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General: Shutdown Hurting US Army

  • Reuters

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno testifies before the House Armed Services on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno testifies before the House Armed Services on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sept. 18, 2013.

The U.S. Army's chief of staff on Wednesday urged a rapid resolution of a funding row that has led to a government shutdown, saying it was significantly harming the army's day-to-day operations.

General Ray Odierno said the shutdown, the first in 17 years, “impacts significantly day-to-day operations”, forcing the military to cut training, travel and focus on tasks that were essential to current operations.

“The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Every day that goes by, we are losing manpower, we are losing capability, so in my mind it is important we get this resolved,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from Germany, where he was attending a conference.

A standoff between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans has pushed hundreds of thousands of federal employees into unpaid leave.

Odierno said military personnel will continue to be paid and soldiers on operations in places like Afghanistan will not be affected, but non-essential civilian employees will not be paid.

He said he would be cutting short his trip to Europe and traveling back to the United States, partly because the shutdown barred travel and also to make sure the army could carry out its missions despite the financial situation.
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