Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent a message to Defense Department personnel Monday morning, urging resilience in the face of a government shutdown.
Hagel, who is currently in South Korea commemorating the 60th anniversary of a mutual defense treaty between the Republic of Korea and the U.S., said he would be “deeply disappointed if Congress fails to fulfill its most basic responsibilities.”
In the event of a shutdown, a large number of civilian employees and contractors would likely be temporary furloughed. If furloughed, law requires only civilians whose role directly supports military operations or is required to protect DOD personnel and property, continue to work. Military personnel across the globe, however, would continue to serve in a normal duty status.
Hagel called the looming government shutdown an “unnecessary and unwelcome distraction from our mission of defending the nation.”
The Military Pay Protection Act, which would exempt some defense civilian employees, some defense contractors and service members from delayed pay during a shutdown, passed unanimously in the House on Sunday morning and in the Senate on Monday afternoon.