Further IRR Call-Up Expected
Thousands more former soldiers could be ordered to Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to 5,600 reservists already set to be called back into active-duty service, the Army said on Wednesday.
The Army is tapping into the Individual Ready Reserve, a rarely used pool now numbering 111,000 former soldiers who remain eligible to be called to active duty for years after completing their voluntary Army commitment and returning to civilian life. Many have been out of uniform for years. “I would think that there’s going to be soldiers who, yes, will be shocked. But I would say that the majority of the soldiers in the IRR today understand that they are in the Army,” Col. Debra Cook, head of the Army’s Human Resources Command, told a briefing. These soldiers will begin to receive mobilization orders on July 6, said Robert Smiley, an Army official dealing with training, readiness and mobilization.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in January approved an Army request to mobilize up to 6,500 soldiers from this reserve pool — being used in large numbers for the first time in 13 years — and the Army initially plans to mobilize 5,674 soldiers, officials said. But Smiley said perhaps thousands more could be involuntarily mobilized. “We expect to call some more,” Smiley said.
One wonders about the mixed signals here. Clearly, the available pool is vast. But why request only 6,500 if substantially more are expected? This just fuels rumors and anxiety, undermining morale.