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Citizen warriors must be ready to deploy — they shouldn't pay for health care

Posted By ROA National Staff, Tuesday, June 11, 2019

ROA Executive Director Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Jeff Phillips is published in The Hill as an opinion contributor.

Over the past year or so, ROA has written about the endemic inequities between service in the active-duty military and duty in the Reserve and National Guard, known as the reserve components.

These inequities are not, by and large, the result of malign forces conspiring against the Reserve and Guard. For decades, before World War II, the reserve components were considered the “strategic reserve,” meant to be used only in the event of a major call-up of forces, such as we saw in that war or, later, in Korea. The reserve components rarely were deployed; they trained on weekends and two weeks in the summer (thus the moniker “weekend warrior”).

Being such an inactive part of the military, they were accorded benefits, support and funding considered by the Pentagon and Congress to be commensurate with their usage. That wasn’t much, actually. Members of the Reserve and Guard got no medical care when not training, for example.

That perhaps made sense in 1972 when the reserve components were not fighting a war in South Asia or mobilized to Poland as part of our response to a resurgent Russia’s ambitions for Eastern Europe’s recapture.


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