Army 2020: Have your say on the Ministry of Defence’s plans for the Army

DOT

Old-Salt
#1
I’m James Arbuthnot, Chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee. We are currently looking at the MoD’s future plans for the Army up to 2020. The areas we are covering include:

· the thinking behind the plans;
· how the plans will be implemented and the cost;
· the relationship between Regulars and the Territorial Army; and
· the basing review.

To start our work we held an evidence session with the General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, in December. You can watch the session Player or read the transcript House of Commons - Evidence - uc803-i .

As we continue our work we want to hear your views on what General Wall told us and the MoD’s plans. We are extremely grateful to ARRSE who have kindly agreed to host this sub-forum. In addition your comments, we will be holding a further three oral evidence sessions with the MoD and others and also collecting written evidence. The next evidence session is expected to be held in July, another in September and the final one with MoD Ministers in October. We will then prepare a Report for the House of Commons which the Government has to respond to within two months. We will update the threads as our work progresses.

We hope that you will help give us ideas of the questions we should ask and explore with our witnesses by contributing to the discussion on this site. Please take this opportunity to contribute to our work and give us the benefit of your experiences so that we can effectively examine and improve the MoD’s plans.
About the Defence Committee: We are a cross-party Committee, independent from Government, appointed by the House of Commons to examine the policy, expenditure and administration of the MoD. More information about the Committee and its work can be found on our website: Defence Committee - UK Parliament . Information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference and how to submit evidence, can be found at: Future Army 2020 - UK Parliament .
 
#2
I would liketo ask the Committee whether industry has accepted the plans for the extension of the Territorial Army and if it will support long deployments for key personnel.
 
#3
I'd like to know:

How and by whom would the vehicles currently in the treasury led storage in Moenchengladbach and in Ashchurch be put back on the road at short notice should the need arise?

Where would the necessary funds come from?

The damage caused to vehicles by standing is immense: dry oil seals, rust, damaged tires, dead batteries etc. etc.

Has anyone ever assessed the cost of such a break out, seeing as it has never ever been attempted in an exercise?
 
#4
Another review of a review of a review and the money spent on revies could no doubt cover cost of disbanded units? and who!s MP is be
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#5
I'd like to know:

How and by whom would the vehicles currently in the treasury led storage in Moenchengladbach and in Ashchurch be put back on the road at short notice should the need arise?

Where would the necessary funds come from?

The damage caused to vehicles by standing is immense: dry oil seals, rust, damaged tires, dead batteries etc. etc.

Has anyone ever assessed the cost of such a break out, seeing as it has never ever been attempted in an exercise?
Unfortunately you've shown you have no idea of the concept of Controlled Humidity Storage or the reasons behind WFM!

Edited to add:

You're also very wrong on break out trials. A very good one was conducted by HQ 1 Div in 2004 up to and including MEI on all systems for several of our more complex equipment's. No major problems were found!
 
#6
My own personal view is that the Government has missed the point. If they want to adopt a foreign Defence model you have to do your homework and understand how to make it work. Ever since I have been in the TA (Reserve) nee the British Army has been shrinking yet our commitments have increased. And Armed Forces is like an insurance policy when you need it you need it but if you have 3rd Party vs Fully Comp the end result can drastically differ. Same applies with the current situation with Defence you will get what you pay for.

The TA (Reserve) has identified gatekeepers the soldier, the family and the employer. Gatekeepers 2 and 3 have the greatest influence no matter how much you try and tie in 1 through renewed T&C's.

Gatekeeper No 1 – The TA Soldier - The issues TA soldiers face today over a work life balance do not go away by tighter T&C's. In fact in the current recessional times they are even harder people work longer and harder now than ever before. However few seem to realise that the TA works better through influence (fair days pay for a fair days work, mileage paid to place of duty not capped given our centres are further way than they used to be). We often work around ill-informed members of our CoC and rules made for our regular counterparts. Reason they just do not work in the Reserve environment because they are not flexible. Watch word of the TA (Reserve) is to be flexible we don’t necessarily like it but we have to work with it to be successful. CoC's need to understand this is our second job not first, in many cases it does not pay the bills and so our allegiance is proportionate like it or not. Whatever new T&C’s we get we will live with or leave – simple as that. Overseas ADX deployments are a great sweetener but only that after 2 weeks they are gone. Mobilisation every 5 years we can subscribe to so long as we are supported by the other gatekeepers - if not its not our fault - paying the bills and looking after the family has to come first - or we suffer.

Gatekeeper No2 – The Family – My wife has been a TA widow for years, when I am not working or working for the TA in some years I have less than a 3rd of my year to dedicate to my family. Sometimes with my TA loyalty called into question as well in the same year! That has cost me and my family and that time can never be replaced. So what is the benefit to families? Can we not recognize that TA soldiers (nee all Armed Forces) are ‘Twice the citizen’ and so should enjoy priority health care (Eye, Dental and Doctors/Hospital) for free, housing and other? After all we contribute to society and serve it unlike those on DSS benefits who seem happy just to take what they can for no effort at all. Even our regular counterparts have access to some of these services on base etc. But this requires support from Department of Health who are competing against the department of Defence for the same budgets. And so, we are left with the limited efforts of the MOD Med services saving costs by referring us to the NHS where we wait in line with everyone else. Oh we do now have veteran status in the NHS only no one seems to have told the NHS that!

Gatekeeper No 3 – The Employer - In my 26 years in service I have joined the TA 3 times, not in reality but in the eyes of each employer. I have had to keep it quiet and then join once in my new employ. Why? Because when I declared I was a TA soldier up front, discrimination was there whether it was allowed to be or not (RFA96 not being much help there). Serving in the TA has even influenced my promotion prospects at work because I was seen as a liability because I could be mobilsed. Thankfully I was supported by my employer when I was so credit due there, but they would not support a second tour - if I went I was on my own. We are now in a recession and not all the TA works for Large size companies, quiet the contrary in fact. So the loss of an employee for no matter how long hits a company hard. What is the incentive for the employer? Problem here is you need an incentive. The best incentive would be Tax breaks to encourage employers to employ Reserves. But that is not for the MOD to give it is the Treasury who I am sure are going to say not our problem or budget thanks. So we are left with limited option for the MOD to make it work on its own.

As you can see the only true solution lies with a multi Government departmental joined up response and solution. The MOD cannot solve this one on its own no matter how hard they wish too or try, as I said the Government has missed the point. Without that the end result will be painful for all. TA soldiers leaving because there is no benefit to being in the Reserve.

The Regular Army and the TA were created with two distinct purposes which fed the same end. One a full time force ready for anything and the other a reserve force to support when required (as we have done over the last 10 years). Issue for both sides we have been victims of our own success and when money is tight now seen as cost effective. As someone once said if you use your reserve - what then becomes your reserve - nothing.

Regular or TA we are all Volunteers, for the TA it is actually our second job not our first. We serve because we want too not because we have too.

Yet when all is said and done we still serve and contribute..........and will continue to do so.
 
#7
An idea may be to look to the US and it's use of the Army Reserve and National Guard over the last two major conflicts. The rolling stock of these units are severely depleted and are not being replaced which results in a training deficit.

Also, the communities losing some key members (police, fire and other emergency services) along with the burden on industry during multiple (12 month) deployments must be considered before developing a "Reserve Focused" Defence Force.

REspectfully,

Frank
 
#8
True... Parliament is different from Government.

However, I would like to see ALL MP's, that make a decision for this country to get involved in armed conflict on their behalf, do a minimum tour on the front-line of 4 weeks. To be taken during Parliaments holiday period at their own expense. So long as they don't end up like Mercer.... they'll be fine :)

If you won't walk that mile in my boots... don't ask me to!
 
#9
I don't think we should be sending the TA abroad. If we need reservists, we should take them in to the regular Army on a full 5 year contract rather than just a few months. That at least gives them 1/8th of a pension (assuming a 40 year working life), means that fewer people get called up, and fewer employers get annoyed with reservists wanting time off.

It would be nice if all politicians had some experience of war, as long as they didn't get a taste for it. I think there would be some mileage in putting them all through some sort of training, so if they were to be taken hostage, or find themselves being mortared in the House of Commons, they would know how to behave.
 
D

Davetheclown

Guest
#10
Would like to find out how the army will cope with a reserve service that does not come with a 100% reliability guarantee. You lay off the most useful and trained and recruit from the TA, whom may have enthusiasm but not the experience.

It would be akin to calling out the RAC to fix your car on the motorway late at night, whilst the head office try to find someone available, knowledgeable and qualified, and dedicated to the task unconditionally. You would be there ages and then head office will call a private firm to step in and take over.

The system will collapse on itself,

Also the one army system of not be allowed to call them TA, or have the V on the end of the unit name is stupid and deceitful. To the public will think the available army is actually bigger than it is. Also credibility of the standing army will be hit.

Soon we will have TA living in the block and pads estates as it would be cheaper. Dont laugh cos it going to happen.

I cannot believe that someone honestly believes sacking a full time soldier and replacing him with a part time soldier is cost effective. Nor is it morally right to prejudice the fit healthy career soldier out of work. With someone who can quit at any time, place obstruction through his primary work, or use family reasons or be unfit.

The TA was a place for adult cadets with a drinking club attached, Iraq and Afghanistan changed that culture, but the TA is not mature enough nor proactive enough to succeed. ITC and LWC used to have two pass grades, Regular Pass, and TA Pass. Also some elements of the TA the HAC is a posh drinking club, Whites Club with rifles I have heard it called. Also some TA units do not have the background capability that long courses in the Army provides soldiers.

In summary, Leave the TA as it is a Useful shed at the bottom of the garden fulfilling a logistic need, where the regulars are the dyson hoover, technical, expensive and cutting edge.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
is the dyson hoover reference - overpriced crap which while clever is awkward to use, bought out of fashionable requirements and needs replacing frequently due to it falling apart?
 
#12
Why do you think a coruscating report from the HCDSC will actually do anything to change the A2020/FR2020 plans?
 
#13
As units are rebased to more centralised locations the matter of where the soldiers and their families are to be housed needs to be addressed. Although the vast majority of soldiers will remain in one location longer under 2020 there does not seem to be a plan in place to accommodate those who, of necessity, move regularly or those returning from overseas.

Already I hear of soldiers having to start new postings unaccompanied by their families because no housing is available for their families. This puts an additional strain on the soldier and their families, people who give up so much already to 'follow the flag'. This is made worse by the housing which is available being poorly maintained and thus in poor condition as, despite the assurances of successive defence reviews, money allocated to renovate housing stock which has been woefully under maintained for decades is not sufficient nor spent effectively with renovation schemes that seem piecemeal and half hearted at best.

The shortage of housing is exacerbated by DIO seemingly not knowing their stock and not seeming to care. Recently I have been told of a family moving from Germany finding out via Facebook that their allocated quarter was still occupied by someone who was not due posting for a considerable time. In the end they were accommodated miles away from this original quarter, far away from the school they had arranged for their children. There have also been families I have met with infested houses, damp houses, or dangerous houses that have been ignored by DIO officials and whose health has suffered as a result. In some cases soldiers have faced pressure to sign off.

Whereas the shortage of housing can be temporarily solved by renting locally or even buying on the open market large areas of local developments this then plays havoc with the local housing plans and is very expensive.

There also seems to be an unwritten expectation that, as units become more fixed in location, soldiers will begin to buy their own properties. This is not always feasible for those with an eye on a career as they will be expected to move to other locations to further their ambitions. There is also a coterie of attached arms, from Doctors and Chaplains to chefs and mechanics, who can look to move regularly during their career and need quarters.
 
#14
Unfortunately you've shown you have no idea of the concept of Controlled Humidity Storage or the reasons behind WFM!
I understand controlled humidity storage concept and the reasons behind WFM, it remains that, only a concept. I've seen the storage which is not controlled humidity at all, it's old sheds usually with the big door open. I have also received vehicles out of that storage and they were all complete sheds!

Post WW2 vehicles and artillery were stored in many places, often underground in the sneaky beaky fuel facilities, or in disused hangars like at Burtonwood. They were stored in a nitrogen atmosphere and were regularly taken out, checked out and re-press'd, that worked well.

What we now have is just lip service.

If you are so convinced of the value of WFM, please tell me why has a break out exercise never been attempted?
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#15
I understand controlled humidity storage concept and the reasons behind WFM, it remains that, only a concept. I've seen the storage which is not controlled humidity at all, it's old sheds usually with the big door open. I have also received vehicles out of that storage and they were all complete sheds!

Post WW2 vehicles and artillery were stored in many places, often underground in the sneaky beaky fuel facilities, or in disused hangars like at Burtonwood. They were stored in a nitrogen atmosphere and were regularly taken out, checked out and re-press'd, that worked well.

What we now have is just lip service.

If you are so convinced of the value of WFM, please tell me why has a break out exercise never been attempted?
Seeing as you are conversing with one of the team who introduced WFM (and CHE) to BFG, based at Ayrshire Barracks in Moenchengladbach from 2002-2005 (the TFSU now being managed by our successors) I can tell you categorically that you do not understand modern methods of CHE (dry air) or WFM in the slightest.

The CHE "sheds" at TFSU (G) are absolutely huge, sealed, with strictly controlled access and monitored by computers with links to Andover so they can monitor humidity levels and the number of times the warehouses have been accessed.

I've also edited my initial post to inform anyone interested that a very successful break out trial was conducted whilst I was still there. The trial was conducted by HQ 1 Div on behalf of Land, and was based on a Battle Group sized study. No major problems were found but it highlighted what the TFSU team had been saying all along that you get out what you put in!

In my view the major flaw with the storage of equipment (whether in CHE or otherwise) is the state of equipment going in is rarely what you would be happy to receive coming out. That is down to two things, time and money. It was my view that most (not all) units, and particularly REME, wanted to put the smallest effort in to get equipment up to the standard required for storage.

We conducted a visit to the US facility in Luxembourg in 2004 IIRC and I believe it showed the model the British Army should be following, particularly in view of the way we are now configuring for the future. They brought a type of equipment into the site in bulk and gave them a very through inspection to work out what repairs and modifications were needed to bring them up to current standards, ordered in the necessary spares then conducted an overhaul program. The equipment that units had sent in was replaced by fully fit, up to date spec equipment held in storage so units were not disadvantaged for too long. The only way we could do that however is to co-locate the site with a REME Bn or have it done by industry at a huge cost.
 
#17
Seeing as you are conversing with one of the team who introduced WFM (and CHE) to BFG, based at Ayrshire Barracks in Moenchengladbach from 2003-2005 (the TFSU now being managed by our successors) I can tell you categorically that you do not understand modern methods of CHE (dry air) or WFM in the slightest.

The CHE "sheds" at TFSU (G) are absolutely huge, sealed, with strictly controlled access and monitored by computers with links to Andover so they can monitor humidity levels and the number of times the warehouses have been accessed.

I've also edited my initial post to inform anyone interested that a very successful break out trial was conducted whilst I was still there. The trial was conducted by HQ 1 Div on behalf of Land, and was based on a Battle Group sized study. No major problems were found but it highlighted what the TFSU team had been saying all along that you get out what you put in!

In my view the major flaw with the storage of equipment (whether in CHE or otherwise) is the state of equipment going in is rarely what you would be happy to receive coming out. That is down to two things, time and money. It was my view that most (not all) units, and particularly REME, wanted to put the smallest effort in to get equipment up to the standard required for storage.

We conducted a visit to the US facility in Luxembourg in 2004 IIRC and I believe it showed the model the British Army should be following, particularly in view of the way we are now configuring for the future. They brought a type of equipment into the site in bulk and gave them a very through inspection to work out what repairs and modifications were needed to bring them up to current standards, ordered in the necessary spares then conducted an overhaul program. The equipment that units had sent in was replaced by fully fit, up to date spec equipment held in storage so units were not disadvantaged for too long. The only way we could do that however is to co-locate the site with a REME Bn or have it done by industry at a huge cost.
I know you're smoking shit now, when were you last in TFSU, how many of those buildings have controlled environments and why are the doors always open??? I've been involved heavily with the output from WFM and it sucks!
As for blaming the REME, they, were heavily involved elsewhere, the German civvies did the bulk of the STI 17 work and one of their main workshops was actually moved out of the same barracks to make room for TFSU, a decision which really beggared belief!

If it's so good why did the break out exercise get shelved????? Because careers were at stake perhaps!
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#18
I know you're smoking shit now, when were you last in TFSU, how many of those buildings have controlled environments and why are the doors always open??? I've been involved heavily with the output from WFM and it sucks!
As for blaming the REME, they, were heavily involved elsewhere, the German civvies did the bulk of the STI 17 work and one of their main workshops was actually moved out of the same barracks to make room for TFSU, a decision which really beggared belief!

If it's so good why did the break out exercise get shelved????? Because careers were at stake perhaps!
Actually It's not me that's waffling. I was one of the first 2 mil into TFSU (G) and left in 2005 at the same time as most of the IPT and all FTRS. All of the larger warehouses and smaller Rubb shelters have CHE plant but not all have been re-commissioned therefore not all are in use for WFM (so may well have doors open as they are often used as interim storage before the move into CHE) and not all of those that have been commissioned have the added electronics to allow external monitoring by Andover. There are several of the larger warehouses that have a (very) expensive security fence around them for security reasons.

When we moved in Rhine Area Workshop had been moved to Elmpt for quite a while, a move that was carried out because almost all of their dependant units were either located there or about to move there and the need for them to even exist was in question. It had nothing whatsoever to do with TFSU (G) moving in as Ayrshire Barracks was in the process of being handed back to the Germans. In fact we picked up the rather large bill to decontaminate the old R&I/Canvas repair building (which became our QM dept) and the old REME workshop which was so contaminated we were banned from even opening the doors for the first 6 months!

You are correct in saying REME were involved elsewhere when it came to conducting the pre-storage inspection & work, same as every other cap badge were, the difference being the other cap badges still supplied manpower in good numbers. We sent the AQMS and VS WO (and on occasion the ASM) to visit units before and during the transfer process, some units were eager to do it properly and some weren't and it had little to do with operational tempo.

Where REME did help in a tremendous way was by using a rotational "Lead Bn" to support the TFSU (G) in bringing those key equipment's in a known poor state back to a fit and acceptable standard within the Ayrshire Barracks Workshop. Along with HQ 1 Div ES Branch allowing us almost free reign on their contractors (and more importantly the repair budget).

Some of the units that had been very proactive in getting their equipment into the TFSU (G) (for storage rather than ownership reasons) also helped out by coming up to MG to bring their own eqpt up to standard required for transfer to TFSU(G) ownership. But then again with only 2 LEC inspectors, an LEC fitter, an LEC cleaner (pinched by the QM dept), 2 x SSgt an AQMS and an ASM they needed to. In fact before the ASM interviewed and subsequently employed the 2 LEC inspectors he was the only person in the REME Wksp and was responsible for arranging the thorough de-contamination of the Wksp, commissioning the facility and it's equipment, identifying all the tools and technical publications and placing the demands, IT requirement & furniture etc, liaising with HQ 1 Div ES & G3 & G4 ES in the "big house", inspecting the vehicles dumped on Ayrshire Barracks that had been returned from Ops & BATUS and arranging for them to be repaired by contractors, oh and the occasional foray into VS business.

The break out trial in fact ran it's full course and wasn't abandoned at all. In fact the only problem that had any significant impact was the (all to regular) failure of the RBT outside the REME Wksp, a piece of kit inherited from RAW that had simply been left to rot and despite the ASM's frequent requests was not replaced or significantly invested in. One of the things that helped though was the DROPs moveable RBT which did get used with great success.
 
#19
is the dyson hoover reference - overpriced crap which while clever is awkward to use, bought out of fashionable requirements and needs replacing frequently due to it falling apart?
You forgot the strategic necessity of buying British, despite the fact that it's overpriced and crap, and bought from shysters.
 
#20
I have a simple question; when the TA is being asked to expand, why are you looking at closing units?

You cannot consolidate TA as you do regular units, because, as the soon-to-be-defunct name says, the soldiers are territorial. They come from a specific territory. I am willing to be that if you asked them, 90% of TA soldiers joined their unit because it was their local unit, not because it was the arm they wanted to enlist in. If you make their local unit over an hour away, they won't go.

Would you do a full days work, then drive over an hour to go and do 2 hours more work, and then drive an hour back again? Or better still, do a full week's work (that's Monday to Friday, 0830 to 1700 EVERY DAY, no sports afternoons, no leaving 1400 on Fridays which I know happens in some units!), then not even have time to eat before you are out of the door, driving for an hour to go away for a weekends work, then back home Sunday evening, just in time to go to bed and then go to work the following morning?
 

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