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Can I Require National Guard or Reserve Soldiers to Complete Required Tasks When They are not Drilling?

Month after month Tasks are given out to complete misc things prior to drill i.e. Evals, ssd, online surveys, etc. Every month I get excuses, and now "we can't make them do it, or discipline them for it because they are off duty". I'm just getting fed up because it's taking time away from training to get completed. What can I do? I was considering a developmental counseling statement acknowledging the importance of meeting deadlines so the tasks do not conflict with training time. But I'm not sure how to word it.

Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

Bottom Line

No there is nothing that can be done during non drill time.


Unfortunately, there is little to nothing that can be done in this situation. National Guard and Reserve units cannot force personnel to perform official duties when they are in their civilian capacity. Basically, during the time they are not drawing pay, they cannot be ordered to perform official duties. This is one of the readiness issues that the Guard and Reserves struggle with on a daily basis.

Possible Solutions

  1.  Now you might see if you and your chain of command can look at the issue from a different perspective and try to find a professional way to motivate each individual Soldier to get the requirements completed.
  2. Extended Duty Day for those that have requirements that must be accomplished during the drill period or over several drill periods.  Check with your JAG or IG but you might be able to have these Soldiers report earlier (meaning before 1st formation) and stay later, or even stay at the drilling location during drill weekends. This maximizes their available time during drill weekends and requires them to complete the assigned tasks.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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  • A G


    Can a commander in the USAR order a Soldier not to attend drill? A CPT who just finished command has been told by the BN Cdr to find a unit within 90 days because there are no slots open in the BN, or stop attending drill after the 90 day period. Is this legal?

    • Mark Gerecht


      This would be a question for JAG.

      I apologize I am not in a position to comment on this particular issue.


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