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Problems with Transitioning the US Army Reserve (USAR) From a Strategic to an Operational Reserve Force

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The US Army Reserves USAR have a long and proud history of providing defense at first to the states and eventually to the nation. As early as 1636, the state militia of Massachusetts served to defend the colony against Indian raids. In the early 1900s, the US government established a federal reserve force for times of national emergency, which was for all intents a strategic force. Over the next century, the Reserve Component RC, those in either the National Guard NG or the USAR, were called upon increasingly for operational missions. Reservists and Guardsmen began deploying to support humanitarian and peace keeping missions abroad. This evolution of use also required more focus on readiness, both of personnel and equipment. To meet the increased demands, RC soldiers were expected to complete more training and spend more time working for their units. Unexpectedly, the laws and army regulations did not keep pace with the increased use of the RC. The same laws and protections provided by the military acts of 1916, 1920, and Title 10 to the US Code of 1956 have not changed with regard to time requirements placed on these soldiers. While the military has adapted the RC to increased missions and responsibilities, the US government has not adapted these changes into law to assist and protect the reservist and guardsman. The results can be observed in the reservists civilian career but not their military career. There are many accounts of reservists and Guardsmen being passed over for civilian promotions. In more extreme cases, soldiers have lost their employment due to their service as a member of the RC. In all cases, the reservist loses financially. These are captured in media articles, court cases, and most recently, in proposed changes to the current law governing reservistemployee relationships.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations

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