March 16, 2008
TA to expel soldiers who wonât go to war
The Territorial Army is to force out thousands of weekend warriors who refuse to go to war. Defence chiefs want to turn the TA into a fully fledged fighting force of about 15,000 soldiers.
Although the target strength requirement of the TA is 42,000, the actual numbers are much lower at about 35,000 and it is haemorrhaging soldiers.
Data from a survey being compiled by Kingâs College London will be used to work out which members should go.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) wants to get rid of what it sees as weekend warriors happy to wear the uniform but unwilling to fight, a Whitehall source said.
âThe most worrying thing about the planned cuts to the TA is that a lot of those who have been prepared to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan are the ones who are leaving,â a source said.
âThey are coming home and saying, âThatâs it. Iâve done my bit, Iâm offâ. They are precisely the ones we want to keep.â
The MoD will this week announce the review of all four reserve forces: the TA, the Royal Navy Reserve, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force and the Royal Marines Reserve. A spokesman said it would focus on operations but denied that TA soldiers would be dismissed simply because they would not go to war. Some would still be required for training.
Of the 850 reservists serving on operations abroad, approximately 700 are in the TA, the highest number on overseas operations since the Korean war of the early 1950s. About 3,500 TA members employed in training will not be hit by the cull.