Posted by softestpawn on October 22, 2009
Edited from Arrse:
“STAB stabbing OK. STAB stops. Unload. Make STAB Ready. STAB stabbing OK. STAB stops. Unload. Wait 17 years……
STAB fails to load. On closer inspection, TA appears to be shagged. Return STAB to stores until the country unfucks itself.”
I had rather naively assumed that the reason my TA (Territorial Army) unit had cut down on training was because of a local ‘administrative error’, overrunning their budget.
But no, it seems the government/MoD has decided to withdraw funds for training anything except direct operations.
Now, the TA runs, roughly, as a way of drawing on a segment of the population that doesn’t want to make the military a career, but can still contribute to operations. This might be as fill in to fighting forces, or more valuably as specialists such as drivers or medics. With recent long-term large-scale operations, this draw and rotation is quite heavy, but continues to draw those who can and want to contribute but still maintain another, main, career.
Part time activities create and require commitment. If you can’t practice one activity, you tend to move to something else – and as you do, you commit to them, the social contacts, the skills. The old ones fade. It becomes a hurdle to moving back to the old one when it becomes available again.
This means that when – or if – the TA restarts, there is no core left to pass on not just technical skills but attitudes and experience.
Background training provides a core skillset to launch from for operational training. Years of TA experience do not equate to years of regular training, but are far superior to a few months of pre-deployment training for newcomers.
And even those who don’t deploy provide people to train with. If, out of any group of TA soldiers, only a few mobilise, the others provide the bulk to run usefully sized exercises; without them you just don’t get the scale of training. Even for those that don’t intend to deploy initially, circumstances change. And they are also available for the more extreme remit of the TA: national emergency.
It might be another training model would work. The pay is an important compensation for the time away from family and friends, but there’s still opportunity for those of us who don’t need that to train. But that’s not the way the organisation is able to operate.
At a stroke, the current government appears to have saved a tiny tiny part of the budget at the expense of mid term capability – capability that the next government will have to cope with. It appears a deliberate act of espionage on not just the next government (Labour must expect to lose the election) but the resources our fighting forces can draw on.