Pentagon Misses the Target When It Comes To Its Workforce

Pentagon Misses the Target When It Comes To Its Workforce by Scott Amey, Defense One

Defense officials can’t tell you how many contractors they employ or at what cost. Finding out is critical to personnel reform.

The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not been able to pass an audit since Congress required federal agencies to be audited nearly a quarter of a century ago. It’s not surprising, as I don’t think any senior leader inside the Defense Department even knows how many people are on the payroll of the military, civilian, and contractor workforces. Also, none of them can tell us about workforce costs and how personnel reforms could save billions of dollars.

Recently, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to gather ideas on achieving greater efficiency inside the Pentagon. One subject that was raised—which deserves a lot more attention—is something called rightsizing the DoD workforce. In plain English, that means figuring out how many employees DoD needs and how much it should spend on personnel…

Read on.

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Originally there were never any contractors as the military force structure was high enough that the uniformed military personnel covered all positions....

BUT the downward spiral started with the first Bush Kuwait peace dividend....and the military started reducing military personnel and as that number went down "suddenly" the military did not have "enough" uniformed personnel to do the work...

THEN extremely sharp defense contracting companies convinced DoD in extensive and colorful PPT presentations that replacing military personnel with civilians would in the end save the military millions...meaning saved pensions...saved family member costs and saved medical costs AS the DC would pick up the over cost in an hourly civilian wage.

BTW many of those defense contracting companies had retired flag officers as senior leaders who knew active duty flag officers who made the contract selection processes....

In the end civilians were found for the positions BUT in the end many ex military personnel started filling those positions because DCs could not find enough qualified non military civilians....as the job descriptions favored those with military experience..

THEN "suddenly" active military discovered that "civilians" were making these massive salaries and would then leave the service at the first opportunity and then made solid 5-6 digit incomes....in addition to "suddenly" discovering they could also draw say a VA disability and then we see the triple dippers....

VA disability...5-6 digit solid DC salaries AND then the standard retirement pay Or the second version..VA disability...GS salary....retirement pay.....

AND then "suddenly" GS and or defense contracting positions because simply an extended ex military job market where usually qualified non military civilians "suddenly" could not compete.....

All the while defense contractors making a great income on their "so called permanent employee positions"...BUT you are only a "permanent employee"{ as long as the contract runs then you are on to the next company and or contract or suddenly you are a subcontractor on a project you were previously a contractor on....because other DCs won the contract and needed the previous employees in order to fulfill their contract.

BTW...the taxpayer never won in this game and DoD spent millions and there were suddenly savings....all a smoke and mirror scheme..which is exactly what both DoD and the defense contracting world wants....

Actually not a smoke and mirror scheme...more like one great Ponzi scheme...which functions as long as the cash/contracts flow....

Head counts are easy...just start counting.....

As I read this article, I'm sitting in a row of cubicles in a DOD facility with 5 other retired O-5s. Each of us left the service at the 22-25 year mark due to the requirement of up or out. Today, each of us is performing a vital task in a school house; however, in order to do this DOD is paying both my retired pay and a salary commensurate with the level of education and experience to successfully perform the mission. It would be cheaper for the taxpayer if personnel policies had permitted I and my colleagues to remain on active duty.

I remember the great promises of the Cold War draw down and the push to move uniformed positions to USG/contractor positions for cost savings. It was a promise built on poor assumptions, mathematical modeling, and opaque economic analysis. DOD (to include those portions that are part of the IC) needs to determine what missions and tasks need to be accomplished first, then build the personnel requirements, and lastly determine who (uniformed, civilian, contractor) needs to best fill the job.