Defence Reform Bill Clause 43 - Call out of Reserves

Discussion in 'House of Commons' started by DOT, Jul 30, 2013.

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  1. DOT

    DOT Old-Salt SME

    Clause 43 focuses on changes to the use of Reserve Forces and the obligations of members of the Reserve Forces to attend for duty:

    • Authorising the Secretary of State of Defence to call out reserves for any purpose “for which members of the regular services many be used” (clause 43 (4)) and
    • Alignment of the maximum duration for call-out from 9 months 12 months (clause 43 (6)).
    To view Clause 43 of the Bill itself please go to: Defence Reform Bill (HC Bill 84)

    To view an explanation of the clause in fuller detail please visit Explanatory Notes to Bills: defence reform bill Clause 43/Schedule 6

    Of particular interest are your comments on the practical implications of clause 43 of the Bill.
     
  2. This seems to steadily erode the volunteer aspect of the TA, (apt I suppose given we're all shortly to be Army Reserves).

    Practical implications are ones that have been highlighted before WRT UK Operations. It looks like this reduces the speed of deployment of SA assets and increases the admin burden of getting TA co-ording/working with the Civil Community. If this makes UK Ops predominantly a Regular Lead - then SJC will have to pull its finger out and set some decent Civil Engagement goals for the replacement of Regional Brigades to meet.

    The majority of TA personnel who responded to the Gloucester Floods in 2007 (OP Outlook)were on VTOD (IIRC RFA96 Section 27) or Voluntary Training on Duties.
    It required no ministerial authorisation and got critical C4I on site quickly with no need for RSOI/Mobilisation Processing etc. What it did require was the existing leadership and man management.

    It also meant people turned up when they could, having co-ordinated with their employer (if necessary) - this left a very light footprint afterwards.
    As long as VTOD is still promoted as a preferred approach, then this change may only be cosmetic.

    Point to note, re UK Ops; There was no significant official LI/LL process conducted after Gloucester Floods, one of the times a significant population has been closest to a civil catastrophe this country in recent years. More seemed to be drawn from the Cumbria floods ( remote rural population in isolated UK area of little industrial significance made more remote) or OP Olympic (operation pre-planned 3 years in advance involving 10K troops with last minute add of 4K troops in PR man's wet dream).
     
  3. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    It strikes me that one of the issues is that the UK governmental machine looks enviously at the aid to civil power capabilities of the US National Guard but does not really want to impliment the changes really necessary to bring this about.

    I think a lot of Army Reserve members would be interested in a more central role in society in a time of need but some form of payback would be attractive.sadly the US National Guard get college funding and other perks which require investment by the state but our state seems unwilling.
     
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  4. Nothing new, but what this again highlights is the absolute requirement for employer support in order to make the new model work.

    I suspect that there would be decent level of support for a national emergency call out, however this would erode any good will that may be exist (not that there will be much) for the touted mobilisation every 3 years.

    It has been said again and again but it really is quite simple: Unless HMG make some very real concessions to employers to make it worth while to employ reservists, reserve service WILL result in discrimination at the point of job interview and many reservists themselves having to make the choice between losing their jobs or leaving.
     

  5. Total agreement with this comment. I am a reservist under the terms of my original enlistment many years ago but obviously a very deep barrel would need to be scraped if i was ever needed. I did want to join a TA inf unit in my mid 30's but due to issues with my employer at the time it was a non-starter. The potential for future deployments of reserve personnel on a 'regular' basis would certainly put employers off unless real tangible concessions are made to employers. I am a small business owner & when I am in a position to employ someone I would prefer ex-mil, however if they are potentially going to disappear for lengths of time on Ops im afraid my business has to come fiirst.
     
  6. The initial deployment of Reservists for a civil emergency task needs to be as light-touch as possible. That will allow a bit of speed. The higher up the chain of command the authority lies the longer it will take, the clunkier it will appear and the less likely it is to happen. Called out to support West Of Scotland Water after the water supply to N. Glasgow was contaminated by diesel some years ago - all done by phone-calls cascaded by the PSAO. Troops in the TAC almost immediately, on the ground within 2 hours, job done and stood down in 36 hours. Most employers would probably be happy to grant some sort of ad-hoc leave under those circumstances.
     
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  7. In terms of length of Call-Out I would personally not wish to see MOD limit itself. In a real emergency it should be "for the duration". We've also seen instances where Reservists were stopped from extending their mobilised service becaus ethey had fallen foul of part of RFA96. The ability to volunteer to waive any such limiting cluase should be considered.
     
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  8. Personally I think the effect of these changes will be pretty minimal.

    Aligning the callout period for "warlike operations" and "certain operations" is neither here nor there and merely corrects an anomaly present when the legislation was initially enacted.

    Most employers (and probably TA) would be mildly surprised to find that the TA could not already be called out on all ops "for which members of the regular services may be used", so that's hardly a shocker.

    However .... the manner in which the TA are used for UK ops could have a huge effect on attitudes. Short sharp deployments for real issues, lots of good footage on the telly equals a general increase in support. Long, drawn out pointless jobs means the opposite. May well all be moot of course, changes to the way such things are done mean the MoD now bill for support and the Army now comes in a long way down the line of phone numbers to ring.
     
  9. Short of emergency powers legislation (when it happens anyway) I must disagree. The public, employers included, expects the Reserves to be, well, a Reserve. Something to drag out for an emergency. Should things drag out then more Regs are needed.

    The failure of the Army to manage to deploy 10k troops out of 100k bodies over the last decade and their "volunteer to be compulsorily mobilised" offer hasn't worked. That's one of the reasons why the TA is so small.
     
  10. Is this about mobilising the 'volunteer reserve' or the 'active list?'
     
  11. DOT

    DOT Old-Salt SME

    Hi Victorian_Major.

    We have included a link to the Defence Reform Bill briefing paper - this is produced to provide support for the public and MPs wanting to find out further information about the Bill. The answer to your question could be here: Defence Reform Bill - Commons Library Research Paper - UK Parliament

    The details relating to Reserve Forces start from page 21.
    Hope this helps?
    DOT
     
  12. This is all very interesting and the Research Paper says it all really. No systemic change, just tinkering with the extant process confusing the wider picture yet further. Whether the 'Reserve' can be or would be used within the situations suggested remains to be seen. What the SofS and the Army has failed to recognise is that in order to maximise the possibility of delivering against the scale suggested - 30,000 phased 2 trained personnel, fit, ready and able to deploy by 2018 (unachievable in any case) and then retaining such a number in perpetuity, the 'offer' needs to be a good one. Assumptions that the current TA will sign up to the new TACOS (see the Research Paper), that new applicants will be energised by the revised offer, and that trained personnel will then stay, are simply that - assumptions. There is no evidence based analysis of anything... this is as much 'make it up as you go along' as anything else. A root and branch review was required with a formal holistic analysis of how the Army, the Reserves, and the Regular Reserve as was will work together and the respective responsibilites and outputs - what we have is a sham/best guess and one that is doomed to fail even against the made up targets.
     
  13. I totally agree with many of the above comments.1. For short-term call-outs in any case of regional emergencies in aid of the civil power, there has to be maximum flexibility, a voluntary appeal to those who can, to do and then there would be no problem with employers2. For longer term call-ups in support of military expeditionary operations then there has to be a much more robust mechanism in place to enable employer support.3. For longer term call-ups in support of military expeditionary operations it should be for the duration or as required with the possibility of promotion (and even LE Commissioning if qualified) during this period of service without having to demobilse first.After a short period of Regular Service cut short due to unfortunate circumstances, I joined the TA (in 1990) as a private. I was fortunate enough to be self-employed and that there was a good amount of cross-over between my civilian and military occupations which helped me to climb the greasy pole in both career streams. Since then I have actually done about ten years of mobilised service including six op tours and periods working as an instructor and on a Bde Staff as well as long courses.Both I and the Army benefitted from this arrangement; but it was only possible due to my self-employed status and chosen field of civilian endeavour. However, both I and the Army could have benefitted even more had there been a more flexible approach in place.In one case, the MoD had spent a considerable amount of time and money teaching me a language, so that I could be deployed on operations in a particular theatre. Having completed a six month tour in one location and developed my language skill considerably through intensive and extensive daily use; I was asked by the Unit I was working for, whether I would be happy (after post-op leave) to return to another location for a further six month tour as they were desperate for advanced local language capability from appropriate personnel with the right profiles. I considered this and thought that if I did this, I would enhance and deepen my knowledge of this language even more and prevent skill-fade, therefore I agreed and applied for an extension of my mobilisation. I was happy with this, my parent Unit and Formation HQ were quite happy with this, the receiving unit were happy with this, so all seemed well. However Kentigern House was not happy with this and I got demobilised. I then immediately got a good and very well-paid job back in Theatre for a PMC/PSC, but unfortunately this position did not entail using the language intensively on a daily basis and consequently skill-fade ensued.I kknow that this is a particularly specialist case, but the Army/MoD must become more flexible in order to enable the most effective use of reservist manpower.
     
  14. Apologies for lack of formatting above - the system seems to have chewed up my paragraphs and spacings!
     
  15. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    As noted above - the impact of this change could be minimal - or....

    It all depends on the attitude of the Army (the Regular bit), and I would think that the first thing that they will want to do is to test this proposition.

    A possible scenario: such a test would obviously entail the mobilisation of some soldiers. Firstly, a call-out notice would be produced, and then signed off by the required Minster. This would be very vaguely worded, and would allow the mobilisation for ‘support activities’ or some such. That then gives free rein to those who need manpower to mobilise as and when they require. They could be decent about it, and only call people up for useful/supported things – flood relief, etc – or they could call them up to provide gate guards, leaf-sweeping parties, training area litter clearance (all tasks that I’ve done in the past) and similar dull stuff.

    The choice is the Army’s – test the water first, with a limited mobilisation that is likely to be well supported, then follow it with a gradually increasing level of call-out, or just start as you mean to go on.

    Whatever the programme planned, it is a massive, massive change in the way that the TA (Sorry, Army Reserve) operates, and could have very significant impact on the volunteers, their families, and their employers. We will see, but if anyone thinks that the MOD has put this amendment into the Bill and then does not expect to use it, well, think again.
     
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