NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- In a message released earlier today, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) commander, Admiral Bill Gortney, directed that the Fleet will continue to provide ready forces to safeguard national security during the government shutdown, but limit activities to only those that are absolutely necessary to safely accomplish currently assigned excepted missions.
His guidance referenced instructions provided in a memo from the Deputy Secretary of Defense that stated "The Department will, of course, continue to prosecute the war in Afghanistan, including preparation of forces for deployment into that conflict. The Department must, as well, continue many other operations necessary for the safety of human life and protection of property, including operations essential for the security of our Nation."
In the message Gortney directed his commanders to "avoid or delay expenditures unless it is absolutely necessary. This is not business as usual."
He emphasized the quality of training and safety of forces will not be compromised, but acknowledged the pace of training may need to slow to maintain standards.
"We must not operate any faster than safe," said Gortney. He focused on commanders' responsibility to continually assess their commands and be aware when they are approaching the limits of safe operation.
The admiral directed commanders to report any operations or events that are canceled or delayed because they are not considered "essential" or due to safety concerns as a result of the government shutdown. Commanders will also report the impacts of these decisions.
Gortney closed the message by commending his commanders for their professionalism and dedication, and further charging them by saying: "You are Commanders; and I expect you to command. I will continue to trust you to make the hard, fiscally responsible decisions. We will provide leadership with the best information we have during this very dynamic situation."
For additional information regarding the Govt. Shutdown from U.S. Fleet Forces visit: http://www.public.navy.mil/usff/Pages/default.aspx