here we go again.....Press release

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by MrTracey, Mar 21, 2008.

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    Key Messages
     Reserve Forces are, and will remain, an essential component of the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces. They have played a vital part in maintaining the level of operational activity we have witnessed over the last five years, and longer.
     In line with MOD’s vision of Reserve Forces as an increasingly integral part of Defence capability, it has been decided to undertake a review, to ensure we have Reserve Forces that meet Defence’s needs now and into the future.
     This presents a major opportunity, to ensure we are making the most of our Reservists; its key focus will be on the efficient generation of relevant military capability.
     The review is fully supported by the heads of the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force, and will take account of considerable recent operational experience. It will also be conducted in an open and transparent manner, seeking opinions from across the Defence community and beyond.


    Our Reserve Forces comprise both volunteer (primarily the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Territorial Army, and Royal Auxiliary Air Force) and ex-regular reservists. While they continue to provide a strategic reserve for UK Defence, they have also increasingly demonstrated their utility on operations; indeed, they have played a vital part in our ability to mount and sustain operations, in particular over the last five years. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than 17,000 reservists have served on operations around the world. They make up around nine percent of British Forces in Afghanistan, and four percent of British Forces in Iraq. Within the UK, they bring their military background to bear in contributing substantially to the community, not least when called upon in times of crisis or emergency.

    Since before the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, MOD has been working towards a vision of the Reserve Forces as an increasingly integral part of Defence capability. We need to make sure that we are getting the best out of our Reservists; that their training and other opportunities are as good as they can be; and that Reserve Forces are structured, managed and equipped to deliver the capability that Defence needs.

    The next step is to undertake a Review of the UK’s Reserve Forces, starting in April and reporting this autumn. The Service Chiefs are in full support, noting that the review is Policy-led and not Resource-driven and that it represents an opportunity to look at the Reserves on their own merits and in their own right. It will be informed by significant operational lessons and trends, as well as the better management information now available. It also follows recent internal work confirming that in broad terms our existing Reserve Forces policies remain sound, and clarifying the policy starting points for those aspects that would benefit from for further development.

    The review has a broad remit. In particular, it will look at:

    a. How best to refine the balance between the Regular and Reserve forces with a view to providing the required levels of capability and readiness.

    b. Options for closer integration of Reserves and Regular units to gain greater utility of Reservists at all scales of operations.

    c. How to capitalize on reservists’ civilian skills with the consent of the reservist and their civilian employer where appropriate.

    d. Which niche capabilities might best be filled by the Volunteer Reserves, particularly in the light of current operations.

    e. The degree to which Reservists should be used in stabilization tasks – supporting one of the key implications for Defence arising from the recently published National Security Strategy.

    f. Improvements to the Civil Contingency Reaction Force concept with a view to providing a flexible tool that ensures the optimum use of Reservists in times of crisis at home, without affecting their utility for primary overseas tasking.

    g. The continued validity of current Sponsored Reserve and Full Time Reserve Service models within the Illustrative framework defined in Future Reserves.

    h. The degree to which reservists can be managed flexibly and, outside niche capabilities, integrated with their Regular counterparts where possible – we should seek to minimize the duplication of overheads in infrastructure, training delivery and the chain of command.

    There will inevitably be critics, including some who may claim that some or all of our Reserve Forces exist for the defence of UK, rather than of UK interests. Whilst that may have been true in the past, one of the key questions the Review will ask is whether that is right for the future. And whilst it will rightly consider value for money, the review is not a cost cutting exercise and it will be conducted in an open and transparent manner.

    Reservists mobilised for operations draw strength from the support they receive from their families, their employers, and the wider reserve community and we fully acknowledge that for this review to be successful, it will need to consult extensively.

    1. Why do we need a strategic review now? Lessons and trends identified from our ongoing operations, as well as work carried out by the National Audit Office, and the Ministry of Defence, have suggested that we can do more to optimise our Reserve Forces to meet the current and future needs of Defence. This strategic review will ensure we get our force balance right, whether between reservists and regulars, or between the roles for which Reserve Forces are structured, skilled, trained, available and equipped.

    2. Is this review simply a cost savings exercise? No. The aim of the review is to ensure our Reserve Forces are structured in the most effective way to deliver the capabilities required. As part of this analysis, there will of course be value for money considerations, given that the review will look at the optimum means of managing Reserve Forces, but our primary focus is the delivery of capability.

    3. What about the Cost of Reserves Study? This internal study was commissioned from the MOD’s Management Consultancy Services following the National Audit Office report that said that Defence would benefit from a more detailed understanding of what Reserve Forces cost. Helping us to better understand the link between expenditure and Reserves’ outputs, it has a role to play in informing the review but it is not the main driver.

    4. What was the recent internal policy work and what was its outcome? Like any prudent organisation, MOD monitors its policy to determine if it remains sound or requires any change. We did this recently for our Reserve Forces, prompted by the lessons of recent experience in a number of areas. The work showed our current policy to be broadly correct, but also pointed to areas which we could usefully develop or examine further, such as refining the balance and integration between Regular and Reserve Forces; these will form some of the starting points for the review.

    5. Isn’t the Review evidence of overstretch in the Armed Forces? No. Reservists have always made a vital contribution to UK Defence capability and will continue to do so. Our aim in this review is to ensure that we are making the best possible use of all of our Reserve Forces in the context of Defence as a whole, matching capability to requirement in the most intelligent way.

    6. Is there a connection between the timing of the review and the 100th anniversary of the TA? 2008 does indeed mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the TA, which will be celebrated with a wide variety of events under the banner of “TA100”. This makes it an auspicious moment for us to ensure that the contribution made by Reserves continues to be as relevant for the 21st Century as it was during the 20th.

    7. How does this Review relate to the Territorial Army Future Army Structure (TA FAS) work, itself only announced 2 years ago? FAS shaped and sized the TA for its role in augmenting the Regular Army for large-scale contingent operations, but the numbers of reservists mobilised over the last five years has demonstrated the increased importance of the TA’s role in supporting enduring operations. These reservists have largely deployed either as individual augmentees or in small teams, where they have integrated seamlessly into the regular force. Given this trend, it makes sense to examine whether we have done all that we can to optimise the balance in the TA’s structures between these roles. It is too soon to say what effect the review will have on the planned programme of TA FAS work; clearly where it makes sense some FAS work will be deferred, pending the outcome of the Review.

    8. Is the review mainly about the Territorial Army? Numerically, most volunteer reservists are members of the Territorial Army, but size is not the only consideration, and the review will look equally at the roles of each of the Services, fully recognising work that has already been carried out by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force into their respective futures.

    9. Will cadet forces and university units be examined as part of this review? Although the review team may refer to cadet forces and university units because of arrangements they share with Reserve Forces, they are not part of this review as they do not directly contribute to Defence outputs. The Review will, however, look at the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations.

    10. What does this review mean for force structures/terms and conditions of service/command opportunities/our links with the local community? That is for the review to determine. We intend for it to be as comprehensive as possible and clearly we cannot at this stage pre-empt its outcome.

    11. Who will lead the review? The review will be led by Major General N J Cottam CB OBE, who was selected in accordance with the MOD’s policy for senior officer appointments. The other members of the review team will be drawn from across the Services, and will include both regular and reserve officers.

    12. Is this review an over-reaction to the particular circumstances of today? This review is designed to ensure that Reserve Forces can continue to make the best possible contribution to Defence, both now and in the future. To do this, it will not only look at the challenges our reservists are facing today, but also at wider issues such as the different roles of all of our Reserve Forces and the balance between these and our regular Forces.

    13. When will we know the results of the review? The review is scheduled to finish in October 2008, and its findings will be considered by the Defence Management Board shortly after.

    14. Are the Services in support of this review? Yes, the review is supported fully by the heads of the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force. The Service Chiefs say:

     1SL / CNS. I support fully this Review which I am confident can only enhance the ongoing re-structuring and integration work currently being undertaken within the Maritime Reserves. By drawing on the significant contribution our Reserve Forces make on operations, we will be able to define better what we want from our Reserve Forces and deliver a structure and capability that is right for the future.

     CGS. The time is right for a Review, and I am looking to it to consider the appropriate balance of focus for the Territorial Army between large scale, contingent operations, and those such as our current, enduring operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is especially important for the modern TA, which is driven by the desire to complement its Regular Army counterparts. I strongly support this Review as a genuine policy-led initiative and not as a cost-cutting exercise.

     CAS. I welcome this review. The members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, like their colleagues in the Territorial Army and Maritime Reserves, are making a vital contribution to current operations and I am very keen that we ensure that the Force is properly recognised, rewarded and structured, to deliver what we need today and, just as importantly, what we will need to cope with the challenges of the future.’

    15. How can I make my voice heard? As part of this review, we will be speaking to as many people with an interest in reserve force matters as possible. If you have a view, we would very much like to hear from you. The review team can be contacted via:

    Reserve Forces Review Team
    Directorate of Reserve Forces and Cadets
    Level 8 Zone E
    Main Building
    Ministry of Defence
    SW1A 2HB
  3. The Review will, however, look at the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations.

    Whoops, there goes the last bit of power the RFCA had left!
  4. If they do scrap RFCA it may not be a totally bad thing. I am fed up of having to make do with office furniture etc that has been in service with other units for many years and/or bought on the cheap and issued to keep us quiet. Other issues have been:

    Several years to replace a condemned heating system

    Several years to demolish condemned buildings

    Refusal to replace rat & pidgeon infested buildings when the regular unit next door had theirs replaced 15 years ago

    The problem will be that if they scrap RFCA and the TA are supported from the same budget as the regs, will TA units ever get anything at all as they will probably go to the bottom of the wish pile (the same as it is with vehs & eqpt compared to the regs)
  5. Indeed, that is the very reason that the TAVRA's (the RFCA as was) were originally formed, as there was concern then that if the regular Army had the budget, then the TA would get theirs eroded. Plus ca change!.

    My main concern is that the review is based on delivering capability, not on delivering a long term model to generate an enduring TA (which would then deliver capability)...but then I always did want to be different....
  6. msr

    msr LE

    Seems they want a US-style reserve on British levels of funding...

  7. Fnar Fnar.

    That statement would be ludicrous and hysterical.

    If it was'nt so true.

    I did notice a recurring theme in the press release though. The integration of the TA with the regular army.
    So chaps, kiss good bye to 'voluntary' mobilisation :D
  8. Does this mean we in the reserve forces RNR, RMR, TA & RAuxF, get more moden kit and vechicles to bring into line with our regular counterparts, i.e the Defender Landrovers that are older than some our members? And not be the poor relation that we re at the moment.
    Yes we are being more used within an intergrated way as myself and a few of my Sqn are doing an FTRS posts with our local Brigade. This is the way forward and helps with training with the regualr forces who will then understand that we are not just STAB's or what ever, that we are willing to support them on Ops.

    If the goverment/MOD want to use the RF as a CCRF component then there needs to be more training with the bliue light services and used in these situations and not the current thought of 'we don't want to call up the RF as it might offend/upset the local population if we were to turn up in green vehicles/kit, if I as flooded out etc I would only too pleased to see help comming my way, it does not matter what colour the kit, is its what we do to help them. If the govement now want use to wear unform in public to raise the profile of the forces then they need to educate the population of what we do.

  9. I notice that the Regular heads of the Armed Forces all Welcome this Review. Does our own senior Head shed welcome this review?
  10. Too busy planning the TA 100 pageant......prioirities man!

    Anyhow, that would mean leaving the ivory tower and visiting a unit.....
  11. ****ing hell mate!!! Go and have a beer or 20, it's Friday night!!
  12. Stilts - the regs get older kit as well - sometimes twice the age of nigs. Look at the 432 and variants that haven't been given the Bulldog makeover. The RE had kit still based on the Cheiftan (AVRE, AVLB) the CET was first used in the Falklands, the Shielder and Spartan went into service in the 70's.

    I used to think that the regs had it easy - the newest and best kit, unlimited budgets, but when I did my S Type I found out that the war bound battalion that I had joined was no better off kit wise than my TA battalion, in some cases worse off (for some reason they couldn't look after Land Rovers - they were falling apart!).

    To emphasise the point, when I returned to TA life my battalion had to send all of our Rovers to a reg unit who were going on tour. It was an emergency as all of their Rovers were falling apart (parked up near a beach and didn't realise the damage that the salt in the air would do!). We had no Rovers for a few months but it all worked out well in the end when we got a new fleet.

    So to sum up - getting on with the job with what you have, in a professional and soldierly manner, will put you in a better stead than moaning that you have feck all and can't compete with the regs - its all in the mind.
  13. Defender will be around for years to come! Have you heard of Project Tithonous extending the life span of the old rover they look the part but still have the same crap engine!
  14. Well let's face it: the last time anyone running this review had anything to do with soldiers in the TA was at least 10 years ago and has certainly never been mobilised.

    And yet they seem curiously unwilling to tap into the experience on arrse...

  15. msr

    msr LE

    It's certainly true that the army is reasonable at downward appraisal but displays the blue screen of death when faced by an upwards one.