FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The federal government shutdown has scuttled plans for a National Guard training exercise at Fort Bragg and created uncertainty for the Army base’s civilian employees and local businesses.
The Fayetteville Observer reports that scores of soldiers from the North Carolina National Guard arrived Friday for training on urban assaults at the massive Army base. But the training involving 2,600 troops was dismantled on Saturday because of the shutdown, according to Lt. Col. Matthew DeVivo, a spokesman for the North Carolina National Guard.
“This exercise — the size and complexity of it —it’s an amazing undertaking,” DeVivo told the newspaper. “It’s a big deal. The bottom line is, this shutdown decreases the readiness across the Guard and Reserve.”
Devivo said the shutdown will curtail equipment purchases and training exercises, though exceptions would include units scheduled for overseas deployment. Guard members would also be available to respond to a state disaster or emergency.
Civilian workers for the Department of Defense are scheduled to find out Monday if they will be furloughed. Fort Bragg has a civilian workforce of approximately 20,000.
Active duty troops will continue to report for duty, but the newspaper reported that they could have fewer support services on base during the shutdown.
Fayetteville businesses worry the shutdown could also affect them if furloughed Fort Bragg employees have to reduce their discretionary spending.
Darrick King, owner of Yadkin Road Hand Car Wash & Detail, told the newspaper many of his clients are from Fort Bragg. He hopes for a quick resolution from Washington, but if there isn’t: “It will damage me severely,” King said.
Duane Hoyt, who has a barber shop on Yadkin Road, said he’s hopeful the shutdown doesn’t hurt business. But he’s still disappointed by the impasse.
“The problem with the government shutdown is the politicians disagree on getting their way,” Hoyt said.