More than 22,000 members of the Texas Military Forces are feeling the effects of the government’s inability to pass a fiscal year 2014 federal budget or continuing resolution. Approximately 2,200 uniformed military technicians have been furloughed, and say the government shutdown will significantly delay its ability to support the Texas governor and citizens in times of need.
“Any time you send more than 50 percent of your full-time force home there will be a negative impact on operations,” said Lt. Col. Joanne E. Macgregor, state public affairs officer. “All of our aircraft and vehicle maintainers are uniformed military technicians, therefore every day the federal government maintains its shutdown is one day longer it takes us to prepare our emergency equipment.”
Additionally, the shutdown is beginning to impact the 22,000 traditional guardsmen in Texas, who typically drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year, as all training other than pre-mobilization training will be cancelled until the federal government shutdown is resolved.
“This shutdown is causing us to postpone unit training, force many key leaders to stay home on furlough, and take our service members out of vital skill qualification schools,” said MacGregor.
The Texas National Guard has installations, armories and personnel in more than 100 communities throughout Texas, therefore, a lengthy duration without pay for our uniformed military technicians may trickle down to the local economies.
“Our personnel and families have been through a lot recently,” said MacGregor. “Sequestration has caused many of our uniformed military technicians to endure furloughs earlier this year, so any additional reduction in pay significantly increases their hardships.”
With storm season still in effect, a tropical storm currently in the Gulf of Mexico and other states recently experiencing natural disasters, the National Guard’s core mission of serving its home state is suffering with the shutdown.
“We pride ourselves in standing ready to serve the citizens of Texas at home and abroad when called upon by the governor or president,” said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols, The Adjutant General of Texas. “However, the prolonged government shutdown constrains my ability not only to get ready, but also to stay ready for disaster response.”
The mission of the Texas Military Forces (TXMF) is to provide the governor and the President of the United States with ready and trained forces in support of the citizens of Texas and state and federal civil/military authorities at home and abroad.