Defense Sec. Mattis: Schumer Shutdown Would Have “Terrible Impact” On The Military
MODERATOR: Thank you, Secretary Mattis. One last question: will a government shutdown have serious ramifications on military operations and if so, what are your plans for mitigation?
SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS: Yes. Let me give you an example. This morning or last night young guys and gals somewhere in Wyoming were driving off to do their weekend duty. There is any number of projects we have underway that keep me at the top of my game and our military at the top of our game that are handled by civilians. All these things are going to be disrupted. Those troops will arrive there at their armories by the way and told go home if there’s a government shutdown and they will then drive a couple hundred miles back home. These again are stoic men and women, they’ll suck it up and say okay. If they’re navy reservists they’ll say 'aye aye, sir' cheerfully and when they get in their car they might not mutter something quite so positive. I would just tell you there will be, our maintenance activities will probably pretty much shut down. We will not be able to induct any more of our gear that need maintenance. Over 50 percent altogether of my civilian workforce will be furloughed. That’s going to impact our contracting, it will impact obviously our medical facilities. It’s got a huge morale impact. I'll just tell you, 'how long can you keep good people around when something like this happens' is always a question that’s got to hover around in the back of my mind. I would just tell you that we do a lot of intelligence operations around the world and they cost money. Those obviously would stop. And I would just tell you that training for almost our entire reserve force will stop and you must understand the critical importance of our reserves. They're the only shock absorber we have. It's not like the old days where you could draft somebody in and 18 weeks later have them in combat with the skills they need. Today’s infantrymen, they’re called infantrymen because they’re infant solders, young soldiers. They still take a year to train in order to have them ready to use the gear they have on them and make certain they have the ethical and tactical abilities to deal with the battlefield today. So it’s got a terrible impact.
Budget and Spending Government Shutdown