Here’s How a Shutdown Would Affect the Pentagon

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale speaking to reporters during a press briefing on Friday

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

AA Font size + Print

Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale speaking to reporters during a press briefing on Friday

As the standoff in Congress continues, officials release more details about the impact on Defense Department operations. By Stephanie Gaskell

If Congress fails to reach agreement on a short-term funding measure keeping government open, uniformed military service members will continue to work — but they won’t get paid until Congress appropriates the funds. Some civilian workers will stay on the job, but they, too, won’t see a paycheck until after the shutdown ends, Defense officials said Friday. Other civilians will be furloughed, possibly with no pay at all.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sent a memo to DoD employees on Friday morning detailing who would be affected under a shutdown scenario. Later in the day, Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale issued a warning of the effects of a shutdown, especially with the threat of another round of sequestration on the horizon. And the department put up a website so workers could look up specific information about possible furloughs.

As all this was taking place, the Senate voted 54-44 to fund the government through a continuing resolution that lasts until Nov. 15. The action now shifts back to the House.

If the House and Senate can’t agree, the government effectively shuts down at midnight on Monday. At the Pentagon, military operations will continue, including the war in Afghanistan and operations involving troops serving in the Mediterranean Sea. But if any troops are killed in action after Oct. 1, death benefits will not be paid to their beneficiaries until a deal is reached.  Defense contractors who have a fully-funded contract can continue to work, but new contracts would not be allowed unless they were needed to support essential activities within the department. All temporary duty travel after Oct. 1 will be canceled, unless it’s to Afghanistan, in support of foreign relations duties or related to protecting life or U.S. property.

Personnel not subject to furloughs (who are categorized as “excepted”) are generally those whose jobs are directly related to national security and the protection of life and property. There are other exceptions, covering some medical, logistics and budget personnel.

Hale said his staff has not only been working on contingency plans for an Oct. 1 shutdown, but also trying to mitigate another possible round of sequestration and uncertainty over the fiscal 2015 budget. “Unfortunately, we’re getting good at this,” Hale said. Planning for all these budget uncertainties has taken “thousands of hours” away from the Pentagon’s usual operations, he said. And averting a shutdown through a continuing resolution that only last another six weeks provides little relief.

“We can probably hold our breath for a while,” Hale said, adding that if there’s a CR he hopes Congress gives the Defense Department some flexibility in allocating funds under the temporary spending measure.

For now, the Pentagon’s shutdown guidance remains stamped in red: “Planning Purposes Only: Do Not Implement Until Direction from the Deputy Secretary of Defense.”

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.