Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by msr, Jul 12, 2011.
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Britain needs a citizen army to fight its wars - Telegraph
Yes, well all very interesting, salient points raised etc, however as ever the sting is in the tail:
"The reserves cost much less. Run over five years, the cost differential is around one third or, put simply, three for the price of one."
At todays prices - one assumes - with all the training/budgetry restrictions that we have come to know and love. Ultimately it appears that what we are going to get is an increase in the reserve (as expected) a raping of regular army capability (as expected) without any increase in funding in order to try and balance the deficit in training and ability (as expected).
Well, duh. If you expected anything else you've not been paying attention. Like I keep saying, the fact that the Army will be unable to repeat TELIC or HERRICK from a standing start is a feature, not a bug. Participating in future conflicts will be doable but will require some very visible and costly preparation, which many see as a way to avoid pointless involvement in somebody else's fuckups - like TELIC and HERRICK.
The real sting in the tail for me was the implication that the Regular Reserve is back with a vengeance, possibly renamed of course. Imagine (say) ten years in the regs followed by a compulsory ten years in the TA. When that sinks home, the inhabitants of the International Space Station will be able to hear the whining from orbit.
bravo bravo,all may not be lost.
Probably be financially driven, e.g sign up with the TA and get X pounds extra in redundancy, although you could then sign up and not turn up of course.
I imagine there would be an element of compulsion in this model. Along the lines of the US example.
"In extending service time into the reserve component, we would create a cradle-to-grave human resource management solution, a new personnel concept which harnesses throughout their working life the individual and collective talents of the people we have carefully recruited, selected, trained and educated......
In short, we have a ready, willing, trained and committed source of manpower. To ignore or, worse, discard this pool of talent bears no serious analysis; but this is the culture that prevails. "
In other words, reinstate the regular reserve as a useful body by altering TACOS to include some meaningful incentives for people to keep turning up. (Caveat: incentives can be negative as well as positive, pension payments may go down as well as up etc, etc, ect).
I am not convinced that he sees the "citizen army" as being primarily based around the locally recruited, weekend trained, 29MTD per year TA, but on the Regular Reserve with an element of TA.
[Grinding my own axe here...] Might not a review of the age limits for entry to the Army not form part of this envisioned 'Citizen Army' - I say this in light of the fact that Britain's allies currently have age limits far in excess of those currently operating in the Army (where at 25 you're looked at askance). Extending the age limits for the regular army in particular would be an obvious way of dipping into the "richness of talent" spoken of in Gen. Lamb's article;
The wider age limits - and therefore the wider recruitment pool to draw from - in the United States Army and Commonwealth armies might also explain why the reserves comprise a larger proportion of those respective armies:
Speaking for myself, if the current age limits were extended even slightly, I'd be in like a scalded cat. The age I passed RCB at in 2003 would now be considered 'old', and of course I'm 'older' now, but I still argue that I'm not 'old'. I know I'm not the only person in this situation.
[...stops grinding axe]
I like the feature rather than the bug not being able to send an armoured div anywhere at a drop of the hat is a good thing.
With no obvious threat at the mo having that capability will encourage generals and politicos to find work for it.
That hasn't worked out terribly well in the last two chances.
Think if you want a citizens army you will have to do lot of thinking about what its for.
not sure your have many takers at chillwell for uppity wog slapping in support of america x2
Well put, I think that's exactly what they're after. However, how to get there ? As with changes to any TACOS legislation is needed and none is yet visible. I'm curious about the timescales involved, any seasoned Westminster observers out there ? My take is that if a plan emerges this month (as seems to be the idea) it's going to take years rather than months to develop suitable legislation, consult with industry, committees, more reports and so on. Indeed, I think it could be pushing it to get it in this Parliament.
Then how to handle the transition - it's a sea change in culture for the Regulars, after all. In reality, today, the ex-reg has no reserve liability. (They can join the TA or ask to do a tour if they want of course.) I wonder at how far compulsion can be made to go - the only real sanction you have is to bin someone. It works for the regs as they like being paid and earning a pension, it works for the TA as they want to be there. How will it work for the pissed off ex reg who really, really doesn't want to be there ? How many MATTs do they have to "fail" to get binned ?
As well we need to consider that TACOS aren't retrospective, this will have to be introduced gradually.
As you can see, I'm sceptical about the belief that we can change the fundamental assumptions the Army is built on and yet assume that things will happen in exactly the way that best suits the Army.
It will certainly take time to change the regular TACOS - perhaps as long as 2014/2015? That seems to all tie in very nicely with some significant changes in what the army sees itself doing!
Junior soldier turnover is pretty rapid, and they could be given a year 5 TA bounty for turning up for say 2 weekends per year to do MATTs. If their commitment on the reserve is for 4 years it will give them £6400 over 4 years, and give a total commitment of 8 years combined regular/reserve. Easy to change, and brought into effect fairly quickly.
I agree that it would not be possible to change TACOS to be more punitive retrospectively for the current generation of soldiers/officers, but with suitable positive incentives, there will be a significant number that would sign up for a voluntary change in TACOS.
Unless it has changed, the requirement to remain on the reserve is there within TACOS, just not the mechanism to keep track of the soldier once they have left - that is what needs to be put into place.
What's the definition of grave? 40 (typically the Army pensioning age for a 16-18 year old recruit), 50 (apparently the operational cut-off age), 55 (limiting age for non-commissioned soldiers), 60 (limiting age for officers), 65 (and extending, national pensionable age)? As a Regular officer, Lt Gen Lamb could be seen to be inferring any of these, and any could easily apply to his model, depending on the fine print.
What the statement does seem to infer, though, is that there isn't considered to be life beyond the Army. And that's going to be part of the battle in encouraging Regulars to extend into the Reserve.
I can't see how you can get away with any "new" Regular Reserve training significantly less than the TA do now. After all, the old RR faded into irrelevance because the TA were far more usable. Regular Reservists are only deployed these days if they ask to go and don't need more prep than the TA to do the job. That isn't going to change, particularly in a crisis. The standards that the TA has to meet to get put into the pipeline for deployment have increased a lot recently, RR readiness states can't be lower if they are to be as usable. Skills fade in time, six months out out one thing, three years quite another.
Then we have the wider non-Inf TA to consider. Keeping your average (let's be parochial) OP MI up to speed, vetted and current is a distinctly non-trivial task. How you'd do that in significantly less time than it takes the TA OP MI to do the same beats me. And if you don't he or she will be left on the sidelines in favour of the TA bod who can start working on day 1.
This then inexorably leads you into some formal organisation, nationally spread to train people at weekends ..... you could invent a totally new, separate, stand-alone RR training organisation. But in real life the TA will be used as the starting point.
See, the RR commitment the Regs have at the moment is entirely nominal. The willing and able can get back into the saddle, the uninterested will never be called on. Changing that perception will have non-trivial consequences.
Of course if you incentivise enough everyone will turn up. But I wonder at what point it will become cheaper to recruit another TA soldier then to bribe the ex-Reg to pitch up. I am assuming here that incentives will dominate, compulsion is an option but I struggle to see how compelling unwilling people back into uniform will achieve the standards required.
In extending service time into the reserve component, we would create a cradle-to-grave human resource management solution, a new personnel concept which harnesses throughout their working life the individual and collective talents of the people we have carefully recruited, selected, trained and educated......
...then endlessly fucked about, mismanaged, disillusioned, worn out, sold out and finally spat out...
Got that off me chest! That's better!
Following on from OOTS' post:
But would it necessarily require a beefing up of the Regular Reserve training schedule? Or would it merely be the case that a Regular would commit to joining the TA for a specified period, the duration perhaps depending on trade? No skills fade and maybe an enhancement of what the TA already has. Essentially a boosting of TA numbers with experienced personnel rather than relying solely on recruits.
I can see that there would be benefits, but also that many of the ex-Regulars would have some rank. And that would block any chances of promotion for the junior "proper TA" soldier, leading to recruitment and retention issues.
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