Reserve Components Integral to US Military Power

Without its reserve components, the US military “simply could not” maintain the global presence necessary to keep America secure, said CIA Director David Petraeus on Monday. Speaking at a Reserve Officers Association symposium in Washington, D.C., Petraeus said reserve forces are an integral part of the military that has definitely exceeded planners’ initial expectations. Their combination of military and civilian skills has been “particularly important” in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. “They needed diplomats, builders, trainers, advisors, service providers, economic developers, and mediators,” said Petraeus, the retired Army general who led the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for a time. He added, “Citizen soldiers have performed these diverse tasks in particularly impressive fashion, and in so doing, they have demonstrated the unique edge, the unique quality that they bring to every military endeavor.” Some 385,000 members of the reserve components—both National Guard and Reserve—have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, with 30,000 serving today, according to the Pentagon. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone)