This FAQ is related to Courage to Resist’s “Resisting Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) recall” published February 2009. If this question is of interest to you, please read our overview first.
The Individual Warrior (IW) Category, often referred to as the Individual Warrior Program, is simply an effort by the military to "rebrand" the IRR to increase "esprit de corps" by increasing the number of musters, both online and in person, individuals are subjected to.
According to a 2006 Army news release, "Individual Warriors will be the new label for Soldiers serving in the Individual Ready Reserve…. Simultaneously, the new name will lead to a cultural shift away from the unstructured group of inactive individuals into a cohesive group of Soldiers who are trained, aware and ready to augment Army missions when called upon."
The news release explains why the Army feels this is needed:
"While the mission of the IRR is to provide a pool of previously trained Soldiers who are `individually ready’ for call-up, our culture and past management of the IRR has made it difficult for many to accept that call-ups will become common practice," said Maj. Nadine Kokolis, a mobilization officer in the Army’s G-1…. "Annual readiness screening is the heart of this initiative to ensure IRR members are deployable," said Kokolis. "The Army will execute a pilot screening for approximately 5,000 Soldiers in fiscal year 2007; the goal is to institutionalize the entire screening and training program by fiscal year 2013."
Also from GlobalSecurity.org:
On March 22, 2006, the Army announced that the Secretary of the Army had endorsed an integrated and systemic approach to reset and reinvigorate the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The Army’s strategy focuses on transforming the IRR into the Army’s leading ‘prior service talent bank’ through several programmed initiatives as it builds the future force.
The Army plan called for immediately developing an identity with increased esprit de corps for members of the IRR by creating a special category within the IRR for its ready and qualified IRR Soldiers. This special category was to be called the Individual Warrior (IW) Category. Soldiers in the IW Category would be required to maintain a higher state of readiness by participating in virtual musters, attending annual readiness processing and, through managed training opportunities, maintaining proficiency in their military occupational specialty. The IW Category would focus on elevating individual expectation management, proactive career management, unique training opportunities, and promote continuum of service towards a military retirement.