Critics Slam DOD for Growth in Civilian Workforce

As the Department of Defense continues to look at ways to manage its budget challenges, the DOD civilian workforce has been a point of contention for many defense experts. The size of the civilian workforce has increased 15 percent since 2010, according to Federal News Radio.

The American Enterprise Institute recently released a scathing report criticizing the department for its failure to reduce its civilian and contract workforce.

“The Pentagon can continue down the ‘groundhog day’ approach to the two defense civilian workforces, paying lip service to change with minimal across-the-board reductions every few years that mysteriously evaporate over time and fail to unleash the power of decentralized management,” AEI Fellow Mackenzie Eaglen wrote in the April 19 report. “Or, Congress and Pentagon officials can begin the hard work of the next era of defense reform.”

The report’s criticism is not new to DOD.

Arnold Punaro, a member of the Defense Business Board, chastised the department before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year for continuing to grow the civilian workforce despite concerns that it was having a negative impact on the ability of the military decision-making process.

“The growth in defense infrastructure has been continuous,” Arnold said. “The tendency has been to add, rather than subtract. As we have added more staff, more layers and more infrastructure, we have slowed the decision process, expanded the number of players and made the overall system more risk averse, at a time when we need to take more risk and make quicker decisions.”

Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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