Despite warnings by Secretary of Defense James Mattis about what a government shutdown would do to America’s defensive capabilities, lawmakers were unable to find an agreement that would keep the federal government funded on Friday night.
According to statements made earlier this week by the famed general turned Defense Secretary, the first place this shutdown will directly affect U.S. operations is in the intelligence community and perhaps just as worrying, in maintenance.
“Our maintenance activities will probably pretty much shut down … Over 50 percent, altogether of my civilian workforce will be furloughed … We do a lot of intelligence operations around the world and they cost money, those obviously would stop,” Mattis said earlier this week.
A number of high-profile incidents in the last year have shone a light on what nearly 20 years of continued combat operations and a dwindling budget has done to military assets employed in combat and show of force operations around the globe. Failures of Marine Corps aircraft in the Pacific and even at home have cost the lives of Marines and Sailors in incidents that can be attributed to this lack of rotational maintenance, as many other U.S. assets have already been pulled out of use due to budget shortfalls. Nonetheless, the already insufficient maintenance infrastructure our Defense Department relies on; all but ceased operations at midnight on Friday, as well as a large portion of our foreign intelligence apparatus, integral to providing American early warning of impending attack.
With the impending shutdown looming, Mattis penned a memo for distribution force-wide, emphasizing that, although the government may be shutting down, America’s service personnel are to continue with business as usual.
You can read the complete memo released for internal distribution last night below:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
SUBJECT: Guidance on the Government Shutdown
Our government will shutdown at midnight tonight. We in the Department of Defense will continue carrying out our fundamental responsibility to defend our Nation and the American people.
We will continue to execute daily operations around the world – ships and submarines will remain at sea, our aircraft will continue to fly and our war fighters will continue to pursue terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. While training for reservists must be curtailed, active forces will stay at their posts adapting their training to achieve the least negative impact on our readiness to fight.
I recognize the consequences of a government shutdown. You have my personal commitment that the Department’s leadership will do our best to mitigate the impacts of the disruptions and any financial burdens to you and your families.
Steady as she goes – hold the line. I know our Nation can count on you.
Image courtesy of the Dept. of Defense