Review of the Reserves - what would you do?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Wingletang, May 6, 2008.

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  1. OK, so you're sitting in your office in an HQ somewhere in the UK and you have the opportunity to pen a 'paper' that encapsulates the very essence of the looming debate on the future of the Reserves.

    You're slightly confused as to the use of the word 'Reserves' which is interesting in itself (presumably this is a purple debate and encompasses the TA, Navy and RAF?) but nonetheless you have a burning desire to put fingers to keyboard to ensure that the really 'key' points (as far as you are concerned) get heard/read.

    Apart from the obvious 'the TA needs to be more Operations focused' - we could have written that conclusion before opening the TORs - what is the real nub of the issue?

    Is it perhaps a real effort to finally fulfil the promise of the 'One Army'?

    Is it TACOS?

    Is it a better method of transfer between Regular and TA - and vice versa?

    Is it the end of the TA and time to simply get on with a regular force that has part timers enbedded in the orbat?

    Is it better employment protection and subsequent liberal use of compulsory mobilisation?

    Is it to sell off the estate, close down the RFCAs, sack SaBRE, and just focus on centralised cohort training for IRs?

    or what?

    The Regular engagement in this is already up and running and unless the TA engages as well, and soon, it will get left in the wake of changes driven by regular imperatives - good or bad?
  2. Sod that - I'd be chasing the f'ing JPA clerk for my f'ing Bounty which hasn't shown up!!!

    Which is the point actually. Until they can get basic Admin sorted (we wouldn't put up with this fiasco in civvy life as someone would have been sacked), there's no hope of a review being successful.

    The priority for the Regulars is a flow of ready talent to prop up their shortfalls. The priority for only a third of the TA is to go on Ops, the other third is to act as enablers and the other third, to act as 'management'. Not all being stuck in the same third all of the time. This balance has been reached by osmosis, organically, not by design. To design a system now might miss the very essence of the TA, the 'can-do' attitude and the wealth of social benefits of being a member.

    I've said this before, and probably say it umpteens times again - it's a BROAD CHURCH. If its' anythign else, it's not the TA, it's a bloody reserve and nothing else. Join, train, Go on Ops, leave.

    Is that what they really want?
  3. Twenty three years ago when I joined, the TA was transforming in to something that the old sweats didn't like. The Drill Hall drinking club stopped and more emphasis was put into training. The annual camps in Germany became less frequent (a major recruiting tool), and interest dropped off. Look at annual camp photos from the 1980s in any TAC and it will back this up.

    Back to the present day The only threat from Ivan is when he comes over to buy football teams etc. The TA has to change again if it is to survive.

    Many posts on here show that there is already a divide in the TA between those who have done tours and those who have not. I know many current old sweats who would, I am sure would be able to contribute to Ops but have the opinion "I've volunteered once when I joined. I don't want to put my hand up to say its convenient to go, I just want someone to say it's your turn, go!"

    The Government, MOD or the British Army needs to grow a pair, with regards to the TA. Use us, put us to work. Those who can't should be rerolled possibly at an RTC, or in a support role within the UK. Or shown the door.

    Training should be longer, two weeks camp once a year is not long enough. employers (I don't know how this would work) should be given incentives for having people in the TA.

    Fitness. We have to many fat knackers who obviously need remedial PT or their jaws wired. I am not a racing snake but at 43 can pass all my MATTs. But I do train in my own time and don't expect to be paid for it.

    Possibly my longest post yet, and no sarcasm. Await incoming!
  4. It's a fair point - the training cycle was established in the 60's - maybe it's time to review this and suggest that 'camps' (or whatever we want to call them) are compulsory and longer - realistically, how else can you maintain the standards?

    Personally, I'd bin drill nights completely and go for consolidated and focused weekend training - or maybe consolidated 9 days courses/weeks say three or four times a year with 'leave' granted by employers (a bit like study leave).

    Equally personally, I wouldn't get hung up on the 'will they. won't they' debate about mobilisation - its perhaps about creating the conditions for success, not enforcing them?

    Just a thought.
  5. msr

    msr LE

    Should we not be looking at how other countries manage their reserves and seeing what ideas we can get from them?

  6. Good point, but I can think of at least two occasions where troops from my old (pre SDR) Battalion ran rings around American National Guardsmen and also Czech Conscripts.

    That said, the way we train needs to be addressed. So that the troops get more out of it, but structured in such away that they want to do it.
  7. Get rid of the FTRS officers who are currently freeloading off a gravy train.

    The rest of the TA you do a great job and us regulars appreciate what you do for us. I believe there is too much segregation and there should be more integration.
  8. Well, I would get the muppets at JPAC to work til 21.00 in the evening to help with JPA issues.

    Use the UK Op's Regiments on believe or not on UK Op's!

    give us kit that does the jobs and works, possibly buy more bowman chargers so we can use them for comms and not the worlds most expensive door stops.

    As posted before, better employer support for those who need it (I'm self employed so my employer is very keen on the TA!!)

    Etc, Etc, Etc!

  9. W,

    Camping kit was tested this weekend, went to see the most enjoyable football game for years, spoke to a bright Gills fan - hope for the best for them, a right good Dad/Daughter event.

    Could have gone to TA, plse give benefits?
  10. Ah, there lies the dark side....although it's an interesting thought.

    Where does the tipping point of commitment come? In times past, the admin worked OK, the weekends were fun, and the balance of enjoyment over sacrifice of personal time was a no brainer.

    When the admin is increasingly cumbersome and inept, where money pinching is the norm, and training is MATTS, Recruits, and queue up on a range, the 'tipping point' moves.

    This is, in a nutshell, my concern. No-one within the TA seems to be standing up to tell the 'Review Team' that there are some fundamental truths in this argument and making the life of the TA more regular centric might tick a few boxes for the Regulars but may leave them with a TA that is unsustainable and inherently uninteresting - save for those who wish to mobilise on a recurring basis but don't want to join the regulars.

    Is that the point? Is a member of the TA someone who wants to have a military element to their lives but doesn't want to join the regulars, or are they people who want to be a regular but can't for some reason and the TA is second best? They may sound the same but the 'drivers' and 'outputs' of each are very different.

    C'mon Arrsers, get your thinking caps on.....!!
  11. msr

    msr LE

    The IGTA needs to set up a team which filters the effluent which spews forth from LAND, the MOD, Capbadge Directors etc iot ensure that the effect on the TA is not over burdening the organisation and to provide a simple (TAQ?) method of informing us about current and proposed changes.

    Currently we are being driven by change, not driving it. We need to take back the initiative and ensure that as an organisation we are able to cope with the pace.

    I suspect at the moment we are not.

    P.S. For heaven's sake don't put the idea into their heads that the 4 year engagement is what is putting so many young people off joining the regulars, otherwise we will lose a large number of potential recruits.
  12. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Re JPA n ot working in civvy street. I have worked for firms that couldnt pay a flat month with no overtime even if every pay slip was in and approved. As for paying overtime they were appalling. In 13 months I had 3 corrctish pay slips and they were still wrong on allowances etc. I left, not everyone could but I had a better job offer!
    It happens outside and JPA isnt as bad as some civvy wage clerks. Stop attending and they will possibly look into it. We had a similar problem with admin in the late 80's. I organised a mini boycott of extra activities such as attending sports days and coy rugby etc. They soon learnt to buck up. At one point I told the CO no correct bounty no camp and stuck to my guns, it doesnt matter if it makes you unpopular, having principles is more important than them thinking a few words and you'll doff your cap and turn up all eager and keen!
  13. This "drinking club" crap. I joined the TA in 1977 and have never seen this in the 4 units I was in.

    Another Urban Myth?
  14. Joined 87 and have worn 4 cap badges, only one had a drinking culture/clique and that was post SDR - have since changed regts (not cap badge).

    What do I dislike about the TA??

    1. JPA - Its an utter joke, late bounty payements, pay late - not bothered about the pay but gives the impression of our employer treating us with contempt.

    2. Driving - I work all week at a computer and the last things I want to do is drive. Over the last few years driving has become one of the main thing the TA want from me (not my trade)

    3. MATTS - I sick to death of being told its a more professional test. Bounty tests were far more challenging, progresive and fun 20 years ago.

    4. Weekends clashing with major sporting events (e.g. England footy and rugby union). (Also local football and rugby league teams)

    5. Repetitive training - mostly MATTS

    6. Not spending time with family

    What do I like?

    1. Learning new skills - Well that stopped when I reached my current trade/job. Won't start again unless I commission

    2. My core TA Job - Enjoy working in Bde HQ either in TA role or as IT geek

    3. Trade Training - (as above) really enjoy seeing soldiers develop.
  15. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    I've been thinking of re-joining the TA (after 7 years out) and have been trying to way up the pros and cons myself. After a cracking weekend at the Army v navy match I had a huge list of pros....

    Unfortunatley once I got home the cons started racking up (probably the lack of alchohol).

    I've always thought the Army in the UK is stuck in a difficult position where it insists that all members are soldiers first and specialists second. This means people like myself will always struggle (old injuries etc. mean tabbing is not easy) but we may have a lot to give. I have a decent amount of experience in military engineering, weapons, aircraft and ammunition (from my civvi job) so why should I need to do the whole recruits (a year of weekends being screamed at by some snotty corporal 5 years younger than me) thing again to join in a specialist role?

    Before people scream at me, I understand the logic of why I should, but I am proposing that in a large number of specialist roles there is more of a need for brains than brawn and why shouldn't we try and poach this from civvi street.

    The TA to me seems in the ideal position to exploit this. Where else are you going to get an experienced engineer on a very good civvi wage (for example), willing to sign up as a VM, or AT etc.?

    Unfortunately I've pretty much decided that I'm too old and broken to try re-joining again (even if I could take the recruit carp again), but if the system would accept that I can't do a CFT without my right leg falling off, but that I have a huge amount of experience in a specialist field the Army might need then I'd be up for it.

    Just a few thoughts