What is the Navy Reserve?

The Navy Reserve is a branch of a country’s naval forces. Members of the Navy Reserve are frequently referred to as “citizen sailors” because they generally serve in the military part-time while working full-time in civilian life. Reserve members are an important part of a country’s Armed Forces, often accounting for a large percentage of its military personnel.

The concept of reserve forces supplementing a country’s regular armed forces is not new. Many countries cannot afford to maintain a large standing army, navy, or air force. The ability to serve part-time in the reserves while maintaining civilian life encourages and enables individuals who would not otherwise be able to serve in the military full-time to do so. While the exact requirements vary depending on which country has a Navy Reserve, many reservists are required to serve one to two days per month and two or more additional weeks per year.

Navy Reserve personnel receive the same training as active duty personnel and are generally given the same benefits, privileges, and advancement opportunities. During service, there is usually no discernible difference between Naval Reservists and active duty personnel. In fact, during times of war, national emergencies, or when needed, Navy Reservists are frequently called upon to serve as active-duty reservists. Contrary to popular belief, Navy Reservists are not limited to serving on ships; many reservists can serve in stations that are not near water.

Most Navy Reservists begin their careers with basic training, which is the process of assimilating and training civilians to become sailors. It’s a rigorous, difficult, and demanding training program designed to prepare recruits for military service. Depending on the country and the specific branch of service, basic training can last anywhere from eight to twelve weeks. Following basic training, additional training in a specialty area is usually required.

Members of the Navy Reserve are required to serve for a minimum term, or commitment, in many countries. For example, in the United States Navy Reserve, the minimum commitment period ranges from two to four years for those who have previously served in the military to eight years for those who have never served in the military. In comparison, the Royal Navy Reserve in the United Kingdom requires non-officer members to serve for a minimum of five years. Contact a Navy Reserve recruiter if you’re interested in learning more about serving in the Naval Reserve.