Wisconsin to lose 3 National Guard units amid Pentagon downsizing


Cuts in U.S. defense spending will soon be felt in Wisconsin, where three National Guard units will stand down for good.

The 724th Engineer Battalion headquarters, the��949th Engineer Detachment in in Chippewa Falls, and the 724th Engineer Battalion Forward Support Company in Hayward will all be "inactivated" by 2017, according to a Wisconsin National Guard news release.

The cuts will also include a reduction in 36 full-time positions and 274 "traditional Guard positions" statewide.

The big question for some, however, is whether any layoffs are planned.

According to the release, force reductions for "traditional part-time" members of the Guard will be accomplished through planned retirements and "normal attrition rates" – which refers to personnel leaving the service before their enlistment terms are complete (which can happen for various reasons).

As for the full-time force, a few will lose their positions. The Guard says those serving in "temporary federal technician positions" (which Military.com says are the folks who handle paperwork and day-to-day operations) are "unlikely" to have their service extended when their current terms are up. Moreover, some current vacancies will go unfilled.

However, the Guard says soldiers in the three units due to be inactivated will have the opportunity to transfer to other units, where they can fill duties similar to those of their previous positions or retrain for new positions.

The cuts are part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by Congress this month, the release says.

Military.com says that the budget cuts follow the end of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the "winding down" of the Afghanistan war, and that the downsizing is affecting every state's National Guard.

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