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A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizen-soldiers of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when their military requires additional manpower. Reserve forces are generally considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces. The existence of reserve forces allows a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures while maintaining a force prepared for war. It is analogous to the historical model of military recruitment before the era of standing armies.
In some countries, such as Canada, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom, members of the reserve forces are civilians who maintain military skills by training, typically one weekend a month. They may do so as individuals or as members of standing reserve regiments, for example the Army Reserve of the United Kingdom. In some cases a militia, home guard, state guard, or State Military could constitute part of a military reserve forces, such as the United States National Guard, the Norwegian Home Guard, the Swedish Home Guard, or the Danish Home Guard. In Colombia, Israel, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan service in the reserves is compulsory for a number of years after one has completed national service.
A military reserve force is different from a reserve formation, sometimes called a military reserve, a group of military personnel or units not committed to a battle by their commander so that they are available to address unforeseen situations, bolster defences, or exploit opportunities.
During the eighteenth century, some nations' military systems included practices and institutions that functioned effectively as a reserve force, even if they were not specifically designated as such. For example, the half-pay system in the British Army during the eighteenth century provided the British state with a force of trained, experienced officers not on active duty during peacetime but available for call-up during wartime. The Militia Act of 1757 effectively gave Britain at least somewhat of an institutional structure for a reserve force. Although contemporaries debated the effectiveness of the British militia, its embodiment (i.e., mobilization) during several conflicts did increase Britain's strategic options by freeing up regular forces for overseas theaters.
Historically reservists first played a significant role in Europe after the Prussian defeat in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. On 9 July 1807 in the Treaties of Tilsit, Napoleon I forced Prussia to drastically reduce its military strength, in addition to ceding large amounts of territory. The Prussian army could no longer be stronger than 42,000 men.
The Krumpersystem , introduced to the Prussian Army by the military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst, arranged for giving recruits a short period of training, which in the event of war could be considerably expanded. With this the reduction of the army's strength did not have the desired effect, and in the following wars Prussia was able to draw up a large number of trained soldiers. The system was retained by the Imperial German Army into the First World War. By the time of the Second Reich reservists were already being given so-called "war arrangements" following the completion of their military service, which contained exact instructions relating to the conduct of reservists in time of war.
In some countries, for example the United States, reservists are often former military members who reached the end of their enlistment or resigned their commission. Indeed, service in the reserves for a number of years after leaving active service is required in the enlistment contracts and commissioning orders of many nations.
Reservists can also be civilians who undertake basic and specialized training in parallel with regular forces while retaining their civilian roles. They can be deployed independently or their personnel may make up shortages in regular units. Ireland's Army Reserve is one example of such a reserve.
With universal conscription, most of the male population may be reservists. In Finland, all men belong to the reserve until 60 years of age, and 80% of each age cohort are drafted and receive at least six months of military training. Ten percent of conscripts are trained as reserve officers. Reservists and reserve officers are occasionally called up for refresher exercises, but receive no monthly salary or position. South Korean males who finish their national service in the armed forces or in the national police are automatically placed on the reserve roster, and are obligated to attend a few days of annual military training for seven years.
Reserves are used and employed in many ways. In wartime they may be used to provide replacements for combat losses to in-action units and formations, thus allowing these to remain battle-worthy longer. They can also be used to form new units and formations to augment the regular army. In addition, reservists can undertake tasks such as garrison duty, manning air defense, internal security and guarding of important points such as supply depots, prisoner of war camps, communications nodes, air and sea bases and other vital areas, thus freeing up regular troops for the front. A combination of these can be used.
In peacetime, reservists can be used in internal security duties and disaster relief, sparing reliance on the regular military forces, and in many countries where military roles outside of warfare are restricted, reservists are specifically exempted from these restrictions.
The term "reserve officer" has two different meanings. In the US, it refers mostly to retired officers of the standing army that are still eligible for military duty. In countries with universal conscription, it refers to conscripts that receive extra training to qualify for officer duty in the event of war, but in peacetime concentrate on their civilian career and receive no pay or position from the military. For example, 10% of Finnish conscripts attain a reserve officer rank after completion of one year of service.
One of the primary advantages in having military reserves is that they increase the available manpower by many fold in a short period of time, unlike the months it would take to train new recruits or conscripts, since reservists are already trained. Reservists are often experienced combat veterans which can increase not only the quantity, but the overall quality of the forces. Having a large reservist pool can allow a government to avoid the costs, both political and financial, of requiring new recruits or conscripts. The reservists are usually more economically effective than regular troops, as they are only called up when they are most needed. On the other hand, preparations made to institute a call up (which are obvious to adversaries) can be used as a display of determination. Reservists also tend to have training in professions outside the military. The skills attained in many professions are also many times useful in the military side. Furthermore, in many countries reserves have also very capable people who would not consider career in the military. They take voluntary training as their hobby, and are therefore very cheap to train. People considering reservist activity as their hobby tend to be very motivated unlike many professionals. In peacekeeping, the skills of reservists have been shown to be valuable, because they can be employed for reconstruction of infrastructure, and so tend to have better relations with the civilian population than pure career soldiers.
Reservists are usually provided with second line equipment, which is no longer used by the regulars, or is an older version of that in current service. Reservists will also have little experience with the newer weapon systems. Reservists in the sense of retired services personnel are sometimes considered to be less motivated than regular troops. Meanwhile, reservists in the sense of civilians who combine a military career with a civilian one, as in the United Kingdom's Territorial Army (TA), (now called the Army Reserve), experience demands on time not experienced by regular troops, and which affects their availability and duration of service. Conducting exercises involving reservists is expensive, requiring compensation for lost wages, and it is difficult to call up then demobilize reservists again and again, which means that a nation that has called up reservists may be reluctant to stand them down again until the conflict is resolved. This is particularly true in the case of reservists in the sense of retired personnel, less true in the case of a standing force (e.g., the TA). In the prelude to World War I, the reluctance of the various antagonists to demobilize reserves once called up, due to the difficulty of remobilization has been held up as one of the causes why the diplomatic phase escalated so quickly to war.[ citation needed ]
Soviet Union made the largest use of reserves in both senses during the World War II, having separate and distinct military reserve force formations that included not only conscription reserves of lower readiness category cadre units, but also including the use of military reserves—reserve Armies and even a Front that constituted the reserve of the High Command.
The Volunteer Reserves:
The Regular Reserves:
The Sponsored Reserves:
A militia is generally an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a country, or subjects of a state, who may perform military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel or (historically) to members of a warrior nobility class. Generally unable to hold ground against regular forces, militias commonly support regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or conducting irregular warfare, instead of undertaking offensive campaigns by themselves. Local civilian laws often limit militias to serve only in their home region, and to serve only for a limited time; this further reduces their use in long military campaigns.
The Canadian Armed Forces is the unified military of Canada, comprising sea, land, and air elements referred to as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Recruit training, more commonly known as basic training or regularly boot camp, refers to the initial instruction of new military personnel. Recruit training is a physically and psychologically intensive process, which resocializes its subjects for the demands of military employment.
Military justice is the body of laws and procedures governing members of the armed forces. Many nation-states have separate and distinct bodies of law that govern the conduct of members of their armed forces. Some states use special judicial and other arrangements to enforce those laws, while others use civilian judicial systems. Legal issues unique to military justice include the preservation of good order and discipline, the legality of orders, and appropriate conduct for members of the military. Some states enable their military justice systems to deal with civil offenses committed by their armed forces in some circumstances.
Military police (MP) are law enforcement agencies connected with, or part of, the military of a state.
The Defence Forces are the armed forces of Ireland. They encompass the Army, Air Corps, Naval Service and Reserve Defence Forces.
A cadet is an officer trainee or candidate. The term is frequently used to refer to those training to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. Its meaning may vary between countries.
Military service is service by an individual or group in an army or other militia, whether as a chosen job (volunteer) or as a result of an involuntary draft (conscription).
Commandant is a title often given to the officer in charge of a military training establishment or academy. This usage is common in English-speaking nations. In some countries it may be a military or police rank. It is also often used to refer to the commander of a military prison or prison camp.
Auxiliaries are personnel that assist the military or police but are organised differently from such forces. Auxiliary may be volunteers undertaking support functions or performing certain duties such as garrison troops, usually on a part-time basis. Unlike a military reserve force, an auxiliary force does not have the same degree of training as regular soldiers or integration into a fighting force. Some are former military active duty personnel and actually have more training than their counterparts.
A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed forces, and they remain a reservist either voluntarily, or by obligation. In some countries such as Israel, Norway, Finland, Singapore, and Switzerland, reservists are conscripted soldiers who are called up for training and service when necessary.
The Primary Reserve of the Canadian Armed Forces is the first and largest of the four sub-components of the Canadian Forces reserves, followed by the Supplementary Reserve, the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service and the Canadian Rangers.
Provosts are military police whose duties are policing solely within the armed forces of a country, as opposed to gendarmerie duties in the civilian population. However, many countries use their gendarmerie for provost duties.
In the United Kingdom, conscription has existed for two periods in modern times. The first was from 1916 to 1920, the second from 1939 to 1960, with the last conscripted soldiers leaving the service in 1963. Known as Military Service from 1916 to 1920, the system of conscription from 1939 to 1960 was called National Service, but between 1939 and 1948, it was often referred to as "war service" in documents relating to National Insurance and pension provision.
The Estonian Defence Forces is the unified armed forces of the Republic of Estonia. The Estonian military is a defence force consisting of Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, and a paramilitary Defence League. The national defence policy aims to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state, the integrity of its land area, territorial waters, airspace and its constitutional order. Its main goals remain the development and maintenance of a credible capability to defend the nation's vital interests and development of the defence forces in a way that ensures their interoperability with the armed forces of NATO and European Union member states to participate in the full range of missions for these military alliances.
The reserve components of the United States Armed Forces are military organizations whose members generally perform a minimum of 39 days of military duty per year and who augment the active duty military when necessary. The reserve components are also referred to collectively as the National Guard and Reserve.
Canadian military bands are a group of personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that performs musical duties for military functions. Military bands form a part of the Music Branch of the CAF, composed of six full-time professional Regular Force bands, 15 Regular Force voluntary bands, and 53 part-time reserve force bands. Bands of the Music Branch are often badged with the unit or Canadian Forces base insignia that they support.
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.
The Volunteer Reserves are the British Armed Forces voluntary and part-time military reserve force. Unlike the Regular Reserve, the Volunteer Reserves do not consist of ex-Regular personnel who remain liable to be re-called for military service. Instead, the Volunteer Reserves consists of civilian volunteers who routinely undergo training and military operations alongside the Regular military. The Volunteer Reserves serve under a fixed-term reserve contract and provide "highly trained" military personnel integrated with their Regular counterparts, on operations both at home and overseas. For example, almost every major military operation has seen the deployment of Army Reservists alongside the Regular British Army. Volunteer Reserves are allowed to use the post-nominal letters VR after 10 years of service.