GIVING ‘ALL VOLUNTEER FORCE’ A NEW MEANING…. If the federal government shuts down this week, members of the military — including servicemen and women fighting wars overseas — won’t get paid.

In the event of a shutdown, all uniformed military personnel would continue to work but would stop receiving paychecks, an official familiar with the government’s planning told The Cable. As April 8 falls in the middle of the Defense Department’s two-week pay period, military personnel would actually receive a paycheck totaling half the normal amount.

A large number of Pentagon civilians would be furloughed without pay for the duration of the shutdown. Support structures for military families, such as military schools, would remain open. When the shutdown ends, the soldiers would get their back pay but the civilians might not.

I guess this gives the phrase “all volunteer force” a new meaning?

In all seriousness, I know GOP leaders are prepared to shut down the government over just $7 billion in spending, but I’d hope they’d consider the real-world consequences of their actions.

Louis Bornman, a DOD employee who has spent 12 years of active duty in the Army, says getting furloughed could jeopardize his entire retirement savings. He says it will also adversely impact the federal government and taxpayers.

“It is very demoralizing to think you’re going to be laid off and not paid,” said Bornman, based in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. “People will have to work overtime in the near future, which ultimately will cost the government more money.”

We’ve all heard the cliches for years about politicians and their willingness to “support the troops,” but if the House GOP is sincere about its willingness to look out for those who wear the uniform, they’ll put the troops’ needs above Tea Partiers’ demands.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.