With all these defence cuts coming in I've had an idea. My idea is based on the governments idea to increase the reserve and reduce regular troop numbers, but in reverse. We know that if basic training is high quality and top up training is kept up then you can keep an effective fighting force ticking over. We know this because the government tells us that The TA and other reserves will be an effective replacement for all the regulars they intend to sack. We also know the government doesn't like the idea of having lots of troops sat around garrisons wondering what they're doing for the next few weeks. So why do we not keep the regulars but just give them all second jobs as reservist civvies. I know it sounds like I'm being flippant but I think there I something in it. We could have some units trained up as Reservist firefighters who could provide cover or increase numbers on already established watches. We know this because we have done it for a short amount of time. We could have medics working in hospitals and A&E's or driving ambulances. We know this because we already do it but on a small scale. We could make up the loss in police numbers by swearing in RMP's and RP's as specials. Mountain rescue, coastguard/RNLI work etc etc could easily gain from increased support from HMF. We could pretty much have troops providing any of the current public services as a reserve element. A pool of trained personnel who can either work a few days a month with a couple of weeks a year dedicated to current training with that chosen service or be called upon at short notice for major events like the olympics or natural disasters etc. We could sell it as getting two for the price of one and the main thing is we would still be keeping a flexible fighting force on the books. I know the draw back. What if there is a war or similar large scale operation? Well these services are managing to tick over without troops at the moment so I'm sure they would cope. I think its ideal for a few reasons not discounting potential future resettlement for those who leave the forces. The nay sayers will say that soldiers should be spending all of their time either at war or preparing for it but the fact is we all know that when not on operations there is a lot of down time which the training wing needs to and often struggles to fill. Well I've just knocked 5 days a month off their calendar. Based on what the government tells us about the future I think 3 weeks a month (15 days training) is more than enough left over time to maintain an effective fighting force.