DOD announces senior staff cuts

Gates has ordered the elimination of 102 general and flag officer positions

Following up on a pledge to cut staffing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered DoD to eliminate 102 general and flag officer positions, as well as 176 civilian senior executive slots and 33 highly qualified expert positions. An additional 23 officer jobs will be downgraded.

In a March 14 memo, Gates said most of the jobs would be eliminated at the conclusion of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. The senior civilian jobs to be terminated include 97 Senior Executive Service positions, 21 Senior Level and Scientific Professional positions, five Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service positions and 53 Defense Intelligence Senior Level slots.

Of the 176 senior positions, 118 of the positions are paid under SES or similar pay plans. The memo said that allocations within the alternate pay pools can be retained by the parent sub-agencies and used to fill emerging pay pool requirements.

While the terminations are a mix of vacant and filled positions, the memo states that a reduction-in-force should be avoided, and that DoD will try to find jobs for as many of the affected employees as possible.

The memo also orders the reduction of DoD contractor support, including 1,000 positions in the Missile Defense Agency over the next two years, for a savings of $225 million in fiscal 2012. TRICARE Management Activity will lose 364 contractor jobs, as well as 24 positions it shares with other DoD functions.

In the memo, Gates estimated the terminations, reductions and reassignments will save more than $14 billion, in addition to other efficiencies in play across the department.

In January, Gates announced the details of a Pentagon plans to cut projected spending by $78 billion over the next five years. The cuts and reductions are part of a larger effort, begun last year, to trim unnecessary costs and ensure funding for military modernization.

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