The Army Reserve and the National Guard say they are on standby to see what happens in Congress, as they wait for the resumption of funding for inactive and active-duty training, or IDT and ADT.
The cancellation of the IDT and ADT training is affecting readiness and hurting the soldiers, said Capt. Eric Connor, deputy chief for public information with the Army Reserve Command.
“One of our pillars is resiliency,” Connor said. “We have to stay Army Strong in terms of just making sure we get through all of this because we are all in this together as a team.”
The exception to the cancellation includes soldiers who are supporting mobilization or combatant command exercises, he said. About 700 soldiers have been affected by the cancellation of classes at developmental schools, Connor said. Other areas impacted by the partial government shutdown, he said, are maintenance and the shipping and transfer of equipment.
While some Army Reserve personnel have been called back to duty, Connor said, they don’t have new equipment needed for maintenance. ”They’re actually just working with what they have,” he said. “If they need new parts to make repairs, that’s not taking place.”
The government furlough “has caused a loss of some 23,500 man-hours, putting a backlog of about 3.5 days when it comes to maintenance,” Connor said. Some soldiers are put in a difficult situation financially, he said. ”Some of them live paycheck-to-paycheck, and a lot of them rely on the money from drills just to pay their light bills and put food on the table right now,” Connor said.
“We are working with our leaders and trying to see if in the future we can have them RST (rescheduled training) and have them make up these drills in order to get them back on the right track,” he said.
Drills are critical to the training and development of soldiers on individual skills or on equipment, physical training and weapons qualifications, he said. ”Just last week we had some 75,000 soldiers who were impacted by their drills being canceled at a tune of $46.3 million,” he said. “Right now, if that continues for the rest of the month, that number could almost double to some $89 million.”
Reservists can contact Fort Family at www.ARFP.org, or call toll-free at 866-345-8248, for information and support during this time, Connor said. Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley, the chief of the Army Reserve and the commanding general of the Army Reserve Command, said each member of the Army Reserve family is affected by the shutdown in different ways.
“We are in a historic period for our nation and it is terrible that such severe measures have been taken that so deeply affect our civilian workforce, soldiers, and our families,” Talley said.
“Please know that I have the highest respect for each of you, for your service, and your commitment to America’s Army,” he said. “I ask you to stay Army Strong and we will get through this together.”
The chief of the National Guard Bureau, Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, underscored the importance of the men and women of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.
“Despite the unfortunate turmoil to your personal lives, please know that every person in uniform is privileged to serve alongside you and would never diminish your contributions,” Grass said.
“Unfortunately drill/IDT periods are not authorized during the shutdown unless they are supporting excepted activities,” he said. “For specific guidance on this and ADOS (active duty operational support) positions, please consult your chain of command.”
National Guard Bureau spokesman Army Maj. Jon Craig said the shutdown has stopped a wide range of activities that include administrative actions, annual medical requirements, operational training events and maintenance on vehicles.
“Soldiers aren’t going to the rifle range; pilots aren’t able to fly the helicopters or their jets,” he said. “Without training, the continuity of the training that normally would go on isn’t happening.”
Craig recommended members check the National Guard website, http://www.nationalguard.mil, or the Department of Defense’s website, http://www.defense.mil for the most up-to-date information on the shutdown.