DoD’s Contractor Workforce Is Either As Big or Bigger Than Its Civilian Workforce

The Department of Defense had at least 641,428 contractor employees working on various projects in 2014, according to a new service contractor inventory released this week. That number, however, is on the lower end as it is not based on actual hours and does not include the numbers from four components—the Africa Command, North Command, Pacific Command, and Defense Intelligence Agency. The Navy has the largest contractor workforce: 236,762, followed by the Army (185,654), and the Air Force (123,668). 

DoD employs about 742,000 civilian employees, who are two to three times cheaper than contractor workers.

Besides the estimates of the number of contractor employees in components, the inventory also provides information on specific service contracts, which may be helpful to AFGE locals and councils in mapping the relevant contractor workforces. 

DoD started reporting on service contract inventories in 2009, thanks to years of effort by AFGE which demanded that DoD ascertain the actual cost and size of its contractor workforce. However, it’s not easy to compare the numbers year by year as there are different levels of compliance, e.g., some years, not all components and agencies comply, and different methodologies used, e.g., more estimates or fewer estimates in determining numbers of contractor employees. Even today, not all components are complying with the law requiring annual inventories of service contracts.  

To view the FY2014 service contract inventory and previous inventories, click here

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