Officer Training Corps faces the axe

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Jan 24, 2010.

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  1. Guy123
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    Guy123 Swinger

    *Sigh* looks like ignorance is raising its ugly head in this thread.

    I'm an active member of a UOTC, lets have a look at things from my side of the fence.

    First, people seem to overlook the other reasons for UOTC's to exist, other than as a direct feed to RMAS. Sure, not everyone goes to RMAS, but also, not many people make it to their third year. Around 1/3, possibly more, 3rd year OCDT's go to RMAS, thats a large percentage, much different than when you look at the percentage out of the entire 1st year intake, as the government is. By this point, a lot of people have dropped out, (thus no longer requiring pay). I've a nasty suspicion the pay figures are based on the 1st year intake too, which is rather large, but thins out fast!

    So, what of those that don't go to RMAS? Undoubtedley, everyone that leaves OTC after university, has a new, and informed respect of the Armed forces. Something that in todays society is so valuable. Here's a little example for you:

    I study video game art, I'm on quite a well renound course and its not easy at all to get onto. In my year there is a mature student, who will remain unnamed.
    This guy joined the parachute regiment straight after GCSE's and spent around 6 years going back and forth to Afghan and Iraq. After leaving the army, without any A levels, he'd attempted most of the shit jobs one can think of and generally had no future prospects. Thanks a bunch Army!
    Thankfully, the course leader of our course, was in a UOTC when he was a student, recognised how hard it is for ex service personnel to get jobs after leaving the forces, allowed my friend to get onto the course, based purely on his determination, and artistic promise.
    By the way, he's now one of the best artists I know, and at around 30 years old is almost guaranteed a job in industry, but he might not have been there if our course leader hadn't gained his appreciation for the armed forces, at his UOTC.

    So for me, reading these ignorant arguments, its nice to have a working example in my life, of the other benefits of UOTC. Afterall the OTC's are the closest thing we have to a help package for people when they leave the army and look for a job.

    Some say UOTC students dont get deployed? You're right, we can't be, not even if the country gets invaded (though I'd hope we'd volunteer, I know I would.)
    But here's another working story, an ex member of my UOTC left university, tried to get a job in his respective industry, but couldn't find one. So, what other skills did he have? Soldiering skills, and a fear easing experience of the army. He joined the regs, as a pioneer, but very sadly, was killed on foot patrol with The Rifles.

    Why was a pioneer on foot patrol with an infantry regiment?.. Lack of numbers... wait? ... lack of numbers? surely if thats the case we need more soldiers... if we need more soldiers, why cut a major marketing tool?

    And then there's me, my dad was in the TA and I respected him for it. But I joined university intent on a job in the games industry. I attended my local UOTC to see what it was like, sounded like a laugh. I soon realised what the army is all about, and my training eased my fear of signing up with the TA. I've put my name forward for Sandhurst, and I plan on staying in the TA after - well done OTC, a successful, and better because of it, convert.

    The OTC's breed the closest thing to patriotism that I've experienced in my lifetime. Before joining, I wanted to get out of this backwards country and move to America where the games industry is really hot. Now? Now I quite like being British, the OTC and Royal Signals have given me an identity. For the first time I feel British.

    Patriotism is hard to find these days, especially with clowns in parliament (the labour party). It seems absurd to consider axing one of the only organisations that makes us university students consider staying in England after we graduate. Without OTC? I'd take my degree to another country, lose my English citizenship (therefore wiping off my student loan) and live a sunnier life.
     
  2. Mongoose
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    Mongoose LE

    I'd advise you to read that green piece of paper titled "Notice Paper" you signed when you joined, you're wrong. Which, er, sort of makes me want to ignore everything you've written.

    Some peoples views on this thread may be slightly out of touch/totally wrong, however a good number of the contributors have a great experience of the Army as a whole - including the UOTC so don't be so quick to judge
     
  3. BedIn
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    BedIn LE

    Jesus. And it goes on.

    Guy123 – read my earlier threads.

    When you have, I’d add the following. I’ve really tried not to be patronising during this “debate” but sometimes it’s difficult, so here goes...

    You are exhibiting that classic characteristic of youth; arrogance and an inability to see one’s own lack of experience/knowledge.

    You’re an undergraduate in the OTC. So, 3 years max experience in the OTC? I did 3 years in the OTC and have since done 16 years as a commissioned officer, most recently in an SO2 staff appointment dealing with Regional Forces and its budget (of which the OTC is a part).

    So – from the top:

    “*Sigh* looks like ignorance is raising its ugly head in this thread.” Don’t be so bone as to assume that some of us don’t know of what we speak.

    “I'm an active member of a UOTC, lets have a look at things from my side of the fence.” Lots of us here have been. I have.

    “Undoubtedley [sic], everyone that leaves OTC after university, has a new, and informed respect of the Armed forces. Something that in todays [sic] society is so valuable.” Check my earlier e-mails. We have a huge range of Community Engagement assets; RF Bdes, CRR, APT, SaBRE, RFCA. I could go on. These actually target those we need to influence, as opposed to just hitting a load of people (at HUGE expense) in the hope that in the future they may benefit us in the firm base. And even if the OTC was used to do this, it could do so more cheaply or more broadly. How about recruit twice the number and just do interest stuff and adventure training? Why dedicate more Man Training Days to an OTC cadet than to a TA soldier liable for mobilisation?

    “Afterall [sic] the OTC's [sic] are the closest thing we have to a help package for people when they leave the army and look for a job.” Well, bar annual learning credits, enhanced learning credits, the RCMO, resettlement training, SSAFA, AWS, ABF, RBL, RF Bdes, Regimental Associations etc. Once more – a couple of years in the OTC would appear not to make you that much of an expert on broader Army and Defence issues.

    “So, what other skills did he have? Soldiering skills, and a fear easing experience of the army. He joined the regs, as a pioneer,” A sad tale, but what a hugely expensive way to recruit a private soldier. And we are at the moment actually over recruited for junior ranks. Without the OTC we have so filled the Army that we’re having to turn off recruiting.

    “It seems absurd to consider axing one of the only organisations that makes us university students consider staying in England after we graduate.” Defence has limited funds. Retaining graduates in the UK is not the business of Defence. It may be worthwhile, but I’d suggest it’s the business of Trade and Industry or some other department. “Sorry lads – no more night vision kit for Afghanistan, but on the plus side the funds have gone to keeping a software engineer in the UK.” “Really Sir?” “Yes!” “Hooray!!!!!”

    “Without OTC? I'd take my degree to another country, lose my English citizenship (therefore wiping off my student loan) and live a sunnier life.” See above.

    I don’t dislike the OTC. I think it’s great for all the reasons discussed throughout this thread. But it is not cost effective. And Defence is truly skint. I’d really love an Aston Martin. It would make me happy, make girls looks at me and get me places really quickly. But I can’t afford one. So it’s the Volvo estate for me (I told you I was a proper Regular Army Infantry officer.)

    Honestly, I’ll not tell you how to do video game art. You leave broader defence and budgetary issues to me.

    I have tried earlier to not come across as patronising, but I’ve failed here. That’s because you came across as unbelievably crass and ignorant. And smug.
     
  4. armadillo
    Online

    armadillo

    Bedin, completely agree with you on all counts. There was a inquiry where a soldier did not have access to NVG kit and subsequently died. At the moment if you break an NVG it cannot be replaced, it will get backloaded and be lost forever denying the capability on the ground.

    If I am in the thick of it at night I want all the options to bring my men home.

    Your point is well made. If we meet in the mess you have one in the barrel. Id rather cuts be made on non operational budget than operational budget.

    I would like Guy123 to go into a stinking ditch in the middle of nowhere whilst under fire, and try and make sense of the world there. Because the world stops at the top of the ditch and you are at the centre of the universe. That is an education that not one university can compare to.

    Must go red mist descending, as I have a wife that would like to see me come home every tour.
     
  5. cpunk
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    cpunk LE Moderator

    I doubt anyone seriously thinks the OTCs are going to survive unchanged. See my post above for a realistic scenario. Obviously, we do need to concentrate priorities on current operational requirements but the fact is that longer-term residual capacities can't be ignored completely, and that is where the OTCs are going to have to find a way to deliver value.
     
  6. Cuddles
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    Cuddles LE

    Hmmm - let's ignore an otherwise reasonable and I rather think, encouraging, post because of a misunderstanding over the somewhat misleading words on the "green slip". Or is this a case of let's trash it because it doesn't agree with your point of view? Here, you aren't Richard Dawkins in disguise are you?
     
  7. Cuddles
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    Cuddles LE

    I understand what you mean but unfortunately where does the line get drawn between operational and non-operational? Those of us old enough to remember Market Testing and the arguments over what constituted the "irreducible minimum" shudder when we hear that kind of statement.

    I cannot imagine a more sincere moment of truth than walking through a suspected minefield and suddenly your NVG goes poot! Or being asked to go out on patrol with inadequate body armour. Or possibly being inadequately trained for something which facilitates training for operations, because nobody ever thought that that activity might impinge on that training?

    The continuum of military life makes drawing that line very difficult. Resettlement and community mental health? Op or non-op? They are both low hanging fruits for the bean counters that is for sure...
     
  8. BedIn
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    BedIn LE

    Guy123 is free to have his opinion.

    It's just that it's wrong.
     
  9. mushroom
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    mushroom LE

    The problem Bed In, is that the definition of 'broader defence and budgetry issues' changes where one is in the food chain.

    The TA/UOTC budget was kept separate from the Regular budget and under someonelses for many years because the politicians didn't want the Regualr Army robbing that budget to pay for shortfalls in the Regs budget. Less than nine years after the Regs get control it's burglar bill time.
     
  10. BedIn
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    BedIn LE

    So the OTC have a God given right to exist unchanged, whilst the Regular Army changes on an annual basis and struggle to make ends meet?

    I would love an enormous Regular Army, a huge, extravagent TA with hover boots and weekly AT and an OTC with a Chally 2 for every man. But we are skint.

    Ultimately TA, OTC and RegularArmy are all funded from the Land budget. Any firewalls are purely artificial. See my points on the TA board ref TA funding.

    However, look even further beyond your blinkers and you'll see that all public money ultimately comes from the same pot and there is a responsibility to the tax payer. When this money also pays for incubators, school books and policemen, Defence has a duty to ensure money is spent in a cost effective manner. And I know, I know, benefit spongers, immigrants etc. However, this doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to present value for expense.

    The arguments of "you don't understand the OTC," or "the Regulars are doing the TA over" are arguments of those whose experience doesn't expand beyond the walls of their own TAC or Unit.

    CinC has X pounds to spend. He has X plus four tasks to fund. He therefore has to prioritise. The ability to defeat current enemies and defend the realm must be at the fore. When you consider that we've currently taken risk with our contingent forces, the maintenance of the OTC in it's current form isn't going to stand first pass of the financial scrutineers.
     
  11. Nickhere
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    Nickhere Old-Salt

    Absolute twaddle. Estimates on how many O/Cdts go to Sandhurst has been hugely exaggerated, it is much closer to 2% (don't believe me, check with a Regular Army Officer Recruiter).

    Some OTCs are better than others in this regard. For example, QUOTC in Belfast had more AOSB passes than the rest of 2 Div OTCs combined, whilst at least one had zero even attempt it.

    Having tried OTC in my first year of Uni and finding it not for me, I found the whole thing a bit of a waste. There were some proper walts there too....very few had any interest in the Army at all, except for the cheap drinking.

    So on that regard, I find the entire thing a waste of time. CPun k (as always!) raised some very good points, but I don't really believe that O/Cdts from OTC relieved the training burden. The OTC guys in my platoon were more of a burden than the newbies.

    I wwiould rather see some of the money go to the ACF and CCF.
     
  12. Cuddles
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    Cuddles LE

    The argument "The Regulars are doing the TA over" is probably based on sound experience. ;)

    As for change, I'm all for it provided it is progressive, based on sound policy and properly funded. Moreover it must maintain capability, so by all means close OTCs but the positive capability they present cannot be lost. The loss of capability always results in a degradation of performance and it's reinvention is usually greater than the cost of having it, plus the exit costs earlier!

    Now...about them hover boots?
     
  13. BedIn
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    BedIn LE

    What "capability" do OTCs present Defence with?
     
  14. angular
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    angular LE

    They ensure that the Jihadis aren't the only military presence on campus.
     
  15. Cuddles
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    Cuddles LE

    Why don't you do take a look at the lines of defence development and see if you cannot spot any mapping across? T...hmmm?