- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Weekend training for thousands of soldiers in Arkansas and in other states was delayed this month because of a $101 million National Guard Bureau budget shortfall, according to a spokesman.

Arkansas National Guard spokesman, Lt. Col. Matt Snead, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1uIT08C ) that about 7,600 part-time guard personnel did not report for drills last weekend in Arkansas.

Snead said on average, each soldier lost out on $330 before taxes. Arkansas Air National Guard members were not affected by the budget squeeze.

The drills are normally held once a month. September’s has been tentatively rescheduled for later this month, but Snead said if the budget shortfall is not alleviated, the units will hold two drill weekends in October.

“Either way, the soldier is going to be able to make up his drill,” he said.

Snead said the larger concern is how the delay will affect soldiers’ morale. They received only about a week’s notice that training would be rescheduled for September. Training calendars are usually given a year in advance so soldiers, their families and their employers can plan work and vacation schedules.

To change schedules on short notice can be “very disruptive,” Snead said.

The National Guard Bureau’s budget shortfall developed in its personnel account, which contains funds that pay for training such as weekend drills.

Bureau officials said in a statement that the shortfall was “largely due to fewer mobilizations, higher-than-planned training attendance and historical high pass rates at (guard) schools.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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