Military reserve force

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.

Troops of the Territorial Army of Belarus.

In countries having recruitment system based on the selection of volunteers, 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.

In countries having recruitment system based on the conscription, such as Switzerland and Finland, members of the reserve forces are all citizens who have already ended active duty military service and have not reached upper age limit established by law. These citizens are subject to mandatory mobilization in wartime and to mandatory short-term military training in peacetime regulated by law.

In countries having mixed recruitment system which consists the conscription and the selection of volunteers, such as Russia, military reserve forces has two meanings. In a broad sense, military reserve forces is a general set of citizens who can be used for mobilization deployment of armed forces (Russian: Запас Вооружённых Сил). In a narrow sense, military reserve forces is a set of citizens who have signed a contracts to perform military service as a reservists, who were appointed to a military positions in particular military units in this capacity, and who are involved in all operational, mobilization, and combat activities of these military units (Russian: мобилизационный людской резерв), unlike other citizens who haven’t signed such contracts and who can be used for mobilization deployment of armed forces on involuntary basis in cases stipulated by law (Russian: мобилизационный людской ресурс).[1] Military reserve forces in a narrow sense is the most combat-ready component of military reserve forces in a broad sense, because the deployment of military units, composed of reservists, as a rule takes minimum time and do not requires any retraining of military personnel whereas the mobilization of non-reservists implies a formation of new military units from the ground up that takes a long time; furthermore, military units, composed of reservists, as a rule use the same weapons as used by military units, composed of active duty military personnel, whereas new military units, formed of non-reservists in wartime, take old weapon from a military storages.

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.