Guard vs Reserve
In every country there is a reserve component for its armed forces. In US, this component is referred to as National Guards and the Reserve. Many people think of guards and reserves as same because of same uniform. However, this is not true though both happen to be reserve components of the militia. There are differences in their training as well as roles and responsibilities in US armed forces.
Both guards and reserves play an important role in nation’s defense. However, they are not always in active duty and this is why they receive a part time training, pay, and other benefits. There is great flexibility in the demands made on people joining guards or reserves but so are the opportunities of advancement. The primary function of reserves and guards is to provide a reserve component to active duty soldiers, whenever the need be. After joining and undergoing training, guards and reserves are required to perform duties on one weekend every month and 14 days in a year. Despite this, of late, there has been a trend of calling up reserves and sending them to fronts like Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Kuwait, and other places for active duty.
National Guard came into existence through Dick Act in 1903. This is a militia that originates in states but is primarily funded by the federal government. Under an order by the President, guards can be pressed in federal duty though states have the right to call back their units pressed into service at the centre to come and assist in state emergencies. The units get command from the state where they are headquartered and reside. There are many state guard units that are not funded by the federal government and hence cannot be called by the federal government. In any case, until it is called up by the federal government, all National Guard units remain units of state militia.
It was in 1908 that reserve was formed to assist medical corps in army. Reserve remains a purely federal force and the highest chain of command is the President of the country. Reserves are the first to be sent on duty abroad to defend the interests of the nation. The term of service of reserves has been set as 8 years though they remain part time soldiers.
What is the difference between Guard and Reserve?
• Collectively, reserves and guards form the reserve component of the armed forces.
• Reserves are totally federal militia units whereas guards are under state control though they are called up by federal government whenever there is a need.
• Guard units stay in states where they reside and are pressed into service when there is a natural disaster or terrorist attack. However, they are called up by the centre whenever there is a pressing need.
• There are differences in bonuses, job guarantees, assignments and the nature of job.