Why doesn't this story surprise me at all? They can't keep people on active duty anymore, so they just make IRR (Individual Ready Reserve ) the next best thing to active duty: National Guard!
They damn well better grandfather us out of this bullshit, or I imagine there will be lots of lawsuits springing up. They're already talking about extending the initial commitment from 8 years (4 years active, 4 years IRR) to 13 years (4 years active, 9 years IRR). Not to mention, they don't tell you that you have to explicitly terminate your IRR status at the conclusion of your commitment, or they leave you on the IRR rolls by default. There's a guy in my unit whose brother got called up after his 8-year commitment was entirely over. He tried to protest in court, but he was told, "Sorry, you never terminated your IRR status." Of course, they never tell you that you have to do this. It's not even mentioned in the finest of fine print in your enlistment contract. You can imagine what I'll be doing the day my contract finally expires.
In other words, people who complete four years of military service -- even in the Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves -- are going to be forced to train and be prepared to deploy for duty for up to an additional nine years. In fact, they could be forced to serve in the active military for that entire time.
That's an awful lot to ask of people who, in many cases, signed on the dotted line, expecting to serve only about 39 days a year for four years. 156 days becomes 4745 days... whatta deal!
optimsprm is looking into the details of the IRR rules, for those who want to check them out.
He found a particularly disconcerting section of the IRR rules, Section 12301, which says this:
"a member on an inactive status list or in a retired status may not be ordered to active duty under this subsection unless the Secretary concerned, with the approval of the Secretary of Defense in the case of the Secretary of a military department, determines that there are not enough qualified Reserves in an active status or in the inactive National Guard in the required category who are readily available."
In other words, "We can't retain you unless we say we can, and for as long as we feel necessary." Ouch. Sounds like the kind of shit that always seems to happen in bad late-night war movies, doesn't it?!
I also found a few interesting exceptions to the regular IRR rule (i.e. Active Duty+IRR=8 years):
"In some cases, a person on IRR status can be called up as many as 10 years after departure from the armed forces, the Pentagon says."
David M. Miyasato enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1987, served three years of active duty during the first Gulf War and received an honorable discharge in 1991. He remained on inactive status for five more years, until 1996 . . . But in September, Miyasato received a letter from the Army . . . "I was shocked," Miyasato said yesterday. "I never expected to see something like that after being out of the service for 13 years."
Here's an archived post by a former soldier on how to check your IRR status.
Also, it's worth noting this official quote in a recent article on the new Individual Ready Reserve policies:
"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."
I bet a lot of soldiers are going to wish they knew this before they signed on the dotted line, eh?