The Transformation of the Army Reserve: the Origins, Evolution, and Impact of Future Reserves 2020 on Reserve Logistics
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Two year embargo has been granted due to need to get MoD to approve research before publication.
In July 2013 the British Government unveiled its Future Reserves 2020 (FR20) policy, which aimed to radically change the role and function of the Army Reserve by making it both more capable and more deployable. One of the policy’s central organising principles was its focus on outsourcing military logistics capability previously held in the regular army to reserve forces in order to save costs. Reserve logistics transformation was therefore deemed central to the success of FR20. This thesis examines the origins, evolution and impact of FR20 as an attempt to organisationally transform the British Army Reserve’s logistics forces. In first detailing the historical, political and conceptual origins of FR20, it argues that reserve transformations rarely succeed in the manner envisaged; that the intensely political origins of FR20 have shaped the policy during each step of its development; and that the radical change in the delivery of military logistics since 2000 which underpins FR20’s emphasis on logistics is best understood through a post-Fordist analytical framework. Examining the impact of FR20 at the reserve sub-unit level, it argues that many units will struggle to deliver the capability required of them, but in other areas, such as integration with the regulars and increased professional opportunities, FR20 is succeeding. Quantitative evidence is presented to support these arguments. It then details how reserve logistics cohesion is different from that of regular combat forces, and shows how such inherent micro-level organisational factors can influence transformation. Finally, the wider implications of FR20 as a transformative attempt are discussed. This thesis’s central argument is that the political origins of FR20 within Parliament, and the Army Reserves’ organisational nature, have undermined the policy’s ability to deliver the key military capabilities it envisaged of reserves logistics units. However, in some important cultural/normative aspects, FR20 is slowly transforming the reserves. To date, FR20 has therefore been a ‘partial transformation’. In making this argument, this study contributes to the literature on the British Army Reserves, and military logistics, cohesion and transformation.
Uk MoD, British Army.
PhD in Security, Conflict and Justice
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