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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • North Dakota could lose 210 soldiers in National Guard cuts

  • BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota National Guard could lose about 210 soldiers under a proposed reduction of personnel called for in the U.S. Department of Defense's recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
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  • BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota National Guard could lose about 210 soldiers under a proposed reduction of personnel called for in the U.S. Department of Defense's recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
    The federal agency's proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins in October suggests a reduction of about 20,000 soldiers nationwide. The potential cuts would bring down the force in North Dakota by less than 5 percent.
    Guard officials in the state initially believed the cuts would be reducing the ranks by 300 soldiers, the Bismarck Tribune reported Sunday.
    "We have been in a dialogue trying to work through what these cuts might mean, especially in terms of personnel," said Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general.
    The state's National Guard force stands at roughly 4,400 soldiers, and about 1,000 belong to the Air National Guard. The units are located across the state in 18 sites, with the largest number of soldiers based in Bismarck.
    The Guard has already closed two North Dakota armories. The armory in Hazen with 24 soldiers and the one in Cavalier with 16 soldiers closed in December. Sprynczynatyk explained that the combined 40 soldiers were rolled into other units.
    A spokesman for Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Jeff Zent, said the governor joined other governors last month in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel protesting the suggested cuts.
    Zent told the newspaper that it's too early for the governor to comment on the proposed cuts.
    "We don't know yet what the final outcome will be," Zent said. "But the National Guard has proven its value both domestically and around the world."
    Sprynczynatyk said if personnel cuts do become necessary, he hopes early retirements can be offered to qualifying members.
    It is estimated that North Dakotans enlist in the Guard at four times the national average.
    "We operate at one-third the cost of an active component," Sprynczynatyk said. "The Guard has proven itself time and time again."

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