Pentagon civilian and military headquarters’ staffs will be cut by 20 percent between 2015 and 2019, Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Chuck Hagel announced yesterday.

Hagel told reporters at a media roundtable at the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida, that the decision would result in a “20 percent cut in the office of the secretary of defense, 20 percent of the joint staff, and a 20 percent cut in the service chief’s headquarters’ staff.”

In a follow-up to the announcement, DoD Press Secretary George Little said total savings from the 20 percent cut to headquarters’ staffs “could reach $1.5-2 billion” over five years.

DoD is currently taking a number of actions (e.g., civilian furloughs) to implement cuts required by sequestration in FY2013. Last week, Hagel told Congress that additional severe actions (e.g., civilian reduction-in-force (RIFs)) would be necessary if an agreement is not reached to avert a $52 billion cut in FY2014.

However, the announced pentagon headquarter staff cuts will occur regardless of the outcome of sequester negotiations between the administration and the Congress. In a follow-up to the announcement, DoD Press Secretary said “these cuts will be implemented even if Congress lifts sequester-level budget caps.”

The staff cut is based on the “Strategic Choices and Management Review” ordered by Secretary Hagel in March. This review is being undertaken to determine what actions should be taken by DoD to preserve the defense strategy and forces under a range of budget scenarios. The results of this review will inform the FY2015 budget guidance and will provide the base for this year’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

Hagel told reporters that details of the decision to cut headquarters’ staffs will be provided at a later date.