My life is pretty hectic and I don't get to write as much as I'd like to on this site. As a result, most of my comments and diaries are of the one-or-few lines variety. However, I read something just now which is pretty damn scary, if you are currently in the military or recently left active duty.
This is a new Army plan for "transformation" (I hate this word) of the Inactive Ready Reserve into a force which resembles a personnel pool for the Active Reserve Component.
The plan is detailed in an Army news release which is on the AKO ("http:us.army.mil" Army Knowledge Online) site, and which is behind a password wall to the rest of you.
More on the other side:
Individual Warriors will be the new label for Soldiers serving in the Individual Ready Reserve.
Right now every Soldier who joins the Army enlists for an eight-year commitment, with X years on active duty. If s/he volunteers to join the Guard or Reserves at his/her termination of service date, that goes toward the eight years. Otherwise, s/he is enrolled in the Inactive Ready Reserve, which has historically meant nothing. In the past four years, the Army has started pulling personnel with critical skills out of the IRR, retraining them, and deploying them. This is the famous "backdoor draft."
Simultaneously, the new name will lead to a cultural shift away from the unstructured group of inactive individuals into a cohesive group of Soldiers who are trained, aware and ready to augment Army missions when called upon.
Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey endorsed the move to reset and reinvigorate the IRR through several programmed initiatives to transform the Army's leading prior-service talent bank.
"Senior Army leadership is committed to providing the necessary funding required to shape the IW initiative," Harvey said. He added that Soldiers in the IRR will be a "viable pool" of individual warriors "trained and employable to meet the needs of the Army."
Translated from Weasel - this means that we are going to call you a Warrior (this has not historically been a good sign in the Army) to make you feel cool and tough. Also, you are going to be "trained" (um, if you are "inactive," when are you training, exactly?) and employable (anyone in the service for more than a minute knows that nobody cares whether or not you are employable... but everybody knows that "employable" sounds a lot like "deployable" which is the most important word in the Army's vocabulary, after "standard" (inside joke here folks, sorry).
Scary money quote:
While the mission of the IRR is to provide a pool of previously trained Soldiers who are `individually ready' for call-up, our culture and past management of the IRR has made it difficult for many to accept that call-ups will become common practice," said Maj. Nadine Kokolis, a mobilization officer in the Army's G-1.
Translated from the original Weasel: We're changing the IRR into something that looks a lot like the Reserve because the Reserve is running on fumes. Yeah, it isn't the IRR because the IRR as you have known it is going to cease to exist. Instead every knucklehead who signs on the dotted line is signing up for a full EIGHT YEARS, minimum, unless we can find a way to fuck with that as well.
"In order to establish realistic readiness reporting, the Army is conducting a systematic screening of the IRR database to reconcile existing records and identify non-mobilization assets, and separate those Soldiers who no longer have further potential for useful military service," added Kokolis.
Translated from Weasel: We won't take the ones we already broke.
The Army will institute an annual screening and training program for all assigned IWs who align with the Army Force Generation model - Reset/Train; Ready; Available. This program will be developed and carried out in order to maintain positive contact, administer refresher training as individual skills degrade and ensure the deployable readiness.
Folks, this is pretty much how the Reserve is set up right now. You stay (more or less) in shape, you drill every so often, and once a year you go on a field exercise and play soldier. Thus your soldier skills are kept from going completely dormant in case your Nation ever needs your services. But now "Individual Warriors" will augment the augmenters! What a load of Orwellian crap.
"Annual readiness screening is the heart of this initiative to ensure IRR members are deployable," said Kokolis. "The Army will execute a pilot screening for approximately 5,000 Soldiers in fiscal year 2007; the goal is to institutionalize the entire screening and training program by fiscal year 2013."
Hmmmm. What this means is that the first recruits to have signed on now that they have changed the enlistment contracts for those nifty 1 1/2 year contracts will be ETSing during fiscal year 2007. But not so many - 5,000. Eventually the Army hopes to have 60,000 in the program. This is down from 100,000 currently in the IRR, but this is in part because about 40% of IRR enrollees are either non-deployable because the Army or someone else broke 'em or are skilled at not being found when looked for.
For anyone in the Army, this is a spooky thing.
A public link to the Army News Service story is located at