DEFENSE CUTS: Sequester Impacts Guard

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The sequester was signed in to law Friday and forces automatic cuts to the federal government totaling $85-billion, half of which impacts defense.

Those defense cuts will take its toll on Iowa’s National Guard.

Colonel Greg Hapgood says the guard receives $370-million in federal funding and that will now be cut by 10-percent across the board.

Trimming the budget will lead to furloughs effecting approximately 1,100 Iowa National Guard employees.

The furloughs will force guardsmen to take one unpaid day a week from the end of April through September.

Colonel Hapgood says this will affect the guard’s ability to be ready when they’re called upon, “If you have people that have to furlough that are taken away from the team, or pieces of equipment that aren’t as ready as you’d like them to be, or facilities whatever the case is, these things are all factors that could affect our readiness.”

The Guard began making cuts before the sequester went into effect cutting travel expenses, utility costs and holding off on maintenance work.