5 Selected Reserve Enlisted Accessions and Enlisted Force
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Appendix A-E

This Chapter:


The Ready Reserve, with an FY 1997 strength of more than 1.5 million, is the major source of manpower augmentation for the Active force.  As illustrated in Figure 5.1, the two principal elements of the Ready Reserve are the Selected Reserve and the Individual Ready Reserve.  Reserve Component data in this report include only the Selected Reserve.


Ready Reserve 1,522,450


Selected Reserve 920,3701


Units and Full-Time Support 894,730



Full-Time Support3


Individual Ready Reserve/Inactive
National Guard


1 Components within the Selected Reserve include the Army National Guard (ARNG), Army Reserve (USAR), Naval Reserve (USNR), Air National Guard (ANG), Air Force Reserve (USAFR), and Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR).
Coast Guard Reserve is excluded.
2 Includes Selected Reserve members in the training pipeline.
3 Includes Active/Guard Reserve (AGR) and military technicians, excluding competitive civil service technicians not having mobilization assignments in the ARNG and ANG.
Numbers are rounded to nearest ten.
Source:  Department of Defense, Official Guard and Reserve Manpower Strengths and Statistics:  FY 1997 Summary (RCS:  DD-RA[M]1147/1148) (Washington, DC:  Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense [Reserve Affairs], 1997), Report A0, p. 1.005.

Figure 5.1.  FY 1997 composition of the Selected Reserve within the Ready Reserve.

 The Selected Reserve includes three types of personnel: (1) those trained in units (including full-time support personnel) who are organized, equipped, and trained to perform wartime missions; (2) trained individuals (Individual Mobilization Augmentees [IMAs]) who provide wartime augmentation on or shortly after mobilization; and (3) those in the training pipeline (including personnel currently on or awaiting initial active duty for training, personnel awaiting the second part of initial active duty training, Active Guard/Reserve [AGR] currently on or awaiting initial active duty training, personnel in simultaneous membership programs [SMP], and personnel in other training programs).  Reservists and Guardsmen in the training pipeline may not deploy.  Selected Reservists assigned to units and some IMAs train throughout the year.  Selected Reserve units may be either operational or augmentation units.  Operational units train and deploy as units; augmentation units train as units in peacetime, but are absorbed into Active Component units upon mobilization.

The Selected Reserve Recruiting Process

 The recruiting process is similar for the Reserve and Active Components.  With the exception of a number of Air National Guard (ANG) units, Reserve recruiters process their NPS applicants through Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPSs), following procedures almost identical to the Active Component.

 Recruiters describe the demands and opportunities of military service, and evaluate prospective recruits to determine eligibility for enlistment.  The prospect is asked about his or her age, education, involvement with the law, use of drugs, and physical and medical factors that could preclude enlistment.  The prospect may take an enlistment screening test.  Non-prior service prospects take the ASVAB at either a local test site or at a MEPS.  If an NPS applicant achieves qualifying ASVAB scores and wishes to continue the application process, he or she is scheduled for a physical examination and background review at a MEPS.  If the applicant's education, ASVAB scores, physical fitness, and moral character qualify for enlistment, he or she meets with a Service classification counselor at a MEPS (or in some instances at a National Guard unit) to discuss options for enlistment.

 Up to this point, the applicant has made no commitment.  The counselor has the record of the applicant's qualifications and computerized information on available training/skill openings, schedules, and enlistment incentives.  They discuss the applicant's interests.  The counselor may offer bonuses to encourage the applicant to choose hard-to-fill occupational specialties.  The applicant, however, is free to accept or reject the offer.  Many applicants do not decide immediately, but take time to discuss options with family and friends.  When the applicant accepts the offer, he or she signs an enlistment contract and is sworn into the Reserve.

 One of the most critical factors in achieving Reserve readiness is the ability to meet Selected Reserve manpower requirements--in numbers, skills, and quality.  More than half (63 percent in FY 1997) of Selected Reserve accessions have prior service experience, primarily from active duty.  However, a sizable proportion of new recruits enter the National Guard or Reserve without previous military affiliation.  Recruiting must target both populations.  Success in meeting recruiting and retention goals varies significantly from unit to unit.  First, there are substantial differences in unit size; larger units require greater effort.  Second, National Guard and Reserve units differ significantly in skills required.  Third, National Guard and Reserve units exist in thousands of localities, and each locality presents a unique set of labor market characteristics.  The size of the community, distinct demographic and socioeconomic profiles, the mix of skills in the local civilian labor force and among recent veterans, local civilian wage levels and hours worked, frequency and duration of employment, employer attitudes regarding National Guard or Reserve duty, attitudes toward the military, effect of recent mobilizations on propensity to enlist, and other secondary job opportunities create recruiting and retention challenges for Selected Reserve units.

 The 1997 Youth Attitude Tracking Study shows that enlistment propensity for the Selected Reserve is lower than for the active Services (20 percent versus 26 percent, respectively, for 16- to 21-year-old males). Moreover, propensity is consistently higher for the Service Reserves than for the National Guard.  Among 16- to 21-year-old males, there is an 8 percentage point difference between interest in the two components (9 percent National Guard versus 17 percent Reserves); smaller differences (3 percentage points) are found with 22-24 year-old males and 16-24 year-old females. Propensity among 16- to 21-year-old women significantly decreased during 1997 (12 percent in 1996, 9 percent in 1997). While trends indicate less interest today among the primary recruit population--male youth 16 to 21 years old--to enter the Selected Reserve than six years ago (25 percent in 1991, 20 percent in 1997), results of the survey illustrate relatively stable levels of National Guard and Reserve propensity over the last three years.

 The occupational distribution among the Active and Reserve Components varies (e.g., 11 percent of active Navy enlistees serve in administration while 22 percent of Naval Reserve [USNR] members serve in administration).  Some units have to recruit more NPS individuals to fill unit vacancies.  Another factor that can create large differences in manning success across skills is marketability, including civilian skill transferability, quality of training, equipment, and promotion opportunity.  To combat the limited training opportunities, expense of field training, and lack of access to training facilities, the Reserve Component Virtual Training Program was created at the Mounted Warfare Simulation Training Center in Fort Knox, Kentucky.  It provides structured, simulation-based training currently used in the Army National Guard (ARNG).

 The diversity of mission and force structure among the Reserve Components affects the demographic composition of units.  A National Guard or Reserve company with a combat mission may need a significantly higher proportion of young NPS accessions.  Conversely, combat service support functions may require more experienced personnel and thus have greater proportions of prior service recruiting requirements.

 The population representation profiles of the Reserve Components are different from the Active Services due to a number of factors:

    • The proportional distribution of combat, combat support, and combat service support skills in the Selected Reserve;
    • The location of units, given the requirement for Reserve Components to recruit for local unit vacancies within a 50-mile radius; and
    • The impact of the Active Component's force structure on National Guard and Reserve recruiting.

 This chapter provides demographic characteristics and the distribution of FY 1997 enlisted accessions and the enlisted force of the Selected Reserve.  Characteristics of Selected Reserve NPS accessions are described and, where applicable, are compared to prior service accessions.  Characteristics and distribution of Selected Reserve officer accessions and the officer corps are contained in Chapter 6.

Go to Characteristics of Selected Reserve Accessions

Go to Characteristics of Selected Reserve Enlisted Force

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