Norquist issues instructions in the event of government shutdown

By John Liang / September 27, 2019 at 10:33 AM

The Pentagon has a contingency plan in case a stopgap spending bill isn't approved before Oct. 1.

The House last week and the Senate this week each passed a continuing resolution that would temporarily fund the government through Nov. 21. The president has not yet signed it.

On Aug. 26, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist circulated a memo to Defense Department leadership outlining how the Pentagon will function in the event of a government shutdown on Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal year 2020.

"[P]rudent management requires that the department be prepared for the possibility of a lapse in appropriations,” he writes.

An attachment to Norquist's memo "provides instructions for continuation of essential operations in the absence of appropriated funds," the deputy defense secretary writes. "The Department will, of course, continue to prosecute the war in Afghanistan and ongoing operations against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, including preparation of forces for deployment into those conflicts. The Department must, as well, continue many other operations necessary for the safety of human life or the protection of property (a copy of military operations necessary for national security will be supplied separately). These activities will be 'excepted' from the effects of a lapse in appropriations: all other activities would need to be shut down in an orderly and deliberate fashion, including -- with few exceptions -- the cessation of temporary duty travel."

While all military personnel on active duty will continue to work, they will not be paid, nor will civilians carrying out or supporting "excepted activities," the memo states.