On September 11th, 2001, the concept of the weekend warrior serving “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” became obsolete. Overnight, the Reserve Component (the National Guard and Reserve) went from a “strategic reserve” to an integral part of daily global US military operations. Two decades of war, a massive uptick in domestic missions, and ever-increasing training requirements to maintain readiness have transformed the Reserve Component of the United States Department of Defense from a rarely called-upon last line of defense to a quasi-active duty force routinely deployed for weeks and months at a time at home and abroad.
As we have seen in recent high-vis mobilizations in response to Covid-19, civil unrest, and domestic emergency response, the Reserve Component is a dependable, formidable, and integral part of the US military. It has proven itself for twenty years through myriad combat and non-combat deployments operating independently from and augmenting the active duty military.
Prior to 2001, an Army Reservist (any non-Active Duty servicemember) could reasonably expect to spend 39 days a year in uniform with approximately 11 missed workdays. According to 2019 testimony before the House Armed Services Committee by Reserve Component leadership, the average Reservist now spends 49 days in uniform per year resulting in approximately 20 missed workdays—one full month absent from work—in what would be, in my experience, an extremely rare and relaxed training year.
National Guard and Reserve service members across branches make up almost half of the United States’ total military force strength.
If we do not have financial security through supportive civilian employers, our part-time service is untenable and the missions of the National Guard, Reserve, and Department of Defense are in jeopardy.
Friendly Forces exists to guide reservists to companies that truly support them and provide resources for them to bridge their military and civilian skillsets to have impactful careers.
Lots more to come. We’re only getting started.