Deputy Defense Secretary Releases Shutdown Guidance

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)

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