Federal bureaucrats fume over Trump's vows to freeze hiring and shrink the government

The Trump personnel team led by Kay Coles James and Linda Springer, both also Bush alumni, has broad goals to reduce the size of domestic agencies while slightly bolstering the defense workforce, say sources close to the transition. Aides are also mulling a process, known as “reduction in force,” that would allow the new administration to skirt the civil service’s complicated rules for hiring and firing.

The easiest way to make such reductions might be through budget cuts to each agency, which would be outlined in Trump’s first budget proposal this spring, say former senior government human resources officials who did not have first-hand knowledge of the administration’s plans. The Trump team did not respond to requests for comment.

The reality is it’s far harder to shrink the federal workforce than it is to slash staff at, say, the Trump Organization. Thousands of federal workers belong to powerful unions that can mobilize their representatives in Congress. And almost two thirds of them work for defense and security-related agencies, according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service — areas of the government that Trump promised not to touch during the campaign.