Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor the men and women who devoted their lives to serving their country in the armed services. Many ceremonies and parades are planned across the state.
Most of Rhode Island’s top lawmakers will be at the state Veterans cemetery in Exeter this morning. Governor Lincoln Chafee, along with the state’s entire congressional delegation plan to be in attendance. The President of the U.S. Naval War College will speak at the ceremony. Music will be provided by National Guard's 88th Army Band.
Sen. Jack Reed has begun reviewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposed military budget. Reed is a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, which will play a role in passing legislation to enact the budget. He says he’s looking carefully for ways to balance the need to trim spending while ensuring the nation’s military can meet the new kinds of security threats it may face in the future.
For example, Reed says he hopes to maintain funding for Rhode Island-based military research.
Operations at the Naval Station Newport are carrying on without hundreds of civilian workers caught up in the partial government shut down. The Naval Station Newport says about 800 civilians were furloughed. And over at the Naval War College, civilian instructors are staying home Wednesday and throughout the shutdown. Commander Carla McCarthy said that’s forced some classes to be suspended.
Thousands of civilians who work for the Navy started taking unpaid furlough days this week as part of federal budget tightening known as “sequestration.” It’s affecting operations at the Naval Station Newport and 49 other facilities.
From this week through the end of September, some 4,200 civilian Navy employees will each take 11 furlough days. That’s a 20 percent pay cut for employees, said Naval Station Newport spokeswoman Lisa Woodbury Rama who took her first furlough day on Monday.