Troops still fights America’s wars during the government shutdown — but for free.

Not even a government shutdown stops the US military from fighting wars.

More than 290,000 US troops abroad will continue to sail ships, fly planes and helicopters, and patrol cities and towns throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. That means the fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups, for example, won’t shut down just because the government did.

But there’s one major catch: Troops might not receive a paycheck for their work. If the government is still closed on February 1 — the Pentagon’s next payday — then troops must fight for free as their payment is deferred until the shutdown ends.

And it gets even worse. Around 50 percent of the civilian workforce and thousands of contractors who work for the Department of Defense in support of the military are now furloughed. Positions like accountants and secretaries — all of whom do critical work that makes the military run smoothly — are nevertheless considered “nonessential” during a shutdown and therefore stay home. They may not receive back pay, either; Congress has to vote to compensate furloughed employees once the government reopens.

That could have an important impact on how the military fights, James Miller, the top Pentagon policy official during the last government shutdown in 2013, told me. That’s because many of those furloughed civilians and contractors perform support functions that certain troops don’t have the expertise or time to do, Miller said.

But Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis asked his troops to continue fighting despite the temporary hardship. “Steady as she goes,” Mattis wrote in a January 19 memo, “hold the line. I know the Nation can count on you.”

The 2013 shutdown impacted the military too

Let’s rewind to the 2013 government shutdown, Read More Here