Effects of Mobilization

The war on terrorism has motivated many previous Air Force members to go back to active service; devoted dedication has assisted mobilization and recruiting in general. Some officials also planned to leave service to change their minds and stay. The last major mobilization of reservists before Operation Desert Storm occurred almost 50 years ago during the Korean conflict and the latest mobilization was carried out during operation Enduring Freedom. The large number of reservists serving before 1990 had largely no experience with a large-scale reserve mobilization. They passed through the trails of the mobilization. In fact, the likelihood of a reserve mobilization during Operation Enduring Freedom perhaps played most of the role in making the decisions. The mobilization and the subsequent involvement of reservists in various other operations passed through different difficulties and problems. These problems had social, economic and professional effects.

The mobilization has changed various perceptions in important ways. It is however clear that in spite of the problems the Reserve Components are expected to play a considerable role in combination with the regular forces to counter regional crises, as well as in peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian support operations. Mobilizations are likely to be more common in the future and are likely to have important effects on reservists’ attitudes and the degree of support they receive from their families and civilian employers. But all this mobilization, activation and deployment had an overall negative effect on Reserve enlisted airmen retention.

There are more than a few categories of service in the Air Force Reserve for mobilization, which were moved. The men and women who serve in the Reserve are among the best trained and most battle prepared military professionals. Most Reservists serve in the Unit Program after mobilization, in which they are obligated to report for duty .A smaller but equally important category of Reservist is the Individual Mobilization Augmentee which are the Reservists who are allocated to active duty units to do jobs that are essential in wartime but do not require full-time manning during times of peace.

A small number of Reservists are chosen to serve on limited tours of active duty, generally at headquarters staff level or in other special assignments. Reservists are categorized by several criteria in the Ready Reserve, Standby Reserve, Inactive Ready Reserve or Retired Reserve. When the mobilization of these reservists takes place the effects start mounting prior to their arrival for duty. The effects continue even after their joining and some times these effects get very serious that governmental intervention becomes essential.

During operation Enduring Freedom carried out in Afghanistan included the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) that comprised of active and reserve personnel. Reserve elements included the 193rd Special Operations Wing, Air National Guard, the 280th Combat Communications Squadron, Air National Guard and the 919th Special Operations Wing and The Air Force Reserves. AFSOC units are trained for direct action, unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, and counter terrorism operations. [Special Operations Forces] The Air Force Reserve has always been an essential and vital ingredient of USA’s presence in air and space. As a Federal force, the Air Force Reserve contributes considerably to the Air Force mission and is actively involved in Air Force operations in the operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. On any given day, it is not uncommon for thousands of Reservists to be on duty at locations throughout the world. About half of them directly support ongoing contingencies.

The principal responsibility of the Air Force Reserve is readiness, providing the nation’s leaders with Air Force Reserve units and people who are trained and ready for duty at a moment’s notice. Apparently what looks to be a simple on the face of it, is a task of noteworthy magnitude. The reserves that join after the mobilization carry out all the tasks happily and with enthusiasm. [BEYOND READINESS]

Post Mobilization Actions

Before mobilization after September 2001, all active and reserve members were banned from separating and retiring, vide Stop Loss rules endorsed due to wartime requirements. When USAF began removing Stop Loss restraints, service officials braced for a flood of losses by April, about a third of members in all skill areas were free to leave. While there were some resignations, the much-expected heavy evacuation did not take place. Still further heartening was what happened among members who previously had said they would separate or retire as soon as Stop Loss was finished. The Air Force released additional skills from Stop-Loss in late June.

Restrictions remained for three-officer fields, special operations pilot and navigator and security forces and eight enlisted fields including flight engineer, airfield management, operations resource management, air traffic control, intelligence applications, Para rescue, fuels, and security forces. After Sept. 11 some 38,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command members were called up for volunteered active duty during the mobilization. During and after the late 1980s, the US Air Force once totaled 608,000 active duties, which reduced to just a little over 350,000. The civilian employee force was also reduced by almost 100,000, from about 250,000 to around 150,000. A lot was mobilized for the operation in Afghanistan and this mobilization was to leave considerable effects on the soldiers and their families too.

This mobilization was a test of the patriotism as well and in spite of the post-9/11 show of patriotism, the US air force officials were worried that receiving and maintaining enough members to meet both present requirements and the proposed increases was not an easy task. The patriotic enthusiasm not withstanding, the air force continued to struggle with the basic problem of getting and holding enough people, particularly in some critical specialties. The enlistment of mobilization figures released last October is heartening. The Air Force brought in 35,381 people during 2001, against a target of 34,600.Many had signed up before Sept. 11 and a considerable number were encouraged to come back after the terrorist attacks. If it were only to be based on the fresh recruitment, the Air Force would not have met its objective.

The Air Force made a considerable endeavor to catch the attention of more such veterans during mobilization. It opened a Voluntary Retired Enlisted Airman Extended Active Duty Recall program, which allowed enlisted members who have not been away more than three years to come back to specialized skills posts for 24 months. It had made a similar bid to retired officers, and several hundred returned in the six months after Sept. 11, including more than 100 pilots. Most of those went into timed staff positions. Former service recruits are principally precious because most already are skilled and can be moved into shortage skills with little or no extra training. This depends on how long they have been out of service and whether they’re still proficient in skills the Air Force needs. It was also well known that most would not serve long enough to merit additional training. If the enthusiasm prior to 9/11 gave an increase to active duty recruiting, it has had a less fortunate side effect for the reserve forces. [Bruce D. Callander Stabilizing the Force]

Effects of mobilization  Effects on Attitudes

Mobilizations are always likely because the situations can arise at any time for the achievement of the objectives. All the mobilizations however have very significant effects on air force reservists’ attitudes and the level of support they receive from their families and civilian employers. It is well known that the Reserve Components are estimated to have even severe effects, as a result of mobilizations .The increasing dependence on reserves also increases the Costs and Benefits of Reserve Participation.

The cost and benefits can have effect on reservists’ attitude and those of their employers and families. The attitude of the reservists also effects their decisions to stay in the reserve enlistment. The mobilization leaves lasting imprints on reserve personnel, their feelings and awareness and also of employers and families of the reserves during and after mobilization. Once the mobilization modifies their thoughts in considerable ways, then retention and recruiting may lead to a steady and firm reforming of the force with unanticipated and possibly completely different results [RAND]

The motivation for staying in the guard or in reserve appears to have changed. Amongst enlisted personnel, there is less stress on immediate compensation and promotion and greater weight placed on educational benefits. Among officers, loyal and job satisfaction reason are more frequently talked about. Expanded educational benefits may have concerned a new group of young en-listed personnel whose primary motivation is obtaining money for college rather than long-term reserve service. There is, on the other hand, a small but definite boost in the levels of displeasure with military pay and opportunities for education/training among both officers and enlisted personnel. Part of the dissatisfaction with pay is an indication of the apparent higher risk of mobilization and the likely economic losses.

The Mobilized and Non Mobilized Reservists

As a result of the focus on the analysis, a comparison of mobilized and non-mobilized reservists was possible which is a rich source of experiential information on the attitudes and problems faced by mobilized reservists. This also enables to conclude more directly the effects of a large mobilization such as the one during Enduring Freedom on those who were mobilized. There is a vast difference between mobilized and non- mobilized reservists not only in terms of their awareness, sensitivity, and attitudes about the reserve, their families, and their work environments, but also their position, grade and other potential service problems they would face once mobilized.

What makes the rankings and positions more exciting is that particularly for one group, these rankings are based on skills, where as for the other, they are based on judgments. It is significant to be clear about what this report does and does not do. The attitudes and perceptions of reservists regarding their reserve participation, unit readiness, and family and work environments are changed. The most vital and positive change is the shift in employer attitudes, which is now more favorable on the part of their civilian non-mobilized supervisors. This may have been to a certain extent a result of the considerable contributions reservists make during previous mobilizations.

This change appears to have reduced the conflicts amongst the reservists usually feel between satisfying reserve responsibility and those of their civilian job. Reservists however report much less arguments with employers about attending drills and annual training and in spending additional time on reserve commitment while on the job. [RAND]

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Family Attitudes/Support

The effects of the mobilization include the apparent attitudes of spouses, which are generally stable but have some psychological effects as well. The stable attitudes of the families although is a little surprising but this has encouraged the mobilization. The information in this regard is important are particularly so because of the significance of spouses’ attitudes in reenlistment or continuation decisions. There also looks to be about the similar or less divergence with family time as a result of drills, annual training, and extra time spent on reserve commitment. Comparing the mobilized with non-mobilized reservists, it is found that important differences exists in the known attitudes of spouses and civilian supervisors.

A large number of mobilized officers reported unfavorable attitudes on the part of both spouses and civilian supervisors as compared to non-mobilized reservists. Between enlisted personnel, an increase in incidence of unfavorable spouse attitudes among mobilized reservists is found, but little or no difference in supervisor attitude was noticed. Where differences exist, they have a tendency to be much larger among the junior ranks. The junior mobilized officers and enlisted personnel at the same time were also much more displeased with pay and benefits than non-mobilized personnel. However, overall satisfaction with reserve service showed modest difference amongst mobilized and non-mobilized personnel.

Continuation of Service

The effect of mobilization on retention and continuation of service is also very prominent in some cases. Although some reservists across most grades reported much poorer subjective probabilities of reenlistment continuation during the mobilization the simple analysis of continuation rates found little difference .the information is reflective that there is apparently no remarkable change in overall behavior that could be attributable to the operation Enduring Freedom. There is slight or no differentiation in the overall retention rates of mobilized and non-mobilized reservists. However, among officers who spoke of serious doubts about continuing, mobilized reservists had much lower retention rates than non-mobilized officers. [RAND]

The mobilized reserves tasks require that the individual should contribute full time in Duty, Annual Training, or in training necessary for promotion or skill retraining. The reserves job may recall the individual to active duty and require him to position himself full time for periods of desired time. The whole time tasks often clash with civilian jobs and are likely to cause more disagreements with civilian employers. No elasticity in the reserve work schedule can play disorder with scheduled family events or with deliberate or permitted opportunities at the civilian job. Both economic and non-economic reasons effect retention decisions and are decisions entirely at the discretion of the individual. The individual weighs the costs and benefits both financial and non-monetary of reserve participation against other alternatives and chooses the most preferred alternative.


One of the major effects of mobilization is on the training of the staff. It is understandable that the greater parts of reservists do not perceive grave problems in their organizations ability to meet training goals. The difficulties and problems that ranked in the top five are mentioned by only very few percent of the enlisted and equally very few of officers as well. There is considerable resemblance in various groups in the level and type of concern spoken by reservists about the problems facing by their training establishment in meeting training objectives.

If uncertainty about the future status of the organization is not considered than the lack of time for planning and administration, lack of access to good training facilities, and lack of supplies and modern equipment/weapons remain the primary concerns. There is little difference in the rankings of problems by mobilized and non-mobilized reservists, telling that the experience of mobilization has not changed awareness. There is a good amount of stability in the problems mention by the reservists in the different components, although there is a difference in their perceptions of how serious these problems are. Generally, the air force part appears to be pretty pleased with their ability to meet training objectives but the naval reserve and the two-army parts are somewhat less hopeful.

Effects on Future Mobilization

The family and economic issues are dominant that reservists could potentially face if mobilized. These issues include, firstly: The reservists are likely to loose the potential income, which is the most important concern of Reservists; secondly the families feel a great amount of burden on spouses and increased family problems. These problems include:

• Loss of income during call-up
• Burden on spouse
• Loss of civilian health benefits
• Increased family problems
• Problems for children
• Employer problems at beginning of call-up
• Loss of seniority/ promotion opportunity
• Getting the same job after
• Business/medical practice would be damaged
• Problems for patients/ clients/customers
• Employer problems after returning
• Child care during call-up
• Attitudes of supervisor/
• Co-workers Increased chance for
• Separation/divorce
• Spouse would need to work/would not find job

Employer connected concerns and problems particularly when mobilized and returning, getting the same job back, damage to business practice, problems for clients and patients-are some out of the long list of problems. Possible problems during mobilization differ noticeably among different groups of reservists. Self-employed reservists and doctors obviously state very high levels of concern regarding income loss and damage to business or practice; loss of civilian health benefits stands much higher among pilots than any other group; family problems like load on spouse, problems for children, weigh heavily on the minds of those with families. It is vital to be aware of these differences when mobilizing.

Mobilized and non-mobilized reservists do not have drastically different awareness of problems in a future mobilization, suggesting that reservists have comparatively precise perceptions of the problems they are likely to face if called up, with a couple of exceptions. Non-mobilized reservists are more worried about income loss and loss of civilian health care benefits than are mobilized reservists,

Reserve Spouses and Child Care arrangements

Another effect of the mobilization was the handling of spouses and childcare arrangements. Majority of all Reserve members are married and most of the spouses had been married previously .The characteristics of the Reserve spouse population disclose the composition of the Component: Most spouses were female, white, U.S. citizens, born in the United States, and spoke English at home. The ratio of spouses from a minority racial/ethnic group reduced as the Member’s pay grade group increased.

Few spouse had prior military experience. Almost all the spouses had a graduate or high school degree college degree or postgraduate training. Spouses’ education level increased with the member’s pay grade group. Most of the spouses worked in the labor force on a full- or part-time basis. Some worked outside the home. Although spouses worked on average more hours per week than did civilian wives, they earned similar weekly pay. Spouses most often present financial need, future financial plans, and personal motivation as reasons for working. Most spouses reported noninterference between their jobs and the member’s service.

Spouses had a very constructive opinion of their spouse’s participation in service. They were sympathetic of the member’s service and assumed that the member participate for a combination of physical and intangible reasons. These were retirement benefits, serving one’s country, and pride in his or her achievements in the Reserves. Spouses commonly established with the member’s military career plans and were pleased with the pay and retirement benefits service afforded and with the member’s prospect to serve the country. Participation was not exceptionally taxing on spouses they understood that the member spent about the right amount of time in activities. As in many families, many spouses wished that the member spent more time in family activities and spare time quest.

The spouses were not common users of military programs and services that were arranged for them. Some one half of spouses did not know whether programs and services for family members such as retirement benefit meetings or family support groups were accessible. Those spouses who did know that these programs and services were available to them most often attended sponsored social events, mobilization get together, Medical benefits conferences, or information programs. Spouses also joined at a high scale in Civilian volunteer activities. However, few spouses participated in volunteer activities for a variety of reasons. These included not convenient time or place, unfamiliarity with other people, or lack of concern. Most spouses had responsibility for one or two dependents. These were usually children, but a small proportion of spouses had duty for an old relative as well.

Spouses also told that their family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors had positive attitudes about the member’s service. About one fourth of spouses had a member who was mobilized for Operation enduring freedom. During this time, spouses mostly relied on friends for social support. Those who did turn to more formal support services generally found them to be quite supportive. Although most Reservists did not believe a lengthy mobilization would re occur? Some more arrangements were also to be made for Families regarding arrangements for powers-of-attorney, wills, and childcare arrangements. In the event of a mobilization, more spouses planned to use military support services, chiefly family support services, legal help, financial counseling, and chaplain/religious services. [Spouses Of Reserve Component Members]

Child Care Arrangements

When called for active duty, men and women were taken from their civilian careers and allocated for duty in the support of operation “Enduring Freedom,” both at home and abroad. Some were called too active duty can mean a reduction of total monthly income. Those reservists who are currently paying child support payments based on higher monthly income may find that child support arrears will begin to accumulate when monthly child support payments are not met. Additionally, custodial parents who are activated were affected in their ability to meet their children’s needs. Reservists experiencing a reduction in monthly income were to contact their child support office to request a review and modification of their child support orders.

Information needed to accomplish an adjustment could vary from State to State, however, providing basic information needed to process a request was to be included the reason for the request.
Families relied on a variety of measures for child care, most frequently, day care centers, Spouses or grandparents there was a change in the type of childcare provider and location

Away from care by relatives in the child’s own home toward the more planned setting of Day care centers and schools. An evaluation with the civilian population reflects that families depended more than the civilians did on care at home or planned day care. This is expectedly a function of the older average age of children. Spouses also had childcare needs resulting from Service. The bulk specified they would require childcare during the member’s annual training, and nearly as many would need child care in the event of a mobilization. In almost one third of families, the youngest child was in care for most of the time in week, showing that the spouse’s full-time work schedule. However, the greater part of children was cared for on a part-time basis.

In operation enduring freedom like any other war or national defense, US air force as an organization of the armed forces was mobilized for active military service in time of war to be operative against terrorism, which was the result of national emergency. In its full scope, the mobilization included the organization of all resources for support of the military effort. The aircraft carriers with most lately technological advance of the 21st century, particularly the strategic B52 were moved in location. This mobilization has vastly increased the complexities of the planning and implementation of mobilization.

The ratio of the standing forces, which provided for defense during the mobilization period, always varied and has depended on factors as foreign policy, world tension, strength and situation of US led allied forces in Afghanistan, and estimates of the time required to implement mobilization. Because of the tremendous power of USA Air Force and the high-speed weapons with which they were to be delivered to their targets, it is conceivable that USA air force war potential was safe before, during and after mobilization. This situation had increased the need for adequately prepared forces but the effects of the mobilization were certainly existed.

Military mobilizations, for any kind of war, includes the procurement and training of manpower for military purposes; the selection of areas and the construction of facilities for training and other military purposes; and the procurement and issuance of arms, ammunition, uniforms, equipment, vehicles, and stores. During operation enduring Freedom all was perfect but the mobilization itself was a complicated and complex operation. The procurement of USAir manpower was in itself a complex task that included the calling up of reserves; the induction of large numbers of raw recruits; and the allocation of manpower to the air force units.

The procurement of manpower during mobilization was correlated with the procurement of arms and equipment necessary for training and for combat and was well synchronized with timetables for training and strategic deployment. Mobilization was very effective and was well organized. Yet the effects of the mobilization were reality, which was taken care of, but the overall effect of the mobilization was negative.


  • Special Operations Forces, in Operation Enduring Freedom: Background and Issues for Congress http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/report/crs/
  • BEYOND READINESS http://www.afreserve.com/whatwedo.asp#structure
  • Bruce D. Callander Stabilizing the Force. http://www.afa.org/magazine/2002/0802recruit.html
  • RAND http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR812/MR-812sum.pdf
  • Spouses Of Reserve Component Members: 1992 RESERVE COMPONENTS SURVEYS

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