April 25, 2012
Tim Kauffman
[email protected]

AFGE Applauds Senate Effort to Lift Civilian Workforce Cap

WASHINGTON - The American Federation of Government Employees today applauded the 26 Senate members who sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asking him to lift the arbitrary cap on the civilian workforce.

Under the Defense Department´s co-called "Efficiency Initiative," the number of civilian employees has been capped at 2010 levels, yet there has been no comparable cap on the contractor workforce. This has encouraged managers to use contractors instead of civilian employees, even though privatization is more costly and also violates the law.

The letter, initiated by Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, asks Panetta to manage each group of workers - military, civilian, and contractors - from the total force perspective.

"When determining whether services should be performed by employees or contractors, DoD´s sourcing decisions should be made on the basis of law, cost, policy and risk, and not because DoD managers simply have fewer civilian employee slots," the senators wrote.

Until the cap on the civilian workforce is lifted, DoD should cap spending on service contracts at fiscal 2010 levels, as mandated by the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and should cap the service contractor workforce, the lawmakers wrote.

A companion letter in the House, initiated by Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York, was signed by 131 lawmakers and sent to Panetta in March.

"This ill-conceived cap has forced managers to cut tens of thousands of federal jobs, while the much larger and more expensive contractor workforce continues to grow unchecked," AFGE National President John Gage said. "It´s long past time that we restore some balance and fairness to how the entire workforce is managed and treated. I hope Secretary Panetta takes immediate action to comply with these recommendations."

A copy of the letter is posted online at

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