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Shutdown Creates Training ‘Gap’ for Afghanistan-Bound Troops

Author: Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Senior Fellow for Women and Foreign Policy
October 11, 2013
Defense One

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From the start of the shutdown, the Pay Our Military Act aimed to keep crucial, war-related functions on track while Washington rolled off the rails. But more than a week in, United States troops heading into the Afghanistan war now bear the brunt of the stalemate.

The Oregon National Guard has delayed the start of training for its 1,000-plus members scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan next spring. The first weekend drills for the deployment had been scheduled to start last weekend. But unlike active duty troops, who continue to get paid, most National Guardsmen now work for IOUs. They will not be paid until the shutdown ends. For that reason, Guard officials postponed their first training weekend until later this month.

"The department has protected training for units who are immediately deploying to Afghanistan, but we don't necessarily have funding yet to fully train those who will go and replace them. This gap is an example of how the shutdown and sequestration are damaging our ability to maintain readiness," Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog told Defense One. Several other military units heading to Afghanistan this winter are training during the shutdown.

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