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On Wednesday, October 16, 2013, both chamber of Congress passed a deal to reopen the government which the president has ratified.
Due to a lapse in funding approval, the federal government shutdown on October 1, 2013. Congress remains open during the government shutdown as lawmakers continue to debate and seek a compromise solution to fund the Federal Government. However, individual offices are determining how they will operate during the shutdown including which staff will be working, and which staff will be furloughed during this period.
It remains unclear when the government will reopen or what impacts this shutdown will have on our industry. We do know at present that the shutdown is affecting key federal agencies of particular interest to our members. They include the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other space-related agencies, and the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls. These agencies have provided select guidance to businesses, contractors and the general public.
We will be updating this page periodically as we receive additional updates as to what this shutdown means to our industry and what new guidance if any is issued.
Guidance summaries follow:
Secretary Hagel announced that the President signed into law the exemption of our uniformed military. As a result, they have been exempted and will be paid regardless of how the shutdown continues. With regard to the civilian workforce, 400,000 DOD civilians -- out of roughly 650,000 in the workforce -- have been furloughed and those who have been designated exempt will remain on the job and will be paid. Secretary Hagel has also asked the Department’s legal counsel to determine if the law that the President signed allows for a widening in the interpretation of civilians that can be exempted and thus allowed to work (Details).
Additionally, on September 26, 2013, Under Secretary Kendall provided AIA with a letter explaining how the Department will operate with respect to contracts.
UPDATE: On Saturday, October 5, 2013, Secretary Hagel announced he was bringing back the majority of the DOD civilian workforce from furlough, including DCMA and DCAA staff. Since the announcement we have been working with the Department to gain further clarity on how the “Pay Our Military Act” is going to be implemented -- currently we know:
Based on FAA guidance, approximately 34 percent or 15,514 of FAA’s 46,070 employees are being furloughed. For the most part, only operations essential to “life and property” will be conducted.
The summary of continuing operations includes 20 excepted activities, among them: air traffic control services; maintenance and operation of navigational aids and other facilities; flight standards field inspections (limited; operating with 200 employees); aircraft certification services (limited; operating with approximately 100 employees); air traffic safety oversight (limited); and commercial space launch oversight. The summary of suspended activities includes 15 activities, among them: aviation rulemaking; development, operational testing, and evaluation of NextGen technologies; development of NextGen safety standards; and most budgeting functions.
Ninety-four percent of EPA’s approximately 18,000 employees have been furloughed. The remaining workforce is covered under "would imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property" protection, and funded outside of the appropriations process. Work stoppage will certainly include the slowdown of rule-making activities - EPA is currently engaged in many rule-making activities currently such as the Aerospace NESHAPs and others that cover GhGs.
About 97 percent of NASA’s 18,250 workforce has been furloughed. The 549 civil service employees that are exempt from furlough are supporting on-going missions like the International Space Station, which has six astronauts on board in Earth orbit at present.
Within Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Satellite and Data Information Service Office has 184 employees exempted from furlough during the shutdown to support NOAA and DOD environmental satellite operations and data processing. These systems operate on a 24-hour basis and provide essential data for weather forecasts and events.
Regarding FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, we understand that launch vehicle licensing activities and vehicle design analysis needed in advance of licensing are on hold; companies developing new launch systems may face costly delays if the shutdown continues.
Details are still coming in but much of U.S. National Security space programs -- from reconnaissance and GPS to weather satellites, missile warning and secure communications -- are vital to supporting the nation’s security and so will likely be exempt. New procurements, launches, etc. are still TBD.
We’ve learned that the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) will be open for normal operations at least through Friday, October 4, 2013. However, other agencies involved in the review of licenses are operating on very limited status and only reviewing licenses directly in support of ongoing combat or contingency operations. Staffing shortages in the U.S. Government also will affect requests for Commodity Jurisdiction determinations. Other regular functions of the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, such as requests for new or renewing registrations, will continue under normal conditions until further notice. For consideration of licenses to support military, humanitarian or other emergencies as determined by DDTC, please email Lisa Aguirre at AguirreLV@state.gov. The subject line of your email should read "Request for Emergency License" and the message must include the applicant name and registration code, the end-use/end-user, justification for needing an emergency license, and a point of contact. The Directorate will contact the requestor with guidance on how to proceed if the request will be honored.