Further IRR Call-Up Expected

Reuters — Army Expects Further Involuntary Troop Call-Up

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.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    I heard a sound bite from an IRR soldier on WMAL this morning. He said something to the effect of, “I fulfilled my obligation. Why are they calling me up now?”

    Another soldier who doesn’t understand the words on the contract he signed which obligated him for eight years of service. It reminds me of reservists I heard back in ’91 saying, “I never joined the Reserves (or the Guard) expecting I’d have to go fight a war!”

    Maybe as a 20-year active duty retiree, I have a different perspective. But all this dissembling on the IRR’s part seems disingenuous.

    But I agree with your closing point. Call up all the IRRs you need now, and don’t get caught up in all the counter-productive speculation.

  2. LJD says:

    There is a lot of anxiety over the callup, as evidenced by the negative blogs posted online. Many IRR soldiers are looking for information, and not getting it from a reliable source: enter the rumor mill.
    Why announce orders to be received on July 6th? Why not announce the decision concurrent with the orders being cut?
    I am a former active duty, combat arms soldier, in the IRR. I would enjoy my Fourth of July weekend more KNOWING I was going to be “tapped”, rather than being left to wonder… perhaps until December? Let’s just get on with it already. I have a career and family to manage. The sooner I go, the sooner I get to come home.
    I agree that many do not realize their contractual obligation, or feel that they can pick and choose their missions. What the heck is up with that?
    I am equally frustrated with the way the Army does business, but absolutely do not condone the trash talking, by soldiers, about their chain of command. It does not hurt the administration as much as it supports the terrorists, and endangers our troops. The terrorists are getting their desired response…
    As for those professional, left-wing, anti-everything, Bush-bashers: if you have not answered your Nation’s call, been sent overseas, stood for something larger than yourself, your opinion does not matter to me. Please think about the impact of you words on the few people who protect your way of life. If you must criticize the government, be responsible and do it in a constructive way.

  3. Gray says:

    LJD – Truer words have not been spoken.

    I’m in the same boat, left to speculate over the who, what, where, when, and why’s of my potential(?) call-up. Now I get to pine over this until December, and dread the mailbox and the phone. Send me or don’t, but don’t let me stress. I went through the same mess when I got Stop-Lossed.

    What I am most concerned about, however, is the prospect of going to combat with a group of NG or reservists whom I have not trained, and don’t know me from Adam. Call me paranoid, but I want to know the guy to my left and right is able to take care of me when I get hit with an IED.

  4. Tony says:

    The number supposedly called (5600), seems low considering the number of total IRR soldiers (111,000) but we all need to remember that approximately 50,000 IRR soldiers are presently considered unreachable because the army doesn’t have an address to contact them. This significantly reduces the number of IRR soldiers available. Sorry I don’t mean to scare anyone, I’m in the same shoes. I’ve served 3 years active, I have about 200 days left on my IRR obligation, I’m less than a year from graduating college. If I get called I’ll serve again even though I am TOTALLY opposed to this war, moreover I think that our chief executive is a complete moron, and this is coming from a republican who will be voting for Kerry in November. Good luck to all.

  5. Abazz says:

    I joined the reserves 3/18/99 and was put in IRR 4/02/01. I was fed up with the racial slurs and the constant picking on. I told my company commander and he suggested that I just go IRR until my 8 years are done. That was a little over 3 years ago. My 8 years will be done in 2007. I will not go to war if I get a letter. Im a muslim and I definetly will not kill other muslims…let alone people in general no matter what race. I will claim conscientious objective. If they deny me that, I will jsut refuse to go to war and will be sent to jail. My MOS is 21R (interior electrician) and from what I can tell, they dont need them…I love this country…but I will not kill

  6. Chris says:

    You would kill a christian but not a muslim? That is why we have the problems we have over there. You joined the Army, knowing full well that you might have to go to war, and regardless if you agreed or disagreed with the war, that was a sworn obligation you willing did. Now because it involves muslims you all the sudden can’t go? Sorry, I don’t feel any sympathy for you whatsoever. I’am a christian, and I’d kill another christian if they were a member of terrorists. Yet, as a muslim, you are OK with other muslims being terrorists, and killing innocent civilians. I guess, I wouldn’t want you in my unit either, and you probably would be subject to harassment considering your views, since they are hypocritical.

  7. James K says:


    Abazz did not state he would kill Christians. In fact, his statement was that he would not want to kill people in general. You are making an unfounded inference based upon his saying he wouldn’t kill Muslims. That issue aside, a lot of people join the military without ever really giving full consideration to the implications of their contract. Additionally, their experiences in the military or perhaps just their life experiences in general may change them in a way that makes them incompatible with military service. As someone with over 20 years of time split between AD, AR, and IRR and who has served in a line battalion during the Cold War and in Civil Affairs during OJG, I have a pretty good perspective on this. And, to be blunt, your comments make you sound like a bigot. However, since I don’t want to unfairly judge you the way you judged Abazz, I will refrain from labelling you one.

  8. Robert says:

    I understand your reluctance to be call-up to serve your country once again. I too am in danger of being called upon to go serve.
    However, I joined the army knowing full well that I could be deployed to combat someday.
    Which is why I joined the Infantry. So that if the time came, I would be fully prepaired to do whatever I had to do to fight and win.

    As far as not wanting to go is concerned…Stop complaining about it. And that’s putting it nicely. Do you really think that all the other soldiers that are allready over in Iraq WANT TO BE THERE?

  9. Amy says:

    I’m in the IRR, subject to call-up, and I stand ready to meet my obligations.

    When I signed on the dotted line, it was made VERY clear to me that I was signing up for 8 years. I only did 6 years active. Do the math. That means I still owe 2 years to Uncle Sam. I served my country all over the globe, from the Balkans to all over the Middle East (Kuwait, Pakistan, Qatar, Egypt). Will it be a hardship when I get those orders? Sure it will. I’ve started my life over again as a civilian. But when I think about the sacrifices that others have made for this country over the years; like my grandfather’s drafted service in WW II (3 consecutive years at war), my sacrifice doesn’t seem so big.

    I’m tired of seeing the media focus only on those IRR soldiers who are complaining. Why don’t they talk to someone like me? Someone who will proudly, honorably, and unwaveringly answer the call the duty (again)?

  10. Adam says:

    I initially signed a 5 year contract, but 2 years and 6 months in I was injured, and I got overweight and recieved a Overweight chapter with RE Code 3 but didn’t recieve a medical chapter. I was a MP and I’m wondering if they are recalling chaptered soldiers or just those you served time and left honorable

  11. bob says:

    IRR Soldiers being called are primarily in the following specialties:

    Motor Transport Operator 20 percent;
    Automated Logistical Specialists (Privates – Specialist rank), 12 percent;
    Light Wheeled Vehicle Mechanics, 10 percent;
    Administrative Specialists (Private – Specialist), 7 percent;
    Combat Engineer, 6 percent
    Other high-demand skills for this mobilization (6-10): Food Service, Carpentry and Masonry Specialist; Petroleum Supply Specialist; Combat Engineers (officer ranks); and Cable System Installer-Maintainer (each represents three to four percent of the requirements).

    hope this helps