Pentagon Makes Plans in Case of Shutdown

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 — Defense offi­cials believe that a gov­ern­ment shut­down can be avoid­ed, but they are mak­ing pru­dent plans in the event one does occur, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.
Deputy Defense Sec­re­tary William J. Lynn III is for­mu­lat­ing guid­ance for the mil­i­tary ser­vices and defense agen­cies in the event that Con­gress does not approve a fis­cal 2011 bud­get by the dead­line April 8.

“While the admin­is­tra­tion believes that a gov­ern­ment shut­down will be avert­ed, the depart­ment, includ­ing the ser­vice lead­er­ship, is engaged in pru­dent plan­ning so that we will be ready if one were to occur,” Mor­rell said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence. “While a shut­down would be extreme­ly dis­rup­tive to the depart­ment and those who work here, I want to under­score that we would still have the author­i­ty and the abil­i­ty to con­tin­ue key nation­al secu­ri­ty activ­i­ties, includ­ing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, oper­a­tions in Libya, and human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance in Japan, to name a few.”

The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion is work­ing with con­gres­sion­al lead­ers to avert a shut­down. “I think nego­ti­a­tions are clear­ly at a very sen­si­tive point, so I don’t think it is wise for me to delve too much into this,” Mor­rell said. “But it is cer­tain­ly our hope here that we can avoid a shut­down come mid­night on Fri­day evening.”

Lynn is in the process of putting out guid­ance to major DOD com­po­nents about how they should go about plan­ning for a pos­si­ble shut­down. This would include guid­ance on what would con­sti­tute an exempt or essen­tial oper­a­tion or mis­sion, and who would be need­ed to man those mis­sions.

Mor­rell said there has been no deter­mi­na­tion yet on how a poten­tial shut­down would affect mil­i­tary pay.

“We have not been able yet to arrive at a con­clu­sive deter­mi­na­tion about how everyone’s pay would be impact­ed by this,” he said. “We are still work­ing through that. So I don’t have a defin­i­tive answer for you to relay to our forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that’s still an issue that’s being worked.”

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

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