Future Army 2020 - Defence Committee Contents

3  Implementation of Army 2020

55. The Army 2020 plan envisaged that the changes to the Regular Army structure would be in place by 2015.[104] At the time of publication of the Army 2020 plan, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defence, pledged an additional £1.8 billion in spending on the Reserves over the next ten years and announced an ambitious plan to grow the trained strength of the Reserves to 30,000 by 2018.[105] However there was still work to be undertaken to implement the Army 2020 plan and further announcements to be made, particularly on the role, use and recruitment of Reservists and both the Regular and Reserve basing plans (see paragraph 2 (timeline of announcements) and paragraphs 7-10).

56. The MoD published its proposals for the Reserve Forces, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, in July 2013.[106] Its central theme was the new relationship Defence would seek to build with Reservists and their families, employers and society. Specifically, the MoD is seeking to make serving as, and employing, a Reservist more appealing, challenging and financially rewarding. At the same time as publication of the White Paper, the MoD announced its Reserve basing plan,[107] the Regular Army basing plan having been announced in March 2013.[108]

Recruitment of Reserves

57. Given that the Reservists element, particularly recruitment of the required numbers, of Army 2020 has been the biggest area of contention on the Army 2020 plan, we explored whether the delays between the announcements on Regulars and Reserves, had impacted on the implementation of the plan. In July 2013, Major General David Cullen, Assistant Chief of the General Staff, told us that there were two reasons for the delays between the announcements:

    The first and most fundamental was that, following the production of the Future Reserve 2020 proposition, which was done separately, the Secretary of State agreed that there was a need for consultation and the production of the Green Paper to map a journey; that was inevitably going to take a certain amount of time longer than the Regular component's proposition, which was easier in many ways to come to, not least because the manner of the generation of our Reserves over time is complex, so the detail required was very much greater to go through. All of which came together, as you well understand, with the White Paper announcement on the Reserves last week.[109]

58. In July 2013, we asked Lieutenant General Bradshaw, Commander Land Forces, what progress had been made on the recruitment of Reservists since the announcement of Army 2020. He pointed out that the announcements on Reserves, including measures to encourage Reservist recruitment, had only just been made and that the recruitment campaign was in its early stages:

    The announcement has only just happened [July 2013], so we are only just embarking on the process of energising that recruiting effort. We are not in a position to map out exactly what the progress will be like. My own expectation is that recruiting figures will start to lift more gently in the early days and as people see the reality of the new integrated army, they will find the Reserves a more attractive proposition and numbers will grow. I would expect something of a curve.[110]

59. It is disappointing that there was a year's gap between the announcements of the Army 2020 plan and the outcome of the Reserves consultation and the Reserves basing plan. This raised the potential for a lack of coordination and hampered communications regarding the plans for the Regular and Reserve Forces. Even though the generation of Reserve Forces is complex, the number of Reservists required for Army 2020 and the challenge to recruit them was well known. We consider that the intervening time between announcements could have been utilised in making progress in recruiting the required number of Reservists.


60. It has been suggested by the former Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP,[111] and others, including those contributing to our forum on the Army Rumour Service website, that the reduction in the Army's Regular strength should be contingent on the recruitment of the required number of Reserves by 2018.[112] In the House on 10 October 2011, the then Secretary of State, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, said:

    Perhaps the biggest challenge is the fact that we are pouring £400 million into the reserves over this Parliament [...]. There will be challenges in absorbing that amount of money and, of course, the rate at which we are able to build up the Reserves will determine the rate at which we are able to change the ratio with the Regulars.[113]

61. When the Army 2020 plan was announced in July 2012, the link between the Regular reductions and the increase in Reserves had been removed. The reductions in Regular Forces were to be completed by 2015 while the target date for the recruitment of the Reservists was 2018. Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defence, told us why:

    We have available to us a fixed envelope of resources, and making the decision to proceed with the draw-down of Regular force numbers to the target of about 82,000 and to build the Reserve over a period of five years allows us to take the dividend from the reduced size of the Regular force and invest in the recruitment, training and equipment provision of the Reserve forces. Within the Army's budget [...] it simply would not have been deliverable or sustainable to propose retaining a larger Regular force and investing in the build-up of Reserve forces in the way we are now doing.[114]

Asked whether it would not be better to retain a contingent link between the increase in the Reserves and the reduction in the Regular Army, the Secretary of State replied:

    I recognise the line of questioning, but I am afraid that I do not see the logic of suggesting that we should hold the Regular forces that we have decided to draw down and restructure in their old configuration at their old numbers, rather than getting on with the job of reconfiguring them for their future role—a contingent posture, post 2014.[115]

62. The Secretary of State argued that it was critical to understand that the Army was "not simply replacing Regulars with Reservists".[116] Army 2020 was about changing the structure of the Army so that "more of the supporting capabilities are held in the Reserves". In future the Army would have different types of capability in the Reserve and Regulars.[117]

63. We note, but remain to be convinced by, the Secretary of State's explanation as to why the reduction in the Regular Army should not be dependent on the recruitment of the necessary number of Reservists. The financially driven reduction in the number of Regulars has the potential to leave the Army short of personnel in key supporting capabilities until sufficient Reserves are recruited and trained. In its response to this Report, we call on the MoD to set out in detail its planning assumptions for the transition, over the next five years, to a new Army structure including specific examples of the different types of capability which will fall within the domain of the Reserves and Regulars in future. This would assist with gaining support for the Army 2020 plan among the Regular Army, the wider Armed Forces, Parliament and the public. The Government must also set out its contingency plans for the rapid recruitment of Regular Army personnel should there be a need for the rapid expansion of UK Armed Forces.


64. Historically the size of the Territorial Army has been larger than that envisaged by Army 2020, as illustrated in the graph below:

Source: Ministry of Defence: Future Reserves 2020: Delivering the Nation's Security Together: A Consultation Paper, Cm 8475 Annex B, p 45

Notes: (1) Trained and untrained (2) Total strength of trained and untrained Reserves (3) Reservists who have completed their Phase 1 (initial) and Phase 2 (specialist) training

65. However, although a trained Territorial Army of 30,000 would not appear large in historic terms, the biggest challenge identified during our inquiry was the recruitment of the required number of Reservists to fulfil the Army 2020 plan. Several witnesses expressed doubts as to whether this could be achieved. Professor Theo Farrell identified it as the one flaw in the plan:

    the whole thing is predicated on the ability to raise 30,000 Reserves and then progressively integrate them in a deployable force, starting from individual augmentees to whole units. And while, for instance, the Americans have been able to use Reserve forces in this way, in recent history the British have not been able to deploy whole units into the field.

    More to the point, as we know they are encountering very significant problems with Operation Fortify—the operation to raise the Reserve force. So that's the flaw: if you cannot raise the size of the Reserve force that you require and you cannot get the flexible contracts you need to use them in a certain way, the whole of Army 2020 is crashing.[118]

66. When they gave evidence, Rt Hon Phillip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Defence, and General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, expressed confidence that the required number of Reservists could be achieved, highlighting that the number of trained Reservists envisaged was significantly lower compared with historic and many international comparisons. The Secretary of State said:

    The number of trained Reserves that we are targeting is significantly smaller than the number we have traditionally held in this country. We will have 30,000 trained Army Reservists by 2018, which compares with around 72,000 trained Army Reservists as recently as 1990. It is a significantly lower proportion of our Armed Forces than our English-speaking allies typically expect to hold as Reservists in their mix, and we are confident that we will be able to deliver it.[119]

General Wall told us:

    [...] in recent memory we have had a much more significant Reserve force than we aspire to grow in this period. [...] I am not suggesting it is like for like. In terms of the sheer size of it, we have been there before [...].[120]

67. Lieutenant General (retired) Brims, Chair, Future Reserves 2020 External Scrutiny Group, agreed that the target was achievable but said that it would be helpful to have metrics for the plan that allowed progress to be measured and if necessary mitigating action to be taken if recruitment fell behind schedule:

    In view of the timescale challenge, we said in our report that there was a need to be more metric, so that you could measure how the build-up was going. If you have some way points, you can take mitigating action to get things to a better end. I have no doubt that this is an achievable plan. The question is whether it is achievable in the timescale given.[121]

68. The Secretary of State acknowledged that if the measures did not deliver the required number of Reservists then the plan would need to be revisited:

    If there is a persistent significant discrepancy [between targets and delivery], clearly the plan will have to be revised. The plan will not be delivering. However, I would not like the Committee to get the impression that there is a single set of possibilities for delivering this target output. There are many strands to the recruiting programme. The CGS and I have discussed with each other and with many other people the things that we might introduce if we find that elements of the current plan are not delivering what we expect them to deliver.

    There will be pilots of different approaches to see what works and what does not work. The introduction of Capita as our recruiting partner will deliver us far more analysis of the process. Because of the commercial environment in which it operates, it is used to analysing the results delivered by different approaches. We do not have, in the Department at the moment, what I would call "proper data" showing what the response to difference types of marketing approach and pitch to potential recruits is. We do not know what we are good at doing, or what we are not good at doing.[122]

69. While a level of 30,000 trained Reservists in the Army might not appear a large number based on historic levels, the current recruitment drive takes place against a backdrop of falling recruitment levels over several years. We note the scepticism of some of our witnesses that it will be possible to recruit the required number of Reservists in the timescale envisaged. The urgent challenge for the MoD is to ensure that it now employs effective measures and sufficient incentives to recruit and maintain 30,000 trained Reservists by 2018. Otherwise there is a danger of a gap emerging in the Army's required capabilities and real fighting power. In its response to this Report, we also call on the MoD to outline the different approaches it envisages if the data shows that the plan is not on course to be delivered.


70. The MoD acknowledges that the recruitment of the required number of Reservists is a challenge.[123] Since the Army 2020 announcement there have been calls for the MoD to publish recruitment figures and its recruitment targets for Reserves to assess progress of the Army plan. The Secretary of State for Defence has committed to publish statistical data on Reservists.[124] The first data set was published by the Defence Analytical Services Agency on 14 November 2013.[125] During the debate on the Defence Reform Bill on 20 November 2013, the Secretary of State committed to make more data available including the MoD's targets:

    The statistics that were published last week were on trained strength and on recruitment into the Reserves. Those are the statistics for which the National Statistician is responsible. She has indicated on her website that she intends to publish further data series once she is confident of their robustness. Separately, I have undertaken to publish for the House the targets to which we are working and I will do so before the end of the year.[126]

71. On 19 December 2013, the Secretary of State published the target recruitment figures for Reservists and the target strength of Reservists for each Service.[127] The Army targets were as follows:

Table 1: Trained strength targets for the Army Reserve up to end of Financial Year 2018
Target End

Financial Year



Financial Year



Financial Year



Financial Year



Financial Year



Financial Year












Table 2: Recruitment targets for the Army Reserve up to end of Financial Year 2018[128]
Target Financial



Financial Year


Financial Year


Financial Year


Financial Year




Trained Entrants






New Recruits












72. We welcome the Secretary of State for Defence's commitment to publish, through the Defence Analytical Services Agency, data on the trained strength and recruitment levels of Reservists. We also welcome the recruitment targets that the Secretary of State has published. We look forward to seeing the additional data that the National Statistician has agreed to publish. This information is vital to reassure all interested parties, the Army itself, Parliament and the public, that the plan is on schedule. We hope that each of these data sets will develop over time to include performance against targets and such information as gender, age and place of recruitment. We will continue to monitor this data to assess whether it provides sufficient information. It is important that Parliament is provided with regular updates on progress towards recruitment targets.

Army recruitment contract

73. As part of our examination of the Reserves recruitment challenge, in December 2013 we visited the Army National Recruiting Centre at Upavon in Wiltshire. The purpose of the visit was to examine concerns surrounding the system of recruitment to both the Regular and Territorial Army since the signing in March 2012 of a 10 year contract with Capita plc to work in a partnering arrangement to deliver recruitment services for the Army. We had received reports that monthly recruitment targets for Reserves were being missed by a considerable margin. The MoD confirmed this when it published its target data in December 2013. It said:

    As anticipated, recruitment in FY2013 has been well below historic levels. We currently expect 2,500 enlistments this year made up of circa 1,750 untrained recruits and 750 former Regulars. Our estimates for this year are informed by the difficulties experienced in the recruiting organisation as the Army moves to a new recruiting structure in partnership with Capita and, in particular, the problems with the IT system supporting the application and enlistment process. These issues are being addressed with a range of initiatives that will make it progressively easier and quicker for an applicant to enlist. In 2014 these include:

·  the introduction in January 2014 of a new Army recruitment web application;

·  a simplified on-line application form;

·  more streamlined medical clearance processes; and

·  greater mentoring of recruits by local Reserve units through the application, enlistment and training process.

    From early 2015, the management of the recruitment process will be further improved with the introduction of the advanced IT system currently being developed in partnership with Capita.[129]

74. Throughout our inquiry we have heard concerns regarding the performance of Capita and the Army Recruiting Group while operating the contract. These have centred around IT problems, difficulties with medical data and data protection compliance, time delays, loss of paperwork, opening hours of recruiting centres and reports of the redeployment of Regular personnel into recruiting posts.

75. During our visit, Senior Army leaders and Capita executives admitted that neither party was content with contract performance since it became operational in March 2013. An IT system which had not proved fit for purpose was the principal reason given for the difficulties which had been experienced with the processing of applications. We were told that Capita was now going to take responsibility for the IT infrastructure with a view to introducing a fully capable system in April 2015. In the meantime, a plan was in place to improve the performance of existing systems through process changes and an increase in staffing. However concerns have continued to be raised about the IT systems since our visit. In response to an Urgent Question regarding problems with the IT system in the House on 14 January 2014, the Secretary of State for Defence informed the House:

    As we move forward, we are looking at further ways of improving the management of the recruiting process in the intervening period before the introduction of the advanced IT system now being developed in partnership with Capita, which is expected to be deployed in February 2015. We have just launched a new recruitment drive for the Army, both Regular and Reserve, which will remind the House and the public that the Army is always recruiting and continues to offer exciting and rewarding careers in both the Regular and Reserve forces.[130]

76. In terms of other contact methods for potential applicants, the Army National Recruiting Centre also handles telephone inquiries, email and web chat. We were told that as recently as October 2013, of the 5,000 telephone calls made to the Centre each week, 40 per cent were not answered by staff. By December this situation had improved with close to 90 per cent of calls answered.

77. Unfortunately, we were not provided with detailed figures for the number of applications received in recent months, but we were told that recruitment is still below target. We were told that a multi-channel marketing campaign will run from January to March 2014 in an effort to drive up applications.

78. Despite the assurances we received from the Army commanders and Capita executives responsible for the Army recruitment process, we remain concerned that the targets for recruiting both Regular and Reserve soldiers may not be met. We are not convinced that the MoD's contract with Capita was properly and thoroughly considered before its implementation. For example, we were given no evidence that any trialling of it had taken place. There would appear to have been a serious break-down in the supervision of the contract process, for which no one has been held accountable.

79. We are concerned at the IT problems encountered at this early stage in the recruitment campaign. We call on the MoD and Capita to take urgent steps to rectify these problems and the MoD should give a detailed account of the measures taken, including detailing the number of servicemen and women diverted from their normal duties in order to sustain the recruiting effort, in its response to our Report.

80. We note the difficulties encountered by the Army in obtaining the medical data of potential Reservists due to their failure to comply with data protection regulations. Although this difficulty has at last been resolved, the Army and the MoD should have foreseen this problem and must learn lessons for the future.

81. We commend the MoD for employing a range of media to attract and recruit both Regulars and Reserves but it is no help when the technology does not work or applications are lost in the system. Lessons need to be learned from the initial failure of the contract with Capita, and the respective accountabilities and responsibilities of both the contractor and the Army clearly established.

Reserves White Paper

82. The July 2013 Reserves White Paper acknowledged that the institutional integrity of the Reserves, particularly in the Army, had been damaged due to the focusing of resources on individuals about to deploy to augment Regular Forces on operations primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq.[131] The White Paper said this needed to change. The Reserves needed to have a meaningful role as in future Reservists would be involved in almost all military operations, sometimes as formed sub-units or units. However to achieve this new role, the MoD accepted that further measures would be required to achieve the Reserves element of Army 2020, particularly the required number of Reservists for Army 2020. The White Paper set out the measures and incentives to be implemented.[132] These included:

·  better collective training;

·  access to similar equipment to that used by their Regular counterparts;

·  the introduction of MoD paid annual leave when undertaking Army training as well as when on operations;

·  for the first time, generous Armed Forces pension entitlements, when training and on operations, under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, are to be introduced in April 2015;

·  access to key defence health services when training and on operations;

·  transferable skills and academic qualifications;

·  an Army Reserve training commitment of around 40 days per year, up from a current average of 35; and

·  legislation to ensure access to employment tribunals in unfair dismissal cases against Reservists, without a qualifying employment period.

83. In addition to these measures, the White Paper also included incentives for employers to allow their employees to be Reservists:

·  a £500 per month, per Reservist, financial award targeted at small and medium enterprises on top of the allowances that are already available when their Reservist employees are mobilised [i.e. preparing for, or on, operations] ;

·  more notice so employers are able to plan for the absences of their Reservist employees;

·  greater recognition for leading supportive employers; and

·  a national relationship management scheme to strengthen the MoD's relationships with larger employers.[133]

84. Lieutenant General Bradshaw, giving evidence shortly after the publication of the White Paper, said that the chain of command's reaction to it had been positive, but thought it was too early to gauge reaction from employers. Giving evidence a few months after its publication, Lieutenant General (retired) Brims, Chair of the Future Reserves 2020 External Scrutiny Group, thought the White Paper set out a model which could be commonly adopted across all Services:

    One of the things that we majored on in [the Future Reserves 2020 External Scrutiny Group annual] report was the need for a narrative as to what the Government's plan is. We have seen that narrative on the day that the White Paper was announced, within the White Paper and within the announcements of the Army on its pairing and basing. Pull those together and there is the start of a narrative. That is beginning to seep out. It has to get to today's Reservist, today's Regular, tomorrow's Reservist, tomorrow's Regular, employers and commentators.[134]


85. A few of the Reserves White Paper's measures require legislation. These were included in the Defence Reform Bill introduced in the House of Commons in July 2013. The four measures included in the Bill were:

·  Changing the name of the Territorial Army to the Army Reserve and the name of the Army's ex-Regular Reserve Force from the Army Reserve to the Regular Reserve;

·  Expanding the powers in the 1996 Reserve Forces Act so that members of the Reserve Forces may be called out for any purpose for which Regular Forces may be used (although the Bill provides for current Reservists to opt to remain under the call out obligations of the 1996 Act);

·  Introducing new financial incentives to the employers of Reservists; and

·  Exempting Reservists from the statutory two-year qualifying period required to bring an unfair dismissal case to an Employment Tribunal.

The Bill's measures would affect the Reserve Forces of each of the Services, although the greatest impact is expected to be on the Territorial Army due to the plans for greater integration with the Regular Army announced under the MoD's plans for Army 2020.

86. The passage of the Bill in the House of Commons saw a variety of views expressed on the viability and cost-effectiveness of the plan to increase the size of the Reserves. The Government did accept the principle of an amendment that the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (RFCA) should report annually to the House on the state of the Reserves and the Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP, confirmed his intention that this obligation should be placed on a statutory basis:

    We have already made arrangements to receive independent reports from the RFCAs on an annual basis; my hon. Friend [Julian Brazier] is suggesting placing that requirement in statute. On reflection, we consider that to be a sensible idea that will strengthen the programme for the growth and reinvigoration of our Reserves.[135]

87. The MoD noted that the Armed Forces Bill in 2015 would provide an opportunity to legislate further if required, particularly in respect of discrimination against Reservists in their workplace.[136]


88. In the Secretary of State for Defence's introduction to the Reserves White Paper, he said that the results of the November 2012 Reserves consultation "showed a lack of awareness about Reservists among many employers or of the potential benefits Reserve service can offer them" and that "feedback showed that Defence needs to articulate a more balanced business case on the impact of Reserve service on employers".[137] While the Government acknowledged the historic contribution of employers in supporting Reservists, the White Paper outlined steps to achieve a better relationship and understanding between Government, employers, employers' organisations and trade unions in respect of Reservists. As part of this, the Government plan, by March 2014, to develop a system to give greater recognition to supportive employers which would build on the existing recognition given by the SaBRE organisation.[138] Employers are currently recognised by the award of a SaBRE certificate with additional material available to support in house publications and websites. Information is also published on the SaBRE website about the ways individual employers have supported Reservists.[139]

89. The Government's proposed approach will use the new Corporate Covenant[140] as an initial step for employers to indicate their support for Reservists. The second step will be to give proper recognition to employers who demonstrate levels of commitment which will "reinforce the established SaBRE approach in order to provide proper and appropriate recognition for employers at the organisational level".[141] This would include the continuation of the issuing of certificates to employers and updated material for employers to use on their websites and company letterheads. A third level of recognition will be for employers "who are able and willing to take a more proactive approach to encourage Reserve service amongst their employees".[142]


90. Employers' organisations were keen to emphasise their historic and continuing support for the Reserve Forces. Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses did not see the Government's plans as radical. He told us:

    I do not personally feel that it is radical in terms of employers supporting their Reserves. I think it needs to be recognised that they need adequate training, adequate kit and everything else to make this work. In that respect, we have gone through these feast and famine cycles over time with the Reserve forces, and there needs to be a strong recognition that the support has to be there, and the right kit and everything else has to be in place to make this happen.[143]

91. However Mr Cherry emphasised the importance of the connection between the MoD and wider society which was crucial "if we are to get this underpinned by society at large and to get most employers to support it as the MoD would wish".[144]

92. Alexander Ehmann, Head of Government, Parliamentary and Regulatory Affairs at the Institute of Directors, thought that the plans were radical in respect of the expectations on employers and on workplaces in general. He pointed to the changing nature of employment habits, for example working for more than one employer and the possible impact this might have:

    if you are working two or three jobs, you probably have two or three employers. That means that there are more employers now who, in the instance of one individual, are effectively employers of Reservists, or will be employers of Reservists. That does mean that the ramifications of the policy as set out here will be greater than they have been in the past.[145]

93. Mike Cherry acknowledged that the £500 per month, per reservist, financial award to small and medium enterprises was higher than expected by employers.[146] Although Mr Cherry welcomed this, he pointed out another concern:

    It is the support that the business needs to find and recruit a replacement that is pretty critical to our members, particularly the smallest micro-businesses.

    [...] Part of the parcel that is offered to employers is the benefits that the Reservist brings back into civilian employment as a result of the service they undertake. We have to make absolutely certain that whatever accreditation is given to skills in the military is well understood and equal to what is needed in civilian employment. I think that is not the case at this moment in time, but it has to happen if you are to have that general overall package. That is fundamental to how we see things helping and benefiting small businesses going forwards.[147]

94. We welcome the measures in the Reserves White Paper and the related clauses in the Defence Reform Bill. We particularly welcome the Secretary of State for Defence's agreement during the passage of the Bill to the principle of making it a statutory requirement for the Reserve Forces and Cadet Association to report annually on the state of the Reserves. We will continue to pay close attention to progress on this and look forward to receiving more details on how this will be implemented and what the report will cover.

95. We recognise the support many employers have given to the Reserve Forces over many years. We commend the Government's intention to give greater recognition, building on the current SaBRE scheme and the new Corporate Covenant, to leading supportive employers of Reservists and look forward to receiving more information on this proposal. We recommend that as part of the recognition scheme the Government should publish additional information about supportive employers, building on the information already published by SaBRE on its website, highlighting good practice, and providing examples of the ways individual employers support Reservists.

96. It is too early to say whether the measures in the White Paper and the Defence Reform Bill will prove sufficient and be effective in encouraging the recruitment of Reservists and ensuring the support of businesses of all sizes to achieve Army 2020. We welcome the Secretary of State for Defence's commitment to review these measures if recruitment falls behind target. In response to this Report, the MoD should set out how it will assess the effectiveness of the measures and the timescale for making a decision on whether further action and incentives are necessary.

Role of Reservists

97. The Reserve Forces Act 1996 limits the reasons for which Reservists can be mobilised, for example in response to imminent national danger, if warlike operations are in preparation or progress, or for the protection of life and property outside the UK.[148] The Defence Reform Bill provides that in future Reservists would be able to be used for any purpose for which the Regular Armed Forces are used.

98. The greater use of the Reserve Forces was one of the Future Reserves 2020 Independent Commission's main recommendations. According to the Reserves White Paper, over the last decade, resources have been focused on those Reservists about to deploy to augment Regular Forces on operations, primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. The White Paper argued that "while this ensured that the right numbers of Reservists were available to support current operations, it [had] damaged the institutional integrity of the Reserves, particularly in the Army".[149] The MoD's intention is that this will change. Reservists will be required for almost all military operations, often as small numbers of individuals but also, principally in the Army's case and as the situation demands, as formed sub-units or units. Reservists will now be deployed on a far wider range of military operations, including homeland resilience and standing commitments abroad. Table 3 below summarises the range of roles that the White Paper says Reservists could be expected to fulfil.

Table 3: Tasks that the Reserves will be required to undertake

·  Short term operations such as the evacuation of UK citizens from Lebanon in 2006 and the 2011 Libya operation.

·  Longer term stabilisation operations such as in the Balkans, UN missions, Iraq and Afghanistan.

·  Standing commitments abroad such as the Cyprus garrison and the defence of the Falkland Islands.

·  Deployments overseas aimed at Defence engagement, conflict prevention, security sector reform and capability building in priority countries, such as the British Peace Support mission in East Africa and the EU operation in Mali.

At Home in the UK:

·  Playing a general role in homeland security, including activities such as support to the Olympics and Paralympics, or specialist roles such as cyber.

·  Delivering national resilience such as responding to the foot and mouth crisis, flood relief, and communications support to crisis management.

·  Standing national commitments, such as defence of the UK's airspace.

Source: Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, Box 3, p 17

99. The three Services use Reservists differently and the mobilisation changes will have less of an effect on the RAF and the Royal Navy than for the Army. Army Reservists can expect one six month deployment in any five year period. This could amount to a maximum of 12 months when pre- and post-deployment training and leave are taken into account.[150] Army Reserves will move through a training and readiness cycle to try and give both Reservists and their employers greater clarity on when these mobilisation periods are likely to occur.[151] The MoD's intention would be to give at least a year's notice of when an Army Reservist was entering their minimum warning period (when they are liable for mobilisation).[152]

100. For an enduring operation the White Paper commits to giving nine months' notice for Army Reservists and three months notice for Maritime and Royal Air Force Reservists. 28 days' notice will be given for unplanned contingency operations, if possible.[153]

101. Prior to the publication of the White Paper and the Defence Reform Bill, ADS expressed some concerns to us about the greater use of Reservists:

    2.1. The proposal would oblige employers to be prepared to release employees who are members of the Reserve Forces for one year in every five. Any negative incentive for employers to employ Reservists can be mitigated by improving the communication links between Government employer and civilian employer. The emphasis must be on building a transparent and mutually beneficial relationship between the two stakeholders.

    2.2. Under the proposals, Reservists will continue to back-fill Regular units on a planned basis. There must be a robust, transparent and rapid appeal process in place for employers faced with losing an employee to Reserve mobilisation at a time when the employee is critical to the company.[154]

102. After publication of the White Paper, the Federation of Small Businesses told us:

    The FSB has had concerns regarding the intention to extend the call-out powers in the Reserve Forces Act 1996 so that members of the Reserve forces may be called out for any purpose for which Regular forces may be used. On average FSB members employ approximately 7 employees, so if one is a member of the Reserve forces and called out, instantly a significant proportion of the workforce becomes absent. There are mixed views from the small business community with regard to the likely impact on businesses of the proposed changes to increase the commitment of Reserve forces; two in five of those open to employing Reservists believe the proposed changes will negatively impact on their business and reasons for this focus upon the difficulties in planning and arranging suitable cover for the extended training periods or deployments, whereas 43 per cent claim there will be no impact.[155]

103. We welcome the Government's intention that in future Reservists, where appropriate, will be able to undertake the same tasks as Regulars. However we note the concerns expressed by some employers regarding the potential for negative effects on their businesses arising from the increased use of Reservists. The MoD should continue to engage with the business community to address employers' concerns as failure to do so will impact on the Army's ability to generate and sustain the necessary capabilities. The MoD should include in its reports to Parliament on Reserves recruitment details of how many are employed by SMEs (small and medium enterprises employing under 250 employees) and any difficulties encountered in recruiting from this sector.


104. As an integral part of the Armed Forces, Reservists could be required for almost all military operations, often as small numbers of individuals but also, principally in the Army's case and as the situation demands, as formed sub-units or units.[156] The Future Reserves 2020 Independent Commission Report was in favour of the idea of the deployment of formed units or sub-units of Reserves.[157] Lieutenant General Bradshaw expanded on how this might work:

    [...] I will give you an example of one of the combat arms that will very definitely be employing people in formed sub-units: the support squadrons for the Army Air Corps. [...] They will deploy and be employed collectively, and that is absolutely our intent.[158]

Lieutenant General Bradshaw pointed out that the plan for the future deployment of Reservists remained to be tested in order to prove that it was deliverable.[159]

105. Professor Theo Farrell, Kings College London, supported the deployment of formed units or sub-units of Reservists which, under Army 2020, would be on a sliding scale dependent on the risk and complexity of the operation. He cited the experience of the US which had deployed National Guard units to replace Regular units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He told us their performance varied depending on a number of factors:

    Sometimes they perform better, actually, than the Regular unit, although it depends on how permissive the environment is. If there is a lot of combat, sometimes they do not perform so well. So it is certainly possible to imagine whole units going in, depending on the complexity and how much combat is involved, and Army 2020 allows the time for the Army to prepare a Reserve unit for such a tour. It is in the designs. It is a perfectly reasonable, clever design, actually.[160]

106. The Army's intention is that "Reserves will be paired with Regular units for training during peacetime in order to prepare to form an integral element of the paired Regular unit when required to deploy on operations. To enable this integrated capability, Reserve units will undertake training which is aligned with the three-year operational readiness mechanism of their Regular counterparts".[161] The training requirement for Army Reservists will increase from around 35 to 40 days per year, while the training commitment for the maritime and RAF Reserves will largely stay the same.[162] Army Reserves will be required to attend certain core training events to help achieve the collective capabilities for Regulars and Reservists envisaged under the Army 2020 plan.[163] To assist with the realisation of better integration between Regulars and Reservists, as part of the July 2013 announcements on the Reserves structure and basing, the MoD said:

    This restructuring will require changes to the current basing laydown of the Army Reserve. The Army has taken the opportunity to review the laydown not only to reflect the structural changes, but also to address the need to optimise recruitment and to facilitate effective training in the future.[164]

107. Concerns have been expressed to the Secretary of State for Defence that this restructuring could potentially damage units in areas with a good potential level of recruits for the Reserves.[165] In response to these concerns, the Secretary of State told the House of Commons on 14 January 2014 that although the plans for Reserve basing had been announced, he acknowledged the need for flexibility in the plan to assist with recruitment.[166]

108. We note the Army's intention to deploy formed units and sub-units of Reserves. We ask the MoD to provide greater detail on how this will be implemented, particularly given the differing timescales for the reduction in Regular strength and the increase in the size of the Reserves, and how it will ensure that these changes deliver the required level of capability.

109. We welcome the increase in the number of training days for Reservists as this is vital to their greater integration with Regulars. In its response to this Report, we call on the MoD to set out what further practical measures will be implemented to enable Regulars and Reservists to train together. We are concerned that this should not involve closing well-recruited units, or those with a large number of potential new recruits to the Reserves, to match Regular basing and welcome the Secretary of State's commitment in the House of Commons on 14 January 2014 to be flexible on the closure of such units.


110. The 2010 SDSR stated that the Reserve Forces should be an integral part of Future Force 2020, providing additional capacity as well as certain specialisms which it would not be practical or cost effective to maintain as Regular capability.[167] The Reserves White Paper reflected on specialist Reserves capabilities, especially medical and cyber. Medical Reservists are an essential and fully integrated component of the Defence Medical Services (DMS), representing 38% (5,170) of the total 13,530 DMS manpower requirement.[168] The White Paper set out the future operations on which medical Reserves might be deployed: humanitarian relief response, health sector reform in fragile states, UK resilience response, hazardous area response teams, public and environmental health, and medical command and control.[169]

111. The Future Reserves 2020 Independent Commission Report said that better use should be made within the Reserve Forces of individuals' skills gained from their civilian experience, with cyber named as one area where this might be achieved.[170] The White Paper also highlighted Cyber Reserves as a key requirement.[171] In September 2013, the Secretary of State for Defence announced the creation of a Joint Cyber Reserve which would be a combined unit across the Services with Reservists working with Regulars. He said

    In response to the growing cyber threat, we are developing a full-spectrum military cyber capability, including a strike capability, to enhance the UK's range of military capabilities. Increasingly, our defence budget is being invested in high-end capabilities such as cyber and intelligence and surveillance assets to ensure we can keep the country safe.

    The Cyber Reserves will be an essential part of ensuring we defend our national security in cyberspace. This is an exciting opportunity for internet experts in industry to put their skills to good use for the nation, protecting our vital computer systems and capabilities.[172]

In evidence to us in November 2013, the Secretary of State told us 800 expressions of interest in working for the unit had already been received.[173]

112. The role of specialist Reserves is invaluable to the Army and the UK's Armed Forces as a whole: we welcome the commitment to them in the Reserves White Paper. We welcome the establishment of the Joint Cyber Reserve which is of particular interest to us given our previous inquiry work on Defence and cyber-security. The potential recruits, with the required skills, may not be those who would usually consider a career in the Armed Forces. This represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the MoD which will require a flexible approach if they are to be integrated effectively. We ask the MoD to report to the Committee in six months on progress on the establishment and the recruitment of the Joint Cyber Reserve.


113. In its written evidence, the MoD told us that "in line with the requirement to increase the trained strength of the Reserve, policy and processes have been reviewed to make it easier for Regular Army personnel to join the Reserves". Early indications of the level of take-up were encouraging. The MoD added that as part of this review, those transferring from the Regular Army into the Reserves may choose between two incentive schemes that potentially impact on TA mobilisation liability: a Reduced Commitment Scheme where individuals are offered a reduced call out liability, which remains extant for three years following their last day of Regular Service and a Commitment Bonus Scheme which is a financial incentive. Personnel choosing this option are subject to the usual call out liability, stipulated under Reserve Forces Act 1996.[174]

114. The July 2013 Reserves White Paper noted that former Regular service personnel in the volunteer Reserve brought their experience and training to improve and sustain the capability of the Reserve Forces. They also improved the institutional robustness of the Reserves and contribute directly to capability. The transfer of service leavers and ex-Regulars also reduced the initial training cost of the volunteer reserves. The White Paper stated that:

    The Army is therefore incentivising the transfer of service leavers and ex-Regular soldiers and officers by offering a £5,000 taxable commitment bonus on top of their other pay and allowances, payable over a four year period of service in the Army Reserve.

115. Although the White Paper focussed mainly on the volunteer Reserve, it did outline some plans for the ex-Regular Reserve. Ex-Regular Reserves are former members of the Regular Forces who retain a liability to be called up for service.[175] The Reserves White Paper acknowledged the value, contribution, skills and utility of ex-Regular Reserves and noted that they have been used, and continue to be used, on operations, principally for specific operational requirements. The consultation process prior to the White Paper indicated the need for "Defence better to explain the requirement and role for ex-Regular reservists as part of the Whole Force". In addition, with the move towards an integrated force, the MoD would consider the arrangements that would enable its maintenance and the conditions under which ex-Regular Reservists would be called out in support of operations. In respect of the Army, given the reduction in its overall size and the transfer of capacity and some capabilities from the Regular to the Reserve components, the White Paper highlighted that "assured access to ex-Regulars in certain areas to support front-line services has become more important. This is particularly true for a range of complex military systems and equipment (such as armoured infantry crews)".[176] The White Paper identified a requirement to retain the Regular Reserve as a distinct Reserve Force.[177] Work is under way in the Army to determine how to facilitate better access to ex-Regular Reservists.[178] As part of this work, given the MoD's aspiration to increase the number of ex-Regulars in the volunteer Reserves, the MoD is considering "removing further liability for recall for an ex-Regular Reservist who undertakes a fixed length of limited liability service in the Army Reserve".[179] In a further piece of work, to assist with the rebalancing of the Army as an integrated force of Regular and Reservist, the Army is:

    scoping how better to secure Regular service leavers in pinch-point trades, niche capabilities or operating complex equipment. This work is considering how to recruit, train and equip ex-Regular officers and soldiers into a discrete and active element of the Regular Reserve, enabled by appropriate legislation and terms and conditions of service.[180]

116. We support the Government's intention to recruit more ex-Regulars into the volunteer Army Reserve as part of the recruitment of 30,000 trained Reservists under the Army 2020 plan. We note the £5,000 commitment bonus, payable over four years, offered by the Army to Service leavers and ex-Regulars to incentivise their transfer to the volunteer Army Reserve. We call on the Government to review effectiveness of its efforts and the measures introduced to attract more ex-Regulars into the volunteer Army Reserve in six months and to share its findings with us. We also note the Army's work on the Regular Reserve and call for an update on this work in the Government's response to our Report.

Role of Reservists in reconnecting the Armed Forces and the public

117. During our inquiry, Towards the Next Defence and Security Review: Part One, we examined public support for defence spending and for expeditionary operations.[181] While we recognised great public respect for Armed Forces, we concluded that there was a disconnect between the Armed Forces and the public "caused by a lack of understanding of the utility of military force in the contemporary strategic environment" and that "without a proactive communications strategy, there was a serious risk of a lack of support for defence amongst the public".[182] The future role of Reservists is seen by the MoD as part of meeting this challenge. In evidence to our inquiry, Towards the Next Defence and Security Review: Part One, the Secretary of State for Defence told us:

    Our Reserves agenda is partly—not primarily, but partly—about building the links between the military and civil society in a way that perhaps has been lost to some extent since the end of the cold war.[183]

118. The July 2013 Army 2020 update outlined a "firm base"[184] concept and one of the main parts in delivering this is civil engagement. The update said:

    This includes all activities with the wider public that generate mutual understanding, focus support to the Army community (current, future and past) and by which the Army community fulfils its responsibilities to society. Civil engagement activities provide the critical link between the Army community and society, and includes the Army Cadet movement. The outcome of successful Civil Engagement is public support, better recruitment for both Regulars and Reserves, and the contribution to National Resilience by providing support to the nation in times of need.[185]

119. We support the Army 2020 plan for an enhanced role for the Army in civil engagement. Although there is great admiration and respect for UK Armed Forces, we recognise that there is currently a disconnect between the Armed Forces and public understanding of the operations they have been asked to undertake. This must be addressed. We call on the Government to take steps to ensure that the Armed Forces, particularly Reservists, play a more active role in public engagement. In response to our Report, we recommend that the Government outline the communication strategy and practical steps it will implement to take forward its plans for public engagement.

Cost and budget for Reservists

120. When announcing the outcome of the Reserves consultation in July 2013, the Secretary of State for Defence confirmed the additional £1.8bn investment in Reserve Forces announced in 2011:

    In 2011, the Future Reserves 2020 Commission reported that our Reserves were in serious decline. This Government responded by committing to revitalise our Reserve Forces as part of Future Force 2020 [...] growing their trained strength to 35,000 by 2018 and investing an additional £1.8bn in them over 10 years.[186]

121. A central part of the debate on Army 2020 has been on the cost effectiveness and value for money of the plan centred particularly around the comparative costs of Regulars and Reservists. The MoD does not produce statistical data on the whole life costs of Service personnel and pointed out to us that this, coupled with the differing terms and conditions of Regulars and Reservists plus different training regimes, made cost comparisons complex.[187] With these caveats, the MoD told us the following cost information was available:

·  Annual Cost. The difference in per diem cost for Regular and Reserves differs only in the X Factor element[188] of the military salary which is currently 14.5% for Regulars and 5% for Reserves;[189]

·  Recruitment. The cost per recruit is broadly similar for the recruitment of Regular Officer, Reserve Officers and other ranks (both Regular and Reserve).

·  Basic Training. Training for commissioning in the Regulars and Reserves differs in delivery, intensity and duration. The same is the case for soldiers basic (Phase 1) and subsequent (Phase 2) training. For these reasons, and as Regular training is residential, comparison of cost is of limited meaning.

·  Collective Training. The Army has assessed the cost of training both Regular and Reserve infantry company and, if manpower is excluded, the costs are broadly the same for a like for like comparison of training activity levels to achieve the established Collective Training Competence Levels 1, 2 and 3.[190]

122. Comparison is complicated; Reserves get paid only for the days they train, or are recovering from injuries sustained on operations or training, plus in future a 10% leave allowance, whereas Regulars get paid 365 days a year including weekends, on leave and during periods of sickness and injury (whether related to their duties or not). In addition, most Regulars receive subsidised accommodation, all accumulate an entitlement to terminal payments and pensions. Reservists qualify for a bounty subject to attendance and passing various annual tests. A new pension scheme is planned for Reservists related to actual days spent training.

123. In oral evidence to us, Lieutenant General Bradshaw commented on the costs of employing Reserves:

    They are cheaper to employ on a long-term basis. They are more expensive to employ for particular requirements. If we call them up, we end up paying for their man training days and for their employment. So, overall, the restructuring of the Army represents a considerable saving, but in order to realise that saving it is very important to understand that we must be prepared to resource the employment of Reservists in circumstances where we would not normally have employed them in the past.[191]

He added that "overall, of course, the reduction in the regular manpower represents a very significant saving for defence".[192]

124. Some of our witnesses have expressed doubt as to the cost effectiveness of Reserves against Regulars. In a detailed submission, John Baron MP commented that "the extent of the financial savings generated by the proposals [was] also unclear". While he accepted that there would be an overall cost reduction, he argued it was unlikely to be as great as the Government expected. He stated that "if the savings prove marginal, then the subsequent loss of capability may beg serious questions about value for money".[193]

125. We welcome the £1.8bn additional investment in the Reserves, but call upon the Government to provide us with a breakdown of how it plans to spend this money. We note the concerns expressed as to whether this funding will be sufficient to achieve the desired outcomes for the Reserves Forces. We note that Reservists are cheaper to employ so long as they are not called up. This will only prove to be a cost saving so long as future governments are not required to undertake operations. This will need to be closely monitored. It would be unacceptable if the UK decided not to take part in any action because of the cost of deploying Reservists. We recommend that the Government set out in detail how it will assess and report on the cost effectiveness of, and the value for money achieved by, its plans and how these outcomes will be independently examined and verified. We would welcome the involvement of the National Audit Office in this evaluation.

Recruitment age

126. As part of our inquiry, we received evidence from Child Soldiers International and others regarding the recruitment of persons under the age of 18 into the Armed Forces and its cost effectiveness.[194] Child Soldiers International argued that the phasing out of the recruitment of minors would:

·  Save approximately £94 million per year on training and recruitment;

·  Increase operational effectiveness, including improving the ratio of deployable personnel;

·  Have a positive effect on recruits' education and long-term career prospects;

·  Reduce incidence of mental health problems amongst soldiers and veterans; and

·  Ensure "the best interests of the child" are prioritised, in line with international legal obligations.[195]

127. Child Soldiers International argued that the recruitment of minors could be phased out without a detrimental effect on the Army 2020 plan.[196] First, they said that as Reserve Forces became more integrated with Regular Forces, the difficulties of ensuring effective age screening in units deploying under time pressure would be alleviated as Reserves already have a minimum recruitment age of 18 years. Secondly, they contested that the Army 2020 plans would see a large number of Regular personnel replaced with Reservists and that assuming the rates of adult recruitment remained at current levels, Army 2020 would eliminate the need to recruit minors.[197]

128. In our Report on the education of Armed Forces personnel we asked the Government for "further information on why the Army is so dependent on recruiting personnel under the age of 18 years compared to the other two Services, and whether steps are being taken to reduce this dependency". We recommended that the Government should "carry out a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the policy of recruiting Armed Forces personnel under the age of 18 years old" and provide us with this cost-benefit analysis. In response to these parts of our Report the Government said:

    In offering challenging and constructive education and employment opportunities to those who have reached the school leaving age (16), the Armed Forces are mindful of the requirement to provide a supportive environment which takes account of the care and welfare needs of young people whilst offering them the opportunity to discharge up to the age of 18 years. Intake into the Armed Forces is spread across the eligible age range, however the Government agrees that the Armed Forces should undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the recruitment of U18s and work has been set in hand with the Army to look at this.

129. In November 2013, in answer to a parliamentary question, the MoD told the House of Commons that the Army had been tasked to carry out the cost-benefit analysis study on a tri-service basis and to provide an interim report early in 2014.[198] In a further answer in December 2013, the MoD gave more information about the study. Anna Soubry MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, said:

    As recruitment is an activity where the cost of recruiting junior entrant (JE) or standard entrant (SE) individuals is the same, the scope of the study is focused on the costs of additional training provided to under-18s on the JE scheme.

    As a result of scoping carried out by the Army, the timetable for this study is now becoming clearer but it is too soon to set a publication date for the report. It is also apparent that the detailed terms of reference will require more development and a decision has yet to be taken on publication.[199]

130. We note the evidence we have received on the recruitment age for the Armed Forces. We commented on this in our Report on the education of Armed Forces personnel and in response the Government agreed that the Armed Forces would undertake a cost benefit analysis of the recruitment of under-18s. We note that the Army is undertaking this analysis on a tri-service basis and that the work is continuing. However, we are disappointed by the lack of clarity regarding the study's terms of reference and the slow progress with the study. We call on the Government to provide us with the terms of reference for the study and an estimation of when it will be completed. We expect the Army and MoD's cost benefit analysis to be thorough and robust and call on the Government to set out how it might be independently scrutinised and verified. This would ensure confidence in the outcomes of the analysis. We also call on the Government to respond in detail to the argument that the Army could phase out the recruitment of minors without detriment to the Army 2020 plans.

Basing and Germany

131. As well as announcing decisions on the structure and manning of the Army, SDSR 2010 also included a commitment to an Armed Forces basing review and the redeployment of British forces personnel from Germany to the UK.[200] The MoD announced the outcome of an initial Basing Review in July 2011, based on the decisions made in the SDSR.[201] Its decisions included the transfer of a number of RAF stations to the Army, the locations of the five Multi-Role Brigades and the expectation that approximately 6,500-7,000 personnel returning from Germany would be based in Scotland. This announcement also included further reductions in personnel numbers. The Army 2020 announcement in July 2012 identified the units that were to be disbanded or merged to establish the Army 2020 configuration based on three distinct elements: a Reaction Force, an Adaptable Force and Force Troops.[202]

132. The outcomes of the Army Basing Review were announced on 5 March 2013.[203] Two key principles guided the Review: that the armoured infantry brigades should be centred round a single location, and the Army should retain a UK-wide presence. The Basing Review envisages an Army increasingly consolidated around seven centres in the UK with the closure of a number of bases, a faster withdrawal from Germany and an end to the culture of routine rotation in the UK. The Government has committed £1.8 billion to the new basing plan, of which £1 billion would be spent on new accommodation. The seven centres around which the Army will be consolidated will be:

·  Salisbury Plain Training Area (Tidworth, Bulford, Larkhill, Warminster, Perham Down and Upavon) - 15,000 personnel.

·  North East - centred on Catterick but also including York, Dishforth, Topcliffe and Harlow Hill. 7,500 personnel.

·  Aldershot - 4,200 personnel.

·  Edinburgh and Leuchars - 4,000 personnel.

·  East of England - Colchester and Swanton Morley - 3,500 personnel.

·  West Midlands - Stafford and Donnington - 3,200 personnel

·   East Midlands - Cottesmore and North Luffenham - 5,800 personnel.

133. A presence will also be maintained in other parts of the UK, including Wales and Northern Ireland where overall personnel numbers are expected to reduce by 400.[204] It is intended that consolidation around a small number of locations will end the culture of routine rotation in the UK and provide greater stability to Service personnel and their families, with benefits for children's education, spousal employment and increased home ownership.

134. In July 2013 alongside publication of the Reserves White Paper, the MoD announced the outcomes of the Reserves basing review which it said would result in the net vacation of 26 Army Reserve sites across the UK and that there would be an overall reduction of three major units in the future structure.[205]


135. Central to the basing review is the withdrawal of UK Armed Forces from Germany. UK Armed Forces have been stationed in Germany since 1945. Consideration has been given to withdrawing UK Armed Forces since the end of the Cold War and the process has been underway for several years. For example 4th Armoured Brigade moved from Osnabrück to Catterick in 2008. Project Borona, commissioned by the previous Government in 2006, resulted in the move of Headquarters Allied Rapid Reaction Corps to Innsworth, Gloucestershire in 2010. In the 2010 SDSR, the new Government announced that all 20,000 personnel remaining in Germany would be withdrawn by 2020 with half returning by 2015.[206] The Government argued that "there is no longer any operational requirement for UK forces to be based there, and the current arrangements impose financial costs on the UK, disruption on personnel and their families and opportunity costs in terms of wider Army coherence."[207] This also meant that the Army would be almost completely UK-based for the first time in many years. The Regular Army basing review of March 2013 announced that the withdrawal of UK Armed Forces from Germany would be accelerated. It is now intended that only 4,400 personnel will remain in Germany by 2016, with the withdrawal being completed by 2018-19.[208]

136. The implementation of the basing review and the completion of the withdrawal of UK Armed Forces from Germany are a vital and complex part of the implementation of Army 2020 and will require a high level of planning and coordination between all of the Services. Lieutenant General Bradshaw acknowledged that financial considerations were the rationale behind the withdrawal from Germany.[209] The MoD would have to spend £1.8 billion on infrastructure to facilitate the returning forces. However, the MoD asserted that alongside the costs of rebasing from Germany, there were savings to be gained. In respect of Army Basing Programme Savings, the Department estimated that "operating savings of £100m per year would be generated by 2015-16 and this would rise to £240m net benefit per annum by 2022-23".[210] Lieutenant General Bradshaw also saw other benefits from the plan such as having the "three combat brigades of the reaction force around their main training area on Salisbury Plain" which would enable "a very cohesive arrangement in terms of command and control and [which would be] much easier to administer than having a large part of the Army in Germany." However he also acknowledged that the training estate in the UK would be "stretched".[211] In an attempt to alleviate this shortage, the MoD was studying the continued use of training sites in Germany, Canada and Kenya.[212] At our final evidence session General Wall confirmed that the dialogue with the German and Canadian authorities was continuing.[213]

137. The plans resulting from the basing review and the return from Germany are intricate and interdependent and affect all three Services. The MoD must ensure this process is managed appropriately so that it does not unravel. We call on the MoD to keep us informed on its negotiations regarding training opportunities in Germany, Canada and Kenya, and how the historically close working relations with the German authorities are going to be maintained during the drawdown period.

SDSR 2015 and beyond

138. During our inquiry, we heard concerns regarding the impact of the 2015 SDSR on the realisation of Army 2020, for example concerns were expressed by Professor Theo Farrell and contributors to our Army Rumour Service forum regarding the possibility of further reductions in the size of the Regular Army.[214] Some media reports suggested reductions to a level of 60,000 personnel. General Wall told us that a reduction to 60,000 Regular Army personnel "would not have been a feasible way of achieving the defence planning assumptions that underpin the work we had done".[215]

139. Another area of concern was the potential impact of any possible changes to the MoD budget. The Secretary of State for Defence told us during our inquiry, Towards the Next Defence and Security Review: Part One, that:

    Based on SDSR 2010 and based on the budget that we have at the moment, and on the assumption we have made of flat real [terms increases] into the future—that is our budgeting assumption inside the Department—plus 1% real-terms increase per annum on the equipment plan from 2015 through to 2020, we are confident and the Armed Forces Chiefs are confident that we can deliver the required output.[216]

However the Secretary of State did acknowledge that, if funding decreased in the next Parliament, post-2015, serious questions would need to be addressed regarding the type of force that could be maintained:

    In my judgment, if the amount of money available for the defence budget decreased significantly, we would reach the end of the process by which we can simply take salami slices off. We would have to ask some serious structural questions about the type of forces that we were able to maintain.[217]

140. A further impact on the MoD's budget would be the movement of Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) commitments, funded by the Treasury, into the MoD core budget after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Secretary of State was confident that this would not impact on the Army 2020 plan:

    UORs provide support for equipment that is delivered for a specific operation. They do not provide us funding to hold that equipment in core, so where we are bringing equipment that was delivered as a UOR into Afghanistan back into core at the end of the campaign, we have to provide from within our core budget a funding line to support that equipment once it is returned to core. Our planning assumptions absolutely do not include provision of UOR equipment for our standing capability in the future.[218]

141. We also explored with senior Army officers what might happen to the Army after 2020. Lieutenant General Bradshaw told us:

    The answer is that we always need to be thinking ahead. There are people who are engaged in blue skies thinking about where the whole business of combat goes in future decades. However, there are so many unknowns there that we need to go forward on the basis of being able to morph flexibly into new approaches. The construct that we have, particularly with the adaptable force which we can tailor to the precise requirements, is the right way to go forward.[219]

In terms of expansion of the Army after 2020 he added:

    The very important thing to remember is that the 2020 construct allows for expansion. We have a construct which has part of the collective capability based on the Reserves which could, with the right resourcing, be shifted back to rely on regular forces. So we have the command and control structure and the right neural network for expansion. Positive choice was made to go for an organisation with the right number of points of command to allow for expansion, rather than blobbing things up into larger collective organisations, which gives us less flexibility.

    It is also part of the thinking that this shift, as we have stated, was driven for very real economic reasons. We all recognise that defence had to take a hit along with everybody else, in view of what the nation is facing. Equally, if we get into different territory economically when the next defence review comes along, there are areas where we have taken a bit of a capability holiday, and areas of risk and perhaps there will be a good case for a bit of add-back.[220]

142. We are concerned that the Army 2020 plan would unravel in the face of any further MoD budget reductions or further reductions in Army personnel. It is essential that the MoD's budget settlement allows for the delivery of Army 2020. If this is not the case, it must be accepted that the Army will be capable of doing less than envisaged under Army 2020 and the UK's vision of its place in the world and the Defence Planning Assumptions will have to be revised accordingly. We are also concerned about the Army's capability to expand its numbers rapidly, both Regulars and Reserves, should a national emergency require it to do so. Any plans for the structure of the Armed Forces must be flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. For the reasons already set out in this Report we have little confidence in the Government's capacity to rapidly expand Army numbers should the need arise. The Government must set out its contingency plan for doing so.

104   Q 200, Q271 and Ev w4 Back

105   Ministry of Defence Announcement, Future Reserve Forces 2020, 5 July 2012 Back

106   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013 Back

107   HC Deb, 3 July 2013, cols 49-53WS Back

108   HC Deb, 5 March 2013, cols 845-848 Back

109   Q 97 Back

110   Q 150 Back

111   BBC News website, Liam Fox raises doubts over regular Army cuts, 25 October 2013 Back

112   For example see HC Deb, 20 November 2013,col 1273 [John Baron MP] and Lord Bramall, The Telegraph, We're fighting bean counters now, says man who helped beat Nazis, 26 October 2013 Back

113   HC Deb, 10 October 2011, col 9 Back

114   Q 270 Back

115   Qq 270-271 Back

116   Q 278 Back

117   Q278 Back

118   Q 200 Back

119   Q 271 Back

120   Q 312 Back

121   Q 230 Back

122   Q 309 Back

123   Q 152 Back

124   HC Deb, 3 July 2013, col 934 and HC Deb, 16 July 2013, col 958 Back

125   Defence Analytical Services Agency, Ministry of Defence UK Armed Forces Quarterly Personnel Report 1 October 2013, 14 November 2013 Back

126   HC Deb, 20 November 2013, col 1286 Back

127   HC Deb, 19 December 2013, col 124WS; Paper deposited in the House of Commons Library by the Ministry of Defence Future Reserves 2020, 19 December 2013 (Ref: DEP2013-2063), available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/  Back

128   It also provides a breakdown between trained entrants (who immediately count against the trained strength-largely former Regulars) and new recruits. Back

129   HC Deb, 19 December 2013, col 124WS; Paper deposited in the House of Commons Library by the Ministry of Defence Future Reserves 2020, 19 December 2013 (Ref: DEP2013-2063), available at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/business-papers/commons/deposited-papers/ Back

130   HC Deb 14 January 2014, col 715 Back

131   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 17 Back

132   Ministry of Defence Announcement, Plans for future Reserve Forces unveiled, 3 July 2013 Back

133   Ibid Back

134   Q 251 Back

135   HC Deb 20 November 2013, col 1263 Back

136   HC Deb, 16 July 2013, col 966 Back

137   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 7 Back

138   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, pp 47-48. Supporting Britain's Reservists and Employers (SaBRE) is an organisation that aims to build support for members of the Reserve Forces from employers. It seeks to explain to employers the benefits, rights and obligations associated with the employment of a Reservist, as well as promoting the transferable skills that Reservists receive through their military training and take back to their workplace. SaBRE is funded by the Ministry of Defence and acts as a means for relaying employers' views to the Department on the employment of Reservists. Back

139   SaBRE list employers' support under the following categories: HR Policy (employers who have a written HR policy on the employment of Reservists); Time off policy: additional time off (paid, unpaid, or considered on a case by case basis for Reservists to attend 2-week annual training session); Employee mobilised (employers who have previously released a Reservist for mobilisation). Available at: http://www.sabre.mod.uk/Employers/Supportive-Employers/Employers-who-have-publicly-pledged-their-support .  Back

140   Announced by the Government in June 2013, the Corporate Covenant is a written and publicised voluntary pledge from businesses and charitable organisations who wish to demonstrate their concrete support for the armed forces community. Back

141   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 48 Back

142   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, pp 47-48 Back

143   Q 224 Back

144   Q 224 Back

145   Q 234 Back

146   Q 260 Back

147   Q 260 Back

148   Reserve Forces Act 1996, sections 52, 54 and 56. Section 56 was amended by the Armed Forces Act 2011 to enable Reservists to be mobilised in the UK in circumstances short of a great emergency or an actual or apprehended attack to allow mobilisation in the event of "work national importance.". Back

149   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 17 Back

150   These periods may be exceeded in times of national emergency or outbreak of war. Back

151   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 19, p 21 and p 51 Back

152   Ibid, p 51 Back

153   Ibid, p 51 Back

154   Ev w18 Back

155   Ev w39 Back

156   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 17 Back

157   The Independent Commission to Review the United Kingdom's Reserve Forces, Future Reserves 2020, July 2011, p 7 Back

158   Q 159 Back

159   Q 159  Back

160   Q 221 Back

161   Ev w4 Back

162   An increase from approximately 35 to 40 days per year for Army Reserves; Training commitments for the Royal Navy Reserve are 24 days , 34 days for the Royal Marines Reserve and 35 for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013. P 11). Back

163   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013,p 11 Back

164   HC Deb, 3 July 2013, col 52WS Back

165   For example, see Parliamentary Question from Sarah Newton MP to the Secretary of State for Defence, HC Deb, 14 January 2014, col 721. Back

166   HC Deb, 14 January 2014, col 721 Back

167   HM Government, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, October 2010, p 20; see also Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 11. Back

168   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 73 Back

169   Ibid, pp 75-76 Back

170   Ibid, p 76 Back

171   Ibid p 76 Back

172   Ministry of Defence Announcement, New cyber Reserve unit created, 29 September 2013 Back

173   Q 303 Back

174   Ev w5 Back

175   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 65; On completion of the period of liability for recall, all become members of the Long-Term Reserve up to the age of 55, or on completion of 18 years in the Regular Reserve. The Long-Term reserve may only be recalled for national danger, great emergency or attack in the UK.  Back

176   Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013, p 65 Back

177   Ibid Back

178   Ibid Back

179   Ibid Back

180   Ibid Back

181   Defence Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part One, HC 197, paras 19-24 Back

182   Ibid, para 24 Back

183  Defence Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part One, HC 197, Q 158 Back

184   The Army 2020 July 2013 update defines "Firm Base" as "A secure home front that sustains the Army, enables training for and deployment on operations, and ensures the support of the public" (British Army, Transforming the British Army: an update, July 2013, p 22) Back

185   British Army, Transforming the British Army: an update, July 2013, p 22 Back

186   HC Deb, 3 July 2013, col 921 Back

187   Ev w6 Back

188   The pay section of the British Army website explains the X Factor as: "The main reward package is called the X Factor. It's an adjustment to your pay that makes sure you're getting a fair deal .It compares your Army job to a similar civilian job and weighs up the extra challenges you face as a soldier, such as time away from your family and working under pressure. It also considers the perks of Army life, such as job security and 38 days' paid leave every year. The X Factor normally means soldiers take home an extra 14.5% compared to the closest civilian job". Back

189   The MoD provided the following additional information: Presently only Regular pay attracts a Superannuation Charge Attributable to Experience (SCAPE - the cost of pension) which is 42.8% for officers and 30.8% for soldiers. The FR20 proposition will see Reserve salary becoming pensionable leading to a SCAPE levy in the order of 25% while the application of Working Time Directives will see an additional payment, in the order of 10.2%, to Reserves. That said, not all Reserve attendance based pay will attract Employers National Insurance Contributions. Back

190   Ev w6 Back

191   Q 176 Back

192   Q 176 Back

193   Ev w38 Back

194   Ev w24; see also Ev w20 [Peace Pledge Union] and Ev w34 [Forces Watch] Back

195   Ev w24 Back

196   Ev w24 Back

197   Ev w28 Back

198   HC Deb, 18 November 2013, col 696W Back

199   HC Deb, 18 December 2013, col 633-634W  Back

200   HM Government, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, October 2010, p 28 and pp 32-33 Back

201   HC Deb, 18 July 2011, cols 645-646 Back

202   HC Deb, 5 July 2012, cols 1085-1088 Back

203   HC Deb, 5 March 2013, cols 845-848 Back

204   A significant proportion of those reductions in Wales and Northern Ireland will be the result, however, of the civilianisation of search and rescue from 2015-2016 onwards. Back

205   HC Deb, 3 July 2013, cols 922-925, HC Deb, 3 July 2013, cols 49-53WS and HC Deb, 4 July 2013, cols 61-62WS Back

206   HM Government, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, October 2010, p 28 and p 32 Back

207   Ibid Back

208   HC Deb, 5 March 2013, cols 845-848 Back

209   Q 185 Back

210   Ev w10 Back

211   Q 185 Back

212   Qq 185-189 Back

213   Q 338 and Q 341  Back

214   Q 221 Back

215   Q 300  Back

216   Defence Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part One, HC 197, Q 183 Back

217   Defence Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Towards the next Defence and Security Review: Part One, HC 197, Q 185 Back

218   Q 329 Back

219   Q 194 Back

220   Q 195 Back

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Prepared 6 March 2014