Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents


Reserves and Mobilization

In a concession to the need for economy, the ground forces maintained only one motorized rifle and one tank division at nearfull strength in personnel, weapons, and equipment (category one) in 1989. One tank and three motorized rifle divisions were held at 50 to 75 percent of their wartime strength (category two); four motorized rifle divisions were kept at less than 50 percent of complete readiness (category three). Romania also relied heavily on large reserve and paramilitary forces that could be equipped and trained at less cost than could regular forces and could mobilize rapidly in a condition of imminent hostilities.

In 1989 approximately 4.5 million men, or approximately 20 percent of the country's total population, were in the reserve military service age-group of 18 to 50 years. More than 550,000 of these people had served on active duty in the armed forces during the previous five years. They were subject to periodic recall for refresher training in weapons and small unit tactics. In addition to its system of reserve service, Romania had the Patriotic Guards, which were staffed by about 700,000 citizens, both men and women. In keeping with the doctrine of War of the Entire People, the Patriotic Guards were a combined territorial defense or national guard and civil defense organization, which was established immediately after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. The Patriotic Guards worked closely with the Ministry of National Defense but were directly subordinate to the PCR and the UTC. Relying more on ordinary citizens than on the professional military, the Patriotic Guards served as a potential counterweight to or check on the power and influence of the regular armed forces.

In 1989 the Patriotic Guards were organized into company- and platoon-sized units in almost every judet, municipality, town, village, and industrial or agricultural enterprise. Under the command of the first secretary of the local PCR apparatus, they conducted basic and refresher training in small-arms handling, demolition, mortar and grenade-launcher firing, and small-unit tactics. In wartime they had responsibility for local antiaircraft defense, providing early warning of air attack, defending population centers and important elements of national infrastructure, and conducting civil engineering work as needed to reestablish essential military production after an attack. They would reconnoiter and attack enemy flanks and rear areas, combat airborne units and special forces penetrating deep into Romania, and mount resistance operations against occupying forces. In keeping with their guerrilla image, the Patriotic Guards wore plain uniforms with no insignia or badges of rank.

Data as of July 1989