DES MOINES (KWWL)-- In a surprise move it calls a ‘precaution' a this point, the Iowa Army National Guard is cancelling all Iowa Army National Guard training duty, starting the weekend of March 5 & 6.
Colonel Greg Hapgood, top spokesman for the Iowa Army National Guard, confirmed the training cancellations Thursday night, telling KWWL-TV News it's a precaution, due to the imminent expiration of the Federal Government's Continuing Resolution Act, which is set to expire at midnight, March 4.
Unless Congress finds a last minute solution to the current stalemate, Federal funding would cease. The Resolution Act provides funding for the Iowa Army National Guard and National Guard operations all across the United States.
KWWL-TV first learned of the surprise cancellation of training through a loyal viewer. The viewer told KWWL-TV his neighbor's son is a soldier with the Iowa National Guard, and just learned of the precautionary action himself through his Company Sergeant.
The neighbor's son says he was told by his unit Sergeant not to report for training duty or any meetings because, "They have no money to pay us."
Colonel Greg Hapgood told KWWL-TV News he is hopeful Congress will find a quick resolution to the potential problem. Colonel Hapgood, pointing out that the Iowa Army National Guard had to furlough soldiers for a time in 1996, when Congress failed to pass a new Resolution Act.
Colonel Hapgood says the current plan is to make up the lost March training weekends sometime after April, as long as Congress passes the new budget by then. Colonel Greg Hapgood is also hopeful this is a very temporary situation, and that other cost-saving initiatives will not have to be implemented.