AMC commander: Looming cuts mean thinking out of the box 

The commanding general of the Army Materiel Command said, because “there’s no doubt” about the coming cuts in the budget, end strength for soldiers in all components and the size of the civilian work force, this is the time to “truly think out of the box.”

Speaking Oct. 23 to the civilian professional development seminar at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Gen. Dennis Via asked rhetorically “should the voluntary separation incentives be increased from $25,000 to $40,000” as a way to encourage some nearing retirement to consider leaving early.

Via added that there should be more opportunities to have full-time employees move to part-time status without jeopardizing their retirement credit.  He also suggested looking at ways to move workers from one production area to another.

With more than 70,000 civilian employees in the command, Via said that 25 percent of his work force will be eligible for retirement by 2015.  The Army has about 315,000 civilian employees.

“How do we make sure we bring in bright people” in an era of furloughs and a federal government shutdown and the Army intern program is being reduced from 1,200 to 800 slots. Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the head of the Corps of Engineers, said he is able to retain 60 of his interns.  

“How do we make government service more attractive to young people?” Bostick said. “How do we communicate with them?  They live in a ‘text’ world.”

He also said that programs similar to the services working with industry should be available to more civilian employees.