I get the uncomfortable feeling that some time soon we are going to run out of people to support the current force structure in Iraq. I don't necessarily see us running out of fresh faced 18 year olds at the bottom of the pyramid but of the more experienced juniors and seniors. Then I think you'll see a series of increasingly desperate moves to release troops from other commitments until the problem becomes so acute that action cannot be avoided.
Of course, you can always stick increasingly inexperienced troops in post and hope they'll pick it up quickly enough but if we're unlucky we'll have some tragedies as a result.
The TA won't save us either - I think that if the system starts recycling everyone through for a second time as soon as it can then another wave of resignations will follow. Employers will not take on TA members if they know they will lose them for one year out of every three - particularly when they do not see the current conflict as in the national interest. And if you can't get a job as you're in the TA you'll either join up full time or leave.
Of course, if the locals do stop shooting at us then we can reduce the troops out there and the problem reduces or even goes away. I wouldn't like to bet on that though.
Historically this country has always taken a very spasmodic approach to Army reform and funding. The tragedy in the Crimea forced the Army to move away from what Wellington had done, The Boer war resulted in Haldane's Army reforms that lead to the BEF - maybe we'll be talking about GW II as a similar landmark ?
There appears to be a move towards reform of the Army.....in the wrong direction!
The Network Enabled Capability/Effects Based Warfare concepts form the basis of a White Paper that sees less numbers of platforms supposedly used to greater effect. Less tanks, less boots on the ground - this is a recipe for disaster. The Mk 1 Eyeball/human brain/rifle is the best sensor-decision maker-shooter system on the market!