The Department of the Army joined the Department of Defense in announcing May 19 the alert of the 86th Brigade Combat Team, Vermont Army National Guard in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to continue training of the Afghan National Security Forces in Afghanistan.

More than 3,100 Soldiers alerted will deploy in the spring of 2010. The Soldiers are being informed in advance to provide them the opportunity to plan, conduct world-class training, and to provide some degree of predictability for the Citizen-Soldiers, their Families and their respective employers.

The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain Brigade) is a Vermont National Guard Light Infantry Brigade. It was reorganized from an armored brigade into a light infantry brigade as part of the United States Army's transformation for the 21st century.

While Regular Army units deploy for up to 15-month tours, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates directed in January 2007 that reserve component units would mobilize for no longer than one year and that they would train and deploy as cohesive units. These outstanding Citizen-Soldiers, their Family members and employers continue to make great sacrifices for our country and they acknowledge and appreciate the continued support of the American people.

This unit will maintain the current U.S. capability for performing the training mission. This rotation reflects the continued U.S. commitment to Afghanistan and development of the Afghan National Security Forces. Afghan forces continue to improve capability and assume responsibility for security. Force levels in Afghanistan continue to be conditions-based, and are determined based on the recommendations of military commanders in Afghanistan and in consultation with the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The case-by-case selection of Army National Guard forces honors worldwide commitments and provides combatant commanders the forces they need to maintain the current momentum in support of operations in Afghanistan.

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Media questions specific to the units being alerted should be referred to their unit public affairs officers. For more information, contact Lt. Col. Lee M. Packnett at (703) 614-2487.