In the last several years, the Pentagon has brought more than 165,000 soldiers home from combat. It has shaved the end strength of each service, and it has put needed maintenance and modernization of its warships and aircraft on hold to scrape up the savings to meet sequester cuts.
So why does its back office keep growing?
“It makes no sense,” Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Examiner. In the initial response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, “we grew the force and we grew the civilian support.” So it would make sense that as active duty forces drawdown, so would the staff managing them.
But the overhead hasn’t shrunk. The numbers of authorized staff at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff have grown by about 30 percent since 2009, from about 3,200 military and civilian personnel manning those offices — at the height of the surge – to about 4,200 today, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office last week.