Several senators told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the number of contractor employees should be capped if the Defense Department keeps its civilian workforce at 2010 levels, Federal Times reports.
The 26 senators told Panetta in a letter Wednesday they are concerned that proposed civilian cuts would lead agencies to hire contractors instead.
Proposals to reduce the civilian workforce to 2010 levels have not been met by comparable restraints to workers hired through contractors, the lawmakers said.
The group suggests the Pentagon allow managers to use civilian employees if funding is available.
Military, contractor and civilian workforce should be reviewed throughout the department to determine the number of type of personnel needed for functioning, the senators suggest.
Agencies should use the department’s guidance and also work to comply with a 2012 National Defense Authorization Act provision, capping service contracts at 2010 levels, the senators said.
Professional Services Council President Stan Soloway sent a reply to the senators Monday, explaining that government service contract spending decreased by $20 billion between fiscal 2010 and 2011.
Service contract spending has dropped 10 percent since 2009 and that equates with private sector job loss, Soloway said.
He wrote that the Air Force and Navy are both close to 2008 spending levels and the Army has also reduced its service spending 15 percent.
Soloway added that he agrees with the senators’ belief that agencies should have flexibility to manage their personnel and enhance its federal workforce or contractor support based on need.