Senior Defense Official: Civilian Jobs May be on the Chopping Block Next Year


Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has an opinion about the second round of sequestration cuts scheduled to arrive in Fiscal Year 2014, and he has not been shy about sharing them.

In a recent story from USA Today, Carter laid out the Department’s prospects plain and simple:

“We can’t rule out reductions in the civilian workforce and involuntary separations of military personnel,” Carter said. “That’s something none of us wants to do. But again if you have to have reductions this steep you have to go where it is possible to get money that fast. Those are the most strategically and managerially sound places.”

Carter’s clear implication here is that the looming $50+ billion in sequestration cuts scheduled to hit DoD in FY 2014 are simply too large to absorb without letting workers and service members go. The amount of people expected to be released is unclear, but the recently completed Defense Strategic Choices and Management Review report of spending alternatives offers some insights. Given tight budget caps and nine more years of steep sequestration cuts, the military could ultimately decrease by several hundred thousand service members, with the Army shrinking from 540,000 to 380,000 and the Marine Corps dwindling from 195,000 to 150,000, according to the report.

The results of such a drastic downsizing in the military – and its negative impact on civilian employment – would be devastating.

“Hacking away at our Defense workforce and military readiness is far from a strategically sound approach to cutting costs,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Defense must do whatever it takes to find savings elsewhere and protect its most valuable asset – its employees.”

Said Dougan, adding:

“These reckless cuts serve only to hurt federal workers, military families, and our national security. Everyone knows this, but Congress has still failed to act. Without leadership from Capitol Hill, it is up to us to demand action. We won the battle over furloughs, now let’s finish the job and end sequestration once and for all.”