NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Relying On Reservists

May 18, 1999

President Clinton's policy of "engagement" in other countries, coupled with the decrease in full-time military personnel, have meant greater engagement of military reservists. Moreover, the Pentagon is increasingly using them for missions less related to defense than to world service chores.

  • Reserve personnel now serving in the Army and Air National Guards, and the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard Reserves now number 900,000.
  • In recent days, Clinton has called up 5,035 reservists out of a mandate of 33,700 to support NATO bombings in Yugoslavia.
  • Previously, he ordered involuntary call-ups for Haiti in 1994, Bosnia in 1995 and Iraq last year.
  • Disruptions to employers due to call-ups of workers have increased to the extent that complaints requiring mediation by the Defense Department are up 43 percent since last year.

Reservists who are sent to active duty suffer economic loss. Experts estimate that two-thirds of those who served in the Gulf War lost money.

The law states that employers must not discriminate against reservists in hiring or in any other way. Reservists can even volunteer for active duty without their employer's permission. Moreover, employers are obligated to rehire reservists when they return from active duty --- so long as their total time on active duty does not exceed five years.

Reservists most in demand are involved in law enforcement, corrections and emergency services.

Source: Brian Mitchell, "Reservists Moonlighting for NATO," Investor's Business Daily, May 18, 1999.


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