Once a month, thousands of Navy reservists across the country re-create the wheel, duplicating the functions (administration, training, operations, etc.) of the active-duty units they exist to support. Billets within Navy Reserve Augmentation Units (NRAUs) constitute the vast majority of drilling reserve end strength.1 In theory, NRAUs “train together, but when mobilized, lose their unit identity and become part of an active component (AC) unit or activity.”2 In practice, NRAUs don’t mobilize as a unit. NRAUs exist not so much as lethal warfighting outfits but as pools of (mostly) deployable manpower to plug gaps in named contingency operations—with their own paperwork. . . lots of paperwork.
1 The drilling reserve includes the Selected Reserves and Voluntary Training Units and excludes the Individual Ready Reserve Active Status Pool and the Standby Reserves.
3 JP 1-02 defines IMAs as “An individual reservist attending drills who receives training and is preassigned to an Active Component organization, a Selective Service System, or a Federal Emergency Management Agency billet that must be filled on, or shortly after, mobilization.” The IMA program is governed by Department of Defense Instruction 1235.11.
4 Army IMA billets for example, are only coded for E-5 and above and O-3 and above.
5 Air Force Instruction 38-201, dated 30 January 2014.
6 Marine Corps Order 1001.62B, dated 01 February 2018.
7 The onus is on the member rather than a unit to ensure periodic health assessments, leadership training, and other requirements remain complete and current.