Strategic Review Of UK Reserve Forces - "official" thread

Below, from the detailed brief on the Reserve Forces review:

Strategic Review of the United Kingdom's Reserve Forces


• On 19 March 2008, the Secretary of State for Defence announced a Strategic Review of the United Kingdom's Reserve Forces to ensure we have Reserve Forces that meet Defence's needs now and into the future.
• The Review will be in line with MOD's vision of Reserve Forces as an increasingly integral part of Defence capability. It is an opportunity to ensure we are making the most of our Reservists, and its key focus will be on the generation of relevant military capability.
• The review is fully supported by the heads of the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air Force, and will take into account the Reserves' recent considerable operational experience.
• It will also be conducted in an open and transparent manner, seeking opinions from across the Defence community and beyond.
• Reserve Forces are, and will remain, an essential component of the United Kingdom's Armed Forces. They have played a vital part in maintaining the level of operational activity we have witnessed over the last five years, and longer.
• The review team will be seeking views from as many people with an interest in the Reserves as possible. Their contact details are below.


1. On 19 March 2008, the Secretary of State for Defence announced a strategic review of the United Kingdom's Reserve Forces. The review is designed to ensure that our Reserve Forces are in the best shape to meet Defence's current and future needs. Our Reserve Forces comprise both volunteer (primarily the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Territorial Army, and Royal Auxiliary Air Force) and ex-regular reservists.

2. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, more than 17,000 reservists have served on operations around the world. They make up around nine percent of British Forces in Afghanistan, and four percent of British Forces in Iraq. Within the UK, they contribute substantially to the community, especially when responding to a crisis or emergency.

3. While they continue to provide a strategic reserve for UK Defence, they have also increasingly demonstrated their utility on operations and have played a vital part in our ability to mount and sustain operations, in particular over the last five years.

4. Even before the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, MOD has been working towards a vision of the Reserve Forces as an increasingly integral part of Defence capability. We need to make sure that we are getting the best out of our Reservists; that their training and other opportunities are as good as they can be; and that Reserve Forces are structured, managed and equipped to deliver the capability that Defence needs.


5. The Review of the UK's Reserve Forces will start in April 2008 and report in October 2008. The Service Chiefs are in full support, noting that the review is policy-led and not resource-driven and that it represents an opportunity to look at the Reserves on their own merits and in their own right. It will be informed by significant operational lessons and trends, as well as the better management information now available. It also follows recent internal work confirming that in broad terms our existing Reserve Forces policies remain sound, and clarifying the policy starting points for those aspects that would benefit from for further development.

The review has a broad remit. In particular, it will look at:

a.How best to refine the balance between the Regular and Reserve forces with a view to providing the required levels of capability and readiness.

b.Options for closer integration of Reserves and Regular units to gain greater utility of Reservists at all scales of operations.

c.How to capitalise on reservists' civilian skills with the consent of the reservist and their civilian employer where appropriate.

d.Which niche capabilities might best be filled by the Volunteer Reserves, particularly in the light of current operations.

e.The degree to which Reservists should be used in stabilisation tasks – supporting one of the key implications for Defence arising from the recently published National Security Strategy.

f.Improvements to the Civil Contingencies Reaction Force concept with a view to providing a flexible tool that ensures the optimum use of Reservists in times of crisis at home, without affecting their utility for primary overseas tasking.

g.The continued validity of current Sponsored Reserves and Full Time Reserve Service models within the Illustrative framework defined in Future Reserves.

h.The degree to which reservists can be managed flexibly and, outside niche capabilities, integrated with their Regular counterparts where possible – we should seek to minimize the duplication of overheads in infrastructure, training delivery and the chain of command.

6. Reservists mobilised for operations draw strength from the support they receive from their families, their employers, and the wider reserve community and we fully acknowledge that for this review to be successful, it will need to consult extensively.


Why do we need a strategic review now?
Lessons and trends identified from our ongoing operations, as well as work carried out by the National Audit Office, and the Ministry of Defence, have suggested that we can do more to optimise our Reserve Forces to meet the current and future needs of Defence. This strategic review will ensure we get our force balance right, whether between reservists and regulars, or between the roles for which Reserve Forces are structured, skilled, trained, available and equipped.

Is this review an over-reaction to the particular circumstances of today?
This review is designed to ensure that Reserve Forces can continue to make the best possible contribution to Defence, both now and in the future. To do this, it will not only look at the challenges our reservists are facing today, but also at wider issues such as the different roles of all of our Reserve Forces and the balance between these and our regular Forces.

Who will lead the review?
The review will be led by Major General N J Cottam CB OBE, who was selected in accordance with the MOD's policy for senior officer appointments. The other members of the review team will be drawn from across the Services, and will include both regular and reserve officers.

How can I make my voice heard?
As part of this review, we will be speaking to as many people with an interest in reserve force matters as possible. If you have a view, we would very much like to hear from you.

Reserve Forces Review Team,
Directorate of Reserve Forces and Cadets,
Level 8 Zone E,
Main Building,
Ministry of Defence
London, SW1A 2HB

Is this review simply a cost savings exercise?
No. The aim of the review is to ensure our Reserve Forces are structured in the most effective way to deliver the capabilities required. As part of this analysis, there will of course be value for money considerations, given that the review will look at the optimum means of managing Reserve Forces, but our primary focus is the delivery of capability.

Isn't the Review evidence of overstretch in the Armed Forces?
No. Reservists have always made a vital contribution to UK Defence capability and will continue to do so. Our aim in this review is to ensure that we are making the best possible use of all of our Reserve Forces in the context of Defence as a whole, matching capability to requirement in the most intelligent way.

Is there a connection between the timing of the review and the 100th anniversary of the TA?
2008 does indeed mark the 100th anniversary of the formation of the TA, which will be celebrated with a wide variety of events under the banner of "TA100". This makes it an auspicious moment for us to ensure that the contribution made by Reserves continues to be as relevant for the 21st Century as it was during the 20th.

How does this Review relate to the Territorial Army Future Army Structure (TA FAS) work, itself only announced two years ago?
FAS shaped and sized the TA for its role in augmenting the Regular Army for large-scale contingent operations, but the numbers of reservists mobilised over the last five years has demonstrated the increased importance of the TA's role in supporting enduring operations. These reservists have largely deployed either as individual augmentees or in small teams, where they have integrated seamlessly into the regular force. Given this trend, it makes sense to examine whether we have done all that we can to optimise the balance in the TA's structures between these roles. It is too soon to say what effect the review will have on the planned programme of TA FAS work; clearly where it makes sense some FAS work will be deferred, pending the outcome of the Review.

Is the review mainly about the Territorial Army?
Numerically, most volunteer reservists are members of the Territorial Army, but size is not the only consideration, and the review will look equally at the roles of each of the Services, fully recognising work that has already been carried out by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force into their respective futures.

Will cadet forces and university units be examined as part of this review?
Although the review team may refer to cadet forces and university units because of arrangements they share with Reserve Forces, they are not part of this review as they do not directly contribute to Defence outputs. The Review will, however, look at the Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations.

What does this review mean for force structures/terms and conditions of service/command opportunities/our links with the local community?
That is for the review to determine. We intend for it to be as comprehensive as possible and clearly we cannot at this stage pre-empt its outcome.

This was posted by the Ministry of Defence. You can find a copy at


War Hero
Now lets see, we can't have a review into the political run up to the invasion of Iraq because we are still fighting there and it would affect morale, but we can have a review to slash the reserve forces fighting there...

One rule for the politicians and one rule for the military...


War Hero
Re: Strategic Review Of UK Reserve Forces - "official" threa

Bounty for employers maybe?

Ok it would cost an absolute fortune but it would make a difference to the smaller companies who employ reservists. The larger companies who in many cases can afford to lose a reservist for six months can give it to charity if they so wish.

It may make one or two employers think along the same lines of their reservist employees, "I've taken the queens shilling" so to speak.

Pie in the sky i know, not practical for all the reasons you lovely people are going to tell me. :thumright:

Can't wait :sleepy:


Lantern Swinger
Re: Strategic Review Of UK Reserve Forces - "official" threa

After scanning the initial entry, I read last nights paper to note that Bruin has announced that the TA will be providing security for reconstruction sites in areas that have suffered conflict.

1 Is the very expensive strategic review(SR) a case of justifying a decision that has already been made (The SR will be TA centric!)?

2 Where will the support for the front line forces come from if the TA is guarding diggers.

3 Will we all be wearing you can't see me suits miles from the sea no matter what our expertise is?


War Hero
Given that the review board has yet to meet, its fair to say that no decisions have been reached. Having seen and heard many of those involved in implementing this review, I can safely say that its being done for the right reasons.

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