DoD orders update of mobilization plan
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2005 11:42 AM
Subject: DoD orders update of mobilization plan
DoD orders update of mobilization plan
Times staff writer
24 October 2005 Issue
Pentagon recently updated long-standing orders for the services to plan how they
might mobilize military retirees to duty during a national emergency, freeing up
active-duty personnel for overseas combat.But while Defense Department officials
stress that the ability to involuntarily mobilize retirees has long been part of
U.S. law, it is unclear whether those plans would ever be acted upon.
Title 10, Section 688 of the U.S. Code says that retired active-duty members
“may be ordered to active duty … at any time.”Reserve and National Guard
retirees can be recalled only if Congress authorizes what is called a “full
mobilization,” said Lt. Col. Bob Stone, spokesman for the Pentagon’s office of
The post-Sept. 11, 2001, call-up is a “partial mobilization,” authorized by the
president instead of Congress, and allows the mobilization of those still
serving in reserve status but not reservist retirees, Stone said in mid-October.
Numerous retirees have volunteered to return to active duty since Sept. 11,
2001, but none has been involuntarily mobilized, Stone said in a written
response to questions. Department of Defense Directive 1352.1 states: “It is DoD
policy that military retirees be ordered to active duty as needed to perform
such duties as the [service] secretary concerned considers necessary in the
interests of national defense.
”The newly updated directive, signed July 16 by Acting Deputy Defense Secretary
Gordon England, highlights an important aspect of the military’s generous
retirement pay: It is, in a sense, retainer pay, because retirees remain subject
to call-up at least until they reach age 60. This aspect of military retirement
has not been discussed in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s ongoing studies of
how to restructure military retirement benefits. Members of the so-called
Retired Reserve are considered the third tier of the nation’s reserve forces, to
be mobilized after the Ready Reserve and the Select Reserve, according to David
Segal and Mady Wechsler Segal, military population researchers with the
University of Maryland.
Members of the Retired Reserve “have qualified for retirement through length of
service or disability and are carried on the reserve roles because military
retired pay is legally a compensation for availability rather than a pension,”
the Segals said in a March report for the Population Reference Bureau, a
nonprofit group. “The likelihood of mobilization for these reservists is very
low,” the Segals said, “although the Department of Defense has called for
volunteers from the retired reserves to serve in current military operations.
”The new directive replaces a previous version dated March 2, 1990. Stone said
the directive was updated as part of a regular review process. “All DoD
publications are reviewed every five years and updated as necessary to
incorporate policy, administrative and legal changes that have occurred,” Stone
said. The new update “incorporated administrative changes” and removed some of
the detailed procedures in the older version. Policies for using mobilized
retirees remain essentially unchanged.
According to the newly updated version:
• The Defense
Department “shall plan to use as many retirees as necessary to meet national
Retirees can be used “to fill shortages or to augment deployed or deploying
units and activities or units in the continental United States, Alaska and
Hawaii supporting deployed units.”
Retirees can be used “to release other military members for deployment
Subject to legal restrictions, retirees can “fill civilian workforce shortages”
for the federal government.
Mobilized retirees would receive full active-duty pay and benefits for their
service. The policy directs each service to “prepare plans and establish
procedures for mobilization of military retirees.”
The directive also says the service must make detailed plans for duties that
would be performed by retirees as well as to keep records on retirees’
eligibility for call-up, to include their availability for call-up, their
civilian employment and their physical condition. “All non-disabled retirees are
subject to recall to active duty,” Stone said. However, retirees are divided
into three readiness categories, including one that covers those retired for
Category I retirees are not disabled, are under age 60 and have been retired
fewer than five years.
Category II retirees are not disabled, are under age 60 and have been retired
five years or more.
Category III includes those who are disabled and those who are age 60 or older.
estimated 900,000 retirees are in Categories I and II, Stone said.
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