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The Navy plans to minimize the civilian force by reducing numerous positions. As the Department of Defense (DoD) revamps civilian positions, the emphasis is geared towards performance. A performance-based rating is essential in any organization. This is to ensure that the most talented people are in the right positions (Nye, 2015). This paper will explain the effects of Reduction in Force (RIF) on all Department of Defense agencies.
It is typical to utilize RIF when certain jobs in the civilian workforce must be abolished within a federal agency. RIF can also be conducted when military forces are no longer needed due to changes in mission or when budget cuts must be made. RIF aims to eliminate certain job descriptions that can be merged with other positions, again saving federal agency millions of dollars. These reductions happen not only in the civilian sector but also in some of the Navy positions. The Navy has planned to reduce the Flag Officer structure and pull out some units in areas overseas that pose no merging threats. For senior enlisted leaders, it is vital to understand how these changes will affect the Navy military as a whole.
RIF originated under the Office of Personnel Management that developed a policy to guide federal agencies in regards to eliminating the civilian position. For commands or agencies forced to downsize due to budget cuts, cost-saving measures must be implemented. The RIF regulations determine if an employee can keep their current position or have the option to occupy a different position. These regulatory requirements are outlined in Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 351. The Office of Personnel Management Reduction of Force regulations must take into account four factors when releasing employees: tenure of employment, veterans’ preferences, length in service, and performance rating (Farrell, Rynning, & Terriff, 2013).
The problem is that there are still a lot of examples when RIF occurs without considering the enumerated factors and does not lead to any significant improvements in the outcome of this or that mission. For example, in 2013, RIF was taken for action from Commander, Navy Installations Command Vice Admiral William French, and was completed in 2014. Reducing positions in these areas had marginal impacts on the services provided but did not affect CNIC’s capability to support the missions, as stated by Vice Admiral French (Nye, 2015). Occasional failures of RIF make it a pressing problem for the DoD to develop strategic plans that would eliminate or mitigate the negative effects of the process, which are currently numerous.
Civilians have been a part of the DoD family for many years. Their positions are vital in day-to-day operations, and RIF will leave them with many hard decisions to make for their future employment as well as the commands affected. Each individual whose job is abolished is forced to look for employment elsewhere, retire early, relocate or seek reassignment to a different position. Some of these employees have worked for a particular federal agency for over 15-20 years and thought they had job security. The commands are affected because they are still required to produce the same caliber of work with fewer people. In turn, this affects other employees or service members in that work environment (Lostumbo, McNerney, Peltz, Eaton, & Frelinger, 2013). When a particular department or a division is undermanned, there appears a ripple effect. Workloads become more demanding as one person has to do the job of two people or more. This can create additional stress, which junior personnel take home to their families.
Furthermore, the countries impacted if RIF continues to become disadvantaged. The regions where military units are removed become vulnerable to outside threats. Some of these countries have relied on the United States military for training extra security and for providing the comfort of knowing American militaries are there to protect them.
Taking into account all the above-mentioned negative impacts on both the DoD and countries under the US protection, it is essential to develop a strategy that will allow dealing effectively with the problem. The solution proposed in the paper at hand is aimed to reach Rear Admiral Garvin, Commander Navy Recruiting Command.
In recent years, some commands affected by the mandatory downsizing have started to conduct mock RIF. This process is a rough approximation of RIF outcomes, during which analysis is conducted to identify problems that are to be eliminated, such as potentially displaced employees. This strategy can be applied in almost any case where RIF is deemed necessary. For it to be effective, all employees must provide updated and validated data sheets, a resume, voluntary separation incentive pay/voluntary early retirement authority, relocation/reassignment bonuses, etc. (Nye, 2015). It is going to take leadership by senior leaders to adapt to the future demands of the enlisted force.
Since people are the greatest assets of the Navy, a mock reduction is a perfect plan for any federal organization that has to abolish civilian positions. This plan can be used to track and analyze the effects these reductions will have on the Navy and DoD in general.
For the US Navy to evolve, it is crucial to continue its presence in the world and build partnerships as it counteracts the issues of national security. This ability is currently challenged by RIF discussed in the present paper. The purpose of the discussion is to prevent negative impacts on the DoD and make senior leaders aware of the problem. It is vital to understand the required changed and be able to shape the future, which is a responsibility of every leader.
Farrell, T., Rynning, S., & Terriff, T. (2013). Transforming military power since the Cold War: Britain, France, and the United States, 1991–2012. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lostumbo, M. J., McNerney, M. J., Peltz, E., Eaton, D., & Frelinger, D. R. (2013). Overseas basing of US military forces: An assessment of relative costs and strategic benefits. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation.
Nye Jr, J. S. (2015). Is the American century over? Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.