OK, isnt about time we sorted this out once and for all?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by MrTracey, Feb 12, 2010.

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  1. In this age of fiscal recession, global uncertainty, European alliance, and American dominance, the role and mission of the Army has changed and will, most likely, evolve on a routine basis.

    The threat has changed, and is changing, but it's a sure fire bet that fighting across the plains of Europe is unlikely. A big proper war - or 'Large Scale Deliberate Intervention' as only the Doctrinal pointy heads could call it - is also unlikely as the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have proved.

    The Army is evolving. Op Entirety has sought to point everything that it has in one direction, enveloping all that the Army thinks, does, plans for, or talks about. I'm surprised that I haven't seen Op Entirety mugs in the coffee rooms. Yesterdays announcement was not unconnected as the Army seeks to maximise it's effectiveness.

    If the role and output of the Reserve Army was a hot topic before, it's positively on fire at the moment. A ready source of reasonably trained and very willing manpower at a fraction of the cost was always going to be attractive, but the decision that 10% of any deploying force would be drawn from the Reserve has focused the military mind.

    However, whilst the Regular Army has had many changes and adjustments in the past, and continues to go through others as I type (TLOR2, Hyperion etc), the TA has only been tinkered with. In essence, the TA remains in the cold war era in terms of structure, equipment, infrastructure, permanent personnel and TACOS.

    It's about time we articulated properly just exactly what the TA is for. Once agreed, this would not only inform the Regular Army in how to deal and integrate with it properly, in a consistent fashion, but it would bring clarity and a welcome honesty (internally and to the public, and employers) to build the Reserve of the future - the next 100 years.

    I know what I think but it would be interesting to hear the views of others.

    Is the TA just an IR machine? Should it just be structured entirely and only to output soldiers in direct support of Ops? Perhaps the advertising should simply say, 'join the TA and go on Ops but if you don't want to go on Ops, don't join' (there isn't a career for me in Marketing).

    Does the TA have a role to play in Society? I don't mean CE, it's wider than that. Is it a means by which a lot of people can find some purpose and learn new skills (physical and mental) that they had hitherto missed?

    Is it a long term game? Training people just in case with a legacy effect to bring added value to the turmoil of the future?

    Is it an LSDI Reserve? Why isn't the TA just simply responsible for UK Security and Assistance - releasing the regular Army to do Ops.

    Should the TA be a separate force? Perhaps the time has come to simply surrender the Haldane principal and hand it over the Regular Army lock stock and rusting barrel? Twinning is only a half way house anyway - perhaps better to simply hybrid the lot, do away with most of the TA Centres, and allow the command positions to be held by Regulars?

    Perhaps the National TA model holds the answer? Single large scale training facilities to which people the length and breadth of the country attend at weekends on a rota basis? No drill nights, and distance learning.

    TACOS are crap - let's face it. Is it Part time? - in name only. Is it 'casual' - no and this is offensive. It's not full time so no pension, no dental, no support - just a uniform and some basic training. This can't continue - can it? Whatever model we adopt in the future, the TACOS need sorting out.

    Perhaps it's time to adopt a National Guard model?

    Maybe the regular Army should adopt a more flexible Part time/Full time approach allowing TA and Regulars to move in and out with ease?

    At the end of the day - what is the TA for? Until we sort this out, we cannot properly or adequately plan and train, or decide on direction, structure, priorities, scale, equipment, and ethos.

    Time to sort it out once and for all.
  2. msr

    msr LE

  3. If you REALLY don't want to go on Ops - why join up at all? It's an Army, it's not just there for decoration...
  4. Thanks for that, really cheered me up
  5. Fair point but...not everyone can go on Ops. There are whole swathes of the TA that just simply aren't required e.g....infantry, yes; Royal Signals? - no. Can we carry on like this?
  6. So we will all run round using mobile phones and hope we can get network coverage ?
  7. My point is that your proposed slogan is essentially correct. I joined the TA in 1983 in the (then) rather naive hope of deploying on Ops. It took a while to achieve it though! But in 2010, anybody who really seriously has a problem with the idea of a deployment should NOT repeat NOT join up. And if the TA needs re-shaping in order to add more value than some elements are able to do at the moment, so be it. It's not a "hobby" any more.
  8. msr

    msr LE

    Slogan, Schmogan. There is no marketing budget for the TA and no accountability for recruitment figures. Look how bad it is here: http://www.arrse.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic/t=142845.html

  9. OK, I'll bite...

    Not that sure we are THAT much in fiscal recession... after all the TA survived the depression, and that was far worse than we have at the moment. The current danger is that in many ways the Haldane principals (of separated regular and P/T force structures) were discarded in 2000 with the "one Army" concept, which in practice meant that the TA budgets were moved from MoD to Land (and nothing much else). As I pointed out in a previous post, this was a spectaculary stupid thing to do as it was inevitable that the regulars would raid the piggy bank for short term gain (which is what they are trained and bred to do..). Haldane put some very sensible firebreaks between regular and reserve forces and enforced the basic strategic principle tht reserves need to be handled at the highest level of command... Break the rules - see the consequences...

    Reserves must be what they are: Reserves... They are the countries only hedge against uncertainty in what is by definition an unpredictable art/science. Frankly, if we were able to predict what would happen in the future, then we could fine tune our forces... we can't. Equally we can never afford to maintian full time forces with the breadth of capability we need; so, I would suggest, we must have reserve forces which can provide us with the requisite variety without the cost...

    My leanings are toward maintaining specialist capability... In other words, key functions that we need to maintain, which are not economically sustainable for regulars, but which are not obtainable form the civvie market at short notice. I see little point in generating and maintaining large numbers of cannon fodder in the reserves, although caderising the people to provide the training base for these in a period of escalation may work (jobs for ACF/CCF staff perhaps?)..

    The BIG difference in thinking about TA is to understand the timescale.. TA operate at about 1/10 the speed of regulars.. In some ways this is a problem, as it take 10 times longer to do something in the TA as in the regulars. On the other hand, you have a TA asset 10 times longer than a regular one, for the same cost...

    The great danger is to throw out babies with bathwaters...

    1. Sorry, just because we may be mostly looking at IR for reserve deployment this does not mean we do not need officers! Remember that we need IR at all rank levels... Many of the problems we have had recently is because of a lack of high rank SMEs - explain to me how an RN Cdr can be a Chief G4 in a land battle and expect to understand what is happening? We need to retain/grow these animals.

    2. If this is a "regular" driven exercise, there is a danger that reserves only get given the sh1tty jobs to do, because the regs don't want to do it, e.g Laundry etc.. ( in this case being snatched back...!) The RAF and the Navy went down this path and have killed off most of their reserves as a consequence.

    3. It strikes me that the majority of the administrative changes such as JPA and the training organisation have been carried out with little or no acknowledgement of the existance role or modus of the TA. This needs to change if the role of reserves is revisited.

    Perhaps the reform that we need to revisit is not the Haldane one but the McLeod...

    Do we need to (re)split the reserves:

    1. A re-inforcement capability such as TA battalions for regular regiments with training cadres and IR pools.
    2. A capability retention cabablity with specialist functions e.g Niche SF, EOD, Construction, Hygene, IT etc

    I suppose independant TA is a clear contender for 1 and specialist TA for 2. You would need to do a sorting exercise to clear out the interlopers (IHMO we do NOT need a national Transport regiment nor an independent EOD regiment... !)
  10. Thus maybe not a single TA/Reserve solution? Maybe that's the point, maybe we need a multi layer solution - one cap surely doesn't fit all.

    A: Mobilisation Reserve - On Ops routinely, every five years, Graduated Commitment Model, integrated in hybrid Units with the regular Army, do not attend RTCs etc - trained by regular system.

    B: Specialist Reserve - based on the National TA Model providing skills either unavailable or unaffordable within the regular force and who mobilise on demand. Minimum MTD allocation for generic training.

    C: National Reserve - Regional footprint under Regional Bde control to provide UK resilience and training (RTCs etc) Trained accordingly with max 50 MTDs p.a.

  11. msr

    msr LE

    'We' can come up with whatever 'we' want, the reality is that the TA has no clout whatsoever at the level needed to make it happen.

  12. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    Wow, that sounds horribly like the suggestion I made on here many years ago and was roundly abused for. A multi tier TA enabling people to contribute to the level they feel they are able to.

    Of course, my suggestion also included the fact that pay and bounties should reflect the contribution made - willing to take 11 months out of your life and put yourself in harms way as the army requires us (the reserves) to do now? Full pay, max bounty, max training days.

    Enjoy ironing uniforms, staying in the UK having mess functions and providing "resilience" capability which may or may not ever be required? OTC pay, OTC bounty, minimum MTDs.

    This board has more repeats than Channel 5
  13. Not forgetting that 50% of the examples which you cite are LSDI.

    I have argued on here for years that there is a requirement either for a mission statement for the TA or a doctrinal acceptance that a reserve is a reserve (which admittedly is there for use, and is not incapable of being reconstituted once committed). Regulars moulding budgets to support that with which they are comfortable and at the expense of that which they misunderstand (or worse still, hold in contempt) is an inevitability – once they are given access to the treasure.

    I know there’s a role for TA officers, otherwise I wouldn’t have needed quite so much factor 50 during the past 12 months.
    I know that there’s a role for TA soldiers, for much the same reason, but through observation.

    I doubt that there is going to be an international situation within either my life-time or that of my children when there ceases to be a requirement for a national security apparatus (even if this is eventually subsumed into a Euro Corps).
    I doubt that there is going to be a point in the near future when a UK Government is willing to finance a standing regular army of sufficient size and capability to meet the majority of potential security threats to the UK, when there are circuses and bread to be paid for to dole to those disinterested in the responsibilities of their hard won (by others) citizenship.

    The Review of Reserves seemed, to me at least as a semi-educated and interested observer, to imply a requirement for the reserves to constitute a larger proportion of the UK’s armed forces. The only ways to achieve this would be reduction of the regular establishment or an increase in that of the reserves.

    Even leaving short term funding issues to one side for the moment, there is a significant delta (do you see what I did there?) between the SOTR for phase 1 TA soldiers and the corresponding SOTT. So that would seem to me to be a bit of a hurdle.

    The Army’s aspiration appears to be a doubling (roughly) of the numbers of reservists deploying on operations over the next three years. I’m not sure that that is simple to achieve. I am sure that the events of the last eight months in petty penny pinching are going to have made it significantly more difficult.
  14. As an ARRSE Vet, you should be used to the "opinion-swinging" mentally by now surely? Keys in a bowl anyone?
  15. Oh Come on - Dave is way ahead on repeats....

    Dukey, your suggestions are always 'sound' they just don't need the little 'digs' that they oft include - 'ironing uniforms' for example.

    Being part of a 'National TA' isn't a crime, it doesn't need to be denigrated, just understood!

    So, talking of repeats and in an attempt to assist the MOD planners (who clearly can't get the head 'round it) what about a 'Mission'

    (msr - please don't say meh (whatever that means)). I don't profess to be a 'mission' expert but....

    'The Reserve Army is to be recruited and trained in order to deliver 10% of the mobilised force in support of enduring operations, and to deliver the primary support to UK Resilience as required'