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Territorial Army soldiers to be ordered to fight

Command_doh

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
At present, overseas service for the part-time soldiers is voluntary, with only half of the TA's 25,000 troops making themselves available for active service.

Instead of being asked to volunteer for Iraq and Afghanistan, part-time soldiers will in future be warned that they may be asked to resign if they fail to respond to a call up.

A review has now been launched which is expected to slim the service down to around 15,000 men and women, who will all be required to go on a tour of duty at least once every six years.

Ordered by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the review is designed to ensure a slimmed down, more professional TA in future.

In a BBC interview, Sir Jock Stirrup, Chief of the Defence Staff, denied that some members of the force, which is in its centenary year, were more interested in showing off in military uniforms than fighting for their country - but insisted everyone in the TA should be prepared to serve.

He said: "I don't think we've got very many of [that] kind of people ... any more, if any. They are an integral part of our force structure.

"If you join the TA you're joining the military and you take on the responsibilities that the military assumes."

Troop levels in the Territorial Army fell rapidly in the years immediately following the invasion of Iraq, when nearly 7,000 TA soldiers were called up to join in Operation Telic, with many "weekend warriors" deciding that they did not want to put their lives on the line.

Around 6,000 left between 2004 and 2005 alone, and the TA is now at its lowest level since it was founded in 1907.

Before the invasion, recruitment had been running at around 150 a month, but this dried up after the war, as civilians were unwilling to sign up to participate in an increasingly unpopular conflict which involved the real possibility of loss of life.

The situation has been compounded in recent months as the conflict in Afghanistan has entered a particularly bloody phase. Last month three members of the TA were killed when their armoured Land Rover was hit by a roadside bomb.

The incident was the biggest loss of life for the TA since the second world war. Seven members of the TA have been killed in Afghanistan and five in Iraq since 2003.

There are now 850 reservists serving overseas, including 700 members of the TA, more than at any time since the Korean War.
Source

I remember when we got the brown envelope for Telic 1 and heard that 10-15 of our Regiment had resigned as soon as it was clearly going to happen. I'll be interested to see if the 'Rank structure preservation' allows the old sweats and the fat knackers/biff chitters a free pass again though, as there were a shed load of those skiivers who managed to pull a dodge last time.

TBH I thought it was a bit surprising that 'intelligent mobilisaton (a misnomer if ever I heard one) allows so many noobs and people withou a tour behind them to opt out. I can't see there being that many left to switch the light off this time around though. Question is - does it prove that National Service is now a necessity for us? Iraq is (allegedly) winding down, but Afghanistan will roll on for donkey's years. Another thing - how can the powers that be guarantee our jobs if it becomes more likely that we HAVE to go in support of continuing OP's every few years rather than 'once in a blue moon'?

That said, I would go again if compulsory - called. I am just not in a rush to volunteer.
 
#2
The story raises quite a few questions.

If it's necessary for the TA to augment the Regular Army at a rate of one tour every six years, is this an admission that our standing Army is under-resourced in terms of manpower?

Given that few employers will be chuffed at losing their staff for 10 months in every six years, will the TA soon be composed of the unemployed? Wouldn't those few who will be left be better off actually joining the Regular Army? Think of the money that would be saved by closing all the TACs and sacking everybody above the rank of LCpl.

And a further gripe - it's TA Centenary Year FFS. Couldn't the Telegraph at least get the year of foundation of the TA (or TF, more accurately) right? There have been enough clues.
 
#3
If some TA personnel, the majority of whom do sterling work like their regular counterparts, refuse to do as their regular counterparts do then is it wrong to weed out the minority who choose to wear the uniform but refuse to answer "the call to arms"? I think not.

Edited for mongish vocabulary.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
I believe that the Sunday Times first touted this story in March and it was subsequently revealed to be utter horlicks.
Sunday Times - March 16th 2008

OldSnowy's post
OldSnowy said:
Going right back to the first post in this thread, from The Sunday Times, I see that they have now published this on their website:
www.timesonline.co.uk/...581564.ece

Times OnlineMarch 19, 2008

Letter of response from King's College London

Dear Sir,

The King's Centre for Military Health Research, at King’s College London, exists to provide independent, unbiased and authoritative data on the physical and psychological well-being of members of the UK Armed Forces. Michael Smith today (Sunday Times, 16th March page 2)suggests that these data are being used by the Ministry of Defence to decide which members of the TA should be retained, and which should not.

Michael Smith could not be more wrong in making this assertion. All the information that we receive from the many thousands of both Regular and TA personnel who have already taken part in our study is held in strict confidence. It is and always will be impossible for the MOD or anyone else to identify any single individual. This fundamental principle underpins the trust between researchers and those whom we study, and helps to explain how we are able to gain good rates of participation in our research projects. Smith’s error undermines that trust.

We are pleased that the overall results of our research have led to changes in policy on Reservists, and will continue to do so; for example, publication of our research led to the provision of new support and welfare services for reservists once they had finished their deployments.

Signed by the two co-directors

Professor Simon Wessely and Professor Christopher Dandeker

In other words, the Times story was nonsense - yet it is still being 'quoted' in the media, now in relation to the Review. This from Sky News now:
news.sky.com/skynews/a...10,00.html

"A survey being compiled by King's College London will be used to work out the future structure of the part-time units that have proved invaluable in shoring up over-stretched regular battalions."
 
#5
I was a stab before I joined up. At that time (1985/86) the TA hadn't been on active service since the Second World War and most of the guys in it thought that situation would carry on forever. Although a lot of them were army-barmy, there was a sizable minority that regarded the TA as a drinking club and a chance to earn some extra beer tokens. I don't think that those guys would last now with the additional commitment being placed on the services. Quite right, though. They take the money the same as the regular forces. They should be getting called up. That's the whole point of having a territorial force.
 
#6
Full script of interview here

ANDREW MARR: And in terms of who's going out to fight there, the stories about the Territorial Army, the TA, suggesting that people who have joined up because they like what they do at the weekends and they like wearing the uniform, are going to get a shock, because they are going to absolutely have to go out and fight and take, take their turn in these dangerous and difficult theatres.

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: I don't think we've got very many of the kind of people you describe any more if any. Because they've been doing that for years now. But they are an integral part of our force structure.

ANDREW MARR: But if you join the TA you're going to have to go out and fight in a, in Afghanistan or Iraq?

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: If you join the TA you're joining the military and you take on the responsibilities that the military assumes.

ANDREW MARR: All right. Sir Jock Stirrup thank you very much indeed for joining us.

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: Thank you.

INTERVIEW ENDS
It hardly adds up to the Telegraph story - although the fact Andrew Marr even asked that question (what are all these 'stories'?) is as good a reason to change the 'TA' name as you'll get.
 
#7
today i'm going to go in and tell my boss i aint deploying and i refuse to fight however i will shinf and kick off come 4 weeks time when i dont get selected...

it don't work for the regs so why should the TA have an option??? Lets do a culling across both and lose the wasters....
 
#8
xmal said:
They should be getting called up. That's the whole point of having a territorial force.

Wasn't the point of the TA when it was formed to provide terrotorial defence (i.e. defend the british isles) and to be used only in an emergency?

(I don't know the original "mission statement" if there ever was such a thing - but I'm guessing)

Using them on a regular, or semi-regular, basis seems to go against that ethos :roll: - regardless if this "compulsory mobalisation" talk is true or not...
 
#9
Sounds like another smoke and mirrors exercise by some of those within "One Eye's" Ministry of Disinformation, encourageing the divide and rule school of not dealing with the real issue, i.e. The the consistant underfunding and poor resourcing of HMF, not to mention the seeming determination to destroy HMF by reducing them too a people miltia.

Or am i being cynical... My question is why is The Times rehashing a story that had previously poo poo'ed! Just after 'Part Time Swiss' annouce's that the CDS is extended in post!

Tin foil time or are the gubiment just a bunch of c**nt**g snakeoil sellers.
 
#10
bensonby said:
xmal said:
They should be getting called up. That's the whole point of having a territorial force.

Wasn't the point of the TA when it was formed to provide terrotorial defence (i.e. defend the british isles) and to be used only in an emergency?

(I don't know the original "mission statement" if there ever was such a thing - but I'm guessing)

Using them on a regular, or semi-regular, basis seems to go against that ethos :roll: - regardless if this "compulsory mobalisation" talk is true or not...
Regardless of ethos, the TA exists to support the regular Army. If they are required to deploy on Operations then they should be getting on with it.

By the way, how do you classify the 'defence of the British Isles'? By virtue of the fact that the British Army has been deployed, then it is safe to assume that we have been deployed under the auspices of British Defence Policy. The clue is in the title. Or do you regard the Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as something else? Are AQ and Terri posing a threat to British security? If your answer is 'yes', then IMO there is an 'emergency'.

Good on those TA lads who get out there and do the job, my hat is truly 'doffed' in your general direction.
 
#11
I believe that when they were first formed they consisted mainly of ex regulars and were therefore well trained and more than able to act when called back to the colours.
 
#12
Dilfor said:
Full script of interview here

ANDREW MARR: And in terms of who's going out to fight there, the stories about the Territorial Army, the TA, suggesting that people who have joined up because they like what they do at the weekends and they like wearing the uniform, are going to get a shock, because they are going to absolutely have to go out and fight and take, take their turn in these dangerous and difficult theatres.

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: I don't think we've got very many of the kind of people you describe any more if any. Because they've been doing that for years now. But they are an integral part of our force structure.

ANDREW MARR: But if you join the TA you're going to have to go out and fight in a, in Afghanistan or Iraq?

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: If you join the TA you're joining the military and you take on the responsibilities that the military assumes.

ANDREW MARR: All right. Sir Jock Stirrup thank you very much indeed for joining us.

SIR JOCK STIRRUP: Thank you.

INTERVIEW ENDS
It hardly adds up to the Telegraph story - although the fact Andrew Marr even asked that question (what are all these 'stories'?) is as good a reason to change the 'TA' name as you'll get.

So it becomes PTRS

Part Time Regular Service.
 
#13
cheggarsRE said:
today i'm going to go in and tell my boss i aint deploying and i refuse to fight however i will shinf and kick off come 4 weeks time when i dont get selected...

it don't work for the regs so why should the TA have an option??? Lets do a culling across both and lose the wasters....
The legislation is already in place. This idea of "voluntary-only" mobilisation is a statement of ideals and comes with the caveat that the situation can change. Less implicit is that the stuation can change with immediate effect. It doesn't need to go through the courts because the legislation allows for immediate compulsory mobilisation.

Deferral is a fair one, but it needs to be understood that defer means "put off until another time" rather than "put off indefinitely." Defer once (with good reason), by all means, but the second call is that other time. If someone's situation is such that they doubt that they could rearrange their lives given an additional 6 months of notice, then they should indeed reconsider their membership of the TA.

BUT (and this is the crunch), the pivot is whether the mobilisation is compulsory. If mobilisation is voluntary, then why should anyone be pilloried for not putting his hand up? To compare the situation to Regular Service, if somebody were on a career-essential course when his unit deployed at short notice, would he be castigated if he didn't immediately write to his CO demanding that he be taken off the course and returned to his unit? I think not.

Let's keep things in perspective. To a Regular, deployment could be considered career enhancement. To a TA soldier, it's the opposite and, for many, could be the route to unemployment and unemployability.

If the Regular Army is so short-staffed that it can't function, then the TA can provide the additional manpower via compulsory mobilisation. If the Army isn't quite so short-staffed, to the extent that it offers places for voluntary augmentation, then there shouldn't be gripes if people don't take up the offer.

So many of the arguments talk about TA soldiers "refusing" to deploy. Are there really so many instances of them volunteering to be mobilised, then having second thoughts? Or is it merely that it's perceived that failure to volunteer is walting?

The TA soldier is prepared to give up more than his Regular counterpart, but only if it's necessary. The continuation of voluntary mobilisation rather than compulsory is the indicator that it isn't yet necessary.
 
#14
Employers are going to love that. "Hey boss, just to let you know that I can only work for you for five out of every six years, thereby reducing my chances of promotion and extra expense for you, and for the first six months back after a tour I will not be quite right in the head until I can get round being back in civvy life again after I got demobbed within 24 hours of leaving theatre."
"Well thank you for letting me know. Your fired, we don't want your sort here."

Is HMG going down the road of the National Guard whom i have just spent two weeks with and found out that if you were even considered for promotion in your civvy life and you get called up, by law, when you come back you have to be promoted? No? Of course not, this government actually caring for it troops?? :roll:
 
#15
tafft said:
I believe that when they were first formed they consisted mainly of ex regulars and were therefore well trained and more than able to act when called back to the colours.
You're confusing Reserve and Territorial. Over the last 30 years, the distinction has become somewhat blurred by the frequent misuse of the the term "Reserve", more so now that the TA is no longer considered an army in its own right.
 
#16
EX_STAB said:
So it becomes PTRS

Part Time Regular Service.
can't do that...it would remove the whole 'casual labour' arguement that the MOD use to impose different working conditions on the TA than the regs.

But to be honest I think any form of compulsory mobilisation outside of 'emergency mobilisation' would turn the TA into a part-time force rather than a casual labour force, as casual labour implies ability to choose when to work. This is partly backed up by the HMRC website which suggests (in my reading anyway) that any 'control' over when and where a person is employed moves them from being 'self employed' (or casual I assume) to employed.

Could be an interesting side effect the MOD hadn't thought of.

S_R
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
This 'story' is utter bollix. Even most of the 'facts' in the story are rubbish - I really don't know where to start, it's so full of rubbish.

This 'news' shown to be nonsense when first run in March, and the situation hasn't changed. The Strategic Review of the Reserve Forces hasn't even finished taking evidence yet, let alone reached any conclusions. That won't happen until much later this year.

This is a simple example of pish-poor 'journalism' and another indication that the Torygraph is turning into a broadsheet Daily Mail.
 
#18
Rings a bell of the issue in NI during the troubles where people who wanted to fight the Russians in a war which mightn't come could join the TA and those who wanted to do more immediately relevant soldiering joined the UDR...

Am not being wholly serious :twisted: but there's a kernel of truth in this maybe?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#19
xmal said:
I was a stab before I joined up. At that time (1985/86) the TA hadn't been on active service since the Second World War and most of the guys in it thought that situation would carry on forever. Although a lot of them were army-barmy, there was a sizable minority that regarded the TA as a drinking club and a chance to earn some extra beer tokens. I don't think that those guys would last now with the additional commitment being placed on the services. Quite right, though. They take the money the same as the regular forces. They should be getting called up. That's the whole point of having a territorial force.
My bold Territorial Force, defend the Crown Territories, now when did some shoitehole of a sandpit become bracknell or basingstoke?
 
#20
Jeepster said:
Rings a bell of the issue in NI during the troubles where people who wanted to fight the Russians in a war which mightn't come could join the TA and those who wanted to do more immediately relevant soldiering joined the UDR...

Am not being wholly serious :twisted: but there's a kernel of truth in this maybe?
At the risk of upsetting people, it could also be that some of those who joined the TA didn't want to be used as paramilitary police without the benefit of a union....

Edited because I hadn't realised that the quote referred to part-time recruitment in NI only.
 

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