Using Civilian Personnel for Military Administrative and Support Positions:

Can More Be Done?

FPCD-78-69: Published: Sep 26, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 1978.

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The Department of Defense's (DOD) longstanding policy has been to use civilians in positions which do not require military personnel, and the services have established policies, regulations, and guidelines compatible with this policy. DOD undertook major civilianization programs in fiscal years 1964-68 and 1973-75; since fiscal year 1964, over 100,000 jobs have been converted from military to civilian.

Even though DOD and the services have had conversion programs, their views have been more negative than positive, reflecting a traditional reluctance to reduce the number of military personnel and the need for programs to adjust the mix of military and civilian personnel. A 1977 DOD study suggested that the potential existed for converting about 50,000 more military positions to civilian positions. The Navy indicated that it was considering the conversion of 12,000 positions, but the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps viewed a major civilianization program as detrimental to their readiness capability. Although the services are concerned about maintaining the ability to accomplish their missions effectively, DOD policy on the use of military and civilian personnel has not been revised.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The Secretary of Defense should direct the military services to initiate, without further delay, a program to replace military personnel with civilians in accordance with DOD policy. If the congressional-authorized ceiling on civilian personnel for the DOD constrains the Department from fully implementing a civilianization program, the Secretary of Defense should request Congress to adjust the appropriate authorizations and appropriations to accommodate increases in civilian personnel and decreases in military personnel.


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