A slowdown in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could lead to a spike in dispatch of Navy reservists to those areas. Less shooting means fewer people in combat and greater need for people to build and construct—areas of expertise more common to those in the Navy reserves. In particular, Navy Reserve Seabee teams will play leading roles in rebuilding of war torn areas.
Vice Admiral John Cotton recently made some fascinating comments to the press. He admitted that 11% of the Navy Reserve serves in 1A billets, while 1% of the active regular Navy serves in such areas. This means if you are in the Navy Reserve there is a greater likelihood you will be sent to a combat zone than if you are in the regular navy. The admiral also admitted the Navy Reserve is having difficulty recruiting and retaining officers in high-need areas. He speculated this might be caused by people postponing recruitment to wait and see how the war in Iraq unfolds.
Among the tragedies of the war in Iraq are unfair burdens placed on members of the Reserve and National Guard. We rushed into a war ill prepared for long term needs, we have taken advantage of those serving in the National Guard and Reserve and we have abused them by ruining their lives. How does one advance in a job if one is pulled away for a year or two? I oppose the war in Iraq. But, I also oppose a situation in which a small percent of Americans bear the burdens of society. Congressman Rangel is correct, let’s reintroduce the draft. One benefit is a draft will make many war advocates lower their rhetoric if it means their son or daughter has to fight.
Information from Navy Times