Reserves Review - any ideas anyone?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by MrTracey, Nov 23, 2010.

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  1. It's all kicking off now. Evereyone's talking about it. The new Reserves Review (not to be confused with FAS, Cottam, or any other Review) starts now.

    Should the TA:

    be operationally focused?
    be better integrated?
    be called the TA?
    be in city centre TACs or retain it's footprint?
    be the main contributor to UK Ops?
    be the main contributor to the Firm Base
    be closed?
    be merged with the Regular Reserve (not as daft as it sounds)?
    be sent back to where it was and be left alone (my favourite Dukey!)
    be two tier - part time regulars who go on Ops and enablers?
    be integrated with the regulars entirely (aka France)?
    be enlarged to take up regular shortfalls
    be really enlarged to allow yet further cuts in the regular piece and really deliver some VFM?
    be forced to mobilise?
    be paid and remunerated better?
    be given proper support and training?
    be encouraged to undertake collective training?
    be able to stick two fingers up at MATTs?
    be encouraged to drink heavily in the TAC Bar and make lifelong friends to underpin regular attendance?
    be thought of as having a 'habit'
    be properly protected under employment law?
    be the beneficiaries of proper dental and primary health care?

  2. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

    And here we go again...."Navel gazing.......BEGIN!"
  3. Thanks Mr Tracey for bringing up such a raft of important issues. Having never fully understood why the TA Forum on ARRSE has shied away from debating them, I am looking forward to a positive, pragmatic and intelligent discussion. Lets hope it'll also be one which overcomes the traditional bickering between regular & TA, teeth arms & CSS capbadges and those who have deployed vs those who're at the bar waiting for a phone call to build walls of sandbags around their local village as a defence against flooding or the North Koreans. Furthermore, I'd like to say that I'm keenly awaiting the influence of our collective opinions to be evident in the course of what will be a long-term, TA directed Review.

    I think this is my prompt to stay away from ARRSE for a few weeks...

  4. ... no quote from me
  5. And so, with almost menstrual frequency, Mr_T asks the same old questions.
  6. msr

    msr LE

    Because no-one else seems willing or able to pose them - or should that be willing and able (and fat and hairy enough) to listen to the answers?

  7. msr

    msr LE

    Please don't. We need people to get stuck in, challenge current thinking and orthodoxy and hold our feet to the fire.

  8. Here's a thought...

    What if the future of the TA doesn't depend on people like us, and requires a completely different breed of reservist with completely different TCOS?
    Would we still support that change..?
  9. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Hand on heart, yes. If I'm no longer needed I'll hang up my boots and go find something else to do. Given my age, that day may approach sooner rather later. The TA is part of our nation's Armed Services and not a private club.
  10. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Good grief! What sort of attitude is that? :)

    Anyway, give me time to crawl back through the threads that were written for the last "Strategic Review of Reserves" (The Cottam Review) oh, around 2 or 3 years ago? Being as none of the major points of that review were ever implemented, and that the implementation teams were (at least until recently) still beavering away, I'm sure there's plenty that was said then that could be said again with equal validity.

    One new thought, though. Over the past eight years the TA (And the Reserves in general - Reg Reserves are more often used than many think, and are first call for many vacancies) have grown into an organisation that can and does contribute materially to Ops. As this period ends, and the Forces face up to less money and smaller numbers, the TA is in grave danger of losing its hard-won operational focus, and, drven by political rather than military pressure, in danger of becoming something that's nice, but of little military use.

    It's no good being supported by MPs, Councils, local communities, etc., if you are of no relevance to the Army. That is the way to the Militia of yesteryear, not a useable Reserve.
  11. Agreed. Mr_Tracy's first line on his list should have been is:

    - be what the Regular Army needs it to be and not, necessarily, what the TA wants it to be.
  12. I have never been a TA member however I have to echo 'most' of what 'TheDuke' has replied to, however not all,

    The 'no longer' needed attitude due to change is so yesterday, even the CGS approved of the latest changes (well he did'nt have much choice in many respects) and the more feedback & contribution from reserve personnel the better i agree,

    Lastly why should the TA be exempt from MATTS, I have served enough tours hearing a mixed response from TA pers stating they wish to be treated on the same level par as Regulars then the idea of stiking two fingers up to the MATTS suggestion???

    Excuse the direct & blunt approach but many 'are' still living in a dream world
  13. We're not exempt from MATTS - we merely do a reduced package to reflect the part-time nature of the role.
  14. So you agree or disagree with RAuxAF contribution suggestion from Top man?

    I am in no way slagging the TA off in their role as many will agree (including myself) is important however the reducing package element has to be balanced along the line somewhere...
  15. I fear that the current changes are being driven in some cases by the wrong people, in the wrong place for the wrong reasons. The potential outcome is that we lose long term capability, not because it is not needed but because it cannot defend itself. We have seen a lot of this in the past, particularly in the log and maint fields where skills and expertise has been lost at the expense of the cheap and disposable. There seems to be a lot of activity coming from folk more anxious to protect their positions than see the national picture.

    Ideally, I would like to see an attempt at sorting out a proper, balanced relationship between the reserves and the regulars. Neither the "One Army" nor the "Private Armies" approaches work. The regular forces are chronically short termist in outlook - everything has to happen in two/three years to make your mark and get promoted. Reservist work on significantly longer timescales with individuals remaining within units for many years. Giving reservist funds to regulars is like giving the monthly food budget to a drunk, everything will be spent in the first 24 hours! Equally allowing reservist to run things would end up with us having reserve balloon units (or searchlight units?) being maintained with a Major and WO1 in charge of gas reserves (and a one star at the policy level)...

    I tend to believe in keeping TA and Regulars closely tied, but with checks and balances. The ARABS need to be prevented from robbing the cookie jar and the STABS need something to stop them empire building. I believe that this needs to come from a radical rethink of the command structure, which MUST be run from the MOD level and not simply farmed out to the operational HQs. Giving this job to a buckshee colonel is not the solution! This is stuff that needs a level headed, non-partisan view to be taken from the very top. I trust neither the regular nor the TA chains of command to do this sensibly; the former is too driven by short term solutions and politiking, the latter by vested interests and mediocrity.

    I think that the current trend in blurring "Specialist","Generalist","Independent" and "National" TA is risky. Originally, specialist units were recruited nationally and were assumed to recruit from a related trade sector (ie Posties) so requiring a reduced training commitment. Independent units, based at a drill hall, recrutied locally and trained folk from scratch into a general military role such as an Infantier or a Driver. This seems to have been thoroughly messed up over the years, with independent units being allowed to specialise and national units taking on generalist roles. The current trend is for national specialist units to be rebranded "generalist" in order to gain more MTDs, however losing their specialist status...

    I think this needs a real sort out! I remain convinced that some of the original thinking in the reserve ORBAT was not fundamentally flawed. IHMO the reserves can generate two capablities that the regulars can not:

    1. Specialist capablity. Medical, engineering, intelligence and maintenance support that the regular ORBAT cannot afford on a full time basis. Yes, you can get SOME of this from contractors, but it will cost you, and in some areas (i.e. Intellegence) may not even be available on the civvie market. This capablity needs to be organised on a national basis as it is very unlikely that the expertise will be found in a single locality. The idea that we can "borrow" experts from industry sectors remains valid in some areas, but it may me that we have to "grow" experts within these units as it is not going to be available elsewhere. Both routes need to be supported and managed nationally as they represent strategic reserves. This need properly paying for, but need not be as expensive as failing or shelling out vast sums at the last moment.

    2. Surge capability. The ability to put lots of bodies on the ground quickly and get them to do organised, but basic activities. This is the traditional role of the independent TA sector. Roles such as basic Infantry, Driver where the numbers required are large, but the training is fairly basic. The important factor here is the retention of the infrastructure, i.e. the ability of the 1st Blankshire(V) to move into a large scale basic training role and generate trained soldiers within X weeks. Again the budgets for this need nailing down, however I suspect there is a load of fat that could be trimmed from current practice.. (i.e recycling clothing and other elf 'n safety bollox).

    The current trend seems to be trying to force everyone down the same tube.. I think it may be applicable to the independent generalist stream, but it is in danger of killing the specialist capability. What we need to prevent is all the 1st Blankshires(v) becoming 28 or 29 SAS(V) and all the specialised units being brigaded into generalist regiments to justify a heirarchy and becoming a 3 year sausage factory..