Armed Forces News

A recent National Guard Bureau survey of 5,000 volunteers from 15 states concluded that the number of Guard soldiers who choose to leave the military could jump to 20 to 22 percent a year among those who have served long overseas tours. The numbers define the problem: some 97,000 of the 350,000 members of the Guard are now on active duty, and by May almost 40 percent of the more than 100,000 troops in Iraq will be Guard or Reserve. Vice Adm. Norbert Ryan, president of the Military Officers Association of America, says active, Guard and Reserve members are being deployed so often because the active-duty military is too small. “Unless things get rosy in the next six months, people are going to leave,” Ryan says. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has opposed increasing the end strength, insisting the deployments are only a “spike.”