'Generals warn that TA is not fit for new role'
The Telegraph says that "senior Army sources" have spoken of their increasing concern that the Territorial Army is "not fit for purpose" and will leave Britain's ability to defend itself hamstrung:
The decision to slash the regular army from 100,000 to 82,000 troops - a plan known as "Future Force 2020" - is based on the TA taking an increasing role in frontline duties.
The TA would be expected to expand in number to 36,000 part-timers, and fight in battle shoulder to shoulder with the regular army.
Under the plan the British Army will be reduced in size from its current strength of around 100,00 to around 82,000, the smallest since the Boer War.
It would be supported by a territorial force of around 36,000 part-time troops - meaning it would be more than a third of the size of the full-time army.
But there is increasing concern about the basis of the plans.
Critics say that the Government mistakenly bought into the idea that because the US military has successfully incorporated the use of part-time soldiers, marines and pilots into the regular forces, Britain could do the same.
Ministry of Defence figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph also raise questions over current fighting capability of the TA.
They show that it has a current strength of around 30,200, of whom 20,000 are classed as "trained" and of those 16,272 are defined as "regular attendees".
The MoD describes "regular attendees" as those who "have been deemed to be those personnel who have been paid for attending at least one drill night or annual camp within the last six months."
Senior sources believe that of the so called 16,272 "regular attendees" only a third, around 5,400, would be suitable for frontline service in a future war.
One senior officer described the definition of a regular attendee as "laughable", adding that the Army was being backed into a corner by "political orders based on reducing defence expenditure at the expense of state security".
Since 2003 more than 27,000 members of the TA have been mobilised with the majority serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
TA volunteers tend to be drawn from the signals, medical, logistics and infantry units. To date 28 have died on operations and members of the TA and reservist units from the Royal Navy and RAF have won six Military Crosses. ...
Recruiting funding for the reserve forces had been turned off until very recently, but turning the tap on again cannot - by itself - produce the numbers required.
- Full story by Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph - Territorial Army not fit for new role, warn Generals
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