Monday, September 30, 2013

Legion: Shutdown Must Not Harm Defense

Ken Governor
Ken Governor
ALBANY -- National security, and the readiness and welfare of the U.S. military cannot be diminished in the event of a federal government shutdown, New York State American Legion Commander Kenneth Governor said Sept. 30.

He joined National Legion Commander Daniel M. Dellinger in addressing "the politcal impasse" that threatens to shut down the U.S. government. "We must avoid compromising the readiness and welfare of our military and their support personnel," said Governor.

The Pentagon briefed the 2.4-million-member American Legion last week about the possible effects of a government shutdown on military pay and civilian support duties. The Department of Defense said that service members' Oct. 1 paychecks would be issued as usual, but pay after that date could be threatened by a government shutdown beyond the first week of the month, even though troops would be ordered to remain on duty. On the civilian side, what are termed "essential operations" - such as fire, police security and combat operations - would continue regardless of a government shutdown, but as many as 400,000 other civilian employees supporting the military could be temporarily furloughed. Pay for furloughed civilians would be issued only by an act of Congress, said the Pentagon.

Governor called on members of Congress to assure the Amrerican people that a government shutdown "would not in any way affect our nation's defense."

Daniel Dellinger
Dellinger noted: "Service members must be paid regardless of the government's status. Troop morale would be seriously compromised, as would quality of life for military families, by the economic uncertainty resulting from a pay freeze."

Both commanders said that furloughs and pay freezes for civilians who work for the DoD were "equally serious and threatening" to national security, especially at a time of war.