WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) — As the mobilization for a possible war in Iraq continues, the Pentagon announced Wednesday it has called nearly 40,000 more reservists to active duty, bringing the total to 150,252.
Many of them are headed for the Persian Gulf, although some are taking up positions in the United States. Most — 113,751 — are in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, as they are a necessary component when the Army prepares for any war.
Critical wartime specialties, including 80 percent of medical and psychological operations units and 65 percent of the military police battalions, are in the Army reserve.
Civil affairs — soldiers who help countries rebuild after war and who work with local populations during combat — is entirely resident in the reserve.
The Army made the decision to base those capabilities in the reserve after the Vietnam War. It believed if citizens rather than professional soldiers were mobilized for conflicts, the general populace would be far more likely to support them.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believes that approach is flawed, and he intends to direct a reorganization of the services to reduce the reliance on reserve forces when a conflict just begins.
“My personal view is that I’ve got a group of folks reviewing the current arrangement because my instinct is that it doesn’t make sense to have the people who are required very early in a conflict in the reserves,” he told the Reserve Officers Association in January.