Budget Cuts Force Guard Units on "Off-Ramp"

Three units of the Indiana National Guard have been pulled from a looming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom because of sequestration and other budget cuts.

The units were 1st Battalion, 293rd Infantry, 1st Squadron, 152nd Cavalry, and Company D, 113th Combat Support Battalion and they were set to deploy in June 2013. The announcement came in mid-March - an incredibly late rescheduling for units that had been training for this year-long deployment for up to two years.

The Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger expressed concern at the timing of the announcement, stating, "I am deeply troubled by the late timing of this announcement and the impact it will have on everyone. Our citizen soldiers, families and employers deserve more predictability."

Although difficult for the members of the Indiana National Guard, the timing of this action raises many questions about future deployments for all Guard and Reserve units. The Budget Control Act of 2011, the underfunding of Overseas Contingency Operations, and sequestration have severely limited the Army's ability to perform missions with planned Reserve and Guard units, and these financial burdens show no sign of being lifted anytime soon.

According to a press release by the US Army, active-duty units will be sent instead, reducing the cost by about $93 million. They also say that this decision was made for its "immediate cost savings" and does not represent a "a shift in policy with regard to the deployment and utilization of reserve component units in the future".