Paramilitary: August 23, 2000

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: The Reserve Components and the Post-Cold War World. The Reserve Components, the men and women of the National Guard and the Reserves, constituted a major element in the nations disposable military power during the long decades of the Cold War, and were several times called to active service, most notably during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. But during the 1980s, the final decade of the Cold War, when tensions between the superpowers seemed to have reached fever pitch, the Reserve Components were not once called to active duty.

In contrast, in the decade since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there have been five call-ups of the Reserve Components (1990-1991:  Persian Gulf War, 1994:  Haitian Relief Operation, 1995: Bosnian Peacekeeping Mission, 1998: Iraqi No-Fly Zone Enforcement, 1999: Kosovo Peacekeeping Mission.)

These call-ups have involved from several thousand (Haiti and Iraq) to several hundred thousand (Gulf) troops from all the services. The 1999 call extends to 35,000 troops, nearly two-divisions worth of manpower. But thats only part of the story.

During 1998 Reserve Component personnel spent over 13 million man-days on active duty, a figure that will surely increase over the next couple of years. With the active forces down to about 1.5 million men and women, the Reserve Components, which total about 1.4 million, will be subject to increasing calls to active duty to meet the nations commitments.

This puts a whole new meaning to the phrase weekend warrior. --A.A. Nofi

 


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