CAN study


Having read one of your threads on this board it was asked of the boards moderator to start a new thread on this issue.  Your Mod "The Enforcer" is away at the moment, so here it is.  GQ

The following is a post by the Bow_man

This thread has had some twists and turns and here we are on CAN... OK

For those of you that are unaware CAN was a study done on behalf of the SOinC(A) to give recommendations as to what the Corps should look like by 2010 in order to take into account current planning assumptions and SDR (approx).  Outcomes were various and in general a lot of them in light of our current manning problems (see above) make sense.  

For those of you that knock the study you need to bear a couple of things in mind:

a.     The individuals tasked to write the paper did so in consultation with the wider corps..many study groups, away days, across all ranks etc etc, trying to get the focus of the paper right...

b.     The paper was redrafted many many times...this was not because the author was unhappy with it, but it needed to de redrafted in order that all the 1*s and above who were consulted in the latter part of the paper writing were happy....  you try and get every 1* and above in the corps to agree a mean feat I am assured.  This is not neccessarily to do with their own personal agenda (totally), but because they have to take into account the view of the current post that they are filling as well.  Also bear in mind..get all the best people in the room and try and get a decision..ain't going to happen..why because everyone's idea is best...

OK so CAN what do we actually get:

We get a paper, which I am led to believe by those that know about this sort of thing is reasonably well written, takes into account the views of a myriad of very high ranking officers, satisfys them that, although we might not have got the ferrari solution, we have got a reasonably good solution, and for the first time in a long time have got a long term plan for the future (providing of course that we have a period of stability within the Army so that we can actually consolidate on SDR..before any future defence cuts are made...).  I am led to believe that the paper has been endorsed byb the wider Army and has therefore got credibility outside the Corps.

Next question:

So why do people knock it?  Comments, answers, below please and keep it unclassified....sensible debate would be appreciated...

If the only thing CAN delivers is getting the R Signals away from providing life support to Staff headquarters I will be a happy soldier.  Why do we continue to be the lacky's to staff?


Get rid of that task and it will gives us more time to paint vehicles and service batteries. And more time sitting on a hilltop waiting for endex. I don't consider it lackying but maybe I am lucky with my staff.


CAN looks towards the Corps in 2010 and aims to manage undermanning. But this is not enough, we need to eliminate undermanning. Every attempt in the past has failed. One of the great cries of SDR was undermanning would be a thing of the past, how wrong they were. Many causes lead to signallers terminating their service, most arise from Army policy but not all and there are some which the Corps must (and CAN doesn’t) address. Soldiers will leave and we need a structure to cope. The problem is retention and our organisation must accommodate natural wastage on whatever scale. To reduce the Corps liability to stem undermanning is a Holy Grail. Disestablishing posts provides a temporary reprieve lasting only until the steady state is restored. Moreover as we reduce posts, those we cannot fill become more significant leading to a greater need to overstretch those people left. The logical outcome of CAN is the need for another CAN.


Pursuing the Holy Grail of reducing manning liability to match the number of men we have in the Corps is at the root of a greater problem. Central to modern signalling is IS with communications being a facilitator, admittedly vital, but not core. IS is the key component to moving information nowadays. It is the discipline in which signallers want to work. While the argument prevails that we haven’t the manpower to take on the task then the outflow will continue at a significantly larger rate than it need. The evidence is clear. Those in mainstream Corps leave mainly because better pay is available outside, they don’t enjoy army life or they lack job satisfaction. This latter cause is far less evident from those employed within IS. True to take on IS properly will cause considerable short term pain but to do so pre-CAN will be better than post when we will have taken the next step in pursing the Holy Grail of reducing liability to match manning. Let the Corps After Next look at managing undermanning in 2010. It is always useful to have backstop. However the important study is the Next Corps which must address how we transition the Corps’ core business from communications to IS. Get this right and “we can can CAN”.


While the Corps continues to maintain that it cannot take on full responsibility for IS the Army has had to address how it will handle the IS revolution. The immediate solution is to E2 officer appointments. However E2 only employs officers, it does not manage, train, or ensure appropriate career structures for them. Someone must take on this task and, regardless of whom, CAN needs to address the issue particularly if it is to be someone other than the Corps as both will need to co-exist and IS will inevitably grow into the dominant partner. The ramifications of this are far reaching. Currently the Corps seems shamefully content to allow its IS units to be ordered and directed by E2 but any new organisation is not going to want to manage officers alone. Whoever in the Corps is advocating that the Army as a whole should provide the officers and soldiers for the IS pool to be managed by Signals needs to stand back and consider how this will be perceived by those providing the soldiers. CAN looks towards the Corps of 2010. To do so effectively it needs to start from the basis of what the army will look like in 2010 and not what it looks like now. The Corps will either fully embrace IS, and soon, or it will have very different responsibilities for signalling than now.


CAN proposes to disengage the Corps from administering headquarters, a task we volunteered for as the best way to address concerns of Corps prestige and of how our soldiers were treated. The aim was to control the day-to-day duties of our soldiers. It proved successful. CAN has never referred to this or suggest how we will address the original problems that are bound to re-emerge. They might argue that the cost it is too high, but this is highly questionable. It is untrue to say that we will be better off by ditching it, look at other signal corps to see the state they’re in. It is not as if headquarters will not have signal support, they will simply have their administration run by someone else who will look towards the signallers for guards, fatigues, etc. As signallers will no longer administer headquarters our ability to control what constitutes key appointments will diminish, i.e. the strain imposed by these tasks are likely to get worse not better! Why is there no shortage of takers to assume the job once we relinquish it.


Don’t be mesmerised by CAN spin, remember simple arithmetic. CAN argues that by disengaging from running headquarters we will need less close support signal units. Though surely supporting the same with less means more from those that are left. It is stupidity to suggest that we do not need to support headquarters in the third year of their operational cycle. If these headquarters were on holiday, which they are not, so should their signal support. As it is these headquarters take on a myriad of tasks, including roulement, and all need signal support that has to come from somewhere. Moreover by not supporting formations in their third year will mean the close support signal units will no longer enjoy the variety and relief provided to formation headquarters and signallers will merely oscillate between headquarters in their work-up and operational year. Moreover the rest of the Corps will have to stump up the men and equipment for those formations without organic signal support. CAN will take us back thirty years adding the causes of dissatisfaction then to those we have now. Corps Of Many Ago (COMA) may not be so catchy but it gets to the truth behind the spin.


Two questions on CAN to those 'in the know'...

1.  Has it been published yet, so we can see what all the fuss is about?

2.  Is there any truth in the rumour that SOinC(A) presented it to ECAB a month or so ago and was told "too expensive, re-show..."


we were not and we know no one who was

and yet another techy leaves the fold to greener grass in civy street


War Hero

This seems to me to be a very similar study to MMQR that the DMS went through recently, maybe you need to look there for some possible answers ?? Retention and Pay was a major feature of the study. Here we have a Tri-Service (Purple) Org that now delivers (healthcare to the three Services), may I temperatly suggest that you do not re-invent the wheel and look at the success of the DMS first and compare. On balance the subject matter is different but if you used the EFQM Excellence model as your starting point how possibly could it fail. IS is not the Holy Grail I must disagree. ANY Service can hold this Chalice the skill is who has ownership for the provider to survive :idea:

SDR has a lot to answer for so does DCS and all its Permutations this is the future be afraid be very afriad - NOT !!! The R Sigs are VERY, VERY good at what it does it is how it delivers to the customer that needs to be changed. (maybe people should re-evaluate this delivery - are the R Signals the right providers to deliver I.S, could not each CORPS or Regt have its own I.S CEG to deliver capability) Dinosaurs need to go, Bdes need to go - possibly!! I will hold on that comment. The R Sigs have a very Convoluted Regimental system, maybe this is where there could be change; just a thought.


War Hero

The CAN study has now been binned. I understand there is some other restructuring study that has taken its place and will be delivered shortly (if not already). Don't know any further details would anyone else like to enlighten us on the top level issues?

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