HELENA — Montana Army National Guard officials said Friday that they’re postponing all training until the last weekend in September because of a federal budget shortfall.
“This is the first time this has affected guardsmen here in Montana,” said Lt. Col. Tim Crowe, spokesman for the Montana National Guard. “The real effect in Montana is that the soldiers of the Army National Guard are delaying their training. It’s not optimal.”
Guard units across the country are facing cutbacks and are postponing drills in states from New Hampshire to Hawaii in hopes of congressional action on funding. A $101 million gap has led to the postponed training and suspended travel, National Guard spokesman Capt. John Fesler said.
Montana soldiers who usually train earlier in the month will have their paychecks delayed, Crowe said.
Officials are working with soldiers to adjust to the changes in schedule. They’re also working quickly to plan for all Guard members to train on one weekend instead of over staggered weekends.
While it’s not business as usual, the Guard is well-versed in making quick adjustments, Crowe said. “It’s certainly not out of our skillset to respond quickly and effectively to the change,” he said.
In other states, drills have been postponed and pay delayed in past years during federal government shutdowns or because of budget cutbacks.
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