In an idle moment....

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Wingletang, Jul 6, 2009.

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  1. General Flashbottom:

    'I say, Jonners old chap, this Mess wine is excellent - and so cheap'

    Major Johnstone:

    'Indeed General, one of the TA Officers is a wine merchant - supplies the Mess now at half price with some jolly good stuff!'


    'Excellent - good chaps these TA Officers, always able to bring their civilian jobs to bear in useful ways - or so I read recently'


    'True General, but they may not be around for much longer'


    'How so, Jonners?'


    'Well, it's like this General....we had to change the training to reflect the increasing threat of the operational environment and so at the same time as the number of Officers was on the wane, we had to increase the training course - more difficult, longer, and more intense. Initially, we thought it would be good enough for their first operational deployment but it soon became obvious that it wouldn't wash, so we just added the word 'Non' into the mission - even so, it's a labour of love for a chap with a civvy job to worry about and they're becoming rarer than a rare thing that's becoming rare. There's now a huge void in the middle - Lieutenants and Captains - such that our modelling suggests that there won't be a sufficient cohort of Majors to fill the TA Commands by 2017.'


    'Lord Jonners - is it that bad? Why don't we change the course?'


    'Sadly so Sir. Unless you are a regular of course - more commands to go 'round. Oh, another thing is that the FTRS officers will also start to dissapear - we have three in the HQ right now Sir, without who we'd have gapped posts and to be honest, they're all better than the regular SO2s we had in before....concern is that it's so bad, we may never recover. Can't change the course now - looks bad form - better to recruit more at the front end. In any case, how can a few weekends and 3 weeks at Sandhurst be equal to the regular course? It has to be hard to maintain the brand'


    'Oh come on Jonners, it can't be that bad..the TA is huge - Um, how big is it?


    'just over 30,000 Sir, but 18,000 have deployed already and with a 30% annual turnover, limits within RFA, and 30% in training, the barrel is pretty dry. The problem is that we've made it more demanding - probably for the right reasons - but nevertheless, doesn't appeal to the full breadth of Society as it once did - and of course, there's the economy stupid.... Um, not you Sir, just an expression, ....which is making it easier to recruit regulars and harder to recruit TA - expecially the Officers.'


    'Do we need 'em?'


    'Of course we do Sir - Herrick will be around for years and we simply don't have enough people in the Regular Army...surely?'


    'Hmmm Jonners, not sure you know old boy. Heard a rumour the other day that the regulars might take a slap in the next SDR - thought it was going to be after the next election but looks like the one eyed highlander might steal a march and get one in early. Bit of a bugger if you ask me - pension not due for a couple of years yet.. Anyway, Herrick might be scaled down - leave it to the Yanks they said - and what if we don't need the TA to backfill. What then?


    'Well sir, we could save a fortune by reducing the size of the TA, stop worrying about Officers as we won't need them, cut the training back to just enough to keep them ticking over, cut back on the MTDs other than those about to deploy, restructure the TA Estate and make a few bob, cut back on the Civil service and perhaps make the training more interesting and maybe not even paid - just expenses. The 'Specials' in the police force have worked like that for years.'


    'Make it so Jonners, could be my parting gift to the system - due posting in a couple of months you know. Any chance of another glass?


    'Have a bottle Sir - enjoy it while you can.'
  2. Been evesdropping?
  3. You have had your cyrstal ball out again havent you....

    And stop giving ideas to the one eye traitor.
  4. He/she might have been (I've never thought of Wingles as a woman...! in fact, I think of you all as men! - am I breaking the diversity pledge? ooer) but a combination of the current discussions at SO2 level and above would inevitably lead you in this direction. Indeed, loosely translated, it is almost that which the Regional Chain issued a few weeks ago as cost saving measures.

    The reality is that whilst the regulars 'pulled' the TA, we were at least of value. Now that it is starting to look like we may have to push, it ain't so rosy. The RTCs will be next and then anything's possible.

    Wingles, are you from Venus?
  5. No...but then I would say that wouldn't I?

    I have gentlemens vegetables (courtesy Jeremy Clarkson) - hopefully, that will do.

    The push pull argument is a good one. Maybe the future is that the Regulars will be forced to accept an element of TA whatever the operational need?
  6. Very good Wingletang. Sadly true on so many levels, but good on you for making the point so well.

    Can't help thinking that over the last fifteen years, a large number of those in receipt of this messaging, have played the "well, never mind, I'll have retired by then..." card.

    For all of our critique of the government, I really am undecided as to how much of it, we are responsible for ourselves.
  7. The 'tour' principle works so well on so many levels but I'm afraid that I am increasingly convinced that it does the TA a disservice.

    The TA is a supertanker and doesn't turn as quickly as the regular system thinks it does. Indeed, the whole concept of change - something with which the Regular system has been forced to become all too familiar with - has a different 'pace' within the reserve that remains completely ignored. Many TA units are still 'changing' from FAS!, and the idea of further changes merely becomes entangled with other initiatives and inevitably we get initiative overload. As usual, we are our own worst enemies - making RTCs work for example where with the complete absence of a credible plan or appropriate funding/establishments had it been a civvy enterprise, would have seen it just fall over.

    'Assume new post, absorb data on new post, decide new course of action, make a mark, attend dining out, and move on' might work in a fighting force but it's less appropriate in a static HQ and even less relevant to the TA.

    It works in Government because the bulk of the people (the civil servants) don't change when the Minister moves on so you get continuity. Sadly, the Army has got the worst of both bits - average civil servants, and a moving feast of Officers on the Army posting conveyor belt. 'One Army' means many things to many people - or sometimes nothing! - but the bottom line is that as the 'Regular' ethos is imposed on the TA we are at risk of being thought of in the same way as a Regular force and whatever the increase in tempo or the change in 'utility' of the TA, it ain't the same....
  8. msr

    msr LE

    Then why are our seriously grown-ups not getting a grip of the situation, which I suspect, means a single spigot to control the unending effluent emanating from grown-up HQs and a link to TA Regs to ensure they are current?

    You could even put out a quarterly magazine detailing the changes that are coming and call it, I dont know, TA Quarterly?

    Perhaps with increasing age comes increasing cynicism, but it seems to be we are at risk of throwing out the baby with the bath water: MS on JPA leaps to the fore. The previous system was pragmatic and workable. Asking TA soldiers to fill in a posting preference proforma is a nonsense.

  9. But the chances of a Sea posting are so high I simply must give it a whirl....
  10. Give it five years or so and the TA will disappear all together and the Reg army will have part-time posts on strength. ergo all TA inf will be posted on part time contract to their reg counterpart, TA Loggies to theres etc etc. can then sell off most of TA centres and centralise training, training itself will be alongside Regs that the TA will deploy with, so SOPs etc will b ethe same. the base work is already in place... JPA, One Army concept, twinned regular regiments etc. knock on effect is make it easier to transfer between regular/TA without the rigmarole at present. i.e reg soldier needs to reduce hours due to personal issues but likes the job. so he transfers to a part time contract keeping skills within the Army. just like in civvie jobs. TA soldier wants to increase his hours and go full time so applies for vacancy saving recruiting and retraining costs of another medical CMSR etc teaching stuff the guy has already done. many financial and operational benefits to this if it is done correctly to keep all parties happy.
  11. msr

    msr LE

    Chilling. Unworkable. But probably true.

  12. thing is that every civvie organisation operates this system successfully if they have 'peak' periods where extra workforce is needed. Nearly the entire MOD is based around civ organisations working practices (JPA springs to mind). T & Cs would need bringing in line as discussed in pension/pay/benefits threads etc and employer protection issues. but otherwise once these issues are balanced out there no reason why it wouldnt work other than the attitudes of regular and TA soldiers but once the dross/bounty hunters/i look ally in uniform brigade have been removed from the TA this should disappear. The closure/location of TA centers for recruiting, midweek parade etc could be a minor issue but combining with AFCO/ACIOS as in Lancaster could be sustainable, valid option.
  13. msr

    msr LE

    I think I see the flaw in your plan...
  14. not plan..Theory lol that seems to be steered towards by the MOD. I agree that the military is different to a civilian organisation, but so many civvie initiatives are being forced on us now that it seems inevitable that this is going to happen. it would certainly make sense to make it easier to transfer between the regs and TA on a permanant basis not just FTRS/Tours as this would save massive amounts of money in retention/training costs. Also as most TA units are twinned with a regular unit now and provide augmentees for Ops the next progression is to embody the TA regiment into the orbat of that Regular Regiment. thus saving vast sums of money on CO, TM, Adjt, OC posts to command a regiment that in real terms only has the strength of a well established regular squadron. alternately the TA are members of the regular squadrons filling the WFE LSNs, when exercises are on the TA deploy as a reinforcement element for the weekend/fortnight. and gain valuable training, not just 6 hours before they need to drive back to barracks to clean kit etc lol. From what I seen of both Reg and TA units/soldiers the biggest problem would be individual attitudes. but at the end of the day the decisions will be made by people on much higher pay scales than I will ever be lol and lets not forget that in 2006/7 there was talk within RG circles of the TA being rebranded which was only abandoned because of TA100
  15. msr

    msr LE

    Please separate your thoughts into paragraphs. They are good, but almost impossible to read...