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Reserves Conference 2011 Event ImageIn December 2010, RUSI organised a major conference to coincide with the start of the Government's Future Reserves 2020 (FR20) review.  The conference was instrumental in helping to define the parameters of FR20, raising awareness of the issues that need to be addressed and assisting the Ministry of Defence to engage with a wide range of domestic and international partners'

In association with the Ministry of Defence, RUSI is organising a second conference on the future of the Reserve Forces.  There is a body of opinion which considers that a significant and well-thought through role for the Reserves will be one of the benchmarks for measuring the success of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.  As the FR20 work on the Regular/Reserve balance progresses, this is also creating the space to re-examine Defence’s force models post-SDSR and out to the 2020s.  Exploration of a Whole Force Concept for UK Defence creates a real opportunity to redefine the status of the Reserves and their relationship to Regular forces: to explore a different force model where the Reserves and industry are not treated as distinct entities, but integrated into force structures to enable a more fluid and flexible mix and transfer of military, contractor and civilian staff, on demand and through career.

This conference provides an opportunity to explore whether a ‘Whole Force’ and ‘Total Support Force’ concept is viable.  The Vice Chief of Defence Staff will provide an update on the Future Reserves 2020 Study and the conference will then focus on three key areas:

The societal dimension
There is an emerging view that, with little societal understanding of the nature of current and future conflict, the armed forces may become increasingly detached from the society they serve and represent.  As society becomes increasingly demilitarised and we draw down from major combat operations, this may if unchecked, lead to little societal understanding of the military role among the national levers of power.  This increases Government’s challenge of coordinating the national levers of power for the short and long-term.  Furthermore, noting the significant physical threats to our domestic space, and the cyber threats to our infrastructure, is society calling for a greater military contribution to domestic resilience.  RUSI’s conference in December looked at why it was so important for Defence to engage with communities.  This conference will look at how Defence should consider engaging with the public.  It will also consider how to meet the needs of reservists and contractors if greater integration into regular structures is envisaged.

The view of employers
Very few companies have any experience of, or engagement with, Defence and the Reserves.  Those companies which do feel that the Ministry of Defence does not always understand their particular requirements.  How can engagement and understanding of be improved to contribute to Defence outputs?  Do companies with little experience of Defence to date perceive any benefit to employing Reservists?  What appetite might they have for exploring new and innovative employment models and can new types of employment and partnership with the MoD bring mutual benefit to the forces and company?

The industrial dimension
Good use has been made of contractual mechanisms such as Sponsored Reserves, but is there greater scope for collaboration between MoD and industry in jointly recruiting and training employees?  What effect will the increased use of contractors on operations have, and in what threat environments should contractors be able to operate?  Can lessons be learned from existing integrated military-industrial models, for example using the NHS for medical support, and can this approach be extended to other areas?  Is industry willing to integrate further into regular structures and what are the parameters for this – What are government-only functions?  Can industry provide whole units rather than just individuals? What are the wider needs of industry that may inform military outputs?  This conference will explore the emerging concepts of the ‘Whole Force’ and ‘Total Support Force’ which could define the relationship between the military and industry in coming years.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • General Sir Nicholas Houghton KCB CBE, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
  • Dr Chris Mace, Director, Defence Support Review, Ministry of Defence
  • David Amos
  • Katja Hall, Chief Policy Director, Confederation of British Industry
  • Andrew Higginson, A|D|S Group and Director, Higginson Associates Ltd
  • Julian Brazier TD MP, Deputy Leader, Future Reserves 2020 Review
  • David L. McGinnis, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, US Department of Defense
  • Professor Christopher Dandeker, Professor of Military Sociology, King's College London
  • Air Vice Marshal (retd) Paul Luker CB OBE AFC, Chief Executive of the Council of Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations

For further information please contact Mark Phillips, Head, Land Capabilities and Operations on / +44 (0)20 7747 2607


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