WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would remove language from the defense authorization bill requiring the Secretary of Defense (DoD) to arbitrarily cut the civilian and contract workforce by at least 5 percent for an elimination of 36,000 civilian jobs and tens of thousands of Defense contractor jobs from FY 2012 through FY2017. This is in addition to the workforce cuts that DoD has already planned.
Earlier this year, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) included language in the NDAA – Section 341 – that requires draconian, across-the-board cuts in the civilian, contractor workforce. Senator Cardin’s amendment would eliminate Senator McCain’s language and call for the Secretary of Defense to be “consistent with longstanding law that ensures that the civilian workforce is ‘sufficiently sized’ after taking into account military strategy requirements and military end-strength.” Senator Cardin’s amendment does not prevent DoD from downsizing its civilian workforce, but it prevents arbitrary cuts that could undermine national security.
“A slash and burn approach to downsizing the civilian and contractor workforce is contrary to current law and runs the risk of undermining our military mission and national security,” said Senator Cardin. “The DoD has already announced plans to downsize its civilian and contractor workforce, but it is being done in accordance with law and with consideration to mission and workload and mission. Automatic cuts to the civilian and contactor workforce is unlawful, ill-advised and could leave our nation vulnerable.”
Other co-sponsors of Senator Cardin’s amendment include: U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Mark Begich (D-AK), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).