IN THE WAKE of Britain's latest defense cuts, the government is to take a monumental gamble: that the hole left by chopping the Army by almost 20,000 men can be filled by expanding the reserves. Under this plan, an enlarged Territorial Army will put the "weekend warrior" tag behind it for good, and become – by sheer force of necessity – an integral part of Britain's defense capability.
This decision always was fraught with peril. For many reservists, fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan was a huge step up from their regular training; as a group of military experts argued on our letters page in January, "frontline operations require a level of fitness, experience and training that cannot readily be matched by part-time soldiers." Only one in 20 TA personnel, they claimed, is ready for immediate deployment.
So for the government's plan to work, those who sign up will need not just commitment, but far more training.
The Telegraph, London