Mr. FORD. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 73, H.R. 1723, a bill to authorize the establishment of a program under which employees of the CIA may be offered separation pay to separate from service voluntarily, that the bill be deemed read three times, passed and the motion to reconsider laid upon the table; and, that any statements by Senators DeConcini and Warner appear in the Record at the appropriate place.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
So the bill (H.R. 1723) was deemed read three times and passed.
Mr. DeCONCINI. Madam President, I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of H.R. 1723. This is the House companion bill to S. 647, a bill originally sponsored by Senator Warner and myself and reported favorably without dissent by the Senate Intelligence Committee. In our judgment, the House bill, although different from our bill is some minor respects, accomplishes the objectives we set out to achieve and we believe it can and should be passed without amendment.
By passing this legislation, we will help ensure rationality and fairness in the process of reducing personnel in the intelligence community. The bill would allow the Director of Central Intelligence to make one-time payments to encourage voluntary separations from the CIA.
The Clinton administration has endorsed the legislation. While there were certain changes made by the House in the original proposal that came from the administration, we are advised that the CIA is satisfied with the changes.
The arguments in favor of the bill are clear:
First, we all recognize that the intelligence community, including the CIA, is in an era of downsizing. Indeed, the Congress last year mandated a 17.5-percent reduction in CIA personnel to take place over the next 5 years. Reductions in
the work force are necessary, and relying solely on attrition may not be the most rational way to get there. This legislation would allow the DCI to target these separation incentive payments in specific job areas where there are too many workers on the payroll now. Employees in areas without surplus workers would not be eligible for the payments if they retired.
Second, this bill is modeled on legislation that was enacted last year giving similar authority to the Secretary of Defense for both civilian employees and military personnel. Thus, the intelligence agencies in the Department of Defense are already eligible to award this separation pay if the Secretary of Defense decides to delegate the authority to them. This bill puts the CIA director in essentially the same position with respect to his employees.
Third, this proposal is fiscally sound. Although there are some initial costs associated with the bill, in the long term, it will save considerable amounts of money.
In addition, the bill prohibits CIA employees who separate under this authority from being rehired within a year by CIA or being placed under contract. The bill also contains a requirement that periodic reports be filed with the congressional intelligence committees with respect to the implementation of this program. This will provide us an ability to adjust the program as need be over its five-year life. I can assure my colleagues that the Senate Intelligence Committee will carefully monitor the program to ensure that payments are offered only where necessary and in the amounts necessary to induce the required number of separations.
Madam President, as we come to grips with our fiscal problems in the Government, we must continually look for imaginative solutions that will manage spending cuts fairly and efficiently. Providing the DCI with this modest tool will help ensure that CIA downsizing occurs on schedule and is structured to meet the Government's needs and that the Agency can forego difficult and expensive voluntary separations.
I urge the Senate to pass H.R. 1723.
Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I strongly support enactment of H.R. 1723, the Central Intelligence Agency Voluntary Separation Pay Act. The bill has strong, bipartisan support. It is the companion bill to S. 647, the CIA Voluntary Separation Incentive Act, that Senator DeConcini and I introduced and that the Select Committee on Intelligence reported favorably on May 5, 1993 (S. Rept. 103-43).
The bill authorizes the Director of Central Intelligence to offer separation pay as a financial incentive to CIA personnel to resign or retire voluntarily. By offering financial incentives for voluntary departures, CIA expects to be able to minimize or eliminate altogether a need for CIA to involuntarily dismiss employees. The bill also ensures that, if the Director of the Office of Personnel Management authorizes early retirement for governmentwide retirement systems, the same benefit will apply to the CIA retirement and disability system for certain CIA employees.
The legislation will accomplish four important objectives.
First, it will assist the CIA in managing its drawdown so that the resulting work force has the right mix of skills and experience to conduct CIA's mission effectively in the future.
Second, the bill will help ensure fair treatment of CIA personnel. CIA employees--and in particular those with clandestine duties--have served their country with distinction, often at great personal sacrifice and sacrifice by their families. The CIA must keep faith with them, especially if we are to continue to get people of the same high quality and dedication to serve in the CIA in the future.
Third, the legislation will save the taxpayers' dollars. By offering now a financial incentive to an employee to leave CIA service voluntarily, CIA will not incur greater costs in the out-years.
Finally, the legislation will contribute to maintaining the proper secrecy of U.S. intelligence activities.
Federal law already grants the Secretary of Defense authority to provide similar incentives for voluntary separation to Department of Defense employees, including intelligence employees, to assist in downsizing that department. Enactment of H.R. 1723 will provide similar authority for voluntary separation incentives for CIA employees.
As a result of the relatively sudden end to the cold war, the corresponding shift of America's defense strategy from a bipolar focus to a more regional focus, and the corresponding shift of U.S. resources from defense to nondefense pursuits, the organizations of the U.S. Government primarily responsible for addressing external threats to U.S. interests--including the Central Intelligence Agency--face significant reductions in size, to be carried out relatively quickly. The leadership of these organizations face the difficult management challenge of reducing their work forces substantially, promptly, and fairly, and in a fashion that leaves the organizations with a smaller, but highly effective organization at the end of the drawdown. The Congress has enacted legislation to assist the Department of Defense in managing effectively and fairly drawdowns in the size of the Armed Forces and the size of the defense civilian work force. Enactment of H.R. 1723 would extend to the Central Intelligence Agency one of the personnel drawdown management tools already available to the Department of Defense--the ability to offer a financial incentive to employees to leave Government service voluntarily.
In the post-cold-war era under a regional defense strategy, the United States plans to devote fewer of its scarce national resources to defense and intelligence efforts and to reorient the use of the resources devoted to those efforts. With respect to defense, the United States plans smaller, but well-trained, well-equipped, highly mobile, and highly effective U.S. military forces prepared to protect American interests in regional crises that may emerge. With respect to intelligence, the United States plans smaller, well-trained intelligence work forces reoriented toward collecting and processing intelligence on the primary threats the United States faces in the post-cold-war era. The scope and pace of the drawdowns of defense organizations and intelligence organizations may differ, because maintaining a strong intelligence capability is particularly important when military forces are being substantially reduced, but both types of organizations face substantial drawdowns.
The Central Intelligence Agency faces the twin management challenge of reducing the overall size of its highly professional work force and adjusting the skill composition of the remaining smaller work force to meet the intelligence needs of the future. The voluntary separation incentive program that H.R. 1723 would authorize is designed to assist the CIA both in reducing the overall size of the CIA work force and in adjusting the mix of skills available in the CIA work force to meet future needs.
The exact number of employees of the Central Intelligence Agency remains classified by the executive branch. The size of the CIA work force is limited by law, through an end-strength limitation incorporated in the Annual Intelligence Authorization Act that prohibits CIA from employing more than a specified number of employees on the last day of the fiscal year. Congress and the executive branch have reduced the size of the CIA work force
significantly from its cold war peak and they have established plans for completion of a prudent further drawdown of the CIA work force.
Management of the CIA work force, like the work force of any governmental institution, is a dynamic process, requiring simultaneous consideration of a variety of factors. At a given point in time, whether an institution is growing or shrinking in size, people are both entering and leaving an institution's work force. People are leaving the institution's work force voluntarily to accept other jobs or to retire and involuntarily because they are excess to the institution's needs or because they failed to meet the institution's minimum performance standards. People are entering the institution's work force both to meet its immediate needs for individuals with particular educations or skills and to help meet its longer term needs for individuals with particular educations or skills and substantial employment experience within the institution. Personnel managers must at all times be acutely aware not only of the short-term requirements of staying within limitations on the number of personnel, but also on the long-term aggregate impact of personnel decisions on the institution's work force as a whole. As employees make individual decisions to move into and out of the institution, employees mature and acquire changing skills and experience, and changes occur in the environment external to the institution, personnel managers have the responsibility to ensure that, at any given point in time, the institution's work force has the correct mix of skills and experience to accomplish its mission effectively.
The Director of Central Intelligence must take a substantial number of personnel actions in the short term to stay within the legal limitations on the number of CIA personnel, but must ensure that the actions taken in the short term also are consistent with ensuring an effective CIA work force decades hence. Through the optimum combination of retirements, resignations, and hirings, the Director must ensure the proper mix of skills and experience in the work force, while getting the work force down to its planned size.
The Director has a number of means available by which to reduce the work force that would readily meet the short-term need to reduce the size of the work force, but which could have potentially devastating effects on the ability of CIA to accomplish its mission effectively. The Director could achieve the short-term need to reduce the work force by prohibiting the hiring of employees, by involuntarily separating employees; that is, using CIA reduction in force procedures to lay off employees who do not wish to leave, or by involuntarily retiring retirement-eligible employees who do not yet wish to retire. Employing these means on a broad scale to achieve the necessary drawdown of personnel would have a substantial adverse impact on the CIA and its employees.
Today's CIA personnel decisions must be made with a recognition that CIA's managers, operations chiefs, and senior analysts for the decade beginning in 2010 are the newly hired personnel of today who will require two decades of education, training, and intelligence experience before they are ready to assume the senior positions in the CIA. Thus, the Director should not simply order an absolute halt to hiring at CIA as a way to reduce the CIA work force to its desired level. Such a prohibition on hiring would result in an extraordinary gap in the CIA work force over time, as a result of which CIA would not have the career employees with the proper training and experience ready to assume leadership positions two decades in the future.
Large layoffs of individuals, called involuntary separations due to a reduction in force, in the parlance of government personnel management, and forced retirements would be shortsighted as a means of reaching personnel reduction targets. The CIA should work to avoid turning employees out of the CIA against their will, both as a matter of fairness to dedicated employees who have served their country faithfully and often at personal sacrifice, and because any perception of unfairness or harsh treatment of current employees during the drawdown may have an adverse effect on the CIA's ability to recruit top-quality employees in the future. The Director of Central Intelligence also has raised delicately the difficult subject of the counterintelligence impact of involuntary separations, expressing concern that forcing out large numbers of CIA employees involuntarily would increase the risk that an employee who had access to sensitive intelligence secrets might fail to maintain his or her obligation to protect those secrets.
The Director of Central Intelligence has advised the Committee that the CIA likely cannot, with the Director's current legal authority, meet the requirement to reduce the size of its work force steadily in the coming years and maintain the correct mix of skills and experience in the CIA work force unless the Director involuntarily separates employees from the CIA. To avoid the need for involuntary separations, the Director has asked for authority to offer financial incentives to employees to encourage them to retire or resign voluntarily. If enough employees of surplus skills and experience accept the financial incentives and voluntarily retire or resign from the CIA, the CIA no longer would need to use involuntary separations of employees to meet its drawdown targets.
Recent experience at the National Security Agency has demonstrated that financial incentives can stimulate voluntary separations at a rate much higher than the normal rate of attrition. By using voluntary separation incentive authority to encourage such separations among categories of employees whose skills may no longer be critical to the CIA, the DCI would be better able to manage the drawdown in a way that will preserve the skills and expertise which continue to be crucial to the CIA's post-cold-war mission.
There are a number of items of special interest to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concerning H.R. 1723, about which the committee inquired during consideration of S. 647 and received a letter in response from the Central Intelligence Agency dated April 8, 1993. These remain items of special interest to the committee with respect to H.R. 1723.
As a matter of constitutional and statutory law, CIA cannot discriminate in employment matters among employees on the basis of
race, creed, color, sex, national origin, or handicap and, to emphasize the point, the committee requested an explicit commitment from the CIA that such prohibited factors would not be used in deciding which CIA employees receive a financial incentive under the legislation to resign or retire voluntarily. The CIA letter to the committee on April 8, 1993, confirmed that the CIA would not use such prohibited factors in making those decisions and indicated that the CIA would carry out its equal employment opportunity obligations during the drawdown process.
The committee also inquired about the potential use of the voluntary separation incentive program to reduce the number of CIA employees in the Senior Intelligence Service [SIS], which is the CIA equivalent of the Senior Executive Service and contains higher-paid employees with managerial and professional responsibilities. To maintain a balanced work force, the CIA needs to reduce the number of SIS employees during the drawdown along with reductions in the number of less senior employees. The CIA hopes, however, that the necessary reduction of SIS employees will occur through voluntary retirements in early 1994, when SIS employees have achieved the maximum benefit for retirement annuity calculation purposes of the substantial SIS pay raise that occurred in early 1991. The accuracy of the CIA's assumption that a sufficient number of SIS employees will retire voluntarily in early 1994 may depend in part upon the postretirement employment opportunities available to such employees, which cannot be forecast in advance. If the CIA's assumption should not be borne out, the Director still would have the ability to use the voluntary separation incentive authority under H.R. 1723 to help meet CIA's shortfall in reaching SIS reduction objectives. The committee's monitoring of the drawdown of the CIA work force will include careful monitoring to ensure that the CIA meets SIS work force reduction targets.
The committee made a number of specific inquiries of the CIA concerning how the CIA planned to implement the voluntary separation incentive program if Congress should enact S. 647, the companion bill to H.R. 1723. Those CIA plans are also applicable to H.R. 1723. For example, the committee inquired whether the CIA intended to offer financial incentives of different amounts to different occupational groups of employees slated for drawdown or intended to offer financial incentives of different amounts to employees within an occupational group. In its April 8, 1993 letter, the CIA responded that, although special circumstances might arise in the future that might warrant doing otherwise, the CIA did not expect to differentiate among groups of employees or among employees within a group with respect to incentive amounts offered. The committee also asked whether it would be possible for the CIA to use the legislation to hire a new employee now and after only a year's service offer the employee a $25,000 bonus to separate voluntarily from CIA service. The CIA responded in its April 8, 1993, letter that the CIA requires all of its employees to complete a 3-year probationary period before they become full-status employees and that the CIA does not expect to use the voluntary separation incentive authority with respect to any employee during his or her 3-year probationary period. Finally, the CIA in its April 8, 1993, letter assured the committee that it will carefully coordinate its hiring process and separation process to ensure that: First, the CIA is not using the voluntary separation incentive in one office to separate an employee from the CIA when another CIA office has a need for the skills of that employee which it will otherwise obtain by hiring from outside the CIA; and second, to ensure that the CIA is not now or in the future hiring employees who will later be offered a voluntary separation incentive.
Pursuant to legislation enacted in 1992 (5 U.S.C. 5597), the Department of Defense has authority for a voluntary separation incentive program for that department's civilian employees. Both the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency are using that authority to help reduce the size of their civilian work forces. The CIA's letter of April 8, 1993, indicated that NSA has had significant success with its voluntary separation incentive program and that it is too early to measure the success of the DIA program. The Director of Central Intelligence should ensure to the extent possible appropriate consistency between the CIA's use of voluntary separation incentive authority under H.R. 1723 and defense intelligence organizations' use of voluntary separation incentive authority under section 5597 of title V. In particular, the Director should work to avoid to the extent practicable disparate treatment by different intelligence organizations of similarly situated intelligence employees.
The CIA's letter to the committee of April 8, 1993, set forth the retirement, severance pay, health insurance, life insurance, and career counseling and placement assistance available under certain circumstances to departing CIA employees. The committee believes that early, widespread, and repeated dissemination of this information to CIA employees would assist such employees in making decisions about their futures.
Madam President, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 1723.
Mr. FORD. Madam President, I now ask unanimous consent that Calendar No. 62, S. 647, the Senate companion measure, be indefinitely postponed.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.