The Department of Defense may need to rely on reductions in force in 2014 if it’s faced with a second year of automatic budget cuts due to sequestration.
According to a DoD planning document obtained by Bloomberg News, the Pentagon could have to layoff at least 6,272 members of its civilian workforce to deal with an approximate $52 billion in expected cuts.
The Pentagon could be forced to cut 1,500 individuals from Defense agencies, with the majority of dismissals coming from the Defense Contract Management Agency. The Army and Navy could cut more than 2,100 and 2,672, from their respective civilian workforces, according to Bloomberg.
The planning document, dated Aug. 1, also says the Pentagon could face 16 percent reductions to its research and procurement budgets and 12 percent cuts to maintenance, operations and military construction.
Bloomberg described the planning document as being stamped “Draft/Pre-Decisional.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a group of Marines Thursday the Pentagon has already started preparing itself for the possibility of sequestration in the new fiscal year.
“We don’t know what kind of budget we’re going to get next year,” Hagel said, during a question and answer session with Marines at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. “Is sequestration going to play out, which is now the law of the land? That means another $52 billion to $54 billion cut in the next fiscal year for us, if that continues. So we have to plan for that. That is the law of the land, unless something changes.”
In July, the Pentagon unveiled its “Strategic Choices and Management Review”, which outlined areas where DoD could find savings, including a restructuring of miltary-retiree health care and limiting military and civilian pay increases.
Hagel said in July that to achieve the savings by shrinking the force, the Pentagon might have to cut more than 100,000 additional soldiers from the Army — which is already planning to go from a wartime high of about 570,000 to 490,000 by 2017. And the current plan to reduce the size of the Marine Corps to 182,000 from a high of about 205,000 could also be changed — cutting it to as few as 150,000 Marines.
Hagel told his audience that despite the downsizing of forces, the U.S. would still be the nation with the most significant military capability in the world.
“So when you look at the balance sheet here, we are going to be the best, most capable, strongest military force … in the world for a long time to come,” he said. “At the same time, as I said, we’ve got to be clear and direct with the reality of the consequences of continued significant budget cuts and how fast those budget cuts are coming, because they give us very little flexibility in the tough decisions that are going to have to be made.”