Torygraph sticks the boot in again: Relying on reservists will hobble the UK Military

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by msr, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    Relying on reservists will hobble the UK Military - Telegraph

    The premise of the cuts to UK defence spending is that the reduction in troop numbers from 102,000 to 82,000 will be mitigated by better integration of reserve soldiers and increased use of contractors. Secretary of Defence Philip Hammond recently claimed that "the reserve will be a vital, integrated component of the army". Yet, the experience of Britain’s closest allies has shown that this vision is deeply problematic and has the potential to create a much more dysfunctional armed forces for the UK.

    Or could it be that the functions currently provided by contractors will in future be carried out by reservists?

  2. I wouldn't call a succinct analysis of the problem, summarised by a realistic solution, 'sticking the boot in'.
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  3. What the authors of the article - and many others - don't get is that this isn't a bug, it's a feature. The whole bloody idea is to hobble the Army, to make damn sure we don't go anywhere any time soon.

    We had a large standing army as a legacy of NI and the Cold War; all it allowed us to do was to lose two pointless long term campaigns and piss an obscene amount of blood and treasure up the wall. And do precisely bugger all to improve the security of the UK. There is a belief that the Army is run by regular Generals who would do anything no matter how pointless to preserve Regular PIDs and who cannot be trusted to advise the PM du jour that going into places sandy with no idea what we're doing is a bad idea. Based, of course, on the perception that we have done exactly that. Twice.

    Relying on Reserves means that we will not go anywhere without comprehensive, massive, all party popular support; that is what will be needed for a long term mobilisation. Like I said, not a bug. A feature.

    And it should also be understood that any failure on the part of the Army Reserve should such an eventuality arise will be seen as a failure by the Army to sort it's Reserve out. The Reserves Review was quite clear about this; do not be naive enough to think that whining "the nasty STABs did it and ran away and it's all the politicians fault anyway" will save the Army from the blame. Indeed, the cynic might think that the Army is being set up for some radical and externally imposed reform should it fail to make A2020 work - after all, FR2020 is merely a part of the larger whole.
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  4. The article is poorly argued by mixing supposition and evidence. It is not progressive by a) not suggesting a new solution and, b) insisting on adherence to the status quo.
    OOTS - while I find afinity in what you say, I hold back full agreement on 2 factors, 1 external, 1 internal.
    Firstly, external. Whether GB likes it or not EU foreign and defence policy is starting to coalesce from the abstract and we are roped in at many levels. Choices about national posture maybe out of our hands soon.
    Secondly, your faith in a higher political strategy and oversight making choices or creating intentions to direct future capability and posture may be too optimistic.

    There is little effective public outrage on an equivalent scale to crimea or 2nd boer war to initiate a reforming momentum. Where is the modern day Haldane to pick up this torch and make the necessary changes.
    We are wallowing in a mediocre stew with little light on the horizon.
    The past form can't continue, but there is no real future alternative.
  5. I'm not even going to read it on principle. I am sick to the gills with the whinging coming out of MB to the Shitagraph. The chance to influence policy makers (so skillfully ignored when it was there) is so well and truly gone that not even a faint whiff of it exists any more.

    Just ******* get on with it - and by getting on with it I of course refer to the full-time job that no reservist could do as their V&S and SO ignoring press briefing skills would be woefully inadequate.
  6. Having not posted for a while.... I'm having a distinct "Archers" moment. Go away for months and the story-line has not moved on one iota.
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  7. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    The US (and Allies) won the initial military campaigns hands down. What no-one seemed to to was to work out how to win the peace.

    Before we invade anywhere else it would be helpful to have a fast track method for turning a failed state into a functional democracy with a growing economy and minimal corruption. And in a time scale sufficiently fast that the majority of the population of the country see siding with the coalition to be to both their immediate and long term advantage.

    But until you can win the peace, you'll win battles - not wars.

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  8. There's a review of defence policy with respect to reserves coming soon, does anyone know the date?
  9. Balls to that. The battle ain't over yet.
  10. I reckon the battle was over a long time ago. It's just that, as an institution, the Army is pathetically unable to deal with reality. No amount of waffle leaked to the Telegraph will increase budgets. The masses will not rise up and demand an extra penny on income tax so that we can preserve Regiments. The only way Regular force sizes are going is down. Future conflicts will involve SF, the odd helo on a ship, crabair in hotels and a token BRITBAT. Because that's all we will be able to do.

    Face it, the UK version of "proper soldiering" involves hiding away from the public in a cosy bubble muttering about "bloody civvies" and that COA was never going to end well from an info ops perspective.

    It used to be counterbalanced by a quarter million strong TA distributed all over the UK but as they shrank so did the ability of the Army to influence policy.
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  11. My Bold: None of that is the job of the British Army, or indeed ANY army. An Army's job is to kill the enemy, and the British Army is no different in that regard.

    Perhaps next time we should send Haringey Social Services Dept and not 2 PARA. Might win more of the peace then.
  12. I would argue that in large part that attitude is why we lost and why the Army is perceived as failing. Civvies expect the Army to get shit done not whine about demarcation like some 1950s shop steward. Why would anyone increase funding to an organisation that said it could do something then fucked it up big time ?
  13. Political failure old boy. The Army has never been geared, even during the Cold War, for a significant and enduring expeditionary operation. The current campaigns haven't been lost in a military sense - they have failed due to lack of an achievable and sustainable political end-state.
  14. Really? Maybe it's about time that "winning the peace" does become part of the job of the British Army. The US are already starting to edge that way. This TED talk summarised a lot better than I could ever hope to do:

    Thomas Barnett: Rethinking America's military strategy | Video on