Letters Extra: Idling Guard staff risks readiness

The Pentagon's decision to impose budget-driven furloughs on some 53,000 National Guard full-time uniformed staffers - including more than 1,800 in Pennsylvania - threatens Guard training and readiness. Just like regular military personnel, these critical Guard members should be exempt from furloughs, as proposed by U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R., Miss.), Congress' only concurrently serving enlisted member of the National Guard.

Even though the Defense Department has reduced the number of furlough days to 14, that's not good enough. We must ensure that the National Guard is ready to answer the call now to duty and in the future.

As part of its legislative advocacy role, the Pennsylvania National Guard Associations is working hard to ensure that these full-time Guard staff remain on the job. Without them, a state's governor and Guard adjutant general have fewer people and, thus, less equipment to respond to a state emergency. We want to ensure that Gov. Corbett, as the Guard's commander-in-chief, and Major General Wesley Craig, the adjutant general, have the right equipment and necessary manpower to deal with any emergency on behalf of the commonwealth. Action needs to be taken by enacting Palazzo's legislation, or through other federal measures.

Joel Mutschler, vice chairman, Pennsylvania National Guard Associations, Annville, jmutt99@gmail.com

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