Shutdown endangers reserve component readiness

  • Published
  • By Jim Garamone
  • American Forces Press Service

Reserve component personnel continue to be affected by the government shutdown, and officials are concerned about readiness.


Within DOD, the reserve components are the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Air Force Reserve, the Navy Reserve and the Marine Corps Reserve. The Coast Guard Reserve comes under the Department of Homeland Security.


There are around 850,000 personnel in the selected reserve and they are among those most affected by the partial shutdown. Selected reserves are those units so essential to wartime missions they are required to continue training each month to maintain proficiency. The units also train an additional two weeks a year.


Officially, these weekend drills are called "Inactive Duty Training" and are used to maintain readiness and keep qualifications current, DOD reserve affairs officials said.


"These inactive duty periods are not authorized during the shutdown, unless they are supporting certain critical activities or future deployments," said one official.


Reserve component personnel training for deployment may continue as required.


Recruiting efforts continue to fill the ranks of the reserve components, but reserve affairs personnel worry about the long-term effect the government shutdown will have on recruiting and retention.


"It is too soon to tell, but reserve components are monitoring this closely," officials said.


Federal civilian employees of the reserve components have been recalled if they meet DOD guidance. They are covered under the Pay Our Military Act.


The act has provided relief from some of the shutdown, but if furloughs continue, training needed to maintain readiness will be restricted, official said, which could impact reservists.

"While the president could still call on them, their readiness levels would not be as robust under normal appropriations," officials said.


National Guard units also have state missions, and the lack of appropriations affects their ability to perform those jobs.


The Pay Our Military Act allows family programs for reserve component personnel -- especially for the families of those deployed -- to continue.