Interesting news that I haven’t seen elsewhere:
The Army has begun screening members of the Individual Ready Reserve to determine who would be available to be called to active duty if needed, a spokesman said Wednesday.
The soldiers are not formally attached to any specific reserve unit but would be assigned to an active or reserve unit if needed.
None of the 118,000 IRR soldiers has been called up involuntarily so far, said Lt. Col. Burt Masters, a spokesman for the ArmyÃ¢€™s Human Resources Command in St. Louis. Some IRR members could be called up once the screening is finished, he said.
IRR soldiers typically have left active duty or active reserve service, but still have time left on their obligation to serve. They agree to keep themselves ready to be called up in an emergency but are not required to do the periodic training that other reservists must perform.
While the Army does such screening periodically, the current Army-wide screening is a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Masters said.
Ã¢€œItÃ¢€™s a big pool of manpower to get up to date with,Ã¢€ he said.
Good luck doing it, too. IRR members, formerly including myself, are notoriously unmotivated to update their records. There is powerfully little incentive to wrestle with the bureaucracy involved when one is no longer receiving a paycheck from the military. Plus, the ineptitude of the system is simply frightening. I routinely received letters inviting me to join company level units, commanded by a Captain, even though I was myself a Captain. My records were remarkably screwed up, somehow thinking I had spent several years of Reserve enlisted time even though I was only an enlisted Reservists for a few months before going into ROTC and then four years of commissioned Active service.
This also touches on a rather bizarre and certainly unadvertised aspect of the All-Volunteer Force: Once you sign up, you’re obligated for eight years. So, while no one has any obligation whatsoever to be in the military, those who choose to serve are on the hook for nearly a decade. It’s perfectly rational–it makes sense to be able to utilize the training of those soldiers if necessary–but there is a bit of inequity in such a system.