Gallows humor is always necessary but never understood by those who have not had to go through a similar process.
The simple answer is that IBM is trying to kill two birds with one stone.
They need to address the issue that older employees who are targets of the RIF can claim discrimination when they can show that there is still demand for their skills.
At the same time... they have to be able to meet client needs w the staff they have and they need to upgrade their employee skills.
But rather than take the time to do it right... meaning you bench the consultant for 2-3 weeks of training and deep immersion into the newer tech before placing them onsite... they want to do this on the cheap.
At least that's if you believe the stated goal.
But then you have to look at this from a different perspective. Wholesale cut/slash of experienced staff and replacement with lesser trained and cheaper labor (yes I do mean offshore), can cause a client to revolt and to toss IBM out of a contract. (Its even possible for the client to write clauses in to the contract that give them veto power over staff changes in some cases.)
So this could be viewed as a way to do stealth RIFs, onshore off-shore resources, and other dirty tricks to beef up bottom line.
So... you could take them (IBM) at face value, or you could suspect them of being under handed in this...
For those who have spent time in the borg, and know IBM... which do you think is the real motivation?