By Ms. Susanne Kappler (Jackson)October 3, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson leadership hosted a town hall meeting Tuesday evening to inform the community of the effects the government shutdown has on services on Fort Jackson. The partial shutdown of the federal government was implemented after Congress failed to pass a budget for the new fiscal year, which began Tuesday.
"What we need to have this discussion on tonight is how this government shutdown has impacted the facilities and services here on Fort Jackson," said Brig. Gen. Bradley Becker, Fort Jackson's commanding general. "So what I wanted to do is provide you the most accurate, up-to-date information, so that you know exactly how life will be impacted."
Garrison Commander Col. Michael Graese and leaders from various organizations were on hand to brief the community about current changes in services and answer questions.
The majority of organizations on Fort Jackson remain operational, but some have reduced staffing, which may lead to delays in services.
Below is a summary of the shutdown impact on various organizations:
-- Army and Air Force Exchange Services: The Exchange and all other AAFES businesses remain open. Hours are unchanged.
-- Army Community Services: The ACS center will remain open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., weekdays with reduced staffing. The following primary services will continue to be offered: emergency financial assistance (Army Emergency Relief, emergency food); financial counseling and assistance; victim advocacy in prevention of domestic violence; New Parent Support Program; relocation assistance; Exceptional Family Member Program and respite care; information and referral. The following services are currently not offered: volunteer programs; employment assistance for spouses; and Survivor Outreach Services.
-- Civilian Personnel Advisory Center: No change in services.
-- Commissary: The Commissary will be closed until further notice.
-- Defense Finance and Accounting Services: No change in services.
-- Dental Activity: Active-duty dental care will continue. Some routine appointments may be cancelled. There is no impact to family members and retirees.
-- Department of Defense Education Activity: No change in schedules at C.C. Pinckney and Pierce Terrace elementary schools.
-- Directorate of Emergency Services: There is no change in services for first responders and the installation's antiterrorism and force protection operations. Gate hours are not affected. Administrative support for some services is limited, which may lead to delayed case processing and Military Police reports as well as delayed background checks for CYSS and SHARP. Physical security inspections, contract vetting and installation weapons registration are suspended until further notice.
-- Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Operation: No change in services, including child care centers, fitness centers, sports and after-school activities.
-- Directorate of Human Resources: No change in services, including the ID card section and the Education Center.
-- Housing: No change in services.
-- Moncrief Army Community Hospital: All patient services remain open. MACH is open for all inpatient, outpatient and wounded warrior care. Medical care for all forces, including trainees will continue. There is no impact on TRICARE and civilian-sector care. Future elective surgeries or procedures may be curtailed.
-- Plans, Analysis and Integration Office: PAIO is closed. Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE, comments are currently not being processed.
-- Religious Services: No change in chapel services and programs.
-- Staff Judge Advocate's office: The office remains open, but fewer legal assistance appointment slots are available. Wait time for clients may increase.
Becker urged those in attendance to solely rely on official sources of information.
"When you leave here, you'll hear all kinds of rumors. ... If it doesn't come from Col. Graese, myself or the leadership in your chain of command, it is just a rumor," Becker said.
Graese assured the audience that the community would be informed of any changes.
"There are a lot of questions that are unanswered right now," he said. "In order to try to get this resolved as soon as possible, we'll continue to try to keep you informed through different sources and venues."