The Rhetoric About Biden's Call Up of Military Reservists Has Reached a New Level of Stupid and Misses What Is Happening

CREDIT: US Department of Defense

Thursday, Joe Biden announced he had given the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security the authority to call up a maximum of 3,000 military reservists. Of those called up, a maximum of 450 could be Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) members. The last time IRR members, veterans who completed their active duty obligation but have a remaining service obligation and elected not to enroll in a Reserve unit, were called to duty was in 2009. See my post on the subject at Biden Issues Executive Order Giving Authority to Activate Reservists for Ukraine.

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As I said last night, the immediate impulse of a lot of people who should know better was to claim that this was a step in preparing the US for war with Russia. That is only a little short of an involuntary commitment level of lunacy.

A call-up authority for 3,000 reservists means you can only use 1,500, half on duty and half going home or inbound, as replacements.

We have 80,000 troops in Europe. We sent 20,000 of those to Europe right after the Russian invasion, and no one said jack sh**, but we have grown-ass men swimming in their own ordure over 3,000 reservists.

In 2020, President Trump authorized the call-up of 1,000,000…one million…members of the IRR to deal with COVID. The reaction was *crickets.*

Executive Order 13912—National Emergency Authority To Order the Selected Reserve and Certain Members of the Individual Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty

March 27, 2020

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and in furtherance of Proclamation 9994 of March 13, 2020 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19) Outbreak), which declared a national emergency by reason of the threat that the novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS–CoV–2 poses to our Nation’s healthcare systems, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1Emergency Authority. To provide additional authority to the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to respond to the national emergency declared by Proclamation 9994, the authorities under section 12302 of title 10, United States Code, and sections 2127, 2308, 2314, and 3735 of title 14, United States Code, are invoked and made available, according to their terms, to the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security. The Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, are authorized to order to active duty not to exceed 24 consecutive months, such units, and individual members of the Ready Reserve under the jurisdiction of the Secretary concerned, not to exceed 1,000,000 members [emphasis mine] on active duty at any one time, as the Secretary of Defense and, with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, the Secretary of Homeland Security consider necessary. The Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as applicable, will ensure appropriate consultation is undertaken with relevant state officials with respect to the utilization of National Guard Reserve Component units activated under this authority.

Sec. 2General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

  1. the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
  2. the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
  1. This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
  2. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

The White House, March 27, 2020.

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I’m not going to call out any of the members of the online right because I know a lot of them and even like some of them. I will call out politicians who are throwing red meat for sh**s and grins.

Both of you are smart guys. Both of you know what you’re saying is just calculated to fire up our base. Let’s not beclown ourselves in the process. Adding 3,000 reservists to the active duty rolls will not give us any additional combat power, and the Russians won’t feel threatened by it.

Here is NSC spokesman Jack Kirby on the subject. Now I know he doesn’t have a lot of credibility, and he shouldn’t, but in this, he’s correct.

Back to the European continent and this, uh, this announcement by the Pentagon. I think it’s important to keep this in context. We’ve already increased by 20,000 the number of troops that we have on the European continent, and, by and large, we’ve been able to keep that rotational presence there so you got more than 80,000 troops there in Europe, uh, and that’s a lot and what we’re going to do with these small number of three thousand reservists or National Guardsmen. These are people that are specialists in things like administrative functions, logistics supply, maybe medical, dental, those kinds of, the kind of enabling functions that you need to be able to support and sustain a large troop presence for a long time. And what this is basically, is a realization of the fact that we know, the president knows, that the security environment in Europe is changed, not has changed, not will change, it’s changed now, and we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the proper force posture to be able to support an additional Eastern flank presence for the long haul.

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While calling up the equivalent of a brigade from the reserves obviously isn’t a prelude to war, we do have the right to ask: why now? What has changed about ATLANTIC RESOLVE recently? The last reinforcement of the US European Command took place shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. If we increased the strength by 20,000 sixteen months ago with no activation of reservists, why do we need additional troops for sustainment now? While we may not know what IS happening, we can say with mathematical certainty what IS NOT happening, and that is a prelude to US military forces fighting Russians in Ukraine.

I hear from people who know that up to 40 percent of the people called up are involved in cybersecurity. The reason that they are being called up is because the military can’t retain cybersecurity professionals. It would be a strong bet that the current recruiting and retention crisis in the military has created significant shortages in critical sustainment specialties that can no longer be papered over.

At this stage, I can’t verify the statement, but in a few weeks, we will be able to see what skills are being called up. At that point, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul should do something more productive than chumming the waters with rumors about an impending war and find out why in the hell this really happened.

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