The Army Reserve Ambassador (ARA) Program was established in April 1998 for private citizens to promote awareness of the Army Reserve and the identified goals and objectives of the Chief of Army Reserve (CAR).
ARAs develop awareness and advocacy with community leaders and are vitally important bridges to communities across the Nation. They function at the state and local level and voluntarily represent the CAR without salary, wages or other benefits. Most beneficial is that they provide "continuity" over the long term; while local Army Reserve team leaders come and go, Ambassadors are vested in the community.
Their function is similar to that of Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA), and they carry a protocol status equivalent to a major general.
ARAs educate the public, community leaders and congressional staff offices about the capabilities and value of the AR and its Soldiers. They establish open lines of communication within these communities to help establish mutually supporting relationships with community leaders and community organizations. ARAs promote support for Soldiers and their Families during deployments and play an active role in facilitating community support through "welcome home" ceremonies and the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Not only do they build relationships that improve understanding and awareness of the AR within the business and civilian sectors, they also work with ESGR contacts, Military and Veteran Service Organizations, Employer Partnership Program Support Managers, and Family Readiness Groups on key Soldier and Family issues, including those that may have strategic implications and benefit across the Army Reserve.
While not all ARAs have military experience, many are retired officers or senior non-commissioned officers who wish to remain engaged in military affairs. Each state and territory has at least one ARA.
Regional Support Command/Mission Support Command ARA coordinators provide administrative support to and oversight of their respective regional Ambassadors.
Ambassadors are currently appointed by the CAR, via nomination from Regional Support Command/ General Officer commanders. The nominee cannot be a actively-serving member of the National Guard, Ready Reserve (Selected), Individual Ready Reserve, Federal Government or be a Federal elected/ appointed official.