Re-posted from armynet by permission from the original author: I fear we may simply be rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic sundeck unless the review recognises a few realities: TA soldiers only turn up because the overall experience is fun. Not fun as in balloons and party hats, but challenging, rewarding and worthwhile. Being part of a sausage machine turning out IRs is not - once you've done a tour - fun. The utter farce that is JPA is not fun. Waiting half the evening for a DII terminal, finding that the DII password has timed out, finding out that the helpdesk is shut and that when you do ring them (from civvy job) they can't reset it there and then, they have to email it to your PSAO who prints it out and gives it to you - oh and then you have to ring them again (from work of course) to close the ticket, is most definitely not fun. Why does putting in an expense claim now take me a lot longer than it ever used to ? Why do I now have to keep a box file full of paperwork when I never used to ? What fool decided what every time I enter more than one claim I will automatically get audited ? Given the scarcity of access to JPA it's rare I enter a single claim. Every time I use the expense system at work, or get paid the right money on the right date every month it reminds me that the Army cares so little for the troops that it tolerates this utter, complete travesty. And breathe ... To get soldiers to stay for a career - you have to offer one. Concentrate too much on the short term and why bother staying more than a few years ? If the regs are happy to staff every post Cpl and above that's not a problem. The more time you require from a volunteer, the fewer you will get. Higher standards (ie MATTS) require more time. Creeping excellence is an insidious problem. Choose carefully, rather than kneejerking to higher standards. Oh, and next time you rejig the training, try requalifying the instructors before you do. The TA can't just drop everything for a fortnight course at short notice. Dislocation of expectation - we tell soldiers that they will deploy into theatre in body armour, PRR, SUSAT, driving LR Wolf and all sorts - then we train them with none of the above as none are scaled (Corps here, Inf etc may vary). Sometimes people manage to scrounge - but that hardly instils confidence that the TA is a professional organisation if the only way we can train realistically is to abuse the system. And it also makes a mockery of the "higher standards" drive. Travel - TA soldiers need to get to the TAC as quickly as possible. Centralised training is a good idea but multi-hour trips either end of a packed weekend in one of our fleet of crappy minibuses make the heart sink. Add to that a train journey to get to the TAC and the need to endure the benighted farce that is the lottery of Sunday cancellations and it is not retention positive. These are not "shut up and get on with it"issues, these are reasons people leave. Keep it local. New soldiers want to belong. Old style squads for CMS seemed to work well. Now we stuff them into a nameless, faceless one size fits all centralised regime and wonder why they feel adrift. And some drift off. If you want the TA on exercise, ask them 12 to 18 months in advance. Again and again dets get unfilled - or filled by availability not suitability - as we can't rearrange our lives at short notice. Suggestions then: Stores. Close every last clothing and webbing store. Outsource to the people who run catalogue shopping, Amazon or whoever. If I want something I order it (via ArmyNet maybe), approved by whoever, turns up at either the TAC or home. Play.Com (for example) can tell me every single purchase I've ever made, securely, online. The Army equivalent should do the same for my holdings. Ditto for publications. Issue to individuals, amendments to individuals, get them back when they leave. Common sense on vehicles. Borrow them from local units, not drive to the end of the earth because that's where the nearest minibus with the correct capbadge lives. If you want to recruit from a town, put a TAC there. Plan using a population map. Close a TAC there, watch as most of the soldiers disappear. Keeping a full suite of instructors up to speed is difficult - impossible in my experience, we scrape by, importing them as necessary. (Doesn't help when soldiers refuse courses saying they'd rather spend weekends doing what they joined to do instead of touring sub-units doing MATTS - again.) So staff ranges with people (civvies would be fine) to deliver a package or training. Turn up with kit, train, tidy up and leave - no endless hours of searching for the right amendment, taking a day off work to sort the stores out and so on.