Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back Door Draft? My *ss!!!!

Once again, voices on the left are protesting military personnel management policies as part of their criticism of the war. With last week’s announcement by the Marines that they would call up 2500 members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) to make up for a temporary shortage of manpower in Iraq, reporters everywhere have been parroting the liberal line that this amounts to a “back door draft.” These critics count on the ignorance many Americans have about the military. In fact this recall of reservists is in no way like a draft.

In 1973 the US military ended the draft, that is, involuntary conscription. The Army then transformed itself into a professional force of volunteers. The military also adopted its new “total force concept.” This meant that the active military force would need to be supported by the various reserve components, for major deployments. Today, there are three different types of reserves. The first is the active Reserve force of each service, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and the Coast Guard. The second reserve component is the National Guard, organized by states, and available to both state and federal governments. Only the Army and the Air Force have Guard units. The third type is the IRR.

The Individual Ready Reserve is just what its name implies, a reserve of individual service members, not attached to any unit. It generally consists of soldiers who have completed the active duty portion of their initial enlistment, but still have a reserve obligation.

Since 1973 all initial enlistment contracts, in all of the services are for eight years. It doesn’t matter whether a service member enlists on active duty, in the Reserves, or in the National Guard, that first contract obligates him to eight years of service. However, very few initial enlistments are for eight years of active service, or even active reserve service. Typically a recruit signs a contract for four years on active duty or in a particular Reserve or National Guard unit, and another four years in the IRR.

This policy is made clear to service members at least twice. Once at their intitial entry right before they sign and swear in, and again at the end of their active service period. When I enlisted in the Marines in 1991, I signed an eight year contract. When I left in 1995 I was reminded of this fact, and that I was subject to recall. Furthermore, if I showed up for recall out of shape, overweight, or with controlled substances floating around in my bloodstream I would be subject to military discipline. In other words, for the next four years, I was a civilian until the military decided otherwise.

Since 2001 the Marines and the Army have each exercised this option, calling up about 10000 personnel altogether, out of a current combined US military force of 2.5 million on and off active duty. A 2004 Army call up resulted in a few protests and no shows. And the the media and the left created the phrase “back door draft.” Meanwhile the vast majority of soldiers and Marines recalled have accepted it without public commentary. Most of the recent articles have been missing any commentary by recalled reservists claiming unfair treatment.

That’s because the vast majority of reservists remember that they agreed to serve up to eight years. To say that holding service members accountable to their initial contract equates to crypto-conscription is sheer left wing sophistry. An IRR member called back to service is no more of a draftee than his active duty counterpart. And while a handful of reservists can be found to publicly comment on their frustration with recall, this doesn’t make it a draft.

Nor does it mean that a draft is imminent. Nor does it mean that one is necessary. If the military needs a temporary stop of five or ten thousand troops to accomplish short term goals then the use of IRR troops is perfectly reasonable. That’s why we have them. Such a shortfall is no reason to overturn a thirty year old policy of all volunteer service that created the finest military ever.

The Defense of Mario Lozano


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you explain 10,000 to 20,000 active and reserve Navy personnel being given to the Army by Dec 06' to serve in Iraq wearing Army uniforms? This seems to be a 'back door draft'.

Mon Aug 28, 11:57:00 AM 2006  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wed Aug 30, 09:58:00 PM 2006  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

Well first let's correct some of your misonceptions. Those sailors and airmen are not weaing Army uniforms. They ar serving alongside soldiers in Iraq, in some cases in Army units, promarily in non-combat roles (and yes itis a fluid battlefield). And as with all previously mentioned soldiers and reservists they are volunteers.

I explain it thus:
The DOD has been looking to reduce use of reservists and the Guard due to some vocal complaining in the US political arena. Sometimes by families of reservists, often by those who are looking for another opening to attak the war. As Army personnel have been most affected by Iraq deployments they are being augmented by Navy andAir Force counterparts because:

A- It enhances Army readiness in regards to other missions that may occur.

B-The Navy and the Air Force offered their services in order to "stay in the fight" in the current phase of the war.

Again a temporary measure.

Wed Aug 30, 10:00:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have your facts mixed up and construed. The IRR and Ready Reserve as a whole was never intended to be tapped as it is now. Many Reserves are facing a second deployment because of the way Title 10 USC wording is interpreted. Other branches of the service are being cross-leveled into one another... Wake up and smell the coffee - or get an education.

Tue Nov 14, 10:50:00 AM 2006  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

So how was the IRR intended to be used? The fact is we all joined the military! As such we signed ourselves into a system of law that allows the commander in chief wide discretionary powers to determine our future. Is it always fair? Not always. That still doesn't make it a draft.

Tue Nov 14, 03:46:00 PM 2006  

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