Home Entertainment & Technology Resource

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Reservists To Play A Greater Role In The Military

Discussion in 'Politics & Economy Forum' started by Rasczak, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    The long awaited review on the Reserve Forces is now with the Prime Minister. As part of his Big Society concept he is keen to see greater involvement of Reservists in the military but the idea is strongly opposed by Senior members of (in particular) the Army.

    Territorial Army personnel currently account for close to 17% of the Army’s manpower. The review is expected to recommend a significant increase in that proportion although this will likely be set against broad reductions in full time troops rather than a significant TA increase.

    As someone who is ex-Regular Forces but immediately joined the Reserves on exit, I thoroughly encourage this review. It is going to be a difficult path for the Forces. Clearly there are some jobs that, by their nature, have to be full time and obviously standing requirements and branch structural considerations must be take into account. There are also issues with the Reserve Forces themselves - ensuring they are deployable in sufficient numbers, that they are sufficiently trained and are financially affordable.

    But if the MOD can overcome all these issues there could be a real benefit (and financial saving). Regular troop numbers could be slashed - perhaps as by as many as 40,000 saving billions of pounds that could be re-invested elsewhere (either in Defence or elsewhere). And this is even more sensible as the recent judgement imposing liability on the MOD for under-equipping deploying soldiers, coupled with the bloody Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, has effectively made deployment of a Land Force politically difficult (if not impossible).

    Some regulars will resist this - some with considerable force. But it must be remembered that the UK has a far lower proportion of reservist to regular soldiers than others - we have around 15 reservists to every 85 regulars. Contrast this with the US who have a 50:50 split and Australia where they have a 40:60. So personally I welcome the concept as it offers the opportunity to maintain a 100,000 man Army 'on the books' - something that is unaffordable with Regular troops.
  2. dejongj

    dejongj Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Messages:
    28,167
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,359
    Maybe I am living in the past, I would have thought that as part of the Big Society national service could be brought back also.

    I was watching an interview this morning and it seemed to suggest that the biggest problem with deploying reservist is, yes you guessed it equipping them properly. I just don't get it. Sure I am talking just over 20 years ago so my experience is not that up-to-date but as a former Lieutenant (OF-1) with the Garde Grenadiers the foerier (quartermaster?) was good in finding his/her way around the system.
  3. Anotherlimey

    Anotherlimey Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    5,728
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +682
    I think national service is a great idea!!!

    Now i'm to old to be called up for two years :laugh:

    Sorry, just trying to fit in with the average poster in this section :rolleyes:
  4. sidicks

    sidicks Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    12,554
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,224
    I'm afraid you're well below average!
    :hiya:
    Sidicks
  5. Anotherlimey

    Anotherlimey Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Messages:
    5,728
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +682
    Show me the figures for that?

    How did you come to that conclusion?

    If you have no evidence i do not believe you!

    What average are you speaking of and where is you evidence?

    i could be your brother :laugh:
  6. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    Perhaps if we weren't throwing away quarter of a billion pounds to little effect in Libya the MOD would have some money. I'm all for seeing the TA expanded. Ironically Labour cut back on the TA manned training days to save money which proved disastrous.

    Territorial Army told to stop training for six months to save money - Times Online

    When training was happening every other weekend there tended to be some kind of good being done. With training down to about one weekend a month thanks to efforts to save some money many stopped turning up altogether.

    One of the big problems with the TA for instance is how few of them are deployable (just one in twenty). Often because of a lack of fitness as very few people will work on their own fitness in their own time, they do a regular job and then may be away a lot with the TA and also want to spend time with their family etc. Juggling it all tends to be difficult (and some without someone pushing them are just plain lazy). Some are just too expensive to deploy, my girlfriend is a project manager and in the TA. To deploy her she needs to have her TA pay made up to what she gets in civvy street so she wouldn't lose out. Or often it's just a lack of real experience. Not everyone in the TA is an ex-regular and doing a few two week courses, a two week camp and the odd weekend doesn't make anyone a professional at anything. Part timers in any profession are never going to be as good as anyone doing a job full time. They can be fine for non combat roles like training the ANA or guard duties as prior to deployment they do get a few months of training, but in combat they'd suffer heavier casualties and once reservists start coming back in large numbers the press would have a field day with the government trying to do defence (or strictly speaking offence) on the cheap again.
    Every report I've seen on this seems to have been about having a higher proportion of TA to Regs. I've not seen any reports recommending any reductions to the regular forces though. That seems to be your own wishful thinking for some cuts in the army Rasczak. I note you also tend to specifically target the army while ignoring the fact that more reservists may also lead to further cuts in all three services.

    Armed Forces 'should recruit more part-time soldiers', review urges - Telegraph

    The Territorial Army, and its Navy and RAF equivalents, should be asked to shoulder more responsibility in future operations, the review will say.

    The six month review, ordered to assess how the services will operate in the 21st century, will call for the part-time soldiers to be used more readily in war, terrorist attacks and any natural disasters that hit Britain.


    The BBC report linked to above also recommends more TA to cope with things like civil emergencies and seems to be an answer to proposed cutbacks in reservists that the MOD wanted to do last year, ironically the MOD wanted cuts in reservists to make our forces more deployable:

    Territorial Army faces deep cuts - Telegraph

    The cuts in the reserves have emerged as ministers seek to make the Armed Forces more deployable, increasing the number of troops that can be sent on frontline operations.

    MoD figures last year showed that only around 20,000 TA members -- 55 per cent of the force – had received adequate training to be available for mobilisation.


    Making the reservists bigger will cost money, making regular forces smaller will save money. Anyone who believes more part-timers and fewer regulars = a better military capability is dreaming.

    Then there's other problems. The regular forces tend to be fully manned. On paper the TA might seem to be. In reality there tends to be a hard core of regulars who turn up every weekend together with many others who haven't shown up for months or possibly years but are still on the books.

    There tends not to be a problem with recruitment as people will always walk in off the street and give it a go, the problem is with the retention. The people who come in through the door often don't maintain their fitness in their own time or they just don't want to do a full weekend of soldiering having just finished working from Monday to Friday. This leads to other problems. It's difficult to plan a weekend of training without knowing just who is going to turn up on a Friday night. Of those that do some are regular attenders, some may not have shown up for months.

    I expect Cameron to promote the reserve forces as part of his big society, or to try to look good on defence while trying to also make cuts in equipment and infrastructure at the same time. Someone from 10 Para was on the radio today saying the TA need a lot of money to actually be viable for anything.

    In some ways it could be a good thing. Having forces that are made up of more part timers might mean we don't have PMs who want to get involved in every conflict going and we can then have a Ministry Of Defence that actually just does defence. Something quite a lot of people would want to see I think.

    Note comparisons with the US won't work, they are a superpower and have huge forces anyway. Australia tends not to get involved in wars at all. Are we going to fight other countries in future or stay at home?
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  7. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    I doubt the Reservists will be made bigger - more the size of the contribution as a proportion of the whole will increase as the drawdown of regulars occurs. The latter will fund the proper equipping and training of the former. I suspect we will also see increased use of ex-Regular personnel.

    Naturally there will be a reduction in capability - but this can be managed and, it must be remembered, the odds of engaging in a significant land war in the near future is minimal given how we have been burnt by Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I am guessing you haven't been following the PR12 discussions then. And I am fully subscribed to Reservists being widely used across all three Services. Naturally though, Infantry is probably the easiest area to employ a part-time non-specialist civilian (given training requriements etc).
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  8. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    I suspect we will and we will have further reduced capability as a result. As in the previous post above it's why the MOD was looking to cut back on reservists before. Put simply they are less deployable. They are fine for guard duties, CCRF, natural disasters, and for training other forces, anything not involving front line operations.
    err how? If it couldn't be done before how is it going to be done in future? You want to send ill-equipped, less fit, less experienced people into a battle? Actually you probably do. Someone who is a clerk or a driver in civvy street can be a good one in a war zone. A lot of battle skills aren't done in civvy street, and no paint balling and a few games of MOH don't count.
    And it must be remembered given how ineffective we have been in Libya I think the odds of us engaging in a significant air war is going to be minimal as well. Hence why if we have further cuts we will largely be a defence force only. Trying to rule a country from 5000 feet has never worked. If three of the biggest nations on the planet can't sort out Libya now then in future we'll have to look at bothering even smaller nations.
    Yes I've seen your guesswork, I wouldn't rely on that.
  9. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    Some other things to consider, the country is in a mess. How many firms want to support a workforce that disappears for any length of time? It's difficult now. If reservists are expanded will firms want to employ them over those who will be at work 24/7?

    Will the MOD fund a reservist cadre that can man tanks and planes and give them adequate training? What with? In the past you could get away with it. WWI/WWII and Korea were fine when troops spent most of their time standing in trenches. Wars these days are faster moving, mechanised, and use much more complex equipment.

    Those going through Chilwell to serve in Afghanistan in the past have tended to be the best available and were happy to volunteer. Many reservists have no intention of ever doing a tour. This is hilarious:

    House of Commons - Defence - Third Report

    There was an apparent lack of knowledge of call-out liability among some members of the Territorial Army. Staff at Chilwell told us that they had received a number of calls from reservists in the TA along the lines of 'I'm not in the Army, I'm in the TA'. Some reservists did not understand that they could not resign once they had been called up.

    We were told that 48 per cent of the regular reserves who turned up failed the medical compared with 14 per cent for the TA reservists who tuned up. We recommend that MoD consider what action can be taken to ensure that these reservists return to being 'fit for role'.

    During our inquiry we received correspondence from a Major in the TA who raised a number of concerns about his experience going through the Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre at Chilwell before deploying to the Gulf. These included concerns about the adequacy of the five days training provided, in particular firing practice—he said that he had only fired ten rounds of ammunition. He was also concerned that young reservists were not adequately prepared before being deployed. We asked MoD to investigate these concerns.


    The ammunition issue has now 'sort of' been addressed. Lack of good training in general is a big issue. Even if more money is found for training there's still the problem of the 'bounty hunters' who only come when they have to.

    Another sad fact is that very few MPs and very few civilians have any idea what serving in the forces in any capacity actually means. It's a shame that with such a low level of knowledge there's little hope of the right decisions being made.

    Here's an example. A senior rank I know has never done an operational tour. He wouldn't do one in the past as he didn't fancy it, then his girlfriend was pregnant, then it was because he had a baby. Every time there's always an excuse. What would you do? Compulsory mobilise him? If that happened many would leave tomorrow. What then? Replace them? What with? Who would join something where they might have to go to fight in a modern war? (forget your sense of adventure idea, people know wars means deaths and loss of limbs).

    We can't compare with the National Guard either. They have a budget in the region of over $50 billion. They land forces drive Abrams, or Bradleys, Their air force has F-16s, A-10s and AH-64s. They have the budget and they get a pension, and their employers are proud to have National Guard personnel on their books. Think that will happen here? There's a huge gap between their legislation and ours. Talking of legalisation etc try AGAIing someone in the TA. They won't come in again.

    Ask any TA battalion how many turn in at the weekend when there's a football match on, or when an ICFT is being done, the only advantage with the TA is they are still a step up from recruiting civvies as conscripts.

    The TA worked years ago in the wars we had in the past. When there was the cold war threat and we would have needed anyone we could. They will work if we are to have reservists as some kind of CCRF force, or as part of the big society, or just as 'defence'. For any kind of real modern combat it won't work.

    Regs are expensive, reservists are cheap. Don't kid yourself that capability will feature anywhere other than as a token gesture. There won't be an increase in training or equipment as there won't be any real money. Looks like the RAF and Navy had better get used to the idea of even fewer new aircraft and ships. They have cost us just too much:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/14881603-post112.html

    Some further reading:
    http://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/Major_General_Bruce_Brealey_Speaking_Notes.pdf

    http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/publication.cgi?id=206
  10. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    That very much depends upon the employers. Since leaving the regulars I have received nothing but overwhelming enthusiasm and support from my employers regarding 'time off' for duties. I suspect many others are the same. It should also be noted that it is unlikely that any employer will be asked to provide manpower that will 'disappear' for months on end - we simply will not be engaged in large manpower intensive conflicts after 2015 and thus the 'emergency' uses for the Reserves are likely to be largely domestic. Where Reservists do deploy overseas they will doubtless will be 'between jobs' - exactly as many are now.

    As mooted funding will come from drawdown elsewhere coupled with use of ex-Regulars. You have to remember there is no need for the Reservist to be as 'fully' trained as the Regular - the focus should be on core skills with additions taught as required (and as funded) by specific events. The breadth of knowledge and experience across all disciplines within a specific branch will still be met by having a (albeit smaller) core of Regulars.

    As I have pointed out before this needs to change. I seem to remember highlighting the fact that many Reservists doing Weekend training did so because it offered a BBQ on the Friday PM, a bit of fun on the Sat finishing with much drinking and an early finish on the Sunday. That has to change - but it can change without undermining retention of the 'right' individuals for employment in the Reserves.

    I do agree it would good if our political masters had a better grasp on military affairs. But then it is for us to articulate the problems. I would also observe that opinion is split - many think that the increased use of Reservists in the Forces is long overdue.
  11. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    It depends on our future role. We have seen we can have little effect by just bombing lesser nations. As said above if our future role is to be that of a defensive force only then a larger reserve force will be fine. Some people can occasionally go to Cyprus or the Falklands.

    We have Nato and the EU and the UN. If they appreciate the role of these organisations should be that of defence only we won't have much to worry about. If we are going to get involved in a countries regime change again it will be a different matter.

    I also take it you don't work for small employers. Large firms can support the loss of one person. Small businesses often can't. It can be the case that if someone has reservist commitments they will be rejected at the interview stage. There are other problems too, reservists returning to work may find that others have been on courses and promoted and they haven't as they weren't there. Sabre and legalisation is supposed to stop that but it happens anyway. Most won't try and drag it into court as a result but it has happened.

    Err I think I pointed out they weren't as fully trained as regular troops, that I was in favour of expansion of the TA and it will also lead to less military capability if there is further cuts to regular forces as a result. If less military capability is a goal of the PM that's fine. Hopefully he will think twice before committing us to future wars.
  12. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    It's months, if not years, too early to say that Libya hasn't worked yet. Personally I think the initial results are looking reasonably encouraging - only a few days ago the rebels were making progress towards Tripoli - without a single British casaulty so far!

    I think the latter depends on how we are going to get involved rather than whetehr we are going to be involved (which IMHO is a given). If Libya is the new template - i.e. no ground troops at any cost - then implementation of a large Reserve army makes much sense.

    There will always be some employers who won't be able to release staff - but those working for such companies are unlikely to join the Reserves. Given the numbers we are talking about we don't need every employer to sign upto the Reserve forces. I think the key is ensuring that the commitments and responsibilities of joining the Reserves are clearly articulated and understood by participants. The pool of individuals from education, public sector, large private sector companies, unemployed/economically inactive are more than enough to meet the number we are looking for.

    I'm not sure I agree that there will be a significant loss of military capability. The failed campaign in Iraq and mess in Afghanistan isn't a paricualrly compelling reason to think that we have gained much from a professional, full-time Army. I would also suggest that the perceived 'loss of capability' argument is a manifestation of Major General Brealey's comments (quoted from one of your links):
    Despite the financial problems of the MOD, the reluctance of senior Regulars to employ Reserves in a fully active and operational Army is is the biggest hurdle. Senior Officers, desperate to keep their Regular manned Battlegroups, are loathe to consider alternatives which may lead to equally effective solutions.
  13. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    And all it needed was £quarter of a billion and still counting and a few other armed forces as well to get a few rebels 'making progress'. Bargain!
    ??? Really I know a few people who were peeded off when legalisation came in in that they had to inform their work. The legalisation came in after Telic 1. Up to that point they didn't want to tell their employer for various reasons. Thought that future compulsory mobilisation would affect their employment or that their employer was anti armed forces etc.
    I'm not sure employers sign up to anything. It's a legal requirement for employees to inform their employer. Employees can object to compulsory mobilisation if they can make a strong case against it and also can't discriminate against those in the forces. Whether they will choose to object to a compulsory mobilisation is another matter. Some may consider that someone in the forces is a problem anyway. For instance may be tired out on Monday morning, carrying an injury from the weekend, the firm may be ignorant of what the legislation is or may object to how the legalisation may make someone harder to sack. The current legislation gives the reservist certain rights. For instance solider is on Telic, firm is cutting back on workers. Soldier finds out that when he returns his place has gone. Soldier argues it was because he was on Telic and easier to get rid of. Firm argues that he was part of a draw down and would have gone anyway. Whole thing has to be sorted out by courts or something.
    Interesting demographic. From the unemployed to teachers. I'm not entirely sure that we need reserve forces staffed by the unemployed. Nice if some of them want to join but I hope it won't be a dumping ground for those who can't get employment and besides the TA has trouble getting full manning now. How will this work in the future? Cut their dole if they won't join? A sort of National Service by another route?
    I'm well aware of you r thoughts and your need to blame the army for everything. Did they rape your mom or what? With Iraq our PM dragged us into a war with America and then had a chancellor who wouldn't fund it properly. The army carried on with a lack of vehicles, body armour and radios. When we got dragged into a second war and the country ran out of money we were pulled out by our political masters. With Afghanistan we've had to rely heavily on US air support as the RAF invested £36 billion in an aircraft that doesn't like hot weather. You can't blame the army when others let them down. The army got on with the job anyway and will do until the politicians let them down.
    I would suggest that if part timers are doing a full time job they won't do it as well. Can you give me an example where a part time force can do anything as well as a professional full time workforce?
    How can part timers in a full time job be 'equally effective'? By definition they won't be. Could someone doing a two week course a two week camp, the occasional evening and a few weekends do your job as well as you? (I'd love the answer to this one.)
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  14. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    Assuming we end it without a significant ground presence then it will have been a great success.

    But again the majority told their employers anyway because most were supported. There will always be employers who are against Reservist involvement - in such cases the employees must juggle the decision to work for that employer versus their desire to be a Reservist.

    My experience is the complete opposite. Employers appreciate the individual broadening, network contacts, PR benefit associated with supporting the Forces.

    I don't think there is any need or benefit in 'press ganging' the unemployed to join the Reserves. But there are many who are unemployed (e.g. students, self supporting but economically inactive, spouses of workers etc etc) that are ideal candidates.

    Grow up Sonic. I have repeatedly said I believe in balanced forces and the Army is a key component within that. I firmly believe in an Army of circa-100,000 people - but it has to be realised that this figure is totally unrealistic for the UK if it is to be predominantly Regular forces. If we can get into a situation where 30-40% of this number are Reservists, we can maintain a large force which - if properly generated - would be almost as effective as what we have now.

    I think you are looking at this the wrong way. An unmobilised Reservist who has only done the minimal training package is obviously not going to be as effective as a Regular. But then he doesn't need to be. He won't be mobilsed overnight and when it comes to deploying on Operations, a Reservist can be trained to achieve the same standards as a Regular in the pre-deployment process. The net effect is an individual deployed who is equal to his Regular eqivalent. The likely 'instant emergency' uses of the Reservists, such as in Civil Defence, would be adequately provided by the basic training package.
  15. John F

    John F New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    3,437
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +110
    I resent this statement. I have a family member who as a member of the TA served on Telic 1 as a Cpl, he was in the thick of it with 2nd Btn RRF, went on to be commissioned, served again in Iraq (commanding a platoon) before serving on the front line in Afganistan (as a Captain). He has seen as much action as a lot of regulars and and a lot more than some. Infact he was offered a straight comission into the regular army with his current rank.
  16. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    One swallow doesn't make a summer.
    At present those going on tour tend to be fit enough to get through Chilwell (physically fit, medically fit and dentally fit.), they also tend to be some of the keenest people who attend regularly, do every course going and turn up whatever the weather. Sometimes some of them transfer into the regulars. If it comes to it I know someone who’s recently passed TA SAS selection. I wasn’t going to use him as a typical example of what everyone in the TA was like though. If the TA was expanded in numbers and professional troops were cut back then the result would be less effective armed forces.
  17. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    Amongst other things you had a go at the army as they didn’t defend our airspace! Several people felt you were doing nothing other than having a go.

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/general-chat/1329285-british-army-when-can-we-expect-value-money.html


    I don’t think you get it. Prior to deployment you have a package made up of admin, MATTS, R&R, a few short exercises, some time on the ranges, some PT, and a lot of Powerpoint lessons on culture, language and a few other bits.

    The reservist tends not to know how to use the vehicles (won’t have used much more than a LR or white fleet in the past), won’t have used the radios (Bowman rollout still ongoing and is hardly user friendly, most TA units probably use some kind of hand held such as Tait etc) won’t have used a GMG or other similar weapons as they all tend to be only in a theatre. I could go on as there’s a long list.

    As was said then and still true now:

    A TA soldier doesn’t have the level of experience as they simply won’t have put the same amount of hours in and a few weeks of priming them beforehand won’t make them a frontline soldier to the same level as someone who’s done nothing but that for years. Even the basic training of a TA soldier is just a few weeks in comparison.
  18. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    The whole Reservist question hits exactly at the point I was trying to make in that thread - namely the intransigence of Army thinking has led it into a blind alley. Senior Army Officers are pushing hard against the Reservist question because they are reluctant to accept the idea as it will inevitably lead to the disbandment of huge swathes of the current Forces.

    Their fears are understandable but they must overcome them - whichever way you cut it the huge Army we currently have is unaffordable and will have to be downsized. Whether we fight and push for every single Regular - and lose them anyway - accepting that capabilities will be lost as the Army slews towards its tendency to slash Infantry regiments first and foremost. Or we adopt a pro-active attitude, embrace the Reserves and implement a new way of generating a fighting force. A way, I might add, that is done by other significant military countries.

    There is no reason why the latter cannot be implemented on the weekly, monthly and annual training packages for Reservists.
  19. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    Lol, again you single out the army. Are the other forces calling on big cutbacks in their forces to have a greater amount of reservists making up their numbers then?

    The forces will push against greater use of reservists for a good reason. Less combat effectiveness.
    I can think of a long list. For a start not every reservist is there every weekend. Neither can you make people attend. A two week camp even if they are there isn't adequate. Every TA course is geared towards being two weeks as it means employees can do it as a holiday. You can only learn the most basic stuff in two weeks. Then it may be another 12 months till those two weeks comes round again. It would be great if that was all there was to learn as well. After two weeks you might get a bowman operator (even then that's a bit short there are several courses and some are three weeks or more) but then what else? There's more to being a soldier than solely operating a radio and you've just used all the time up on that. Panther driver or commander will have to wait till next year I suppose.

    Same as before, someone doing things part time for a few weeks and weekends is never going to compete with someone doing it every day. Would you like a medic coming to save your life who'd done a two week course or one for several weeks?
  20. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    In case you think we can fight wars in future:

    War blamed as 6,000 quit Territorial Army - Times Online

    THE Territorial Army (TA) is suffering a manning crisis with more than 6,000 soldiers quitting in the past year because of the war in Iraq.

    The Ministry of Defence has repeatedly denied that the TA was in trouble as a result of Iraq, but the figures released to parliament last week show the situation is far worse than previously claimed.

    Don Touhig, a junior defence minister, told MPs in a series of answers to written questions that the numbers of soldiers leaving the TA had more than quadrupled in the immediate aftermath of the Iraq war in 2003.

    Before the invasion the numbers leaving were steady at about 150 a month, keeping the strength of the TA relatively stable, but as soldiers started coming back from the war in October 2003 they began to leave in droves.


    If people want to go to war they join the regulars, some do one tour and then having gone to see the elephant they leave. It means a high turnover and you tend to lose the good people. Some of them even then join a security force and go back to work for a private firm on more money.
  21. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    I think the other Services are more open to the idea - but then it is less workable for them and so the areas where they would utilise Reservists are more limited. For example it takes a fighter pilot around 5 years from getting his wings to being an effective military asset - and then requires significant commitment per year to remain useful - so having Reservists doing that isn't really practical. However as for the support side - e.g. providing logistical support in Base - that is ripe for increased Reservist participation.

    But with regards the other Services it is really missing the point. The Army accounts for around 65% of Armed Forces manpower - a cost that outstrips everything else in Defence by a huge margin - so it that which needs to be brought under control. The Army and RAF added together don't even equal the Army numbers.

    I disagree. I think it you adopt a 'less is more' approach and focus on directing all training towards core skills (i.e. Trained Soldier for Army, NBCD for Navy, Air Safety for RAF), then you can build upon the rest in a bespoke pre-deployment training package.

    That articlae is from 2005 Sonic. You and I both know that TA recruiting has picked up somewhat since then.
  22. John F

    John F New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2000
    Messages:
    3,437
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +110
    What's your current rank?
  23. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    So? In the army the man is the weapon. The job of the Infantry is to close with the enemy and kill them. The British army can be a missile to be fired by the Royal Navy.

    If you want to talk about costs, £36 billion to have some aircraft that don't like hot weather and don't have any enemy aircraft to shoot down is a bit of a waste.
    So they will be lacking in experience other than a few weekends and the odd two week camp and then on arriving in theatre go through a package of learning radios, weapons, driving cadres, culture, language, command, fitness, barma drills and everything else later. How long do you think it should be?
    I know that there usually isn't a problem getting people in through the door. Many of them then drop out after the first few weekends or they fail to get through Catterick. I'd honestly love to say it's all wonderfully attended. I've never known it. There's a hard core of 'regulars' who turn up all the time and far more who stop coming and then end up being chased by permanent staff to get the issued kit back off them before they stick it on ebay or something. The adverts tend to sell it as weekends of jumping out of helicopters. Once they see they tend to be living under a basha in Brecon that's when reality hits home.
  24. MikeTV

    MikeTV Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2003
    Messages:
    7,734
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +835
    I have to confess I know nothing about the military, but I was surprised to read that. I was under the impression that if you signed-up, and then voluntarily "stopped coming", you'd be shot for desertion. When did we stop shooting deserters?

    And why do people join the TA's just to leave again as soon as there is any sign of a war? What did they think they were joining - the boy scouts?

    Nevertheles, respect to all those that are serving, or have served. :thumbsup:
  25. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    Yes, I don't dispute that Sonic (although it still doesn't stop the Army having the UK's most expensive hardware procurement project on the books - FRES). But it is still unaffordable and that has to be corrected. We either restructure to encompass Reservists and thus keep nominal numbers up, or we face being cut to the bone and becoming Operationally ineffective.

    Typhoon is in action over Libya, is defending the Falklands and regularly carries out interceptions in UK airspace.

    I think packages can be suitably tailored to each individual Operation. If the ongoing Reserve training package focuses on Trained Solider skills then the rest can easily be done pre-deployment. Especially as your comments above are focused on Afghanistan which is a type of conflict we simply will not be engaged in again for decades.

    Afghanistan is a hostile counter-insurgency effort - a type of Operation that is too expensive in life and equipment - thus the need for anti-IED drills (such as the Barma procedure) is going to be reduced. And as most of the vehicles used by the Army are unfunded UOR purchases, post-Afghanistan we will see a significant slimming down of vehicle types used by the Force again easing training requirements.

    Accordingly you need to shift mindset - instead of thinking about Afghanistan, think about what is needed to deploy a Reservist to the Falklands Islands. Again noting that, given the threat level out there, much of the training can be done whilst deployed. The returning Reservist then comes back at a high SQEP level and infuses his TA Regiment with experience.

    Maybe so - but all the Services have a retention problem of some description and the Reservists are no different. The key is to target recruitment and ensure sufficient numbers are employed to achieve the Operational numbers required. Those not partipating should be discharged as soon as possible. This is a management challenge but, as other countries have shown, is well within the feasibility bracket.

    There are numerous benefits from being a Reservist (not just TA!) - Adventurous training, outdoor activities, engagement in events/tasks you would never normally see, an annual tax-free bonus and the opportunity to make some really good friends. It is a very enjoyable pastime. Unfortunately this does, at times, attract those not interested in actually deploying - but then you can say the same about some elements of the Regular Forces. The key objective in the years ahead, for both Regulars and Reserves, is to get a higher percentage deployable. It can be done.
  26. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    ? It depends, some have estimated the through life costs of Trident as being higher than the through life costs of Fres. It's impossible to be accurate over this stuff as costs always tend to be higher. Look at how Typhoon, Nimrod and the Carriers costs have all mounted.
    The regular army is fully manned and fully effective. Reservists are undermanned and I wouldn't call them fully effective either. I'm all for their expansion as the defence report recommends but if it's at the expense of regular forces then combat effectiveness will drop.
    Is your tongue in your cheek? 'In action'? It hasn't shot down any planes as there's none to shoot down. It dropped a few bombs but the Tornado could have done that. The interceptions in our airspace were against 1950's era Soviet aircraft. We might just as well have been using the Battle of Britain memorial flight for them. The cold war never happened and we now have a super expensive aircraft without much of a role. And you are running down their whole 'defending the Falkland's' bit so is it doing it or what?:
    The numbers have been cut as we can't afford it and don't need so many of them.
    You know what forces we will need in the future? You are a brave man.
    Accordingly you need to read my posts....
    If those who didn't turn up were discharged there would be no one on the books. There are kept on the books partly so the TACs stay open. By looking like they have good attendance it helps against them being closed. Regular forces don't have this problem. In the regulars it is your job, your friends, your lifestyle, your home, and you are financially tied to it. As a reservist you can stop coming whenever you feel like it. Without commitment people turn up when they feel like it. If the weekend clashes with a Saturday, or someone is having a birthday party, or you feel a little tired, or you don't fancy a weekend in Brecon, or it's an ICFT just say you are working that weekend and don't show up. You can always go in when it's a weekend you fancy. For instance....
    Exactly. Funnily enough more people turn up for them. Well if ever we need to go to war in kayaks in Capel Curig we will be ready.
    Except in the regulars they don't get any say in that matter. You could compulsory mobilise reservists but it tends to mean you will get rid of even more and there'd be even fewer on the books. The same goes for any attempt to force more people to go in.
    It isn't being done now. Why would it in the future? There's a problem with attendance NOW. Expand it further and it means more reliance on something already a problem.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  27. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    As it's a part time job and your full time job is more important then if ever you don't fancy turning up tell the TAC you are working that weekend. No one will check to see if you actually are. You can also leave anytime you like. You should do it formally and come in and return your kit. Most just stop coming in at some point. After a few months the regular staff might phone them and chase them up. After that they will go round and get the kit back off them. If you are compulsory mobilised it's different though they tend to ask the unit first who wants to go and they send them. A lot of places have some who will turn up for anything and do more than one tour (-the hard core). Some do one tour and then having done it leave. Some will never go further than Brecon (correction they will do a jolly like a battlefield tour in France.) Some only turn up for those weekends that will get them their bounty (a tax free lump sum). All of this means it's difficult to say who will be in each weekend and a huge difference in the level of training.
    Some take the attitude that if they wanted to go to war they would have joined the regulars. They are 'serving' if there's a 'national emergency' or something. For instance a 9/11 type event, or cold war type invasion of the British Isles. The unlikely stuff. For some it's a drinking club or a chance to bore people in the office. Think Gareth from the series 'The Office.' As Jack Dee once said, 'The TA, part time soldiers, full time talking about it.'
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
  28. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    I wouldn't call the defeat in Iraq and decade long 'counter-insurgency' in Afghanistan clear evidence of how "effective" Regulars are.

    Not necessarily. Let's look at how Reservists could be added to the mix:

    Main Effort (.e.g Afghanistan)
    Aiming for a 90% Regular, 10% Reserve deployment mix. Regulars would deploy more often than they do currently – namely once every 2 years.

    Falklands
    Absolutely no reason why this can’t become a predominantly Reservist deployment – aiming for 85% Reserves, 15% Regulars.

    Kenya/Africa
    The British Army mission in Africa remains relevant and useful. However again a greater mix of Reservists should be included in the mix. Ultimately we could aim for a 50/50 mix of Regulars and Reserves.

    Gibraltar
    Training there should be for a mix of Regulars and Reserves. An ideal, retention positive, location for annual training for the Reserves!

    Canada
    BATUS should remain albeit on a smaller scale but a rolling programming of Reservist augmentees should be incorporated.

    Brunei
    In a shrinking Army, one unlikely to be engaged in Jungle warfare anytime soon, the involvement in Brunei can no longer be justified. The AAC flight there should be disbanded and the Infantry Battalion returned. Some Jungle Training can continue on an ad hoc basis by deployments to supporting countries, for example the recent 40 Commando deployment to Malaysia.

    Cyprus
    Whilst RAF Akritiri remains useful, the British Army presence on the Islands needs to be wound down inline with the reducing commitments post-Afghanistan. The separate UN Mission can, of course, continue.

    UK Civil Defence / UK Emergency Response
    Should become predominantly a Reservist function aiming for a 95% Reserve, 5% Regular mix. Reservist units could mobilised as formed units.

    ...so combined with reduced commitments for the Regulars and better Reserve integration across the board, we could actually end up in a verys trong position. Reservisit retention and engagement will need to be increased - but the increased opportunities will attract the right kind of person. And with so many Regulars leaving the Service in the years ahead there will be ample suitable recruits.
  29. Sonic67

    Sonic67 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Messages:
    23,650
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +3,865
    I wouldn’t call it a defeat. Saddam is gone, the country is self governing and has held elections. I’m not sure what else you want there. Defeat would have been Saddam’s forces successfully holding off the coalition.

    As for Afghanistan turning what was almost the most poverty struck country round into something self governing and self policing it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Something the UN knew after it had tried everything else. The place was a breeding ground for terrorists and was going to take time to turn around. Shame you think people can wave magic wands and fix everything. I’m also not sure why are you running down the regulars. I thought you used to be one. Besides if regular troops can’t fix something how will part time troops? I suppose in future we could let countries carry on and we could all stop at home. Or we could spend months bombing a country and hope it helps.
    The same as now.
    Lol. Already dismissed by experts as considered too damaging for frontline troops due to high levels of PTSD etc. Also has a big impact of retention. When people leave they go through a long process to feedback the reasons why. When it was found that many were leaving due to constant tours and the impact was the loss of many experienced personnel the government introduced promises to not deploy troops too often. Would you like links as you seem convinced this would work.
    Already agree to some extent except the Falklands tends to be used to train regular forces to operate in that sort of environment. Also you seem to think the Falklands is going to be invaded and should be defended better. Now you want to send more part timers? Do you think the Falklands is under threat or what? Won’t using more reservists send out a signal to Argentina? If the Falklands is going to be taken by a ‘quick assault’ as you put it, won’t be easier if you have an army of painters, teachers and the unemployed making up the defence?
    Kenya is used to train regular troops. Some may then go on to serve in war zones. Sending fewer there means they are less trained, less deployable troops later. I can see you’ve never been in the army or you’d know this.
    Might as well nearly all be reservists. Little threat at the moment and little training value.
    Batus offers training for the regulars to use huge expanses of terrain and conduct live firing of artillery and missiles. Something not available in many places elsewhere.
    In basic training I never thought it would be likely I’d be engaged in desert warfare. Two years later I was in the Gulf War. No one knows where we will be deployed next.
    Cyprus tends to be six months of sunbathing and drinking. Might as well just be a jolly for reservists.
    Could be though I wonder how the press would cope if this was ever done again with reservists:

    BBC NEWS | UK | Blair authorised terror alert troops

    Also would firms have been happy to release so many people at short notice? What if it had gone on for longer than a week say? Most firms might support something temporary. The longer it went on the greater would be the backlash from firms and the media. What about flooding, or the forces involvement with crisis like foot and mouth and BSE etc? In the US they are happy to deploy National Guard units for emergencies. They have a culture of it.
    How? Your ‘sense of adventure’ again? The sense of adventure that isn’t keeping people turning up regularly now?
    Aah, kick them out the regulars and hope they then all join the reserves if they can’t get a job. Good plan.
  30. Rasczak

    Rasczak Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2002
    Messages:
    18,786
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +1,128
    Of course the British Army had little to do with that - they had to buy off the insurgents to get out, leaving the US to finish the job.

    The military as a whole was the wrong tool in Afghanistan. That's not "running them down", it is accepting that in somecases military force is what is needed and in somecases it is not.

    Fairly sure we don't have 950 Reservists in Afghanistan now unless you have figures to show otherwise? But I am glad you at least agree with the split.

    I thinky ou will find it is back on the table...

    Glad you agree. As for 'defending the Islands better', I think the garrison we have there is a political deterrant rather than an effective military one. Reservists would be as good as Regular troops in this regard.

    ...which is why I said it remains "relevant and useful". But you must accept that Reservists are going to be part of the force from now and on and should take a much greater share in this training. You also have to accept that the roles and functions of the Army will be reduced in future so the training requirement, likewise, reduces.

    Good. That's a start.

    Agreed - but as with Africa you must accept that Reservists are going to be part of the force from now and on and should take a much greater share in this training. And also a smaller Army means less functions and reduced training hence the downscaled participation.

    Maybe not - but we can't afford to pay for everything 'just in case'. Jungle training could still continue in an ad hoc basis.

    ...although of course provides the Theatre Reserve for Afghanistan which is why I linked the drawdown there to the Afghan withdrawl.

    I think firms could and would adapt especially if they could get PR from it. Naturally this will more forthcoming from bug employers - but as discussed that is where most Reservists will be coming from.

    Let's see how the revised Reservist package and Armed Forces covenant turnout - I think this will encourage a bigger uptake - especially if many are ex-Regulars.

    The idea has some scope. I think we will see less Extended Careers and, instead, people will be encouraged into the Reserves. Likewise those who have been made redundant will, in all likelihood, want to maintain links with the relevant Force as, for many, it is a way of life.

Share This Page