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Pentagon Makes Plans in Case of Shutdown

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 – Defense officials believe that a government shutdown can be avoided, but they are making prudent plans in the event one does occur, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is formulating guidance for the military services and defense agencies in the event that Congress does not approve a fiscal 2011 budget by the deadline April 8.

“While the administration believes that a government shutdown will be averted, the department, including the service leadership, is engaged in prudent planning so that we will be ready if one were to occur,” Morrell said during a news conference. “While a shutdown would be extremely disruptive to the department and those who work here, I want to underscore that we would still have the authority and the ability to continue key national security activities, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, operations in Libya, and humanitarian assistance in Japan, to name a few.”

The Obama administration is working with congressional leaders to avert a shutdown. “I think negotiations are clearly at a very sensitive point, so I don't think it is wise for me to delve too much into this,” Morrell said. “But it is certainly our hope here that we can avoid a shutdown come midnight on Friday evening.”

Lynn is in the process of putting out guidance to major DOD components about how they should go about planning for a possible shutdown. This would include guidance on what would constitute an exempt or essential operation or mission, and who would be needed to man those missions.

Morrell said there has been no determination yet on how a potential shutdown would affect military pay.

“We have not been able yet to arrive at a conclusive determination about how everyone’s pay would be impacted by this,” he said. “We are still working through that. So I don’t have a definitive answer for you to relay to our forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Unfortunately, that’s still an issue that's being worked.”

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

4/8/2011 6:10:26 PM
If they do not pass the budget, my only request is to give clear guidance to our leaders on how to go about closing down our Government. Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III is right by saying this will be very disruptive. I am afraid of the impression this gives of our country on other nations.
- Corey Cummings, Travis AFB CA

4/8/2011 12:12:18 AM
And what about the disabled wives that have been thrown away and are supporting active duty member's children on their own with hardly anything for childsupport??????? If you cut off their pay, then we end up homeless AGAIN and our kids go hungry!!!!! The relief society wont help us without the active duty members permission and he wont give it! I know because of a previous mess up by the DOD leaving my daughter and I homeless and hungry!!!!!! You talk about causing them hardship.......but not once have you made arrangements for the kids they have thrown away!!!! My daughter already struggles emotionally because of abandonment issues........now you want her to suck it up more???????
- Kathleen, Yuma

4/7/2011 5:31:48 PM
This is not merely a Republican or a Democratic issue - it is an American issue! Our nation is at a fiscal crossroad - we can either take the path of decay by increasing the deficit and continuing business as usual, or we can make the hard choice to reduce the deficit and undergo a REAL Government tranformation! Stop painting this as a political issue - it is an ECONOMIC issue, and both parties are using this as an instrument of partisan politics instead of just "doing the right thing" for our current citizens and those who are not born yet.
- Joe, Kansas

4/7/2011 12:48:21 PM
There certainly are programs (civilian and defense) that can and should be cut, but it never should be done on the backs of the hard-working uniformed and non-uniformed personnel in the federal workplace. There are people in the US government who live paycheck-to-paycheck and really will suffer because of Washington politics. It is irresponsible for our leaders to behave in this fashion.
- John, Camp Pendleton

4/6/2011 7:43:57 PM
Frank, The democrats had a majority in both Congress and Senate when this budget was due to be put passed. They were to busy spending time and money on a load of crap health care bill. No the democrats own this one.Republicans always have supported the military.That is why they already have a plan on the table to fund the military only for the rest of 2011. Study before you speak. You might actually become smarter.
- Mike Morris, Texas

4/6/2011 7:28:04 PM
Why would the above person automatically blame republicans.that's the problem these days. We are so quick to blame one another that we don't stop and just work out the problem at hand.
- Marie, Az

4/6/2011 5:23:22 PM
This is the third time a shutdown has been threatened in recent months. DOD plans contingencies for things that most of us couldn't imagine in regions that no one ever hears about. I don't understand why someone hasn't developed a plan for how to pay military members and retirees in a situation like this or, if pay must be interrupted, hasn't issued a public warning that this would be a consequence. What did we do (twice) in the 1990s and why would it be different now?
- Thomas Corcoran, Burlington, VT

4/6/2011 12:20:53 PM
And what of the men and women in uniform? How about continuing to pay them during the shutdown? How about you stop treating them like they're property and start treating them as an asset! If the men and women in uniform dont get paid, then none of you people in suits should be getting paid either!
- Justyn, California

4/6/2011 9:25:23 AM
This is utter madness. The republicans played this game before and lost. They will lose again. Because at the end of the day, when people don't get paid and banks start forclosure procedures on millions of government employess who can't pay their morgages, then it will be pay back in 2012 against the republicans. Some government employess live paycheck to paycheck. Putting millions of people into the street into food lines shows they have no compassion. They only care about the tea party zealots (who are nothing more than KKK in disguise). I think all blue dog democrats are nothing more than hybrid clansman and should leave the democratic party.
- Frank Chase Jr, Alabama

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