The Iowa Army National Guard has postponed some regular drills planned for next month over concerns about a possible federal government shutdown. Guard spokesman, Colonel Greg Hapgood, says units scheduled to drill the weekend of March 5th and 6th will not meet until April.
The current budget extension expires at midnight on March fourth. “What that allows us to do is push that March drill after April first so that we feel confident that after April first the budget will be in place or another continuing resolution , and we will have the funding we need to pay those soldiers to drill,” Hapgood says.
Hapgood says they just didn’t want to have the soldiers complete their drills and then have to wait for their pay. “I mean you’re really talking about something we haven’t seen for 15 years,” Hapgood says, “some people remember the sting of 1996 (government shut down) but others don’t. So we’re trying to be as cautionary as we can and keep in mind the needs of our soldiers and airmen.”
Hapgood says officials are taking a “wait-and-see” approach about whether or not to hold drills scheduled for later in March. During the federal government shutdown of 1996, Hapgood says the Guard had to cancel drills and furlough some employees.
Hapgood says about 2,000 soldiers in 45 units scheduled to drill March 5th and 6th will not meet until April.