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Thread: Army Reserves Capability

  1. #21

    All I can say is, it looks like I went inactive at the right time - at the height of the Reserves' utility and morale. From what I'm hearing now morale is down the crapper and there are only two types of people in the Reserve infantry units - those who are going ARA and those who are getting out. And you can't blame them when they are treated so badly - no training days, no bullets, no armour, no guns.

    I understand we can't deploy Reserve units into combat zones like the Israelis and Yanks can, when we can't even stand the media and public scrutiny of our regular infantry in combat roles. But the thing is they're always going on about utilising the Reserves more, and as things stand currently it's probably not even safe to send Reservists to the Solomons or Timor - they just don't have enough training. Actions speak louder than words, and while they'd pontificating about One Army and all that crap, they're not backing it up.

    Why not following the British model? They train the TA and then slot them into Regular sections as required. I think this is far better than making a Reserve company a 4th rifle company of a reg battalion. I know 6RAR did do this in Timor and also Iraq, because I know Reserves who went, as Riflemen transferred to 6RAR on CFTS.

    Anyway, that rant has been building for a while now. Fair enough if you think the Reserves aren't worth maintaining as a combat or even operational capability, but then can the crap about One Army. Because the Reserve's capabilities are only going to keep heading downhill through lack of training, lack of resources, lack of morale and ultimately lack of soldiers.

  2. #22

    Hopefully they learn some lessons from the UK model - as a result of SDR in 99 they went from 40 odd half strength TA infantry battalions down to 15 which two years later were also half strength. Unless you are able to break the regional/local model and take the Navy/Air Force route, reserve recruiting is invariably a function of location and closeness to a drill hall. Once those have gone forget about it apart from the 10-20% who would have joined up regardless.

    The UK gets quite a lot out of the TA despite the shoddy treatment it gives it. Individuals backfill regular units, while composite companies get generated by battalions to do force protection work at Div or Bde level (although in Afghanistan they also do other things - TA Royal Irish also did ground holding and mentoring tasks). Specialist units also get called up - I know in 03 the TA Port Regiment was mobilised en-masse to replace its regular counter-part in the UK when it deployed to Kuwait, 131 Cdo Sqn RE usually gets the call when 3 Cdo Bde deploys, a TA unit took the amphibious M3 rigs to Iraq in 03 etc etc.

    Although one thing to note is the small amount of training these guys usually get - my old unit had guys deploying to Iraq in a composite company in 05 who had done 6 weekends basic training, 2 weeks Combat Infantry Course and 5 weeks pre-deplyment training. They performed pretty well at the multiple level although the big difference between them and a regular company was in the quality of leadership and general experience (I was out there with a regular unit at the time so got to see both sides at work). TA individuals are usually completely assimilated into regular units within a couple of weeks although you always get the occasional duffer who it pretty quickly sidelined.

    Dan

  3. #23

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon9 View Post
    Why not following the British model? They train the TA and then slot them into Regular sections as required. I think this is far better than making a Reserve company a 4th rifle company of a reg battalion. I know 6RAR did do this in Timor and also Iraq, because I know Reserves who went, as Riflemen transferred to 6RAR on CFTS.
    We did that for our RCB tour (B Coy 6 RAR) as the battalion was in such bad shape numbers wise that they disbanded B Coy when we got back. Back in the late 80's any grunts leaving Singleton were sent straight to the ODF in Townsville in an attempt to stem the retention problem they had. Being in Brisvegas our retention was excellent, but normal attrition saw the battalion that Jim Molan arrived to command looking more like a well reinforced company. Our platoon was 1 and 16 before deployment - the ARES blokes fitted in fairly well, despite being a mix of truckies, bucket drivers from 2/14, and a few grunts from one of the RQR's. By about the middle of the RCB deployment the platoon was functioning well - a testament to the minimum 8 year experienced Section Commanders and a 12 year experienced Pl Sgt.
    Last edited by Marc 1; 09-04-10 at 07:49 AM.

  4. #24
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    In all seriousness, you'd have to be a chump to actually want to be reserve infantry at the moment.

    The notion that the resources spent on reserves would be better spent on the regular army is to my mind the crux of the issue; either you want a reserve capability, or you don't. If you don't, lets just get rid of the reserves and be done with it. If you want to keep the reserve CSS / specialists, then fine do so - but make sure they're funded to do their jobs.

    Reserve training got slashed as part of the '1bn savings' created by defence, and the end result is you've got an 18 month retention period. 18 months, and soldiers MIGHT be trained up for 6 of those!

    The vast majority of new recruits that I met last year were fairly cluey guys, they're not going to put up with the second rate treatment that you all seem to be recommending.

  5. #25

    Reserves; Why have them?

    This comment

    "...
    10.14 However, a number of factors have constrained the ability of part-time personnel to play a larger role in the delivery of trained and ready capability. These factors include:
    the complexity of the tasks performed by the ADF (and the sophisticated and intensive mission preparation required);
    the availability of part-time personnel for extended duty;
    the complexity, cost and availability of some equipment (and the higher training load required to maintain competencies);
    the significant annual wastage rate among part-time personnel, which can be a brake on the delivery of capability; and
    the dispersion of part-time units and facilities.
    ..."
    makes me wonder if the author(s?) know the difference between Capability and Capacity.

    How is it that if the USA Army has "reserves" (We don't call them reserves BTW, we call them Army. If you are part of the "reserves" you are Army period.) then why are Australian reserves suddenly more stupid then every other human organization on the planet and unable to deploy?

    This is not a flippant remark. I have ties with Australia and I am irritated, surprised and not a little bit concerned by the described situation in this thread that (if true) the Australian Army has such a glaringly STUPID weakness.

    Item one: Every nation needs Defense. Because every nation also has other needs like Education and so on you also need reserves. Why? Because it is more efficient. It is far cheaper to maintain a cadre of (as I think Abe said) willing citizens then to maintain a fully functional Army ready to go into combat with an hour's notice.

    In other words reserves maintain a nation's ready CAPACITY to provide Defense.

    This whole debate about whether reserves are essential or not is ridiculous. They are, or otherwise you wouldn't have a Defense Force that would have sustainable capacity. Ergo, if you don't have a strong and robust program of supporting citizens willing to provide Defense Capability and Capacity to your nation then your Nation's Defense is inherently weak. This is a truth, not an opinion.

    The analogy is dry twig or green twig. You want a green twig that can bend, not a dry twig that will snap, if you place it under pressure.

    Anyway, to address the issue of complexity of equipment and training. The answer is to buy the RIGHT equipment. If your reservists don't have the capacity to fight, it is not because of lack of intelligence to create the capability to fight. It is because they lack the correct equipment. Lets take a look at that in more depth.

    Remember Performance ( or in this case your ability to provide Defense) is the sum of Capacity AND Capability. Capability is easy to create because a dominate component of Capability in Defense is training (Education). If your training is not yielding results then you have 3 key areas to look at:

    1) Is the curriculum relevant? (are you teaching the right thing?)
    2) Is the equipment or tools you are using Capability enhancing? (Are you using the right tools and Does it take a long time to train or a short time to train on these tools?
    3) If 1 and 2 are good then are you allowing enough Time for your Capability to mature?

    I find it bizarre that this is not self-evident.

    It also seems that Australia has a very serious problem I alluded to above. From the comments floating around here, there seems to be a delimiter between Australian reserves and Australian Defense. The answer is to get rid of the delimiter. Make the reserves "regular army training units" or what have you, but the idea that they are different is dangerous, counter productive and a waste of both money, human resources and time. All you do is create bitterness and lower morale on either side of the artificial divide you have created, allocate resources inadequately and end up with a Defense Force that is a shadow of it's full potential.

    To sum up:
    1. Treat your people right
    2. Buy the right stuff
    3. Train the right way

    An example of training right ( as it seems people are not getting the obvious). Separate your training units into two and then split them up into two different time zones. Apply a curriculum where the two units support each others efforts. This is called a "Do-Check loop". The ideal would be to separate them by 12 hours. This makes training 60% more productive for the same amount of time (1 day) and it is particularly effective in virtual environments. For example ( and just one way to do it): Just because the USA has an exercise at White sands or whatever, does not mean EVERY unit in Australia cannot participate in that exercise while in Australia. All you do is re-create the exercise in the middle of a training grounds the same size as the one on the other side of the planet and MIRROR it.

    You can LEARN more stuff this way.. e.g. Rimpac Hawaii does one thing... your guys in Australia want to do it another way... so they do and you can immediately COMPARE (Do-Check loop). Don't have enough warships? Paint a fishing boat blue.

    &^^&$(&^%^&%#$)!


    cheers

    w
    Kung fu Panda. What can I say? The guy is brilliant.

  6. #26

    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    How is it that if the USA Army has "reserves" (We don't call them reserves BTW, we call them Army. If you are part of the "reserves" you are Army period.) then why are Australian reserves suddenly more stupid then every other human organization on the planet and unable to deploy?

    This is not a flippant remark. I have ties with Australia and I am irritated, surprised and not a little bit concerned by the described situation in this thread that (if true) the Australian Army has such a glaringly STUPID weakness.
    That problem is not exactly limited to Australia. There are always some who think that regulars are super-humans and especially officers are next from God, while reserves are just weekend soldiers (even thought they might have long experience and served in many operations). And when you repeat these attitudes long enough everyone involved start to believe in this (after all there is a kernel of truth in these stereotypes) and things get polarised.

    Leadership culture (some might say directing culture) in the army is somewhat different than in civilian organizations and reservists are often more used to civilian style management practices (and vice versa). Therefore managing reservists requires different skill set although they are all supposed to be soldiers in the same army.

    Off course I exaggerated by generalizing, but donīt you recognize these things?

    PS These partly artificial divides between different personnel groups are quite common in old government bureaucracies and waste too much human resources.
    Last edited by Riđđu; 09-04-10 at 06:13 PM.
    Cheers,
    Riđđu, arctic storm

  7. #27

    Quote Originally Posted by Riđđu View Post
    That problem is not exactly limited to Australia. There are always some who think that regulars are super-humans and especially officers are next from God, while reserves are just weekend soldiers (even thought they might have long experience and served in many operations). And when you repeat these attitudes long enough everyone involved start to believe in this (after all there is a kernel of truth in these stereotypes) and things get polarised.

    Leadership culture (some might say directing culture) in the army is somewhat different than in civilian organizations and reservists are often more used to civilian style management practices (and vice versa). Therefore managing reservists requires different skill set although they are all supposed to be soldiers in the same army.

    Off course I exaggerated by generalizing, but donīt you recognize these things?

    PS These partly artificial divides between different personnel groups are quite common in old government bureaucracies and waste too much human resources.
    Fair enough. I guess I hold Australia to a higher standard which is unfair.

    The first problem is in leadership.

    The term "Weekend Soldier" is a dehumanization of assets. The assets (being human) will therefore function at a lower performance no matter what the situation, but especially when integrated with "professional" soldiers where they need to communicate to be successful in a task or operation.

    This leads to an elitist mentality which by definition is qualitative or relative. so it in fact leads to something worse where the elitist body has a low yard stick for comparrison (an unmotivated and unskilled warrior class to compare themselves against) to establish their superior social position. If you didn't understand that it means; using the term "Weekend Warrior" leads to decay of capacity and capability where your professional or "full time" soldiering body becomes DELUDED as to their ability to do anything.

    It fosters further procreation of the same attitude so that the elitists will then create a body that they in turn "look up to" and the danger then becomes that the only body of capable soldiers in your defense force are the elite of the elitists...

    It is comical.

    Now I am beginning to understand why Australia hasn't committed regular soldiers to Afghanistan. If the above culture holds true, then the Australian Army has a negative frictional force or vector affecting their capability and capacity to contribute in a meaningful manner and only their Special Forces can achieve any sort of combat performance.

    If you get rid of the reserves instead of correcting this stagnant culture then you will foster a situation (or create the environment) in which the Defense Force can decay at an exponential rate. Not unlike the collapse in an eco-system such as a fish population. The sudden catastrophic collapse is not linear as politicians might like to think. The integrity of the organization is undermined and becomes one that can suddenly collapse. i.e. one day it looks fine and then the next week it is in a shambles.


    You can see these same pressures at work amongst NATO allies who are threatening to pull out. The "pull out" is the non-linear collapse.

    The reason they are pulling out is they can no longer sustain the conflict, both politically and literally.

    As to leadership culture in Civilian populations you can see how the two (the directive culture you speak to riddu) and I guess the antithesis would be a collective leadership culture are affected in recent US presidential adminstrations. The common denominator between the last 2 administrations is that they have both held rigid to a militaristic directive culture during their campaigns for the White house. But in so doing they have failed to recognize and/or change their leadership style once they have won the seat of power.

    In other words you can afford to make assumptions with your own staff during the campaign ( as a military leader can who is backed by a hierarchal culture day in and day out). But you cannot afford to make assumptions when that staff transitions to becoming a cabinet. Doesn't work and you end up with a lot of people spinning their wheels and not fulfilling their potential.


    This comes back to my first point in the previous post. If you want people to perform. If you want your soldiers (in this case) to maximize their collective worth, then you have to treat them right. That means no in-fighting and no dehumanization and no false yard sticks.

    I sound like good old George W. Bush

    cheers

    w
    Kung fu Panda. What can I say? The guy is brilliant.

  8. #28

    Quote Originally Posted by Weasel View Post
    I sound like good old George W. Bush

    cheers

    w
    No you don't, that was a far too intelligent a reply for him...........

  9. #29

    I don't necessarily like the options being proposed here. At face value, Abe's plan makes sense when accepting the theory that if pollies will not fund then contract until funding levels are politically acceptable and try to provide real capability. The problems I have with these types of plan are:

    1) They assume that the contraction is not a 'downward spiral' (evidenced by Dan's example of the B. TA). i.e. who says the new force level will be funded and equiped? This concern was expressed by the Defence Reserves Association. As Deks mentions, Reserves are clearly not seen as a priority.

    2) What happens to the plans for the Reserves as the 'expansion base'. Under a plan for a contracted reserve there does not appear to be a 'critical mass' that can be called upon within, say, 6 months (or less). Purely as an example, Abe's proposal of 6 BGs would not be enough to maintain two brigades on operations - so even with reserves no more than 1 1/2 brigades on ops. It is legitimate to determine this is sufficient, but I personally do not feel that way.

    3) On a more minor side of the argument - what effect would having even less regional presence impart on ARA and Reserve recruiting? (this one is more difficult to answer if there is a vibrant, funded and active [albeit smaller] Reserve)

    It is true to say that it is difficult to achieve strategic effects through the army when considering Australia's small population size. However, it seems to me that we are deliberately aiming low and then not even funding that target. I would think that, as a minimum, Australia would need at least 4 brigades at less than 4 months notice and a further two at less than 6 months notice.

    Brett.

    P.S did anyone else notice that the force evisaged for Army in 2030 as outlined by the DWP09 after 20 years of population growth did not expand accordingly?

  10. #30
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    On Paper the Royal New South Wales Regiment has 4 Battalions. Could you draw a battlegroup sized force from these battalions by taking one company from each battalion? Assuming each battalion could provide at least a companies worth of trained troops that is.

    Keep the current structure. If the regular troops are to mix and match companies from multiple units to form composite battlegroups, why can't the reserve units do the same?

    Don't the regular units get pre-deployment training anyway? Just extend it slightly if needed.

    Basically have each reserve battalion required to provide a deployable company with the rest of the battalion as filled out as possible, with an expension cadre in place at the very minimum (say each company depot has 1 deployable platoon + 2 partial mobilisation platoons). If they have the manpower to have two or three deployable platoons, good, if not....well...work around it....

    Oh, and while i'm giving my opinion, personally I think all the reserve Cavalry regiments should get Bushmaster, especially since didn't they all have M113 until a couple of years ago anyway?

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