WASHINGTON - The American Federation of Government Employees has serious concerns about the Defense Department's recently announced initiative to improve efficiency by freezing the size of the civilian workforce and cutting contractors without bringing the work in-house.
In testimony today before the House Budget Committee, AFGE expressed its members' concerns that the department's vital work will suffer if DoD does not rebalance its mix of contractors and civilian employees by insourcing activities that never should have been outsourced in the first place.
"AFGE members in the Defense Agencies, who have been doing more and more with less and less for several years, are understandably concerned what a combination of real reductions in contractors and a freeze on the civilian workforce will mean for their ability to perform their missions," AFGE Public Policy Director Jacqueline Simon said.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently announced a three-year freeze on the size of the civilian workforce. At the same time, Gates said the department will cut funding for service contracts by 30 percent during the next three years but won't replace those eliminated contractor positions with civilian employees.
Simon said it's difficult to believe that DoD's mission will not suffer if no in-house staff is hired to perform at least some of the work that those contractors were doing.
Simon also questioned why the Pentagon was making assessments regarding the savings from insourcing efforts based on two isolated categories of work, rather than analyzing a broader spectrum of activities that have been contracted out.