Managing the Total Force: Using Civilianization to Militarize the Military

November, 2018
IDA document: P-8270
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Documents , Human Capital
Division: Cost Analysis and Research Division
David F. Eisler, Stanley A. Horowitz, Nancy M. Huff, Julie A. Pechacek, Susan K. Whitehead, Linda Wu See more authors
This paper identifies impediments to converting military personnel authorizations in non-military essential positions to government civilians, and estimates the potential savings from civilianization in two areas—Education and Training (E&T) and Personnel and Social Services (P&SS)—to be about $530 million in annual savings to the Department of Defense (DoD) over the long run and about $1.1 billion in annual savings government-wide, by converting about 14,200 military authorizations to about 11,300 civilian authorizations. We identified six recurring issues that undermine civilianization efforts: (1) the lack of a consistent methodology to determine military essentiality for specific positions and functions across the Services; (2) the lack of a unified, holistic approach to DoD military and civilian personnel requirements and budget allocations; (3) military Service concerns about losing converted positions when civilians replacing the military personnel in these positions are perceived as “wasteful overhead”; (4) manpower gaps that emerge while executing conversions, where military billets have been civilianized but converted positions have not yet been filled; (5) human resource and management factors beyond cost that affect the decision to employ military versus civilian manpower to perform a specific function; and (6) the critical role of congressional legislation, from capping/constraining civilian authorizations to past prohibitions on conversions in certain career fields.