Gates: Record Spending for National Guard

BALTIMORE (AP) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates says funding for the National Guard has reached a record level amid the largest mobilization of America's citizen soldiers since World War II.

Speaking at the National Guard Association of the United States conference in Baltimore today, Gates says with the increased spending, nearly 80 percent of Army National Guard equipment will
be fully modernized by the end of budget year 2013.

In the budget year starting next month, the Defense Department helped the Guard's budget reach just over $30 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion from the previous year.

The reserves have evolved into a force that makes up nearly half of the U.S. combat troops in Iraq, doing day-to-day military operations in unprecedented tours abroad.

Alabama military units have had the nation's third-highest number of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan since September 2001.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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