A reservist is a person who is a member of a military reserve force
Military reserve force
A military reserve force is a military organization composed of citizens of a country who combine a military role or career with a civilian career. They are not normally kept under arms and their main role is to be available to fight when a nation mobilizes for total war or to defend against invasion...

. They are otherwise civilians, and in peacetime have careers outside the military. Reservists usually go for training on an annual basis to refresh their skills. This person is usually a former active-duty member of the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, and they remain a reservist either voluntarily, or by obligation. In some countries such as Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, reservists are conscripted
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 soldiers who are called up for training and service when necessary.


Historically reservists first played a significant role in Europe after the Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n defeat in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia...

. On 9 July 1807 in the Treaty of Tilsit, Napoleon forced Prussia to drastically reduce its military strength, in addition to ceding large amounts of territory. The Prussian army could no longer be stronger than 42,000 men.

The Krümpersystem, introduced to the Prussian army by the military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst
Gerhard von Scharnhorst
Gerhard Johann David Waitz von Scharnhorst was a general in Prussian service, Chief of the Prussian General Staff, noted for both his writings, his reforms of the Prussian army, and his leadership during the Napoleonic Wars....

, arranged for giving recruits a short period of training, which in the event of war could be considerably expanded. With this the reduction of the army's strength did not have the desired effect, and in the following wars Prussia was able to draw up a large number of trained soldiers. By the time of the Second Reich reservists were already being given so-called 'war arrangements' following the completion of their military service, which contained exact instructions relating to the conduct of reservists in time of war.


Every conscript which has served at least a day in the Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 is a reservist, unless he is declared ineligible for military service or has made a claim of conscientious objection. Soldiers of enlisted ranks with a limited contract (either 4, 8 or 12 years) or professional soldiers, who have filled their tour of duty, are likewise part of the reserve. This is also the case for women, but on the basis of the Soldatengesetz (Eng: Soldier Bill), not the Wehrpflichtgesetz (Conscription Bill). Every soldier follows his rank with the initials "d.R." ("der Reserve" - "in the reserve"). So it does not affect whether the soldier is called up, placed in an inactive formation, or not. Only professional soldiers use the appellation "a.D.d.R" ("außer Dienst, der Reserve" - "out of service, in the reserve") after the end of their service. All others (part-time soldiers and conscripts) strictly use "d.R." until the end of their lives.

Reservists are an integral part of the Bundeswehr. They are essential for the capability of the armed forces in time of war.

Reservists can be active in the Bundeswehr in addition to their mandatory service. This mostly happens through (mostly voluntarily) military exercises or official events. Apart from that the Bundeswehr organises reservist unions as particularly representative supporting organisations of "voluntarily reservist work".

Eligibility for compulsory military service for soldiers and other servicemen of low rank ends at the end of the 45th year of age. Thereafter the conscript is no longer part of the reserve. Despite that the appellations "a.D." and/or "d.R." may still be used. Conscription for under-officers and officers lasts until the 60th year of age. Until the 32nd year of age every conscript is subject to military inspection.

Recognised conscientious objectors, who have competed their civil service, are nonetheless part of the reserve and in the event of war will be given a suitable non-combatant role outside the Bundeswehr, such as emergency medical services, clearing debris or minesweeping.

All conscripts who have not done their service belong to the Ersatzreserve (replacement reserve).


All male able-bodied Singapore citizens and second-generation permanent residents upon reaching the age of 18 are required to serve National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

. They serve a two-year period as Full Time National Servicemen (NSFs), assigned to the Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces
The Singapore Armed Forces is the military arm of the Total Defence of the Republic of Singapore; as well as the military component of the Ministry of Defence. The SAF comprises three branches: the Singapore Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy...

 (SAF), Singapore Police Force
Singapore Police Force
The Singapore Police Force is the main agency tasked with maintaining law and order in the city-state. Formerly known as the Republic of Singapore Police , it has grown from an 11-man organisation to a 38,587 strong force...

 (SPF), or the Singapore Civil Defence Force
Singapore Civil Defence Force
The Singapore Civil Defence Force is the main agency in charge of the provision of emergency services in Singapore during peacetime and emergency.A uniformed organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the main role of SCDF is to provide...


When a conscript completes his full time service, he is considered to be "operationally ready", and is thereafter known as an Operationally-Ready National Serviceman (NSman). NSmen are the equivalent of other militaries' reservists. The difference in nomenclature is because these NSmen will form the bulk of the Singapore Armed Forces in times of war. The term Operationally-Ready National Servicemen conveys more importance than the reservists. Similarly, Operationally-Ready NSmen of the SPF and SCDF are available to be called on in time of need.


Reservistas voluntarios (Volunteer reservists) provide the Spanish armed forces branches of qualified professionals essentially required for each army.
After four weeks of training the reservists acquire the degree of soldier, sergeant or junior lieutenant (alférez).

United States

All five branches of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 armed forces have their own Reserve Forces, whose reservists can be called upon to serve anywhere at any time:
  • United States Army Reserve
    United States Army Reserve
    The United States Army Reserve is the federal reserve force of the United States Army. Together, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard constitute the reserve components of the United States Army....

  • Marine Forces Reserve (U.S. Marine Corps)
  • United States Navy Reserve
    United States Navy Reserve
    The United States Navy Reserve, until 2005 known as the United States Naval Reserve, is the Reserve Component of the United States Navy...

  • Air Force Reserve Command
    Air Force Reserve Command
    The Air Force Reserve Command is a major command of the U.S. Air Force with its headquarters at Robins AFB, Georgia.It stood up as a major command of the Air Force on 17 February 1997....

     (U.S. Air Force)
  • United States Coast Guard Reserve
    United States Coast Guard Reserve
    The United States Coast Guard Reserve is the reserve component of the United States Coast Guard. It is organized, trained, administered, and supplied under the direction of the Commandant of the Coast Guard through the Director of Reserve and Leadership....

There is also the United States National Guard
United States National Guard
The National Guard of the United States is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia members or units under federally recognized active or inactive armed force service for the United States. Militia members are citizen soldiers, meaning they work part time for the National...

, which is under dual Federal/State control, and is traditionally intended for homeland defense and domestic disaster relief (although large numbers are currently deployed in Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and as such the distinction between National Guardsmen and Reservists has become blurred). The National Guard is divided into:
  • Army National Guard
    Army National Guard
    Established under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code, the Army National Guard is part of the National Guard and is divided up into subordinate units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia operating under their respective governors...

     (U.S. Army)
  • Air National Guard
    Air National Guard
    The Air National Guard , often referred to as the Air Guard, is the air force militia organized by each of the fifty U.S. states, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Established under Title 10 and...

     (U.S. Air Force)

During peacetime Reservists and National Guardsmen spend one weekend a month, two weeks a year
One weekend a month, two weeks a year
"One weekend a month, two weeks a year" is a former recruiting slogan used by the U.S. Army National Guard. It indicated the amount of time an individual would need to spend actively in the Guard to be a Guardsman with benefits...

annually in training.

External links

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