Strategic Review of Reserves

A Strategic Review of the UK's Reserve Forces, which has looked at how the Reserves can be better organised, trained, equipped and supported, has been published today, Tuesday 28 April 2009.

The review was launched in April 2008 to reflect the changing demands faced by our reservists in recent years.

As well as preparing to defend the country in the event of a major conflict, reservists are now required to work as an integral part of the UK's military force on operations and many have deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq with 2,000 currently serving in these theatres in roles varying from fighting on the front line to medical support.

The review, which has been the first ever focused specifically on UK Reserves, produced seven central findings, including improving training, creating clearer command structures and increasing the use of individual reservists' skills. These seven recommendations break down into 80 more detailed recommendations.

The Government has accepted all seven of the recommendations, around half of which are being implemented immediately with work underway to address the others.

For more details:

MOD News item (includes MinAF's statement):

The Review Documents (summary report, full report, presentation):

MOD public facsheet on reserves:

This was posted by the Ministry of Defence. You can find a copy at:
Ahh of course, more cuts then.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Ord_Sgt said:
Ahh of course, more cuts then.
This is just a rehearsal for the Review of the Regular Forces :(
Auld-Yin said:
Ord_Sgt said:
Ahh of course, more cuts then.
This is just a rehearsal for the Review of the Regular Forces :(
I fear you're right. I reckon we will lose one, at least, big ticket project. Trident replacement or the carriers maybe?
Trying to sift through it but so far it seems like a lot of good phrases and not much real detail.

Interesting new terminology throughout "Defence needs to" "Defence must" as opposed to "MoD to"

One thing that does leap out is the need to stategically rationalise the TA/Res Estate. So we can safely assume some savage cuts to number of TACs and facilities. One has to question the rationale of selling off prime real estate when the housing , retail and business markets are at rock bottom.

I'm sure the devil is in the detail and if anyone can speed read it quicker than me - please post details. I thought my topic title was better and it was first!
I'm interested to see more details about the ability to go from Reserve to Regular and vice versa.

At the moment it is a ball ache, you can deploy on FTRS/Op Tour and be "kept on" afterwards on a Regular contract if it is offered to you but other than that you have to go through the whole recruitment process once more.

Now that the TA recruit fills out the same forms, has the same Medical and undergoes the same Recruit selection as the Regulars is it really appropriate to go through the whole thing again? The TA Soldiers are already on JPA so why is it not possible to walk into an AFCO, have an interview, have a medical and maybe do RSC or a BARB if the job they're looking at doing requires it. At the moment it actually takes longer to join the Regs if you are currently serving TA!

As an example, we had 2 lads come back from Iraq with a Reg Bn. Both lads did exceptionally well and were fully intergrated to the Rifle Coy they were with doing the same job fighting in the same contacts. They got offered to stay on with the Bn just as they were ending their tour, at the time they said no, but within 2 months of being back in the UK they decided that actually they wouldn't mind a Regular career after going back to Civvi Street. So they walk into an AFCO and get told they'd have to do all the recruitment process and the full 6 month CIC - suffice to say they both joined the Fire Service instead!
Whiskey_60 said:
At the moment it actually takes longer to join the Regs if you are currently serving TA!

... they walk into an AFCO and get told they'd have to do all the recruitment process and the full 6 month CIC - suffice to say they both joined the Fire Service instead!
That is madness... pure madness. They can go to war, but then have to do CIC. Bonkers.
Sorry Harrumph I didn't see yours earlier. You're right though, the title is probably more appropriate.
I'm going to shamelessly recycle part of my comment from the TA forum:

Were I an employer, seeing the Govt set out their solid commitment to using the TA at employer's expense to compensate for government underfunding of the regular forces, I'd be having a long, hard think about my recruitment and retention policies.

And that is the heart of it. That is the area on which the Reserves will stand or fall. But you wouldn't think so from the report.

Once you cut through the unnecessary waffle and management buzzwords (whatever happened to Defence Writing ?) you find a mixture of motherhood statements and the bleeding obvious. Now, to be fair at least it shows they've been listening.
Can you give us a precis of your conclusions Oots?
Oots - defence writing? It may have been drafted by the military but the civil servants will have got their paws on it before final edit.

To whit, one of my favourite things squirreled away for amusement is the Jargon Generator - apologies for formatting going all wrong but it may amuse.

The Jargon Generator

Do you feel jealous of those who seem to be able to produce meaningless but impressive sounding jargon with ease? Do you wish to blind your friends with science and have them reach for the dictionary at the mere mention of your name? Here is an instant device designed to enable anyone, no matter how lucid their natural style, to turn out instant gibberish.
This is how the generator works: think of any three digit number, then select the corresponding buzzword from each column below. For example, 732 produces synchronized reciprocal capability – is this what the SCIC delivers every day.
0 Integrated 0 Management 0 Options
1 Total 1 Organizational 1 Flexibility
2 Systematized 2 Monitored 2 Capability
3 Parallel 3 Reciprocal 3 Mobility
4 Functional 4 Digital 4 Programming
5 Responsive 5 Logistical 5 Concept
6 Optional 6 Transitional 6 Time-phase
7 Synchronised 7 Incremental 7 Projection
8 Compatible 8 Third-generation 8 Hardware
9 Balanced 9 Policy 9 Contingency
With this simple tool you can produce 10x10x10 = 1,000 totally meaningless obfuscations.
The jargon generator originally appeared in the Financial Times, courtesy of one Henry Harrington, who believes it was originally written by a Philip Broughton, but he has no further details.
Ord_Sgt said:
Can you give us a precis of your conclusions Oots?
Erm, that bit about employers was my main one ... there's just no connection to reality. Implementation is just ignored. It's a collection of wishlists from the regs and known problems seen to date with the solutions presented being a selection of magic boxes with "A miracle happens inside!" painted in the side. Sorry, I mean a recommendation for X to perform a study / generate a policy / ensure consistent branding / buzzword the buzzword in accordance with buzzwordy buzzword and so on.

And there's a fair amount of verbal gymnastics employed to avoid stating in clear that both the regular and voulunteer military are too small for current commitments. Or that using your Reserve to meet peacetime commitments leaves you nothing else for the unexpected.
Sorry Oots, I haven't had time to read it all yet, I didn't mean to ask a bone question :)

So all in all its laying the ground work for cuts of money and capability. Well of course its not like there are any threats out there other than terrorism... :roll:
Having been at both ends of the Reservist/employer seesaw, I can confirm what an utter nightmare the MoD make the process of releasing a Reservists. Few employers outside of the Public Service or those with a military background would willingly go through the process.

The paperwork and hoops employers have to jump through is the stuff of very, very, bad, drug induced dreams. As a reservist I had to help and guide my employer through the whole process - they would not be keen to do it again.

Back on thread - looks like 2,000 cut in R Signals, reduction of civil contingency type ops and massive sales of any properties that might raise a few bob. LibDem spokesman seemed to agree there was too little detail (probably best if Bob Aintworthmuch is leading review).
Lots of words and not much detail

Edited speech that boiled down to a reduction of numbers to 25,000, lumps of the (admittedly underused) estate being sold off and much use of the word "Augmentation"

Signals appears to have fared badly: 2000 going because their "technology has become obsolete"?


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Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I am unsure the meaning or implications of the first finding:

In future the Reserve is likely to be needed for augmentation as much as for maximum effort, and be used more effectively to connect with the nation.
Does this mean that the TA will move more towards the same as the RAuxAF and to an extent the RNR in that they are designed to supply individuals to fill specific roles?

If so will that mean, in the long run, a move towards a cadre of TA reservists who will be trained in a role and used to fill gaps? By this I mean that while a person may join a particular unit such as 6SCOTS, that unit would only be an administrative and training unit holding a pool of trained infantrymen ready to deploy as, where and with whichever unit requires. The same would apply to all arms.

I realise that to an extent this is what is happening but this Review seems to be formalising it spelling a complete rethink on how we view our reservists. Will this affect recruitment?

Lots of questions and really just putting my thoughts down without looking for substantive replies.
Auld Yin

I think you are spot on. It looks like the role of the TA will be to augment Regular Units and Deployed formations. That effectively spells the end of the formed deployable TA unit unless the review of the Regular Army sees he creation of more deployable formations with dedicated TA units.

I think there is merit in this thinking and rationale however I cannot really see the creation of more formations. Yet again I doubt there will be any joined up thinking because there will be cherry picking of saving measures.

In many ways this will be more of a merging of TA and other Reserves - the long-term effect on the TA could be huge (and IMHO adverse).
The papering over of the cracks continues.

The TA was meant for national emergencies, not continual deployment because the Regular army is well understrength for the job that it is supposed to do.
tich23 said:
Oots - defence writing? It may have been drafted by the military but the civil servants will have got their paws on it before final edit.
This wasn't written by Army Officers or Civil Servants , that's what the Consultants are for - Atos Consulting, a French managment consulting company

I reckon this is the basis for a rumour I'm hearing about the absorption of TA sub units into reg units as an extra company/ squadron.

Combat indicators are the recommendations on the :- volunteer estate ( no the defence estate as that would include the regular army stuff), poor JPA compliance, preference for Regular COs of TA units, but the big one is the criticism of the complexity of the TA CoC.

Last generation of TA Majors and above.
The TA has never been safe in the hands of the Regular Army. That's why for many years the TA budget was kept separate from the Regular budget. It was a big mistake when in 1999 someone let them take over the TA budget.

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