By Ben Abel/Special to the ParaglideDecember 15, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Army's move to reduce the size of its civilian workforce will impact Fort Bragg. But the post's leaders stress measures will be voluntary and deliberate, and pragmatic choices will ensure that installation services will not be significantly impacted.
The Fort Bragg Garrison stands to feel the greatest impact from the mandated reductions, with losses totaling nearly 300 positions, mainly affecting access control points, logistics and training support. The reductions include both appropriate and non-appropriated funded civil service jobs, as well as a number of contractor filled positions.
Planning over the last several months has allowed Fort Bragg's leaders the opportunity to develop strategies to mitigate service impacts. However, fewer employees will mean a reduction of some services.
"There will be some pain involved with these reductions. We can't suddenly become more efficient," said Doug Earle, Fort Bragg's deputy to the garrison commander.
About 85 percent of the vacated positions will be filled by Soldiers, mainly providing security at access control points. Another ten percent will result in curtailment of existing services; and the remaining five percent will continue with modifications in service delivery.
"The majority of our cuts were taken in places that Soldiers could assume the mission," Earle said.
Part of the Army strategy precludes agencies from replacing positions identified as surplus with contracted employees or temporary employees.
The plan to avoid involuntary separations among the existing workforce include a management directed hiring board where employees in positions identified as excess or surplus are reassigned to existing, unfilled positions. The use of voluntary separation and voluntary early retirement incentives will be implemented, as well as natural attrition. To date, about 15 employees have accepted separation or retirement incentive, and another 30 have been reassigned within the garrison.
Major tenant units on Fort Bragg are not immune from the Army-mandated reductions. U.S. Army Forces Command has lost more than 100 positions, but the command was able to restructure to assume the losses during their recent Base Realignment and Closure commission-directed move from Georgia. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg, is still evaluating how the reduction will affect its organization.