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Army reservists and National Guard members are fielding repeated phone calls from bill collectors because the federal government is not promptly reimbursing them for lodging costs and other expenses, according to a report in Saturday’s St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

Military officials confirmed to the Times that there are delays affecting thousands of reservists and Guard members. They said the scope of the war on terror has overwhelmed the Pentagon’s check-writing office.

A Pentagon official told the Times that the backlog affects 23,000 reservists, both Army Reserve and members of the Army National Guard. The Pentagon is considering creating the Reserve Pay Center of Excellence in Cleveland to help resolve pay issues.

Steve Stromvall, an Army Reserve spokesman at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, blamed the problem on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the accounting arm of the Defense Department. He said the accounting service’s workload has tripled because of the number of reservists who have been mobilized.

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