Support National Guard Military Technicians
Pentagon leaders exempted uniformed personnel from the sequester to limit the impact of ongoing budget debates on military readiness. However, they did not include the approximately 53,000 National Guard military technicians in that exemption.
These technicians support the readiness of troops not only for the state emergencies but for the federal mission as well. They are part of the Total Force team and wear the uniform of our nation each day.
If you lined up five members of the National Guard’s Army or Air Force personnel and were asked to point out the military technician, you would need to ask their pay or duty status since they all wear the same uniforms.
They are true American patriots like every other member serving in the U.S. military.
President Barack Obama, Congress and the Defense Department all agreed to exempt uniformed personnel from the sequester. But the furlough of military technicians violates that intent.
Frankly, that our nation’s government condones the furlough of uniformed service members is appalling.
The DoD reduced the number of furlough days to 11, but the savings does not offset the effects. The National Guard must remain ready to answer the call.
Eleven work days without military technicians maintaining equipment, training the force and administering unit activities impacts unit personnel and equipment readiness. Citizens require governors to have available the proper equipment and necessary manpower to respond to emergencies at any time.
It’s the Guard motto: “Always ready, always there.”
The National Guard provided support to domestic crises more than 100 times in 2012, including 11 natural disasters that each cost more than $1 billion.
Imagine those disasters without a trained force to get the areas productive again.
National Guard military technicians or active military members represent 15 percent of the force, but train nearly 85 percent of the 460,000 members of that force. Targeting these service members makes absolutely no sense.
If the federal government would allow the governors to cross level funds, they could achieve the same savings without the need to furlough the military technicians. However, that option is not on the table.
The best option now is to pass legislation.
Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., a member of the National Guard in his state, introduced H.R. 1014. This bill would exempt military technicians from the furloughs by including them in military personnel accounts now and in the future.
I urge your support of this bill or other federal legislation that will accomplish this goal. Contact your representative in Congress today. (Editor's Note: A Legislative Alert was issued by NGAUS on June 19. Take action here!)
Joel Mutschler is the chairman of the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations, the professional organization that is the voice of more than 19,000 Pennsylvanians who serve their state and nation in the Pennsylvania National Guard.