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Army Seeks to Shrink Reserve, National Guard

January 27, 2006|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Army notified Congress on Thursday that it planned to reduce troop strength for its reserve and National Guard, a step Democrats questioned because of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The Army proposed reducing its reserve strength to 188,000 from 205,000, and the Army National Guard to 333,000 from 350,000, said the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Ike Skelton of Missouri.

"Given the demands on the current and future force, I question the rationale," Skelton said in a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The National Guard is made up of part-time soldiers who are under the command of state governors to respond to local emergencies, but who also can be mobilized for overseas duty by the Pentagon. The Army Reserve is made up of part-time soldiers on federal duty.

Large numbers of National Guard and reserves have been deployed in Iraq.

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