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Government Shutdown Could Mean Delay in Pay to Troops

(Photo credit: Kellie Keesee/CNN)

(Photo credit: Kellie Keesee/CNN)

(CNN) — U.S. troops throughout the world — including those fighting in Afghanistan — could face delays in getting their paychecks if there’s a government shutdown, according to the Defense Department.

On Monday, all 1.4 million active-duty personnel and 800,000 civilians were informed the department is now preparing for a shutdown if a budget deal with Congress is not reached.

The department has been “directed to review and update plans” for a shutdown that could result in delayed pay for all members of the department, according to DOD Press Secretary George Little. Depending on how close a shutdown might be to a pay period for DOD personnel, paychecks could be delayed for up to two weeks, or the next pay period, some officials said.

All uniform military personnel will be required to report to work, and will be paid eventually, according to Little and other DOD officials, because under the law it is required the military is paid. The war in Afghanistan will continue with operations, Little said.

For civilian workers, however, it may require Congressional action to reinstate any missed pay. It’s also expected civilian workers will have to report for work, but then they will be told who is essential and must continue to work while others will be sent home.

The shutdown could also impact death benefits and emergency payments going to families of any servicemembers killed in action during a shutdown.

“We’re incensed at the prospect of a government shutdown,” one Defense official said.

“We’ve just gotten over civilian furloughs, are posturing for potential military action in Syria, have our guard up elsewhere, and are dealing with the continuing effects of sequestration,” the official added.

“Making matters worse, think about Afghanistan and troops who might not be paid on time — and their families. It’s totally irresponsible. It’s time to lift the dark budget cloud hanging over the Defense Department.”

By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent