Mounting Offshore Operations Using the Reserve Forces and How It Impacted On Homeland Defence and Security - The United Kingdom Experience

Brigadier J. R. Thomson

Abstract


This short paper attempts to reflect on the UK experience of mounting offshore operations using the Reserve Forces in support of regular forces and its impact on homeland defence and security. The topic area is by definition both diverse by its nature and complex in its delivery. There is no right answer to the question of how to maximise the utility or value of a country’s Reserve Forces but there is recent evidence within some countries that they have remained an unclaimed treasure or a hidden resource. Their value as a ‘reserve of last resort’ was accepted albeit reluctantly in some countries whereas today they are becoming increasingly important to the sustainment of enduring operations around the world and as such, a ‘reserve of choice’. A recent meeting of the senior Army Reserve Officers of the ABCA countries concluded that all 5 nations faced similar issues, challenges, opportunities and threats for their Reserve Forces. The delivery of sustainable military capability from the reserves in support of ongoing worldwide operations and homeland defence and security would require new and innovative approaches by the military to guarantee the continued support and commitment of all the relevant stakeholders. In this paper, the author can only skim the surface of this important topic but in doing so he will attempt to highlight by example some of the lessons learned in the United Kingdom.

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JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council

ISSN: 1488-559x