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.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)