Will The DOD Be Forced To Drop 20 Percent Of Its Workforce?
Defense budget legislation under consideration in Congress this week would cut the amount allocated for the Pentagon’s headquarters by a full 20 percent and mandate a 20 percent reduction in the workforce.
Listed in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 is a provision which would require $10 billion dollars in cuts over a 5-year period, Military Times reports.
Former Department of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said years ago he planned to achieve significant cost savings by slashing the number of top employees at the Pentagon, as the military bureaucracy has exploded in size since 9/11. Army headquarters, as just one example, grew by 60 percent from fiscal year 2001 to 2013. This figure does not include contractors.
Many defense officials argue the defense bureaucracy is bloated, but mere agreement hasn’t created firm results.
In January of this year, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report noted that no realistic plan exists to implement Hagel’s proposal. In other words, the DOD still has no idea how many employees it either has or needs at its headquarters. The agency already begged for an extension of the deadline to report on its efforts from June 2014 to December 2014.
“Headquarters organizations in our review have not systematically determined how many personnel they need to conduct their missions. While some organizations have begun to take such steps, their plans are not firm and their processes have not been finalized,” GAO wrote in 2015.
The conclusion reached by auditors is little different from a previous report conducted by GAO in 2012. In that earlier report, the government watchdog remarked that the DOD can’t seem to determine the size of the military bureaucracy, which is a necessary step before making any major reductions.
The point of the NDAA is to slice through so-called internal deadlines which have been ignored for years on end and enshrine a new deadline as part of the law, ensuring that the DOD has to come up with a feasible implementation plan by March of 2016.
In anticipation of sneaky tactics within the bureaucracy, the legislation also states that the Pentagon can’t achieve savings by simply shifting employees around.
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