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CBO: Save $19B by replacing 70K troops with civilians

Jul. 3, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
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DoD could save $19 billion by replacing some military personnel with civilian employees, according to the CBO. (A1C Andea Salazar / 374 AW Public Affairs)

The Defense Department could save $19 billion over the next 10 years by replacing 70,000 military personnel with civilian employees, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The average cash compensation for military personnel exceeds that of most comparable civilian employees, the CBO said In a June 30 presentation at the Western Economic Association annual conference.

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Defense Department must stay below budget caps set out over the next ten years—budget caps that would require cuts of more than $500 billion over ten years.

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Under the proposed option, the Defense Department would replace 70,000 of its 500,000 uniformed military personnel in commercial jobs with 47,000 civilian employees and reduce its military end strength by 70,000, according to the CBO.

It would require fewer civilian employees because they have fewer collateral duties and do not relocate as often, and have a lower cost of employment.

The Defense Department has already converted about 48,000 military positions to 32,000 civilian jobs between 2004 and 2010, according to the CBO.

However, the downside is that the military would have fewer military personnel to deploy in the event of an emergency or military engagement, according to the CBO.

The replacement of military personnel with civilian employees is just one of several ways the Defense Department could cut spending by billions of dollars over the next ten years, including:

Reducing the size of the military across the board in order to satisfy the budget caps. This would include eliminating 10 Army brigade combat teams, 34 major warships and 170 Air Force fighters.

Capping increases in basic pay for military personnel, possibly saving $25 billion over ten years.

Increasing TRICARE enrollment fees, deductibles and copayments for working-age military retirees, saving around $21 billion.

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