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Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 11/12/2010

Deficit proposal would increase one federal workforce -- at the expense of military jobs

By Joe Davidson
Anne Bartlett

With calls for freezing their pay and reducing the government's workforce, federal employees can find lots to worry about in recommendations made this week by the co-chairmen of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

There is one item, however, which would actually increase the number of federal workers, though not nearly enough to fully compensate for the cut of 200,000 federal positions by 2020 proposed by the chairmen.

Deep in their list of 58 recommendations, number 53 calls for more federal civilian workers, but at the expense of those in the military.

The chairmen, Alan K. Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, and Erskine Bowles, who served as White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration, suggested replacing "military personnel performing commercial activities with civilians."
Commercial activities are such things as trash removal, fire prevention, certain communication services and recreational activities for the troops.

"This option eliminates 88,000 military personnel who are performing clearly commercial types of activities and replaces them with 62,000 civilians, at considerable per-employee savings," the chairmen's report said.

Why would it take 26,000 fewer civilians?

"One-third of the military positions can be eliminated during the conversion because civilians are not required to carry out military specific duties on top of their commercial duties," the report explained.

Simpson and Bowles estimated the savings would be $5.4 billion by 2015.

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By Joe Davidson  | November 12, 2010; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Budget, Military  
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