Sponsored Reserves

Sponsored Reserves

Sponsored Reserves are a category of reserve forces in the British Armed Forces, created by the Reserve Forces Act (1996) in order to allow certain support tasks to be carried out by trained professionals. These are tasks that must be carried out by service personnel in war time and other higher risk operations but can be carried out by civilians in peace time operations. For example flight attendants on personnel transport flights generally do not need to be military unless the area being flown into is dangerous, or weather information at home stations can be provided by civilians but in theatre information will still be required so the people that provide such information must be in the armed forces. These roles would be uneconomic to staff with military personnel and so having reserves prevents front line troops being pulled off operations to perform second or third line jobs.

Members of the reserve units undergo training to allow them to function as members of the force while in theatre and while deployed they are subject to the rules and regulations, and all other conditions, of regular service life. This allows for the specialist knowledge to be provided by uniformed personnel. [ [http://www.armedforces.co.uk/army/listings/l0135.html Armed Forces.co.uk] ] [ [http://www.nato.int/nrfc/database/uk.pdf NATO website] ] [ [http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/mod/defence/c5tx4.htm MOD document archive] ]

The first sponsored reserve unit was the Mobile Meteorological Unit, providing mainly aviation weather services to the RAF and the Army Air Corps [ [http://www2.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2000/pr20001027.html Met Office press release] ] . Other Sponsored Reserve Units are being developed in line with the Strategic Defence Review.

The first large scale use of the SR provision has been in the engagement of SR drivers for the FASTTRAX Tank Transporter (HET) Contract, operated by a subsidiary of KBR.

The drivers are civilians operating the vehicles in peace time who can be mobilised to support the operation of the vehicles in war. Recruiting of SR Drivers has proved difficult in recent years due to the operation of the HET in Iraq.

SRs are now more usually used in the support of technical services (IT Comms) in the field where a civilian company is charged with providing a capability to a set service level. The company recruit the personnel who then undertake military training commensurate with their military task.

Recruiting such personnel, usually relies on recently retired military staff transferring to the TA and taking up well paid roles with contracting companies further accelerating the talent drain from the regular forces.


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