RealNews

Buildup Strains Public Safety

The U.S. military buildup for a possible war with Iraq is posing security concerns close to home as police forces, fire departments and other emergency services across the nation find their ranks depleted by overseas deployments of reservists. A significant percentage of the reserve forces that make up half of the national defense also work in their civilian lives as so-called first-responders, protecting cities across America. The overlap was not a problem in the past, when the military took the citizen-soldiers it needed in infrequent call-ups; the numbers were small and the service period short. The Pentagon has never tracked how many of the nation’s 1.3 million reservists wear a second hat in the vast network of local emergency services. And many employers were not even aware that some in their ranks were moonlighting as military reservists. Full Story

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