I think I want to be different....

#1
Look, it might be me (an age thing perhaps) or I might just be getting confused.

Just looking back over the last few years, we've had increasing use of the reserve (TA), FAS (TA), introduction of MATTs, change in Officer training, uplift in expectations across the board, and now we're facing cuts in budgets, paying for our own food and no doubt before long, losing T&S (NRPS lose it soon anyway) and in effect being asked to do more for less.

This set me thinking..and I had a moment of utter clarity in that I realised through all of the smoke and mirrors, that I didn't join to be a mirror image of my regular counterpart. I joined a different organisation, called the TA. Why? Because it wasn't regular. I didn't have regular friends, nor served with the regulars. We had comraderie, fun weekends, lots of adventurous training, a slower tempo to reflect our other lives. In the event of the balloon going up, would this have been of any value? Of course. Teamwork, basic military skills, some special-to-arm skills, and a knowledge of the military would have been huge advantage. Furthermore, we had real unit adhesion and identity so as a formed unit, we would have been of great value. A bit of beat-up training and Robert is your fathers brother.

Now I seem to be at a crossroads, not sure which way to go - Tom Hanks at the end of 'Castaway'. Its become a 'you can't beat 'em, join 'em' organisation. Everything's so serious. People join now simply to be trained to mobilise! - thats not the TA, that's part time regulars.

I want to be different, I want to add civilian skills, I want to bring a different perspective and I want to be able to do it in my time when it suits me, not to be at the Army's beck and call. I want to add value but not sell my soul, I want to have a family and a life that isn't dominated by being in green.

I think I want to be different....has the chance gone forever?

If it has, then the TA is doomed. Part time regulars we will become with all of the attendant demands on standards, training and committment, but without any of the advantages.

It's pants.
 
#3
No plan survives contact with the bean counters.

The TA live in interesting times.It could also be fairly well argued that the not overstretched Regular Army (It's true - CGS said so!) is being overtasked and over toured, thereby increasing the number of signoffs, thereby reducing the man power available. Combined with a drop in recruiting and you then have a gaping hole which has to be filled...

One pace forward March the TA...

So we have a vicious circle, if there's no whole....why deploy the TA (and remember they were on the whole only for Large Scale Deliberate Intervention which usually happens every ten years), but instead we (despite the politicians ignoring it) are effectively at war in two theatres on Medium Scale Enduring Operations.

On the positive side the TA is getting used, on the negative side it's being regularised (and I mean negative in terms of that which works for a regular unit and soldier, does not necessarily translate to a TA unit or soldier).

So in summary I think what we have is a cake and eat it situation.

The army can't cope (pretty obvious based on the 19,000+ TA who deploy to the various Telics & Herricks). Either the TA fill the vacuum or they will be slashed by the bean counters. I wonder how, now that certain TA units are being put on the operation plot, what will happen to those that are not.

IMHO
 
#4
MrTracey said:
Look, it might be me (an age thing perhaps) or I might just be getting confused.

Just looking back over the last few years, we've had increasing use of the reserve (TA), FAS (TA), introduction of MATTs, change in Officer training, uplift in expectations across the board, and now we're facing cuts in budgets, paying for our own food and no doubt before long, losing T&S (NRPS lose it soon anyway) and in effect being asked to do more for less.

This set me thinking..and I had a moment of utter clarity in that I realised through all of the smoke and mirrors, that I didn't join to be a mirror image of my regular counterpart. I joined a different organisation, called the TA. Why? Because it wasn't regular. I didn't have regular friends, nor served with the regulars. We had comraderie, fun weekends, lots of adventurous training, a slower tempo to reflect our other lives. In the event of the balloon going up, would this have been of any value? Of course. Teamwork, basic military skills, some special-to-arm skills, and a knowledge of the military would have been huge advantage. Furthermore, we had real unit adhesion and identity so as a formed unit, we would have been of great value. A bit of beat-up training and Robert is your fathers brother.

Now I seem to be at a crossroads, not sure which way to go - Tom Hanks at the end of 'Castaway'. Its become a 'you can't beat 'em, join 'em' organisation. Everything's so serious. People join now simply to be trained to mobilise! - thats not the TA, that's part time regulars.

I want to be different, I want to add civilian skills, I want to bring a different perspective and I want to be able to do it in my time when it suits me, not to be at the Army's beck and call. I want to add value but not sell my soul, I want to have a family and a life that isn't dominated by being in green.

I think I want to be different....has the chance gone forever?

If it has, then the TA is doomed. Part time regulars we will become with all of the attendant demands on standards, training and committment, but without any of the advantages.

It's pants.
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
 
#5
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
No you've got it the wrong way around we used to go away and exercise our trades, now we are being forced to do more in camp (i.e. piss up) weekends in order to meet X, Y and Z regulation. Trade is nearly out of the window
 
#6
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
 
#7
MrTracey said:
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
so I say again, what use are you to the army?
 
#8
tripod said:
MrTracey said:
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
so I say again, what use are you to the army?
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
 
#9
soroban said:
tripod said:
MrTracey said:
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
so I say again, what use are you to the army?
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
I've heard everything now.
 
#10
soroban said:
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
I don't think I'm enabling component. I don't do stores and neither am I a MATT instructor.
 
#11
soroban said:
tripod said:
MrTracey said:
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
so I say again, what use are you to the army?
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
Tis true.

Long in the tooth (25 years + service), but still pass PFT for 25 year olds. Doesn't prove anything, other than the fact that I have some form of deranged loyalty to the organisation...and I'd like to think that I might have added something along the way.

There is (was) a saying that you only got out of it a measure of that which you put in...not sure that holds anymore.

Tripod speaks for the 'it does what it says on the tin generation' and I don't have a problem with that per se. My issue is that it should be a balance - a broad church - and it isn't anymore. In the end, there will be no-one to maintain the momentum and the TA units will be absorbed into regular ones as there will no CofC left (see other thread....).
 
#12
polar said:
soroban said:
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
I don't think I'm enabling component. I don't do stores and neither am I a MATT instructor.
I think it's a bit broader than that - part of the management structure, the processing chain and part of the whole infrastructure that acts as a launch pad for mobilisees
 
#13
MrTracey said:
soroban said:
tripod said:
MrTracey said:
tripod said:
So what you are saying is that you want your bounty by just doing the adventure training and having p*ss ups on drill weekends. You are just the reason why regular soldiers do not take TA seriously. Tell me what use are you to the military if you are not trained to mobilise? Your just treating it like a hobby, I suggest you sign off and join the boy scouts.
Ah ha! - maybe that IS what I'm saying. Maybe I don't want to mobilise - I have a life and a busy job - why would I?

The new breed. Shouldn't you be on a regular thread?

I rest my case.
so I say again, what use are you to the army?
He is the enabling component necessary to recruit and retain future reserve capability. Lose the MrTs from the TA and you lose the TA.
Tis true.

Long in the tooth (25 years + service), but still pass PFT for 25 year olds. Doesn't prove anything, other than the fact that I have some form of deranged loyalty to the organisation...and I'd like to think that I might have added something along the way.

There is (was) a saying that you only got out of it a measure of that which you put in...not sure that holds anymore.

Soroban speaks for the 'it does what it says on the tin generation' and I don't have a problem with that per se. My issue is that it whould be a balance - a broad church - and it isn't anymore. In the end, there will be no-one to maintain the momentum and the TA units will be absorbed into regular ones as there will no CofC left (see other thread....).

25 years with service, very admirable. But now you are saying that you won't mobilise again because of your civvi job. Apart from that "enabling component bullshite" financially,what do you bring to the table. It doesn't sound as though the tax payer is getting their monies worth for your efforts.
 
#14
MrTracey said:
Look, it might be me (an age thing perhaps) or I might just be getting confused.

Just looking back over the last few years, we've had increasing use of the reserve (TA), FAS (TA), introduction of MATTs, change in Officer training, uplift in expectations across the board, and now we're facing cuts in budgets, paying for our own food and no doubt before long, losing T&S (NRPS lose it soon anyway) and in effect being asked to do more for less.

This set me thinking..and I had a moment of utter clarity in that I realised through all of the smoke and mirrors, that I didn't join to be a mirror image of my regular counterpart. I joined a different organisation, called the TA. Why? Because it wasn't regular. I didn't have regular friends, nor served with the regulars. We had comraderie, fun weekends, lots of adventurous training, a slower tempo to reflect our other lives. In the event of the balloon going up, would this have been of any value? Of course. Teamwork, basic military skills, some special-to-arm skills, and a knowledge of the military would have been huge advantage. Furthermore, we had real unit adhesion and identity so as a formed unit, we would have been of great value. A bit of beat-up training and Robert is your fathers brother.

Now I seem to be at a crossroads, not sure which way to go - Tom Hanks at the end of 'Castaway'. Its become a 'you can't beat 'em, join 'em' organisation. Everything's so serious. People join now simply to be trained to mobilise! - thats not the TA, that's part time regulars.

I want to be different, I want to add civilian skills, I want to bring a different perspective and I want to be able to do it in my time when it suits me, not to be at the Army's beck and call. I want to add value but not sell my soul, I want to have a family and a life that isn't dominated by being in green.

I think I want to be different....has the chance gone forever?

If it has, then the TA is doomed. Part time regulars we will become with all of the attendant demands on standards, training and committment, but without any of the advantages.

It's pants.

Fair comment.

One Army? Be careful what you wish for. :D
 
#15
If it was for nothing other than learning military skills and having a good time I would not have joined the TA.


When I joined Telic had just kicked off and i knew what I was getting into, but I can understand those who may have joined in a different era being miffed.
 
#16
tripod said:
25 years with service, very admirable. But now you are saying that you won't mobilise again because of your civvi job. Apart from that "enabling component bullshite" financially,what do you bring to the table. It doesn't sound as though the tax payer is getting their monies worth for your efforts.
Your asking the wrong person, these decisions were made by the regular army. The career path of a TA soldier is below (this doesn't apply to all arms but is the general idea the regular army wants TA to follow).

Recruit training (similar to regular Army)

They are now prime material for mobilisation and their is a fair chance that they will (the probability of doing so remains fairly constant at OR/JNCO). Note this group is probably quite weak on trade skills

Sgt->WO2 chances of mobilisation have dramatically declined, one of the big factors effecting your promotion is visibility of MATT instructor quals or ability to run a stores (forget trade). This is the main enabling component.

As for Officers

2LT-LT mainly doing courses but in some corps (minority not all) they could get to command on ops.

Capt - On ops as a Watchkeeper or some other job a regular doesn't want to do.

Maj - Sqn commander primary role is to ensure his soldiers pass MATTs, as if they don't they don't pass go and collect their bounty and leave.

The first group wouldn't work without the second. So if you want soldiers to mobilise you have to have soldiers that wont, a MATT instructor/storeman ... sorry SNCO ... is a lot cheaper than a regular one
 
#17
Those who equate "lack of volunteers" with "operationally irrelevant" need to pull their head out of their arrses and say hello to the real world.

Some units - including mine - are full of soldiers who've been there and done it already (often before it became the trendy thing to do), who are happy to go if needed but who are unable to volunteer. The unpopularity of current conflicts and the lack of meaningful employment protections mean that volunteering for a tour can be a sure fire way to torpedo your career and your marriage.

However, if compulsorily mobilised said soldiers will go (the ones who would kick up a fuss left long ago). I cannot stress enough the difference in the eyes of spouses and employers between:

"I'm off for a year becasuse I volunteered" which translates as "Screw you I want a jolly"
and
"I'm off for a year because I've been compulsorily mobilised" which translates as "My mobilisation is vital to UK national interests"

My own experience definitely demonstrates the above. Of course if that means I'm truly incompatible with todays TA maybe I should go - but then there's no-one to train the youngsters (well, if we get any), no-one to be compulsorily mobilised of something else kicks off, and no-one to volunteer for a popular war of we ever have one - because, apart from all that I'm clearly useless.

The current system allows as many TA soldiers as necessary to be compulsorily mobilised and their appeals can be disallowed for operational reasons. The solution to lack of volunteers is to use pressed men instead. Simple as. So why not do that ? Hell, I got compulsorily called up the first time round for Veritas, what's wrong with doing that again ? This new hobbyist mentality where we all are expected to jump around shouting "me, me" doesn't strike me as particularly professional.

Finally, to all those who think I should volunteer and screw up my life because the senior elements of the Army lack the moral courage to acknowledge the effect of overstretch by mobilising me compulsorily which won't screw up my life, I cordially invite you to go and do one.
 
#18
COS1SigBde said:
I think it's a bit broader than that - part of the management structure, the processing chain and part of the whole infrastructure that acts as a launch pad for mobilisees
Dunno, the combinations of DETAPO (taking unsuitable candidates but potentially good operators), mobilisation and MATTs (eating up time for trade training). Has left my traditional roles train set very small. Its not just me, I've heard the same from many others in my position.
 
#19
tripod said:
25 years with service, very admirable. But now you are saying that you won't mobilise again because of your civvi job. Apart from that "enabling component bullshite" financially,what do you bring to the table. It doesn't sound as though the tax payer is getting their monies worth for your efforts.
The TA, and the TF, Volunteers etc. before that were the reserve for major warfighting. Not only did they contribute a large portion of the citizens armies of the 20th century, but sent personnel to other significant campaigns (Boer War, Suez, GW1 etc.).

What the TA weren't was a pool of individual reinforcements for the Regular Army on garrison duty in the colonies. We had organisations that did this, the Militia, Army Reserve etc., but they weren't the TA.

What a TA soldier has is a social contract with his country to defend it in times of War. Since we're not at War (note the capitalisation), the TA soldiers responsibility is to train for War (for 29 days a year). Anything over this is that individuals good graces.
 

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