TA and disasters - where next?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by OldSnowy, Nov 26, 2009.

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  1. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I'd be interested to find out the views of fellow ARRSErs as regards the role - if any - of the TA in disaster relief in the UK. This follows on from the Cumbria flooding, in which at least one TAC ended up under water itself, and the conincidental recent demise of the CCRF concept.

    My question is this - given that abandonment of CCRFs, is there still a role for the TA in local disaster relief, or is the role of the TA nowadays solely to supply warm bodies for Ops? I ask this as it is clear that certain Units were not happy at being asked to contribute to the flood efforts, making it plain that this is no longer a TA role, and that supplying young strong backs to Rifle Pls is.

    What's the general opinion? Are some Corps placing too much emphasis on supplying bodies for Ops, or should we be doing nothing else but supporting HERRICK, to the obvious detriment of every other aspect of the TA (particularly local credibility)?

    As a starter my view is that, while HERRICK is the absolute priority, to say, as someone did last week, that we were not getting involved in flood relief as this was not a TA task is being very short-termist. The TA Infantry were nearly scrapped entirely ten years ago, and to imagine that the current situation in Afghanistan is enough to guarantee it a longer-term future is hogwash. Local links are esssential (and will become one of the main reasons, in the future , for the very existence of the TA), and to ignore such events is a rather daft COA.
  2. To get the TA to be able to assist in disaster relief, they would need to be mobilised. Mobilisation takes a while, so by the time you had TA guys on the ground, so to speak, the disaster in question would have long passed.

    For general "clearing up crap" duties, the TA would be useful, but for specialisations (Surveying, Terrain Analysis, Structural Engineering etc), you can't beat the experience of Regulars. Even civvy specialists would be preferable.

    Furthermore, what employer would tolerate TA personnel on the books if they could randomly disappear to help out with the latest disaster?
  3. Agreed with the thrust of your comments OldSnowy. links to the communty are essential, but again (and especially in cases such as Cumbria) it is likely that many that would be mobilised for such contingency ops, are employed full-time in an associated trade or occupation. I can understand the reluctance to turn out as the "cheap labour force of choice" when it could be argued that the TA would be effectively insuring any shortfalls in the Environment Agency's remit.
  4. Ask OC38 (SC)
  5. I think part of the problem lays in the court of public opinion John and Jane council estate get flooded, tornado'd or whatever, then they expect the TA to be crashed out to help, because that's the way a lot of people see the TA, they don't understand MACP and the like.
  6. Agree it would be nice to see some kind of TA involvement. A follow up question is "what is it that the first responders cannot do, that the TA can do"?

    Once we know where the gap is, we can adjust the TA accordingly if the will is there. At present I understand that First Responders don't know what role HM Forces could play beyond highly specialist roles, and any wider TA involvement is likely to involve sandbagging or teamaking. Is this really the best use of our people?
  7. Seeing as the TA is recruited from the community it is only right and proper that they should help the community. As has been stated, if the TA Infantry think that because of the amount of operational tours that have been completed that this will save them in time of peace they need to think again. As with all members of the TA, they have to have some flexability as to what they can be employed in and it shouldnt be restricted to just emergencys. I feel there is some justification in doing community projects as in the case of 3 PWRR doing a Carole Service in Canterbury Cathedral. Finally the amount of "good PR" that would come out of something like helping flood victims not only gives the public a different view on the TA but also it will give the soldier a boost from helping someone in need. Just my view for all its worth.
  8. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Not so. All it takes for mobilisation is a Mobilisation Order signed by the correct Minister. That can - and has - been done in hours in previous cases. We are used to mobilisation taking a long time - but it does not have to :)

    TA Soldiers can be mobilised within a very short timescale indeed, if required.
  9. msr

    msr LE

    This was exactly my thoughts when I started another thread about this. There must have been days of notice about the impending floods and the amount of goodwill and PR, not to mention property which could have been saved by a concerted effort would have paid handsome dividends.

    I am also sure local employers would have been 100% behind letting guys go for a few days to help out.

  10. msr

    msr LE

    Very much so. You've answered your own question. Why do you think it isn't?

  11. msr

    msr LE

    But it isn't, it's providing a surge capacity (no pun intended). The costs of the floods in Cumbria will run to hundred of millions of pounds and result in increased premiums for all.

  12. In the 07 floods locally, I was sandbagging my house and all those around me until I was well and truly fcuked..... Some people say I’m a hero... I say I’m just a man!!

    seriously the local regiment stay put in its barracks 4 miles away high and dry, didn’t even venture out to do what it could despite the rankers wanting to come out with sandbags and landy's just to help out in whatever way they could.

    but because of the local council say they didn’t need help the OC of the regiment would let his boys out.
    and the local council did come round with a truck full of sandbags but only after the floods resided. great help!!

    So if the regs get told to stand down what sort of a disaster would it have to be for T.A to be called out?

    Just remember to the ignorant public we are plastic!! Toys just playing at the weekend! And guess what the councils are full of ignorant people with no idea of what we could do if asked.
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Presumably you mean unless they are TA soldiers and officers who do this for a living?

  14. As you say short sighted. I feel that the CCRF role was esential fo the TA to show themselves to the general public as a usefull if not essential service. The main problem was the training for the role was not the best to say the least
  15. Thats where the plan falls down. What they have needed in floods gone by is lots of young fit labourers who can be given relatively simple tasks and set to work un-supervised. This is what the military specialises in. Or atleast it used to.

    Some Bn's/Coys could have easily gathered up a Platoons strength of self employed/unemployed types and sent them up North to help out within 24hours.

    The RE/RLC/Asslt Pioneers can provide the boats and crew and before you know it you have staff assisting The RNLI in the water, The RAF/NAVY covering the air and numerous spare bods left over to assist sandbagging, putting up 12 x 12's, helping out where possible.

    The mentality now however is probably to outsource this task to the most expensive private firms or to rely on locals. They already rely on charities (Sorry The RNLI) too much as it is.