If Congress doesn’t extend government spending and the government shuts down Saturday night, service members could go without pay for an unknown period of time.

Here’s what we know about the potential shutdown’s impact:

  • As On Base reported, DOD released preliminary guidance related to personnel, PCS moves and contracting.
  • Active duty service members are considered essential employees and must remain on duty, but the federal government would be unable to process paychecks. In recent government shutdowns, active duty troops and reservists in the military branches that fall under DOD – all branches but the Coast Guard – still received checks because Congress had enacted a defense spending bill or pre-emptively passed a measure to ensure their pay. Neither has happened this time.
  • Congress could still rush through legislation ensuring service member pay. Members of the House and Senate introduced such legislation last week, as Military Times
  • About half of DOD civilians would be furloughed, Defense One reported, citing contingency plans from the Office of Management and Budget.
  • Military Times’ Karen Jowers in a story last week looked at what the shutdown could mean for child care, commissaries, DOD schools and other installation functions.
  • Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters at a Tuesday briefing that the shutdown has a potential to affect readiness. “When you don’t have your full operating capacity to be able to help with the mission, to be able to conduct an exercise or training, of course that gets to our national security and readiness, so the shutdown is the worst thing that could happen,” Singh said. “We’re hoping that Congress can find a way to avert that but… planning for the worst.”

DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro