Territorial Army 'to be renamed the Army Reserve'

British troops in Afghanistan The reservists will get much the same kit as the regular army, Mr Hammond says

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The Territorial Army would be renamed the Army Reserve under plans unveiled by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

He told the BBC legislation would be needed for the change, which would also see territorials get regular Army kit, and train with full-time forces.

As part of the recent defence review, the numbers of regular soldiers is set to fall from 102,000 to 82,000, while reservists will double to 30,000.

He said the reservists would become an "integral part" of the Army.

Mr Hammond said he hoped that a number of those leaving the slimmed down regular forces would join the reserves and "help change the ethos".

Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show if he was attempting to get an "army on the cheap", Mr Hammond said cutting the size of the regular army was "unfortunately one of the steps we had to take to rebalance the defence budget".

'Makes sense'

He said that it made sense for many of the support functions, like logistics, to be done by reservists because there was not such a great demand for them during peacetime.

The defence secretary said he wanted to see a name change - "in my head they are the Army Reserve, an integral part of the regular Army" - but added that the change would need to be approved by Parliament.

TA soldiers usually have full-time or part-time jobs and attend training sessions in their own free time. They are paid about £35 a day for each session.

They have to commit to between 19 and 27 training days a year and if they meet this commitment they get a tax-free lump sum called a bounty, which ranges from £424 to £2,098.

Travel to and from their units is also subsidised and they do not have to pay towards their kit.

Britain has had a reserve of part-time or retired soldiers - often known as yeomanry - since the Middle Ages but the system was only regularised in 1907 with the passing of legislation creating a Territorial Force.

It was mobilised just before World War I and its soldiers fought alongside regular soldiers in the trenches of northern France.

In 1920 it became the Territorial Army and in 1939 it was doubled in size as war clouds approached again.

The TA withered away during the 1960s but in 1971 it was reformed and expanded although its role remained unclear until the 1998 Strategic Defence Review.

As the regular Army became increasingly stretched in the early 21st century the TA became more important and 6,900 TA soldiers were mobilised for the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In recent years it has also supported regular troops in Afghanistan and the Balkans.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 524.

    Still hasn't even started to get rid of the overhang of senior officers and civil servants that mean we have 2 admirals for every ship, 8 generals for each division, etc. Nothing comes in close to budget, and hasn't for decades. Cut the regular fighting troops, and make the territorials the reserve. It figures.

  • rate this

    Comment number 523.

    Maybe it's just me, but I still do not see the point in having a war.! You end up DEAD war or no war! So wars are just a load of utter stupid fools running around with guns popping each other off a little early! Look at the fiasco in Afghanistan... To date achieved NA DA! ONLY Deaths by the truck load!

  • rate this

    Comment number 522.

    It isn't broken so there's nothing to fix. The government has far more pressing issues to sort out than rebranding the TA.

  • rate this

    Comment number 521.

    The best way to increase the effectiveness of the TA would be to have them mobilised in time to join their regular units on the pre-tour training. 3 weeks - one of which is admin is not enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    Get rid of these private contractors. They are more expensive, they are always more of a security liability and it costs a fortune to get them all security checked and cleared.

    Bring back more jobs in the Armed Forces where the men and women are employed to do the jobs of the contractors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    9. Rodney

    The one that gave the most to the Tory party coffers. Simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    Am I alone in thinking our regular army is not big enough and advanced enough to do what we need it to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    I'm about to join the TA - sorry, the ARMY RESERVE - near where I live. It's definately a good thing to do, but I think its wrong that the government are slowly raising TA numbers whilst cutting regular army jobs. I'm a civilian first and foremost. We need a strong army of regulars to ensure the continued safety of this nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    However they rebrand our valued reservists, it's still soldering on the cheap. This re-marketing, upgrading of numbers and equipment should have been done IN addition to retaining our numbers above the hundred thousand. We came up short in resources in 82 because of defence cuts, this government is leaving us vulnerable again. Scandalous attitude and it's cost them my vote and I hope many more!

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    Stop wasting money on debates and get the proper kit to our soldiers on the front line !

  • rate this

    Comment number 514.

    if people want education they should study had and get job to pay for collage if they choose. the military does provide training in defense of country and help in disaster. most military training is based off of defense civilians but they are also trained to kill people and break things no matter what they are called.

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    One I see no point in changing and as someone said a while ago the ta are that reservists they don't get paided a yearly salery an are ment for missions which is to big for the proper full trained seasoned soldiers, cut full time staff to put reservists in its place is just stupid as the saying goes I'd rather have it and not need it than not have it and need it. Keep the name the same.

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.


    That may be, but I've never experienced living under a 'dictatorship' until now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    Why do UK politicians of all colours take advantage of the fact that the Armed Forces and the Police are unable to strike. They use both services as pawns in their miserable game and never mind our security. When did we last have a Defence or Home Secretary worthy of the name. Blair, Brown and Cameron have just appointed a group of "jobsworths" in the posts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    This government has the Midas touch, IN REVERSE, I wouldn't let them run a tap! The economy, messed up, slash jobs yet still borrowing more, Getting people to sign away their hard fought employment rights, the rail fiasco, and now wasting money on rearranging the deckchairs! Stop wasting money how about reducing the number of mp's by the same proportion of public sector workers and no expenses!

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    It seems the one thing this government is definitely not is conservative. Tradition, workable things and common sense seem to be at odds with a desire to modernise or meddle with. By which the likes of Hammond mean "I have just thought of something else I can alter-change-revise".

    Some things are best left well alone because nobody desires a change. The TA is one of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.


  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    They are basically turning the reservists and TA into a MOD agency - Only pay for the man-power as you need them.

    Disgracefull really since the MOD seems to love supplying scores of troops into conflicts, now they can carry on over commiting troops, whilst not paying for a full time army.

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    Surprised they haven`t just amalgamated them into the regular army, after all that seems to be the governement's plan all along in reducing the numbers in the army on proper contracts and taking on peeps on "lesser" contracts to do the job.
    Now, where did we put those games-makers and their never say die spirit:)

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    MOD must not be allowed to use flashy, seducing ads when they recruit. Recruitment ads should be plain, idealy black and white using no flasy, catchy technics. MOD must not be allowed to employ people under the age of 21 and permission must be obtained first from the parents for people under the age of 26. Minimum salary should be £50.000 a year tax free for soldiers in battlefields.


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