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UK urged to shake up reserve forces roles

UK military reserve forces need to be restructured to increase their integration with the county’s regular forces and defence, according to a review commissioned by Chief of Defence Staff General Nick Carter.

The Reserve Forces Review 2030, led by former minister of state for the armed forces and army reserve brigadier Mark Lancaster, follows on from the GBP1.85 billion (USD2.6 billion) Future Reserves 2020 programme, which was launched in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) to bolster the reserve forces by increasing their strength by 10,000 personnel.

According to the Reserve Forces Review 2030, published on 12 May, reserve recruiting has nearly reached its targeted strength, with the Army Reserve now having 27,070 soldiers compared to its 2020 target of 30,100.

The review made 19 specific recommendations, the most high profile of which is to set up a new framework for individual reservists and reserve units. It recommends that individual reservists whose principal role is to support routine defence activity should become part of a group known as the Reinforcement Reserve. A large group known as the Operational Reserve should comprise reservist units that are regularly trained and exercised for contingency tasks, while the Strategic Reserve should be built around ex-regular personnel and be able to generate surge capacity during crises or national emergencies.

In response, the Ministry of Defence said it would make a detailed response by the end of the year.

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