Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers
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UK General Claims a “Real Dialogue” with NATO Reservists

Lt. Gen. David Bill, UK Military Representative to NATO and the EU, started the Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) winter meeting with a speech that runs fully in line with the aim of the world’s largest reserve officer organization. As a notable representative and active soldier Lt. Gen. Bill recognizes and understands reserve issues from both political and military points of view.

“It is necessary that NATO and national MoDs start real dialogues with their reservists in face of current and future threats and that they take their reservists seriously. The reason for this is clear: Without integrating reservists efficiently, NATO will not be able to fulfill its missions,” Lt. Gen. Bill said.

The CIOR Winter Meeting was held at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, February 19-21, 2009, was a forum to discuss the impact and receive feedback on reservist issues presented at the 2008 Symposium and to plan ahead for the upcoming congress in Sofia, Bulgaria, August 3-9, 2009.

Due to his background Lt. Gen. Bill focused on reserve matters in the United Kingdom. While outlining various aspects regarding the use of reserves forces, he made direct links to the ongoing process of recruitment and retention of reservists within NATO and its members. He also addressed the importance of increasing the development in best practices and policies to support reservists.
“The contributions of reservists to the regular forces has to be recognized by the MoD´s. Their combined civilian and military skills result in more efficient and powerful armed forces,” Lt. Gen. Bill said.

A second assessment dealt with the differences between active soldiers and reservists. According to Lt. Gen. Bill, the forces need to realize that most reservists are volunteers and thus need a different kind of support than regulars. The issue of employer support is one of the best examples. However, NATO and its members should see these differences as an advantage and share best practices. Reservists provide unique skills and combine military and civil knowledge in a needed way. This can be seen especially in areas like military medicine, law, Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) and information operations.

His third and last assessment was building on his previous ones was simple as it was poignant: From the forces perspective “It’s easier to be a regular soldier instead of being a reservist,” Lt. Gen. Bill said.
The meeting’s reserve participants deeply appreciated that a NATO military committee member had addressed their relevance and appreciated their service, capabilities and capacities. At the conclusion, CIOR President Lt. Col. Willem J. M. Verheijen (NL) and Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve Officers (CIOMR) President Lt. Col. Bruno (FR) thanked Lt. Gen. Bill for his frank discussion and his understanding of reservists and the 21st century challenges they meet.

© 2012 Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers