WASHINGTON -- The Individual Ready Reserve is "a key component" of America's total military force, a senior Defense Department official noted during a May 17 gathering of reserve-component leaders in Denver.
Consisting of about 300,000 people, the IRR "presents a valuable pool" of trained military manpower for the nation, David S.C. Chu, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, noted at the 2005 Reserve Personnel Center Commanders'/IRR Conference.
IRR members have prior training and experience in active, Guard or Reserve units, but they've been discharged and are no longer serving in military units. However, they have time remaining to fulfill their eight-year total service obligations.
Some IRR members have volunteered for duty in the war against global terrorism, Chu noted, while others in key military specialties have been called up for continued service.
About 30,000 IRR members were called up for service during the Gulf War of 1990-91, Chu noted. Today, he said, "substantially fewer" IRR members have been called up for service in the global war against terrorism.
Chu observed that the more recent IRR call-ups have generated some misunderstanding among affected service members and the general public.
Therefore, he noted, it's important that military leaders take the time to explain to IRR members what's expected of them in terms of possible further military service.
Former IRR members serving in the war against terrorism have received high marks from commanders and are "extremely valuable assets," Chu said.