NC National Guard leader supports lifting furloughs for technicians
Posted July 24, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — The adjutant general of the North Carolina National Guard says he supports a federal bill that would exempt military technicians from civilian furloughs resulting from automatic federal spending cuts.
Army Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk said Wednesday that the 11 mandatory Fridays off without pay, which amount to a 20 percent pay cut, have brought financial hardships to more than 1,050 guardsmen serving as dual-status federal technicians – civilian employees who must be members of the National Guard.
Dual-status technicians are the only uniformed members of the military who are subjected to furlough.
The proposed bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1014, which was introduced in March by Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., would provide military technicians the same exemption as other uniformed military personnel.
"My hope is that Congress will move quickly to reverse the current furlough for all uniformed military personnel, so that we may continue to protect and preserve the lives and property of North Carolina citizens, defend our nation and secure our American way of life," Lusk said.
Lusk said dual-status technicians perform vital training, maintenance, administrative and managerial functions that help prepare for domestic and overseas missions and that many families – like that of Staff Sgt. Justin Hammond, are feeling the effects of reduced wages.
"The 20 percent figure in the big scheme of things, it's a big punch, a very big blow," said Hammond, an aircraft mechanic and father of three. "It's been tough."
Lusk said that although the National Guard is ready to respond to the needs of North Carolina and the nation, he is concerned about how furloughs remaining in effect through 2014 could affect the organization's ability to perform at an optimal level.
"Over time, this will definitely have an impact on our readiness," technician Staff Sgt. Randall Brown said. "We just don't have the man hours to put in to maintain the airframes we use the way you have to."