‘Most radical shake-up for decades’


The Ministry of Defence has announced plans to change the way British soldiers are trained.

The new training regime, to be introduced from January 2019, will see fewer basic infantry classes.

Critics say it risks consigning many soldiers to specialist roles.

The MoD says it is a plan to “ensure reservists are deployed at the right time and place”.

It expects to invest around £60m into the plan – although no UK soldiers will be pushed out of frontline roles.

The new training programme will focus on providing units with appropriate training at the right time and place to sustain, and enhance, combat capabilities – a degree of professionalism and preparedness they will need to deal with modern challenges.

Details of the plan are little more than vague, but the MoD says it is the “most radical shake-up for decades”.

It also hopes to see a further 6,000 reservists going through the army’s prestigious cadet programme.

The training programme is part of the Defence White Paper which was first published in 2017.

Reservists have traditionally been used as an emergency back-up option, but they are now expected to play a central role in real-time operations, the MoD says.

“I want all soldiers to feel confident, inspired and prepared in the face of modern combat, to shape their own future and to lead those around them,” said the Armed Forces Minister, Nick Boles.

“I want every unit to provide its soldiers with the training required to be ready and meet the demands of modern combat.”

Richard Baker, the shadow defence secretary, said the programme was “compromised and insubstantial” and did not reflect the government’s commitment to the army.

He added: “It risks consigning thousands of active service personnel to specialist roles that stretch them too far beyond their maturity.

“We must be clear that reservists will no longer be used as a stop gap to fill gaps. It will be used to ensure equipment and troops are ready to fight and win on the ground.”

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