Navy Manpower:

Reductions in the Civilian Work Force at Naval Shipyards

NSIAD-87-22BR: Published: Nov 24, 1986. Publicly Released: Dec 9, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Navy's civilian work-force reductions at naval shipyards, specifically: (1) changes in the naval shipyard work-force level; (2) reasons for work-force changes; and (3) the basis for the reductions-in-force (RIF) cost and savings estimates.

GAO found that: (1) the Navy reduced its naval shipyard civilian work-force level due to a declining work load and the potential savings from revisions in ship maintenance strategy and philosophy; (2) the Navy needs to improve its methods for calculating a shipyard's RIF cost and savings; (3) the Navy expects the east and west coast shipyards to absorb all of the laid-off personnel; (4) the Navy used RIF procedures when attrition would not accomplish the required results or when it did not expect work loads to increase significantly in the near future; and (5) the declining work load is due to revised ship maintenance procedures that require more frequent, but shorter, shipyard periods for some ships, no further overhauls for some of the older combat ships, and competition between naval and private shipyards for ship maintenance. GAO also found that: (1) private shipyards perform most of the shorter-duration maintenance, and naval shipyard maintenance has declined; (2) the Navy failed to develop procedures to ensure that RIF cost and savings estimates would be made on a uniform basis until 1986; (3) prior to 1986, naval shipyards determined cost and savings factors based on their own judgment; (4) the 1986 procedures do not cover RIF costs for unemployment compensation and job search assistance contracts; and (5) the Navy based its 1986 RIF cost estimates on an erroneous estimate of the percentage of personnel who would lose employment due to RIF.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) agreed with part of this recommendation to revise guidance for calculating shipyard RIF costs and savings, while disagreeing with the other parts relating to indirect costs and the effect of attrition on RIF savings estimates.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should direct the Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, to revise the guidance for calculating shipyard RIF costs and savings to: (1) consider all shipyard budgetary and indirect RIF costs; (2) recognize the effect of attrition on RIF savings estimates; and (3) use consistent assumptions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy


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