When the U.S. military needs to respond quickly, it deploys its reserve forces. These forces are called military installations reserves, and they include both active duty and National Guard members. The Navy reserves have three main roles: training (including maritime training), foreign deployments, and internal security duties within the Navy itself.
They are often called upon to send units overseas quickly, as well as at other times when regular forces may be stretched thin. Even though the Navy reserves have a long history of being ready for action at a moment’s notice, it’s not just any old mobilization that declares them available for service. In order to qualify as an installation reserve unit, an organization must meet certain requirements set by the Secretary of Defense.
These requirements vary depending on whether the unit is requesting to become a combat task force or a support function within another branch of the military—such as intelligence or medical services. The Navy reserves are also organized into their own numbered fleets and squadrons. They are either organized under the Naval Sea Systems Command or under the Military Sealift Command.
These units are assigned to one of four numbered fleets, which include: Fleet Forces Atlantic (FFLANT), Fleet Forces Pacific (FFLPO), Fleet Forces Africa (FFLAF), and Fleet Forces Europe (FLEUR). The Navy reserves are assigned to these fleets and squadrons on a rotational basis. This means that they may be deployed at any time as part of a larger fleet or squadron. Since they are so mobile, this allows them to respond quickly when called upon by their respective commander.
How Often Do Navy Reserves typically Deploy?
This is a complicated question—and an even more complicated answer. The short answer is that every six months. The longer answer, however, is that it’s a combination of training, overseas deployments, and internal security duties. The six-month cycle is unique to the Navy Reserve. Active duty members get their call-up every other month, while Reserve Unit members get their call-up every six months.
The other two months are made up of training and/or overseas deployments. For example, the Navy Reserve’s Naval Special Warfare Fleet (NSWF) is always available to respond to a war or national emergency. However, the Reserve’s Maritime Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is only on call for six months at a time. During this time, the MEU can be dispatched to a crisis or war zone with little notice.
Once the six months are up, the MEU must return to its homeport to train and prepare for another deployment. The Navy Reserve also has a unit that is always on call, called Naval Special Warfare Group Two (NSWG-2). This unit is responsible for making sure the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are followed and that all of the Navy Reserve units in the continental U.S. have enough personnel at all times to respond to a crisis or war.
For example, NSWG-2 can be on call for a week at a time to assist in training exercises or deploy overseas if there’s an emergency. The NSWG-2 unit has a large staff of personnel to include a force-level intelligence officer, force-level operations officer, and force-level readiness officer.
What Qualifies as an Installation Reserve Unit?
A unit must meet several qualifications to become an installation reserve unit: The organization must be a military department or the Military Agency with jurisdiction over the unit. The unit must be able to deploy to a combat theatre or region. The unit must be gainable by short-term as well as long-term personnel. The unit must possess the required equipment, including intelligence, communication, and mobile device capabilities.
The unit must be able to deploy within a year. The unit must possess the required personnel, including support personnel, security, and maintenance personnel. The unit must be located in the United States or its possessions. The installation reserve units provide valuable capabilities to meet national defense requirements.
The units are able to conduct exercises and provide training for combatant commanders as well as military personnel from other countries. Installations are able to host training events, such as conferences and workshops, which benefit students, instructors, and civilians at both the host and attendee locations.
When do Navy Reserves Qualify for Deployment?
Typically, an organization will request to be placed in “desert deployment” status—which means that the reserve unit will be immediately deployed for 30 days. This may be followed by a 10-day billet for the unit to settle in before returning to active duty. Once in a while, a reserve unit may request to be placed in “combat deployment,” which allows the unit to remain on active duty for 60 days, followed by a 15-day break. Combat deployment is the most common form of deployment among reserve units.
When a reserve unit returns from deployment, it will first undergo an initial operational readiness inspection (IOR). This inspection is conducted by either the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps Reserve Center or by another active duty organization stationed at the same installation where the unit just returned from deployment. During this time, the reserve commander will receive training on how to command his troops effectively during IORs and will also receive training on how to conduct IORs with his own troops.
The purpose of this training is so that he can effectively train his troops when they return home as well as provide them with all the necessary information they need to return safely home after their return from deployment. The reserve organization may also conduct an IOR if it has been deployed for more than 30 days—in which case its status would change from “desert” to “combat” status—and then back again to “desert” status.
Once an organization returns from deployment, the commanding officer and his staff will immediately have to begin training their troops on all new policies, procedures, and forms that have been implemented as a result of their deployment. This includes training on how to conduct IORs with their own unit as well as how to conduct IORs with other reserve units in the same area.
The commanding officer will also be required to receive additional training on how to deal with any new situations that may arise in the future. This includes training on how to handle situations that may arise when a reserve unit is deployed for more than 30 days or if it is placed into combat status; this training is conducted by either the U.S. Navy or Marine Corps Reserve Center or by another active duty organization stationed at the same installation where the unit just returned from deployment.
After returning from deployment, many reserve units will return home for a few days and then move back into their hometowns, where they can begin drawing down their forces and preparing them for a return home—which means they are ready to go back into active duty if needed in the future.
What Does It Mean When a Navy Reserve Unit Qualifies?
Once a reserve unit has been mobilized, the next step is for them to be deployed. The process of qualifying for deployment is based on several factors, including the type of deployment, the monthly tempo of operations, and the availability of assets.
Some of the most important factors for qualifying for deployment are: Continuity of operations—Is the mission consistent, and does it change little over time? This is determined by how often the reserves are mobilized, as well as how long the deployments are.
Location—Are there obvious geographic limitations to the deployment, such as sea or air refuges? If not, the reserves may deploy anywhere. Ease of capture—Will the reserve unit be able to easily assume a deployed state, and if not, it won’t be deployed?
Types of Navy Reserve deployments
There are a few different types of deployments a Navy Reserve unit can undertake: Maintenance of Force—To conduct maintenance and renewal training or to augment personnel in the field. This is a relatively short-term deployment, lasting between 30 and 60 days. Exercises—To practice military routines or to train for real-world events.
These are standard operations for the force and can be used as a reference for when actual operations start. Overseas Contingency Deployment—To respond to an emergency or warlike scenario or to support other combatant commands in their efforts. This is the only type of deployment that provides the unit with an actual combat role.
What Do the Requirements for a Navy Reserve Unit Look Like?
To qualify as an installation reserve unit, an organization must meet several requirements set by the Secretary of Defense. These requirements vary depending on whether the unit is requesting to become a combat task force or a support function within another branch of the military—such as intelligence or medical services. These requirements include: Legal Personality—Must be able to function as a legal entity with government authority.
This includes being able to sign contracts, hold financial transactions, and perform other administrative functions. Physical Condition—Physical fitness is extremely important for all military personnel, including reserve components. Regularly lifting and moving the required weight, as well as maintaining a healthy body weight, is necessary.
Able-bodied—Most people find it difficult to enlist in the military without being able to function as normal, able-bodied people. Able-bodied individuals are often drafted into the military, so being able to qualify as an able-bodied person is important.
What Role Does the Navy Reserve Play?
The installation reserve role is only one part of what the Navy Reserve plays. The other is providing a ready force for the fleet. The reserves are also part of the Navy’s amphibious ready militia, ready to respond to national emergencies or war. The Navy also uses the reserve forces for homeland defense, providing them for use in an emergency.
The U.S. military has often relied on reserves for short-term deployments. These forces are called military installations reserves, and they include both active duty and National Guard members. The Navy reserves have three main roles: training (including maritime training), foreign deployments, and internal security duties within the Navy itself. They are often called upon to send units overseas quickly, as well as at other times when regular forces may be stretched thin.