Military will put 20,000 soldiers in U.S. for homeland security role

A plan to have troops ready to help local authorities respond to disasters has drawn criticism from armed forces, civil liberties groups.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.