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US Army Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)

There are two ways to serve in the US Army: either serve full-time in Active Duty as an Enlisted Soldier or Officer, or serve part-time as an Enlisted Soldier or Officer in the Army Reserve. All Soldiers have a statutory eight-year military service obligation (MSO), which is established at the time of entry into military service (Active or Reserve). Traditional enlistment terms are three, four, five and six years. Terms of service for active duty are from 2-6 years.

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) consists of soldiers assigned to control groups (Annual Training) and (Reinforcement). These different groups provide for the control and administration of soldiers not assigned to the Selected Reserve (TPU, IMA and AGR).

Control group (Annual Training) consists of non-unit Ready Reserve soldiers with a training obligation. They may be assigned to units or required to perform other appropriate training deemed necessary by their career manager. These soldiers must take part in annual training when directed.

Control Group (Reinforcement) consists of all other non-unit Ready Reserve soldiers not assigned to other control groups. They may, or may not have completed their military service obligation (MSO) and have no mandatory training requirements. Soldiers credited with three or more years of active duty and who have a remaining MSO are assigned to this Control Group.

Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is a personnel pool principally consisting of individuals who have had training and have previously served in the active forces or in the Selected Reserve. The IRR consists of obligors who must fulfill their Military Service Obligation, and those who have fulfilled their MSO and who voluntarily remain in the IRR. IRR members are subject to involuntary active duty (AD) or training and fulfillment of mobilization requirements. Additionally, the IRR also includes some personnel who are participating in officer training programs or in the Armed Forces Health Professions Financial Assistance Programs.

All members of the Ready Reserve serving in the Army Reserve who are not members of a Selected Reserve unit, or assigned to an individual mobilization augmentee billet, or performing Active Guard or Reserve duty, or are on extended AD, are placed in the IRR.

As of 22 June 2004, the Army's Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) contained slightly more than 111,000 Soldiers. These trained Soldiers may be called upon to fill vacancies in Army Reserve units and may replace Soldiers in Active and Reserve Units. Part of the Army's Ready Reserve, the IRR involves individuals who have had training, served previously in the Active Component or the Selected Reserve (such as a member of an Army Reserve unit), and may have some period of Military Service Obligation remaining. Unlike new recruits, these are seasoned, experienced Soldiers who can contribute significantly to Army readiness. The IRR, as it exists, is mandated by Congress under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. In accordance with implementing instructions contained in Army Regulation 135-91, members of the IRR can be required to join an Army Reserve unit if they are statutorily obligated and have a skill needed by the Army.

Activation is when an Army Reserve Soldier is called to serve in the Army full time. Activation can put you in an Army job within the United States or you may be deployed to foreign soil. Once activated, Army Reserve Soldiers can only serve a maximum of two years active duty.

Presidential Reserve Callup Authority [PRCA] is a Provision of a public law (US Code, Title 10 (DOD), section 12304) that provides the President a means to activate, without a declaration of national emergency, not more than 200,000 members of the Selected Reserve and the Individual Ready Reserve (of whom not more than 30,000 may be members of the Individual Ready Reserve), for not more than 270 days to meet the support requirements of any operational mission. Members called under this provision may not be used for disaster relief or to suppress insurrection. This authority has particular utility when used in circumstances in which the escalatory national or international signals of partial or full mobilization would be undesirable. Forces available under this authority can provide a tailored, limited-scope, deterrent, or operational response, or may be used as a precursor to any subsequent mobilization.

Reservists from throughout the armed forces began registering their civilian places of employment for the first time with the Department of Defense 31 March 2004. Called the Civilian Employment Information program, the registration is the first mandatory disclosure by the Selected Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve of their civilian employers into a common database. Unlike previous military service efforts to voluntarily gather employer data, this new program is mandatory. Reservists and guardsmen who knowingly fail or refuse to provide their employment-related information, or provide false information, may be subject to administrative action or punishment.

In May 2004 the Army's Human Resources Command - St. Louis (HRC-STL), began identifying Individual Ready Reserve Soldiers with a statutory Military Service Obligation (MSO) remaining for possible assignment to an Army Reserve unit. These Soldiers may be assigned to position vacancy requirements within designated Reserve units based upon the needs of the Army.

Since early May 2004, the Army Reserve's Retention and Transition Division has been contacting Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) Soldiers with a remaining Mandatory Service Obligation (MSO) to solicit their voluntary transfer from the IRR to Army Reserve Troop Program Units (TPU). In conjunction with a screening of the IRR population by HRC-St. Louis, this effort was intended to match the skills of IRR Soldiers with units in their local areas, thereby enhancing the readiness of the Army Reserve.

This effort may have been presented as something beyond a purely voluntary endeavor. As a result, there may be some Soldiers who feel that they were misled or pressured into joining a Reserve unit, when, in fact, that was not the intention of this voluntary transition initiative. Soldiers who believe they were unduly pressured into transferring to an Army Reserve unit, or that facts were misrepresented in the process of such a transfer action, may seek redress through the U.S. Army Reserve Command Retention and Transition Office. Transfer orders determined to be the result of coercion or misrepresentation can be revoked, if such allegations are confirmed.

Although every effort will be made to meet personnel needs with volunteers, involuntary mobilization of IRR Soldiers can be executed with the approval of competent authority. The Army Reserve is an integral component of an Army serving our Nation at war. Those members of the IRR who still have a remaining contractual obligation may be called upon to serve, subject to the needs of the Army.

On 30 June 2004 the Army announced plans to order 5,600 Soldier in the Individual Ready Reserve to active duty for possible deployment with the next Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom rotations. Those Soldiers called up will have 30 days from the date the orders were issued to take care of personal business before having to report to a mobilization site, officials said. The orders call for 18 months of active duty, but that could be extended for a total of 24 months if needed, they said. The IRR call-up does not impact retired Soldiers, contrary to several civilian media reports.

The main purpose of this IRR call-up is to fill personnel shortfalls in a number of Army Reserve and National Guard units that have been tagged to deploy overseas as part of the OIF 3 and OEF 6 rotations planned for late fall 2004. Many of the personnel shortfalls are for Soldiers already assigned to the deploying units who are not deployable due to medical, family or legal issues. The actual mobilization and deployment requirement is for about 4,400 Soldiers, but personnel officials expect to find some of the IRR Soldiers with similar medical, family and legal issues that may keep them from being deployable. While the specific jobs the called-up Soldiers will fill are varied, the heaviest requirements include truck drivers, mechanics, logistics personnel and administrative specialists.

This is not the first time the Army has used the IRR to fill its manpower needs. During the Gulf War, more than 20,000 IRR Soldiers were mobilized and deployed. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Army has called up more than 2,500 IRR Soldiers -- the majority through IRR volunteers, though some have been involuntary call-ups.

Historically, the Army needs to mobilize about 13 IRR Soldiers to get 10 deployable Soldiers. The called-up IRR Soldiers spend about 30 days at a mobilization installation, getting checks to see if they are qualified for deployment, getting individual weapons qualification, conducting Common Task Testing and receiving training in a number of warrior tasks that reflect the realities of today's operating environment, including how to recognize an improvised explosive devise and reacting to an ambush.

Those who do not pass the readiness muster at the mobilization installation for reasons including anything from medical and legal reasons to physical challenges may be disqualified and sent home. Those who pass the muster will be sent on to military occupational specialty schools to get refresher training, normally lasting between two to four weeks. The final stop is joining the deploying unit at least 30 days before deployment for collective training as a unit.

On March 22, 2006, the Army announced that the Secretary of the Army had endorsed an integrated and systemic approach to reset and reinvigorate the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The Army’s strategy focuses on transforming the IRR into the Army’s leading ‘prior service talent bank’ through several programmed initiatives as it builds the future force.

The Army plan called for immediately developping an identity with increased esprit de corps for members of the IRR by creating a special category within the IRR for its ready and qualified IRR Soldiers. This special category was to be called the Individual Warrior (IW) Category. Soldiers in the IW Category would be required to maintain a higher state of readiness by participating in virtual musters, attending annual readiness processing and, through managed training opportunities, maintaining proficiency in their military occupational specialty. The IW Category would focus on elevating individual expectation management, proactive career management, unique training opportunities, and promote continuum of service towards a military retirement.




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