The Army National Guard is about $US100 million short on cash and numerous states around the country are being forced to postpone, and possibly cancel training because of it.
So far, Guard units in Delaware, Wisconsin, Ohio, Maryland, Hawaii, and Guam have announced they are rescheduling training. Sources told Business Insider that Illinois and Mississippi would also be affected. (These are regularly-scheduled weekend training events that happen every month).
Absent a reallocation of funds from Congress, the drills will end up being canceled completely, according to the Baltimore Sun. Meanwhile, some state guard units are sending money back to National Guard Bureau to cover the shortfall.
Business Insider obtained an email from a Guard commander explaining the situation:
“The fiscal situation at [National Guard Bureau] is severe, and ours continues to be very tight,” the email reads, which explains that Congress is expected to shift funds to cover the shortfall. “However, there is a risk that they are unable to do so.”
The commander goes on to say if the budget situation isn’t sorted out, the part-time soldiers should probably expect to do two drills in October as make-up.
While this may not seem like a big deal, drills are usually scheduled months in advance, so making a change like this could end up burdening guard soldiers with full-time jobs and other commitments, as Milwaukee’s Journal-Sentinel writes.
The National Guard Bureau attributed the shortfall to fewer soldiers mobilizing for overseas deployment (while deployed, they are funded from Overseas Contingency Operations funds), along with higher numbers of soldiers attending regular training and passing the Army’s formal schools, according to the Dayton Daily News.
“Each year as the fiscal year comes to a close, we take careful and deliberate steps to ensure every dollar is well spent within the limits of our budget, and not go over budget,” Guard spokesman Capt. John D. Fesler told the Sentinel. “This year, some unusual and unforeseen circumstances contributed to higher-than-normal expenditure rates across the Guard.”
We reached out to the National Guard Bureau and will update once we hear back.
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