Army begins screening 17,000 reservists for possible activation

WASHINGTON -- The Army has begun screening about 17,000 reservists to determine which would be available to be called to active duty if needed, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The soldiers are members of the Individual Ready Reserve -- those reservists who are not formally attached to any specific reserve unit.

No Individual Ready Reserve soldiers have been called up involuntarily so far, said Lt. Col. Burt Masters, a spokesman for the Army's Human Resources Command in St. Louis.

Some IRR members could be called up once the screening is finished, Masters said.

The IRR reservists are usually soldiers who have left active-duty or active reserve service but still have time left on their obligation to serve. They agree to keep themselves ready to be called up in an emergency but are not required to do the periodic training other reservists must perform.

A letter from one Army Reserve career counselor in Indiana says that the Army plans to activate all of the available individual reservists later this month. Masters said there is no such order.

While the Army does such screening periodically, the current Army-wide screening is a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Masters said.

"It's a big pool of manpower to get up to date with," he said.