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STAB Stops

Posted by softestpawn on October 22, 2009

TA_ClosedEdited 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.

People like me

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.

It’s not as if STABs are useless

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.

(A more considered post by my old CO)

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2 Responses to “STAB Stops”

  1. The difficulty of rebuilding those core skills, attitude and capacity from six months of inactivity pale in to (not quite) insignifigance in the face of the very real idea that;

    Some people in the TA do it for ‘the buzz’ or ‘the craic’. If the TA just sort of stops for six months then they will go elsewhere for their fix. Football team loyalty is arguably similar to unit loyalty. There is a lot of football in the UK, operating on a lot of levels.

    Alternatively some in the TA have become used to the renumeration and will just either work longer hours at their regular jobs or take another ‘second career’.

    Those who are motivated by public service might become retained firemen, special constables, St John’s Ambulance volunteers/NHS ambulance service community first responders.

    Unless the TA is actually there, people will walk and those that do are much less likely to return when the MoD opens for business again in six months time. Keeping TACs open for social occasions during the period won’t cut the mustard either.

    There are NRPS who look after a lot of the big/heavy kit. These people will still have to be employed, along with PSIs, LECs and so on who run the TA when the TA themselves are not there. All of those costs will still have to be covered; So it’s not like the entirity of TAVR expenditure will actually be turned off for six months – only the bit that directly supports Operations.

    • I may have jumped the gun a bit; the TA may not have been performing well enough to be worth it (though I don’t know how that was evaluated – it’s not enough to just say that only some tip up to ops). And there might be a large scale general reorg going on, based on Operation Entirety.

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