This paper explores policy options available to the United States Marine Corps that
strengthen its ability to sustain the Reserve Component as an operational force, by
How should the United States Marine Corps partner with civilian employers of reservists
to implement an “operational” reserve that is sustainable during peacetime?
The reserve component of the United States Marine Corps will continue to fill an operational
role after the drawdown of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The concept behind
the operational reserve envisions the deployment of reservists in a periodic and sustained
fashion to support theater security engagements and cooperative security agreements.
When put into practice, reservists will be required to regularly deploy overseas.
Reservists are only part-time members of the military and most depend on a civilian
employer for their livelihood. While businesses have generally been supportive of
deployments during periods of conflict, it is unclear how they will view continued
deployments, absent an existential crisis. Since reservists depend upon civilian
employers for their livelihood, their support is necessary to sustain a peacetime