Characteristics of Selected Reserve Accessions
FY 2002 Reserve Component recruiting results for NPS and prior service gains and assigned end-strengths are shown in Table 5.1. In FY 2002, the Reserve Components recruited 153,658 enlisted persons compared to the Active Component's 194,400. The Army National Guard (ARNG) has the largest Reserve Component recruiting program, followed by the Army Reserve (USAR). The ARNG recruited 33,214 NPS enlistees, 12,328 more than the USAR. The ARNG also recruited nearly 9,000 more prior service recruits than the USAR.
Selected Reserve recruiting achievements decreased by 2,770 enlisted accessions from FY 2001 to FY 2002 (from 156,428 to 153,658). The ANG, USNR, and USMCR experienced an increase in enlisted accession while all other components experienced a decrease.
Due to differences in mission and force structure, the size of recruit cohorts by component varied greatly. Therefore, comparisons between the Reserve Components percentages must be interpreted with care. The Army Components—the ARNG and USAR—had the largest Selected Reserve recruit cohorts, recruiting 69 percent of total Reserve Component accessions (41 and 28 percent for the ARNG and USAR, respectively) in FY 2002. The Naval Reserve (USNR) and Air Force Reserve (USAFR) had the highest proportion of prior service recruits (74 and 66 percent of their total recruiting efforts, respectively). The Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) had the lowest proportion of recruits with past military experience (39 percent). Prior service accessions provide the Reserve Components with a more experienced personnel base, contributing to increased readiness to meet future missions.
The increase in availability of prior service recruits, a temporary phenomenon due to the larger number of active duty members leaving service during the drawdown, ended in the late 1990s. The result is fewer prior service individuals from which the Reserve Components can recruit. In fact, the more successful the Military Services are in retaining active duty members, the smaller the prior service pool becomes. Thus, the Reserve Components must recruit NPS individuals, in direct competition with the Active Components. The numerical effects of the drawdown, changes in the Reserve mission with increased combat risks due to an increased operating tempo (OpTempo), as well as quality of life and compensation issues have made Reserve recruiting difficult as we enter the 21st century. Potential recruits are likely to find combat risk, family hardships, and financial losses during a mobilization more important in the Reserve participation decision today and in the future.[Footnote 3]
[Footnote 3] Asch, B.J., Reserve Supply in the Post-Desert Storm Recruiting Environment (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 1993), p. 5. [back to paragraph]