Territorial Army: Rebalancing

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:02 pm on 23rd March 2006.

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Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence Procurement), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement) 2:02 pm, 23rd March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Bramall, who, in his wide and deep experience, is fully cognisant of the challenges which we face in modernising our Reserve Forces and in making sure that the one-Army concept, as he described, really works well. I note his comments in support of the way in which we have gone about this. I want to make two points on manning, which other noble Lords also raised. We are committed to making sure that we address recruitment and retention. In the first two months of this year, we had a 1 per cent increase in manning levels, which shows that we are making progress and that the one-Army advertising campaign for regulars and the TA has been successful.

On the size of the force in the context of the regular Army, the current Chief of the Defence Staff made the point to me yesterday that the British Army is approximately the same size as it was at the Battle of Waterloo. Therefore, the changes which we have seen over the past 100 years or so reflect the environment as it has changed through two world wars. Despite today's challenging situation and the tempo of operations, we believe that we have a British Army fit to meet those operations because we have been innovative and prepared to make the reforms necessary.