"Only military personnel engage in combat operations, according to U.S. government policies. However, either military personnel, civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DoD), or contractors may carry out support functions, such as accounting services. In 2012, about 340,000 active-duty military personnel were assigned to commercial positions that perform support functions. Those functions require skills that could be obtained from the private sector so that, in principle, those same positions could be filled by civilian employees.
To cut costs, DoD could transfer some of those positions
to civilian employees and then reduce the number of
military personnel accordingly. The Congressional Budget
Office estimates that doing so for 80,000 full-time
positions could eventually save the federal government
$3.1 billion to $5.7 billion per year. (Those savings are
measured in terms of annualized costs. That term encompasses
all liabilities, current and future, that the federal
government incurs by employing a military service member
or a civilian today, expressed as annual amounts. All
annualized amounts are in real terms, meaning that they
have been adjusted to remove the effects of inflation.)
Some costs of hiring military personnel are paid from
accounts outside DoD’s budget, so the department would
not realize all of those savings..."