Secretary of the Army John McHugh testifies before a Senate subcommittee on May 18. The Army plans to cut 8,741 civilian jobs by October 2012 after McHugh ordered staff cuts to meet Pentagon efficiency initiatives. (Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images)
The Army plans to cut 8,741 civilian jobs by October 2012.
Army Secretary John McHugh on July 11 ordered leaders throughout the Army to immediately start cutting their staffing to help meet former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' mandated efficiency initiatives. The Army is losing $834 million in operations and maintenance funding as part of those cuts.
"It is imperative that these reductions be accomplished as rapidly as possible, but no later than the end of FY 2012," McHugh wrote in a memo.
The cuts would amount to about 3 percent of the Army's more than 290,000 civilian employees.
McHugh said Army agencies cannot turn to contractors to replace the civilian employees. An attachment to the memo suggests using reductions in force, total or partial hiring freezes, buyouts or early retirements to meet these goals.
An execution order issued Aug. 4 said agencies have 30 days to brief Army leaders on how they plan to achieve these cuts, and what progress they've made.
Nearly half of the mandated cuts — 4,233 full-time equivalent employees — will come from the Army's Installation Management Command, which had 35,680 civilian employees in June. The Army Materiel Command will lose 1,223 of its 13,346 employees.
McHugh's own office will lose 821 employees, and the Army's Training and Doctrine command will lose 571 employees, and the 7th Army in Europe will lose 430 employees.
Several Democratic senators, including Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., sent a memo to new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, asking him to lift Gates' caps limiting civilian staffing to fiscal 2010 levels.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Defense Department civilian employees and posted the memo online last month, said it opposes these cuts.
"This so-called ‘efficiency initiative' is contrary to current laws that prohibit DoD from managing the civilian workforce through arbitrary personnel ceilings," AFGE said.