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Post election SDR - scale of the Reserve?

How big with the TA be after SDR?


  • Total voters
    51
#1
Whatever the result of the forthcoming election, there will be radical changes in the scale and structure of the TA. Ten minutes web searching for opinion formers suggests that the messages are already out there - fleet of foot, nimble, lightweight, surge capacity, out of area, world role, cheap, etc etc.

Wherefore the Reserve of the next 20 years, especially the TA?

The 'utility' argument is a powerful one, as is the fact that the TA has stepped up to the plate in recent years. The regular Army is likely to get smaller, albeit over time, so does that make a TA of the future more relevant or less, larger (cheap to add scale) or smaller (cadre'ised for maximum effort)?

It'll come down to strategy, cost and ability to effect change but what do you think?
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
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#2
I note you have left out the only option which has a change of being put into place:

"What Reserve?"

:cry:
 
#4
Personally, I'd cynically see them doing a year-by-year (or every 5) ratchet down to establishment.

As it becomes more onerous to be anything other than at the bottom of the heap:

- nearly all the admin that a regular unit has to do but a fifth (or less) of the time (and much of it unpaid);

- all of the CYA training that a regular unit has to do but in the limited time (where 'Y' is a politician or the corporate MOD);

- low priority on courses;

- the restricted promotion opportunities from the previous thread;

- 'if you haven't done an Op tour in the last x years', for ever decreasing values of x ...

People are going to leave. Some may join up reg, most won't.

In 20 years time? Who can say. I wouldn't expect the residue to be large though.
 
E

EScotia

Guest
#5
Split the TA into:

The Army Reserve - Only those who are fit, willing, able & qualified to deploy allowed to be members. The Regular Army deciding which Arms are required to be in its Reserve, dependant on the Operations it is engaged in and likely to face in a 10 year period, and the appropriate TACOS and remuneration being well thought out and stable for at least the same 10 year period.

The Home Defence - Similar to the current make-up of the TA but restricted to Home Service and possibly UK & Global Humanitarian Assistance roles. Fitness less of an issue, TACOS stable for 5 years, remuneration being less than that for The Army Reserve and possibly only on a voluntary basis with an annual retention bonus.

The Army Reserve Unit Support - Military Support Staff for the Army Reserve to be supplied by the Regular Army, training to be co-ordinated, arranged and run in conjunction with Regular Army units.

The Home Defence Unit Support - Military staff to be seconded from Regular units with consideration to be given to those deemed unable to deploy due to illness or injury but having the potential to be returned to a deployable standard within 3 years.
 
#6
Home defence is good as it will mean an increase in our capability. We appear to have forgotten that the last SDR saw the demise of all home defence roled units, regular and TA.

Defence of the realm currently rests with the RAF.
 
#7
'Wake up and smell the coffee?'

I think I have heard that comment on here before somewhere.

The TA is simply going to be a mirror of the regular Army in the future. Long gone are the days of Haldane etc. We can hang on if we like, but others are already discussing the future.

Post SDR?

Smaller, more focused, more efficient, less cost and more effective. Just like the regulars.
 
#8
Hyperion said:
'Wake up and smell the coffee?'

Smaller, more focused, more efficient, less cost and more effective. Just like the regulars.
I hope thats solidly WAH or its not coffee you've been sniffing...

Overblown processes, often totally redundant. Excessive reporting and yet more returns. Slavish zeal in implementing every last iota of H&S and EO legislation. Over-manned at senior levels....and lets not even think about "procurement". :x
 
#9
saladin said:
Hyperion said:
'Wake up and smell the coffee?'

Smaller, more focused, more efficient, less cost and more effective. Just like the regulars.
I hope thats solidly WAH or its not coffee you've been sniffing...

Overblown processes, often totally redundant. Excessive reporting and yet more returns. Slavish zeal in implementing every last iota of H&S and EO legislation. Over-manned at senior levels....and lets not even think about "procurement". :x
What about the Regular Army though?
 
#10
Hyperion said:
'Wake up and smell the coffee?'

I think I have heard that comment on here before somewhere.

The TA is simply going to be a mirror of the regular Army in the future. Long gone are the days of Haldane etc. We can hang on if we like, but others are already discussing the future.

Post SDR?

Smaller, more focused, more efficient, less cost and more effective. Just like the regulars.
Shame that. In comparison to this shower of shite Haldane was straight forward and simple. Out of his reforms you got the BEF, ready for war in Europe and the TF, ready to protect the UK from external threats. Each Regular Regiment had at least one TF Battalion in it's orbat. 70 Battalions of the TF voluntered for service in France by August 1914.

Funny that, Haldane was a Liberal, yet possibly enacted some of the best reforms after Cardwell for the British army as a whole.
 
#11
I have never thought that providing sustained reinforcement for the regulars is a sensible role for the reserves. If that is all you want it would be cheaper to expand the regulars and shut the TA down altogether.

The purpose of the reserves is to provide a surge capability, either bridging the gap between the regulars and a trained from scratch hostilities only army, or supporting a short duration operation that does not justify a hostilities only army. The value of that depends on how likely it is we will need it. Given the current establishment's short termism, I expect them to see that as worthless.

I expect the establishment to try and keep as many TA units as possible, in order to provide jobs for the boys, but cut the budget even more. Some units will be able to survive by becoming clubs, doing unpaid, vaguely military activities. Other units will run out of recruits and end up being disbanded.
 
#12
Some interesting solutions offered here. EScotia's model bears more than a passing resemblance to Hackett and Carver's TAVR model enshrined in the Reserve Forces Act 1966.

TAVR I — 'Ever Readies' and other specialists
TAVR II — 'Volunteers': units with limited or general war role who undertook to serve outside of the UK. Gave birth to our current model of independent and national 'sponsored' units. Equipped to Regular Army scales including DPM and SLRs.
TAVR III — 'Territorials'. 27 drill periods + 8 day camp per year; No4 .303 Lee Enfields; battledress.
TAVR IV — Rag-tag elements incl bands.
TAVR IV(a) — UOTCs.

Effective 1 Apr 1969 — TAVR I and II merged to become TAVR Gp A; TAVR III axed; TAVR IV and IV(a) merged to become TAVR Gp B.

So we've already been there. What about a more radical 'Brave New World' model predicated on the notion that the beancounters will only want to preserve the one part of the TA that is bottom-line effective, ie Individual Reinforcements?

In the Brave New World model there would be a fifth (or sixth?) company/squadron in every Regular unit. Recruits — I'm sorry, 'SUTs' — would be recruited by the same system used for Regulars, trained centrally and then posted to the new reserve sub-units which are now OPCOM Regular COs.

Staff the sub-unit with Regular officers and SNCOs and then use the vehicles, weapons, accommodation (send the regular blokes home for two or three weeks every year if needs be) to run centralised one-size-fits-all annual training to bring the reservists component up to speed on their basic skills (which will now include mech and armoured inf). Expect to see more than a few ex-Regs from the same unit join the reservist component in order to re-visit their old unit every year.

Rinse and repeat, with a few long weekends thrown in during the year under the same model.

Then use the keener and 'less employed' reservists to augment the regular unit on exercises thereby maximising the 'face-to-face' time and familiarity with the Regular unit. Include reservists as a natural part of the unit culture with the ultimate aim of taking them into regular service for op tours.

The Brave New World TA has no need for drill nights, expensive TA real estate, TA SNCOs and officers career courses (the Brave New World TA only aims to keep the low-cost young soldiers for a couple of tours anyway, so who needs a career structure beyond full screw?) and keeps the reservists up to speed with the Regular way of doing business rather than the 'TA way'.

The National TA already proves that the TA needn't have drill nights nor a duty station on their doorstep to remain effective, so what's not to like.

Down side: increased training/admin burden on Regular staff (impact can be reduced by staggering leave periods; a regular platoon can do without a sergeant for a couple of weeks at another point in the year) but cheaper than maintaining the statistically unproductive part of our Regular Army staff currently with the TA (eg TACs with an SPSI but only 10 TA soldiers — value for money?); Loss of Firm Base footprint: possibly, but there can be no sacred cows and, in the same way that a GPMG used to be 90% of the pl's firepower, a band carries 90% of the Firm Base 'PR punch'.

Oh, and the 'the blokes won't like it' argument is disallowed since the system will attract those that it suits in exactly the same way that the op tour culture replaced the cold war culture, therefore after the first three intakes the Brave New World TA won't have ever known anything different.

Discuss.
 
#13
stickybomb said:
Oh, and the 'the blokes won't like it' argument is disallowed since the system will attract those that it suits in exactly the same way that the op tour culture replaced the cold war culture, therefore after the first three intakes the Brave New World TA won't have ever known anything different.

Discuss.
Who is this going to attract? My nearest Regular Infantry unit is Cattrick which is over 2 hours away and when I joined, I had no transport. At least a third of my lads have no transport other than the bus so that's out of the picture.
 
#14
Kitmarlowe said:
stickybomb said:
Oh, and the 'the blokes won't like it' argument is disallowed since the system will attract those that it suits in exactly the same way that the op tour culture replaced the cold war culture, therefore after the first three intakes the Brave New World TA won't have ever known anything different.

Discuss.
Who is this going to attract? My nearest Regular Infantry unit is Cattrick which is over 2 hours away and when I joined, I had no transport. At least a third of my lads have no transport other than the bus so that's out of the picture.
Ahh, but you're still thinking inside the box. National TA already travel considerable distances. We still have a rail network—such that it is—and as the frequency of training periods (not a huge number now once you whip the drill nights out of the equation) would drop at the same time as the duration would increase, the number of journeys per year wouldn't be that great.

I refer you to the bolded part of my statement. Just because it wouldn't have attracted you doesn't mean that it won't attract anybody. There have always been people who doubted that the TA could adapt to change. We aren't necessarily the same kind of people that joined in 1908, 1921 or 1968...but we're still here.
 
#15
stickybomb said:
Kitmarlowe said:
stickybomb said:
Oh, and the 'the blokes won't like it' argument is disallowed since the system will attract those that it suits in exactly the same way that the op tour culture replaced the cold war culture, therefore after the first three intakes the Brave New World TA won't have ever known anything different.

Discuss.
Who is this going to attract? My nearest Regular Infantry unit is Cattrick which is over 2 hours away and when I joined, I had no transport. At least a third of my lads have no transport other than the bus so that's out of the picture.
Ahh, but you're still thinking inside the box. National TA already travel considerable distances. We still have a rail network—such that it is—and as the frequency of training periods (not a huge number now once you whip the drill nights out of the equation) would drop at the same time as the duration would increase, the number of journeys per year wouldn't be that great.

I refer you to the bolded part of my statement. Just because it wouldn't have attracted you doesn't mean that it won't attract anybody. There have always been people who doubted that the TA could adapt to change. We aren't necessarily the same kind of people that joined in 1908, 1921 or 1968...but we're still here.
What about Germany based units (3 x Bdes)?
 
#16
Sangreal said:
What about Germany based units (3 x Bdes)?
You think we're staying in Germany...with those exchange rates!? How quaint.

Even if we did, what role do they play in the current TA picture? Amphib Engrs and that's about it, isn't it?
 
#17
stickybomb said:
Sangreal said:
What about Germany based units (3 x Bdes)?
You think we're staying in Germany...with those exchange rates!? How quaint.

Even if we did, what role do they play in the current TA picture? Amphib Engrs and that's about it, isn't it?
Well we are staying in Germany and for quite a number of years yet. And I thought this thread was about the TA post-SDR and not the 'current picture'. Under your proposals 2 GM Bdes and a Log Bde would have no TA elms.
 
#19
stickybomb said:
Kitmarlowe said:
stickybomb said:
Oh, and the 'the blokes won't like it' argument is disallowed since the system will attract those that it suits in exactly the same way that the op tour culture replaced the cold war culture, therefore after the first three intakes the Brave New World TA won't have ever known anything different.

Discuss.
Who is this going to attract? My nearest Regular Infantry unit is Cattrick which is over 2 hours away and when I joined, I had no transport. At least a third of my lads have no transport other than the bus so that's out of the picture.
Ahh, but you're still thinking inside the box. National TA already travel considerable distances. We still have a rail network—such that it is—and as the frequency of training periods (not a huge number now once you whip the drill nights out of the equation) would drop at the same time as the duration would increase, the number of journeys per year wouldn't be that great.

I refer you to the bolded part of my statement. Just because it wouldn't have attracted you doesn't mean that it won't attract anybody. There have always been people who doubted that the TA could adapt to change. We aren't necessarily the same kind of people that joined in 1908, 1921 or 1968...but we're still here.

That model would not have attracted me, and it's not going to attract a lot of 20-25 years. Which kinda screws it for the infantry as no regular CO is going to be that interested by a subunit whose's lower age bracket starts at 25, particulary a subunit that impacts on his regular SNCO/Officer tree on a regular basis. Given the suggested low level of training activaty the training fade is going to be huge.

To be honest. That model looks better for a better supported and used Regular Reserve. Those ex regs with a legal obligation to turn up when called up. Call them up once a year, bang them thro a 2,3 or 4 week refresher package, add the odd trip to BATUS or Kenya or Salisbury once every 3 years and job done.

Hmmmm...Wheel invented again..?
 
#20
Sangreal said:
stickybomb said:
Sangreal said:
What about Germany based units (3 x Bdes)?
You think we're staying in Germany...with those exchange rates!? How quaint.

Even if we did, what role do they play in the current TA picture? Amphib Engrs and that's about it, isn't it?
Well we are staying in Germany and for quite a number of years yet. And I thought this thread was about the TA post-SDR and not the 'current picture'. Under your proposals 2 GM Bdes and a Log Bde would have no TA elms.
Sangreal, that's a bit of a red herring. Whatever happens post-SDR, it will not involve the wholesale movement of 18-25 year-old UK civilian nationals to Germany Auf Wiedersehen Pet stylee which would be a necessary precursor to raising the same structure in Germany. What I was trying to point out was that the low number of TA units in Germany is a function of that fact so I'm afraid that part of the 'current picture' is relevant.

The arrangement would clearly only be feasible in the UK (412 Engr excepted). My Brave New World proposal (which is a piece of Devil's advocacy designed to get people to think beyond assumptions based on capbadge politics and 'footprints') advocates the creation of reservist companies as extras to the ORBATs of Regular units. They would not be necessary for the day-to-day functioning of those units so Germany-based units would not be disadvantaged.

I'm not suggesting that this is what should happen—indeed I would be horrified if it did—I'm just trying to show that there are no sacred cows in chasing the two overriding goals that the TA will be set: maintain the supply of IRs whilst saving money.

If the bean counters decide that the TA will be 30,000 strong it won't be because they harbour any warm, rosy feelings for battle honours, traditions or curry lunches, it will be because they will have conceded that the current level of IRs cannot be supplied by a force smaller than that. Having nailed their figure, they will then try to devise a way to reduce the cost of delivering those IRs to an absolute minimum.

The TA are sitting on a huge pile of real estate that has to be maintained and a not inconsiderable number of attached Regular personnel so the GCM may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Personally, I'd like to see this model demolished by some well-reasoned argument that could be backed up by facts but I should add that the idea is based on a system that the German Army used to keep their national servicemen up to scratch, so it does have some basis in reality.
 

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