Beginning on October 1, the United States Navy will begin to scale back its civilian workforce. This will include upwards of 500 civilian positions at its shore facilities on the East Coast, while port operations will be restricted to a daylight Monday to Friday schedule to meet the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget goal. A total of 300 Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Mid-Atlantic and 200 Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (CRMA) civilians will be cut as part of an ongoing effort to reduce $66 million in the budget for U.S. Navy shore facilities from Maine to Virginia and as far west as Illinois, USNI reported last week.
In total, the Navy announced that it will cut about 1,000 civilian jobs across the country to reduce costs on domestic bases.
“Based on current projections, CNIC will be forced to curtail the level of base operations services (BOS) we provide to the Fleet, Fighter, and Family in [Fiscal Year 2022] and beyond,” Vice Adm. Yancey Lindsey, head of the navy Installations Command (CNIC), wrote in the Sept. 15 message.
However, this doesn’t mean that 1,000 workers will actually receive pink slips, and the total number of layoffs is still yet to be determined. That is because the Navy has more than 450 vacancies across the Mid-Atlantic region, including 331 openings in Hampton Roads.
Navy’s Mid-Atlantic Budget Shortfall
Budget considerations were cited as the reason for the cutbacks – and the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic region’s $754 million budget allocation for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) is $66 million short of what was needed to continue operations at its current level. That shortfall has reportedly reflected the Navy’s efforts to focus funding on training and readiness.
As an effort to reduce overtime expenses, the region will also enforce a longstanding policy stating that costs incurred by ship movement outside of core port operation hours of 6:30am to 3pm on weekdays must be reimbursed to facilities.
Many of the job cuts will affect the Navy’s morale, welfare and recreation service. About 300 of the 500 affected positions are in the “non-appropriated fund” slot, which is paid for from funds generated from a variety of programs including behavioral health, education services, fitness, food, hospitality, recreation and retail stores.
Some of the position cuts are also expected to come as current employees retire or leave – and those positions will not be replaced. Additionally, the Navy’s Mid-Atlantic region did impose a hiring freeze last week. The region currently has about 10,000 civilian employees at 16 facilities.
The Bigger Picture
The Navy’s FY22 budget for base operations in the United States is $4.8 billion, and service’s shore enterprise is now facing a budget shortfall of $280 million.
According to the CNIC, the Navy has continued to manage acceptable risks across the short enterprise in order to build a more capable fleet in the coming years to ensure warfighting readiness. As a result some base services will need to be curtailed or scaled back due to budgetary constraints. However, the Navy has stressed that it has remained committed to minimizing negative impacts to its workforce.
What’s Cut and What’s Not
The Navy is now working on a requirement to reduce its base operations service’s top line, and that will mean closing of 46 Auto Hobby Shops, reducing manning at 10 Morale Welfare and Recreation beaches, delaying furniture replacement in five barracks, and closing of base libraries in the United States.
Additionally, the service will cut half of its fleet of base support vehicles, reduce gym hours and pools on bases, and cut back on landscaping and custodial services. The Navy’s civilian employees will see a reduction in overtime. As previously noted, the service will also restrict ship operations to Monday through Friday to avoid overtime.
However, programs including childcare at the facilities, as well as port and airfield operations should be largely unaffected by the cutbacks. The U.S. Navy will simply have to do more with less – as in fewer civilian workers.