The Breaking of the Army Reserve
How badly has the Administration managed to screw up the Reserve and National Guard?
So badly that Lt. Gen. James Helmly, the Chief of the U.S. Army Reserve, felt the need to send a memo to the Army Chief of Staff in Washington, warning him of
my deepening concern over the effects of current policies and practices on the readiness of the Army Reserve as a capable military force…
While ability to meet the current demands associated with [Afghanistan] and [Iraq] is of great importance, the Army Reserve is additionally in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements including those in named OPLANS and [Continental United States] emergencies, and is rapidly degenerating into a “broken” force.
So what have reservists been asked to do that has so weakened the Reserve? General Helmly adds an appendix to his memo with four pages of specific personnel practices he labels “dysfunctional”. They include wildly varying lengths of service after call-up, soldiers’ receiving only 3-5 days notice of call-up before they have to ship out, and some reservists’ who were called up to serve with the regular Army coming back home to find that their Reserve unit is now shipping out to Iraq — and they have to turn around and go back with it.
He also calls out a proposal to pump up morale in the reserve corps by, basically, paying soldiers off:
My objections include… the potential “sociological” damage done to the all-volunteer force by trying to incentivize “volunteers” for remobilization by paying them $1,000 extra per month. We must consider the point at which we confuse “volunteer to become an American Soldier” with “mercenary”.
Thanks to Soldiers for the Truth for making this available.