A new DoD strategic plan projects growth in the department’s civilian workforce—at around 750,000, already the government’s largest—while also anticipating policy changes including a different mix of in-house versus contractor employees.

“DoD’s civilian workforce is in the business of protecting the American way of life, not regulating or governing it. While it may be appropriate for other federal agencies to reduce their civilian workforce, for the DoD, right-sizing will necessitate targeted growth to both restore readiness and increase the lethality, capability, and capacity of our military force,” says the National Defense Business Operations Plan for the next five years.


The plan was produced under a number of management initiatives including the OMB memo of last year telling agencies to produce workforce reorganization plans. It does not specify expected numbers of additional civilian jobs, but it does project that the department will “reduce the costs of doing business (associated with contracted services) at specific work units or in selected functional areas by in-sourcing to government civilian performance.”

Also, military positions are to be reviewed to determine if they must be performed by uniformed personnel or whether they could be performed by civilians—who could be either in-house or contractor employees, under similar past reviews.

However, the department also plans to “identify functions and positions that are commercial in nature that may be appropriately or efficiently delivered via private sector support”—in other words, contracting-out.

The plan also cites ongoing initiatives in recruiting, development and retention of civilian employees, saying it will work to make sure that managers and HR offices know they are available and how to use them.