WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2013) -- Although Defense Department officials believe a government shutdown can be avoided when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, they want DOD employees to be prepared for the possibility, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a memo issued to the workforce Monday.

The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and Congress has not passed a budget. If Congress does not approve a budget or pass a continuing resolution, the portions of the government funded via appropriated funds will be forced to close.

"The department remains hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted," Carter wrote in the memo. "The administration strongly believes that a lapse in funding should not occur and is working with Congress to find a solution."

Congress still can prevent a lapse in appropriations, but "prudent management requires that we be prepared for all contingencies, including the possibility that a lapse could occur at the end of the month," the deputy secretary wrote.
The absence of funding would mean a number of government activities would cease.

"While military personnel would continue in a normal duty status, a large number of our civilian employees would be temporarily furloughed," Carter said. "To prepare for this possibility, we are updating our contingency plans for executing an orderly shutdown of activities that would be affected by a lapse in appropriations."

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel understand the hardships such a shutdown could cause civilian employees, the deputy secretary wrote.

"The administration strongly believes that a lapse in funding should not occur and is working with Congress to find a solution," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters Monday.

"The secretary has made it clear that budget uncertainty is not helpful for us in executing our budget efficiently, and a shutdown would be the worst type of uncertainty. A shutdown would put severe hardships on an already stressed workforce, and is totally unnecessary."

Carter vowed to provide more information as it becomes available. The Office of Personnel Management's website has more information on shutdown furloughs, also called emergency furloughs, at www.opm.gov.

Editor's note: The memo is available for download at www.defense.gov.

CSA takes blunt message to Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON -- The Army's chief of staff told lawmakers if they don't mitigate reductions under the Budget Control Act, 85 percent of brigade combat teams would be ill-prepared for contingency requirements by the end of fiscal 2014.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno was blunt, as he testified Sept. 18, to the House Armed Services Committee. His statistic on the Budget Control Act, readiness included both active and reserve-component brigades, if the speed and magnitude of cuts are not stopped.

Odierno and other service chiefs said the Budget Control Act, coupled with sequestration, will have a long-term impact on the country's readiness and modernization.

Editor's note: Read this story at www.army.mil

Page last updated Wed September 25th, 2013 at 14:19