Reserves Review - any ideas anyone?

#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?

?
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#2
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?
Definately
be better integrated?
Yes, if done properly
be called the TA?
Couldn't give a ****, just don't call me late for scoff
be in city centre TACs or retain it's footprint?
Wherever the best facilities are for the most people. Simgle Pl outstations are probably dead.
be the main contributor to UK Ops?
Stop being soft
be the main contributor to the Firm Base
As above. How can you be the main contributor to anything on one weekend a month and a few weekday evenings?
be closed?
Large swathes of it probably will be
be merged with the Regular Reserve (not as daft as it sounds)?
For what benefit?
be sent back to where it was and be left alone (my favourite Dukey!)
Sent off to die slowly, but to the satisfaction of the old farts who didn't have to face change, and the ease of those who would be glad to see the back of the TA. "They (ie the TA) didn't want to change so they became redundant"? Trying to remain the same is a sure fire way of guaranteeing the demise of the TA
be two tier - part time regulars who go on Ops and enablers?
That is already the case - Those 30,000 deployments that people boast about are not evenly spread by arm/service/cap badge. The figures are there to show who goes and who stays at home with the proverbial note from Mum.
be integrated with the regulars entirely (aka France)?
If done well, why not?
be enlarged to take up regular shortfalls
WAKE UP - YOU ARE DREAMING AGAIN!
be really enlarged to allow yet further cuts in the regular piece and really deliver some VFM?
As above
be forced to mobilise?
Not on any particular tour, but expected to within a reasonable timeframe
be paid and remunerated better?
Why? Same daily rate as regulars (less a small part of the X factor) - if theirs goes up, so do ours.
be given proper support and training?
Are people not already? Talk to your regular counterparts and get it sorted.
be encouraged to undertake collective training?
Yes - the vast majority of the TA heirarchy would really benefit from it
be able to stick two fingers up at MATTs?
Why should we? It is the annual test of basic military skills, no more

be encouraged to drink heavily in the TAC Bar and make lifelong friends to underpin regular attendance?
Provided it is not at the expense of training and everyone is kicked off to bed at 2359 to ensure they get their straight 8 for driver hours why not?
be thought of as having a 'habit'
Why not?
be properly protected under employment law?
Yes, but careful what we wish for. Make it to onerous and you make yourself unemployable.
be the beneficiaries of proper dental and primary health care?
We already are, to the same extent as every other UK citizen. Why the expectation of special treatment?
?

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...

Charlie
 
#4
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?
....lwould make a change
be better integrated?
... definietly
be called the TA?
....No ...one army, one concept
be in city centre TACs or retain it's footprint?
....debatable, some cities are crap for recruiting whereas some towns are very loyal and pro-military
be the main contributor to UK Ops?
...no
be the main contributor to the Firm Base
.. ?
be closed?
.... and who would make up the shortfall for regular downsizing, particularly for strikes !!
be merged with the Regular Reserve (not as daft as it sounds)?
.....now that seems a good idea
be sent back to where it was and be left alone (my favourite Dukey!)
....you mean poorly trained in some cases, crap officers, no kit, no equipment
be two tier - part time regulars who go on Ops and enablers?
...silly boy !
be integrated with the regulars entirely (aka France)?
why not, a reg inf unit could have a reserve company
be enlarged to take up regular shortfalls
no chance with current financial climate
be really enlarged to allow yet further cuts in the regular piece and really deliver some VFM?
....would be a cheap way round large numbers of cuts
be forced to mobilise?
.....can't force anyone to be mobilsed but can make it a condition of service, impractical though
be paid and remunerated better?
... why pay more than the regs, for less training and less work
be given proper support and training?
..... now there is a very good and novel idea
be encouraged to undertake collective training?
....yes
be able to stick two fingers up at MATTs?
.....totally... RAuxAF do it in one day
be encouraged to drink heavily in the TAC Bar and make lifelong friends to underpin regular attendance?
.... yep, did me no harm
be thought of as having a 'habit'
...drinking is a h...... oh yes
be properly protected under employment law?
...........in theory we are / are not / could be....delete as appropriate
be the beneficiaries of proper dental and primary health care?
..................100% yes
?
... no quote from me
 
#6
And so, with almost menstrual frequency, Mr_T asks the same old questions.
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?

msr
 
#7
I think this is my prompt to stay away from ARRSE for a few weeks...
Please don't. We need people to get stuck in, challenge current thinking and orthodoxy and hold our feet to the fire.

msr
 
#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..?
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#9
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..?
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.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#10
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.
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
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.
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
 
#14
We're not exempt from MATTS - we merely do a reduced package to reflect the part-time nature of the role.
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..

Hrrumph..
 
#16
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.
What's needed is absolute clarity on our mission and from that our size, budget, equipment tables, training standards, tasks etc

What we'll probably get is more 'make do and muddle through'. It's the British way.

msr
 
#17
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..

Hrrumph..
HE, a real dose of common sense and pragmatism.

The challenge and the solution to this debate is to decide on the key principles that will drive the Review. For example, any closer integration and there is a severe doubt that the TA will remain a separate entity. Indeed, it is a mere pace or two to follow the French example and remove the Reserve structure in it's entirety (a point I made badly in my previous thread) and integrate completely. In turn, this picks up the point made by Gassing Badgers whereby the future 'TA' may require a completely different breed of reservist with completely different TCOS?

Be under no illusion that the new 'Review' now due to report in May 11 will be a defining moment. This is not another navel gazing exercise - there are too many top level people involved for it to do anything other than make decisions about direction, scale, TACOS, infrastructure, CofC and long term viability. The Review has given an opportunity for anyone and everyone even slightly engaged with the Reserves to get involved and they are doing so at a pace. This Review is not being done by a 'soon to retire' General padding out his pension, this time it's being done by some very senior and current influential's.

HE is correct in his/her assertion that the Regulars are short term planners and thinkers, Reserves are long term. We have to hope for the sake of the TA, and the long term viability of the Reserves, that the Review thinks about the TA post 2015.
 
#18
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.
My reference my bold, I think that should read "what Defence needs it to be".
Semantics maybe, but I'm just a bit cynical in my belief that there are regular officers out there who would sooner sacrifice parts of the TA (or just neglect it) rather than their own sacred cows, regardless (and this is the important bit) of the implications for the Nation's Defence.

And that's not just a TA vs. Regular Army thing. How much good has inter-service bickering done for Defence as a whole?
 
#19
be really enlarged to allow yet further cuts in the regular piece and really deliver some VFM?
be forced to mobilise?
be able to stick two fingers up at MATTs?
be the beneficiaries of proper dental and primary health care?
In order:

Possibly. This might be an option for some of the more 'expensive' trades that have been threatened with reductions in the Regular Army (I'm thinking of Armour and Formation Recce in particular)

If by forced to mobilise you actually mean "be mobilised" then fine. We've all signed on the dotted line and understand the consequences. The real issue is with the Government's lack of will to compel deployment. For instance, it's not in my interests to volunteer as like everyone else in teh current climate, I need my employer to think that I put him before everything else. However, if Dr Fox says he needs me and I've got no choice then they might be more understanding.

No, why should we? Although I recognise the concept of the reduced package, we should all be able to actually 'pass' at the prescribed level.

No. That's what the NHS is for. Why should the Army have to cough up for my bad teeth if I can't be arrsed to deal with them myself.
 
#20
I dont think this review will see past 2015, it also wont be some defining moment in the history of the TA "Grandpa were you in the TA during the big review of 11', " I do expect a number of CSS units to disband, more than you think, i'd guess. One thing is for sure, there's nothing anyone on here can do about the forthcoming changes. So why dont you do as Im doing, wait until the review materialises, find out what it means to me and roll with it.
 

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