Civil-affairs soldiers rebuild public utilities and other civilian services in war-torn areas, and psyops specialists are in charge of propaganda, such as leaflets and pro-U.S. broadcasts aimed at winning the "hearts and minds" of the citizens. Most of these soldiers are reservists, but of the some 8,700 listed on the rolls, almost 1,200 are what senior Army officers call ghostsreservists who don't have enough training to be deployed overseas or who have not attended monthly drills in about a year. The shortfall has been made up by sending qualified reservists overseas more often. Civil-affairs and psyops units in Iraq have been short of soldiers who speak the local language and of proper weapons and gear for protection in combat zones, after-action reports say. One filed by a civil-affairs battalion commander last spring complained that his unit was sent into Iraq "criminally underequipped."
Equipment remains a problem for frontline National Guard troops too.
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing last week, Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan held up photos of vehicles in Iraq sent to him by National Guard soldiers from the 42nd Infantry Division. The vehicles still had not been fitted with armor, despite Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's assurance they would all have extra protection by Feb. 15.
General John Abizaid, the U.S. Central Command's chief, who was testifying, promised to investigate. "It's very frustrating," Ryan later told TIME, "that we're still not protecting our troops."