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Brig. Gen. Branyon's Heartfelt Message to Florida Air National Guard Airmen

Jacksonville, Fla. -- Combat Airmen of the Florida Air National Guard,

It saddens me to have to send this email as a result of the government partial shutdown. I, like many of you, planned to show up to work at the FLANG today and awakened to the news that our Congress did not pass some kind of budget or continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating. So, as a Drill Status Guardmen (DSG), I write this email from home. I am sure that many of you are feeling emotions of frustration, disappointment, despair, and downright anger. I know that I feel many of those emotions, especially since I cannot do something to protect my people: the awesome women and men of the FLANG.

What I can promise, is to do everything in my power to keep you informed and to make decisions, when allowed under the law and AF/ANG guidance, to make your life a little better. For instance, I am encouraging Commanders to make drill this weekend "optional" so that you can at least plan for some stability in your life. I know many of you have rearranged schools, test, jobs, and commitments, so, if a budget passes and you want to do duty and get paid this weekend, you should be allowed to do that. On the other hand, if you need to contact your employer or make arrangements asap to do something else this weekend, I want you to be able to do that now. If your unit absolutely cannot have any kind of drill this weekend and must reschedule it to a different weekend, then I would like that new Unit Training Aassembly (UTA) to be optional. Again, you have made plans this month, and I want us to be able to honor your plans. Additionally, if you choose to never make up this drill, I am fine with that also. Just make sure you get a good year of points!

When the dust settles, I hope you realize that you are doing a great service for the country and that the American public really appreciates you. You work with great people, for a great purpose and mission. Please hang on through these tough times and continue to be part of this great organization. Below, I posted some "facts" from Chief Kirkland, so you have a better idea of what is happening:

As you probably know, the United States has entered what is being referred to as a partial shutdown. Many federal government functions will either be terminated or severely restricted until such time as FY 14 funds are made available. We do not know how long this situation will continue. At the direction of the Chief, National Guard Bureau and the Director of the Air National Guard, we have begun the process of reducing our activity levels to comply with the laws applicable to a lack of funding. The following provides some information concerning what is happening and what activity the FLANG can or cannot support.

- Congress failed to pass either a FY 14 Budget or a Continuing Resolution Authority before the beginning of the new fiscal year (1 Oct 2013)
- Absent either of these legislative actions, the United States has entered a lapse in appropriations
- A lapse in appropriations means the Federal Government does not have any legal authority to spend money
- SOME activities have been excepted and include minimum essential Aerospace Control Alert (ACA) and training for Contingency Operations within the next 180 days
- If an activity has not been excepted, we must cease all operations in those non-excepted areas
- We may NOT conduct Annual Training or Unit Training Assemblies that are not required to support an excepted activity
- We may NOT perform any travel related to non-excepted activities
- We may NOT conduct Flying Training that is not directly related to an excepted activity
- All Air Technicians that are not essential to support excepted activities have been furloughed and will remain so until the appropriation lapse has been resolved. Traditional DSGs have no way to be paid.
- State Employees funded by the Federal Cooperative Agreements will continue to report to work through Thursday. If no resolution has been enacted at that time, it is almost certain that these employees will also be negatively affected.
- State employees not funded by the Federal Cooperative Agreements are not affected and will continue to work normal schedules
- AGR personnel (permanent and temporary) will continue to report to duty

That's it for now; you will know more when we know more.

I am proud to be on your team!

Gen Branyon