National Guard needs more . . . everything

Capitol Hill

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: In Washington today, National Guard and Reserve leaders will ask Congress for the funding they need next year. Jeremy Hobson tells us why this request is so important.


JEREMY HOBSON: The National Guard and Reserves are a million strong, and at times those forces have made up a third of the troops in Iraq.

But typically, says Winslow Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information, presidents low-ball the budget request for Guard and Reserves.

WINSLOW WHEELER: Nobody anticipated the Guard and Reserve would have to actually go to war, and we ended up with a huge bleeping mess.

There is already talk of shortfalls in the budget request — $40 billion for equipment and training here at home.

One reason for that, says Gordon Adams at the Woodrow Wilson Center: Guard units have to leave their machinery in Iraq for the next rotation of troops.

GORDON ADAMS: That means the next unit coming to deploy in Iraq or Afghanistan may be training on simulators, or only on a handful of pieces of equipment that are in the United States.

Equipment is not the only problem. Today, Guard and Reserve leaders will also be asking for more bonuses and incentives. They're behind in their recruiting.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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