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by Jeff Moberg
Sunday, Jul. 21, 2002 at 2:34 AM
July 20, 2002WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A few days after President Bush's release of a homeland defense strategy calling for the domestic use of U.S. military forces, the U.S. activated 300-Army National Guard tank battalions as part of a homeland defense force.
In a statement released Saturday, president Bush said, the Battalions are equipped with modern battle tanks, the M1A1 Abrams" and "will serve in the homeland defense role within the United States."
Bush, commander-in-chief of the Armed forces, did not say what role the tank battalions would serve in homeland defense.
In addition to the tank battalions, the supreme commander activated 500 Air force fighter-bomber squadrons to patrol the U.S. packing full ordnance looking for terrorists, also 1000 Special Forces units were activated and will be deployed around the country to start door to door searches for suspicious people "in support of the war on terrorism," Bush said.
Bush's office forwarded questions about Saturday's activation to Dick.
Asked about the massive deployments of tanks and choppers, what role they would play in a domestic deployment, Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Horton said: "That can't be discussed. It all will depend on the mission."
Though he said he could not provide specifics, Horton said the activation was linked to Bush's quest for use of U.S. military forces on the home front.
The deployment will only last a few years, Horton said.
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