Increased TA role no substitute for army

Government plans to send an increasing number of army reservists to war should be urgently re-examined, according to a group of senior army commanders and academics who say just one in 20 Territorial Army soldiers is adequately trained to serve on the front line.

In a letter to a national newspaper, the coalition of military experts said they supported plans to expand and increase investment in the nation’s reserve forces. But they said any widening of their role should not be at the expense of regular soldiers.

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The letter, whose signatories include Dr Peter Caddick-Adams, a serving TA officer and defence analyst, Colonel Tim Collins, a former SAS commander, and Colonel Richard Kemp, a former Afghanistan commander, said: “The Government’s intention is for Britain to rely increasingly on the Territorial Army and other reservists to plug gaps in the nation’s defence. Any widening of the role of the TA should not be at the expense of the regulars, and cannot be a substitute for an adequately-resourced regular army.”