Originally Posted by KF5LSC
Heh. I drove to work yesterday and today. Everything looks perfectly normal to me. You really couldn't tell there was any sort of
Government disruption. Btw, I'm a federal employee.
Since so many federal employees (and the employees needed to support them, and the employees needed to support the support employees, and so on) fall into this magical "exempt" category, it is pretty much business as usual with minor disruption to a few limited users of Federal services. Like the ULS. Johnny and Jane America can get groceries just fine with the ULS offline. Although, I guess they won't be visiting the Smithsonian.
I think that the biggest problem with this "shutdown" is that it is not really a shutdown at all. Shut it ALL down, make no federal employee exempt, let all the federal law enforcement folks and air traffic controllers sit at home and watch how quick the public reacts. Send the USPS home, and watch how quick public reaction strikes when those first of the month checks aren't showing up.
When something as trivial as the ULS being down iis an example of how the government is inconveniencing us, it makes me wonder why we have a federal government at all.
Just my thoughts. Here's the soapbox back, guys.
I have nothing to do with the FCC and cannot speak to why they shut down ULS (or pretty much all of the rest of their web facilities), but I can speak as someone who is affected by this shutdown, and several in the past.
Except for defined critical needs and “mission critical” positions it depends on where the funding for your particular agency / department comes from as to how “shut down” it is right now. For example my funding for the first quarter of FY 2014 was allocated and MIPR’ed before the end of the last FY, our funding works one quarter ahead. Because of that I am still being paid and on the clock, however within the same agency / command more than 80% of the employees are at home right now, waiting to hear when they can come to work. Out of 600 employees 117 are at work, the rest are at home. On a larger scale, from a near facility, 4000 out of 5400 employees are off work. Of course this is larger than the 50% average across defense, but is an example of how some areas can be almost untouched and others greatly impacted.
With regards to government databases and networks. At this time I cannot get a computer moved, software pushed, databases updated, or none mission critical IT support. Mission critical for our agency is defined as “direct support of the Warfighter”, if it does not support active duty military deployed or deployable it is not mission critical. The vast majority of the contracted IT support personnel are furloughed. So all network / IT services not absolutely required for day to day Warfighter support are on hold. This means we have shut down a lot of things that people might think could have been left running. Some of them might have been left running but if a problem occurred with them there would be no one to respond, and no one to respond to security issues or cyber attacks. So a clean shutdown of the systems was ordered at a known point. No data is better than wrong or corrupted data.
I can absolutely understand why the ULS might have been shut down. Well over 95% of the people at the FCC are off work, as well as an unspecified number of contracted support personnel. The ones that remain don’t have time to maintain a database used by external people/groups that is not critical to their core tasks. If people think all you need to do to maintain a database is leave the computer it is on running then most of those people have never run a DB before, or tried to recover one after a significant disruption.
One thing people do not seem to discuss much is the difference between government employees and contractors. To reduce the size of “government” many jobs have transitioned to contractor positions. In many cases these contractors are now off work along with their federal neighbors, however they are often not counted in media reports as “government” personnel. What this means is that often when you hear something like “400,000 defense related personnel are furloughed” this is only about half the real number of people setting at home, off work. The difference is contractors can charge leave time during a shutdown, assuming they have it on the books, while federal employees cannot. In a few weeks some of those people will be eligible for unemployment…what will that do to first time unemployment claims numbers?