Government shutdown – update 2 from Rear Adm. Shannon

Rear Adm. Shannon hosted an informal all-hands call on Friday, Oct. 11 to discuss the government shutdown, provide feedback and hear concerns from our MSC team in DC. The following post is an update to the insight he shared Oct. 7.

At the end of the day, what everyone appreciates is the truth. There are a lot of unknowns right now, but I want to share with you what we know to the best of my ability.

For those of you that have been around government for a while, I think you would agree this is one of the more interesting times in our careers. We’ve had a series of pay freezes, an awful furlough over the summer, sequestration, the tragic Washington Navy Yard shooting event a few weeks ago, and now we’ve gone into this government shutdown where there are more furloughs.

There are two clocks prominently displayed in the media right now: government shutdown and debt ceiling. But there is a third one that I am far more worried about, and that is the Navy Working Capital Fund – as you know, we are a working Capital Fund organization along with several others in the Navy and all that money gets pulled-up in one large, working capital fund resource “pot”. When you divide what all the Navy Working Capital Fund agencies collectively expend on a given day, we’ve got 10.5 days left…that’s our threat. We’re into some unchartered waters – we don’t really know what we are going to do 10.5 days from now if our government doesn’t come out of a shutdown and they don’t get a budget passed.

Collectively we think we can stretch those 10.5 days to a larger number while our government determines way ahead. This is where I welcome YOUR experience, your expertise, your ideas– someone out there has a great idea that can extend these 10.5 days out one more minute. I want those people to come forward.  Put an idea in the suggestion box or just send an email to your leadership or go straight to our executive director.  Don’t be afraid to send those ideas forward and remember that every little bit counts.  As we get more ideas we’ll spread them throughout our MSC family to help everyone contribute.

Our goal is to continue to make our mission while ensuring the safety of our people and platforms and extending those 10.5 days as long as possible.

Key takeaways:

1. We will continue to execute our mission on behalf of the fleet but maintain an emphasis on our support role in 5th Fleet                                                                                      2. We will start planning for and thinking about drastic shutdown scenarios
3. We will execute our mission and care for our people to the maximum extent possible
4. We will comply with DOD guidance
5. We will contain cost as much as possible while executing the mission and caring for our people
6. We will maintain our classification with the American Bureau of Shipping and certification from the United States Coast Guard; these are gold standards that we won’t give away
7. We will cut back in areas other areas including non-essential testing, training, logistics, maintenance, facility, travel and other personnel-related costs

It’s important to note that these actions won’t adversely affect our customers or our mission – we will still get the job done – just not as effectively, efficiently or as quickly.

Let’s communicate and lean on each other. We have resources available if needed and I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of that.

Lastly, I admire our MSC team and our collective service to our Navy and our nation. We need to make some hard decisions right now – this is an environment of pennies, nickels and dimes and no idea is insignificant.

Thanks for your service,

T.K. Shannon


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