Iowa Nat. Guard Works in the Dark - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowa Nat. Guard Works in the Dark

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by Phil Prazan

pprazan@myabc5.com

@PhilPrazan

 

The Iowa National Guard had to cut 8% of its annual budget, but we are already halfway through the fiscal year.  So in some cases that percentage had to double.

When the sun goes down on the Iowa National Guard headquarters it gets dark inside and now it's dark for the whole day.  To save on electricity bills the order came to shut the lights off.

They started planning for the sequester cuts about eight weeks ago.  Working in a dark building was one way to cut some funds.

The Iowa National Guard gets $370 million a year from the Federal Government.  They had to cut their base operating expenses by 30%.  That includes maintenance and utilities.

If these cuts aren't reversed, in April 1100 people - 50 percent of the civilian workforce - will be furloughed one day out of the week.

The guard has to organize their priorities so as to cause as little damage as possible.
 
 "It's a difficult balance.  You have to figure out how to stay as ready as possible and as reliable as possible yet make the cuts and do the hard work you have to do," says Colonel Greg Hapgood with the Iowa National Guard.

Some training, buying new equipment and vehicle maintenance are also areas affected by the cuts.  They'll go deeper with no coming agreement in Washington.

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