Army Reserve: All-Volunteer Force and the Army Reserve

What is it? The All Volunteer Force began on June 30, 1973 and has since been a mainstay of the entire armed forces. The Gates Commission, appointed by President Nixon in 1970, reported "the military could entice enough volunteers to enlist by increasing pay, improving conditions of service and more vigorous recruiting."

What has the Army Reserve done? The Army Reserve has become a full partner to meet the demand and needs of our country and our Army as never before. Trends within the Army Reserve indicate that Soldiers want to serve. In 2005 the Army Reserve met the overall retention goal for careerist Soldiers by over 1,500 (114 percent of programmed reenlistments). The Army Reserve continues to recognize and reward service and dedication to duty by fighting for and winning increases in bonuses for enlistments and reenlistments, to name two. Another indicator of the commitment of Soldiers to serve is the Reserve Component to Active Component transfer and these numbers have more than doubled from 1,809 in 2003 to 3,748 in 2005. Soldiers want to serve and are answering the call to duty. Though they are lost from the Army Reserve strength total Army strength remains unchanged (and overall retention may be improved).

What efforts does the Army Reserve plan to continue in the future? The Army Reserve is in the midst of transforming the way forces are deployed. The number of deployments and lengths of them are changing. Our old mobilization model, which had been labeled, "Alert, Mobilize, Train, and Deploy" gave little predictability and stability to Reserve Soldiers, their families and their employers. Our new model, the Army Reserve Expeditionary Forces model, will provide a force management process that will allow better preparation of Army Reserve units for multiple requirements over time and put more predictability into the lives of our Soldiers. The new "Train, Alert, and Mobilize" initiative gives more sense of purpose and meaning to service in the Army Reserve. An overhaul of the way we do business is under review; in the human resources area the strategic imprint is in place and the results are forthcoming. The Army Reserve increased Active Guard Reserve recruiters by 774, obtained enhanced incentives for Soldiers, and is currently working with Congress to increase these incentives even more.

Why is this important to the Army Reserve? Rewarding service enhances readiness, retention, and ultimately the Army Reserve's end-strength.