House slashes at DOD workforce

House report on Defense Authorization Bill

Following a decade that saw the Defense Department's acquisition workforce cut in half, the House Armed Services Committee is recommending that DOD cut another 13,000 jobs in fiscal 2002.

The committee included this recommendation as part of its ideas on "eliminating waste and reforming DOD's organization and business practices" in its Aug. 1 report on the fiscal 2002 Defense authorization bill.

"Despite several years of congressional efforts to encourage fundamental changes to DOD's acquisition infrastructure, reforms continue to be necessary to reduce costly overhead and to free up resources for combat-mission areas," the report states.

From 1990 to 1999, DOD reduced its acquisition workforce at Congress' request from 460,516 to 230,556 — a drop that had "adverse effects" on the department because "the workload had not been reduced proportionally," according to a February 2000 DOD inspector general report.

At a hearing in which DOD IG Robert Lieberman released his report, the inspector general said reforms and new procedures implemented since 1995 had increased the efficiency of the workforce, but because the workload had not been reduced along with the workforce, the personnel left were still overloaded. This often led to DOD paying too much for products and services, vague contracting requirements and late contracts delivery, Lieberman testified.

And in September 2000, Jacques Gansler, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, signed a memo stating that within the department, there would no longer be a goal to reduce the acquisition workforce under the Government Performance and Results Act.

"The whole way of fighting wars has changed to information dominance and sensor-to-shooter information technologies," Gansler said. "All of that is demanding a rapid response. We need to have the ability in our acquisition force to respond to that."

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