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Sequestration forces Minn. National Guard to take furlough days

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Due to across-the-board sequestration budget cuts, roughly 1,120 Minnesota National Guard personnel will be forced to take unpaid time off work.

The affected full-time technical, maintenance, administrative and training employees will be notified Wednesday that they are required to take one unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks, beginning July 15, according to the Star Tribune.

The furlough will amount to a 20 percent pay cut during that period.

MPR reports about 1,000 other full-time guard members are exempt from the furlough because they are federal military employees.

In the event of a state or federal emergency, 14,000 part-time citizen soldiers and airmen are standing at the ready.

At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Department of Defense Comptroller Robert F. Hale testified that the billions of dollars in severe and abrupt cuts imposed by sequestration are devastating the U.S. armed forces.

Hale is working to get a 2014 budget plan approved that supports national security interests.

"We strongly hope that Congress will pass this plan or another plan that the president will sign, and then repeal sequestration,” Hale said.

Defense News interviewed Hale about the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Defense Department’s budget.

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