‘Rightsize’ Defense Civilian Workforce, Analysts Say

June 3, 2013

A group of Washington think tank analysts on Monday encouraged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and congressional leaders to “rightsize” the Pentagon’s civilian and contractor workforce to contain rising personnel costs and bloat.

The 25 analysts—ranging from both ends of the political spectrum—said in a letter that “the size and structure” of the civilian workforce needs reform. They said the “changing needs of a downsizing military and shifting strategy” no longer correlates with the current number of civilians at the Defense Department.

“None of these reforms will be easy, painless or popular,” the analysts wrote. “But they are absolutely essential to maintaining a strong national defense over the long term.”

During an event on Capitol Hill Monday to discuss the letter, Center for Strategic and International Studies Senior Vice President David Berteau suggested several areas where personnel reform could start. He said Defense had to adjust the department’s total workload, better manage the workforce, and avoid hiring on more contractors to do the work of cut civilians.

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