Chain of Command support or burden?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Gun_Empty, Oct 3, 2006.

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  1. Does the chain of command exist to provide us with the freedom to concentrate on our core role at unit level? Or is it adding to the burden?

    I have become more aware recently that important issues for units and their individuals are 'looked after' by the chain of command by policy documents or other 'direction' that issue targets for units to attain but no other support materiel, practical or otherwise, other than the threat of a big stick should they not be met.

    JPA, officer education, sick at home management, AWOL collection, voting, recruiting, retention etc etc etc etc all directed as unit responsibility.

    Yes we have a key role to play, but proper support rather than another document is what we need. Support seems to mean policy to avoid litigation so in the inquest when everything has gone wrong HQs can rightly claim that they are in no way implicated in a failure. 'My consience is completely clear. We highlighted an area which units needed help with. We duly wrote a policy. The unit failed to adhere to guidelines as per para 166, sub para J in the telephone directory subsequently issued to them with the 56 other tomes with a note saying 'read and comply, returns needed by COP tomorrow.'

    This is in addition to the seemingly endless reports and returns that are required to be passed upwards on every facet of unit administration: MATs, recruits, redresses, F&C soldiers, terminations, discipline, training the list is endless. Any time a soldier is involved with an incident with the police, MOD downwards all need to know immediately by signal. Are these returns worth the effort? Do they shape policy or drive our case for more kit, people or funds? Or are they used solely for ministers responses and lines to take or a stick to beat units to do better? Has MOD really turned into Big Brother? What they do achieve is taking people away from their core role to ensure the appetite the information monster has is sated. And I haven't even mentioned trawls.

    At this rate a unit in camp will be working flat out solely appeasing RFIs, R2, trawls and policy requirements without having to deploy on operations and exercise or even train. We are becoming a self licking, orders command, litigation wary lollipop. Sometimes I wish i was back on Ops in some godforsaken place without comms. At least then I can do my job without being disturbed by Big Brother asking for a return for how many complaints my unit had received with regard to the JHW! (no - not made up!)
  2. Now THATS a rant

  3. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    And with feeling
  4. One I agree with - perversely I can't wait to go on Herrick later this month just to get away from the stack of mindless R2 I have to do, or requests to find blokes to do this detail or that detail or cover for some other commitment.
  5. Natasha=eye candy. Erm what were you saying?

  6. Agreed. Sad thing though is that all these tasks are necessary. Perhaps the solution is to re-org units to deepen the current Div/Bde C2 model, that is an element that trains and fights, and an element that deals with all the infrastructure/admin issues. Structure would probably consist of the CO with 2 x 2IC, one to deal with ops and the other to deal with infra.

    Just a thought.

  7. Not sure they are all necessary. 'On a journey, if you stopped to shy a stone at every barking dog, you would never reach your destination' or something like that (WSC?)

    It seems we are suffering the red tape businesses complain impact their effectiveness and profitability, only ours is of our own making.
  8. I think an element of this relates to the attitude/culture of many staff officers. Instead of realising that they only exist to advise their commander and support the units he commands, they fall so easily into the role of bureacrat - instead of supporting their dependencies (which would not chime with their own need for status, which they believe can only be derived by telling other people what to do - ideally in as perfunctory a manner as possible), by trying to isolate them from tosh being passed down from above, they encourage it on its way with some 'value added' tosh of their own.

    Some things have to be done by units - they control the soldiers after all; but the manner in which staff make such requirements can make the burden even greater. Of course, if the commander/his COS was fully on the case, he would be stopping this happening. Which presumably he would, if his unit commanders were banging on his door complaining? Or is there toxic leadership at play?

    The other aspect relates to the Army's cultural love of forms/returns and, in fact, nugatory information gathering of all kinds. As Gun_Empty says, we create our own red tape because we like tape coloured red.
  9. Personappy I think a lot of this is because of the information age - we can all send a matrix/return to HQ because its really easy now. Think what it would have been like - not too many years ago - to produce the kind of cr@p we're being asked to produce now. Boody difficult and therefore nobody asked for it.

    Yes I accept the world has changed but for goodness sake does anybody really want to know how many soldiers in a unit (other than that unit) have passed a PFT/dental inspection/are in date PULHEEMS. The person who should be concerned is the CO - it should not rule the routines of the PCs, Pl Sgts, CSMs, Coy Comds etc.

    Or if it does rule their routines it is because the CO (quite rightly) is on top of it - quite why Bde/Div/LAND have to know is fcuking beyond me (apart from its a great excuse to create an SO3/SO2/SO1 post at the relevant level) - Mission Command anybody?
  10. Re my last - personappy is Int Corps slang for personally
  11. It's nothing new.........

  12. funnily enough been thinking along the same lines recently. My feeling is that all that we are doing now is based on old doctrine and process great when we were waiting for the Russians/Paddy to march/Friday afternoon but not great when you're looking at multiple tours/Ex/MACA. I never realised just how big the command chain was until I got posted back to the UK and discovered the regional beast.