Government shutdown: an update from Rear Adm. Shannon

The following blog is written by Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command.

As I write this, most of our fellow government employees are furloughed, many for the second time this year, as part of the government shutdown effective October 1. 

Before I discuss the current budget situation, I want to thank each and every one of you again for your service to our country, our Navy, our MSC. I’ve had the chance to speak with many of you in recent all-hands calls, and it goes without saying that all of you are in this environment for a reason….you’ve chosen to serve your country, often times with little thanks, and recently, lower pay, but you still come to work every day and have chosen to do so honorably. Thank you for that.

Furloughs, sequestration, and budget concerns continue to be a primary concern for our MSC team worldwide. Our government is the nation’s largest employer and many are affected by the absence of a budget, not to mention seriously concerned about what this next fiscal year brings – especially when it’s already off to a rocky start. I wish I could give you more answers but the truth is, we still don’t know what next year will entail beyond the reality of reduced future defense spending.

For the time being, MSC remains open as working capital fund activity and continues to operate until our cash reserves are exhausted.  Our workforce, both military and civilian ashore and afloat, should report to work even during the shutdown. We expect the MSC cash balance to be sufficient for the immediate future, but that can change – and might be different if this type of shutdown, or another furlough, were to happen again in the future.

During any period of shutdown, I ask that each of you take the appropriate steps to prudently manage our expenditures and extend our cash reserves for as long as possible. 

I’ve also mentioned our Civilian Employee Assistance Program (CEAP) before and it’s important to mention it again because that program offers professional, confidential counseling and consultation that can help you deal with the stress you may be facing. Our CEAP is free of charge for you and your dependent family members. Please contact 1-800-869-0276 for assistance.

It is unclear how long this will last and what this next fiscal year will entail.  As we move through this process, we will continue to keep you informed with whatever information we have.    

It’s no longer “business as usual.” These are trying times, but I have the utmost faith and confidence in all of you and our ability to work together to get through this situation.

I know the MSC team can do it! Always have – always will.

Thanks for your service,

T.K. Shannon

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