The US military's nearly 1.4 million troops will stay on the job in the case of a government shutdown but not get paid, Pentagon officials said Friday.
The war effort in Afghanistan and other high-priority missions would not be affected but most training and a range of maintenance work would be cancelled if Congress fails to agree a new budget measure by the close of the fiscal year on Monday, September 30, top officials said.
Details of how the Pentagon would operate under a shutdown came as as a deeply divided Congress argued over rival spending bills, with the clock ticking on the Monday deadline.
"Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service," Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter wrote in a memo describing contingency plans for a shutdown.
If government agencies close their doors, "roughly half" the Defense Department's nearly 800,000 strong civilian work force would be deemed essential and ordered to continue to work, Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale told a news conference.
But those "essential" civilian employees would not be paid during the "lapse," he said.
The Pentagon released a long list of services deemed essential that would continue during a shutdown, including medical care, mess halls, child care, legal offices, logistics, training, department schools and some accounting sections.
Training and travel that was considered not essential would have to stop and those in the middle of a work trip would have to "pack up and go home," Hale said.
All training for the National Guard and reserves would be cancelled unless it was directly related to vital operations in Afghanistan or other missions considered critical to national security, he said.
Work on contracts with defense companies could continue if funds had already been allocated, he said.
Hale called the potential shutdown "one more blow to the morale of our civilian workforce," adding that "morale is already low" after automatic budget cuts forced furloughs for some civilian Pentagon employees.