TA chief wants firms to help hire army reservists

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THE new head of the Territorial Army has said he will use both “carrot and stick” to get his troops ready to shoulder more of Britain’s defence burden.

Visiting TA troops deployed alongside regular soldiers as UN peacekeepers in Nicosia, Cyprus, Major General Ranald Munro also called on the Westminster government to entice employers to “do their bit” and hire army reservists. And he predicted the regulars will be forced to change their attitudes towards their partners in the reserve.

It comes as the TA starts a major recruitment drive, codenamed “Operation Fortify”, to fill the void that will be left by drastic cuts to regular forces 
laid out in the Coalition’s ­Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Under the “integrated” strategy, the TA is expected to increase from its current 19,000 fully trained members to 30,000 by 2018 to support a regular Army which will be reduced by 23 units to a capacity of 82,000.

Maj Gen Munro, who took over as deputy commander land forces in October, acknowledged the TA needs to “step up to the plate”.

“It’s a combination of carrot and stick,” Britain’s most senior reservist said. “There needs to be a recognition of soldiers’ responsibility to turn up and I think as we develop the offer and the proposition for the new-style TA as part of the integrated force, people will understand when they join what it is they are signing up to.

“It is in our interest to make sure that actually we have people who are deriving some of the benefits that a regular army soldier would get.”