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Army October 27, 2011
By Cfn Max Bree
PLACING reservists in civilian jobs, training with
the US National Guard and mentoring developing
armies could be on the agenda after an international
army reserve conference from September 26-30.
Reserve chiefs from the US, UK, Canada and
New Zealand came together in Sydney to swap ideas
and discuss issues affecting reserve forces across the
Director General Reserves-Army Brig Iain
Spence said reservists in all five countries were fac-
ing similar issues with integration and finding the
right balance between individual and collective train-
ing, particularly compared with full-time forces.
He said problems were also occurring with trying
to keep up reservists' skills after a deployment.
"Reserves used to be a 'break glass in case of
emergency' force," he said.
"But now we've gone from a strategic to an oper-
ational reserve and we need to figure out how to
maintain the level of experience as operations draw
The Australian delegation was impressed with the
medical training employer partnership used by the
US reserve, according to Brig Spence.
The system involves medics, recruited and trained
by the US reserve, undertaking work placements in
civilian hospitals as part of their training.
After the placement, reservists are frequently
offered civilian jobs in the hospitals.
Brig Spence flagged the potential for further
engagement with the US reserve.
The ARes delegation also took interest in a US
program of pairing with and mentoring the reserve
forces of developing countries.
Brig Spence noted this could include ARes per-
sonnel joining with the National Guard to mentor
developing reserve forces in the Asia Pacific region.
With all the ideas flowing between reserve chiefs,
Brig Spence was quick to point out things weren't
always adaptable between countries.
"You have to assess what's best practice," he said.
"But you can't just look at an idea and say 'that's
great'. You have to take into account the different
culture, rules and legislation in the other country to
see what would work here."
Reserves find common ground
Operational reserve: After a long period of part-
time soldiers forming a strategic reserve, reservists
from all five countries participating in a recent
reserve conference are now serving on operations
such as Pte Flash Storey, pictured, in East Timor
earlier this year.
Photo by Cpl Melina Mancuso
Australia, the US,
UK, Canada and
New Zealand at
the opening of
Photo by Cfn Max Bree
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