Peace Time: September 19, 2002


Reserve troops in the United States are taking a beating in the War on Terror. Seen as a pool of organized and disciplined manpower, the reserve (including National Guard) troops are being called up in large numbers to do mundane jobs. Units are often pulled apart many security type jobs only require a few troops at widely spaced locations. While all of this is a surprise to the troops, it isn't to senior staff officers, who occupy themselves in peacetime by drawing up elaborate plans for how to use reserve units in the event of unlikely, but possible, situations. For example, the 5th Army, which covers the American Midwest, has drawn up detailed plans on what local reserve units would do in the event that there was another major earthquake along the New Madrid Fault (the last one, two centuries ago, changed the course of the Mississippi river and did extensive damage). These plans (Operational Orders, or OpOrds) are often quite detailed. But the troops tend to refer to them as "OpNovels." It is feared that the current call up of so many reservists to guard airports, military bases and other sites will cause many reservists to leave the reserves. 


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