STRAINED RESERVES.

STRAINED RESERVES. The Center for American Progress released a report today about the overstretched nature of the National Guard and Reserves, a follow-up to their report in March that stated the under-prepared nature of the United States to deal with natural and terrorist disasters domestically.

The report today counted that in 2005, 46 percent of troops in Iraq were from the reserves. Since 2001, every single one of the 16 Army National Guard Enhanced Brigades (troops trained to act as reserves for active duty soldiers) has been deployed at least once to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Balkans. Two have been deployed twice, totaling an average of 18 months overseas. This is nearly half of the total enlistment time. It's standard practice in the military to limit deployments to once every five years. If the DOD followed standard practice, it wouldn't be able to redeploy any more reserve troops until 2010, "at the earliest." The report says, "Nearly nine out of every 10 Amery National Guard units that are not in Iraq and Afghanistan have less than half the equipment needed to respond to a domestic crisis and less than 45 percent of the Air National Guard's units have the equipment needed to deploy."

Ultimately, this means that our troops are unprepared to respond to any kind of national emergency. Katrina is a prime example of this, but Gov. Kathleen Sebelius complained of the same thing earlier this month when devastating tornadoes ripped apart small Kansas towns.

--Kay Steiger

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