TA Manning

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by stab, Feb 1, 2005.

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  1. It's a hot topic at the moment. Cynics would say that it's only because of the enduring mobilisation requirement and/or that overall TA numbers are on a downward slope.

    Either way, the MOD is finally and currently interested in the wide range of issues that affect "manning" of the TA in it's broadest context and appears to want to do something about it.. Now, it would be easy to simply sit back and watch what happens, but it might be better if we were to make a sensible, balanced and constructive contribution to the debate.

    We could argue that the current malaise is due to systemic changes in social attitudes. It could be because the level of mobilisation has been excessive. It could be because of the outdated and inadequate terms and conditions. It could be because of poor training, poor administration, inadequate TACs, diluted ethos, below standard leadership and command skills of Officers and SNCOs, or just simpy because it isn't fun anymore.

    Inevitably, it's probably a combination of all these and other things, and a mix that differs between TACs, Units, and regions.

    However, what do those of you that have some experience of this think? - is your TAC a let down?, are the local management poor or great?, are you properly manned and if not, how long before your critical mass is insufficient for the unit to function properly?. Is your training poor or fab?, is the PSAO innovative and dynamic or just taking full time pay for a part time job?....etc.

  2. I'm not whinging, but...

    From my experience you definately need a decent SPSI to make sure things run as they should be.

    'Too many chiefs' springs to mind. Most of our time is wasted while we wait for the bods at the 'top' to sort themselves out.

    Our TAC is a bag-o-shoite. Old, run down, basic facilities, 1 classroom, difficulty parking & nasty neighbours (slap bang in housing area), small garage. Been promised a brand spanking new one for years now, MOD have bought the land and fenced it off but we all know that it will never happen :evil:
  3. Stab - You raised all the negative influencing possibilities about TA manning, it really says it all. It would be more interesting to see the positive influencing possibilities.
  4. msr

    msr LE


    Would you like to open the bidding with your thoughts?

  5. Here's some good points... :D

    OC - Our present OC is absolutely bob-on. Very keen on training/careers/welfare. Makes a BIG difference to the average turnout.

    SPSI - Again, very good. Doesn't have the usual 'i hate the TA' attitude. Has the attitude - "any bloke who is willing to do this on a weekend after working all week is alright in my book". Gets on very well with the lads. Has booked more people on courses in his first four months than the last one did in two years.

    Very well trained JNCOs/SNCOs

    Last but not least - best mates a bloke could ask for, especially when you've all experienced the sandpit together.
  6. I hadn't intended to be negative, it's just that when you are faced with the reality of TA manning having fallen consistently across the piece for the last four years, it's natural to assume that the effects are negative - it's hardly positive!!.

    That said, my own views are that a well recruited TA unit, with some decent momentum and an esprit de corps of note is invariably only present with a dynamic OC or WO2, good environment and an involved and sympathetic PSAO/SPSI (preferably both). There's no such thing as a good Officer without a good SNCO and so perhaps it's the seniors mess that is the most important. There are clearly (and thank G*d always will be) some well recruited units and TACs. That said, the numbers speak for themselves and there are some equally poorly recruited and somewhat indifferent units.

    The key is to identify the critical issues and work on them. As for starting the bidding, how about these as some "critical" issues.....

    1. High level of leadership and command
    2. PSAOs targetted and measured by recruited strength
    3. The balance of training to fit agreed proportions - i.e. 30% adventurous training, 30% trade trg, 30% mil skills and 10% drill!.
    4. TA regs brought up to date
    5. Improved priorty on trg areas


    The opportunity to effect change is upon us - let's not waste it
  7. Many points have hit many nails here Stab. IMHO crap terms and conditions, excessive mobilisation with high % of TA soldiers being treated like sh*te, underpaid and having to fight the system for equivalent pay when called up. The call ups have hit the senior soldier/junior commander levels most, and these have suffered, which means there is a dearth of junior NCOs and senior toms to provide decent training and encouragement.

    That coupled with the cut backs in MTDs means there is insufficient impetus for JNCOS and SNCOS to plan and conduct decent trg.

    Social attitudes have changed, but we don't have trouble getting people in the door. But when they do get in, we tell them be prepared to get called up within 3 years and paid less than their civvy wage, don't expect your family to get much support, don't expect a pension or any compensation when your knees and back are f*cked from years of tabbing. Oh and don't expect to get any free education/cheap loans/society respect like the yanks.

    Other than that, STAG ON....
  8. From:


    which is worth a flick through as it is mostly on this topic

    I got spammed to inspect a (not very) local cadet detachment recently and the cadets where asking questions predicated on the basis that the TA are the equivalent of community service police people who have to phone the 'rozzas if they want to get you arrested...'!

    The view of the reserves needs to be addressed in order that those within society who might be willing to turn in are not disuaded simply by having watched theh office once and seen Gareth.
  9. [quote="Das Stab]Social attitudes have changed, but we don't have trouble getting people in the door. But when they do get in, we tell them be prepared to get called up within 3 years and paid less than their civvy wage, don't expect your family to get much support, don't expect a pension or any compensation when your knees and back are f*cked from years of tabbing. Oh and don't expect to get any free education/cheap loans/society respect like the yanks.

    Other than that, STAG ON....[/quote]

    Das Stab - I concuur about no shortage of willing recruits coming in through the door. The problem is - expectation management. All the glossies and PR bumf show soldiers doing fun things and running about - "Great" says Jo Soap "that's just what I want - I'm having some of that", so he or she strolls down to the local TAC to be told you have TAFs and then a two week basic course followed by GAPs training. If you're lucky we can get you through in a year (realistically) - then we have to trade you - perhaps another 6 months depending on trade camp etc. Then they start to lose interest and stop coming in - the flash to bang is too long

    Now I think GAPs is producing better trained soldiers - but it is seen by the crows as another hurdle and more time to be booked off. Why not increase the recruits course to 3 weeks and absorb the GAPs training into the course - that should reduce the time taken to produced a trained soldier and be more in fitting with the recruits expectations. We also get them quicker.

    Just my ramblings, but something that I have noted and commented on in my unit.
  10. The thread is asking about the reasons for the downturn in manning. Stab gives his reasons.
  11. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    OK as I have served as a reg and a stab (not a term I had heard of before becoming one) I think that in 10 to 15 years regular annual deployments will be the norm. The army is getting smaller not efficient. The men will make it efficient and only when a core of quality manpower is retained.If call ups had been widespread for GW1 then most of whats happening now would be accepted and as a nation and parents we would know what to expect. I think that perhaps as a unit or even individuals you should be able to be on an active list which all the time counts as pensionable service (be honest now we are told top make provision and how can you do that in a sandpit) rewards are important and if you feelyou need to step down to a lower level of commitment then you should be able to for up to 3 or 6 years. We would have a core of 4 weekend/2 week trained experienced personnel who could be called on if the really big ballon went up. Continuation of pensionable service for ex regs would be nice as 1 year TA for 3 months reg etc unless on scale 1 immediate readiness. Then it should match in length of deployment etc.
    You have all said it as well the unit is measured by the bums on seats or boots on Parade. I had a wonderful TA OC and god bless him he could fill a drill hall. It reminded me of the old lags left over from the 60s/70s in the regs, hard drinkers but hard workers. When he passed away we got an oddball ladder climber combined with unmotivated PSI's who were there as it was a div soft posting better than 2 years in fermanagh etc.
    Half of the problems stemmed in our unit from continous deployment to Otterburn from the south coast in coaches to be dropped by big green 4 ton helicopters into an unrealistic scenario as it was urgent to meet a deadline in the training program. I really enjoyed my time in both units but would have stayed if pension was transferable/continued, Nook camp was bulldozed and 2 week one pip wonders would recognise when they were being helped not to get stroppy.
  12. Perception being reality, are we therefore guilty of undershooting expectations to such an extent that retention is only ever likely to be successful with a few rather than the majority?.

    Are the people attracted by glossy ads the right people to take the TA forward long term?. The TA is/was a broad church to accommodate a range of different folk from all walks of life who wish to commit different amounts of time at different points in their career - is a 28 day warning, 1 in 3/4 years mobilisation culture likely to attract a broad cross section (probably not) of society?. Sadly, the TA needs a broad cross section to survive with it's current ethos intact (or does it?).
  13. The problem with extending any course to three weeks is that it becomes increasingly difficult for many people to get the time away from whatever they normally do during the week. A fortnight will give most people some time during the year to spend with their families - three weeks fairly much fills an annual holiday allowance - and then there are questions about how many employers would react to requests (rather than mobilisation notices 8O ) for such a long single block of leave.

    There are examples of nations who effectively mobilise their reserve recruits for the duration of their phase one and two training - can't yet see that happening here though.
  14. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I loved that wide mix of very talented people, I had a super coy sigs nco who was more qualified than anyone else come degrees etc, would he give up his consultancy for 4 months of heat and flies?
    Who knows, if we had the choice then it would be difficult to say no when all your mates are going even if just for the one.
    I see many old friends at Remembrance with the local TA sigs pln oops sorry it should be a sdn but most are away, and they all seem to deploy. I wonder if they get the chance to go together. We all knew that should the big russian war start we would all ahve to go, thats why the HSF existed, to sleep in our drill halls ala walmington on sea. I dont believe that the spirit has gone from the TA, If I'm wrong then units should deploy together and build that spirit again.
    looking forward to the future units could still be on a 28 day readiness
    like the old spearhead even if there were no sandpit current!
  15. msr

    msr LE

    The CCRF relies on a two week mobilisation, why not extend that to three weeks for basic training?