By LT COL R. G. Mills
8 SIG REGT
1. Army Reserve Signals is at a crossroads, as it faces challenges to generate meaningful capability
above the ubiquitous unit node. Rapidly evolving CIS technologies and Army's use of increasingly complex and
sophisticated systems is resulting in longer and longer training periods for its Reserve Signallers.
For the part time Reserve Signaller, this does not work and results in limited career progress and high
personnel wastage rates.
2. Over the last fifteen years, the organisational structure of the Army Reserve has changed
significantly. Reserve formations are now raise, train and sustain organisations and are not deployable.
Doctrinally signals regiments and squadrons have provided the CIS support to brigades. With no requirement
for Reserve formations to deploy what is the role of Reserve Signals? This has been partially answered
through directed signals capability outputs required of the 2nd Division. Generating these specified outputs
is still proving to be a challenge suggesting that the trade structures and training design require change.
3. The RA Sigs End to End (E2E) Review is considering the role and functions of the Corps,
including Signals in the Army Reserve. It will be interesting to note whether this review considers what
is occurring in the civilian sector and training of CIS specialists and how it could apply to Army.
4. Aim. The aim of this paper is to articulate a role for Army Reserve Signals and to
introduce a trade and training concept which promises to deliver the requisite capability to Army that
is affordable and sustainable. Depending on the outcomes of the E2E review, this paper may inform a future
RA Sigs Employment Category Review (ECR) specifically for Army Reserve Signals.
5. Scope. This paper will review the directed Signals capabilities to be generated from
the Army Reserve and identify other potential capability opportunities to determine a suitable role.
It will also introduce a new trade and training concept for Army Reserve Signals that may have application
for the full time Army. The paper will provide a series of high level recommendations for senior members
of the Corps and HQ 2nd Division to consider.
CURRENT ROLES AND TASKS
6. Our Army Reserve formation headquarters are raise, train and sustain organisations and are not
currently structured to be deployable. For ARA signals units, their role is clearly defined to provide CIS
and administrative support to their supported Brigade. The non-deployable nature of these Reserve formations
does change the relationship with their supporting Signals element, be it a Regiment or independent squadron.
What is the role of Reserve Signals?
7. Given the change role of the Reserve formations, to date the role of Reserve Signals has not
been considered. The only guidance given in recent times is specified Signals capabilities required to be
generated from the 2nd Division.
8. The principal capability output is the generation of unit nodes, one supporting the ARA CSR
in the ready phase of the FGC and another supporting the ARA CSR in the readying phase. The unit nodes generated
from within the 2nd Division are assigned at the agreed point, OPCON to their supported ARA CSR. These unit
nodes are generated in parallel with the Force Generation activities of the Reinforcing Battle Group and in
practical terms are most likely (though not always) to be assigned TACON to the Reserve Reinforcing Battle Group.
In absolute numbers, the generation of the qualified personnel to operate a unit node is low (a fully manned unit
node consists of eight members) though additional members have to be prepared to cover for short notice change
in availability of Reserve members.