150 in NSA human resources may be cut

Layoffs would be used as last resort, officials say

November 16, 2001|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

As many as 150 employees of the Human Resources Department of the National Security Agency could be facing layoffs by October as the agency tries to cut back on spending and outsource as many jobs as possible, several agency sources said yesterday.

Those employees will join more than 400 others from the installation and logistics department who have been told they will lose their jobs by the summer. In a recent meeting with human resource employees, agency officials said the director is under pressure from Congress to shrink the department from more than 350 employees to 180. Yesterday, National Security Agency officials vowed that layoffs would be used only as a last resort if not enough employees take early retirement or accept resignation incentives.

In response to an article in The Sun, the agency promised, according to a written statement, to provide any affected employees with "extensive transition and outplacement services" to help them find jobs and answer questions about lost benefits such as health care and retirement funds.

The statement said the agency "is currently examining the organization, to include the installation and logistics [unit] for downsizing, potential outsourcing and business process reengineering," but it said officials did not know how many people would face "involuntary separation."

The downsizing will affect only departments that are not part of the agency's core mission of providing intelligence from foreign signals and protecting communications in America, the statement said. The agency has faced congressional mandates in recent years to refocus and streamline its activities. The installation and logistics department, where technicians and electricians are responsible for repairs and system maintenance at the Fort Meade campus and abroad, was recognized by the Senate and the University of Maryland in 1995 for its productivity and efficiency.

The statement said no final decisions have been made, but several agency employees said yesterday that as much as they want to believe that, they will follow the advice of their managers and try to find new jobs.

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