Procurement: January 13, 2005


The end of the Cold War, and the operations in Iraq, have had one positive effect on American reserve forces. They are getting new equipment, and a lot of additional training. The reservists are also getting combat and operational experience, making them more capable than most active duty troops on the planet. 

The new equipment angle was, initially, one of the peace dividends of the end of the Cold War. Armed forces shrank, and the active duty units had more new equipment than they needed. So the reserve units, long users of older and second hand gear, got a lot more new stuff. Air force reserve squadrons got warplanes that were the equal of what the active duty pilots had. Army reserve tank crews suddenly had the latest tanks. But a lot of more common gear, like radios and field kitchens, was not as much in surplus. So the reservists had a mix of old and new.

Then the Iraq war came along. Some new gear came into reserve units, to replace very worn equipment, or to make sure the reservists were using stuff compatible with what the active duty troops had. But Iraq also wore out a lot of the tired old stuff the reservists were using, and this was replaced with new equipment. The Iraq war also saw the introduction of a lot of new material; bullet-proof vests, new communications sets, GPS units, and even such mundane gear like sleeping bags and special uniform items. 

The million men and women in the reserve units will come out of the war much more capable, and better equipped.


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