ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 12, 2010) -- Increased funding in the fiscal 2010 budget will allow the National Guard to modernize and equip its forces for state and federal missions, Guard officials announced Monday.

"This robust funding will constitute a significant strengthening of the Guard's equipment fill and modernization efforts," according to a legislative report by the National Guard Bureau.

The Defense Appropriations Act's provisions include $710 million in additional equipment funding - $575 million for the Army Guard and $135 million for the Air Guard.

President Barack Obama signed the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act into law Dec. 19 after the Senate approved it during a rare, early Saturday session. The Senate passed the measure by an 88-to-10 vote. The House passed the legislation Dec. 16.

The act also restores full funding for the Army Guard recruiting and advertising account from a previous reduction of $95 million.

"Recruiting highly educated Soldiers requires more sophisticated and costly outreach efforts so these funds are needed in order to attract the highest quality members to serve in the National Guard during demanding times," according to the NGB report.

The act provides $1.1 billion for drug interdiction and counter-drug activities throughout DoD, including $50 million for state-specific Guard counter-drug programs, and up to $15 million in additional funds to sustain current levels of staffing for high-priority Guard counter-drug programs.

"This continues the elevated funding for National Guard state plans nationwide, which Congress has provided in recent years," according to the NGB report. "Without these additional funds, National Guard members in several states will have to be removed from duties supporting law enforcement and drug demand reduction efforts."

The act contains nearly $4 million for Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams in New York and Florida.

The defense spending measure also provides funding for joint programs, including $20 million for Yellow Ribbon reintegration and outreach programs, $110.8 million for the Guard's Youth ChalleNGe program and $16.4 million for STARBASE.

The broader $636.3 billion Defense budget also provides a 3.4-percent military pay raise to servicemembers, including Guard members.

(Air Force Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith writes for the National Guard Bureau.)