Defense Force Management:

Challenges Facing DOD as It Continues to Downsize Its Civilian Work Force

NSIAD-93-123: Published: Feb 12, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1993.

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GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) reduction of its civilian workforce.

GAO found that: (1) DOD had reduced its civilian workforce by 127,000 positions, which represented half of its targeted reductions; (2) sizeable reductions were still required to meet workforce goals, and most reductions would come from the Army and Navy civilian workforces; (3) DOD lacks clear guidelines and a defined ratio for civilian-to-military workforce reductions; (4) the military personnel system is attempting to maintain a balance between accessions and losses to control workforce composition and avoid skill imbalances, promotion and career stagnation, and losing a high percentage of senior personnel; (5) unlike the civilian personnel system, the military can define periods of obligatory service, control service continuation, predetermine the length of service without promotion, establish special retirement boards to select certain numbers of personnel for retirement, and operate outside of under Office of Management and Budget reduction-in-force requirements; (6) because the civilian personnel system is decentralized and relies on restricted hiring and attrition to meet reduction goals, personnel stagnation and skill imbalances have occurred and there is an increased need for involuntary separations; (7) new legislation will provide incentives and transition assistance for DOD civilian personnel to facilitate reductions; and (8) DOD needs a clear strategy for reducing the civilian workforce to avoid the adverse effects of downsizing and minimize skill imbalances.

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