Military reserve force

A military reserve force is a military organization whose members have military and civilian occupations. They are not normally kept under arms, and their main role is to be available when their military requires additional manpower.[1] Reserve forces are generally considered part of a permanent standing body of armed forces, and allow a nation to reduce its peacetime military expenditures and maintain a force prepared for war.

Six armed soldiers in uniform
Troops of the Territorial Army of Belarus

In countries with a volunteer military, such as Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, reserve forces are civilians who maintain military skills by training periodically (typically one weekend per month). They may do so as individuals or as members of standing reserve regiments—for example, the UK's Army Reserve. A militia, home guard, state guard or state military may constitute part of a military reserve force, such as the United States National Guard and the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish Home Guard. In some countries (including Colombia, Israel, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan), reserve service is compulsory for a number of years after completing national service. In countries with conscription, such as Switzerland and Finland, reserve forces are citizens who have completed active duty military service but have not reached the upper age limit established by law. These citizens are subject to mandatory mobilization in wartime and short-term military training in peacetime.

In countries which combine conscription and a volunteer military, such as Russia, "military reserve force" has two meanings. In a broad sense, a military reserve force is a group of citizens who can be mobilized as part of the armed forces (Russian: Запас Вооружённых Сил). In a narrow sense, a military reserve force is a group of citizens who have signed contracts to perform military service as reservists, who were appointed to positions in particular military units, and who are involved in all operational, mobilization, and combat activities of these units (active reserve) (Russian: мобилизационный людской резерв). Other citizens who do not sign a contract (the inactive reserve) can be mobilized and deployed on an involuntary basis (Russian: мобилизационный людской ресурс).[2]

The deployment of military units composed of reservists generally takes little time and does not require retraining. Mobilization of non-reservists involves the formation of new military units, requiring more time. A military reserve force differs from a reserve formation (sometimes called a military reserve), which is a group of military personnel (or units) not committed to a battle by their commander and available to address unforeseen situations, bolster defences, or perform other tasks.

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