Defense Force Management:

DOD Management of Civilian Force Reductions

T-NSIAD-92-10: Published: Feb 20, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 20, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Department of Defense (DOD): (1) plans to downsize its civilian force; and (2) efforts to minimize the reduction's impact on those employees. GAO noted that: (1) by the end of fiscal year (FY) 1997, DOD plans to reduce its active duty military by 25-percent and its total civilian end-strength by 20 percent, or approximately 229,000 positions; (2) DOD has scheduled 87,000 reductions to occur during FY 1992 and FY 1993; (3) in managing its civilian force reductions, DOD has relied on voluntary attrition and retirements and a partial hiring freeze, focusing more on controlling the intake of personnel than achieving or maintaining a balanced work force; (4) although DOD data indicates that voluntary civilian attrition and retirement rates of full-time employees has ranged between 5 and 7 percent, Army data reflected civilian attrition rates of 3 percent for FY 1991 and 2 percent for the last half of FY 1991; (5) DOD has taken such efforts to minimize the reductions impact on its employees as providing monetary incentives for voluntary separations and implementing two outplacement assistance programs; (6) despite those efforts, such placement assistance programs may not reduce the impact of downsizing if other employment opportunities are not readily available; and (7) the incentives may not provide a sufficient basis for fostering significant voluntary separations, since some employees may be ineligible for regular or early retirement programs.

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