Record spending for the National Guard

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

In a speech prepared for the National Guard Association meeting in Baltimore, the Pentagon chief says the Army National Guard will be fully modernized by 2013 and that "for the first time ever," Guard units will be getting the latest equipment given to active duty troops.

The Guard will be getting a little more than 30 billion dollars in the budget that begins next month, and Gates says spending on Guard equipment will top 32 billion dollars over the next four years.

Gates says that since the 9/11 attacks, more than 660,000 Guard troops have mobilized for duty in 40 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

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

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