Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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Reserve officers bring new aspects to the military

“Reservists match perfect as they bring in the combined knowledge of the business and military world. Thus reservists are decisive.” With this statement General Knud Bartels, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, emphasized the important role of reservist to the armed forces and welcomed the around 200 delegates of the CIOR at their Mid Winter Meeting, taking place at NATO Headquarter in Brussels from February 9th to 11th, 2012.
The complexity of NATO´s operations has increased in recent years. Many of the required skills and professions in this environment are either of para- or non-military nature. Hence the alliance has a strong interest to get access to those. And what could be better than the reserves?

The role the Reserves 

General Bartels – introduced as a NATO man, operator, but first of all educator – first gave an overview on the role the Reserve played in history. During the Cold War, many of NATO countries relied on conscript military service to provide the foundations for a strong mobilization base – this also defined the role of the Reserve.
Nowadays the situation has changed, but even though the Cold War is over, the armed services are not “forced by unemployment”. All NATO member states are currently engaged in military operations. The NATO Partners are facing new threats - threats they have not even thought of months ago: The Arabic Spring, the Libanon Mission, the Syria Conflict. 


Beside the volatile security situation, there are other fundamental challenges like the climate change or the cyber threat that affects the area of activities for the armed forces. Adding to this the fiscal situation of many member states puts into question the financial contributions which go along with the NATO activities.
Looking at the future challenges, Bartel stated, the armed forces are not able to cope all by themselves with all the new issues which are not – and cannot be – part of the day to day business of armed forces. Therefore external specialists are needed. Giving an example, Bartels said: “If we are challenged to run a power station, a hospital or a school we need help by someone who has professional skills in this occupational field. We need help from all groups of society. But they shouldn’t only be professionals in their field of experience, they should also know the military requirements, which are often different form the civilian ones.” Bringing it to 
the point, the General said: “We need reservists with experience on both sides – the occupational area and the armed forces.” Thus, General Bartels pointed out that the reserve officers are bringing new aspects to the regular forces. In addition he pointed out, that nowadays most operations are organized multinational, therefore it has become very important that reservist not only know their national armies but also learn much about the NATO partners – especially the reservist comrades.

Bringing in their expectations, perspectives and experiences

General Bartels appreciated the input and recommendations provided by CIOR and motivated its members to continue their work to bring in their expectations, perspectives and experiences to joint operations with the words: “You are telling us, how outdated we are.” For four days he members will work in their respective committees to work on the projects, and make preparations to the Summer congress in Copenhagen.

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers