The National Guard is a vital part of our nation’s defenses serving stateside when governors need help. On Jan. 6, they helped secure the Capitol, now they are left with a $521 million budget shortfall.
Republicans and Democrats are once again arguing amongst themselves, while the National Guard is on the verge of shutting down. The head of the National Guard, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, told Congress in May that if they did not close the funding shortfall, that the Guard would shut down
The start of the National Guard’s year is Oct. 1 for 2022. However, they begin training in August and September performing drills, training events, and pre-deployment training.
The shut down would affect 2,000 schools run by the Guard. Those schools provide development courses like the Basic Leader Course, a course necessary for promotion.
The shutdown would affect more than just the organizational side of the National Guard. Troops would begin to miss out on much needed pay. An Army specialist should get about $700 for two months of drills while an annual training is about $1200.
Maj. Gen. Roger Lyles, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, said, “I feel horrible as a leader to tell my soldiers and airmen that I may not be able to pay them for August and September drill.”
John Goheen, a National Guard Associaition spokesman said to Military.com, that closing the schools even for a short time, like 2 months, would have rippling affects on careers, and there will likely be scheduling issues.
“Getting those soldiers to school is tough; some wait a long time. They have to calculate everything — college, kids, family. This is a big problem.”John Goheen
Troops do not have the benefit of having childcare provided for them while they are at the schools. A reschedule may mean that they won’t have another opportunity to get in their training.
A scarier prospect is troops being sent out without training, if they are not able to conduct the normal readiness training. If they are not funded in two weeks, the training will be cancelled.
Both sides have presented bills with vastly different funding. Sen. Patrick Leahy presented a $3.7 billion plan while Republican Sen. Richard Shelby’s was $632.9 million. Shelby’s bill provides the exact funding for the Guard and Capitol Police.
Whichever option they choose, they need to do it quickly to avoid any potential shutdowns.