CGS in The Times

#1
The Army has depended on reservists for generations. Now they are even more vital
As we travel to work today it is worth remembering those who have swapped their trains for armoured vehicles and their suits for combat uniforms. More than 500 businessmen and women, teachers, industrial workers, doctors and nurses went to work this morning on the front line in Afghanistan. These are the “citizen soldiers” on whose commitment this country has depended for generations.
Men such as Kingsman Michael Davison who in 2003, as a 22-year-old full-time builder and volunteer infantryman, won the Military Cross in Iraq. Caught in a fierce firefight through a network of alleyways, Kingsman Davison fought his way forward under enemy fire to drag his wounded platoon commander to safety and apply life-saving first aid.
More recently Lieutenant-Colonel Sharon Stewart was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross Medal for her devotion to duty and professional competence in British military nursing in Afghanistan in 2011. Lieutenant- Colonel Stewart, a mother of three from Lancashire, was on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in a hospital that treats not only soldiers but the Afghan Army and local people, including children and suspected insurgents. They are typical of the men and women of the Reserve Forces who, with their regular counterparts, will play a critical role in an Army that is preparing for an uncertain world.
Since April 2001 the Army has deployed more than 27,000 reservists on operations in Iraq, Cyprus and Afghanistan. We will shortly add the Olympics to that list. This remarkable group of people have served with distinction and they have made a real difference. They have certainly borne their share of the extreme demands and the sacrifice. The Army has depended on their sense of duty as individuals and their camaraderie.
In the future these reservists will play an even more important role, as the Army Reserve faces its most sweeping reform for generations. The recent review by the independent Houghton Commission proposes a compelling vision for the Reserve as an even more significant component of the Army’s fighting power.
That vision comes with a commitment to invest an additional £1.8 billion in the Reserve over the next ten years. In return the Army must produce a force of 120,000 by 2020, fit for all operations — up to 38,000 of whom will come from the Reserve.
This is about more than sheer numbers. This week the Army brought together academics, soldiers and international experts to work out how to reinvigorate the competence of our reserve forces to make them fit to meet an expanded commitment to military operations. We plan a more formal role for them in international engagement and homeland security, with a continuing lead in other areas such as cyber, post-conflict stabilisation and medical support. We will integrate their strengths more closely into the Army through collective training.
I readily accept that more work must be done across government to ensure that both reservist employees and their employers derive the optimum benefit from this commitment. In return the Army must do more to support the families of Reservists when they are away on operations.
Our ten-year plan has already begun. We are increasing recruiting for the Reserve this year and will shortly begin a series of pilot schemes to attract even more capable officers and soldiers. For example, at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst we are investing more in reserve officer training to make it more relevant and more comprehensive.
The same is happening for soldiers across the spectrum of combat skills and trades. Just as reservists will make a greater operational contribution, so regular soldiers will be encouraged to contribute their hard-earned operational experience to the Reserve when they return to civilian life.
We will, of course, expect more from the individual men and women who volunteer. Like all soldiers they will develop the traditional military spirit for which the Army is famous, but there will be important differences. The Reserve will bring the volunteer ethos, rooted in homes and towns across the country, drawn from the widest possible pool. This will enhance the vital link between the Army and society.
The future Army Reserve will be even more important to the Army as a whole. It will be better organised, better resourced and better trained. In the future Army the Reserve will make an even more critical contribution to our national security than it has throughout its distinguished history.
General Sir Peter Wall is Chief of the General Staff, the head of the British Army
 
#3
It's all very well and good increasing the number of reserves, but they are not regular trained Soldier's who do there trade day in day out. Whilst the reserves i have met and served with have all been good (after some more training) they were still not upto the same standard as regular Soldier's, although that's no fault of there own.

You can pump all the money in the world into the TA, but it will only have a limited effect as members of the TA can only attend to conduct training afew days a week at the very most, thats for the more dedicated ones aswell. The committed members of the TA are an asset and most have served with distinction on Operations, but i think the balance of the current regular to TA Soldier's as it stands is about right. To cut regular troops and essentially replace with TA is not maintaining a credable and balanced force.
 
#4
I agree. When I was a PSI, I could say that for every committed soldier our unit had there were ten fair weather soldiers. Not their fault really they were just a reflection of society. I hope things have improved but I doubt it.
 
#5
I agree. When I was a PSI, I could say that for every committed soldier our unit had there were ten fair weather soldiers. Not their fault really they were just a reflection of society. I hope things have improved but I doubt it.
Matt, I have never been a PSI. Surely the way to solve this problem would simply be not to recruit those who are not commited? for those that are already in the TA and are using it for 'walty Mitty bragging down the pub on a Friday night etc etc' can they not just be fucked off?

It would send the signal out that being in the TA means you do have to be commited, professional and prepared to deploy on Operations.
 
#6
Crap article. No mention of the ARRSE Telegraph thread, which displays as much quality thought and exposition from Brave_Coward, Hootch, Charlie_Cong and others (not you though, Gassing_Badgers - you're gash) as the get-together earlier this week.

Interestingly enough, no use of the pariah words "Territorial Army" by the big man.
 
#7
Matt, I have never been a PSI. Surely the way to solve this problem would simply be not to recruit those who are not commited? for those that are already in the TA and are using it for 'walty Mitty bragging down the pub on a Friday night etc etc' can they not just be fucked off?

It would send the signal out that being in the TA means you do have to be commited, professional and prepared to deploy on Operations.
Mark.

I don't think the useful TA would have a problem with that, if for example you are a pte in an infantry coy with two tours to your name, you come back from your second one and see the guy who short toured or failed his 1.5 miles at Chilwell with a stripe or two, you'd be understandably a bit miffed.

Yet it does happen time and time again.

TA soldiers 'passed over for promotion' after serving in Iraq - Telegraph

Some individuals are just kept around for god knows what reason, though many of them are likeable people and they do help with training.

Not sure it's as simple as matt says, some people are not regular atendees of drill nights for example, but volunteer for whatever tours, courses and weekends they can get on.
 
#8
Crap article. No mention of the ARRSE Telegraph thread, which displays as much quality thought and exposition from Brave_Coward, Hootch, Charlie_Cong and others (not you though, Gassing_Badgers - you're gash) as the get-together earlier this week.

Interestingly enough, no use of the pariah words "Territorial Army" by the big man.
Why, thankyou!



Lending tone, gash and colour to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.
 
#9
The solution Mr. CGS?

Change the legislation and terms of service, put your money where your fat cakehole is, and make the TA a true 'Reserve' organization, such as that operated in the US military (but better, of course) as opposed to the present and tragically obsolete system which dates from the time of the Cardwell reforms.

In the meantime, spare us the patronizing stories of derring do and 'selfless devotion to patients umpteen timezones away from bawling children' drivel. Everyone in a war zone, TA or not, is doing the business under difficult circumstances (craphats excepted, of course). It's stupid to speak of TA soldiers as somehow morally superior to others, just so you can save some dosh and try to mollify those who are justly pissed off.

There, that's him told. Now where's me Tetley's?
 
#10
I'd suggest he stops using the term 'reserve', a reserve is something you dip into once your main 'funds' have ran out.
The army might be better to look at it's reserves and see how they can be used alongside it's full time and part time elements, i.e. take on soldiers for shorter terms in order to provide a pool of fully trained reserves (who may go onto the territorial army).
Forget using the TA as reserve, look at why it can't use it's traditional reserve in it's old role of bringing regular and TA up to strength.
 
#11
And change the entrance requirements, which accepts some soldiers will need more training, i.e.

Regular army accepts soldiers of types A B and C
As would the reserve
Territorial army only accepts A and B, unless they are ex regular
 
#12
It's all very well and good increasing the number of reserves, but they are not regular trained Soldier's who do there trade day in day out. Whilst the reserves i have met and served with have all been good (after some more training) they were still not upto the same standard as regular Soldier's, although that's no fault of there own.
Some TAs do the trades day in and day out too. Sometimes to a much higher degree or more in depth.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#13
Why do I get the impression that CGS made that statement through gritted teeth, with his fingers crossed behind his back?
 
#14
Fozzy. I doubt that. I have been lucky enough to work under Gen Wall during Telic. He is a very genuine man and says how it is and has his feet planted firmly on the ground. I am not TA by the way.
 
#15
The Army have well and truely deserved the situation that their reserve forces are in. Over the last 22 years, the RNR, RMR and RAFR (in RAuxAF) have been trimmed down and made fit for purpose. If you don't believe me, look at the mobilisation statistics for the various Reserve forces. The TA talk of '40%' mobilisation since 2003; the RAuxAF sit at about 140%; same with the RNR. Why, oh why does the TA have units that would only ever be mobilised if the UK was invaded? Similarly, why is TA mobilisation still largely based on the concept of calling for volunteers - rather than issuing a mobilisation notice?

For those calling for the legislation to be changed - they need to be aware how complex the RFA 1996 is, and how long it will take to change it (inter alia, finding time in teh Parlaimentary Programme to fit it in). When I left 5th floor of MB in 2009, changes were being proposed as a result of the Strategic Review of Reserve Forces and the earliest these were likely to be enacted was 2015!
 
#16
Interestingly enough, no use of the pariah words "Territorial Army" by the big man.
How perceptive of you, Dr_E. How many posters on this and the Telegraph thread actually understand what the Army means by 'Reserve'?

I'm not talking about the dictionary definition, because that isn't what counts. It's what the planners define a reserve to be that really matters.

Anyone who thinks that the much-trumpeted FR20 figure of 38,000 — even if it goes the distance — will consist entirely of Territorials needs to give their head a wobble. Many unpleasant surprises lie in wait along the rocky path to 2020, not least if which is the next General Election.

Not that you'll notice of course, because the Regular Army will itself be venting its collective pain like a wounded T. Rex in a china shop as it tries to come to terms with the manifestly unpleasant consequences of A2020 and the New Employment Model.

The show ain't nearly over; the fat lady isn't even out of rehearsals yet.
 
#17
Similarly, why is TA mobilisation still largely based on the concept of calling for volunteers - rather than issuing a mobilisation notice?
Best you ask the MOD why they lack the minerals to issue compulsory call out notices.
 
#18
Mark.

I don't think the useful TA would have a problem with that, if for example you are a pte in an infantry coy with two tours to your name, you come back from your second one and see the guy who short toured or failed his 1.5 miles at Chilwell with a stripe or two, you'd be understandably a bit miffed.

Yet it does happen time and time again.

TA soldiers 'passed over for promotion' after serving in Iraq - Telegraph

Some individuals are just kept around for god knows what reason, though many of them are likeable people and they do help with training.

Not sure it's as simple as matt says, some people are not regular atendees of drill nights for example, but volunteer for whatever tours, courses and weekends they can get on.
Oh ain't that the truth - come back from Ops to find the bloke who had a "jolly good courses camp" gets the job/ promotion because he/she is known to the CoC.

As I said on another thread - like being selected to play for Engalnd, but the Saturday league side don't want you cos your batting average is a bit low.

Mobilisation is a career foul, generally because Reg and TA reporting cycles are mis-matched.

Oh .... TA soldier don't need MPARs by the way.
 
#19
How perceptive of you, Dr_E. How many posters on this and the Telegraph thread actually understand what the Army means by 'Reserve'?

I'm not talking about the dictionary definition, because that isn't what counts. It's what the planners define a reserve to be that really matters.

Anyone who thinks that the much-trumpeted FR20 figure of 38,000 — even if it goes the distance — will consist entirely of Territorials needs to give their head a wobble. Many unpleasant surprises lie in wait along the rocky path to 2020, not least if which is the next General Election.

Not that you'll notice of course, because the Regular Army will itself be venting its collective pain like a wounded T. Rex in a china shop as it tries to come to terms with the manifestly unpleasant consequences of A2020 and the New Employment Model.

The show ain't nearly over; the fat lady isn't even out of rehearsals yet.
FR20 is an election and a Depression away - won't happen under a new Lib Dem/ Labour government.
 

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