TA - Professional? A free-for-all thread

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by putteesinmyhands, Oct 18, 2008.

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  1. Rather than clog up other threads, vent your feelings here.

    Why the NAAFI? Where else? There's no point in hiding.

    Rules? Just one. Honesty. Only post what you believe to be the case. No Devil's Advocates, no wind-ups, no "my mate said that he'd seen..", just your personal belief based on your own experience. General perception is allowed, provided that it is a general perception and not one that you've just made up to suit your line of argument.

    My view:

    TA soldiers generally have a very professional attitude to soldiering - but this is not necessarily the same as an attempt to emulate the Regular soldier. If they wanted to emulate the Regular, the chances are that they would have joined the full-time Army.

    They join/remain because they feel that there is a need for them - either active (to fill roles in current conflicts - the modern TA soldier) or passive (to be readily available in times of crisis - the obsolete(?) Cold War Warrior). Cards on table, I'm of the latter sort - I'd probably find it hard to join the TA in the modern era because of the political climate, but choose to remain because of habit, loyalty and a shortage of up and coming replacements.

    What constitutes professional? In my belief, it's the determination to be as good as facilities allow. It's attitude as much as ability. TA training will never be as well-rounded as that of the Regular. Time constraints and limitations of training prevent it. But the TA soldier will make the most of what is available. If, as an augmentee, this isn't sufficient to allow him to drop seamlessly into a Regular unit, it's not his fault.

    The Cold War was a good time for the TA soldier. There was one scenario. There was one venue - and that was not dissimilar to the one that he trained in. His Annual Camp comprised an exercise in his likely deployment area. He would mobilise with people who knew his strengths and weaknesses. The repetition of relevant training meant that he could be on a par with his Regular counterpart. His motivation was that of defence of what he held dear - family, country, society. Despite unfounded disparaging comments from the Regulars, he knew that, in his domain, he was as good as his counterparts, Regular or Territorial. He had one job to do and could be expected to train in that job for his entire career. (In those days, the most suitable person was selected to fill a vacancy, as a result, the rank structure was all over the place). But he was professional.

    In the current climate, the TA soldier trains for Middle Eastern warfare in a European environment. He trains with people who, it is likely, will not be with him if he deploys. His training is no longer up to date - ongoing conflicts result in new tactics and equipment - the tactics aren't filtered down fast enough and the new equipment isn't available for training. Budgets are trimmed down to allow for this equipment to be available in theatre, but aren't sufficient to provide equipment for TA training.

    The One Army Concept encourages TA emulation of the Regular Army. The Regular system is one of working progressively upwards - you gain qualifications to do a job, you work in that job, you gain qualifications to do the next job and so on. It's great in a system where outside influences bend to allow the soldier time to attend courses (some potentially lengthy) and will result in a well-rounded soldier. The TA doesn't have the time to do this. Yes, the TA JNCO/SNCO may well have a smattering of courses under his belt, but he won't have as many and he won't have had the opportunity to practice them - and never will. He will, however, strive to do his allotted job to the best of his ability. The continued existence of the TA (admittedly, perhaps, with the assistance of PSIs) is testament that the system is still working. There surely can't be much doubt that the TA soldier has a professional attitude - he's making the most of limited training and making it work.

    If the TA soldier, on mobilisation, is found to be lacking in some respects, bear in mind that this isn't down to a lack of professionalism - it's lack of opportunity. But look closer - he has gained his military skills in about 10% of his time. His civilian skills could be equally as useful, and could well be a rarity in a deployed unit. He may be ranked a Private but his overall knowledge could be on a par with Colonels or higher.

    Sadly, it's the tendancy of the Regular Army to recognise a person's worth based on his rank (understandable, because that's the method of progression in the Regular Army), rather than looking at the merits of the individual who, in the case of the TA, may merely be blighted by the inconvenience of course dates to allow the opportunity of putting a tick in the box.

    One Army - Regular and Territorial - BOTH professional.