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Broadly speaking, how will a government shutdown affect the Air Force?

The absence of appropriations will be extremely disruptive to the Air Force. Functions essential to national security and public safety will continue. The Air Force is attempting to minimize negative impacts and is working with OSD to address the issue.

How can I tell if I’m a civilian who is considered excepted from furlough?

You will be notified through your chain of command about your status.

How does this end of year furlough differ from the furloughs DoD civilians experienced due to the impacts of sequestration?

There are two types of furloughs - administrative furlough and shutdown or emergency furlough.
An administrative furlough is a planned event by an agency which is designed to absorb reductions necessitated by downsizing, reduced funding, lack of work, or any budget situation other than a lapse in appropriations. Furloughs that would potentially result from sequestration would generally be considered administrative furloughs.
A shutdown furlough (also called an emergency furlough) occurs when there is a lapse in appropriations, and can occur at the beginning of a fiscal year, if no funds have been appropriated for that year, or upon expiration of a continuing resolution, if a new continuing resolution or appropriations law is not passed. In a shutdown furlough, an affected agency would have to shut down any activities funded by annual appropriations that are not excepted by law. Typically, an agency will have very little to no lead time to plan and implement a shutdown furlough.

How will medical and dental care be affected?

Private sector care under TRICARE will continue, as will inpatient, acute and emergency outpatient care in medical/dental treatment facilities. Elective surgery and other elective procedures in DoD medical and dental facilities would be suspended. We encourage all personnel to contact their local treatment facility to confirm services and appointments.

How will members of the Guard and Reserve be affected by the furlough?

Reserve component personnel serving in a Title 10 status are not subject to furlough regardless of their activities. Air National Guard members currently on full time Active Guard Reserve (AGR) orders are similarly not subject to furlough. However, ANG members not already serving in an AGR status prior to the lapse in appropriation, or whose orders expire during a lapse in appropriations, shall not be called to AGR duty unless they support or engage in excepted activities. All other ANG members serving under Title 32 in an inactive duty training, inactive duty, or active duty status (including those serving pursuant to 32 U.S.C. §502(f)) may only continue their activities if they are performing or supporting an excepted activity approved by the Secretary of Defense. Likewise, members may be brought into a Title 32 status only if it is determined that an excepted activity will be performed or supported.

How will services available to military members at their local installations be impacted by a government shutdown?

We encourage all personnel to contact their local installations for specific guidance, procedures and operating hours. Generally, Child Development Centers may limit support to many families, giving priority to single/dual military personnel. Check with your local CDC for information, procedures, and requirements. Youth Programs, to include youth centers and youth sports, may be suspended. Dining Facilities and Fitness Centers will remain open, although operating hours could be limited. Check with your local facility manager for updated information. AAFES outlets will remain open, but DECA operations could be affected. Check with your local commissary for updated information.

How will the government shutdown impact pay for military members and civilians? Will Airmen be paid in the event of a government shutdown?

The impact to pay for military and Department of Defense civilian members is a complicated issue. Here are some general facts:

  • Military members and non-furloughed civilians (those that are excepted because they are performing work that, by law, may continue during a lapse in appropriations) will continue to work and will continue to earn pay for the period of the shutdown but will not receive it until Congress provides appropriations.

  • Specific Congressional action is necessary to pay Airmen retroactively. We expect that employees that are required to work will be retroactively paid once there is an appropriation.

  • Furloughed employees would receive back pay only if specifically appropriated by Congress.

  • When a lapse in appropriations occurs, all employees are expected to report for duty on their first duty day after the lapse, where more information will be given.

  • An agency may not accept the voluntary services of a furloughed employee.

How will this affect contract employees?

Contractors performing under a contract that was fully obligated upon entering the contract (or renewal or modification) prior to the expiration of appropriations will continue to provide contract services, whether in support of activities that are essential to national security and safety, or not. Military members and civilians excepted from furlough would be required to provide appropriate contract oversight.
New contracts (including renewals) may not be executed unless the contract is in support of an activity that is essential to national security and safety.

How will this affect the civilian workforce?

If Congress fails to pass a CR or appropriation, all civilian personnel paid by appropriated funds will be furloughed, except for the minimum number necessary to accomplish excepted activities that are essential to national security and safety. Congressional actions will determine if retroactive pay will be provided for furloughed personnel - there is no guarantee of back pay.

How will this affect uniformed Airmen?

Military personnel are not subject to furlough. Military personnel on active duty, to include reserve personnel on active duty, will continue to report for duty and carry out assigned duties.

What about education and training?

Education and training necessary to participate in or support activities that are essential to national security and public safety will continue. DoD Education Activity (DoDEA) education activities will continue.

What are the activities essential to national security and safety?

Examples of essential activities include operations authorized by deployment orders, such as operations in Afghanistan, responses to emergencies, child care activities required for readiness and military healthcare. Some specific operations/exercises have been identified as essential for national security by OSD. For those that aren't specified, MAJCOM commanders will ultimately choose which activities continue.

What assistance is available to military members who may face financial hardship as a result of the government shutdown?

Those experiencing financial difficulties should contact their chain of command (supervisor, first sergeant or commander) who can provide information on financial aid organizations which specifically support military members such as Military One Source or Air Force Aid Society. If Airmen or their families are not near an aid organization, they may seek financial assistance from the Red Cross.

What if I’m a civilian or military member who is TDY?

All TDYs will be cancelled or terminated unless they fall into excepted categories: direct support of the war in Afghanistan; travel directly related to the safety of life and protection of property; or travel directly related with the foreign relations of the United States (e.g. negotiating international agreements). Civilian employees or military members TDY supporting non-excepted activities, or attending non-essential training or education will return to home station as part of the orderly closedown of operations in a timely manner.

What impact will the government shutdown have on those individuals who are due to PCS?

Permanent change of station activities already underway will continue until completion. New actions will not be initiated unless in support of an excepted activity as defined by the Secretary of Defense.

What is a civilian furlough?

A furlough is placing an employee in a temporary non-duty, non-pay status because of lack of work or funds, or other non-disciplinary reasons.