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Deputy Defense Secretary Releases Shutdown Guidance

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2011 – The Defense Department is hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted, but is releasing guidance to help plan for an orderly process if a shutdown becomes necessary, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said in a memo issued today.

“The president and the [Defense] Secretary [Robert M. Gates] know that the uncertainty of the current situation puts federal employees in a difficult position and are very much aware that a shutdown would impose hardships on our military and civilian personnel as well as our military families,” Lynn wrote.

Operations and activities essential to safety and to protect human life and property will not be shut down, he wrote.

Addressing duty status, Lynn wrote that military personnel are not subject to furlough and should report for duty during a shutdown. Civilian personnel performing excepted activities will continue to work during a shutdown, he wrote.

The Defense Department will continue to conduct activities in support of national security, Lynn wrote, including operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Japan, as well as Libya-related support operations and other activities essential to national security.

Continuing operations include the following, Lynn wrote:

-- Inpatient and emergency outpatient care in DOD medical treatment facilities and emergency dental care;

-- Dining facilities and child-care activities;

-- Some legal activities, and contracting and logistics operations supporting excepted activities;

-- Some education and training activities, including Department of Defense Education Activity schools, and some financial management activities.

“In the absence of appropriations, non-excepted activities that have not already been fully funded will need to be shut down in an orderly fashion,” Lynn wrote.

He will issue more detailed guidance to the department regarding specific activities that are considered excepted or non-excepted. Lynn wrote that he understands the military departments, defense agencies and individual commanders must tailor this guidance to many different situations around the world.

“Therefore, should there be a government shutdown, DOD personnel will be informed through their chain of command about how a shutdown may affect them personally,” he wrote.

On the topic of military, civilian and retiree pay, Lynn said if the government shuts down because of a lack of funding, DOD will have no funds to pay military members or civilian employees for the days during which the government is shut down.

But military and civilian personnel will receive pay for time worked before the shutdown, he said, and military personnel and civilians in excepted positions will be paid retroactively for their work during the shutdown once the department receives additional funding.

“Congress would have to provide authority in order for the department to retroactively pay non-excepted employees for the furloughed period,” Lynn wrote.

Benefits for military retirees and annuitants should continue without interruption, he added.


Contact Author

William J. Lynn III

Related Sites:
DOD Memo

Related Articles:
Gates: Shutdown Could Affect Young Troops Most


Article is closed to new comments.

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

4/8/2011 10:41:24 AM
How will overseas commissaries be affected? We have no alternative grocery stores especially here in the Japan area where threat of radiation from Mainland Japan looms over the thoughts of our families. Please provide an answer and soon. Our service members and families deserve an answer that is befitting their service.
- Family Member, Okinawa, Japan

4/8/2011 6:19:00 AM
This is an outrage! Total incompetence of our government at its finest! Hardships on the families? Must be nice that Obama just took a LOVELY vacation with his entire family, yet our military families now have to wonder how they are going to feed their children!
- Jen, Hawaii

4/7/2011 11:32:29 PM
so should there be a shutdown, and the government not paying our soldiers, would our soldiers be able to claim breach of contract? No pay, no work.
- Tim W, TX

4/7/2011 8:50:17 PM
Would funding for ROTC students be in effect? are students on a ROTC scholarship going to have school, stipend, and books paid?
- Dakotah Donnelly, Kentucky

4/7/2011 5:10:41 PM
The Senate passed a bill that would suspend Congressional paychecks in any government shutdown, but the House has blocked it. They will still get paid when they haven't done the work that they are were elected for, in part, getting a budget in place. The military doesn't get paid, but still does their work. Congress gets paid, but doesn't do their work, this doesn't make sense to me.
- Jennifer Runaas, San Diego

4/7/2011 3:47:09 PM
Why do DoD employees have to report to work On Monday 11 April 2011? We will not be paid for this time. Is my supervisor getting overtime to arrive earlier than normal as most of the employees arrive before supervisors. Supervisors will be "working" when they hand out the letters, therefore they will be getting paid for this time. What happens after receiving the letter, we are expected to wait 4 or more hours at the bus stop for the first commuter bus home?
- Harvey Smith, Fredricksburg

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