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DoD issues guidance for potential government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Defense Department has issued guidance to its military and civilian leadership on how to proceed if the federal government should shut down at midnight tonight, according to a memorandum from Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan.

The deputy secretary said in his memo issued yesterday that the Trump administration does not want the government to shut down.

“The administration is willing to work with the Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund critical federal government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full-year 2018 appropriations,” Shanahan said in his memo.

While he and Defense Secretary James N. Mattis hope Congress passes a continuing resolution or an annual appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 defense activities, he said, “prudent management requires that the department be prepared for the possibility of a lapse in appropriations.”

War Operations to Continue

While the memo contains guidance on essential personnel to continue DoD operations during a potential shutdown, he said, the department will continue to prosecute the war in Afghanistan and operations against al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and will continue to make preparations for deployments into those conflicts.

“The department must, as well, continue many other operations necessary for the safety of human life or the protection of property,” the memo read. “These activities will be ‘excepted’ from the effects of a lapse in appropriations: All other activities would need to be shut down in an orderly and deliberate fashion, including -- with few exceptions -- the cessation of temporary duty travel.”

Military: Normal Duty Status

All active-duty service members will continue in a “normal duty status,” regardless of their affiliation with excepted and unexcepted functions, the memo said.

“Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service,” the memo said. “Civilian employees paid for lapsed appropriations and who are not necessary to carry out or support excepted activities will be furloughed, i.e., placed in a nonwork, nonpay status.”

Shanahan emphasized that no shutdown actions are to be taken until further notice is provided.

“To repeat, the secretary and I hope that Congress will pass a funding bill and the DoD will avoid a shutdown,” Shanahan’s memo read. “This guidance is intended to support prudent planning.”

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