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Use them or lose them?. Nick Jans DEFENCE RESERVES ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE 23rd OCTOBER 2010. Hugh Smith & Nick Jans, Use Them or Lose Them? Australia’s Defence Force Reserves, Armed Forces & Society (forthcoming) Abstract

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use them or lose them

Use them or lose them?

Nick Jans

DEFENCE RESERVES ASSOCIATION

ANNUAL CONFERENCE

23rd OCTOBER 2010

slide2

Hugh Smith & Nick Jans, Use Them or Lose Them? Australia’s Defence Force Reserves, Armed Forces & Society (forthcoming)

Abstract

The paper reviews the history of military reserves in Australia with particular reference to the Army reserves.

It shows how the importance of reserves in Australia has waxed and waned across the past two centuries, from an early situation of primacy in the colonial period. The importance of reserves has re-emerged in the post-Cold War era, with new forms of reserve organization evolving alongside “conventional” reserve forces.

We discuss the extent to which these developments need to be accompanied by attention to cultural and personnel management issues and to enhanced reserves-regular integration.

Despite the challenge of juggling civilian employment with reserve commitments, most reservists appear to welcome a greater, rather than a token, obligation to serve.

There is a viable and meaningful role for the reserves provided that the ADF and the government are prepared to devote sufficient effort to them and to assign them appropriate tasks.

reservists taking it seriously
Reservists: taking it seriously
  • Although commitment is a challenge, with, for example:
    • 78% in part-time civilian employment
    • Most coming from civilian fields such as “professional” (25%), “manager/administrator” (16%), “associate professional” (14%)
  • … demonstrated commitment is high, with:
    • 44 days service on average in the previous 12 months
    • 62% willing to undertake some continuous full-time service in the next 12 months

Source: ADF Census 2007

and being taken more seriously

Sources: 1996 questionnaire survey of GSO (N=198); 2007/8 interview survey (N=61)

And being taken more seriously

GSO who would be likely to join the Reserve if they separated from full-time service: change over the last decade

motivation to serve army
Motivation to serve (Army)

SOLDIERS

“Very Important”

OFFICERS

Source: High Readiness Reserve HR DSS survey 2002 (N=674); Critical Categories HR DSS surveys 2003-2006 (N=4,930)

“Very Important”

motivation to serve army6
Motivation to serve (Army)

Source: High Readiness Reserve HR DSS survey 2002 (N=674)

overall conclusion use em or lose em
Overall conclusion: Use ‘em or lose ‘em
  • If:
    • working in well-led teams
    • with appropriate conditions of service
    • having a relevant capability role
  • Then:
    • many if not most would welcome a greater, rather than a token lesser, obligation to serve