News / USA

US Military Operations Continue Despite Shutdown

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to the traveling press about the U.S. government shutdown, at his hotel in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 1, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speaks to the traveling press about the U.S. government shutdown, at his hotel in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 1, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
Among the U.S. government agencies hardest hit by the shutdown is the Department of Defense, though officials say military operations around the world are not affected.  

Roughly half of the 800,000 civilian workers the U.S. Defense Department employs are being furloughed. They are largely administrative employees - working behind the scenes to ensure that soldiers are supplied and paid.  

U.S. officials say military operations and training exercises will go on uninterrupted.

Early Tuesday, the department released a videotaped message from President Barack Obama to the 1.4 million active-duty uniformed military personnel and 800,000 civilian employees.

“Those of you in uniform will remain on your normal duty status. The threats to our national security have not changed and we need you to be ready for any contingency. Ongoing military operations, like our efforts in Afghanistan, will continue,” said Obama.

How The Shutdown is Affecting Services

  • About 800,000 federal workers furloughed
  • The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel remain on duty, their paychecks delayed
  • NASA is furloughing almost all its employees
  • Air traffic controllers and screeners staying on the job
  • Federal courts continue to operate
  • Mail deliveries continue since U.S. Postal Service is not funded by tax dollars
  • Most Homeland Security employees continue to work
  • Most veterans' services continue because they are funded in advance
  • National Parks and Smithsonian museums closing
The president offered assurances the Pentagon's activities will be funded as usual, and soldiers will get their pay.

“If you are serving in harm's way, we are going to make sure you have what you need to succeed in your missions. Congress has passed, and I'm signing into law, legislation to make sure you get your paychecks on time, and we will continue working to address any impact this shutdown has on you and your families,” said Obama.

Although the Defense Department has no plans to ground any airplanes or call home any troops or vessels that are part of core missions, there are concerns about a lasting impact that the budget impasse will have on the U.S. military.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling in Asia, told reporters that allies and partners are questioning whether the United States is able to meet its commitments in the region. “I have been asked about why during my visit here to South Korea. It does have an effect on our relationships around the world and it cuts straight through the obvious question: Can you rely on the United States as a reliable partner to fulfill its commitments?”

What Does a U.S. Government Shutdown Mean?

  • Large parts of the federal government need to be funded each year to operate
  • If Congress cannot agree on how to fund them, those parts of the government shut down
  • During a shutdown, federal workers are separated into excepted and non-excepted employees
  • Excepted must continue to work, and will be paid when Congress funds the government again
  • Non-excepted are furloughed and not guaranteed to receive back-pay
  • Parts of the government dealing with national security and public safety and those with independent funding like the Postal Service continue to operate
  • Other parts shut down, including National Parks, the EPA and the processing of visa and passport applications
  • The last government shutdown lasted 21 days and ended on January 6, 1996
Hagel said the U.S. military is living in what he called a dark cloud of uncertainty and not knowing what is going to happen.

The Pentagon furloughs come on top of those already implemented in the past few months, when thousands of employees were forced to take time off due to automatic budget cuts that kicked in as a result of the failure by the White House and Congress to reach a budget deal.

Defense Department officials say that although core missions are being carried out, both uniformed and civilian personnel who are on training exercises and other projects the Pentagon does not consider essential are being returned home as a result of the shutdown.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Samurai from: Japan
October 02, 2013 6:33 AM
What's going on with Obama's regime? Don't American nationals have power to recall Obama who only says "Yes, you can" but does not say "Yes, I can". U.S. Government Shutdown bothers many other countries' economic markets.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid