Keep calm and carry on

#41
So, to possibly summarise...

Six months enforced absence, plus other moves, as yet unvoiced, is going to fundamentally change the face of the TA. But, not necessarily a bad thing...

The TA could quite easily bring a large number of non-militarily taught skills to the party. However, although there are a few moves to build up those areas (CIMIC group etc), it's not on our ME at the moment, even if it should be. Furthermore, despite UK plc being involved in influence ops since 2003, there is still barely a coherent plan across the 'one army' to deliver personnel sufficiently trained and experienced enough to deliver this.

Turning the TA tap off for six months might just mean that even if the 'specialist' roles become our ME, there may well be too few people left to make it credible.
 
#42
western said:
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?
Western, old chap, you might as well stop now.

Summary: You cannot argue. You do not know the facts. You are therefore either wrong or incapable of making out your case. Luckily, in either case, it does not matter. Detail for those less averse to reading follows.

Your position. You seem to be arguing that any given unit of regular soldiers are as qualified and competent to conduct nation building (CIMIC, Stablisation Ops, Psyops, SSR, etc.) as any given unit of TA soldiers.

My response. You are wrong. In any case, you miss the point. It is not a case of keep 500 regular soldiers or 500 TA soldiers. What is needed is selectivity and economy. The capabilties of the 500 TA soldiers must be properly identified, captured and used for the current fight.

Your argument.

a. You failed to respond to my challenge to your original, thin argument. Rather than defend it, you simply restated it.

b. You have failed to provide any evidence for any of your statements at all, either on the first or second statement of your case, or later.

The facts.

a. You said: "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."

You are therefore unaware of the existence of the Joint CIMIC Gp, the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psyops Gp, Media Ops Gp (V), etc. Not a good start.

b. You said: "No individual, Regular or TA is qualified or experienced to do so more than any other."

Your view that a regular Army major might have made as good a fist of bankrolling Basra as Maj Alderson is understandable in the context of a culture of amateurism. The same culture that has legally untrained SO2s negotiating and signing commercial contracts on behalf of the MOD, with hilarious consequences. Things get a bit more serious in the current fight.

To provide some evidence of the capabilities of the TA, I will speak from my own experience. It may or may not scale up to reflect the TA as a whole. But the fact is that the TA does possess a suite of skills whose importance in the current fight is clear.

On OP TELIC 1, the troop of which I was a member started out with 14 people, all TA. Of those, 6 were lorry drivers on loan from the RLC. The remainder were yeomanry. One yeoman was unemployed. The remainder were working. Their civilian jobs were:

* barrister (with five years' experience in practice and a background in international law and human rights)
* surveyor/engineer (who spoke two Middle Eastern languages)
* owner of a vehicle recovery company (also a mechanic)
* director of an internet PR company
* scientist
* PR bod generic
* owner of an import/export company

They were used in their military role on OP TELIC 1. Potential nation building roles for them are obvious.

Put in the context of your argument, how do they compare with a standard set of regular Army 2Lt, Sgt, Cpl, 2x LCpls and 7x Tprs in terms of usability in CIMIC, Stabilisation Ops, Psyops, etc?

Why your view does not matter.

You say that the TA is for certain finished in its current form. That is probably true. But that does not mean that it (or the people in it) are all about to be summarily junked. The TA possess the kind of capability outlined above, and that fact is dawning on the people who make the decisions. The fact that the TA can provide this capability cheaply is key.

You will no doubt be aware of the joint Cabinet Office/MOD/DFID/FCO outfit called the Stabilisation Unit. They are receiving a major influx of funding. They recruit people for Stabilisation Ops who have made such work their way of life. They pay consultancy rates. What if the TA could provide people who do not want to make Stabilisation Ops their career but are happy to bring their expertise to bear for an op tour, in order to maximise the COIN effort?

Those with the authority to bring about change are thinking along these lines already. Whether the TA retains its own structure of units and subunits or is administered in some other way, whether it is devoted wholly to CIMIC etc or retains a form from which it will be able to regenerate its LSDI role in five or so years' time, it will be around for a while yet.
 
#44
Dr_Evil said:
western said:
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?
Western, old chap, you might as well stop now.
I was going to but you are clearly so far up yourself you deserve a reply if only for me to confirm what a fool you really are.

Yes I am aware of the units you mentioned and hopefully they will form the nucleus of something useful in the future. At the moment they are too small and of little use when they are not utilised to any major degree. See Col Tootal et al.

I am please you went on Telic with such a diverse bunch, but half the 'skills' you mentioned were less relevant that their soldier skills. Internet PR?

I could go on but I will not. Simply to show that your deluge or words on a page are nothing more than tha.
 
#45
Anyone noticed that everytime liarbour are in power the TA get it in the neck.The time before when they were in they shut down loads of TA centers.
 
#46
western said:
See Col Tootal et al.
A regular Col who did not enjoy the support of his CoC to stand up to DfID?

Bit much trying to pin that on the TA?

msr
 
#48
msr said:
western said:
See Col Tootal et al.
A regular Col who did not enjoy the support of his CoC to stand up to DfID?

Bit much trying to pin that on the TA?

msr
What am I trying to pin on the TA? You must stop being so paranoid it's the regulars who will face the bigger kicking.

I was trying to point out that CIMIC etc has been a side show up until now.
 
#49
Dr_Evil said:
TA in the ER. The surgery that will be inflicted on the TA is, as anyone can see, going to be very significant. If you were put in charge of designing a new TA from scratch, capitalising on specialist/civvy skills for the current war (rather than to provide a reserve capability in case of future war), what would you have? Medics, CIMIC, Military Stablisation Support Group, PsyOps. That would pretty much be that, especially if the chaps in LAND were telling you that the regular Army is fully manned. It's nothing personal, really. It's just that the situation has changed. Those people (medics, CIMIC, etc) do not need a TA chain of command above them, nor (necessarily) a TA support system. They can be trained and sustained by adjuncts of the regular system and by expanded RTCs.

And be there in five years' time when they need to re-establish the TA for the coming LSDI.
Excellent post. Though the final bit's not going to happen...
 
#50
Iraq and Afghanistan have so far been two military and governmental gangbangs. The argument that the future of the TA should be based on us screwing up again in the future and suddenly having to find experts in governance, community development and security sector reform by trawling the TA list is not really that compelling.

My personal opinion is that the TA should be divided into two streams - one being tasked with reinforcing regular battlegroups with Coy sized reinforcements at relatively short notice, and the other being more a pool of people with useful talents. The second stream would attend courses in the skills that you don't have time to develop fully in the regular army. For example- the more esoteric areas of intelligence, niche technological knowledge and genuine subject matter expertise. These guys would do little very little military training but instead mobilise voluntarily when their skills were required. I haven't yet decided fully whether my plan is good or not.

Trying to do nation building in green kit doesn't really work, with the exception of pretty low level consent-winning activities (generally aimed at mitigating the effects of the military presence) rather than produce anything tangible. To really make a difference in COIN you need the longer term commitment and knowledge that civilian departments and personnel can offer.
 
#52
asr1 said:
Iraq and Afghanistan have so far been two military and governmental gangbangs. The argument that the future of the TA should be based on us screwing up again in the future and suddenly having to find experts in governance, community development and security sector reform by trawling the TA list is not really that compelling.

My personal opinion is that the TA should be divided into two streams - one being tasked with reinforcing regular battlegroups with Coy sized reinforcements at relatively short notice, and the other being more a pool of people with useful talents. The second stream would attend courses in the skills that you don't have time to develop fully in the regular army. For example- the more esoteric areas of intelligence, niche technological knowledge and genuine subject matter expertise. These guys would do little very little military training but instead mobilise voluntarily when their skills were required. I haven't yet decided fully whether my plan is good or not.

Trying to do nation building in green kit doesn't really work, with the exception of pretty low level consent-winning activities (generally aimed at mitigating the effects of the military presence) rather than produce anything tangible. To really make a difference in COIN you need the longer term commitment and knowledge that civilian departments and personnel can offer.
Someone else who knows what they are talking about....!
 
#53
dergeneral said:
Dr_Evil said:
And be there in five years' time when they need to re-establish the TA for the coming LSDI.
Excellent post. Though the final bit's not going to happen...
Yeah, that was just wishful thinking. Although the current fixation on one job in one theatre is not going to continue for ever.

polar said:
Should now be the time to let you know Dr Evils plans are based on a 'London (& Leeds) only TA'.
Wha? Are you, of all people, saying that STABs up and down the land really are the dross of some people's imagination? Say it ain't so.

No, a possible evil plan to save as much of the TA as possible is not that we all become CIMICists. It is that:

(a) support to Jt CIMIC Gp, MSSG, etc., should become one of each unit's specified tasks (assuming we still have units), in addition to the provision of IRs and CCs for Ops; and

(b) a central register of the civ quals and experience be collated and used to identify and place skilled TA soldiers in nation-building roles.

This would be cheaper than contracting-in such expertise and would enable the TA to be kept ticking over (in some form) because it would be sending 2,000 or so on ops per year rather than the current 1,200. Eventually, the situation changes again and it's happy days.

It's not total pie-in-the-sky. Each of the nation building elements I listed in my previous post is being expanded significantly, as is the cross-departmental Stabilisation Unit: any view that they are too small is out-of-date.

Equally, it is wrong to say that they are of little use when they are not utilised to any major degree. If you've been paying attention to the developments in COIN - in particular to the updated doctrine due this month - you'll know that this stuff is moving to centre stage. And skills in things such as PR, marketing, IT, etc., are all on the money for Media Ops and Psyops.

COIN, with CIMIC and the like as the key battle-winning capability, is where it is at. The TA is, crucially, already trained in many of the key skills required to do it properly. It might be possible to rerole and retrain Arty units as civil engineers, lawyers and policemen - but it will take a while.

The only problem with this plan is that things (ie, budgets) have probably made it redundant already: you can tell from dergeneral's posts that a rump, specialist TA is what really is on the cards.
 
#54
Just coming in to support the idea of TA bods having some unique skills that cannot be regular army taught.

( I am not TA by the way,and as I still have a strop-on from my time in the forces I do not think I will be. )

My particular trade was Crane operator ( RE ) and at the time I believe I had a shedload more experience and operating time than any other operator that I worked with....as often happens with us,I thought i was the Bee's Knees.

Now after working as a civiliian contract operator all over the place,I can honestly state that the level of expertise,technical skills and general knowledge in regards to crane operations in the Forces is on the smelly side of abysmal...not just the machines but every single aspect.

We all know some of the problems being people in rank assuming they know best and taking charge of something they know bugger all about or a craftsmen being told to repair a machine they are not 100% on,but it also stems from some fundemental problems in being initially taught incorrectly and complete stagnation of skills,techniques and technology that have left the forces 30 years behind the far more efficient and productive civilian sector.

If you have a TA crane op/mechanic,who is worth his salt as a civilian....he is at a level of competence and expertise that it is impossible to attain in the forces...Even the snotty little turf wars between REME and RE preventing crane ops being mechanics of the machines they operate is shown to be utterley wasteful and inefficient.Witht he new machines coming with fibre-optic wiring looms and bluetooth controls this will only get worse.
 
#55
western said:
Dr_Evil said:
Western, old chap, you might as well stop now.
I was going to but you are clearly so far up yourself you deserve a reply if only for me to confirm what a fool you really are.

Yes I am aware of the units you mentioned and hopefully they will form the nucleus of something useful in the future. At the moment they are too small and of little use when they are not utilised to any major degree. See Col Tootal et al.

I am please you went on Telic with such a diverse bunch, but half the 'skills' you mentioned were less relevant that their soldier skills. Internet PR?

I could go on but I will not. Simply to show that your deluge or words on a page are nothing more than tha.
Western,

You might not have a scoobies about what you are talking about but at least you are consistent.

Your very first post on ARRSE, my good man (relevant bits, amongst the bile, highlighted by me):

western said:
Re: The most nausiating aspects of 'Civvy Street'
Sun, Jun 04, 2006 8:43pm

Western:

I've been reading this site for months and have never felt the urge to step off the touchline and enter ther fray until now. On the subject of the thread; yes most civvies you meet are complete and utter tosspots! They have not been through our experiences and culture and will never understand that the first thing we learned was humility. The whole corporate world (and I have worked for some major companies in the ten years since I left) is based on incompetant senior management supporting incompetant middle management. By the way I am senior management now and have yet to meet anyone who could hold a candle to an average JNCO. Mediocrity is the name of the game coupled with a total lack of accountability. Take my advice find a gap in the market, form your own company and the sky is the limit, you are worth ten of them!
I particularly liked the bit about humility. Is that the same humility that equips you to lecture us on a post-millenial TA you know nothing about, engaged in a COIN effort very different to your experiences in NI?
 
#56
Dr_Evil said:
polar said:
Should now be the time to let you know Dr Evils plans are based on a 'London (& Leeds) only TA'.
Wha? Are you, of all people, saying that STABs up and down the land really are the dross of some people's imagination? Say it ain't so.
Yeah and no. Maybe I'm a bit prejudiced to think this 'CIMIC' TA would be staffed by officers, potentially SNCO's or maybe closer to the mark 30-40 year olds. Would I be correct in thinking CIMIC has many PQO's, like LIAG/LCISG?
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#57
Dr Evil:

On OP TELIC 1, the troop of which I was a member started out with 14 people, all TA. Of those, 6 were lorry drivers on loan from the RLC. The remainder were yeomanry. One yeoman was unemployed. The remainder were working. Their civilian jobs were:

* barrister (with five years' experience in practice and a background in international law and human rights)
* surveyor/engineer (who spoke two Middle Eastern languages)
* owner of a vehicle recovery company (also a mechanic)
* director of an internet PR company
* scientist
* PR bod generic
* owner of an import/export company

They were used in their military role on OP TELIC 1. Potential nation building roles for them are obvious.

I read this in your post - I am still trying to work out potential roles. So far, I have come up with a hybrid vehicle recovery/ law firm who could roam Iraq translating witness statements while offering legal advice and mending your car. Concurrently, the two PR blokes could advertise the success of the firm (and the claim for compensation) while the import/ export bloke arranged a new car. I am stuck for a role int his firm for the scientist..
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#58
Oh, btw, don't most TA people join to do something 'different' - kind of shoots the 'bring civil skills to bear' bit to pieces if said barrister really wants to do recce and drive a WMIK? Would they turn up to do their civvy job at weekends -

'Right chaps, great day today, 1 (Banking) Platoon is going to conduct some earned value analysis, while 2 (PR) Platoon establishes the scope and timbre of the campaign. 3 (Counselling and Support) Platoon - reserve. Bpt debrief any personal difficulties people might have.
Comd and Sig - I am on my blackberry, ensure out of office enabled when in 'contact groups.'
CSS - as always, lattes all round and meet in Carluccios at ENDEX.

Check watches -mines an IWC, nice isn't it?
 
#60
Sounds like the sort of people DfID should be supplying but aren't.

msr
 

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