Union Slams Planned Defense Department HQ Staff Cuts

"Who will perform the work when a fourth or more of the workforce is obliterated? If cutting expenses is the number one priority, then the first place DoD should target is the vast bureaucracy of contractor personnel who cost more than federal workers and are less accountable to taxpayers," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

The American Federation of Government Employees announced its opposition Sept. 8 to a Department of Defense plan to cut DoD headquarters staffing and funding by 25 percent in FY2017 through FY2020. AFGE represents more than 250,000 civilian employees within DoD; its release said the cuts "were spelled out in an Aug. 24 memorandum to DoD leaders from Defense Deputy Secretary Robert Work that has just been made public."

"We strongly oppose the Department of Defense's plan to slash its headquarters funding by 25 percent through fiscal 2020," AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. "These arbitrary staffing cuts will affect many of our members who are considered headquarters employees, while likely failing to enforce cuts in the more expensive contractor workforce in headquarters."

DoD previously ordered a 20 percent reduction in headquarters funding for the period, but Work's memo says DoD needs additional savings to fund higher priority requirements.

AFGE reported the U.S. Army plans to cut the civilian workforce at 30 installations nationwide by 30 percent. The union said it opposes across-the-board staffing cuts "since by their very nature they are carried out indiscriminately, without regard to how vital work will continue to be performed with fewer staff."

"Even more distressing, these so-called headquarters cuts could serve as a terrible precedent for arbitrary cuts to the civilian workforce, which is the least costly of the department's three workforces but the one that is already scheduled to be cut the most through 2019," Cox said. "Who will perform the work when a fourth or more of the workforce is obliterated? If DoD is intent on slashing personnel, then it needs to start deciding what work simply cannot be performed any longer and cut staff accordingly. If cutting expenses is the number one priority, then the first place DoD should target is the vast bureaucracy of contractor personnel who cost more than federal workers and are less accountable to taxpayers."

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