Shutdown Planning Fail

This is a cross-post of a piece by Amy at SpouseBUZZ.  She did such a good job of summarizing my thoughts!  I asked her if I could post it here and she kindly agreed.  Thanks, Amy!  Be sure to check out the rest of Amy’s stuff at SpouseBUZZ.

The next time a shutdown is threatened and officials say they’ll take our pay and close many services, I expect to see them with a plan they can stick with.

(You know there will be a next time).

Dear military leaders: next time, please make up your minds early — and not often.

Like a good military spouse, as soon as the drama of the last few days ended my mind started racing with my own personal After Action Report. This wasn’t an examination of how I handled it – my thoughts were on leadership.

Let’s ignore for now the fact that proclaiming servicemembers’ pay a non-essential expense sends the message that our government absolutely does make the welfare of military families a priority.

Instead let’s focus on the chaos, rumor feeding and confusion our leaders created by not announcing a shutdown plan and sticking to it.

Take the commissary situation, for example: yes it’s going to close, no it’s not, yes it is, well it may not, oh it’s going to close in some places but not others, oh! It’s not going to close at all! (!!!) And still SpouseBUZZ readers were reporting their commissaries had hung signs announcing closure.

And all that before a shutdown was for sure.

Very unspecific DoD service shutdown guidance was issued Thursday, with a follow-up guidance changing some of the things they said at first issued late Friday. And lets not forget about the LES drama.

I understand that the pay threat was unprecedented and that leadership had to start a shutdown plan from scratch with relatively little notice. But their lack of succinct, coordinated planning fed an atmosphere of panic among military families, particularly those who live paycheck to paycheck.

Is it really too much to ask that those we trust with our well being live up to the responsibility they created for themselves?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.