WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2013 – The shutdown that looms if the government is not funded beyond the end of the fiscal year at midnight tonight would be “disruptive and stupid,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said here today.
Carter preceded a scheduled speech on India at the Center for American Progress with his thoughts on the impending shutdown.
“Let me just emphasize that the administration firmly believes that a shutdown can be avoided, should be avoided, and while we in the Department of Defense are fully prepared to deal with the shutdown if it occurs,” he said, “it will be extremely disruptive and unfortunate, especially for the men and women who are defending this country who now have to worry about receiving their paychecks on time.”
About half of the Defense Department’s civilian personnel will be placed on no duty-no pay furloughs if the shutdown occurs, the deputy secretary said, noting that they already had been furloughed for more than a week earlier this year.
“This is no way to treat patriots working in our department and will cause serious harm to productivity and morale,” Carter said.
Planning for the shutdown is itself disruptive, he added.
“We’re spending thousands of hours on complex planning for a shutdown instead of spending this time more wisely and efficiently on addressing our national security challenges,” he said.
The Defense Department is prepared to deal with the shutdown if it occurs, Carter said, just as it was prepared to deal with sequestration spending cuts.
“But a shutdown will be disruptive and harmful to the national security mission,” he added. “We strongly urge the Congress to pass a budget and avoid a disruptive and stupid shutdown of the federal government.”