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How do we better the 'Army Reserve Offer'?

Der Alte

Sounds like something needs to be done here, for AFG.

What are we going to do?
I know: Road trip!

National Lampoon's Animal House - cracking stuff!
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I was thinking of prescribing "Happy Pills"?
But I do know of the world's smallest violin, that way he could spend his spare time mastering the art of playing sad and suicidal tunes to himself, thus not clogging up the forum with his "too many negative vibes man".

Just saying like - wouldn't mind, but he's never been in the RNR!


Having spent a majority of my 16 years in the RN on ships I have only ever come accross the RNR once. 3 Seaman Specs who joined for a BOST period and to be honest they were a waste of time and, other than the fact they could be employed as DHP, they added nothing to the Seamanship Branch OC. I think the trouble with the RNR is their lack of credibility, we all know they're about but what do they actually do that improves the lot for those on the front line?
King G
The RNR doesn't have Seaman Specs!
They may have been SeaRes ratings (same branch badge)

Your point over lack of credibility is well understood.
Within the "dabber" world, the RNR has been providing Force Protection 9to a very high standard) for some time, but mainly to RFAs, so limited interaction with RN.
Specifically within Seamanship, the SeaRes branch have been providing boat coxn's for Gib for a number of years - again not a massive interaction with regulars.

This is all set to change, as that particular branch is picking up more and more formal tasking from the HQ to provide FP-Seaman Spec(light) personnel for units afloat.

However, as you said, there has been little interaction with regulars in the past, but hopefully that is set to change.
Not really, just another day where the stark reality of how the RN is affecting our people. If the RNR OPVs happen they'll be used just like the rest of the RN - at sea for at least 660/3, or if a 3 watch system is in progress, 900/3. There will be precious few CTPs, just the hard grind of being at sea. Having a "line to take" that life will be full of hoofing runs ashore and little sea time won't really cut it. If we're to man these vessels safely, the Reservists will have to be SQEP, at every level from CO* to Buffer to ET(WE), and thus will be in all likelihood be mobilised for a year after a substantial training period. Now, the Reservist package has changed to allow the 1 year in 5 mobilisation, which is a positive, the challenge will be to keep the people in the system long enough to make use of that training. Hand wafting and "it'll be ok on the day" is not a COA.And no, I've never been in the RNR - it's quite hard to be in the RNR when I've been full time for 15 years. *The RNR is going to struggle to create a Warfare Officer Branch who can watchkeep - we'll either have to get most of the MN to take a busmans holiday or use ex-RN Officers in the RNR who are CQ2. I genuinely don't know how many of the latter there are, but on the basis the RN is running below the requirement for full-timers on the simple basis that people aren't doing, not that they are leaving, I can't imagine it's a huge pool.
another cheerful post - those anti-depressants just aren’t working. Have you thought, for your own sanity (and for the good of most of us who have to read your dire warnings of apocalypse) that you ought to move to the commercial world where everything in the garden is rosy and there are no challenges? I mean, the company I work for hasn’t had to change massively in the last 20 years to meet with the dynamic nature of the real-world – oh hang on! Perhaps it has!,
another cheerful post - those anti-depressants just aren’t working. Have you thought, for your own sanity (and for the good of most of us who have to read your dire warnings of apocalypse) that you ought to move to the commercial world where everything in the garden is rosy and there are no challenges? I mean, the company I work for hasn’t had to change massively in the last 20 years to meet with the dynamic nature of the real-world – oh hang on! Perhaps it has!,

Nice ad hominem.
Spam J
One did not wish to dedecoro. It was an honest attempt at sarcasm!
AFG has made a positive post (once or twice), but the majority are wrist-slashingly negative.
It's a free country and he is more than entitled to his opinion that the RN is about to face the 4 horses of the apocalypse, however his comments about the RNR lack credibility bearing in mind he has not served, he has however, received 2nd hand, opinions about how poor the RNR was in the last century!

Ubi concordia, ibi victoria - Publius Syrus

The RN may be run down, it may be in all sorts of trouble, however, money is being spent on the RNR, so the RNR will get better. We could, of course, follow Percy's lead, and plan for the Reserve Element of the service to fail, in the vain hope that the Service Chief can tell the PM "I told you so". But somehow, I can't see 1SL doing that. Meantime, let's see what we can do to make the RNR work:
(AFG, that means let's be positive, and not pour scorn on everything a branch of the service that you have never served in, suggests)
just saying.... Like .....


Perhaps one positive is that many people joining have been surrounded by two major conflicts that have not escaped every outlet of the media for the last 13 years. People are joining up with more operational focus than perhaps those 20-30 years ago and are expecting to be deployed. At least that has been my (albeit small) experience of RNR life so far.

Doesn't really help with many of the issues raised above admittedly......
The RN is the only job I've ever had*, so for better or for worse it has shaped my outlook on life: if that means I'm cynical and negative, I am a product of my environment (especially the last 5 years, cf PROJECT FARADAY).

It is true I have never served in the RNR, so perhaps I do lack credibility. However, I have spent a decade being part of successful Ships Companies at various levels, deploying over half a dozen times to operational theatres and meeting the far bigger challenge of generating a warship from the depths of a refit three times. I like to think I have a modicum of credibility in seagoing appointments and understand quite what a task the RNR is taking on.

If the basis of this thread is about "bettering (the) Army Reserve Offer", and the use of an OPV or two is central to that, some decent thought has to go into creating a sustainable way of keeping those ships at sea. The Class may work alongside the RIVERs, or replace them. In either case they will be in Service in 2017 (3 years away).

We therefore have 4 options, with 2 variables: RNR manned entirely or RNR as supplemental; alongside RIVERs or instead or RIVERs. If we go for the lowest risk (instead of RIVERs, RNR supplemental), we have a pretty poor offer to which to compare to the Army's: basically you can spend your holidays on a ship for 2 weeks, but you are not adding much (if at all) to the OC of the ship or the RN. The highest risk (alongside RIVERs, RNR manned) is probably the most attractive in terms of the immediate "offer" - you're part of a Ships Company that is created for the RNR and is adding true value.

2 key enablers to generate any Warship are Engineering Senior Rates and an experienced Command Team. Those two personnel areas are respectively a Critical Manning Group (we're about 30 - 40% short of ME SRs) and an Operational Pinch Point (as I said, we don't have enough CQ2 qualified Warfare Officers, we're about 10 - 15% short). If the RNR doesn't wish to generate either of those 2 personnel pots, that's fine. It will, however, have to be up front about how the "offer" doesn't actually include those 2 points, and thus reduce it's attractiveness.

If we do wish to create RNR COs of the OPV(s), then it is a huge task. At a quick back of fag packet calculation, assuming 1 year in 5 mobilised for 12 months, doing bridge watchkeeping, I reckon it would take a ab initio Officer about 25 years to meet the current requirements of a CQ2 Warfare Officer** or 20 years if you diluted Command to a CQ1 Officer (RIVERs are currently Commanded by CQ2 qualified Officers). I would anticipate creating a ME OOW1 in a similar time scale (based on PO Tiffs taking 3 years after LMEA Course), but I would defer to NS or someone else as to the requirements for ME SQEP. Returning to the Warfare Officer scenario, you would then have to create a sustainable drumbeat of COs to take Command every 12 months (that being the longest they can be mobilised for), as well as all the positions underneath them (XO, Ops, NO, OsOW x 3). None of this would be quick and easy.

If we presume the RNR wishes to go for the most attractive offer – which I'll call RNR OPV, i.e. RNR manned in addition to the Batch 1 RIVERs – they then have to sustain it at sea. As most people could tell you, the simple requirements of 9274 to maintain OC are enough to drive activity 3 weeks out of 4, if only to stay at sea. This includes things like Man Overboard drills, to Machinery Breakdown Drills to Main Machinery Space Fires. I'm not sure how we could justify keeping a Ship at sea, and I'm certain FOST(N) would have a field day as the Assurance authority for the Platform and Operational Duty Holders, if the Ships Company weren't up to the required standard. In all, I would submit that if an RNR OPV were to be a suitable task – and I hope the RNR can step up – then the most obvious solution would be a series of rolling 12 month mobilisations as Ships Company. To support this, the RNR would need to retain at least 5 times as many people as would be required (1 mobilisation in a 5 year period), and have the training margin underneath all this to continue the through-put. Again, this is not an insurmountable task – 4 PARA are committed to providing about a Coy worth of people on an enduring basis with similar boundary conditions.

If this task were outside of the RNR's capability, then I would suggest that the attractiveness of the “offer” goes down. At the bottom of “low risk, low attraction” is a similar set-up of ad-hoc JR based support to RN Ships at sea. Quite where on the sliding scale the RNR wishes to sit is entirely within their own power.

So, in summary, if the RNR wishes to make the most attractive offer, based on what the RN does (go to sea) then there is considerable work to be done, that will require a complete change in which the RNR is organised and trained. With less than 3 years to the entry of the OPVs, there is a significant amount of work to be done.

*Standfast being a chef in an Italian restaurant during VIth form.
** 12 months as a YO to get to NWC level, 3 x 12 months to get the minimum required Qualifying Sea Service (the combination of which is an MCA requirement, not RN), 1 x 12 months for PWO Course, 1 x 12 months as a sea-going PWO to reach OPS.
like you said, you don't have any direct experience in the RNR - and if you did, you would be aware that, at the moment, recruiting is on a major up! So even without the River Class on offer, we Reservists are doing something right. We are recruiting and retaining!
it seems the "be all, end all" regulars aren't quite so fortunate, at the moment, but I'm sure if we had more AFCOs manned by people as positive as you, we would see the Regular recruiting drop even further.

you are obviously passionate about your service, try putting that passion into positivity, and you never know, life may seem a bit better.

The RNR went through a torrid time in the '90s and early 2000s. We are now coming out of the doldrums. Imagine how the regulars of tomorrow (when the RN turns itself around) would feel, if bitter and twisted reservists, oh had never been a regular, spent all thier time belittling every attempt to make the RN a better place.

dont be negative all your life, take a day off for once.


War Hero
How did alfred_the_great become AFG? Eve more oddly, how on earth did killikgolly become King G? Is there a new Navyspeak that I'm not aware of?


Lantern Swinger
AFG has made a positive post (once or twice), but the majority are wrist-slashingly negative.

Not regular RN, but working with them... I know how he feels sometimes. Lots of good people, trying to do too much with too little, and "not failing" is taken as an excuse to reduce resources further since obviously there's no problem until the wheels fall off...

We've had some successes and in a few areas we're seriously best in class, but I'd bet a bottle of decent alcohol that ATG and I share the fear that without a crash stop and massive retrenchment, a major failure is only a question of whether it's "sooner" or "later".

And unfortunately - and I speak as a reasonably proud member of the RNR - the Reserve is peripheral to that issue. We provide some useful support and bring valuable skills and experience to niches the Regulars can't, won't or don't want to do; but the RNR isn't in a position to do much for the current crop of critical crises.

It's a free country and he is more than entitled to his opinion that the RN is about to face the 4 horses of the apocalypse, however his comments about the RNR lack credibility bearing in mind he has not served, he has however, received 2nd hand, opinions about how poor the RNR was in the last century!

From a rather different perspective to yours, I don't see Alfred as attacking the RNR beyond pointing out some past failings; I think the problem comes back to the fact that, in the short term at least, the RNR has very little to offer that addresses the serious problems he sees with the regulars, and so the fact that the RNR is doing much better than it has in the past is of limited relevance or interest to him.

To abuse a metaphor, telling Alfred that the RNR have met their quota for recruiting and training swamp drainage experts doesn't help him beat off the alligators that ate his paddle and are now climbing into the canoe with him...

If we're going classical, then I'll offer Thucydides from the History of the Peloponnesian War:-

You know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.
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