Are we too precious?

Of late I have been watching with increasing despair a massive increase in G1 nonsense and other paper exercises apparently designed to bring the reserve more in line with the regs.

PPPs, FMT1000s, using the CoC unfailingly etc are obviously vital parts of day to day barracks soldiering. Soldiers need to be unnecessarily dicked about to justify the X factor don't they? Therein lie my first questions:

Does operating a reserve Coy/Bn HQ as an attempted facsimile of a regular one make any sense?
Does it aid the ability of the members of said unit to conduct operations?
Does it help them to be better soldiers?
Will it help if the unit is deployed as formed?
Or does it just make everyone involved increasingly threaders with admin burdens of no perceivable utility and sap morale on the basis that "this is how the army do things"?

The follow on from this, alluded to above, is that low morale and disillusionment can be relatively easily rectified by applying a bit of common sense.

For example: Cpl Blogs wants to volunteer for a CQE for which he is eminently suited and has limited periods of availbility. The Ops officer needs a body to fill a trawl. Blogs responds direct to OpsO (as requested). OpsO requires that Blogs' chain support his request. Cpl Blogs has never met his Sect/Plt/Tp Commander as they seem to change every five minutes and anyway, he spends most of his training time attached/detached and would have little to do with him/her even if he did know them. Said chain are away/useless and by the time a response is received Blogs can no longer book the holiday time needed as he wasn't able to ring fence the period due to waiting for the "process" - which he was fairly sure was going to **** it up anyway. End result: Cpl Blogs feels resentful that despite trying to attend, the "the system" has let him down. OpsO is pissed off at either not being able to support a manning request or (more likely) having to send Pte Numbnuts (nice but dim) who will not cover him/herself in glory. CoC perceive that Blogs is unreliable due to having to remove his expression of interest. And so it spirals on.....

"Dry your eyes".
"Man up".
"You are supposed to a soldier (of sorts), just live with it".
"Hand your kit in if you don't like it".

There. Done. No one needs to make those comments now, and in an ideal world, with an ideal reserve they would be wholly justified, but (and this brings me on to my main point). It isn't ideal, in fact it's as far from it as is possible without being completely broken.

So, in the spirit of providing solutions this is mine: Simply make blokes (and junior officers) feel valued and accept that "one Army" it isn't. This applies to both regular and reserve commanders equally (reserves seem to try and be uber army to impress their reg peers and regs have an attitude, born of experience and training, that mirrors the statements in inverted commas above. Neither is wrong in isolation but in the current climate is fatal.

This is especially true of newly joined ex-regs - the supposed golden hope of the brave new reserve; they will chuck their kit in so quick that all the G4 staff will see is a MTP/DPM blur wizzing past them followed by a sonic boom, if treated like cnuts. That's if they reach the stage of drawing kit at all.

Given that we are not ever going to really get any financial recognition a la the National Guard, is a bit of positive reinforcement so much to ask? It's free at the end of the day and may be a very simple solution to our current manning crisis .


Or are we too precious?
 
Of late I have been watching with increasing despair a massive increase in G1 nonsense and other paper exercises apparently designed to bring the reserve more in line with the regs.

PPPs, FMT1000s, using the CoC unfailingly etc are obviously vital parts of day to day barracks soldiering. Soldiers need to be unnecessarily dicked about to justify the X factor don't they? Therein lie my first questions:

Does operating a reserve Coy/Bn HQ as an attempted facsimile of a regular one make any sense?
Does it aid the ability of the members of said unit to conduct operations?
Does it help them to be better soldiers?
Will it help if the unit is deployed as formed?
Or does it just make everyone involved increasingly threaders with admin burdens of no perceivable utility and sap morale on the basis that "this is how the army do things"?

The follow on from this, alluded to above, is that low morale and disillusionment can be relatively easily rectified by applying a bit of common sense.

For example: Cpl Blogs wants to volunteer for a CQE for which he is eminently suited and has limited periods of availbility. The Ops officer needs a body to fill a trawl. Blogs responds direct to OpsO (as requested). OpsO requires that Blogs' chain support his request. Cpl Blogs has never met his Sect/Plt/Tp Commander as they seem to change every five minutes and anyway, he spends most of his training time attached/detached and would have little to do with him/her even if he did know them. Said chain are away/useless and by the time a response is received Blogs can no longer book the holiday time needed as he wasn't able to ring fence the period due to waiting for the "process" - which he was fairly sure was going to **** it up anyway. End result: Cpl Blogs feels resentful that despite trying to attend, the "the system" has let him down. OpsO is pissed off at either not being able to support a manning request or (more likely) having to send Pte Numbnuts (nice but dim) who will not cover him/herself in glory. CoC perceive that Blogs is unreliable due to having to remove his expression of interest. And so it spirals on.....

"Dry your eyes".
"Man up".
"You are supposed to a soldier (of sorts), just live with it".
"Hand your kit in if you don't like it".

There. Done. No one needs to make those comments now, and in an ideal world, with an ideal reserve they would be wholly justified, but (and this brings me on to my main point). It isn't ideal, in fact it's as far from it as is possible without being completely broken.

So, in the spirit of providing solutions this is mine: Simply make blokes (and junior officers) feel valued and accept that "one Army" it isn't. This applies to both regular and reserve commanders equally (reserves seem to try and be uber army to impress their reg peers and regs have an attitude, born of experience and training, that mirrors the statements in inverted commas above. Neither is wrong in isolation but in the current climate is fatal.

This is especially true of newly joined ex-regs - the supposed golden hope of the brave new reserve; they will chuck their kit in so quick that all the G4 staff will see is a MTP/DPM blur wizzing past them followed by a sonic boom, if treated like *****. That's if they reach the stage of drawing kit at all.

Given that we are not ever going to really get any financial recognition a la the National Guard, is a bit of positive reinforcement so much to ask? It's free at the end of the day and may be a very simple solution to our current manning crisis .


Or are we too precious?


Seems that you may be Princess.
 
Blinding. Thanks Butch.
 
Blinding. Thanks Butch.

Pleasure....cos someone's who's pi55ed off has always got an idea to improve things, as the old sweats of the Praetorian Guard told themselves..... and in case it passed you buy , there's not an organisation where what you describe doesn't happen or hasn't happened in the past, but guess what? we make the best of it and sometimes it works out ok.
 

mso

LE
Sign of the times?
 
I don't think you're too precious and the example you give is very good, but to me it just demonstrates poor admin (not on the soldier's part).
Grip the poor admin and many situations will disappear.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
Easy.

Follow CofC as long as it is in place and functioning. If not, escalate to the next level of the CofC.

Escalation without an attempt to use the CofC as directed results in it getting bounced back down again.
 

Mr_Relaxed

War Hero
But who grips the poor admin? Cpl Blogs isn't in a position to and would get the sarcastic comments above if he complained.

The OpsO? Or is he most likely in the Mess complaining that the unit can't organise anything which gets it off his chest, but not much further forward?

Or does it need the Reserve Unit to be administered by the Regular Unit who should have a vested interest in Cpl Blogs future, in which case the Regular CO might take more than a passing interest in what's going on as his ability to promote might depend on it? And also might help when it comes to retaining those Regular soldiers when they leave?
 

mso

LE
"Posted: 26 May 2008 12:06

In fact, feck it, I'm going to have an uncharacteristic rant.

For the love of Christmas, can someone please cut down on the amount of administrative work we seem to have to do on a daily basis?

I've just finished my 3 year SSC, and I'm not staying. It's the nugatory, pointless work that's slowly sapping the life out of the job.

For Junior Officers, life is busier that that it ever was. If I'm not preparing to go to either Iraq or Afghan, I'm trying to cram in training for the guys, JOTES, MK1 (an entirely separate rant), JOTAC, trying to unravel the complex and bewildering JPA system so soldiers can actually be administered correctly (I though we had clerks for that?!) , CR's, pointless equipment care inspections on kit so old it's now unsupported by the manufacturer, so it fails.... it goes on.

Last week, I had to write a RASP for a range that the Squadron had used the week before. Same range, no change. But the system demands a completely new RASP. Every time. Why can't there be Standing RASPs/EASPS for each sub-Unit activity, with users only required to submit nominal rolls if there's no change to the activity taking place? What is the point of repeating yourself ad nauseam, every time?

The Unit was also visited by a Senior Officer last week. Nice enough fellow, but seemed utterly unaware of life on the ground. "Chaps....." he harrumphed. "What you young officers need to do is, if the blokes are down, grab them and go up into the hills this weekend for a spot of bonding and hillwalking...."

Granted, when he was a YO in 1969, you could probably do that. But firstly, if I take Cpl Smith away from his wife again, she'll probably leave him. By the time I've found a qualified JSMEL, completed a Risk Assessment, gained clearance from the Brigade to actually leave the camp gates, argued with the contractor about what nugatory paperwork I should fill out for a "pay as you die" packed lunch, wrangled a minibus from a Whole Fleet Manager, found someone under the age of 31 with a D license to actually drive, it's time to start repacking kit and heading back to a Sandy Place. I can, if I wish, order the Troop out on exercise and thrash them over the hills all day in green kit, but put on a pair of Rohan walking trousers and I suddenly need to destroy a forest of paperwork to do something which is meant to be easier and more fun?! How does that work?

The thing that really, really annoys me is that we are all old enough to remember a time before this when life was easier. You could do things without fear of being sued. You could get vehicles for training because they were in your garages, not centrally stored in the middle of nowhere. You could get your men administered by a trained military clerk, not some student on the phone at JPAC who earns £5 and hour and cares even less. I could ensure my soldiers were well fed by the Master Chef, not fekking Sodexho, who would rather see blokes starve than see profits fall. And there always used to be enough play in the system so if you needed something doing, a crate to the right person, and it would all be ok. Not any more. We're being held hostage by civilian companies and I'm fed up with fat, un-cooperative men in Sodexho jumpers, smoking rolls ups, telling me I can't train my soldiers because of some bullshit contract.

And yet, this isn't a mythical time many decades ago. Oh no, this was as little as 4 years ago. In the name of savings, and budgets, we've sold out on what makes us work as an Army. Yes, we're replicating civilian best practice, but we're not civvies. We're soldiers, and until the budget managers realize that, you're going to lose a lot more blokes. And girls.

And relax............. In a nutshell, less paperwork and contractors, please.

TheCheerfulSubbie"
 

aberspr

Old-Salt
I have to agree. Dii training is a great example, it covers loads of stuff that is of no relevance to the troops who for the most part use it occasionally for JPA.

Everyone has to do it, no exceptions which takes a day per man. This can be claimed for pay which is just as well but means that it's costing literally thousands of pounds for little to no benefit aside from ticking a box on someone's spreadsheet.
 
We are all fucked if this can't be sorted.
... we make the best of it and sometimes it works out ok.

Sometimes.

This is at the point of an existential crisis for the Army. I have absolutely no doubt that the failure of the New Reserve will not result in an immediate re-allocation of 20 000 reg PIDs.

So, going back to the questions in my post. Does it make any sense at all to mirror reg working practices slavishly to the detriment of the unit?
 
Easy.

Follow CofC as long as it is in place and functioning. If not, escalate to the next level of the CofC.

Escalation without an attempt to use the CofC as directed results in it getting bounced back down again.

So if it's broke, don't fix it then?
 
We are all fucked if this can't be sorted.


Sometimes.

This is at the point of an existential crisis for the Army. I have absolutely no doubt that the failure of the New Reserve will not result in an immediate re-allocation of 20 000 reg PIDs.

So, going back to the questions in my post. Does it make any sense at all to mirror reg working practices slavishly to the detriment of the unit?


I think that the answer is 'Obviously not'....and I do understand your anger/gripe at blatant nonsense put in front of you.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
So if it's broke, don't fix it then?
I gave you a perfectly workable, and proven solution.

You try to use the "preferred" solution wherever possible, but with a suitably flexible approach to allow for the nature of service in the reserves.

If you can't see that then yes, you are being precious.
 
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actionman76

Old-Salt
If you think it is just the Reserves that suffer with poor planning, last min trawls, OPs and deployments your wrong, it is right across the regulars as well. Despite how well the FOE is or the Trg programs are written fast balls (both on the bus and off the bus) happen. So many hoops to jump through and mitigating factors means the normal (gold standard) lead times cannot be achieved.
And as for all the extra forms (fmt1000) etc it is all army policy and we are all one army! We don't like it anymore than you!
 
If you think it is just the Reserves that suffer with poor planning, last min trawls, OPs and deployments your wrong, it is right across the regulars as well. Despite how well the FOE is or the Trg programs are written fast balls (both on the bus and off the bus) happen. So many hoops to jump through and mitigating factors means the normal (gold standard) lead times cannot be achieved.
And as for all the extra forms (fmt1000) etc it is all army policy and we are all one army! We don't like it anymore than you!

Actionman. I spend a lot of my civvie life working with reg members of my capbadge - who have turned shite admin into an artform - so am well aware of the fact that the bullshit perpetuates across all ranks, units and TACOS.

However, you get to the crux of my point later in your post: Should we not drop this "one army" bollocks for once and for all? None of us really believe it and a useful reserve and the army as a whole is not best served by perpetuating a fallacy where miss-guided attempts at implementing it result in hindering efficiency to failure point.
 

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