Army training center in Knightdale hit by federal shutdown

mhankerson@newsobserver.comOctober 11, 2013 

— One of the town’s newest employers is at a standstill just a few months after it opened.

About 600 employees of the United States Army Reserve in Knightdale will see a delay in their pay as a result of the federal government shutdown.

Lt. Col. Matt Lawrence, a media relations representative with the Reserve, said at army reserve centers like the one in Knightdale, operations are at a standstill.

Lawrence said full-time military employees are at work, but they can’t travel. At Knightdale’s center, there are about 25 full-time military employees.

About 600 reservists who use the center to train missed their normal weekend training and Lawrence said those soldiers won’t be able to drill again until the shutdown is resolved. The center’s 15-20 civilian employees may be needed, but they cannot be paid.

“All of those civilians may be called (to work) but there are no appropriations to pay them,” Lawrence said.

Even though one weekend of missed drills may seem like an easy schedule to make up, it could set the Reserves back several months.

“(The shutdown) is going to start impacting the Reserves’ readiness very quickly,” Lawrence said.

Since weekend training sessions were canceled last weekend, some soldiers may not be able to return to specific training centers for months. For full-time soldiers who were scheduled to relocate this week, their moves have been postponed. In addition to the operations that have been postponed or stopped, soldiers’ pay is up in the air as well.

National legislation passed before the shutdown means reservists will see a delay in their pay.

On Sept. 30, President Barack Obama passed the Pay Our Military Act, which allocates money to pay active-duty military and certain Department of Defense employees.

In a statement issued by the Department of Defense on Sept. 27, the department said military training may be disrupted unless it is connected to an “excepted” operation. Excepted operations are military operations and emergency services.

The department also said excepted employees will be paid retroactively.

Other non-excepted employees, including civilians, may be furloughed, meaning they will not be paid for time they did not work because of the shutdown.

The training center opened in April and serves more than 500 soldiers in the 518th Sustainment Brigade, 496th Signal Company, 346th Engineer Company and the 1006th Quartermaster Company.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826 Twitter: @easternwakenews

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