Defense Secretary Warns of RIFs in 2014 if Sequestration Continues
In a letter sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the department may need to consider targeted reductions in force (RiF) for fiscal year 2014 if sequestration budget caps remain in place. DoD faces $52 billion in sequestration cuts next fiscal year.
"DoD is hoping to avoid furloughs of civilian personnel in FY 2014, but the department might have to consider mandatory reductions-in-force (RIFs). As with involuntary separations of military personnel, RIFs don't save much in FY 2014 but would help accommodate funding caps in later years. While painful, RIFs would permit DoD to make targeted cuts in civilian personnel levels rather than the more across-the-board cuts associated with furloughs," the letter said.
Hagel warned that the cuts would have significant effects on investment and modernization of department resources. Additionally, funding limits would result in the department scaling back facility maintenance and training activities.
The letter states that maintenance cuts could result in military personnel and civilian defense employees working in “substandard” facilities.
Hagel also warned of the effects of a fifteen (15) to twenty (20) percent reduction in funding for procurement, military construction, and research development test and evaluation (RDT&E).
"Slowing investment would also adversely affect DoD's efforts to improve its acquisition practices and become a better buyer," the letter stated. "Hundreds of weapon and support program line items, which are now being bought based on stable and efficient acquisition plans, would be disrupted. Unit costs would rise, reversing successful efforts in recent years to hold down unit cost growth or even reverse it."