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The Air Force plans to eliminate some 900 civilian jobs in fiscal 2014 because of a budget crunch, the service’s director of force management policy said Wednesday. While Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso said she hopes to manage the reductions through early-out programs, she did not rule out a reduction-in-force.
“By implementing voluntary programs now, we hope to mitigate future involuntary losses to the civilian workforce,” Grosso said in a news release. Unlike fiscal 2013, when the Air Force and other parts of the Defense Department furloughed civilians for six days, the service has no plans to use unpaid time off to meet budget targets this year, she added.
As of June, the Air Force had about 169,000 employees, down from almost 171,500 a year earlier, according to the most recent available figures from the Office of Personnel Management. The service’s strategy is to offer a round of early retirement offers and buyout incentives worth up to $25,000 “to create some space for individuals who are ready to leave government service,” Grosso said in an interview. Takers would have a projected Feb. 28 retirement date.
The cuts are expected to save a net of $21 million per year, Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in an email. Because managers are still identifying the 900 positions to be eliminated, they don’t know how many are currently filled, she added.
Although the planned cuts are finance-driven, they are also tied to a push by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to trim headquarters funding and staff by 20 percent by 2019, she added. The Air Force already has 7,000 unfilled positions that it plans to leave vacant while continuing with targeted hiring, she said.
Staff Writer Stephen Losey contributed to this story.