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.

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