What are the objections to a 3 month TA tour?


Dear All,

Having discussed this issue with some of my blokes, we reckon a three month tour would be an extremely effective way of relieving 'tour fatigue' for the regular army,  even if it is just to provide them with sufficient gap to take their pre-op/post-op leave. It would be popular with the soldiers and we reckon that employers would be on-side too.

So, are there any serious objections to this proposal?

No objection here.

You'd get a shed load more blokes willing to voluntarily mobilise for tours, and certainly, willing to volunteer for more than one tour in a 3 year cycle...

What the MOD forget, is, that we in the TA are enthusiastic to serve in an operational environment. A recent example, is the Fingal trawl. When the notice first went out, 3 Months was mentioned, and half the Regiment said "Stick me name down" As soon as it went to 6 months and beyond, only the otherwise unemployed, students waiting to go to Uni, or Self-employed who could afford to have the wife or a partner run the business for 6 months were available.
This isn't a relectance to "Do your bit in return for the bounty" , it's simple economics.

Do we really need 4 weeks beat up training for stagging on and doing the nause jobs? The guys mobilised during Telic were'nt given 4 weeks beat up, it was , here's your kit, do the tests, transports leaving Brize ASAP, you'd better be a S-O-C.

We can learn on the job. Sooner we're out there, letting some guy or girl get home to see his wife and kids, the better


War Hero
a three month tour would be an extremely effective way of relieving 'tour fatigue' for the regular army
From the MOD perspective you might find that 3 months does not give value for money in terms of training for the deployment, and then the period actually deployed.

If it was 3 months then by the time you were trained and settled in your deployed post it would be time to think about coming back. 6 months ensures you get to grips with the job and provide an invaluable service.



I don't want to be difficult here, but has this view been tested, or is it received wisdom?



Book Reviewer
Certainly the converse has been tested - short tours, less than 6 months (and in some cases only of a few weeks) have already been used by certain spec trades, such as Signals, Medics, etc.  It would be perfectly possible for a Major Unit to provide a small sub-Unit (Pl/Tp size) for a 3 month or less tour - as our KGB colleague notes.  Perhaps a Sig Tp could be usefully employed for 2 months in the Balkans (or wherever is fairly benign) while the Regs got some well deserved leave?
I agree with OS

Certainly we've had situations where guys have deployed over the water (attendant paperwork not withstanding) who have been used as Guard Force etc./ The last individuals we had over with our parent Regiment, received high praise from the OC, who described them as "Hard working , enthusiastic and quick learners, especially as they had had to hit the ground running in that environment"
That I believe, was a shorter tour.

We are told, that one of the reasons short tours can't/won't happen is the paperwork. BAH! Every Paperwork problem is surmountable. I'm sure between all of us , we can come up with a simple and effective system, pulling the PSI's into the loop. We've all seen how quickly our PSI's can get things moving with a couple of phone calls in the right places, and I believe, the receiving battalion would welcome the chance to have the "Load spread"

As for cost-effectiveness,training for deployment etc. We need to look at another benefit first, and that is EXPERIENCE. The more people we can put through this sort of tour, the more experience filters down to the TA units. We can start to tailor our training packages to better address potential deployments. The cost effectiveness may not be directly reflected on the tour in the early days, but these are the pioneers. As we progress, the culminative experience will enchance the TA position. All of a sudden, we have lots of guys and girls who have worked with their regular counterparts, spreading the word amongst their colleagues with enthusiasm. We have a better reaction from employers, as the time away from the job, enables them to take on a temp more readily, it's also cheaper as regards MOD subsidies.

The fringe benefits for the Regulars? Well how many guys who do an FTRS, look at the Regs and say ...."Yep, I fancy doing this" Soldiers will seek , in some cases, to extend their tours, and in cases I , and most other people know of, will transfer to the regular Army.

Other fringe benefits - Guys get away for leave , courses and R+R . Morale improves and people stop PVR'ing because they're sick and tired of getting dicked remorselessly with no respite.

It WILL also help with TA retention and recruitment. We all know of soldiers who have sacked it, because "We never get to go away" If we can tell our recruits "Now listen,when you are trained, you will be expected to go to Bosnia or the Gulf or Canada or NI or Kenya or wherever for 3 months in any 3 year tour" I know the enthusiasm will be there, they will want to do it. It gives that "edge" over their civilian counterparts, and they will be doing what we want them to do, which is enthusiastically SELLING the benefits of service in the TA. If you give them the chance to perform their role for real, they will take it with both hands. Of course, if we have people not even prepared to do that, then they get sacked, there's no point them being in.
3 month deployments are possible, they've happened on exercise attachments before. 5 of our soldiers went to Kenya as RP's for an exercise I remember.

Maybe tonight and tomorrow, we can take a quick straw poll amongst our guys, and see what reaction there is?

We can then write up a proposal document , not sure of the title, but I'm sure we can come up with one.

The bottom line is, We are here, use us, and a hell of a lot of us, are available fairly immediately for 3 month tours. Or 3 month and 2 week beatup tours



War Hero
I don't want to be difficult here, but has this view been tested, or is it received wisdom?
It was just a view and knowing the system as I do.

Of course there are exceptions and quite rightly so especially in the technical trades, and with the bottom line being that if it is in the interests of the MOD, then fine. Also if the sldr has deployed to the theatre before and is known to be an asset, then anytime in theatre would be of benefit.

I may be wrong and would have to check - but the norm though would be for a 6 months deployment.

PTP raises some very good points some of which I strongly agree with. Good idea re a proposal document with lots of evidence supporting the case especially from TA COs/OCs.

Everything to gain with nothing to lose !
I'll have a word with my OC tonight, to see what the best way forward , re putting proposals through the chain of command is. If anyone out there wants to help put a skeleton document together, PM me , and we'll get something sensible worded, for presentation to our immediate bosses.

The more info we can glean, the better. If we all talk with our S/PSI's and OC's and employers, they can put their input in, or advise on how to best formulate the proposal.

Sounds like a plan :)

If anyone else wants to contribute, either for or against, Regular or TA, all input is valuable




Op Telic has proven that TA blokes can deploy, settle in and do a job in a very short period of time.

I wonder if there are any figures for the number of blokes who stay on after doing a operational tour/FTRS? I would have thought this would help the army with its recruiting shortage.



I went to Bos in May 96 and due to work commitments could only offer 4 months in total.  So that was 2 weeks to mobilise and 3 months max in theatre, with 2 weeks post-tour leave.  Several other officers were in the same boat (not all technical cap badges, by the way).  

The short tours were boarded and most, if not all, were allowed to go.

Obviously, there was no R+R but no drama there.

I can't see why on PSOs, individual circumstances can't continue to be taken into consideration.  After all, shouldn't we be aiming for intelligent mobilisation ?
We don't need 2 weeks R+R on a 3 month tour, a decent weekend will do

It'll be interesting to see if a 3 month proposal will actually put more troops through the cycle, and relieve pressure all round, on work, employers , the parent battalion and the unit.

Stories already circulating about guys coming back to no job :(


Interesting to see the Q+As from the Minister re Telic 1 returnees.

The bits in bold are my own emphasis on answers I think are quite telling for the TA, but not in a good way ! I have also added the comments in italics.


Did deployment to Iraq threaten Reservist’s job security?

Deployment should not threaten job security under the terms of RFA 85 (Reserve Forces Act) and RFA 96. Reservist’s jobs are safeguarded for their return. In some circumstances, companies may need to offer a different job but at the same level and pay as before, again maintaining security of employment.

In cases of Reservists possibly losing their jobs, the employee will have to take their company to Reinstatement Committee themselves; the MOD will not be acting on their behalf. AKA the YOYO principle.

Can you confirm that medical Reservists are losing money whilst on deployment?

No-one should suffer unduly when mobilised. Salary is taken into account and although there are remuneration ceilings according to rank, there is also a ‘hardship’ award, which establishes the outgoings of an individual and will adjust the salary according to those means. This award is unlimited. OK, so who from Telic 1 has been able say they got anything meaningful out of RHA ?  Ceilings for medics as specialists, are at an elevated rate.

Can’t you get Regular Forces to do these jobs?

General Reservists. There are Regular Forces who we could call on - but they are committed to a variety of training/operational tasks.  We have decided that in these circumstances we would prefer to call out additional Reserves.  

This is consistent with our view that the Reserves should be a useful and useable force - there is no point in having them if you don’t use them.

Does this mean we are over-stretched?

General Reservists. No. SDR envisaged that the Reserves would be more capable, more closely integrated with their Reserve colleagues and able to deploy for major crises and in scenarios short of all out war.  This deployment is consistent with that vision.

Ministers have acknowledged that the Armed Forces are busy - but our commitments are not unmanageable.

Medics.  We have acknowledged that there are serious manpower shortages in the defence Medical Services. We are undertaking various strategies to try and improve manning.

Return to employment.

Is legislation in place to safeguard civilian employment?

The Reserve Forces (Safeguard of Employment) Act 1985 provides two types of protection - reinstatement for those called out, and protection of employment for those liable to be called out.  

Employer’s responsibility to take back reservist?

Under the 1985 Act, an employer is required, where it is reasonable and practicable to do so, to take back into his employment former employees who make a written application at the end of a period of called-out service. If an employer fails to take the reservist back into employment, the reservist may apply to a Reinstatement Committee to decide on the matter  

Powers of a Reinstatement Committee?

The Reinstatement Committee will decide on matters of dispute between the applicant and the employer concerned.  It has the power to make an order requiring employment to be made available to the applicant, or may order the employer to pay compensation, or both.  Any employer who fails to comply with an order of the Reinstatement Committee commits an offence, and may be liable to be fined on summary conviction.  Appeals against the determination of the Reinstatement Committee may be made to an Umpire appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Protection after re-instatement?

The Act also provides that individuals who are re-instated must be kept on for a reasonable period of time.  For example, where an applicant has been taken into employment with his former employer, he must continue to be employed there for a period related to his employment before being called out.  If he had worked for the employer continuously for 52 weeks or more, then he must be employed there for a minimum of 52 weeks once re-employed.  If he had worked continuously for between 13 weeks and 52 weeks prior to call-out, then he must be re-employed for a minimum of 26 weeks.  Finally, if he had only worked for the employer for less than 13 weeks before being called out, the employer must guarantee his employment for at least 13 weeks once they return.  This prevents an individual from being re-instated and then dismissed shortly afterwards.

Number of cases to date?

Our experiences from calling out Reservists for the Balkans has been that the number of cases that have been heard by Reinstatement Committees has been exceptionally low.

Of course it is - 99.9% got their employer's permission before volunteering to be mobilised!!!!

When can Reservists commence their civilian employment?      
We expect most Reservists to resume their civilian employment immediately after they have finished their post-operational leave. However, permission will usually be granted to those who want to commence work during their period of leave.
i was going to reply but Memsecs 'novel' made me forget what it was all about and feel like having a lie down :?


Memsec you should really try and get out more. I did like your reply, though :twisted: it would have been more intresting if you added a teenage wizard orphaned has a baby...what you think. :p
Mr Fizz congratulations on being awarded your first Arrse medal. :twisted:

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