Difference Between Army Reserves and National Guard

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


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The Army, Fir Force, Navy, Marines, and coast guard are the 5 categories of the nation’s defence services. All 4, except for the coast guard, are 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.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Army Reserve is a federal military force that serves as a supplementary component of the active-duty Army, providing trained soldiers and units for domestic and international missions during times of need.
  2. The National Guard is a state-level military force that operates under the dual control of state governors and the federal government and is responsible for domestic emergency response and overseas combat missions.
  3. The main distinction between the Army Reserve and the National Guard is their command structure and primary responsibilities. The Army Reserve is a federal force focused on supporting the active Army. At the same time, the National Guard has both state and federal responsibilities, addressing domestic emergencies and participating in combat operations.

Army Reserves vs National Guard

The Army Reserves are a federal reserve force responsible for providing trained units and individuals to augment active-duty forces in times of war or national emergency. The National Guard is a state military force that can be activated by the governor or by the president for national emergencies.

Army Reserves vs National Guard

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonArmy ReserveNational Guard
CommandArmy reserve comes directly under the command of federal armed forces. They are under the command of the President.National 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 will be deployed to take the active members’ roles in national security when needed.National Guard has two-fold roles to be satisfied. The state governor can deploy them to control riots and support them during natural disasters. Upon the command of the President, they can be deployed for the nation’s security.
Job PromotionsArmy reserve can be promoted to any vacant positions that are available in the federal services.National Guard members can serve the state, and their promotions are also limited to their state or territory.
Categories of Armed ForcesReserves are available for all 5 categories of Federal defence 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 at 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 defence services. They function under Presidential orders.

The army reserves are the person who has completed their training, and they are primarily part-time soldiers. Also, they might have 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 a year.

The army reserve personnel can work in any 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 are limited to the federal government-offered benefits.

Army Reserves

What is National Guard?

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

The National Guard is deployed for the nation’s security services if needed. The rest of the time, they serve the state in which they are deployed, primarily, 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 combat and support for any riots or natural disaster scenarios in the state. The national guard soldiers 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.

Indeed, a national guard can stay close to home, practice drills, and get trained. They can also take up civilian jobs and get army benefits.

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

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

National Guard

Main Differences Between Army Reserves and National Guard

  1. 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 state and federal government benefits.
  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 needed. 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 is responsible for serving 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
  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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