Sequester cuts: 1,100 in Iowa National Guard to be furloughed

About 1,100 “military federal technicians” who are part of the Iowa National Guard soon will be furloughed one day a week for 11 consecutive weeks, because of the so-called “sequester” cuts in the federal budget.

Colonel Greg Hapgood, a spokesman for the Iowa Guard, is one of the employees who will be going without pay for 11 days over those 11 weeks.

“A federal technician is in some respects a federal civilian employee Monday through Friday, but they’re also a military member of the Iowa National Guard, for the most part,” Hapgood says. “We do have some that are purely civilian federal technicians, but the vast majority are what we would call dual-status technicians that are both a member of the Iowa National Guard and work for the federal government, for the Department of Defense.”

The furloughs start July 8 and will end September 30, which is the last day of the current federal fiscal year.

“The 1100 that will be furloughed, the vast majority of those will be either between the headquarters of the Iowa National Guard and also at our Air National Guard units which have a number of technicians in Sioux City, Fort Dodge and also here in Des Moines,” Hapgood says. “But it will be felt in all four corners of the state.”

The Iowa Guard has facilities in 43 Iowa communities.

“The furloughs will affect, roughly, less than 10 percent of our force, but it will make some of our processes more time-consuming,” Hapgood says. “Things may be slower than usual, whether it’s acquiring logistics or doing personnel actions or the wide variety of things we do with our federal technicians.”

Hapgood says the Guard will be prepared to deploy whenever activated, regardless of the furloughs.

“The Iowa National Guard, though hindered by these furloughs, we still will be able to maintain readiness to the best possible degree and also respond to the state in a timely manner.”

The Iowa National Guard dates back to Iowa’s territorial days, with Iowa Militia units forming in 1846 to fight on the U.S. side in the Mexican War.