Pentagon Overestimates Size of Civilian Workforce, Say Senate Appropriators

By Frank Oliveri, CQ Roll Call

Senate appropriators would provide $1.2 billion less than the Pentagon requested for civilian personnel salaries, arguing the military overestimated the number of people it employs.

In its report associated with the fiscal 2014 Defense spending bill (S 1429), the Senate Appropriations Committee noted that the Pentagon estimated it would have 11,660 more full-time equivalent employees than a later analysis found.

“Through analysis directed by the committee during the budget review, each service and defense agency identified the current estimate for civilian full time equivalents [FTE] that will be on the books in fiscal year 2013 and it is far short of what was planned for in the budget request,” the report states.

The Pentagon has roughly 800,000 civilian employees. As a result of sequestration, some 650,000 of them were originally told they would have to take 11 furlough days, although officials have said the figure could be reduced to five. The military had hoped to save about $2 billion from the furloughs.

But if sequestration occurs again in fiscal 2014, the Pentagon has indicated a desire to impose a civilian reduction in force in lieu of furloughs, which are viewed as a temporary fix. A reduction in force represents a more significant structural change that would be reflective of the financial straits faced by the Pentagon under budget caps imposed by Congress (PL 112-25).

In it report, the Appropriations panel noted that if the Pentagon request were honored, the military would start the new fiscal year with funds for about 11,660 employees more than it needed in its operations and maintenance budget.

“Considering that the fully-burdened average salary of Department of Defense civilians is approximately $100,000, that could mean an overstatement of about $1,200,000,000 in the operation and maintenance accounts based on the overestimation of civilian FTE levels at the beginning of fiscal year 2014,” according to the report. “The committee recommendation includes an overestimation reduction.”

The House-passed bill (HR 2397) was silent on the issue.

Source: CQ News
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