05/19/2004: More on "inactive" reserve callups....
Down below, I blogged about some indications that the Army is mobilizing "inactive reservists". Just stumbled across the first confirmation of this in the mainstream media: Army may send special reserves to active duty involuntarily. Per the article:
The U.S. Army is scraping up soldiers for duty in Iraq wherever it can find them, and that includes places and people long considered off-limits.What I found interesting is that this isn't the first time that there's been an Individual Ready Reserve callup:
The Army on Tuesday confirmed that it pulled the files of some 17,000 people in the Individual Ready Reserve, the nation's pool of former soldiers. The Army has been screening them for critically needed specialists and has called about 100 of them since January.
Under the current authorization from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Army could call as many as 6,500 back on active duty involuntarily.
"Yes we are screening them and, yes, we are calling some of them up," an Army spokesman, Col. Joseph Curtin, told Knight Ridder. "We need certain specialties, including civil affairs, military police, some advanced medical specialists, such as orthopedic surgeons, psychological operations, military intelligence interrogators."
The Army has been forced to look to the Individual Ready Reserve pool and elsewhere for soldiers because it's been stretched so thin by a recent decision to maintain American troop levels in Iraq at 135,000 to 138,000 at least through 2005.
The Individual Ready Reserve pool is comprised of people who completed their active-duty tours but are subject to involuntary recall for a period of years after leaving. A soldier who's served a four-year enlistment in the Army, for example, remains in the IRR for an additional four years. During that time he or she receives no pay and doesn't drill with a Reserve or National Guard unit.
The last major call-up of Ready Reserve troops was during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, when some 20,000 were returned to active duty. In November 2001, the Army took a number of Ready Reserves who volunteered back on active duty, and in November 2002 it took volunteers and non-volunteers.I suppose the good news here is that based on the experience of Gulf War I, one can't automatically assume that a draft is in the offing. But reading this story leaves me with the distinct impression that the Army is stretched so thin that a draft may soon be seen as the only feasible solution.
Len on 05.19.04 @ 01:05 PM CST