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Think Tanks Call for Deeper Pentagon Workforce Reductions, More Base Closures

PentagonA bipartisan group representing 10 think tanks has called on the Defense Department and Congress in a letter to further reduce the Pentagon’s civilian workforce and close excess bases and facilities to address “growing imbalances” in the Pentagon’s budget.

The Pentagon will have more civilian workers than it can afford when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, the letter posted on the Naval Institute’s website says.

Twenty-five former government officials and other defense experts signed the letter, which the institute says originally appeared in The Hill newspaper as an advertisement.

Over the last four years, the Pentagon has increased its civilian workforce by 10 percent and civilians represent $74 billion of the annual defense budget, the letter says.

Between 2001 and 2012, the number of Pentagon civilians increased by 17 percent and the active military grew by 3.4 percent during that same time period.

According to the letter, the Pentagon reduced its building inventory from 2.4 billion square feet to 2.3 billion during the most recent Base Realignment and Closure round in 2005.

The Pentagon maintains 20 percent excess capacity in its infrastructure, the letter says.

The letter also calls on Congress to work with the Pentagon to handle rising military compensation costs, which grew 56 percent between fiscal years 2001 and 2012 at a 4.1 percent annual rate, adjusting for inflation.

 

Signees of the letter were:

  • Gordon Adams, Stimson Center
  • David Barno, Center for a New American Security and a retired Army lieutenant general
  • Nora Bensahel, Center for a New American Security
  • David Berteau, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Barry Blechman, Stimson Center
  • Shawn Brimley, Center for a New American Security
  • Thomas Donnelly, American Enterprise Institute
  • Mackenzie Eaglen, American Enterprise Institute
  • Paul Eaton, National Security Network and a retired Army major general
  • Eric Edelman, Foreign Policy Initiative
  • Nathan Freier, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Mark Gunzinger, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Christopher Griffin, Foreign Policy Initiative
  • Todd Harrison, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Lawrence Korb, Center for American Progress
  • Andrew Krepinevich, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Maren Leed, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Clark Murdock, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution
  • Christopher Preble, Cato Institute
  • Russell Rumbaugh, Stimson Center
  • Jim Thomas, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
  • Kim Wincup, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Robert Work, Center for a New American Security
  • Dov Zakheim, Center for Strategic and International Studies

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