Defense Civilian Downsizing:

Challenges Remain Even With Availability of Financial Separation Incentives

NSIAD-93-194: Published: May 14, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided an update on: (1) the status of the Department of Defense's (DOD) civilian work force reductions; (2) some of the problems and consequences resulting from DOD civilian downsizing; and (3) a preliminary assessment of DOD initial use of financial separation incentives.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has reduced its civilian work force by 127,000 positions; (2) most civilian reductions have occurred without benefit of a plan to target when and where many of the reductions should occur; (3) DOD has relied on voluntary attrition and hiring freezes to meet its civilian work force reduction goals; (4) DOD civilian downsizing has adversely affected internal operations, created numerous work force imbalances, and resulted in a more costly work force; (5) downsizing actions have had a greater impact on blue-collar workers in each of the services than white-collar workers; (6) until May 1992, senior DOD officials opposed the use of financial separation incentives to facilitate civilian downsizing; and (7) in some instances, DOD offered separation incentives to employees in specific positions or to large employee groups at given installations to minimize involuntary separations.

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