Defence review 'will boost TA reservists'

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Papa Romeo, Jun 4, 2011.

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  1. Defence review 'will boost TA reservists'
    04 June 11 04:53

    A government report on Britain's reserve forces will recommend a U-turn in plans to cut back the Territorial Army, it is believed.
    It will warn against dramatic cuts in TA numbers as part of efforts to slash defence budgets, the Times reports.
    Commissioned as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, it is due to be completed this summer.
    It is expected to suggest boosting the ratio of reservists to regular troops from 15 in every 85 to as many as 30.
    Deputy head of the armed forces Gen Sir Nick Houghton was commissioned by the government to produce a review of the future role and structure of the TA and their Royal Navy and RAF equivalents.
    It followed October's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), in which Defence Secretary Liam Fox announced that warships, fast jet fighters and thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen would face the axe.
    'Better appreciated'
    Reservists were spared any immediate reductions, despite reports during the negotiations over where the cuts should happen that their numbers could drop by as many as a third.
    Tory MP and long-time TA officer Julian Brazier, who worked on the report, told the Times there would be no backing for "overnight slashing" of personnel.
    "At the end of this process we want to end up with a much better relationship between the regular and reserve forces and with the reservists feeling that they are better appreciated," he said.
    "The size and scale of the reserves will depend upon where the prime minister decides to set the balance," he said.
    "I think what we will be announcing will please reservists."
    The UK has a far lower proportion of reservist to regular soldiers than major allies - presently around 15 to every 85 full-timers compared with a 50:50 split in the US and 40:60 in Australia.
    An MoD spokesman said it would be wrong to speculate on the outcomes of a review while it was still ongoing.
  2. I wonder if anyone has asked the question "what percentage of the TA would or could deploy if needed". The answer from my experience would be not much at all, most could not even function without life support on tour. MP Brazier long term TA officer, is that a conflict of interest?
  3. Your question might be valid however it has that tingle of anti TA in it , the TA has deployed great numbers in relation to size over the past decade and thats without the goverments support to protect civvi jobs while on ops , TA members only serve 28 days training per year and we will never match our regulars at the sharp end , however we can and sometimes beter match them in the specialists roles ,not to bad for personnel after three months predeployment training at chilwell .never forget for every TA per on ops his regular counterpart is home based .
  4. An idea I put forward in the past was something like the "Very short engagement" whereby the prospective TA soldier joins, does all his basic in a solid block (like Midlands Challenge etc) then goes straight through to Pre-deployment training with a regular unit, does a tour and then joins his local TA unit for something similar to the current system.

    A lot of people joining are out of work or in jobs they'd be happy to ditch so it could work out well for them. Beyond that, the TA as a whole needs to be deployable at a unit level rather than in penny packets or formed units.

    Perhaps if Coys within a Bn were put on a rota to be fully ready for mobilisation for six month periods every few years?
  5. I wonder if anybody has asked the simple question 'what is the TA for?' Clearly it is no longer there to fight the Warsaw Pact. Is it to provide a pool of cheap labour for deployment? The Times report quoted above indicates elsewhere that that is an important factor. If you take that idea to its logical conclusion, you must then ask 'how much of a regular army do we need' and the answer would seem to be very much less than we have now - just enough for the intial deployment and to provide the machinery to recruit and train the TA soldiers who will take over after 6 months. How practical is that ?

    FWIW, my view is that we should provide a regular army large and effective enough to fight the Afghan campaign without calling on the TA at all, except, perhaps, for a few specialists. If that means that we don't need a TA any more, so be it - but, again FWIW, I think we would. The world is a dangerous place.
  6. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    it should have been enforced like the paper said it should have been,the problem came when all our businesses became foreign owned.

    In york you had terrys and rowntrees who used to field a companys worth of TA without a grumble - as soon as they went foreign it stopped. similar the likes of the prison service/police/fire/council/civil service etc all govt employees in effect used to allow annual camp as extra leave and not part of your holiday which was fine until york which had 2bn HQ, and int unit, inf platoon and yeomanry would all go off on a major ex like the keystones.

    there used to be the volunteer units for dying glorously under soviet tank tracks, the home service units and HSF wrinklies for defending the motherland and special units called up in desperation like the filled hospitals which are still on paper at least.

    we allways had a volunteer and militia set up so why cant they keep the same set up, if you volunteer for overseas then thats it you're going if required wether as an individual or sub unit.

    until the mod realise that their future in the austerity years is a well trained part time reservist cadre which can take over all those pretty tanks and aircraft they are so desperate to keep which can be called up in wartime without crippling the books as the budget excess goes to treasury not mod then those reserves will be used abused and trodden on ad infinitum.
  7. I am not anti-TA but I do have first hand experience of the capability of the TA and I do acknowledge that what I have seen is a slim view of a large organisation. However if I had to deploy with these boys and girls back out to Afghanistan it simply would not happen. What you see at Chilwell are the volunteers and generally the cream of the crop. Most will never volunteer for ops and if the shit did hit the fan the wave of reasons why they could not step up to the plate would be huge. Every other regular soldier I know with the same exposure to the TA as I have have the same opinion and some are far less politically correct as me.

    My suggestion would be to thin out those that cannot make the grade and there are many and retain those that have left the Army recently by means of a good retention bounty if they keep themselves up to standard. Then actively recruit those approaching their termination date be it voluntary or their 22 year point.
  8. Allow blokes to drop down commitment levels rather than sign off?

    ie they just swap to a part time contract? (not withstanding resettlement issues).

    They could step back up to fll time with less fuss too.
  9. I think the key thing that has not been mentioned in the "warming up for the big shock announcement" is that the TA may well increase significantly in certain cap badges & trades within them, but you can bet your bottom dollar it will be at the expense of regular capability and will almost certainly effect a change in TACOS to cover the shortfall in deployable capability.
  10. I'm sure they could do with an extra armourer but I have no desire to shave or cut my hair again. :)
  11. This story is likely to be just that - somebody leaking or flying a kite for their own purposes ...

    Back in the real world, are we heading towards 2 streams of TA? One is IRs at low ranks where the mass of bodies is needed, with the infrastructure for life support & enabling. The other is the means of getting ninja specialists who the Army couldn't afford or train but may need occasionally (e.g. surgeons, lawyers, national experts in a threat WMD), with the infrastructure to nurture & make them willing to be paid less than their day job.
  12. I personally see the reserves as critical to be delivery of an effective defence capability. However, I am always irked that every time any mention of restructuring or changing the TA is made, it is instantly put down to "anti-TA" feeling amongst those dreadful "regs" who just don't understand the TA and should be more grateful, because "we give up all our spare time, are just as good and cost much less". The two final points are, generally speaking, a complete fallacy* and the theory that regular soldiers are inherently "anti-TA" is utter bollocks. My point here is not having a go at the TA, who (as stated) I believe make a valuable contribution to defence, but to suggest that there ought to be less winging about the changes which need to be made.

    My final point is: the results of the Review of Reserves is going to feel painful (an indicator that the right decisions may have been made). The regular element of the army has and is going through pain as well (with people losing their only jobs and careers). Unfortunately change is required across defence, to deliver the required capability at as close to the budget set as possible. Winging TA servicemen writing to their MPs about how they have had their second (and part time) careers and access to cheap drinks after a drill night, mucked up by the defence review makes the TA and by association the rest of the army, look unprofessional. The TA must "suck it up" in the same way as the regular army and go through an equivalent process of professionalisation (at all levels and throughout the TA structure) that the regular army did in the 90s and again last decade.

    *Reservists spend less time training and the equivalent courses are shorter and de-scoped (e.g. the TACC - 4 wks, Regular CC - 42 wks). The additional number of reservists you need to recruit, retain and train in order mobilse and deploy a single one reservist on operations, makes him/her more expensive than a regular soldier.
  13. I've worked with lots of TA chaps and chappesses.

    I like them. But the TA needs to change...

    BTW re 'we are just as good', I had a ACF Lt the other day try to tell me that ACF training was 'on a par with the Army' and that CFAVs could easily be brought up to speed should the need arise.... OMFG
  14. TF

    I hope you laughed in his face?

    @ ThesTiff - when was your exposure to the TA?
  15. I think you'll find that the Review has looked at the 'what is the TA for' question, contrasted it with the need to save money, and matched it against the Regular out-turn from SDSR - i.e. one small to medium deployment with one Mult Role Brigade on 'Ops' at any one time. Whether the latter is realistic or not (that's a completely different debate), it IS the basis for all planning (and budgets).

    The Whole Force Concept proposes increasing augmentation (at differing levels) to the MRB by Reserves and Contractors over the life cycle of the Op. Thus your assertion might be reasonably accurate.

    The idea of 'should provide a regular army large and effective enough to fight the Afghan campaign without calling on the TA at all, except, perhaps, for a few specialists...' whilst probably the right answer, simply isn't feasible in today's economic environment.

    So, the solution? - a different 'balance' between regular and reserve. Hence the review. I don't think it's kite flying, I think it's ground preparation....
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