As sequestration- and furlough-fever grips the U.S. military this week, one promise has always been that airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines would be exempt from the 20 percent pay cut and being sent home one day a week — a process that began July 8.
But that isn’t quite true.
Under a twist in the law where a portion of National Guard soldiers and airmen working full time are designated “dual-status military technicians” — effectively, working in a civilian pay status when they are stateside — they can be furloughed.
As a result, nearly 50,000 National Guard troops who work to maintain Guard vehicles, supplies and records and do other work to support the Guard are part of the 650,000 who began their furlough status this week.
Many have previously been deployed to combat after being switched to active-duty military status and this could happen again, said retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett Jr., president of the National Guard Association of the United States.
“These soldiers and airmen perform day-to-day administrative, logistical and maintenance functions. The Pentagon exempted in the name of military readiness all other uniformed personnel,” said Hargett, “yet curiously extended no such protections to [these nearly 50,000 troops.]”
A House bill has already been introduced aimed at blocking furloughs for the National Guard troops.