Budget Uncertainty Puts DoD in ‘Difficult Situation,’ Deputy Secretary Says


The uncertainty over government funding is putting the Defense Department workforce in a “difficult situation,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said in a memorandum to employees.

“As many of you are aware, funding for the government expires at midnight on January 19, 2018,” Shanahan said in the memo about a potential lapse in funding.

In the notice dated Jan. 18, Shanahan said he and the administration of President Donald J. Trump and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis do not believe a lapse in funding should occur.

“There is more than enough time for Congress to prevent this from happening,” he said, adding the administration is willing to work with Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund critical federal government operations.

Preparing for All Contingencies

A short-term measure also would allow Congress more time to finalize appropriations for this year, he wrote.

“However, prudent management requires that we continue to prepare for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse in appropriations could occur this month,” he said.

He noted Defense officials have consulted with the Office of General Counsel and reviewed and updated the determinations of activities that may continue under these legal requirements.

Updates are being made on the determinations of civilian employees who would work during a shutdown, he said. During a shutdown, all active-duty military personnel would continue in a normal duty status. Personnel would not be paid until Congress provides funding, he explained.

“The uncertainty of the current circumstances puts our workforce in a difficult situation and, should a government shutdown occur, it could impose hardships on many employees, as well as the people whom we serve every day,” Shanahan said.

Official furlough notices would be issued on the next official workday if a shutdown were to occur, he said.

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)