WASHINGTON (AFNS –
Air Force officials announced several adjustments to the civilian workforce Nov 2.
In response to direction from the Secretary of Defense for the Department of Defense to stop civilian growth above fiscal year 2010 levels and the need to add 5900 positions against the Air Force's top priorities, the Air Force eliminated approximately 9000 positions. These adjustments reflect several initiatives designed to align limited resources based on Air Forces priorities. This process is an ongoing effort to increase efficiencies, reduce overhead and eliminate redundancy.
"We can't be successful without our talented and experienced civilian workforce," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley. "We are making difficult choices about how to deliberately restructure and posture the force and will continue to look for new ways of accomplishing the mission. We can't afford business as usual."
Upon receiving the Secretary of Defense's 2010 memo directing that civilian manpower costs stay within fiscal year 2010 levels, the Air Force began a comprehensive strategic review of the entire Air Force civilian workforce to determine whether or not civilian authorizations were in the right places to meet mission priorities.
The strategic review revealed several imbalances. Some high priority areas needed to grow, while some management and overhead functions needed streamlining. These imbalances led to a variety of initiatives focused on realigning scarce manpower resources with the most critical missions.
In particular, the Air Force will grow by approximately 5900 positions in acquisition, the nuclear enterprise, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and other key areas while reducing approximately 9000 positions in management, staff, and support areas.
"We clearly understand the turbulence these and future reductions will cause in the workforce," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. "We are making every effort to use voluntary measures to achieve reductions whenever possible."
Beginning in May 2011, the Air Force implemented a series of hiring controls and voluntary separation programs designed to reduce overall manpower costs, but these hiring controls did not provide the results required to operate within our fiscal constraints.
"The initiatives announced November 2 represent the next step toward that goal, but there is more work to be done," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, Manpower, Organization, and Resources director. "The Air Force remains over fiscal year 2010 manpower levels and will continue to develop enterprise-wide solutions to achieve our goals with minimal impact to mission. The Air Force must still define an additional 4500 civilian positions for reduction."
As details become final, Air Force officials will release information on the next set of initiatives.
One of the key restructures announced as a result of management overhead streamlining is to Air Force Materiel Command.
"The restructure of Air Force Materiel Command - our largest employer of civilians - will focus on standardizing processes, streamlining decision-making and aligning missions to allow the command to operate more effectively and efficiently," Schwartz said.
According to Schwartz, the AFMC restructure will allow AFMC to eliminate approximately 1,000 overhead positions. The command will preserve workforce and mission capabilities by consolidating management functions around AFMC's core missions.
After this restructure, AFMC will move away from its traditional, management-staff model consisting of a center and headquarters staff on each AFMC base and create a "lead" center for each of its five mission areas.
The Life Cycle Management Center will be headquartered at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, the Sustainment Center will be located at Tinker AFB, Okla., and the Air Force Test Center will be based at Edwards AFB, Calif.
The Air Force Research Laboratory will remain at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will remain at Kirtland AFB, NM.
The AFMC restructure will be implemented by Oct. 1, 2012.
AFMC will not be the only major command affected. Air Force-wide, local leaders will be sharing the results of the civilian manpower adjustments with their workforces over the next several days.
"Civilian manpower adjustments will occur at all levels of the Air Force," Grosso said. "We are focused on shaping the force within our fiscal constraints and are committed to maintaining our long history of excellence as we build the Air Force of the future.
"At this time, we are not sure whether a reduction in force will be necessary," she said. "We are pursuing all available voluntary force management measures to include civilian hiring controls with the goal of avoiding non-voluntary measures. Every vacancy we don't fill brings us one position closer to fiscal year 2010 levels, and reduces the possibility for a (Reduction in Force)."
Given the constrained fiscal environment, Air Force members should expect continued workforce shaping measures affecting military, civilian, and contractors, Grosso said.
"We understand the stress caused by uncertainty and will do our best to share information across the workforce as soon as it becomes available," said Grosso.