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Reserve Forces (Defence Objectives)

Volume 586: debated on Monday 13 October 2014

Changes brought about by the Defence Reform Act 2014 allow reservists to be called out under new section 56(1B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 if it appears to the Secretary of State that it is necessary or desirable to use members of a reserve force for any purpose for which members of the regular services may be used. Reservists called out under this power may be required to serve for a period of up to 12 months.

In line with these changes and our policy of having more capable, usable, integrated and relevant reserve forces, I have today made four call-out orders under section 56(1 B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 which will allow reservists to be called into permanent service in support of defence engagement (for example the provision of short term training teams and military capacity building overseas); Global Counter- terrorism and Counter-Piracy; operation of our permanent joint operating bases in Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, Ascension Island, Diego Garcia and Gibraltar; and maritime security operations.

We anticipate calling out only a small number of reservists under these call-out orders (initial estimates suggest fewer than 250 over the course of the next year) and currently plan on only calling out willing and available reservists, who have the support of their employer. For operations that fall outside the scope of these orders, for example Military Aid to the Civil Authorities, war fighting, or operations which are likely to involve a large number of reservists, I would expect to make separate call-out orders.

These orders take effect from 1 October 2014 and cease to have effect on 30 September 2015.