Shutdown Halts Guard Weekend Drills

(Oct. 2, 2013) National Guardsmen will not have weekend drills as long as the government shutdown continues, NGAUS has been told. The funding for inactive duty training is not available as long as the federal government remains partially inoperative.

Some states anticipated the shutdown and moved drills to a later weekend in October hoping to avoid the issue if the shutdown ends quickly. But headlines speak of no quick resolution to the partial closing of the federal government that began at midnight Monday.

Also, some lawmakers are pushing to include National Guard military technicians in the law that provides active-duty military members with their basic pay and allowances. The law treats these uniformed full-time employees as part of the civilian workforce and, therefore, not exempted from the shutdown.

Meanwhile, danger pay for troops in harm’s way may be a victim of the government shutdown, according to a story in Army Times today.

Also, veterans’ benefits are at risk if the shutdown continues and Air Force physical fitness standards that were to go into effect this week have been delayed. The weekly publication updated several shutdown-related items on its website Tuesday.

The Pentagon is still trying to determine if danger pay and other incentive compensation can be paid while the federal government is not operating fully. The House Armed Services Committee told the Pentagon Tuesday that incentive payments can continue, but military lawyers have suggested that that is not the case.

Army Times was told Tuesday the Pentagon is still considering its options regarding danger pay and other incentive pay. The first paycheck affected would be issued on Oct. 15.

Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed, however, a bill that provides active-component military members and reserve members on active duty with basic pay.

The Department of Veterans Affairs told the publication it will run out of money to pay disability and survivor benefits in “late October” if the shutdown continues. The agency also said it has slowed the processing of older claims because it cannot afford the overtime pay required.

Also, new physical fitness standards in the Air Force have been delayed. Under the new plan, airmen who fail the waist measurement portion of the test but pass the push-up, sit-up and running segments would still pass if they meet a body mass index standard. The new standards have not been published due to the shutdown.