The Pentagon issued guidance on Friday on how a potential government shutdown, which would begin on Tuesday absent a congressional agreement on spending, would impact its operations.
"All military personnel will continue in a normal duty status regardless of their affiliation" under a shutdown scenario, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter wrote in a memo to military commanders and other senior defense officials.
But continued service could present complications for the troops themselves, Carter added.
"Military personnel will not be paid until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service," he wrote.
This would include troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.
In addition to carrying out their presently assigned duties, Carter said military personnel may be permitted to carry out the activities of personnel who are furloughed as a result of any shutdown, so long as that activity can be done without incurring any new obligations.
Active reserve components in the military would also continue to report for duty. Reserve personnel would not be ordered to active duty, an accompanying packet of guidance to Carter's memo said, unless they were to support of military activities deemed necessary for national security.
Orders for National Guard units that are in effect at the time of a shutdown would terminate unless they were being done in support of any activity that was deemed an exception.
On the civilian side, the guidance said only the "minimum number of civilian employees necessary to carry out excepted activities will be excepted from furlough."
Those civilians who are not furloughed "also will not be paid until Congress makes appropriated funds available," Carter wrote in his memo.
It is expected that should a shutdown occur, civilian employees would have to report to work, but then would be told who is essential and must continue their work, while others would be sent home.
The shutdown could also impact death benefits and emergency payments going to families of any service members killed in action during a shutdown.
The Pentagon said any contractors working on projects fully funded prior to a shutdown would be able to continue regardless of whether the project applied to an excepted activity or not. New contracts however, could not be executed unless they were in support of an excepted activity.
In his memo, Carter stressed the guidance did not identify every sector or activity that was deemed excepted during a shutdown, but was to serve as a template for "prudent" planning.