Army Reserves vs National Guard – Difference and Comparison

What is Army Reserve?

The Army Reserve is the military reserve force of the United States Army. It is one of the eight federally-recognized components of the U.S. Armed Forces. As a reserve component of the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve is composed of soldiers and officers who serve part-time and are subject to mobilization in case of war or national emergency.

The Army Reserve offers a variety of benefits and opportunities that are unique from those of active-duty soldiers. Soldiers in the Army Reserve serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year at a local reserve center and may also go to annual training. These periods of training help to provide part-time soldiers the opportunity to maintain their military skills and knowledge.

The Army Reserve provides a variety of support to the Army, including providing personnel for active-duty units, performing homeland security and disaster relief missions, and supporting mobilization operations. The Army Reserve also provides specialized capabilities that are not found in other branches of the military, such as medical and legal support and chaplaincy services.

In addition to providing support to the Army, the Army Reserve also provides financial assistance to its members. Members of the Army Reserve can receive college tuition assistance, low-interest loans, and other benefits.

What is National Guard?

The National Guard is a reserve military force comprised of part-time soldiers and airmen who serve their state and country. It is the oldest component of the United States Armed Forces. Today, the National Guard is a vital component of the Army and Air Force.

The Guard is unique in that its members serve both their state and their nation. In times of peace, National Guard members perform their duties within their home states. This may include providing disaster relief, responding to civil unrest, or providing support during natural disasters. They also train on a regular basis and are required to attend two weeks of annual training.

In times of war, however, the National Guard can be called upon to support larger military operations. The Guard is used to provide additional manpower to the regular Army and Air Force, augmenting the active-duty forces and allowing them to focus on their missions. The Guard can also be deployed to foreign countries, and in some cases has been used to support larger combat operations.

Difference Between Army Reserve and National Guard

  1. Army Reserve is primarily composed of part-time soldiers, while the National Guard is primarily composed of full-time soldiers.
  2. Army Reserve soldiers may be mobilized for federal active duty, while National Guard soldiers may be mobilized for both federal and state active duty.
  3. Army Reserve soldiers are deployed for longer periods of time than National Guard soldiers.
  4. Army Reserve soldiers are more likely to receive combat-related training than National Guard soldiers.
  5. Army Reserve soldiers are not eligible for retirement benefits until they serve 20 years, while National Guard soldiers are eligible for retirement benefits after 10 years of service.

Comparison Between Army Reserve and National Guard

Parameters of comparisonArmy ReserveNational Guard
TypeFederal forceState-run force
DeploymentOverseas locationDomestic location
PayReceives military payReceives military pay and state pay
AttendanceRequired to attend annual trainingRequired to attend monthly drills
BenefitsArmy Reserve soldiers do not receive state benefitsNational Guard soldiers are eligible for state benefits


  1. Twice the Citizen: A History of the United States Army Reserve, 1908-1983 – Richard B. Crossland – Google Books
  2. The Rise of the National Guard: The Evolution of the American Militia, 1865-1920 – Jerry M. Cooper – Google Books