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All soldiers and Army civilians traveling or away for training have to return to their duty stations, unless their travel falls under an excepted activity, the Army confirmed Wednesday.
Excepted activities include those traveling for training in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and other operations ‘necessary for national security’ Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, told Army Times in an email.
Soldiers could be liable for any cost incurred while on Temporary Duty travel if they do not return “promptly.”
“If a traveler is directed to return and fails to promptly do so, the traveler is responsible for additional expenses incurred,” according to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Frequently Asked Questions about the government shutdown, posted on their website. Expenses will be reimbursed to travelers who return promptly or are traveling in support of an excepted activity, the FAQs state.
Noncommissioned Officer Education System schools such as Advanced Leader Course or Senior Leader Course are not excepted activities.
“TDY to professional military education and civilian education system (regardless of location) should be canceled or terminated. Any exceptions require (Department of the Army Headquarters) approval,” according to initial information put out by the Army, Conway said.
Training and Doctrine Command will issue further guidance on how TDY for training is affected, she said in an email.
Soldiers traveling for NCOES classes are dealing with the fallout caused by unclear guidance during the shutdown.
Soldiers who were supposed to start ALC on Tuesday at Fort Lee, Va., have been told that although their class is canceled, they should still stay in Fort Lee in case the situation changes.
“We have been in limbo since,” said Sgt. Michael Larkin, a Fort Bragg, N.C., soldier. Larkin said he drove from Fort Bragg to Fort Lee on Monday, only to sit in a classroom all day Tuesday because no one was teaching the classes.
As of Wednesday morning Larkin was sitting in his hotel room waiting on guidance from the NCO Academy.
“As soon as they tell us we are officially released and allowed to go home, I’m going to get in my truck and drive back to Fort Bragg,” Larkin said. “It’s an enormous waste of time.”