In the context of the major conclusions, the following recommendations are made:

Stabilisation and Betterment

Resources are needed immediately to arrest the severe decline in the state of the Reserves. Included in this is the need for a revised Proposition which provides the challenge and reward that makes Reserve service worthwhile and sustainable. 

This will require enhancements to individual, collective and command training. It will also require increased command opportunities, in peacetime and on operations. 

The Reserve will require new roles, more viable structures and better mechanisms to integrate with the Regular component. We estimate that a betterment package, when coupled with the need to abate other savings measures against Reserves, will cost £590M over four years.

Revised Roles

The National Security Council should examine the breadth of roles which Reservists undertake. We recommend that Reservists should play a greater part in Homeland Security (for example, maritime coastal protection) and UK Resilience. 

We are not advocating a third force, rather that Reserves should have a more formal role in support of specific security tasks and their local civil communities. 

More widely, specialist tasks should expand, specifically in areas such as cyber, stabilisation and medical roles in humanitarian crises. Beyond individual operational augmentation, Reserves should be able to meet some operational tasks as formed sub-units and units. 

And our Reserves must form the framework around which military regeneration can be effected.


The availability of a larger and more usable Reserve has to be guaranteed. Such a guarantee has to be underpinned by legislative changes which permit greater ease of mobilisation, better employee protection and greater recognition of employers, perhaps through a nationally endorsed Kitemark. 

We should exploit the potential for innovative partnerships between Defence, Education and Industry to optimise the sharing and development of human talent. 

And we need modern administrative systems for enlistment, processing and transfer between the Regular forces and the Reserves.

Adjusting the Regular/Reserve Balance

Defence should adopt a Whole Force Concept which optimises the most cost-effective balance of Regular, Reserve, Contractor and Civilian manpower. Within this, the Reserve element should proportionately increase. 

By 2015, the trained strength* of the Reserves should be: Royal Navy Reserves/Royal Marine Reserves 3,100; Territorial Army 30,000 and Royal Auxiliary Air Force 1,800. Thereafter, the size of the Reservist component should increase further to maximise the cost effectiveness of having a larger Reserve component within the Whole Force.

Force Generation

In order to improve the efficiency of Force Generation, the Reserve estate should be rationalised in a way that is sensitive to maintaining geographically-dispersed local links whilst providing access to training.


A revised governance structure for the Reserve is recommended to first, oversee the implementation of recommendations arising from this Review; second, to provide an independent mechanism to report to the Ministry of Defence and Parliament on the state of the Reserves; and third, to help ensure the appropriate influence of certain Reserve appointments.

The Commission believes that, if these recommendations are carried through, then the overall capability, utility and resilience of our Armed Forces will be enhanced in a way that meets the security, financial and societal challenges of the day, and in a way that maintains continuity with historic British practice.