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Peacekeeping likely for National Guard

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- The head of the National Guard Bureau said the Army National Guard will likely be peacekeepers in the Middle East following active combat operations.

Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said recently that when combat operations end in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army National Guard should expect to be deployed to "finish the job" as peacekeepers, the bureau reported.

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McKinley, speaking at the Washington-based conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, said that a peacekeeping role for the Army National Guard shouldn't come as a surprise. McKinley cited ongoing U.S. peacekeeping deployments to Kosovo as an example of the Army National Guard's role as peacekeepers.

"I've challenged our staff with thinking through what happens after Iraq, what happens after Afghanistan," McKinley said, according to the bureau.

"In many cases, the National Guard, primarily the Army National Guard, stays behind, and they are the people who finish the job. … People kind of forget that (Kosovo) was a major conflict, but there's still a lot of peacekeeping going on in that part of the world."

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