Impact of Restructuring on Civilian Workforce Unclear, Army Says

The Army no longer is certain how many civilian positions will be eliminated over the next several years as a result of its latest round of restructuring that is slated to shrink its active-duty end strength from 490,000 to 450,000 soldiers.

In July when officials outlined the impact by installation of the force reductions that would be carried out by the end of fiscal 2018, they said the cuts in military personnel would be accompanied by a reduction of 17,000 Army civilians over the same timeframe. A breakdown of how those reductions would be allocated to individual installations was scheduled to be released last month.

But now the Army is acknowledging it still is trying to figure out how trimming its active-duty forces and uncertainty in its budget will come together to dictate changes in its civilian workforce.

“When the Army’s force structure decisions were announced, we could not anticipate the ongoing unpredictability in the level of funding that is required to determine the proper balance across the civilian workforce as part of the total force effort,” said Army spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino.

The Army’s civilian workforce isn’t centralized in the same way its military personnel are, adding to the difficulty in estimating the impact on civilians, especially at the installation level, Buccino told Defense Communities 360.

And as far as this summer’s estimate that 17,000 civilian positions would be cut — “We are walking away from that number,” Buccino said. He said he was unable to provide a revised figure, or even a ballpark estimate.

Still, Buccino said the Army anticipates some reduction in force. “We believe we can minimize that; the vast majority we believe will occur through natural attrition.”

The Army’s goal is to minimize the impact reductions in its civilian workforce will impose on its forces, missions and host communities, as well as to support affected workers. “We do appreciate the impact these changes have on the workforce and we do regret that,” he said.

At this point, the Army doesn’t have a plan to release up-to-date figures for civilian job losses associated with the latest force realignment. “There is no new timeline for releasing those figures, as the analysis is a continuous process,” Buccino told 360.

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Dan Cohen
Dan Cohen

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