Defense Department officials say the 2015 budget they will formally unveil next week won’t just be about reducing the size of the uniformed military. They also intend to propose “targeted” reductions to the civilian workforce and downsize the ranks of contractor employees.
All three military departments say they’re mapping out ways to make do with less contractor support than they currently have.
Service contracting, like other areas of personnel spending, makes up a giant collective bill for the Pentagon. DoD currently spends slightly more on services — when research and development contracts are included — than it does on ships, planes, tanks and other hardware, and that’s been true for more than 10 years, according to annual statistics curated by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
It is too early to tell whether the services-to-products ratio would change in any meaningful way under DoD’s 2015 budget plan, and officials have not indicated by how much they would like to reduce their spending on services. But the Army, Air Force and Navy departments each say they are developing methodologies to prioritize their service contracts so that they buy only the services the military needs, and not necessarily all the services a local program manager might want.
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