Started this post yesterday and then went to bed. Added a few things.
My experience is solely with the Reserve Infantry, but I believe that we can train good dismounted Sections and Platoons withing the existing training and logistics infrastructure.
The existing technical and leadership courses, despite all the whining we do about them, are actually pretty good at turning out well trained soldiers and good junior leaders.
I can easily see that. With the new Reg F arty structure of having batteries that are basically gunlines, a battery of FOO dets and a surveillance and target acquisition battery I can easily see the reserve force forming complete gun line batteries and the vast majority of STA batteries but be very limited in providing FOO dets and FSCCs (which would require a predominant number of Reg F folks) That's a very doable concept where you have a regiment with a majority Reg F RHQ and FOO battery and maybe one Reg F gun battery and have the reserves provide two additional gun batteries and an STA battery. You'd have a full sized regiment (not the stubbies we have right now) and at half the PY cost. Put the Reg F CO in charge of the whole shebang's training and Bob's your uncle.
The problem is that the training aims change like a menopausal chameleon and, to be successful, the Reserves need a long term commitment to a 'main effort' to foster a predictable training program that won't change with each Army/ Div/ Bde Commander.
Unit COs also need a high degree of accountability for 'keeping the plot' and meeting the training goals as opposed to, you know, devoting about 2/3rds of the training plan to ceremonial events (yes, at least two of the COs I served under did that without anyone taking them to task on that).
This is where I get back to the 30/70 and 70/30 concept where battalion HQs are predominantly Reg F with direct responsibility for the development of both their Reg F and Res F components to a standard training model for each of the arms. I can see a Reg F CO running a 30/70 battalion, having it count as a command tour, being held accountable and assessed on the development of the entire battalion and even being liable to have his bn HQ and Reg F company augmented by Res F volunteers for an operational deployment. The big change needed for that is to have a whole different training model which ensures that the battalion is active year round, concentrating on training its Reg F components during the winter months and the Res F component in the summer (with due allowances for the APS and summer leave (last time I looked there were two hard-core summer months (July and August) and one should be able to pull together 25-33% of the Reg F folks on the ground throughout the summer to train the reservists.
Recently I had a discussion with a unit CO who I think is actually a good guy who's doing the right things (he should be - I trained him
) and he said that he only spoke to the last Bde Comd, on the phone, once over a two year period. He never saw him in person except at the occasional Bde Conference or social function.
Which means that Bde Comds also need a rocket up their asses to make sure that they get out and ensure things are happening the way they should.
For 18,000 reservists we only need four-five brigades (two manoeuvre; two to three support). The leadership there should also be predominantly Reg F with responsibility and accountability for their units and capable of doing deployment rotations.
I'm a bit heavy into interviews this week but maybe over the weekend I'll put some pen to paper on this - it's about time I updated "Unsustainable At Any Price".
... A rationalization needs to occur in the reserves for them to be actually viable.
As @FJAG and you have pointed out - the viability beyond Platoon starts to drop - and yet the reserves still have Battalion or Regimental positions for ranks.
The argument the Reserves have always used for "a Mobilization" construct is such a farce these days - as there isn't anyone to train those who would join to fill them out in Mobilization.
Now I place a lot of blame for the situation on the Regular Army - but also the Res Regimental Senates etc who refuse to admit their old unit is gone - a Platoon minus with the name of a Battalion/Regiment does no one any good.
The mobilization construct died officially as well as practically with the switch to a role of "augmentation" of the "forces in being" and the "de-equipping" of the reserves which started as a process in the 1960s and for all intents and purposes was complete well before the last round of army transformation started at the turn of the century.
There is actually a good book that traces the process called "Relentless Struggle: Saving the Army Reserve 1995-2019"
. The book was commissioned by Reserves 2000 as a history of their activities and is quite tilted to support the viewpoint that those regimental senates etc are the good guys. Notwithstanding that clear bias, the book itself is very well researched and provides a wealth of detail that makes it easy to read between the lines. In short, there are good guys and bad guys on both sides. I was on CRes&C Council for much of the 2000-2009 time frame and it was quite clear that they, and not just the Reg F, saw Reserves 2000 as the enemy. At the same time I was watching things happening within CRes&C and the Reg F that was clearly highly destructive of the Res F (mostly the denigration of the Class A system in favour of Class Bs and Cs - something that I tend to call the "what have you done for me today?" full-timer syndrome which IMHO is tremendously short-sighted and glosses over the potential cost savings and expansion potential that a properly structured reserve force can give you.)
The Reg Force isn't going to make the Res viable
I agree with this
- the Reserves need to have a come to Jesus meeting with themselves and come up with a plan to streamline and make them relevant that the Reg force will need to pay attention to - as quite frankly the Reg force is pretty thin these days and needs the Militia even if they don't want to admit it. ...
I don't with that. I don't think that the Res F will ever come to Jesus. Their official leadership is in the Reg F pocket and their unofficial leadership is living in a fairyland. What is needed is a minister and a government that has a proper understanding of the reality of the situation, has a vision for a future which will make a far-better use of part-time resources and the guts to sort out the plague in both houses. Not holding my breath.