The Defense Department, while cautioning that it is not planning RIFs, has said that if that need arises, it “will continue to consider every reasonable action to mitigate the size of reductions, including the use of voluntary early retirement authority or voluntary separation incentive payment, hiring freezes, termination of temporary appointments, and any other pre-RIF placement options.” The Pentagon made that comment in announcing details of a new policy on RIF under the 2016 DoD authorization law elevating performance ratings to the first criterion for retention. “When circumstances necessitate a RIF, the department must ensure we are retaining our highest performing employees,” a statement said. The policy change–ordered by Congress even though DoD did not request it–may have only a small practical impact since if anything the DoD workforce is expected to grow in the coming years with an increase in overall military spending. In fiscal 2016, DoD separated just 116 employees by RIF, 0.0002 percent of its workforce.
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