Letter from Colonel J. Putnam, CBE TD
DL, South East Reserve Forces and Cadets' Association (20 October
We spoke on various matters concerning the Territorial
Army and Cadets not least of my concerns at the lack of career
paths for young officers, particulary in the Infantry. This particular
problem is having an effect on retention of young officers and,
not surprisingly, their recruitment and commissioning in the first
RMA, Sandhurst runs 4 commissioning courses
for TA Officers in the year and each course can accommodate 90-100
candidates. This year to date there have been 3 courses and the
results from those attending each course were as follows:
Course 00235 Passes3
Course 00419 Passes2
Course 00651 Passes7
I obtained these figures today directly from
Clearly, we have an officer recruiting problem
and both ourselves, RFCAs and Recruiting Group are aware of the
problem and plans are in hand to dedicate funds and activity towards
closing this issue down. However, I believe that we may have ended
up with a TA which may be being perceived as not worth joining.
A radical statement I know but one we suggested might be the case
when the outcome of SDR was announced.
As mentioned above the other key issue was the
lack of career paths on offer to young officers and others within
the new infantry battalion structure and establishment.
Critically, the company commanders of the future
will not have the right experience and there will subsequently,
therefore, be a dearth of TA officers qualified to be COs.
You will hear of plans to focus a campaign on
officer recruiting but the career paths must be there to secure
the attention of the quality people we need. Another concern is
that too many officers in the subaltern-captain range are too
old, ie of the wrong age group, which merely adds to our overall
All of these issues are compounded by the thin
"spread" of the TA as a whole, but we have to learn
to cope with that. There is no doubt that the officer problem
could be alleviated to some extent by the return of the Direct
Entry route for the potential officers.