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Federal shutdown cuts into Kan. Guard's readiness

Published on -10/11/2013, 12:36 PM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Every day the federal government remains shut down, the Kansas National Guard loses some of its readiness, Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Kansas adjutant general, said Thursday.

"The longer this goes on, the more degraded our capability becomes," Tafanelli said. "Each day we lose a little bit of readiness."

He said that as of Thursday, 268 Kansas National Guard employees remained furloughed, representing about 13 percent of the Guard's 2,100 employees statewide, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (http://bit.ly/18UUYsH ).

Congress hasn't approved a budget for this fiscal year, prompting the partial shutdown of federal services.

"We hope this gets resolved as quickly as possible so we can get back to training," Tafanelli said.

Gov. Sam Brownback said Friday that the state has assumed the responsibility for the costs of some of the National Guard's operations, including utilities costs, which are expected to be reimbursed.

But Tafanelli said the Guard already has had to cancel its October drill. Weekend drills are critical, he said, because guardsmen who work day jobs only get one training session per month. Not having the training also means traditional guardsmen aren't drilling and won't receive paychecks that could have been required for mortgage or car payments, he said.

"I've lost one-twelfth of my training year," Tafanelli said.

Employees who are working could also run out of needed supplies or repair parts forcing them to turn to other tasks they don't generally have time for. That, Tafanelli said, takes guardsmen away from preparing to defend the county and respond to natural disasters.

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