Troops heading back to Iraq?

New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

The Pentagon may send another 12-thousand national guard troops to Iraq next year, that's in addition to the 20-thousand regular troops President Bush started sending to Baghdad in January.

Pentagon sources say Defense Secretary Robert Gates will put four national guard combat brigades from four states on alert for early 2008 a year's notice that they'll have to return for a second tour of duty in Iraq.

Four years into the war, with unrelenting violence every day, the pentagon admits its forces are spread thin, and promises of time off, may have to be broken.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says,"I think we always anticipated and talked pretty clearly about the fact that there would be a transition time when those, when there would be both extensions and violations of dwell policy. Just because of the major the magnitude of the commitments we have."

Military experts worry that, with a chunk of America's stateside force back in the regular rotation, fighting abroad, who will protect the homeland and other hot spots around the world.

All this comes as President Bush and congress tangle over war funding, now sending more troops, with no agreement on how to pay for those already there.

There's no official word yet on exactly which units would go, but it would likely include those who first served in the war.