DoD Cuts Civilian Employees While Throwing Money at Contractors

Categories: DoD

In 2013, Congress ordered the Department of Defense to cut its spending on the civilian and contractor workforces to meet cuts on the military side of the house. But while DoD is on track to meet the civilian cuts, it’s actually planning to increase spending on service contractors this year, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

DoD is cutting the civilian workforce by 6.8% between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2017, close to the 7% cut in the military over the same period, GAO found.

However, DoD is planning to increase contractor spending this year instead of making the required cuts, GAO said.

DoD Spending on Contractors Up $1.2 Billion

As a result of this increased spending, DoD will have only achieved half of the required contractor cuts, GAO said. DoD cut service contractor spending by $3.2 billion between fiscal 2012 and 2014, or roughly 80% of the required reduction of $4.1 billion. Between fiscal 2014 and 2016, however, DoD plans to increase spending on the contractor workforce by $1.2 billion.

DoD acknowledges the shortfall but has failed to explain how it will reduce contractor spending, GAO said.

GAO argues in the report that even the cuts in the civilian workforce may not achieve the desired cost savings. Therefore, further cuts in the civilian workforce may be needed.

Our Take: Invest in Civilian Workforce to Cut Costs

It’s no wonder DoD has had a difficult time implementing these cuts. They were poorly conceived and are arbitrary. They require that spending on civilian personnel and contractors be reduced by no less than spending is reduced on military personnel.

There are far too many military and contractor personnel performing functions that civilian employees can perform for less money. To realize significant cost savings, DoD should transfer work now being performed by military and contractor personnel to civilian employees.

Click here to find out more about how hiring civilian employees could help save taxpayer money. 

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