Thursday, 17 May 2007

Modern-day impressment

When I were a lad, I was told when leaving the Army on 1st Jan 1991, that my mobilisation would never happen, as the cold war was ending and the only reason you would ever be mobilised would be in the case of the Russians streaming over the Iron Curtain, or some such other situation which threatened Blighty herself.

How things have changed;

Reservists: The Rules On Being MobilisedMonday,

May 14, 2007

Source: MoD

"Mobilisation is the process of calling Reservists into full-time service with the Regular Forces on military operations.....

"Mobilisation of the unwilling

When there are very short operational deadlines, the scale of operation is particularly large or there is a shortage in a so called 'pinchpoint' trade, the MOD may have to resort to mobilising personnel who are unwilling and/or whose employers do not wish to release. Such mobilisation has taken place in support of operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the wider Gulf region, however, the Armed Forces seek to keep the numbers of such mobilisations to an absolute minimum."

"From the moment the reservist receives a Call-Out Notice, he needs to consider what actions to take to put his affairs in order before he is obliged to report for mobilisation. A reservist may need to make financial provisions for his family or ensure that regular payments, rent or mortgage for example, will continue to be made while he is away."

"The legal basis for mobilisationThe Reserve Forces Act 1996 provides the legal basis under which mobilisation can take place.Under the Act, Call-Out can be authorised:by Her Majesty making an order 'if it appears to Her that national danger is imminent or that a great emergency has arisen; or in the event of an actual or apprehended attack on the UK' (Section 52) by the Secretary of State for Defence making an order 'if it appears to him that warlike operations are in preparation or progress' (Section 54) by the Secretary of State for Defence making an order 'if it appears to him that it is necessary or desirable to use armed forces on operations outside the UK for the protection of life or property; or on operations anywhere in the world for the alleviation of distress or the preservation of life or property in time of disaster or apprehended disaster' (Section 56) High Readiness Reserves (HRR) and Sponsored Reserves (SR) mobilisation is undertaken under different sections of the Act, as is Recall which is authorised under Sect 68. *Additionally, Transitionals come under RFA 80.

"The full article here;

Not sure if you need to log in for this url - I linked from an email circular.

Now, I may be mistaken, but it is my guess that the Reserve forces act which preceded this one is different only in regard to Section 56 - "...use armed forces on operations outside the UK for the protection....etc.."

Excerpt from a UK Employment Law website;


"The Reserve Force Act 1966 updates the law regarding call up of reservists generally and in the light of the end of the cold war in particular. It includes a new power of call-out for non-fighting purposes such as peacekeeping and humanitarian and disaster relief operations...."

Just why would a government feel they had to take the extreme measure of calling a reservist up - soft conscription, if you will - for "peacekeeping and humanitarian and disaster relief operations"??

The act was brought into being by the Tories as the date betrays, in 1996. Why did they think it necessary to amend this crucial legislation, with its severe shift in emphasis?

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