Continuing Family Support in the Event of a Government Shutdown

Our service members, their families and survivors have responded amazingly to all that’s been asked of them, especially since the start of combat operations more than 15 years ago.  They have and deserve our respect and support for continuing to serve honorably despite the many challenges associated with the unique aspects of military life.

Unfortunately, another one of those challenges that all of us will have to contend with is a possible government shutdown.

A government shutdown affects quality of life, family support and child and youth programs that service members and families value and deserve.  The purpose of this blog post is to provide guidance as to what to expect regarding the operating status of these programs in the event the government is shut down:

  • Military OneSource: The Military OneSource website and call center will remain fully operational.  Military OneSource is a defense-wide program that promotes the quality of life of service members and their families by delivering information, referrals, confidential counseling and other services in-person, online and by telephone.  The service is available worldwide 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the user and regardless of the service member’s activation status.  Visit their website or call 800-342-9647.
  • Child Development Centers: Contact your local CDC/installation for details/guidance.
  • Department of Defense Education Activity: DODEA schools and district offices worldwide will remain open.  Headquarters and regional offices will be affected by any shutdown.
  • The Military and Family Life Counseling program: This will continue uninterrupted. The MFLCs will perform routine functions.  If an MFLC is unable to access the installation during a shutdown, they will work offsite until they are able to access the installation.
  • Military Exchanges will be open world-wide.
  • Overseas commissaries will remain open, including two stores in Guam and one in Puerto Rico. Commissaries in five remote stateside locations will also remain open: MCMWTC Bridgeport and Fort Irwin in California; CGS Kodiak and Fort Greely in Alaska; and Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah.  In the event of a government shutdown, the remainder of stateside commissaries will follow an orderly shutdown after Jan. 19 to reduce the amount of perishables on-hand and properly safeguard equipment and facilities.  For more details, go to the Defense Commissary Agency website, or its Facebook and Twitter.
  • Family Support Centers: Staffing will be determined by installation commanders.
  • Family Advocacy Program: Each service will determine staffing at each installation.
  • MWR – Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs/nonappropriated fund activities/other operations necessary to support those activities not affected by a shutdown will continue. Examples of these excepted activities are operation of dining facilities, physical training and child care activities required to support readiness.
  • My Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA): Financial assistance requests will continue to be approved.  In addition, Spouse Education and Career Opportunities career coaches will continue to be available to provide comprehensive education and career counseling services.  Please call the SECO Career Center at 800-342-9647 or visit the SECO website and continue to monitor the MyCAA portal for any updates.

It’s important to keep in mind that operating hours and statuses may vary at the local installation level.  You can get addresses and phone numbers for installation and state resources available to active duty, National Guard and reserve service and family members at the Military Installations website.

We recognize the incredible commitment and contributions of our military families.  In the event of a government shutdown, here at Military Community and Family Policy, we will work with the Military Services to keep as many doors open as possible, operating within the fiscal guidance passed down from the highest levels of DoD leadership, so families may continue to be empowered and thrive amidst these most recent challenges.

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