Keep calm and carry on

#21
western said:
msr said:
The skills which are going (hopefully) to be required in Afghanistan are local governance, education, banking etc, all the good nation-building capabilities and all conspicuous by their absence in the regular army.

msr
So you a PCSO (governance) a classroom assistant (education) and the girl from the counter at your local Halifax (banking) in your unit how does this make you more skilled than a regular unit?
If you have to ask that question, I would respectfully suggest you won't understand the answer.

msr
 
#22
An attempt was made to sell it to us at our TA centre last night with the old chestnut of: "We are having to tighten our belts, in order to help out the lads on the frontline".....

Surely the budget for the operational Army fighting the war and the budget for the Reserve that should be trained in order to support the operational Army fighting the war are two seperate things entirely? What a crock of shite and spin that some civilian moron at the MoD has dreamt up to try and make us feel good about all our training getting binned.
 
#23
msr said:
western said:
msr said:
The skills which are going (hopefully) to be required in Afghanistan are local governance, education, banking etc, all the good nation-building capabilities and all conspicuous by their absence in the regular army.

msr
So you a PCSO (governance) a classroom assistant (education) and the girl from the counter at your local Halifax (banking) in your unit how does this make you more skilled than a regular unit?
If you have to ask that question, I would respectfully suggest you won't understand the answer.

msr
Very glib, but that would make me think that you are avoiding the question.
 
#24
western said:
msr said:
The skills which are going (hopefully) to be required in Afghanistan are local governance, education, banking etc, all the good nation-building capabilities and all conspicuous by their absence in the regular army.

msr
So you a PCSO (governance) a classroom assistant (education) and the girl from the counter at your local Halifax (banking) in your unit how does this make you more skilled than a regular unit?
Classic "straw man" question.

1. You have pitched it unrealistically so that each of the soldiers you list is in a low-ranking or semi-trained or substitute role in civilian life.

2. You have limited the extent of expertise in your sample unit to just those three people. The remainder of your example regiment are unemployed and have never studied or worked, presumably.

3. You also seem to have missed the point that each of those three you mention probably does have relevant expertise and/or is more likely to have the right state of mind and approach for CIMIC, etc., coming from a joint civilian/military background.

You are right that there is no guarantee that each and every individual TA soldier has more relevant expertise for CIMIC, Psyops or Stabilisation Ops than his regular counterpart. But that is the most that can be said for your point.

The reality is that the TA does constitute a reserve of people with the skills and background to enhance the Army's COIN effort, if used appropriately.

If you were putting together a plan to improve our chances in Afghanistan, would you seek to identify and use those people (many of whom are far more highly-qualified than those you mention) to whom you have already given military training and who can bring relevant necessary civilian experience to bear very cheaply?

Or would you rather divert regular soldiers from career-enhancing (ie, combat-related) tasks? Reduce our combat strength by taking trained and experienced regular soldiers away from the fight? Expend money and time training regular soldiers in law, banking, education, media ops? Divert resources to engaging external contractors?

Bottom line, though, is that this is not a TA vs regular argument. What I am saying is that we (TA and regular) need to focus on the main effort and play to our respective strengths. The point was fairly made to you that if you have not grasped that, then you need to think a bit harder about the tasks in front of us and the resources we have.
 
#25
Good grief, do you get points for aimless verbosity? Somewheere in there you may have made half a point.

Let's put mine in black and white?

1. There is no unit TA or regular which is geared up for, trained or established to deliver the levels of 'Nation Building' that are being suggested.

2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.

What is clear is that the TA, for certain and the Regular Army, probably, are just about finished in their current form.
 
#26
Crunchie said:
[So far there has been this post, plus several others recommending the regs get rid of Hvy A units, Arty, AD,Armd Engr etc and make them TA roles, so basically sacrifice full time units to retain TA units.

So sorry, i am not being precious, but to me there does seem to be a theme of, 'can't wait till the regs take a hit' attitude.

But that is just my opinion.
Well I'm one of those who posted about what logic should underly cuts. Not gloating, just pointing out that the way we've done cuts in the past - matching cuts in both Reg and Reserve - is daft. The logical way is to move capability to the Reserve - taking a suitable chunk of full-time man-power with it but essentially mothballing most of the kit.

That said I can fully understand a degree of glee if some of the less sympatico ARABs did get stuffed by SDR2 - sauce for goose etc.... Too many posting along the lines of "You are not as important as us" - whereas perhaps 15 Psyops Gp (V) is probably of more utility than a CR2 Regt just now ?
 
#27
western said:
Good grief, do you get points for aimless verbosity? Somewheere in there you may have made half a point.

Let's put mine in black and white?

1. There is no unit TA or regular which is geared up for, trained or established to deliver the levels of 'Nation Building' that are being suggested.

2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.

What is clear is that the TA, for certain and the Regular Army, probably, are just about finished in their current form.
Now you are just demonstrating your dimness.

The TA being finished in its current form is not a necessarily a disaster. Times change and we have to move with them. If nation building is what is required, then that is what the TA is going to have to deliver.

Who would you turn to first: someone who has spent 20 in the regular army, or someone who has spent 20 years in the civilian workforce and has a foot in both camps?

msr
 
#28
msr said:
Now you are just demonstrating your dimness.

The TA being finished in its current form is not a necessarily a disaster. Times change and we have to move with them. If nation building is what is required, then that is what the TA is going to have to deliver.

Who would you turn to first: someone who has spent 20 in the regular army, or someone who has spent 20 years in the civilian workforce and has a foot in both camps?

msr
OK oh wise one, where did I say that either is or will be a bad thing?

Yes the Army (both parts) needs redesigned and reskilled, those skills are just not within and I would suggest that real experts will need to be consulted.

Some serving soldiers may have potential to succeed going forward. Many will not.
 
#29
western said:
Good grief, do you get points for aimless verbosity? Somewheere in there you may have made half a point.
Pompous.

western said:
Let's put mine in black and white?

1. There is no unit TA or regular which is geared up for, trained or established to deliver the levels of 'Nation Building' that are being suggested.
Extra words are needed here because you condense several points into one. They need to be picked apart in case what you say might be valid.

If you mean that no military entity is capable of nation building, then that's a punchy doctrinal call. You might even be right.

If you mean that no unit is currently established to perform nation building functions then you are wrong. What is the MSSG, if not that?

If you mean that there is no way of identifying people in the TA who could bring relevant skills to bear in the context of CIMIC, Stablisation Ops, etc., then you are also wrong. They have been doing this for a while and the TA has barely been trawled for relevant skills. There is as yet no centralised coherent list of who in the TA is qualified to do what.

western said:
2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.
Do you really mean that? Are you saying that Andrew Alderson (see Bankrolling Basra) was no more qualified to do what he did than any regular Tom?

western said:
What is clear is that the TA, for certain and the Regular Army, probably, are just about finished in their current form.
Agreed.
 
#30
western said:
Good grief, do you get points for aimless verbosity? Somewheere in there you may have made half a point.

Let's put mine in black and white?

1. There is no unit TA or regular which is geared up for, trained or established to deliver the levels of 'Nation Building' that are being suggested.

2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.

What is clear is that the TA, for certain and the Regular Army, probably, are just about finished in their current form.


Loads are very qualified in both the Regs and TA but i would say that to the greater extent in the TA.

2 examples- 2 Lts mobilised to Iraq in 2005 to basra, 1 to fill a FP Pl comd role the other some watchkeepery role.

1 turns out to be a Sgt in the PSNI and ends up organising and running the retraining of several police units. RE. training them to be civilian policemen not military policemen. Got a GOC commendation.

1 turns out to be a head of department in a grammer school and gets given the job of restarting the education system in an area outside basra and spent the whole tour with the FCO reps spending a budget of close to $1 million buying books/interviewing teachers/sourcing equipment etc. Got a QCVS

By this im not saying that regular soldiers could not have also done a good job but if i was hiring/appointing people to do these jobs and i had the choice of these 2 over guys who have been in from their late teens to early twenties i know who i would pick.

Use people for the roles which they are best suited
 
#31
western said:
1. There is no unit TA or regular which is geared up for, trained or established to deliver the levels of 'Nation Building' that are being suggested.

Perhaps not - but the TA does hold some of the units that could form the basis of that capability - 15 Psyops Gp, the CIMIC set-up etc. The point was also made that the TA is more likely to have appropriate civilian experience. I've certainly served alongside a number of teachers, lawyers, police and of course local govt civil servants. That the MoD has never found a way to capture sensibly what we do for a living is rather a shame....

2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.

Eh ? See above.

What is clear is that the TA, for certain and the Regular Army, probably, are just about finished in their current form.

I'd say that its a definite. If nothing else the incoming Govt say they are going to take 25% out of MoD costs.
 
#32
All three people quoted by you both are individuals who were thrown into unusual circumstances as it was thought by the powers that be that they had a connection via their civilian employment. That they appear to have done well at the time is a bonus.

Let's not though lose sight of the fact that Iraq was a disaster for the British, so it would be interesting to see what their efforts led to. Certainly by 2006 the Police were seen as being part of the insurgency, corruption was rife and the education system was crumbling so let's not follow that train of thought
 
#33
western said:
2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.


edited to add: "dr evil, too quick again!"
 
#34
western said:
Let's not though lose sight of the fact that Iraq was a disaster for the British, so it would be interesting to see what their efforts led to. Certainly by 2006 the Police were seen as being part of the insurgency, corruption was rife and the education system was crumbling so let's not follow that train of thought

Very much agreed. But more a symptom, not those on the ground not running a very sucessful engagement with the local population and local govt structures (where the threat level allowed), but of those higher up in the mil and FCO completly f*cking up dealing with the tribal and political leaders. And we all know arabs, will follow their tribal shite even if it leads to destruction and anarchy
 
#35
western said:
All three people quoted by you both are individuals who were thrown into unusual circumstances as it was thought by the powers that be that they had a connection via their civilian employment. That they appear to have done well at the time is a bonus.

Let's not though lose sight of the fact that Iraq was a disaster for the British, so it would be interesting to see what their efforts led to. Certainly by 2006 the Police were seen as being part of the insurgency, corruption was rife and the education system was crumbling so let's not follow that train of thought
You are confusing two very seperate issues. If the UK wants or needs to do COIN Ops then there is a large associated bit of working with the civilian population. Strangely enough the TA contains a lot of people who do the sort of tasks that role entails already, in their day job. To say otherwise is crass.

The Iraq F*ck up is another issue - but perhaps if the political will had been there we could have deployed more of the sort of ex TA "resources" noted above into the CIMIC role and they would have been rather more effective - and robust in delivery - than what we got with a bit of lip-srrvive and expecting DIFD and NGOs to do the job ? The insurgency might not then have gained the traction it did.

Edited to add - If we are talking about COIN Ops some-one needs to stick another 50p in the meter or they will not have a Reserve in April.
 
#36
quiller said:
western said:
2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.


edited to add: "dr evil, too quick again!"
So he wrote a book, what is to say that others could not have achieved the same?
 
#37
saladin said:
Strangely enough the TA contains a lot of people who do the sort of tasks that role entails already, in their day job. To say otherwise is crass.
And of course none of these people are anything other than experts at their day job?
 
#38
western said:
2. No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other.
Errm. Nope. Not "simply by their position", of course, but SGRS is full of people with qualifications rare or wholly absent amongst the regular army. Which is, in fact, the entire point of the organisation.

This is due not to any genetic superiority of the SGRS members to their regular counterparts but to the fact that the millstone of regular career management and lack of civvie comparable pay for most specialist skills means that people with those abilities tend to leave.
 
#39
Not a TA example I shall admit.

A lass at my RNR unit asked what would be happening with the reforming of the RNR medical branch, she is a Midwife and when she stated this fact and asked if she would need to do the extra training to be a med techy or what ever she was told that skills like hers were going to be looked for. Id be surprised if the same isn't being loked at in the TA, especially if you have Ta med reg's already.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#40
western said:
So he wrote a book, what is to say that others could not have achieved the same?

Not just him...

When we invaded Iraq in 2003, it rapidly became obvious that there was no plans for what to do afterwards - e.g. how to run acountry that had just had it's entire government made illegal.

UK were given 4 Provinces and Basra City to administer - and found, oddly enough, that there was no-one in the Army with experience in such areas as prison management, high-voltage pylon erection and maintenance, running a TV station, running a University, runnig a Fire service, running a finance system to organise a complete change of currency.

What to do? Easy - trawl through the list of TA mobilised for TELIC 2 and take out 'volunteers'. All the examples I give above were areas run by TA soldiers on secondment - there were lots of others as well. This was entirely due to their civvy knowledge and skills. Note: without being bitchy - it was TA who did the vast majority of this, with some Regulars in other positions. ONLY the TA had the required skills in this case.

Just an example of what can be done I was one of these 'volunteers', and it was 'interesting', but not something I'd want to do it again; mind you, it worked - after a fashion - and compared to the alternative; well, there wasn't one.
 

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