Guard commander briefs Vt. lawmakers on budget cuts - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Guard commander briefs Vt. lawmakers on budget cuts

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The current commander of the Vermont National Guard used one of his last days on the job to brief lawmakers on upcoming budget cuts.

If a deal can't be reached in Washington, D.C., before Friday, $46 billion of automatic cuts will ripple through the federal defense budget.

Acting Adjutant General Thomas Drew says active Vermont Guard members will not be affected. But about 520 military tech specialists will be furloughed four days a month from April through September. He says cost-cutting won't affect operations yet.

"It'll take an accumulation of months and years before you dramatically or noticeably degrade the Vermont National Guard," Drew said.

Drew says cutting maintenance and training time will hurt the longevity of equipment.

The expected cuts will not affect about 200 guard members set to deploy to the Middle East early next month.

Recently elected Brigadier General Steven Cray takes over for Drew later this week.

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