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Army drawdown: 37,000 civilian jobs cut, thousands more to come

The Army has reduced the number of full-time civilian positions in its ranks by 37,000, with more cuts to follow in the next two years.

By Michelle Tan, Staff writer – Federal Times

The cuts, made since 2011, come as the Army draws down and are “largely in response to budgetary pressures,” said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, an Army spokesman.

“Ongoing budget reductions and other legislative mandates require the Army to reduce the size of its total force, to include civilians and contractors,” he said. “As a result, Department of the Army civilian manpower is being reduced along with active-duty military end-strength reductions announced in July 2015.”

The Army projects it will lose 2,400 more civilian full-time equivalent positions by the end of fiscal year 2017, with additional reductions possible after that, Buccino said.

That will leave the Army with about 240,000 civilian employees, according to a defense official.

The Army has cut 80,000 soldiers and shut down 13 brigade combat teams, including two in Germany and one in South Korea, from the active-duty force since 2011. It will shrink by another 40,000 by the end of fiscal 2018 for an active-duty end-strength of 450,000.

The cuts — military and civilian — come as the Army faces shrinking budgets and growing demands around the world.

As the Army has reduced personnel, not much has been said publicly about the accompanying civilian cuts.

“After we announced the 17,000 figure, additional analysis led us to realize that civilian manpower is more complex and decentralized — and less predictable — than [military] end-strength,” Buccino said.

“Some reductions-in-force” are expected, Buccino said, but the majority of the upcoming reductions likely will occur through attrition.

“The ongoing civilian reductions are being realized primarily through attrition, including hiring controls and voluntary incentives,” he said.

These incentives include Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay.

Reductions-in-force, or RIFs, will occur only “after exhausting voluntary measures,” Buccino said. The RIFs also will allow the Army to shape the workforce to ensure it has the right people with the right skill sets in the right jobs, he said.

“In either case, the Army will make every effort throughout the process to take care of its civilian employees affected by these reductions to ensure a smooth transition,” Buccino said. “Our people are our most important resource, and the Army understands the impact of these decisions on its civilian employees and their families.”

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