Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said he hoped the Territorial Army (TA) would be renamed the “Army Reserve” and become an “integral part of the regular army”.
Mr Hammond said the planned change would require legislation, but added that “when the opportunity for legislation comes along, we will change the name”.
The size of the regular army, he said, was being reduced to 82,000 and it was “unfortunately” one of the steps the department had to take to “rebalance” the defence budget.
“We will need more reserves because the way we’ve restructured the army is with a focus on the front end,” he said.
Asked if he had a different name for them, Mr Hammond replied: “In my head they are the Army Reserve and they will be an integral part of the regular army, they will train with the regular army, they will do overseas training.
“Already this year, we’ve got a number of overseas training deployments that members of the TA will be engaged in, so I would like to see them renamed. It will take legislation, but when the opportunity for legislation comes along, we will change the name.”
Mr Hammond said the process had already started of issuing regular army uniforms to TA units and they would have regular Army-style radios, personal protective equipment and vehicles. He added: “We are changing the pattern of equipment and kit, bringing them in line with the regular army with whom they will train and work, and under our new construct each Territorial battalion will be paired with a regular army battalion, so they’ll be in a permanent twinning arrangement.”