Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)
Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17)