Active Duty

Active Duty is similar to working at a full-time civilian job. There are hours when, as a Soldier, you will be training and performing your job, and then there are off hours when you can do what you like. For an Active Duty officer, your length of service can range from three to four years. Typical deployments are 12 months in length, and after six months, Soldiers are usually eligible for a two-week Rest & Relaxation (R&R) leave. The exact length of deployment depends on each unit’s specific mission.

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Army Reserve

The Army Reserve is more like a part time job that enables you to keep your civilian career while you continue to train near home and serve your country. Many professionals as well as college students are Soldiers in the Army Reserve.As an officer in the Army Reserve, you should expect to spend one weekend a month in training and attend a two-week Field Training Exercise (FTX) once a year. In times of war, officers in the Army Reserve may be called up to Active Duty (“activation”) as our country’s needs require. Service options for the Army Reserve range from six to eight years. For more information visit

Army National Guard

The Army National Guard (ARNG) is one component of The Army (which consists of the Active Army, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.) The Army National Guard is composed primarily of traditional Guardsmen -- civilians who serve their country, state and community on a part-time basis (usually one weekend each month and two weeks during the summer.) Each state, most territories, and the District of Columbia have their own National Guard, as provided for by the Constitution of the United States.

The National Guard has a unique dual mission that consists of both Federal and State roles. For state missions, the governor, through the state Adjutant General, commands Guard forces. The governor can call the National Guard into action during local or statewide emergencies, such as storms, fires, earthquakes or civil disturbances.

In addition, the President of the United States can activate the National Guard for participation in federal missions. Examples of federal activations include Guard units deployed to Kosovo and the Sinai for stabilization operations, and units deployed to the Middle East and other locations in the war on terrorism. When federalized, Guard units are commanded by the Combatant Commander of the theatre in which they are operating.

Service options for the Army National Guard range from six to eight years for officers.

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