San Diego Union-Tribune

November 15, 2001

Navy ready to double number of reservists on active duty


WASHINGTON -- The number of Navy reservists called to active duty for the war on terrorism is expected to double, to more than 14,400, by the end of the month, a Pentagon official said yesterday.

With the activation of 91 reservists yesterday, the Navy so far has called up 7,677, mostly as individuals with needed skills in security, law enforcement, health care and intelligence.

The next wave of call-ups will include more units and likely will focus on reservists with force protection and security skills, including port security units and SeaBees who can build protective structures, the official said.

Although no units will be identified until the activation orders are issued, the mobilizations are sure to include Navy reservists from Southern California.

The expected increase in the number of activated Navy
reservists would put the Navy second only to the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard in the number of part-time military personnel called to active duty since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And, it is a major escalation from the Navy's initial announcement that it expected to call up only 3,500 reservists.

The much higher number is due to requirements that are coming from fleet commanders, the Pentagon official said.

The reservists are part of an overall growth in mobilization since Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced in September that he had President Bush's approval to activate up to 50,000 military reservists. By Oct. 12, Rumsfeld received authority to exceed that number, but did not set a new limit.

The president has the authority to activate up to 1 million military reservists and National Guard personnel for up to two years. As of yesterday, a total of 55,417 reserve and guard personnel had been activated.

The Air Force quickly jumped atop the list, with Air National Guard fighter and air refueling units conducting Operation Noble Eagle, the air patrols across the United States.

The air Guard also called up air transport, intelligence, base support and engineer units for a total of 30,627 personnel.

The Army is second with 14,277 National Guard and Reserve personnel. They include infantry, military police, intelligence, air defense and engineer units.

The Coast Guard has activated 2,224 from its much smaller pool of reservists to help increase port protection.