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Pentagon Prepares for More Furloughs as Government Shutdown Looms

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is warning DoD employees again to get ready for furloughs if the government shuts down on Oct. 1. By Stephanie Gaskell

It’s becoming an all too familiar scene for Defense Department workers: due to budget uncertainty in Washington, civilian personnel might be furloughed.

Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sent out a new memo on Friday, warning civilian employees they might face more furloughs and preparing uniformed workers to brace for paycheck delays if the shutdown continues. The deadline for a government shutdown to take place is midnight on Monday.

Carter said he’s still hopeful that Congress and the White House can come to an agreement, but after sequestration was enacted earlier this year, it’s clear the Pentagon is preparing for the worst and regularly updating its workers on the effects of a budget stalemate.

“All military personnel would continue in a normal duty status; however, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed,” Carter wrote. But which employees would be affected is governed by rules laid out by the Attorney General and the Office of Legal Council of the Department of Justice.

“Your commanders and supervisors will be reaching out to you to provide additional detail on our contingency plans and your status under a potential lapse. These conversations are designed to provide clarity on how a potential lapse will affect you, but they do not constitute an official notice of furlough. Official furlough notices will only be issued on Oct. 1 if a lapse in funding has occurred,” the memo said.

“Should a lapse occur, and depending on the length of the lapse period, these determinations may change over time as circumstances evolve,” Carter said.

Congress and the Obama administration are still battling it out over the budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1, but could vote to for another continuing resolution to prevent a shutdown.