The Department of Defense Directive No. 1352.1, 27 Feb 1984 governs the recall of reservists. The directive states that, generally, retirees who are physically qualified should be preassigned in peacetime, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to installations or to mobilization positions that must be filled within 30 days after mobilization and that are determined appropriate for retirees by the Secretary of the Department concerned.

At any time, a secretary of a military department may order regular or reserve 20-year active-duty retirees, regardless of the retired list to which assigned, and members of the Fleet Reserve and the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve to active duty without their consent in the interest of national defense.

In time of war or national emergency declared by Congress, the respective Secretary may recall any other retired member of a Reserve Component, with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, when it is determined there are insufficient qualified Reservists in active status or in the Inactive National Guard.

In this regard, retirees provide an experienced and tested wartime resource in numbers and skills too valuable to ignore. By faithful service, retirees have earned and are entitled to certain rights, benefits and privileges. Under specific conditions, retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, standards of conduct, conflict of interest, and other regulations and laws. Retirees receive a monthly payment from the services as a deferred annuity in recognition of their active service and for their vital role in the nation's military readiness.

Employees who are occupying "key" positions (vital to U.S. defense in his/her civilian capacity - Air Traffic Controllers, Office Heads, and Computer Specialists are just a few examples) and are also members of the Military Reserve shall have their mobilization availability made on a case-by-case basis.