Defense Force Management:

Expanded Focus in Monitoring Civilian Force Reductions Is Needed

T-NSIAD-92-19: Published: Mar 18, 1992. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 1992.

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GAO discussed its views on the Department of Defense's (DOD) management of civilian force reductions, focusing on: (1) the accuracy and completeness of the DOD 5-year master plan; and (2) whether the plan provided an adequate baseline for monitoring force reductions involving commercial and industrial workers. GAO noted that: (1) by the end of fiscal year (FY) 1997, DOD expects to reduce its total civilian end strength by nearly 229,000 positions; (2) 87,000 positions are scheduled to be eliminated during FY 1992 and FY 1993; (3) DOD is relying primarily on a policy of restricted hiring coupled with normal attrition to reduce civilian forces to the desired levels, and is trying to achieve and maintain a degree of balance between its accessions and losses in order to shape its military forces; (4) the DOD 5-year master plan provides a limited perspective on the potential magnitude for civilian force reductions, since it only addresses one-third of the DOD civilian work force; and (5) plan limitations include the difficulty in projecting reductions in force at specific installations in the plan's later years and the limited usefulness of data pertaining to the value of funded work loads. GAO believes that it is not clear whether the DOD hiring freeze will be sufficient to achieve the desired level of force reductions, minimize involuntary separations, and maintain balance in the remaining work force.

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