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ANYTHING RATHER THAN ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG IP: 184.108.40.206 Posted on 14/11/2014 at 08:37:21 by Joe Eastwood
ANYTHING RATHER THAN ADMIT THEY WERE WRONG!
Over fifties will now be able to sign up as part-time soldiers after the Government raised the maximum allowable age to join, it was disclosed.
The moves comes as Army reservist recruitment figures were attacked as “shocking” and “embarrassing” after the ranks of part-time soldiers grew by just 20 in the past year, despite a Government drive to sign up thousands.
Julian Brazier, Minister for Reserves rejected claims that lifting the upper age limit from 43 to 52 for former regular soldiers wanting to join the reserves was a sign of desperation to meet recruitment targets. The army has also raised from 45 to 50 the age limit for civilians with specialist skills, such as a language or a medical background, who want to become an officer in the reserves.
“It is one more example of intelligent modification of the process,” Mr Brazier said. “Before, somebody would automatically get excluded if they were over age. Now we want to see what they are applying for.”
But Commanders were accused of “Dad’s Army” desperation, with one former officer telling The Times: “They will take anyone with a pulse.”
Commitment: Territorial Army soldiers taking part in a training exercise at Sandhurst
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11 Jun 2014
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Strong Armed Forces are as vital as ever
24 Jun 2014
The latest Ministry of Defence manning figures show the number of Army reservists rose from 19,290 to just 19,310 despite a multi-million pound recruitment campaign.
The MoD insists it is still on track to grow the Army’s reserve forces from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2019, as the number of regular troops is cut by 20,000.
Growing, re-equipping and retraining the Army’s reserve forces is a cornerstone of the Coalition’s cost-cutting defence reforms.
But Labour labelled the figures as “woefully low”.
Vernon Coaker MP, shadow Defence Secretary, said: “The Government should be worried and embarrassed by these shocking figures which show an increase of just 20 in the number of trained Army Reserves in the last year.
"It's clear that these plans are failing and there is a real concern that Britain's Armed Forces could be left with a dangerous capability gap as a result."
In the past six months the Army signed up 2,130 reservists, but with many also leaving, the overall size of the force barely changed.
The National Audit Office, Parliament’s spending watchdog, earlier this year said the MoD may not hit its target until 2025, six years behind schedule.
Senior military officers admit the recruiting campaign got off to a “very bad” start last year, but insist they are still on track to hit their targets.
Mr Brazier said reservists were making a “tremendous and growing contribution” in Afghanistan, in the fight against Ebola and in civil crises like this year’s flooding.
He said: “We have always recognised that reinvigorating our Reserve Forces would not be achieved overnight. However, one year into our five year plan we are making steady progress and seeing increased numbers joining the reserves.”
Under the MoD’s own targets, the reserve should grow to 19,900 by April next year after that the targets grow rapidly.
One Whitehall source said: “No one is panicking yet. Let’s see what it looks like in the Spring.”
An MOD spokesman said: “We make no apology for revising the age requirements for ex-regular soldiers to join the Reserves and share their wealth of knowledge and expertise. All recruits have to meet strict fitness requirements, or could face discharge.”
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