Difference Between Army Reserves and National Guard

Serving the nation being in defense services is an epitome of the services of anyone’s life. It is also observed that a soldier never ceases to serve the nation even after retirement.

A country has many categories in protection services that work across the borders and also overseas. A nation’s armed forces may be categorized into different modes of defense based on topographical situations.

They are Army, Fir Force, Navy, Marines, and coast guard are the 5 categories of the nation’s defense services. All the 4 except for coast guard is under the control of the Department of Defence while the coast guard is under the control of homeland security.

There are two main differences in the deployment of personnel to the nation’s services. One is active in the services and the other is kept in part-time roles.

There are again two categories of part-time services. One is the Army Reserve and the other is the National Guard.

Army Reserves vs National Guard

The main difference between an Army reserve and a National Guard is that the Army reserve comes under the federal government whereas the national guard comes under the state government.

Army Reserves vs National Guard


Comparison Table Between Army Reserves and National Guard (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonArmy ReserveNational Guard
CommandArmy reserve comes directly under the command of federal armed forces. They are under the command of the PresidentNational Guard comes under the command of the State. The Governor of the state takes control of them.
BenefitsArmy reserve gets its benefits only from the federal government.National Guard gets its benefit from the federal government and also from the state government.
Services – Job ResponsibilitiesArmy reserve work alongside active armed forces and they will be deployed to take the active members’ roles in national security when the need arises.National Guard has two-fold roles to be satisfied. They can be deployed by the state governor to control riots and also support during natural disasters. Upon the command of the President, they can be deployed for the nation’s security.
Job PromotionsArmy reserve has the option of getting promoted to any vacant positions that are available in the federal services.National Guard members have the opportunity to serve the state and their promotions also are limited to their state or territory.
Categories of Armed ForcesReserves are available for all the 5 categories of Federal defense services.National Guard is subject to Army and Air Force.


What are Army Reserves?

The army reserve is a part-time component of the army of a nation. The army reserves mainly have part-time soldiers who can be deployed full-time for the nation’s security when required.

The Army reserve always has fully equipped and trained soldiers who can be deployed any time for full-time services as and when the order is received. They are deployed when there is a high demand for soldiers.

The Army reserve directly comes under the command of federal defense services. They function under Presidential orders.

The Army reserves are the person who has completed their training and they are mostly part-time soldiers. Also, they might have any civilian jobs as well.

Army reserves work fashion is like this, they work one – weekend a month to complete drills. They are also deployed for training for 2 weeks in a year.

The army reserve personnel can work with any of the career fields listed; administration, intelligence, and combat support. They also get posted in legal and law enforcement, media, computers, and technology.

Army reserves are known for quick mobilization. They are expected to be ready at any time to get deployed full-time. Army reserves can get promoted if there is a vacancy in the federal services.

The benefits that they receive is limited to the federal government offered benefits.

Army Reserves

What is National Guard?

National Guard is a part of the Army or the Air force who are part-time soldiers. They serve both the state and the country.

The National Guard being part-time soldiers will be deployed for the nation’s security services if the need arises. The rest of the time, they will be serving the state in which they are deployed, mostly the territory is the same as their home place.

The National Guard is under the command of the state government. The governor of the state passes orders to the national guards.

The national guard is deployed for any riots or natural disaster scenarios in the state for combat and support. The soldiers of the national guard can also be deployed for the nation’s support if the federal services pass orders to the state.

Their work pattern is similar to that of the army reserve. They complete the drill in one weekend of the month and get trained for two weeks in a year.

It is indeed a fact that a national guard cans stay close to home ad practice drills and get trained. They can also take up any civilian jobs at the same time get the army benefits.

The National Guard has more responsibilities than any other force, as they report both to the state as well as the central. They assist the state during any domestic emergency in the state and also the nation.

The National Guards can opt for the location they want to serve if there is a nation’s call. As it is an obligation offered by the national guard to serve the nation.

National Guard

Main Differences Between Army Reserves and National Guard

  1. The Army Reserve and the national guard seem to have similar responsibilities, they differ in a few aspects. The main difference between Army Reserve and National Guard is, Army reserve is directly under the command of federal services, whereas the National Guard comes under the state government.
  2. The Army reserve receives benefits from the federal government for the part-time services they provide. The National Guard is entitled to receive benefits from the state as well as the federal government.
  3. The job promotions in their respective areas are also different. The army reserve gets promoted to the federal services if there is a vacancy, while the promotion of the national guard is limited to the state or territory.
  4. The Army Reserve is expected to serve the country when there is a need. They will be deployed as full-time soldiers when there is an emergency. The national guard serves the state under the Governor’s orders; the personnel is deployed during state emergencies like natural disasters and riots.
  5. The Army Reserve has on the responsibility to serve the nation when ordered while the National Guard has dual responsibilities, to serve the state first and the nation when there is an order.
Difference Between Army Reserves and National Guard



Both Army reserve and National Guard are required for a nation’s security. Building up additional resources for defense and combat operations helps the nation’s well being too. Working on one cause to serve the nation brings both of them together.

Responsibilities differ but the goal is the same. Both these personnel are offered high-end training and drill to be ready at any time. Though they have an additional civilian job, they are activated by one mission.

As it is also observed that the greater differences are in jobs and command. Serving as a National Guard has many job opportunities, but the promotions are limited.

Key Differences Between Army Reserves and National Guard (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Army Reserves and National Guard



  1. https://www.heritage.org/homeland-security/report/the-role-the-national-guard-homeland-security
  2. https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cpb/51/2/72/
  3. https://apps.dtic.mil/docs/citations/ADA282353
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