Former Coast Guard Commandant Slams Government Shutdown As 'Political Theater'

What Pay Will The Government Shutdown Affect?

As the government shutdown drags on into its third week, the Coast Guard is the only branch of the military whose members will continue to serve without pay. And not everyone thinks that arrangement is acceptable.

In a recent essay for Proceedings Magazine, the 23rd Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad W. Allen (Ret.), criticized the shutdown, calling it "political theater" before slamming elected officials for losing sight of their "constitutional responsibilities," even as coast guardsmen across the country continue to serve in austere and dangerous situations.

"I never believed it would be necessary to remind the leaders of all branches of government of their constitutional responsibilities, but it appears they have subordinated the 'general welfare' of their fellow citizens to parochial interests," Allen wrote in the essay. "While this political theater ensues, there are junior Coast Guard petty officers, with families, who are already compensated at levels below the national poverty level, who will not be paid during this government shutdown."

Unlike the other branches of the military, the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security, which means that during the government shutdown its members must continue to work without pay, or other financial benefits, like funding for childcare subsidies, according to Business Insider.

A one-time exception was made to pay Coast Guard personnel on Dec. 31, however, for the 42,000 service members who are deemed essential personnel and required to work, their upcoming paycheck on Jan. 15, 2019 remains in jeopardy.

For those coasties still on duty, their work has continued unabated even as their pay has stalled, as Business Insider reports:

"On December 23, Coast Guard crews on training exercises in Hawaii were diverted twice, first to medevac a snorkeler who was having a medical emergency and then to rescue passengers from a capsized vessel. This month, Coast Guard crews in the Pacific have been involved in searches for crew members from two different vessels."

It's unclear how long the shutdown will continue, with President Donald Trump saying last week that it could continue for "months or even years," after the administration and Democratic leaders failed to reach an agreement on proposed funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to the Associated Press.

All of this has fed concern that the shutdown is being used as a political football even while some in uniform continue to serve faithfully and without pay, as Allen notes in his essay.

"There is no reasonable answer as to why these families have to endure this hardship in the absence of a national emergency," wrote Allen, who comes from a family of Coast Guardsmen. "These leaders should ponder how they would tell a spouse at Arlington that his or her survivor benefits might be at risk — again, for no reason."

SEE ALSO: The Coast Guard Is About To Go Without Pay Because Of The Government Shutdown

WATCH NEXT: Check Out This Amazing Video Of The Coast Guard Assisting A Stranded Ship

(U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Melissa I. Ugalde)

Ah, Heartbreak Ridge, the creme de la' creme of moto-movies that gave us such gems as: "Recon platoon kicks butt!" and the tried-and-tested method of firing a bunch of AK rounds at your Marines and calling it a teachable moment.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers deploy concertina wire in a location along the Southwest border of the United States near Hidalgo, Texas. U.S. Army North is deployed to the southwest border under the authority of U.S. Northern Command to support the Department of Homeland Security and the Customs and Border Protection's mission to secure the border. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

The Defense Department's Inspector General's Office has launched an "evaluation" of the deployment of active-duty and National Guard troops to the southern border, a news release said Tuesday.

"We will examine, among other issues, what they are doing at the border, what training they received, and whether their use complied with applicable law, DoD policy, and operating guidance," said Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general performing the duties of the inspector general, in the release.

Read More Show Less
(DoD photo)

Gold Star family members might finally see an end to the so-called "Widows Tax" thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2020.

Read More Show Less
Saudi Arabia Defense Attache Major General Fawaz Al Fawaz and his Embassy staff and other officials arrive to meet with the Saudi students who remain restricted to the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola base by their Saudi commanding officer, in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. December 9, 2019.( FBI Jacksonville/Handout via Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 175 Saudi Arabian military aviation students have been grounded as part of a "safety stand-down" after a Saudi Air Force lieutenant shot and killed three people last week at a U.S. Navy base in Florida, U.S. officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Photo: U.S. Army/Spc. Valencia McNeal

The number of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct against senior Army officials increased this year, according to an Army Inspector General report recently presented to service leaders and obtained by Task & Purpose.

The document, which lays out broad details of IG investigations undertaken in fiscal year 2019, looks at investigations specific to senior Army officials, which includes "promotable colonels, general officers and senior executives," according to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz.

Read More Show Less