The Times - TA struggling to recruit: interview with Major-General Ranald Munro

DangerMouse

Old-Salt
Moderator
#1
I think this article contains new information; apologies if it doesn't, in which case moderators please move it to the existing TA thread(s), and/or delete it. I thought it might be useful, a) because I think it's a new interview with Munro, and b) The Times is behind a paywall.

Territorial Army struggling to attract thousands of new recruits

Deborah Haynes, Defence Editor, The Times, 4 Mar 13

The new head of the Territorial Army admits that he is battling against the odds to recruit thousands of reservists over the next four years in a push to keep Britain’s defences viable as the rest of the military shrinks. Major-General Ranald Munro said the TA was no longer contracting but had yet to grow, with figures revealing that efforts to recruit more than 6,000 members in the year to this March look set to fall well short of target.

“I won’t deny it’s a stretch target but we have to have a target,” General Munro said of the plan to increase the fully-trained size of the TA to 30,000 by 2018 — more than one third of its current strength. “It forces us to realise that we can’t do what we are doing harder and faster. We need a step-change to make this happen. There is a paradigm shift. That target is a stretch target but the longer we leave it the harder it gets.”

With that in mind, the military is due to start Operation Fortify at the end of March or beginning of April — the name given to biggest TA recruitment drive in a generation at a time when the regular Army, Royal Navy and RAF is being heavily cut to reduce costs. Bureaucratic red tape has been shredded, meaning that anyone who wants to join can do so in a weekend instead of waiting several months for their application to be approved — a wait that had put many potential recruits off in the past. Closed TA centres might be re-opened and regular Army recruitment centres as well as functioning TA halls will be used to handle applicants wanting to become part-time soldiers.

“We need you to join an organisation that is vibrant, dynamic, growing and will become better engrained with the regular Army,” said General Munro, who works in his civilian life as a barrister in the London offices of a large American insurance company and has been a member of the TA for the past 26 years.

A £1.6 million advertising campaign to raise the profile of the TA, with television commercials showing reservists on operation in Afghanistan, has already triggered new interest. “We need to make sure we harvest that spike to make sure we keep people in the pipeline and nurture them through the pipeline so we get them out the other end,” General Munro said.

The future strength and capability of the Armed Forces at a time of severe austerity hinges on building up the reserves — a project that many officers privately believe to be impossible to achieve within the given timespan. General Munro, however, remains focused on success. “There is a mission and we have to achieve the mission. I am confident that we will get there,” he said. “If we didn’t get there, is that a disaster? No. As long as... we can draw out the line on the graph to see when we are going to meet it, we can deliver capability.”

The full-time Army, which has traditionally dismissed reservists as “weekend warriors” that lack the same skills, is due to shrink by 20,000 soldiers to 82,000 by the end of the decade. This will for the first time force them to rely on their TA partners — something that General Munro hoped would help to nurture a change in people’s mind set. “We have got to work together to generate real training and prepare to go on operations,” he said.

Plans are being considered to require regular soldiers to train at weekends alongside reservists, while TA members may have to juggle their civilian jobs with taking time out for additional mid-week training with the Army. The plan will require support from employers, given that anyone who joins the revamped TA can expect to deploy on operations one year in every five even after Afghanistan winds down at the end of 2014. Future missions could include training forces in North Africa, protecting the Falklands and — most likely — providing security inside the UK.

A White Paper on the so-called Future Reserves 2020, due to be published by the end of the spring, is expected to set out how the Government plans to encourage industry to employ members of the TA — something that has alarmed medium and small companies because of the inconvenience of effectively taking on someone with extensive outside commitments. It will also advocate an increase in the number of training days for reservists from a minimum of 27 to 40 to make the TA better skilled and more easily deployable.

These changes, however, will come into effect too late to influence the current recruitment drive, with Ministry of Defence figures showing a target for all three branches of the reserves to sign up a total of 9,346 recruits next financial year and 10,223 recruits in the year to March 2015. “It would be lovely if the whole White Paper thing and the narrative of Government was all in place but it’s not,” General Munro said. “Do we need it in place to grow the TA? No.”"

Territorial Army struggling to attract thousands of new recruits | The Times
 
#4
Bureaucratic red tape has been shredded, meaning that anyone who wants to join can do so in a weekend instead of waiting several months for their application to be approved — a wait that had put many potential recruits off in the past
Well, they can join in a weekend anyway.

It's getting them through the training pipeline that takes a bit longer.

I'm not sure about the
waiting several months for their application to be approved
isn't a bad thing anyway. Better to have a good recruit after a couple of months than a knob after a weekend.
 
#5
This sentence caught my eye ....

"The plan will require support from employers, given that anyone who joins the revamped TA can expect to deploy on operations one year in every five even after Afghanistan winds down at the end of 2014. Future missions could include training forces in North Africa, protecting the Falklands and — most likely — providing security inside the UK."

Utter, utter bollocks is my first impression. One in five ? Absent some step change in international affairs, not a chance. For a 30k strong trained strength that equates to 6k TA a year. Really ? More than for HERRICK ? I think not.

North Africa - given how broke we are I can't see us do more than send over trainers. Given that the Regs will - post Herrick - be mostly twiddling their thumbs in some UK shithole like Tidworth I can't see them giving up slots to the TA for a jolly much less calling them out en masse.

And the Falklands - will the Regs suddenly decide not to go down to break the monotony of Bulford and let the TA have a go ? I think not.

As to security within the UK, the miserable death of CCRF would seem to indicate how much civil powers think they need the Army; that is, not at all. Besides, an organisation that needs a months notice to get vehicles ordered from WFM is hardly your go to for emergencies.
 
#6
The cunning reservist plan is a work of fantasy and the Government knows it.
Yet it is one the Army has said it can deliver and should be able to if it is as capable in this area as our peers and allies. Hence my firm belief that failure will be used as evidence of a need for a damn good wire brushing of the Army which will no doubt also reduce in a cost saving.
 
#7
Apart from the TA angle, have the Government proposed changes for ex-regular reserves? Seems like the US model makes it quite difficult to ever really leave the forces.
 
#8
Apart from the TA angle, have the Government proposed changes for ex-regular reserves? Seems like the US model makes it quite difficult to ever really leave the forces.
There is a section about the regular reserves in the FR20 Consultation Paper. It says there will be a continuing need for regular reserves, but skill fade limits the period over which reservists can realistically be recalled without retraining, particularly in some specialist roles.

The paper says there are two approaches currently being examined:
1. Encouraging service leavers to join the volunteer reserves.
2. Encouraging regular reservists to keep in touch - many are lost track of.

The consultation ended in January and, as the Times article says, a White Paper will be coming out next.
 
#9
JPA is partly to blame - post discharge contact details were dropped from the JPA menu some years ago because of the cost of the software. Whether this will be included in the migration to the new platform this August is anyone guess.

Having left almost a year ago, I'd quite like to be recalled in times of national emergency; however, I'm not sure the foreign- owned company I now work for would be quite so amused.
 
#10
The paper says there are two approaches currently being examined:
1. Encouraging service leavers to join the volunteer reserves.
2. Encouraging regular reservists to keep in touch - many are lost track of.
The problem with this line of approach is that for:

1. People leaving the Army are either too old or senior for the TA structure, broken, disillusioned with the Army or wasters anyway.
2. I think many leavers purposefully drop under the radar to avoid detection. This will increase if the risk of call-up increases.

uqfegd

pp
 
#11
The problem with this line of approach is that for:

1. People leaving the Army are either too old or senior for the TA structure, broken, disillusioned with the Army or wasters anyway.
2. I think many leavers purposefully drop under the radar to avoid detection. This will increase if the risk of call-up increases.

uqfegd

pp

I think the word to note in the text is "encouraged", to actually mean that they don't feel they can ditch the RR just yet so will spend as little as possible and expect nothing.

They were not transferred to JPA as the TELIC data showed they were useless for their intended purpose, I don't see that changing any time soon.
 
#12
Mr Dave and MoD have a baldrick mark 2 'Cunning Plan'... they will nick Mr B'Liar and Mr Broone's 'Cunning Plan' for the Brit Army when in Iraq and Afghanistan.... it's called ..'Punching Above Our Weights'.....what a bunch of sad fatheads in Mod and Parliament...
 
#13
As I've said before:

1. Outline a plan to cut down the number of Regular soldiers, as they'll be replaced by a grand cohort of 30k TA / Reserves.
2. TA / Reserve fail to meet that target
3. Its obviously the fault of the TA
4. Keep new, lower Regular headcount
5. Blame the TA for not having recruited sufficient to replace Regular cuts
6. OBE for services to cost cutting.
 
#14
And if taken in the context of the future "United Kingdom Self-Defence Forces (incorporating nuclear deterrent)" makes perfect sense.
 
#15
As I've said before:

1. Outline a plan to cut down the number of Regular soldiers, as they'll be replaced by a grand cohort of 30k TA / Reserves.
2. TA / Reserve fail to meet that target
3. Its obviously the fault of the TA
4. Keep new, lower Regular headcount
5. Blame the TA for not having recruited sufficient to replace Regular cuts
6. OBE for services to cost cutting.

I reckon the current politicians plan is as follows:

1. Tell the Army to increase the Reserves post cuts delayed by HERRICK to Army,
2. Watch as Army fuckup something other comparable armies handle easily;
3. Cut top end of Army for being crap;
4. Use failure to deliver as proof that full time soldiers not worth the money and cut Regs more;
5. Repeat until Army delivers Reserves as instructed.

You'd have to be on some serious drugs to think failure to deliver will be good for the Army.
 
#16
The current process of getting people into the TA seems designed to put them off. Interviews about having an interview after filling in some paperwork. The bright idea that people are perfectly happy to travel to Glencorse for a Medical on a week day is as stupid as Cletus.....
 
#17
I reckon the current politicians plan is as follows:

1. Tell the Army to increase the Reserves post cuts delayed by HERRICK to Army,
2. Watch as Army fuckup something other comparable armies handle easily;
3. Cut top end of Army for being crap;
4. Use failure to deliver as proof that full time soldiers not worth the money and cut Regs more;
5. Repeat until Army delivers Reserves as instructed.

You'd have to be on some serious drugs to think failure to deliver will be good for the Army.


New Model Army - 50,000 strong. Any takers?
 
#19
New Model Army - 50,000 strong. Any takers?
Possible.

Particularly if, in the wake of a "deployment holiday" the reserve forces become a genuinely Saturday & Sunday plus one week a year commitment. Until the Fuzzy Wuzzies land at Dover when "'Oo do you think you are kidding Mr. Mullah?"
 
#20
Major-General Ranald Munro said the TA was no longer contracting but had yet to grow, with figures revealing that efforts to recruit more than 6,000 members in the year to this March look set to fall well short of target.
“We need you to join an organisation that is vibrant, dynamic, growing and will become better engrained with the regular Army,” said General Munro
Growing, or not growing?. It's make your mind up time, Sir.

The current process of getting people into the TA seems designed to put them off. Interviews about having an interview after filling in some paperwork. The bright idea that people are perfectly happy to travel to Glencorse for a Medical on a week day is as stupid as Cletus.....
Kit, this is already changing; that's what General Ranald is alluding to in the article.

The bit that caught my eye is this…
“If we didn’t get there, is that a disaster? No. As long as... we can draw out the line on the graph to see when we are going to meet it, we can deliver capability.”
That's what the real grown ups have been saying privately all along, and that approach is gaining traction. Since there isn't a Plan B, it isn't such a bad attitude: focus on the number, not necessarily the date. After all, how many MOD projects hit their original delivery dates?

The more interesting question is this: is 8,000 'under training' going to be enough to keep a pot of 30,000 Ph2 simmering?
 

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