Paramilitary: June 13, 2003

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The heavy use of National Guard troops since the end of the Cold War is starting to have an impact on recruiting. So far this year, the National Guard is nearly 20 percent short of meeting this years need for 62,000 new recruits. The Army Reserve is only about five percent short in its recruiting. The National Guard is a direct descendent of the colonial militia, and is controlled by the state governor, for local emergencies, in peace time. Over the years, the laws have changed so that it is easier for the federal government to "federalize" state guard units at times when the nation is not at war. The "war on terror" has caused many National Guards troops to be called up for extended periods. And many of them are then given jobs other than the ones they trained for (a lot of National Guards soldiers are just used for standing guard.) At the moment, there are 215,000 National Guard and reserve troops on active duty. The smaller navy and air force reserve units are not having recruiting problems.

 


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