The Senate Armed Services Committee this week voted to keep in place a cut in funding to the Department of Defense Headquarters.
As part of the mark up of the 2016 defense authorization bill, the committee voted down a measure to eliminate the four-year, 7.5% per year reduction to headquarters and administrative support costs and replace it with a 1 year 3.75% reduction and request for a plan for what, if anything, should be done in the out years.
It should be remembered that headquarters personnel, while a fraction of the overall civilian workforce, includes many experienced and dedicated civil servants, some of them proudly represented by AFGE, who support the department’s mission across the nation and around the world, not just in Washington, D.C. Moreover, actions taken against headquarters personnel set bad precedents for future actions against the civilian workforce as a whole. Recall that the ruinous cap on the size of the civilian workforce was first imposed on civilian personnel in headquarters.
The Senate Armed Services Committee failed to identify functions that headquarters personnel should no longer perform or at least no longer perform to the same extent. Instead, the committee simply threw up its hands and insisted that the department do the same with 30% less funding and fewer personnel.
If the committee is genuinely concerned about the cost of headquarters, then it should allow the Pentagon to determine how and to what extent its headquarters personnel should be reduced to accommodate a cut in funding.