Guidance issued Thursday by Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn outlined in broad terms how a government shutdown would impact the department, but did not include many details as to what activities would be suspended if Congress fails to fund federal operations beyond midnight Friday.
“Civilians will be briefed by their supervisors by Friday, April 8, as to whether their work and responsibilities fall into excepted or non-excepted status,” Lynn wrote. Furloughed employees may not telework or volunteer to work, he added.
“I will issue more detailed guidance to the department regarding specific activities that are considered excepted or non-excepted. However, the secretary and I understand that the military departments and 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,” Lynn stated.
In general, military personnel and civilians performing essential activities will continue to work during a shutdown. Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of national security are exempt from shutting down. The military will continue to carry out operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan; Libya-related support operations; and other activities essential to the nation’s security.
“Other excepted activities will include inpatient and essential outpatient care in DOD medical treatment facilities; emergency dental care; non-appropriated funds activities such as mess halls and child care activities; certain legal activities to support ongoing litigation and legal assistance for deployed DOD personnel; contracting and logistics operations that are in support of excepted activities; certain education and training activities to include the DOD education activity schools; and financial management activities necessary to ensure the control and accountability of funds,” according to the guidance.
Lynn’s message also addressed contractors: “Generally, contractors performing work on contracts funded prior to a shutdown, whether supporting excepted activities or not, may continue working and will be paid out of the obligated funds, subject to further direction from the contracting officer.”
For more information, go to the DOD website.