There are many different security forces that aim to provide security to the people of a particular community, city or the whole country. These forces consist of professionally trained personnel who are critically selected and then trained in harsh conditions to make them very well adapted to deal with tough situations. There are various types of security forces; armed forces, National Guard, navy, rangers etc. Although the main purpose of all these is to enforce law and order and provide security to the citizens, there are some variations in the way they operate, the regions or areas that they cover or are responsible for, the hierarchy they follow and so on. Two of these security forces are the National Guard and the army reserves. Many people confuse them to be the same but as we will now see, there are considerable differences between the two.
When we talk about the army reserve, it must be pointed out foremost that it is not the same as the main army. It is, however, another term for a military reserve force. It is an organization that is composed of citizens of the country who choose to keep a military role together with a civilian role. They are not always equipped with weapons or arms and their job is not even to be able to provide security 24/7. The main role of these people is to be available and able to fight when a nation is fighting a war or is under the invasion of another power. It must be noted that these are the reserve forces and they are not a permanent part of the standing body of the armed forces. The advantage of having such a reserve force is that the nation has to spend less on military training during peace times as these reserves need not train throughout the year; their trainings are conducted less often and they are also ready to fight if the nation needs them. Their trainings, which are less frequent than the actual army is usually one weekend every month. In some countries, serving in the reserves is compulsory for all who complete national service. In contrast to this, the National Guard does not have the same main function. Although it is also a body that ensures security, the way it operates in various countries differs. It is also a reserve military force but it is not composed of part time civilians like the national reserve. It is actually a body that is made up of National Guard military members or units of a state.
There is another important difference between the two. The army reserve is controlled by the federal authorities. In contrast to this, the National Guard is controlled by the state authority and has a dual status. To be more precise, the army and other reserves such as the army reserve come under the president’s control. This however, is not true for National Guard units. It is controlled by states and that gives them greater freedom especially on the home front. Governors can and do call the Guard units quite frequently so as to have their service as adjunct police. This maybe in times of emergencies, such as curfews and natural disasters (such as hurricanes, earthquakes etc.)
The National Guard, as previously mentioned, has a dual status. This is because it can be federalized by the President if the need arises. If the country is at war and the armed forces are not enough, the army reserve as well as the National Guard can be made to work as full time armed forces.
Summary of differences expressed in points
- Army reserves-another term for a military reserve force, an organization composed of citizens who choose to keep a military role together with a civilian role, not always equipped with weapons, their main role is to be available and able to fight when a nation is fighting a war or is under the invasion of another power; National Guard-a reserve military force but it is not composed of part time civilians like the national reserve. It is actually a body that is made up of National Guard military members or units of a state
- The army reserve is controlled by the federal authorities. In contrast to this, the National Guard is controlled by the state authority and has a dual status, it can be federalized by the President if the need arises