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U.S. Troops will have access to AFN despite government shutdown

U.S. Troops will have access to The Armed Forces Network.

NFL: NOV 12 Chargers at Jaguars Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Air Force Academy announced Saturday that they have halted all games as a result of the government shutdown. Thanks to the inability of our elected officials to agree on anything, deployed service members could have been without television — and sports — for the duration of the shutdown.

But on Sunday, Pro Football Talk reported that the Department of Defense considered the Armed Forces Network “essential activities." So, the troops will be able to watch television and listen to radio broadcasts.

Dana W. White, the Chief Department of Defense spokesperson said this: “Despite the government shutdown, DoD determined the operational necessity of television and radio broadcasts constitutes them as essential activities. We will continue to find solutions to support our troops at home and abroad. Congress must come to a resolution, support our troops and pass a budget soon.”

The Armed Forces Network, or AFN, provides “... U.S. radio and television news, information, and entertainment programming to active, guard, and Reserve military service members, Department of Defense (DoD) civilians and contract employees, and their families overseas, on board Navy and Coast Guard ships, and other authorized users.”

Of the eight channels that make up AFN’s television services, two of them are dedicated entirely to sports. Without service, military members in 168 countries worldwide (and on ships), would have missed out on the NFL playoffs this weekend (and college basketball and NBA and NHL).

Here’s what service members saw on Saturday:

According to the military newspaper the Stars and Stripes, AFN played classical music to go along with the above message on the screen. Now, our troops can enjoy television and radio broadcasts with the rest of us.