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Twice the Risk

How much time and money should be spent on discovering the obvious? There are of course some surprises involving startling counter-intuitive facts that can be revealed by careful research. But it wouldn’t have taken a genius to cotton onto the fact that Territorial Army soldiers are more at risk from combat stress than regulars. They don’t have the all important peer support network. And when they come back from Iraq or Afghanistan, the return to normal work-a-day life is far more jarring than it would be for a regular going back to a military base in the UK, Germany, or Cyprus. The Ministry of Defence did not need studies to get out well ahead of the curve on this one. I sometimes wonder if paying for study doesn’t seem cheaper to the bean-counters in Whitehall than seeing the blinking obvious and spending money on avoiding the problem getting out of hand in the first place. By the way, the study showed that TA members were twice as likely to suffer some form of deployment-related stress than regulars. The Ministry of Defence is dead set on shifting more of the burden for Britain’s defence from regular soldiers to part-timers. But has anyone who actually knows what they’re doing conducted a proper cost analysis? I’m not even talking about ruined lives, I’m talking about cold hard cash. If the Ministry of Defence is serious about looking after reservists properly, that might cost twice as much as it does for a regular. I guess a lot depends on who is counting the beans.  A lot of "savings" in departmental budgets are achieved by simply offloading the spending burden on another agency.

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