NFFE Urges Congress to Reconsider Suggestions of Reducing DoD Civilian Workforce


March 28, 2023

Last week, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) sent a letter to Congress to express concern on behalf of members regarding proposals to downsize the civilian workforce employed by the DoD. 

Earlier this month, Chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) advocated in an interview with Defense News that in order to reduce the DoD civilian workforce and cut defense spending, the DoD should purposefully avoid backfilling civilian job openings left vacant due to regular turnover.

“NFFE shares the understanding with the subcommittees that a strong military is an essential component of maintaining the prosperity and freedom of American citizens, however, this proposal runs counter to that stance and will only serve to weaken the capability of the DoD,” the letter reads. “Proposing to reduce the essential personnel that maintain and directly support our military is incompatible with the goal of maintaining a strong military and a global defense.

“For decades, federal employees, including those within the DoD civilian workforce, have been forced to do more with less, leaving little room for waste. Overall, the size of the civilian federal workforce has changed little since the major downsizing after WWII. The number of DoD civilian employees is smaller than it was in 1947 after the downsizing in 1946. Yet, the country is more than twice as populated than it was in the 1940s and U.S. global engagements today last much longer than those of the past, and these engagements are more plentiful in number and geographic location.

“The bottom line is that there are few if any additional cuts to make within the civilian DoD workforce without unnecessarily jeopardizing our warfighters and the success of U.S. engagements around the world. At a time when America’s adversaries are watching our every move, it is important to send a universal message that the U.S. is ready to respond to any threat, foreign or domestic, and we can answer the call to preserve its interests and those of its allies in any part of the world within any environment. Blanket suggestions that the country plans to slowly erase its critical defense workforce does not send a message of strength. It sends a message of weakness and internal waffling over what part of our nation’s defense we think is worth supporting.”

“It is vital that members of the committees consider the importance of civilian workers and their needs in order to maintain the readiness of our military,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “NFFE will always fight against any attempts at reducing the DoD workforce, as well as any proposals of base realignments or closures. I will be working with both the House and Senate Defense Subcommittees to ensure that these suggestions are shut down immediately.”


NFFE Letter to Congress on DoD Workforce Reductions