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The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army.

The Army Reserve was formed in 1908 to provide a reserve of medical officers to the Army. After the First World War, under the National Defense Act on 4 June 1920, Congress reorganized the U.S. land forces by authorizing a Regular Army, a National Guard, and an Organized Reserve (Officers Reserve Corps and Enlisted Reserve Corps) of unrestricted size, which later became the Army Reserve.

Reserve service today

Reserve soldiers perform only part-time duties as opposed to full-time ("active duty") soldiers, but rotate through mobilizations to full-time duty. When not on active duty, reserve soldiers typically perform training or service one weekend per month (inactive duty for training or "Battle Assembly") and for two continuous weeks at some time during the year (annual training). Many reserve soldiers are organized into Army Reserve units (troop program unit or TPU), while others serve to augment active Army units (Individual Mobilization Augmentee or IMA), or are simply in non-drilling control groups of the Individual Ready Reserve ("IRR").

All United States Army soldiers sign an initial eight year service contract upon entry into the military. Typically, the contract specifies that some of the service will be served in the Regular Army, or "active component" (two, three, or four years), with the rest of the service to be served in the reserve component. However, some soldiers elect to sign a contract specifying that all eight years be served in the reserve component. Soldiers entering directly into the Army Reserve nevertheless spend a period of initial active duty (five months, more or less, depending upon specialty) for basic training and advanced individual training (AIT) and, like all Army Reserve soldiers, are subject to mobilization throughout the term of their enlistment. Those soldiers who, after serving the active component portion of their enlistment contract, choose not to re-enlist in the active component, are automatically transferred to the reserve component to complete their initial eight year service obligation; this may be in drilling TPUs, an IMA position, or the IRR. After the expiration of the initial eight year service contract, soldiers who elect to continue their service may sign subsequent contracts of varying durations consecutively until they finally leave the service; however, officers may have the option to opt for an "indefinite" contract, in which case the soldier remains a part of the military until they retire, are removed from the service for cause, or are granted authority to resign their commissions.

Officers, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted personnel in the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and above are considered to be on "indefinite" status if they have more than 10 years of service. This means that such soldiers remain in the military until they retire, are removed from service for cause, or are granted authority to leave the service. (This no longer applies to reenlist with an "Indefinite" status as part of the Army Reserve. Memo is dated 20080110 - It is not retroactive.)

The Army Reserve was composed of 205,000 soldiers as of 2009.

Current leadership

On 25 May 2006, Lieutenant General Jack C. Stultz became Chief, Army Reserve, and Commanding General, United States Army Reserve Command, after serving as the Command's Deputy Commanding General since October 2005. Prior to assignment to the Army Reserve Command, Lieutenant General Stultz served as the Commanding General of the 143rd Transportation Command.

On 29 August 2006, Command Sergeant Major Leon Caffie was sworn in as the Command Sergeant Major of the Army Reserve, serving as the Chief of the Army Reserve's senior advisor on all enlisted soldier matters, particularly areas affecting training, leader development, mobilization, employer support, family readiness and support, and quality of life. In his capacity as CSM of the Army Reserve, he dedicates the majority of his time traveling throughout the United States and overseas visiting, observing, and listening to soldiers and families to address their issues and concerns.

Importance to the active army

In the early 1980s Army Reserve soldiers constituted the following numbers in US Army units:
  • 100% of training divisions, brigades, and railway units
  • 97% of civil affairs units
  • 89% of psychological operations units
  • 85% of smoke generator companies
  • 78% of Petrol/Oil/Lubricant (POL) supply companies
  • 62% of Army hospitals
  • 61% of terminal companies
  • 59% of the supply and service capability of the Army
  • 51% of ammunition companies
  • 43% of airborne pathfinder units
  • 43% of watercraft companies
  • 42% of chemical decontamination units
  • 38% of combat support aviation companies
  • 26% of combat engineer battalions
  • 25% of Special Forces Groups
  • smaller percentages of other units and formations such as combat brigades and tank battalions

In 1980, the peacetime USAR chain of command was overlaid with a wartime trace. In an expansion of the roundout and affiliation programs begun ten years earlier, CAPSTONE purported to align every Army Reserve unit with the active and reserve component units with which they were anticipated to deploy. Units maintained lines of communication with the units -- often hundreds or thousands of miles away in peacetime -- who would presumably serve above or below them in the event of mobilisation. This communcication, in some cases, extended to coordinated annual training opportunities.

Despite the commonly held belief that CAPSTONE traces were set in stone, the process of selecting units to mobilise and deploy in 1990 and 1991 in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. largely ignored CAPSTONE.

In the post-Cold War draw-down, all of the Army Reserve's combat units were disbanded, except the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment. This meant the disestablishment of the three remaining Army Reserve fighting brigades: the 157th Infantry Brigade of Pennsylvaniamarker, the 187th Infantry Brigade of Massachusettsmarker, and the 205th Infantry Brigade of Minnesotamarker. Many of the Army Reserve training divisions were realigned as institutional training divisions.

With the Army National Guard providing reserve component combat formations and related combat support units, the Army Reserve is configured to provide combat support, combat service support, peacekeeping, nation-building and civil support capability. With roughly twenty percent of the Army's organized units and 5.3 percent of the Army's budget, the Army Reserve provides about half of the Army's combat support and a quarter of the Army's mobilization base expansion capability.

In 2008, the Army Reserve contains the following percentages of the Army's units of each category:

In fiscal years 2007-2009, the Army Reserve was realigned into a functional command structure. The majority of Army Reserve units are now assigned to operational and functional commands. Operational commands are deployable elements which command deployable units of the same or similar capabilities regardless of peacetime geographic location. For instance, the 377th Sustainment Command (Theater) commands all Army Reserve sustainment units, while the 11th Aviation Command commands all Army Reserve aviation assets. Likewise, functional commands are responsible for command of units of the same or similar capabilities regardless of peacetime geographic location, but are not, as a headquarters, deployable.

The training structure has been transformed in order to streamline command and control. Instead of multiple training divisions, each with its own geographic area of responsibility, the new structure features four training commands responsible for specific categories of training throughout the United States. Each command is configured for either initial entry training, advanced individual training schools, leader development or battle command training. These commands train soldiers of the Army Reserve, Army National Guard and the active component, through formal classroom and “hands on” training. Two training support commands under the First United States Army, designated First Army East and First Army West, provide customized, realistic unit-specific and operation-specific training. TSCs plan, conduct and evaluate training exercises for Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard units. Training Support Commands are organized under the United States First Army into two subordinate units.

As a part of this realignent, most of the regional readiness commands were eliminated, leaving only seven globally. These were redesignated "[regional, civil or mission] support commands]"; the four in the Continental United States being "regional"; the geography for which each regional support command increased significantly, but all of the support commands were stripped of their former command and control authority over units in their respective territories. Instead, the support commands provide base operations and administrative support to Army Reserve units within their geographic region.

Current formations and units

Operational and functional Commands

Regional Support Commands

Institutional Training Commands

Training Support Commands

Special Units

Other components

See the Army of the United States for the conscription (US term:draft) force of the United States Army that may be raised at the discretion of the United States Congress in the event of the United States entering into a major armed conflict.

See also


  1. Chapter IV: The Aftermath of World War I
  3. David Isby & Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985
  4. James T. Currie and Richard B. Crossland, Twice The Citizen: A History of the United States Army Reserve, 1908-1995 (2nd revised & expanded edition), Washington, DC: Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (1997), pp. 254-255.
  5. Information on the 143 Transportation Command from

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