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Officials discuss DOD's government shutdown plans

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Military personnel will report to duty as normal if the U.S. government shuts down midnight, April 8, Pentagon officials said April 7.

The department has identified tasks that must continue if or when a government shutdown occurs, said Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan.

"Who is affected comes down to defining what constitutes operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life and protection of our national security," he said. All military personnel will be "excepted" from shutting down. In addition, certain civilian employees, who work on crucial duties, also will be excepted.

The Department of Defense will continue to conduct activities in support of U.S. national defense and national security. This includes operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan and Libya and related support operations. The department also will conduct other operations and activities considered essential to U.S. national security, Colonel Lapan said.

Other excepted activities include in-patient and essential out-patient care in DOD medical treatment facilities, emergency dental care, non-appropriated fund activities such as mess halls and child care facilities, certain legal activities to support on-going litigation and legal assistance for deployed U.S. personnel, contracting and logistics operations that are in support of activities that are considered excepted, certain training and education activities to include the Department of Defense Education Activity schools and financial activities necessary to ensure the control and accountability of funds.

"In the absence of appropriations, not excepted activities that have not been fully funded will need to be shutdown in an orderly fashion," Colonel Lapan said. If there is a government shutdown, leaders will inform employees how the shutdown affects them personally.

Military personnel are not affected by a furlough and will report for duty as normal. Civilian personnel that are deemed to be performing excepted activities will continue to work during the period.

If the government has to shut down due to a lack of funding, the DOD will have no funds to pay military members or civilian employees for the time the government is shut down. However, both military and civilian personnel will receive pay for the period worked prior to the shutdown.

"In general, if the government shuts down -- for however long it shuts down -- there are no funds appropriated to pay government employees," said Doug Wilson, the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. "If you are required to work -- as all men and women in uniform are required to work -- then there is a legal obligation to ultimately pay those men and women. When that would happen would be timed to the restoration of appropriated funds."

Once funds restart, military personnel and all civilians occupying excepted status positions are entitled to be paid for the work performed during the shutdown, "and they will be paid retroactively," Colonel Lapan said.

DOD personnel who do not work during the shutdown will not get paid, he said.

"However, in past instances Congress has appropriated funds to pay those civilians," Colonel Lapan said.

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