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Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to pass legislation to keep the government running, or risk the first shutdown in 15 years. Thursday Deputy Secretary of Defense, William J. Lynn III, sent a message explaining how a potential shutdown would affect the Department of Defense workforce. Operations critical to national security will not be affected. Military personnel will continue to report for duty, he said. Civilian personnel, however, could be placed on furlough if their jobs are not deemed “essential.” Lynn said civilian employees will be briefed by supervisors Friday as to whether or not their jobs will be affected. The potential shutdown will impact Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. “While NAS Whidbey Island’s critical operations will continue, some offices at the base will be closed or working with an extremely reduced staff,” Kimberly Martin, Public Affairs Officer, NAS Whidbey Island said Thursday. “Many civilian personnel assigned to NAS Whidbey Island may be furloughed until further notice if federal budget issues cannot be resolved.” Martin said it would be difficult to determine the full extent of the impact to NAS Whidbey because each federally funded command has developed its own furlough plan based on its mission and guidance from higher headquarters. One area that would definitely be affected is the Commissary, according to Martin. The facility on the Seaplane base will close Saturday in the event an agreement is not reached. If that happens, notices will be posted on the door, the phone system and the website, which is www.commissaries.com. The Navy Exchange would not be affected, as its employees are paid through non-appropriated funds. According to the Navy, members of the military will continue to earn wages, but wouldn’t be reimbursed for their time until Congress agrees on a budget or until another funding resolution is passed. Martin referred those with questions and concerns to the Office of Personnel Management’s website at www.opm.gov/furlough2011/ for more information.
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