Budget-Cutters Eye DOD Civilian Workers

July 11, 2012

Overshadowed by all the political posturing over the prospect of automatic cuts in defense spending, one thing seems certain: The Defense Department's huge civilian workforce will shrink.

The question is by how much — and whether the cuts will be achieved through a slowdown in hiring, prolonged furloughs or even mass layoffs.

The looming reduction follows a five-year growth spurt in which the number of civilian defense employees jumped 15 percent, from about 700,000 in 2007 to roughly 800,000 now. In recent years, the Defense Department's nonuniformed workforce has become a target for those seeking to trim the fat from the Pentagon budget — including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who led a failed push in 2010 to stop the expansion.

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