Army 2020: Regular Army and Territorial Army

Discussion in 'House of Commons' started by DOT, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. DOT

    DOT Old-Salt SME

    The vision of Army 2020 is an integrated Army of 112,000 personnel of whom 30,000 will be reservists by 2020. The MoD’s Army 2020 publication states that “critical to the delivery of Army 2020 is the full integration of the Reserves into the Army structure".

    In November 2012, the Government launched a consultation on the future of Reserve Forces and their role in UK Armed Forces 2012 and announcements are expected later this year.

    Question: Based on your experiences, what is the relationship between the Regular Army and the Territorial Army and how could it be improved?
  2. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The challenge is making the TA more employable. Regulars are understandably suspicious of reservists because they have usually come through a different training process and consequently have a different - and often less well developed - skill set. It won't be possible to properly integrate reservists unless they have access to the same training as regulars, particularly on major career courses. Clearly, by their nature, many reservists will not be able, or may not want, to take the time to do this and inevitably it will create something of a two-tier reserve but that is inevitable and, in some respects, is already the case. A reservist will never be able to get to senior levels if he or she only completes their mandatory training requirement and they shouldn't be able to do so without meaningful operational experience.

    If, on the other hand, we were prepared to routinely put suitably qualified and available reservists through, for example, ICSC or ACSC, we would then be able to appoint them to far more meaningful roles than are currently available, reducing the burden on the regular army and, at the same time, demonstrating reservist capability.
  3. My thoughts actually. Every member of the TA should be offered the chance to carry out a regular course at each and every level. From the infantry viewpoint that would be from CIC to PSBC, and all the supporting arms courses.
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  4. From the Regular Army perspective, lack of training and experience in the TA (at the individual level) is only half of the concern. The other main worry is whether the TA will turn up (to training) when we need them.

    To expand, for the integrated TA/Regular Army model to work, we need the same TA soldiers and officers to turn up for each major training event in the training progression. Currently TA soldiers are not allocated sufficient MTDs to be able to do sufficient training with their paired regular counterparts and even if they were they are not compelled (or sufficiently induced) to make them attend when they are needed. This must be addressed by changing the TA terms and conditions of service and working with civilian employers to enable TA soldiers to spend sufficient time in uniform, when we (the Army) need them.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Here you go.

    The first thing you could do to improve relations is to make sure that someone with experience of balancing TA/operational tours with civilian life (particularly regarding employment) is on hand to remind the Regulars that they have little or no relevant experience whenever they feel the need to pontificate and generally lay down the law as to how things should be done in this area.

    It would also help things along if defence policy was grounded in common sense and properly funded.
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  6. Reduce the number of TA only or regular only courses. where possible everyone needs to do the same course for the same qualification. I know there are issues with the longer courses and getting time away from work, number of training days etc.
    Bring more TA into regular units - again I assume there will be problems under the current system of training days, finance and such like, but if we were to work together more often rather than as two separate organisations then maybe we'd understand each other better.

    For example on my last Herrick tour we had a fair few TA attached. There was some animosity from supposedly 'higher' qualified TA who believed they didn't need any form of medical training to do the same as a regular CMT. Paramedics and CMT's are different creatures, with different roles, experience and equipment. Mostly it was OK during the tour, just one miserable (TA) bugger holding a grudge. This could probably been reduced, if not actually removed completely, by having worked together more. This person would have been brought in line with how regular CMT's work and we would have no doubt been able to gain valuable knowledge from the paramedic experience. I imagine this isn't an isolated case and happens with other trades.
  7. Having served 5 years in the Regular Army and 23 years in the Territorial Army and completing 5 Operational Tours in my experience a relationship of substance does not exist between the two organisations of which full integration can exist. Only by having more Regular Army input and staffing of the Territorial Army will the date of 2020 be achievable.
  8. With 18 yrs regular service, 3 yrs TA, 6 yrs FTRS(FC) and 7 yrs NRPS, in my experience (and in my ex-Corps) there is a relationship of substance and both regular and TA Bns already work well together.

    Where it faces difficulties, from what I've seen and been lead to believe from others, is this does not always happen at LAD level. Therefore, enforce the good work that has happened at Bn level on the LAD's and improved working relationships should happen.

    In the 80's we had integrated trade & field trg and it worked very well. Re-invention, once the regular army is back in the UK and off Ops should be relatively easy and could even provide savings.
  9. For good or for ill, I think that the recent tranches of redundancies has increased the number of former regulars into the reserves. This (I hope) can only improve the 'military' skill set of the reserves. Having had 16 yr regular, 2 yr FTRS and recently joined the reserves I was surprised by the number of former regulars.

    However, I think that the key problem to tackle to smooth the relationship between both is the understanding of what each brings to the collective party. With a shift from high-intensity COIN (or whatever we are calling it this week) to capacity building, some of the non-core military skills that may be more readily developed in the reserves could be applicable.

    Until the government grasps the nettle and finds away to protect reservists from negative action by their primary employer it is difficult to forsee a situation where we see reservists routinely train on the same courses as their regular colleagues.
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  10. TA - Regular Relationship:
    -Founded on Stereotypes
    -Mainly Negative towards the TA [particularly if not served with TA, or indeed have served with some TA...]
    -Minority of TA setting the image for the majority [ie those who have not had sufficient training or personal skills/fitness let them down]

    In essence:
    - Current Terms of Service not adequate for the Army 2020 Plan.
    - Need to increase MTD limit per TA Person to allow for courses/more training/exercises
    - Need to increase commitment whether by a bonus or penalties to ensure TA personnel attend enough training for them to be effective
    - Need a "Fresh Broom" to sweep away those members of the TA who give it a bad name. Whether this is through SJAR/OJAR appraisal or through standards being raised
    - Standards need to be raised and if not achieved [eg PFA/CFT] given a specific timescale for them to be achieved. These must be kept to strictly.

    - Such change is needed to the "TA" that it would normally be difficult to do.
    - HOWEVER, the rebranding to "Army Reserve" gives a perfect opportunity.
    - Disband the TA
    - Raise a New Army Reserve. More commitment, higher standards, bigger rewards.
    - Hand over a P45 from the TA, and slide over a new contract for the Army Reserve having explained the changes

    -These changes then have to not affect civilian employment by making it not a bad point to have the Army Reserve on your CV when going for a job [This would probably be the hardest part].

    It is possible to have an Army Reserve capable of fulfilling Army 2020. But only with radical change from the current TA model.

    Once a new, more professional Army Reserve is in place with higher standards the relationship between the AR and Regular will change and evolve into a more professional one.

    Admittedly, there may be some scope for a different name change rather than changing STAB's to ARS's..
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  11. On a negative note; Having an Army Reserve with a bigger commitment to make it more professional will potentially create more difficulties with employers who may resent giving their staff more time out, even if it is unpaid - they still have to fill or allow for the staffing gap.

    A few years ago, ops notwithstanding, a committed TA reservist could easily put in 6 to 8 weeks on top of their evening and weekend attendance in 2 week aways for annual camp, courses (like Brecon/J or SNCO, specialist and trade courses, continuations and also annual concentrations with Regular Army). It could all be done during paid holidays, but what about family commitments? How much more of a commitment (days in) would the MOD fund for those that could commit?

    It's a great idea to make the Reserves more professional, but it could lead to a smaller, not greater number of Reservists as members hit increased employer/family objections.

    More positively; During the height of the Cold War, a number of TA Battalions were designated NATO Role. This meant better kit (Regular issue, not old cast-offs) and a greater number of MTD's, as well as exercising in Battalion strength alongside the Regular Battalions for some of the larger exercises (in Germany in one instance). This process seemed to work very well and the feedback from the Regulars was very positive.

    I don't know how often the TA Battalions exercise alongside Regular ones in the field today, but it is certainly a way to up the game and improve integration.

    I think more Reservist battalions heading out to Canada, Belize and other locations for the sort of varied training and climates the Regulars get would help the process as well as provide incentive to join/stay in/commit.
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  12. Reg units should, in my opinion, take ownership of their own TA units.

    Not send their worst SNCO as a PSI to get rid of him or rob the TA of their best kit, (for example) but take them under their wing and properly mentor them and help them out. It happens between individuals on tour, but not as a whole corporate effort.

    That is an issue that requires an army wide change in culture which might be about to happen.

    However, I must confess that over the last 5 years I've seen massive improvements at sub unit and individual level. More and more the modern professional regular is more than aware of our strengths and limitations and more than happy to work with us. I must also confess that over the last few years I've noticed more and more useless thick ***** seeping into the junior ranks of the regular army.

    The army has always been good at adapting the kit with which it is issued in order to make it fit for purpose and we, the TA will develop and improve under that direct influence and mentorship.
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  13. It is ironic that closer ties between regulars and territorials are being promoted, whilst the MOD has not really u-turned on its general institutional discrimination against its part time employees.

    It is explained so much better by Dr Evil

    It would be interesting to see how this impacts at a time of falling budgets and on TA personnel's Primary Employer's (and who normally have first dibs)
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  14. Here is a post contained views gleamed from people in UOTC's who have contacted me in order to give their opinions without having to create an ARRSE account [who knows why!]

    I apologise now for the rather long post but *phew* here we go:

    I would like my own views to be known however, I have been informed of some of my fellow UOTC-er’s response [or rather one UOTC response] and so I feel a need to correct/rectify/engage his opinions that he has put forward:

    I have been concerned about those opinions that I have heard a minority of individuals have expressed in the UOTC Survey [ ]

    As such the first few paragraphs are in direct response to ideas I know and have shown to be put forward and propagated by one member of my unit/

    MOD 2 allowing "those who were not as committed to seem better than they should have" - I think is substantially, practically and fundamentally wrong. If anything the boredom of MOD 2 weeds out those with no real commitment.

    Field/Classroom based - depends upon the UOTC. We've put our MOD 2's in the field almost every weekend in a "Mod 3, Do your orders and carry them out" environment that is a lot better than the MOD 2, purely theoretical approach that I had as a Mod 2.

    Not competent but promote a good image: Easily seen through by both permanent staff, TA staff and other members of the UOTC. Indeed many have a desire to lead and hold power - but does this not carictarise all those who go through both TACC and the Regular CC? Without competence any attempt at leadership falls through when those who are supposed to be being led realise their "leader" is not competent to do the job let alone lead others. Examples of this do crop up in the UOTC and are easily sorted by the Chain of Command.
    Clarity of Purpose: Simply put it is both. Indeed a TACC/AOSB factory intending to get those with the competence, ability, drive and wish to get through AOSB through that process. An enabling organisation for those who wish to be enabled. I see no problem with this.
Yet also it does enable those from a similar "ilk" to get together and learn skills/learn practically about the military in an environment that is nowhere else to be found, learning skills that in practice no other organisation, the TA in general included, could really teach to Univerysity undergraduates.

    There is not a "lack of clarity". Indeed many organisations have different objectives to complete. Instead I believe that it is a lack of understanding within some UOTC units that leads to a belief in such an idea as that of a "lack of clarity". There are possibilities within the UOTC both for those who wish to undertake a military career and those who do not wish to. There are positive things to be taken by both categories from training and participating within the UOTC system.

    In essence: There needs to be further education, both within UOTC units and the wider undergraduate, sixth form, and general population about UOTC units. The information and experiences that can be gained from service in such units, and crucially that there is no commitment either after graduation or at any time in their University career. Indeed some people only join for a year, or perhaps for six months.
    Whilst taking into account these ideas/factors there is agreement overall that there needs to be reform of the UOTC system. The idea that all those who attend University [and UOTC's] are going to go on to become leaders in business both in the UK and internationally is a falsehood.

    With the expansion of University places a clear change of rationale needs to take place for UOTC's. We are happy to accept that we are not the sole producers of future leaders in business.
    As such a change does need to take place, and being properly explained, will be accepted by UOTC units and members.

    Rather than claiming to be informing/influencing future leaders in industry why not be informing the wider University population.

    Rather than claiming to be informing/influencing future leaders in industry why not be informing the wider University population? With the University population having grown so large this does give a captive body of people that can be informed and educated about the TA/Army Reserve in general.

    The UOTC units cannot, in any form, become a direct recruiting organisation. Such a move would lead to Military Education Committees calling for the de-establishment of UOTC's from Universities. This would reduce recruiting opportunities and as such reduce the influence/educational ability that the UOTC's currently have, that rather than being reduced needs to be expanded.

    With a growing Army Reserve as part of Army 2020 and FR 2020 the UOTC's must be a crucial part of this move. Whilst not all destined to be CEO's as was once though University graduates are overall more likely to become managers and "high movers" in corporations than non-university graduates.
    As such they do need educating in the work of both the Army, the Army Reserve and the UOTC's.
    Admittedly, it will not save money, but the current cut of recruitment from approximately 250 personnel per year to 150 [I use the recruitment numbers of Sheffield UOTC, now part of the Yorkshire OTR as an example] has meant that fewer people have gone on to joining the TA, fewer TA commissions and fewer Regular Commissions..
As such a cut in initial recruitment numbers has resulted in a decreased output.

    Whilst in an ideal world people would only be recruited if they are going to go through the entire UOTC system this is not true of the real world. Regardless if criteria for, or recruitment processes were changed.
There is always a "wastage factor" that must be taken into account. It is a fact, ubiquitous amongst UOTC's there is wastage over the University Christmas break period and over the University summer breaks.
As such in order to maintain a good output to both Regular RMAS and TA units there is a need to increase recruiting numbers.
    There is "percieved wisdom" that by reducing recruiting numbers only those likely to remain in the Armed Forces will be recruited. To put it with brutal honesty this is incorrect. Many people who I have seen go through the UOTC system and provide good value in the TA and Regular world have done so regardless of having no initial intention to join the Armed Forces in any form, yet having had the UOTC experience, with all its oddities, they have decided to go to Reguar Sandhurst or remain in the Territorial Army whether as a Subaltern or a TA Soldier.

    It is fully admit-able that there needs to be more integration of the UOTC's and the wider TA [less so the Regular Army as that body of men is already seen in high regard whereas the TA is less likely to be seen as an honourable/worthwhile profession]:

    To achieve this requires, at minimum two objectives to be achieved:

1- Standards of the Army Reserve to be increased [ please see as a forum where genuine opinions/views and ideas are being aired to remidy the relationship of the public/UOTC/Regular Army to the TA can be improved ]. As a personal piece of evidence having served with the TA on a 2 week camp I did come to the realisation that I would rather deploy with a group of 10 Officer Cadets from a UOTC than a 30-strong platoon of TA soldiers. Primarily due to the standards and discipline of both units. Admittedly issues that require deep thinking to sort.

    2 - Upon a more professional Army Reserve being raised more integration between the AR and UOTC units. For Phase 1 training why are personnel from both units segregated? At a minimum there could be a weekend long final exercise where Phase 1 TA soldiers and MOD 1/MLDP 1 Officer Cadets come together to demonstrate their competence in certain skill areas? If not a joint exercise then at a minimum a certain, concrete, set of standards that have to be reached authorised by an external examination body deployed by the RTC of both officers and NCO's?

    In order to increase/equalise both respect and standards between the TA/AR and Regular Army one mechanism would be making Regular Army courses open to TA/AR personnel. No difference in assessment. I would in visage an increase in TA/AR standards. Staff running the course would not decrease standards to accommodate TA./AR personnel and nor should they. Whether you endorse the "One Army" image or you just wish for more integration and a greater view of the TA/AR by the Regular Army this is a way to maintain standards across the "Army" and ensure a greater coherence of purpose and skills across the board.

    There should also be, in the future, a way for people to remain "part of the TA" whilst settling into their civilian job and once settled then re-jojn the TA but with the knowledge that Phase 1 training has already been completed.

    If anyone has any comebacks/arguments/points to be raised with the above please let me know and I can glean the answers from the Officer Cadets in the various UOTC's who have contacted me [and I will make it clear where different views have been communciated to me]
  15. What the govt will ACTUALLY do, though, is change a couple of names, commission some new logos, make no substantive changes to anything and simply announce that it has been a great success. Any dissenting voices will be shouted down as 'denigrating our brave armed forces'.
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