National Guard sounds the alarm over $521M reimbursement for Capitol deployment
The National Guard said this week that if it does not receive the $521 million reimbursement for its help protecting Washington, D.C., following the Jan. 6 insurrection it will hinder the readiness of the guardsmen to respond to other situations.
“Without reimbursement funding, there is significant impact on National Guard readiness if we’re not able to resolve this in a timely manner,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a statement obtained by The Hill on Saturday.
Guardsmen were deployed from almost every state and territory in the months following the Capitol riot, when supporters of former President Trump stormed the building and breached security. The National Guard stayed to protect the area during President Biden’s inauguration and for months thereafter.
Other members have been deployed to assist with coronavirus testing and care in ailing parts of the country.
“The National Guard used fiscal year 2021 funding to pay for the operational Capital response from January to May. By front-loading the money, it ensured the Soldiers and Airmen who volunteered for the mission were paid,” the National Guard Bureau said in a statement to The Hill.
“The nearly $521 million cost of that mission is still a deficit against our budget. Without the reimbursement funding, the National Guard will either curtail, or reduce, its drill weekends, annual training, operations and maintenance for the months of August and September,” the National Guard Bureau added.
Reimbursement for the National Guard has been stalled, as lawmakers need to reach an agreement on emergency appropriations before the money can be disbursed.
The National Guard has been warning for weeks that if it doesn’t receive the money, critical resources such as training may need to be canceled.
“Without those resources, the Guard … will find themselves with training issues,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told lawmakers back in June, echoing remarks from the National Guard Bureau in the statement shared Saturday.
A bipartisan group of 70 House lawmakers wrote a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to come to a deal so the National Guard can be reimbursed.
“If trainings are canceled, several thousand Army National Guard Soldiers will not have enough service time this fiscal year to receive credit for a good year toward a military retirement. Approximately 2,000 training schools will be canceled, affecting their readiness, pay and career progression. Ground vehicle and rotary wing operations and maintenance will be halted. Facilities will degrade, including the delay of critical fire safety projects in Maryland, Minnesota and the Virgin Islands,” the letter stated.
Updated 3:16 p.m.