FAS TA REBALANCING - IGTA BULLETIN

#1
1. You will recall the Secretary of State (S of S) for Defence’s announcement in July last year covering plans to re-balance the Army to make it better able to meet the challenges and threats of the 21st century. The changes he announced reflected the need both to complement our existing heavy and light weight capabilities with new medium weight forces; and to ensure that the Army is equipped, trained and organised to meet the demands of multiple, concurrent, and above all expeditionary, operations across the full spectrum of military tasks. Reductions in heavy armour, heavy artillery and the infantry, will be accompanied by an increase in medium and light forces and in the number of key specialists without whom the Army cannot deploy on operations. The objective is therefore to develop a more deployable, agile and flexible force. Since July, Land Command has been leading the detailed work to implement the changes.

2. In December last year and on top of details about the Regular Army restructuring, the S of S announced the following proposals for the TA:

‘The TA will in future be more closely integrated with the Regular Army for both training and operations … The TA is also to be re-balanced to support large scale operations and home defence, as well as remaining capable of reinforcing regular units deploying on enduring operations. It will remain broadly the same size as today but with a structure that is more capable and relevant to future operations. Complementing the changes to the Regulars, these changes will provide more TA manpower for specialist areas including intelligence, engineers, Military Provost Service and Attack Helicopter Support Teams. TA establishments will be organised to accommodate those personnel who may not be able to deploy in support of a large scale operation. TA establishments will also be sufficiently robust to take account of personnel undergoing individual training.’

3. This gives us a critical opportunity to have a thorough look at the structure of the TA, and our current operating methods with the intention of increasing the TA’s effectiveness and making it more attractive and rewarding.

4. We are conducting a wide ranging review to include method of operational commitment, training, enabling components, unit establishments, links with Regulars, the estate and terms and conditions of service. I have included at Annex A a summary of the principal aspects of the work and at Annex B you will see the programme that we have set ourselves. The final Implementation Plan for the TA Rebalancing will be presented to the Executive Committee of the Army Board in October; so by Christmas this year you should have a very clear idea of how your unit will be affected. In parallel I have also put in place some urgent and complementing pieces of work to address TA manning.

5. To complete all this work we need to consult widely. To date we have discussed proposals with the Arms and Service Directors as well as the chains of command within Regional Forces, Theatre Troops and the Joint Helicopter Command. We have also held discussions with TA representatives from across the Army and there have been a number of working groups in which TA staff have been heavily involved. We have collected many opinions on what we should be attempting to change, but I encourage you to get involved. It is essential that the concerns and requirements of the TA are reflected in the rebalancing programme, so please discuss the issues as they affect you with your chain of command or contact the TA Inspectorate at HQ Land Command. To help communications, I intend to produce bulletins such as this every 3 months or so.

6. By the end of the year the TA will have committed in excess of 16 battalions worth of personnel as individual and formed units to operations since 2002. This contribution has been vital; the recent level of operational commitment could not have been sustained without it. Integration with the Regular Army on operations has never been better and the contribution of the TA has never been more highly valued. However this realignment of the TA to the heart of the Army’s operational capability has revealed areas, both old and new, that require attention. TA FAS rebalancing is a critical opportunity to implement change and we must make the most of it.


J C McCOLL
Lt Gen
CRF/IGTA
There is a certain amount of detail on how it is suggested this issue might play out - but it's early days yet folks!

I am happy to address specific queries via PM. :D
 
#3
Complementing the changes to the Regulars, these changes will provide more TA manpower for specialist areas including intelligence, engineers, Military Provost Service and Attack Helicopter Support Teams. TA establishments will be organised to accommodate those personnel who may not be able to deploy in support of a large scale operation
I think the doc is quite recent (from the last two months) as it mentions FAS.

The Int side is rumoured to be a new TA Bn (in the north England/Scotland?) (no reroling)
I'd presume the Engineers would be re-roling of Inf Coys
RMP's maybe more reroling of other TA
Attack Heli support teams, that sounds gucci, guess one will be formed in Disforth, Yorks.... Do Sigs supply comms for AAC (like 21 Sigs Regt)?

Does the last statement imply a new type of TA (a two tier structure)?
 
#5
I hope that they look at utilising the civilian skills which the TA have and the possibility of shorter tours.

msr
 
#6
msr said:
I hope that they look at utilising the civilian skills which the TA have and the possibility of shorter tours.

msr
The main problems with that approach centre around the employers and the fact that they are unlikely to want their best qualified staff off doing the same job but for someone else. It would exemplify the growing argument that the reserve forces are doing the job of the regular army on the cheap and at the expense of the reservist's employer. If the army needs specific skills, will come the cry, it should employ them and not leach them out of the civilian economy (especially for OOTW)...
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#7
Restart the HSF, I for one would rejoin. At 44 I am not going to run around in anyones desert (not that I could after all them pies)...
 
#8
I would have thought that employers would look more favourably on their employees going for, say, 3 months rather than 9.

If you look at the skills which are needed in Iraq right now, then you will see that the TA has them in spades (no pun intended).

This gives the TA a relevant and modern role and may help to to reverse the recruiting problems which currently seem to exist.

msr
 
#9
WhiteHorse said:
Maybe they could restart the HSF? Could be very useful for KP's etc.
Which KPs and where? I presume you mean KPs in sandy places :wink:

msr
 
#10
I agree with Fas et Gloria on this. If you also add in the fact that your merchant banker or carpenter TA section commander is in the Infantry exactly because it isn't merchant banking or carpentry, then we could have a problem with dissastisfied soldiers being denied the chance to do their "TA job".
 
#11
Let's get this load balanced.

3 month tours, get more people through an operational environment and increase the skill set.

Not stick someone on a gate for 6 months, leading to kit in a binbag at Endex.

Incentives for troops that want to do more than one mobilisation in the 3/5 year period.

Increased help for reservists that have to restart their lives after a tour.
 
#12
msr said:
I would have thought that employers would look more favourably on their employees going for, say, 3 months rather than 9.

msr
Agree strongly.

I have heard TA colleagues commenting that they would not want to employ somebody who was in the TA.
 
#13
oldandcold said:
I agree with Fas et Gloria on this. If you also add in the fact that your merchant banker or carpenter TA section commander is in the Infantry exactly because it isn't merchant banking or carpentry, then we could have a problem with dissastisfied soldiers being denied the chance to do their "TA job".
OaC,

You are right, however, the opportunity for TA soldiers to volunteer for specific projects which will utilise their skills should not be overlooked.

For an example of this, look at the specialist units.

msr
 
#14
msr said:
I would have thought that employers would look more favourably on their employees going for, say, 3 months rather than 9.



If you look at the skills which are needed in Iraq right now, then you will see that the TA has them in spades (no pun intended).
No argument here. However, there is a school of thought which suggests that in light of 'regular army reductions in a time of increasing commitment' the jobs which ought to be carried out by the regular army are being picked up by the reservist.

Whilst the vast majority of employers were on side for TELIC (patriotism etc.) by number 7 there are those who are beginning to see the removal of their work force as another tax - a lower defence budget is all very well, they might think, but it's not as if anyone is seeing any concrete benefits from the 'savings' whilst the downside is that a small business will be effectively paying for the government's savings directly out of their profit line by sending their staff away. It is hardly a wonder that the appeals against mobilisation are up TELIC on TELIC.

Bearing that in mind as a scenario, if the powers that be start to explicitly mobilise reservists for their civilian skills then the appeals are going to go through the roof, which is a significant problem if the MoD maintain their policy of not contesting employer appeals.

One last thought; unless the RFA96 is altered then a shorter reservist tour length will simply lead to more frequent tours since it is total time in a three year period which is limited by the legislation. The upshot would be that by the time you factor in pre-tour training then each individual is going to be away longer.
 
#15
msr said:
You are right, however, the opportunity for TA soldiers to volunteer for specific projects which will utilise their skills should not be overlooked.

For an example of this, look at the specialist units.

msr
In my case I've been told a few times I'd deploy in civilian trade and I'd be more than happy with that. Work was narked when they realised this, partly because the Army had invested little in my training and work had - sort of bordering on theft.

The civvy 'trade' I have doesn't exist within the TA; it does within the regular army. Hopefully someones gonna use their noggin and change the (Sigs) trades to sort that.
 
#16
Then alter RFA 96.
 
#18
In Scotland we have been very lucky and managed to retain the soldiers who have been to Telic and beyond. We are now getting very close to forgeting all the others out there. How will the short term tours fit with the other commitments around the world.
The TA has handled the muddled and somtimes brutal lack of respect very well, but on the other side how long is the TA soldier/Officer going to accept the gap in acceptance.
We as TA Officers can't chose to extend and serve with the Regt we have been mob ex with even if wanted to by the Regt in question.
Before the Army retructures the TA it has to look at the balance of the ONE ARMY concept which was put in place to solve this anyway. Has it? I dont think so!!
The Gen's always claim to understand what the average Soldier/Officer want's and is looking for, again I have an issue with this. If I was offered the chance to engage on SSC and mob ex that would be an option, if not why would I hand over the running of a company to do my duty.

I love the Army and always will, but for this white paper to always look at where the TA is getting things wrong is the easy way out.
It is a much wider Reg V Ta Thing.

I will stop my mindless rant but I am an Ex Reg who has major respect for all of my TA soldiers who have been and returned and dealt with all of the grief and hassle they got for doing the duty
 
#19
Evilone,

Please could you edit this post so that it makes some sort of sense?

Cheers,
msr
 
#20
At risk of opening myself up to an onslaught perhaps I could introduce a new concept to the debate. Namely, we are an army on the cheap and we should encourage more of the same.

Simple fact ladies and gents, it costs much less to keep a TA Bn/Regt in close-to-deployable condition than it does to keep the Regular equivalent in deployable-now condition. Do away with the TA and you MUST either increase the full-time standing army or reduce the workload on them (aint gonna happen)

What we are talking about is what the economists call "opportunity cost" - if we have a TA unit instead of a Regular unit then we can also have a primary school, or a nursing home, or sheltered housing.

Therefore it seems pretty obvious (even more so from this IGTA Bulletin) that the TA is a key part of the Govt's long-term strategic planning, offsetting the needs of the MOD against the needs of all the other Govt depts. So how do we make our newly emerging terms of service acceptable to all the interested parties, especially the (TA) soldiers?

I happen to support the 1 year in 5 concept, deploying as trained to a role-specific post, ideally as part of a formed unit. I happen not to support the "busman's holiday" concept of the Specialist TA. But those are side issues because I'm not convinced that any of us are doing enough to make the 4 years in 5 TA training worthwhile enough to retain people long enough for a second tour. That's the problem we should be focusing on, not doing Groundhog Day on the TAvReg debate.
 

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