Measures to overhaul Britain’s Reserve Forces have been unveiled as part of a wide-ranging consultation published by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.
The consultation, Future Reserves 2020: Delivering the Nation’s Security Together, proposes more training for Reservists and changing the name of the Territorial Army to reflect the enhanced role they are to be given.
Under Mr Hammond’s proposals there will be a transparent approach to scheduling, with employers given more certainty about the timing of possible mobilisations and more notice when they occur. The measures will create a fully integrated force of Regulars and Reservists, using similar equipment and training together.
The number of trained Reserves is to grow to around 35,000 across all three Services by 2020, aligning the mix of Regular and Reserve components with many of the UK’s closest allies.
The biggest change, however, will be in the Army, with 30,000 trained Reserves creating a total land force of about 120,000.
The plans are backed by an extra £1.8bn in funding over the next ten years for new equipment, uniforms and training for the Reserves.
Mr Hammond said:
“This transformation of the Reserves will see a radical shift in the way in which we use them, with units deployed as formed units or sub-units as well as delivering individual augmentees. Increased training, better equipment and extra investment in our Reserves are all integral to our vision of a formidable, adaptable and flexible Armed Forces, with a Reserve/Regular balance more in line with our main allies.
“This Government has committed £1.8 billion to rebuilding our Reserves. The consultation I have launched today is about working with Reservists, their families and employers to use that money to design the Reserve forces of the future.”