TA SNCO/Officer: the honest truth

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Mr Benn, Jan 30, 2006.

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  1. In light of the way in which the TA has been used since 2003, are we in leadership positions misleading ourselves and our blokes?

    I know that most people (including me) are excited by the prospect of future operational deployments and (I hope) an increase in the status of the TA. But - and this is the killer -

    (a) we are not being properly funded so as to prepare our blokes adequately for deployment in the roles they will be set; and
    (b) they are most likely to be called up as individual replacements rather than with the rest of their Company, Squadron or whatever - which (in a warry operational context) is a much tougher thing to deal with than being called up with all your mates.

    Do we have a duty to be honest about this?

    I think we do, of course. The trouble is, we don't know yet (or I don't, at least) what FAS (TA) will say, which means that there isn't much useful information to pass on yet. Still, I think the job of being an officer/SNCO in the TA is about to get even harder, even less like what the adverts make you think it is like, and possibly more dull if it turns out that it's only our blokes who ever deploy and that we'll have to spend all our time training in the knowledge that we're unlikely ever to put it into practice in the way we have trained. But the hardest thing will be meeting our duty of care to our blokes, given the funding restrictions and the way they'll deploy.

    Call me paranoid, but I do have the feeling at the moment that under FAS (TA) the TA is about to get soundly knobbed. We'll be asked to become more and more like the regular Army but still paid for a max of 35, or 50, or whatever MTDs per year: despite spending on average three unpaid hours per weekday on PT, admin and paperwork. We also seem to be about to lose the autonomy of action which was one of the best things about being in the TA: everything from marketing to recruiting to recruit training seems to be in the process of being centralised and put under regular control. TA officers and SNCOs will become more and more like low-level implementers with ZERO input on official decision.

    In the rush to seize parity of esteem and the possibility of adventure, we should not lose sight of the fact that as the job of the TA draws ever closer to that of the regular Army, the SNCOs and officers of the TA will assume an ever-greater obligation to battle on behalf of their blokes.
  2. msr

    msr LE

  3. My (vaguely) considered opinion is that the significant move in the next few years will be towards the TA as a pool of IRs without specific special to arm affiliation. It's been said elsewhere (by me and others) that, as you quite rightly point out, the mobilised role of the TA soldier is going to be IR in a predominantly PSO environment. Why then are the beancounters going to continue to fund special to arm training of units and sub-units. If the fit for mobilisation troops are only ever going to fill jnr ranks roles then they can be put through a, for example, HGV course immediately prior to deployment with the RLC GS Regt which they are going to increment.

    Seniors and Officers become administrators and facilitate the low level training of their soldiers, not as infanteers, but as Mod 3 qualified, trained soldiers without a trade who are perpetually awaiting mobilisation and special to arm training.

    Just a thought.
  4. MrBenn - spot on again. I agree with the moderator that this was raised in other threads but nothing really came of it. Couple of points

    1. Officers - rarely get selected for ops, and therefore end up commanding a formation with no expertise, but with seniors and soldiers who have done ops and know the proper way to do things, and look after soldiers. Causes long-term problems.

    2. Seniors - there seem to be more opportunites for seniors on mobilisation but I have seen many who are STILL class 2 tradesmen which does not happen in the regs. I know the TA tightened up but I have seen SSgts and WO's who dont know one end of a radio from the other. looks bad for the soldier and their unit. Things are better for seniors, and most seniors do run their units.

    3. Soldiers - agree totally (and I know Colonels who agree) that mobilisation should be by unit / troops etc, as it provides better long-term cohesion and better after-care.

    Training is still done the TA way, which is vastly different from the way it is done on mobilisation, and by the regs. TA cannot get out of old habits and modernise, because of the restrictions on MTD's etc. Little wonder that the majority of the regs hate the TA.

  5. So FAS(TA) is still happening is it? Wonder when that announcement was going to be? Sure it should have been by now. All gone awfully quiet since the grown ups started number crunching and even more so since the scale of HERRIC became known....

    Please excuse me thinking out loud. :D

    which is what I am doing - pure speculation on my part for this one
  6. There was a thread on this last week. We were told that it was going to be 1st April (very apt day !!) but the threads last week seem to indicate that yet again it is being postponed. Some of us need to know so we can decide on our futures (or lack of)
  7. I know what you mean, from what I've heard, this intent to create an untraded enabler doesn't sound particularly interesting.

    Good job we don't have units on very low Notice To Move, I mean this generically trained soldier isn't gonna help them is?
  8. Merlin, our unit is so unprepared, it took us 2 months to move across the road.
  9. It seems to me that this is a particularly negative thread. I agree with the essence of the points made regarding the role of the seniors & officers within the TA, however, irrespective of the individuality of the future role and IRs, irrespective of the requirement of trade training; in my case CR2 positions and the endless requirement of Gnrs & Ldrs going 'green', the big picture outweighs these issues.

    We still are allocated MTDs, we are still allocated training weekends away from specialist skill to arms cses and we still maintain a sqn/coy structure within our respective units. Therefore the key to maintaining the TA in a similar vein as to when and why you joined is entirely up to each of us as managers. Instead of complaining as to the imbalances within the system, exploit it as much as possible and get out there - develop the team ethos, provide imaginative and enjoyable training and find that enthusiasm that seems to have disappeared. Our soldiers are still the same breed that have always come through the door and whilst we may be concerned over future structures et al, they don't have that big picture and ultimately don't give a fig. Do them justice - without them there are no more weekends or future.
  10. msr

    msr LE


    I don't think you have grasped the magnitude of the changes which are being forced onto the TA.

    With no defined mobilised role for officers and seniors, guys and gals being mobilised as IRs, not giving them relevant trade training; what do we have left?

    Not the TA that I (and I suspect may others) joined.

  11. Forrard, welcome to ARRSE, nice to see the Yeomanry grasping this new technology thingummy. My word, you'll have diesel engines in your CVR(T) next :D

    Please don't take a single thread out of context. Have a look at what the members of this site are doing for Recruiting and Retention.

    Plenty of positives in there and certainly more than enough positives to allow us a wee moan or two - especially as the wee moans are about some pretty important stuff and I happen to know that some fairly senior people will view this part of the site. Certainly, the ones I brief about it will. ;)
  12. msr,

    I believe Forrad is on one of those units that adopted the 'new' structure @ SDR. The officers and Seniors in those units only serve to train/manage the remainder into being Challenger 2 crews. The infantry were also supposed to have followed this route at SDR but didn't.

    The other part of the Yeomanry remained as formed units
  13. msr

    msr LE

    I don't know about you, but I joined up to be a leader...

  14. Thank you for your comments. I agree that the TA has changed but the key priority is still enjoyable and structured training. Whilst FAS appears to spell out doom and gloom in terms of deployable formations, these changes have come over the last 5/6 years or so. Certainly in a Yeomanry context, my sqns, an amalgamation of some of the finest yeomanry cavalry regiments, has survived since 1793 and have seen the epic times interspersed with the most awful, strangely enough another labour government in 68. The key point here is big picture. I detest the fact that I will never deploy as a formed sqn with my guys, I also despise the fact that my soldiers are spare bits of jigsaw to plug the gaps of my regular RAC regiments. I sincerely hope that senior figures are looking on and reading these threads but lets not all be filled with such despair. Another 10 or even a 100 years time when we've had another big scrap and numbers and kit will be in abundance, we'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was. I suppose the only saving grace is that champagne doesn't fall under government spending.
  15. Merlin, you might be right about Forrard's provenance; at any rate, I'm not going to contradict you on that. However, it is worth noting that soldiers and officers from the Royal Yeomanry's CR2 squadrons deployed on OP TELIC 4, with their young officers in the troop leader / platoon commander role on peace support ops, leading their own blokes. In other words, even though their officers "only served to train" they ended up on ops with formed troops to command.

    Still, I agree with Mr Benn's main point which (as I understand it) is that even if we do our best to muddle through, enjoy ourselves and produce the operational goods, we ought not to kid ourselves about the full implications of the TA aligning more closely with the regular Army. Putting aside for one moment the pure soldiering aspects of that change, it means the end of being an "amateur" manager/leader. It ought, therefore, to come with an increase in the bolshiness of TA officers and SNCOs, so that their duty of care is truly met.

    By "amateur" I am getting at the fact that many TA officers and SNCOs learn their management skills from being in the TA, rather than as managers in their civilian jobs. They concentrate on the soldiering aspects and pick up the managerial stuff as they go along. It might be time to think about "professionalising" management training within the TA.

    I can see this suggestion generating a massive yawn. And maybe it's only because I'm getting old that I can see its merit. But I think it is worth thinking about in order to ensure that we do a proper job of protecting our blokes from ending up in the sh1t.