- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 13, 2003

A huge increase in the call-up of National Guard troops and reservists in the past week has pushed the number serving in the counterterror war to more than 12 percent of their total force, the Pentagon said yesterday.
As the United States continued its buildup for a potential war with Iraq, about 38,600 were activated during the week, nearly double the previous largest weekly jump since the September 11 attacks on America.
"Some … will deploy to the Middle East; others will serve here in the homeland," said Lt. Col. Dan Stoneking, a Defense Department spokesman. "All of them are essential to winning the war on terrorism."
Under an order signed by President Bush three days after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, up to 1 million guard and reserve troops can be called to serve for up to two years. Officials have said it is unlikely that number would be needed.
The total serving under that order is more than 150,000, said Col. Stoneking. It stood at 58,000 a month ago, steadily stepping up each week since then with increases of 15,000 to 20,000 until the big jump of the past week. The figures do not include National Guard members and reservists normally serving around the globe in a variety of missions.
Though the Pentagon doesn't specify in the weekly reports where units have been sent, a substantial portion are part of the buildup for a potential war in Iraq.
A rapid buildup for the threatened war to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has put about 130,000 American forces in the Persian Gulf region, defense officials said yesterday. The number is expected to approach 180,000 within a couple of weeks.
The Bush administration has said the Iraq campaign is part of the global war against terrorists because Saddam could share weapons of mass destruction with terrorist networks.
In its weekly accounting of those called to active duty for counterterror efforts, the Pentagon said the number now activated in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve jumped to 113,750 from 80,000 the previous week; the Naval Reserve to 6,270 from 5,600; the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to 15,700 from 11,700; and the Marine Corps Reserve to 12,540 from 12,280. The Coast Guard Reserve remained at about 2,000.
Since Mr. Bush's signing of a "partial mobilization" order in 2001, about 200,000 troops have been activated, some finishing their duty and going back to civilian life. The 150,250 now serving represent a little more than 12 percent of the total force of 1.22 million Guard and reserve troops.
Officials described that as a substantial commitment, but said they were choosing the troops carefully according to skills needed for the effort.
"With any mobilization, we want to ensure that we have not one more, nor one less … than needed on active duty," said Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

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