DALLAS, April 7, 2011 -- The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is planning to continue operations even if the U.S. government shuts down.

On April 9, the current budget authorization will expire. At that point, the federal government will potentially institute a mandatory shutdown for "non-essential" personnel.

While this action impacts the government, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is largely unaffected, AAFES officials said. They explained that the Exchange is a non-appropriated fund instrumentality. This means the majority of its budget does not rely on tax dollars.

"While the federal government shuts down, business at the Exchange remains largely unchanged. However, some transactions may be delayed, such as the purchase of firearms which require background checks or other federal government actions," said Col. Virgil Williams, chief of staff for the Exchange.

As a matter of course, the Department of Defense plans for contingencies. In fact, since 1980, all agencies have had to have a plan in case of a government shutdown, and these plans are updated routinely, officials said.

"The Exchange will do everything we have to do to continue to support the deployed troops," Williams said.

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is a joint command and is directed by a board of directors which is responsible to the secretaries of the Army and the Air Force through the service chiefs of staff.

The Exchange has the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and generating non-appropriated fund earnings as a supplemental source of funding for military Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.

Page last updated Thu April 7th, 2011 at 16:40