Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by cpunk, Sep 28, 2010.
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I agree with his sentiments but it is poorly written:
How does he square this: "The truth is, members of the TA are from being ineffective. Two-thirds of the TA have served on operations over the past seven years, and their medal tally is impressive" with "As it stands, the current military role of the TA is pretty trivial"
I suspect his conclusion is right though...
Sadly he also doesn't seem to know the difference between a PCSO and a Special Constable...
Edit to add:
And when I did Staff College LSDI was "Large Scale Deliberate Intervention", not "Large Scale Defence Intervention".
Or what LSDI stands for...
I would think he means that we could get a lot more value out of the TA than just providing IRs for current ops.
But well done both of you for focusing on the important bits.
Interesting article on R4 this morning suggested that once Regulars shed themselves of major skills such as heavy armour, Reserves should 'maintain skills'
It included this:
Richard Williams was talking about his forthcoming report on the reserves for Policy Exchange. Its published on Thursday - see the flyer below:
Monday 27th September, 2010
Territorial Army may be used as stand-alone units in Afghanistan
The Times references Policy Exchange's upcoming report on restructuring and upgrading the UK's armed forces which proposes expanding the role and number of UK reserve forces on the lines of the US National Guard.
"Writing in The Times last week, two former SAS commanders, Richard Williams and Graeme Lamb, proposed an increase in the numbers and role of Army reserves along US lines, pointing out that reservists, who cost about a fifth of regular soldiers, make up about half of the US Armed Forces and 40 per cent of the Canadian and Australian militaries. They comprise 20 per cent of the British force.
In a paper to be released through the Policy Exchange think-tank on Thursday they will argue that Britain should consider a rethink in the balance of regular to reserve Forces, and use the money saved to make forces more agile and high-tech. They point out that the US National Guard flies one third of the F16 fighter jets in American service, while 40 per cent of US Special Forces in Afghanistan are from reserve forces."
I think you are preaching to the converted...
The article is all over the place - the few interesting points it raises are lost amongst the cliches and contradictions.
However, the key issue of "could we get more from the TA than we currently do?" is valid. Of course it would require a significant change in T&Cs to make it stand up. Heavy kit and more demanding roles require more training, not less. If we are planning to be reliant on this (or on formed TA sub-units being part of a regular unit ORBAT) then the whole idea TA training as it is currently conducted and intelligent mobilisation does not stack up.
The US national guard does what it does because their training and deployments are compulsory. Once you sign up, you are committed. This enables them to attend regular "schools" and achieve critical mass for training events and deployments.
The two aspects go hand in hand - if the TA wants to have the bigger roles and real credibility, then there will be a step away from the enthusiastic amateur towards the part time professional. Many of the people on here seem keen to avoid the "part time professional" element. Any ideas on how to sell putting key capabilities in the hands of people who don't have to turn up for training, let alone when called for?
This is back to T&Cs: currently it suits the MOD to employ us as casual labour. If they want an NG stylee reserve it is going to cost - both in terms of training and in employer support. They can't have it both ways.
And let's face it, no regular officer is ever going to get up in the morning and think how he can best help the TA.
And how many in the TA could really manage a NG level of commitment? 6 weeks off work for "boot camp", then another 6 weeks for "basic Infantry/RE/RA school" etc. Every career course would be for 4 to 6 weeks. Once trained you face one or two compulsory weekends per month, with little or no leeway for failing to attend because your shifts/studies clash. You have the constant risk of you being ordered to deploy for 12 months- again, little or no leeway for negotiation.
Look around your own TACs - how many of you would honestly be able to do that, in terms of family and employer support? We do not enjoy the massive public support that the US military do, so the best we would get would be "NG Lite". All of the expectation with none of the compulsion or support.
There is certainly a very different political / cultural view towards the NG by the Americans than there is towards the TA from our civpop. I don't think an NG stylee reserve would work over here. I wonder how the Aussies / Canadians make their reserve work?
It is far more British to 'muddle through' than make the bold structural changes required to achieve radical change.
Unless he happens to be posted to a TA Regiment for two years as Training Major.
That struck me as the whole point of the article: the need to fundamentally re-think what the TA is for and how it goes about doing it. I agree with the author that it's a poor way of generating a few bodies for operations. IMO, volunteering for ops should always be an option in the TA, but to make it the fundamental raison d'etre is a poor use of resources. Scrap the whole thing and put more money into recruiting and improving T&Cs for the regular army to aid retention.
I disagree with you that moving TA soldiers into 'heavy' roles would necessarily require more training in the long term. What it would need is better structured training within its own cycle. Remember, readiness requirements would be much lower for soldiers in these roles: one would be looking for a basic level of competency which could be raised when a potential threat emerged, not some kind of 24 hours NTM scenario. Your point about professionalism is well taken, but professionalism doesn't necessarily just mean trying to ape what the regulars do, its about achieving the effect we're aiming at.
I agree that the TA would benefit from basic contractual compulsion but as things currently stand we would stop being casual labour and the MoD would be obliged to provide pensions, paid leave and various other benefits. We should do this, but we are too cheap; although some kind of military opt out from European employment law would presumably be possible.
How do we sell putting key capabilities in the hands of people who don't turn up for training? Stop pretending they're 'key capabilities' for a start.
It must be TA day in the Telegraph;
The Territorial Army has a key role to play in the Armed Forces – Telegraph Blogs
Con Coughlins oar is now dipped.
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