Changing the army - how?

Allan74

Old-Salt
You mean Defence Strategic Guidance? The guidance given to both SDR and SSDR could not have been more unequivocal. It was crystal clear in describing the scale, concurrency, duration, type and readiness criteria the Army was required to meet. I suspect the guidance given to subsequent reviews was no less clear.

The problem lies in execution. It always does. The Army has singularly failed to deliver the capabilities it has been mandated to deliver and has done so for decades.

Blaming ministers or the Treasury is laying the blame for what has been a woeful 20 years of capability management and development by the Army.

The problem to me is that the generalists the Army has promoted this century aren’t generalists at all. They have a very niche skill set developed to command and honed by commanding combat units. And yet we assume that they will be effective at delivering big, complex programs.
A senior RAF officer, despite being shredded in the Haddon Cave review, was in fact promoted.
 
I’ll say - again - uniformed officers have no business in being procurement SROs or PMs. But equally, we need to remove the snobbishness over “G3 warriors” as the slightly thick kid at the back of the class.
 

Allan74

Old-Salt
This is about generating a senior leadership structure that has the knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver complex programmes with multiple lines of development.

IMHO the MOD is generally a beacon of good practice within government mostly because it is well integrated vertically reasonably horizontally. Compare with other big spending departments like health and education, where there are multiple competing agencies responsible for delivery and a vast blob of unionised staff with agendas that conflict with the centre.

Put it this way, the MOD has delivered the carriers, Astute, F35 etc etc pretty much as planned. The missing piece of the puzzle is the Army’s equipment programme which has been an unmitigated disaster for 30 years. It’s not that the Army cannot deliver complex; the Army Basing Plan has been well executed.

So I do think there is a need for change in the way the Army selects, educates and develops the people it puts in charge of its future. Post command is too late.
Weren't the carriers and T-45s all vastly over budget.
 

Allan74

Old-Salt
Which one? PM if preferred.
It is out in the Press...



 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
This is about generating a senior leadership structure that has the knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver complex programmes with multiple lines of development.
No, it's not.
It's about generating VSO who are capable of employing experts to do that AND who are capable of doing other leadership stuff too.
Army leadership is not just about providing platforms.
 
No, it's not.
It's about generating VSO who are capable of employing experts to do that AND who are capable of doing other leadership stuff too.
Army leadership is not just about providing platforms.
I was careful to use the term “deliver complex programmes across multiple lines of development”. The Equipment Line of Development is but one of seven LODs.

It’s pretty safe to say that the Army has failed to deliver entirely successfully across any of the DLODs this century. Some are better than others; Infrastructure being a beacon of relative success.

I’m not sure what “other leadership tasks” those VVSOs charged with future development are carrying out if they’re not delivering across the DLODs.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
This is about generating a senior leadership structure that has the knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver complex programmes with multiple lines of development.

IMHO the MOD is generally a beacon of good practice within government mostly because it is well integrated vertically reasonably horizontally. Compare with other big spending departments like health and education, where there are multiple competing agencies responsible for delivery and a vast blob of unionised staff with agendas that conflict with the centre.

Put it this way, the MOD has delivered the carriers, Astute, F35 etc etc pretty much as planned. The missing piece of the puzzle is the Army’s equipment programme which has been an unmitigated disaster for 30 years. It’s not that the Army cannot deliver complex; the Army Basing Plan has been well executed.

So I do think there is a need for change in the way the Army selects, educates and develops the people it puts in charge of its future. Post command is too late.

Isn't the F-35 seriously over budget?
 

Alamo

LE
George Baber, was promoted by the RAF from Group Captain (prior to the loss of the NIMROD) to Air Commodore after the crash....

Sorry, those two statements are contradictory. What I think you mean is he was promoted after the crash, but before the enquiry reported?
 

Allan74

Old-Salt
Sorry, those two statements are contradictory. What I think you mean is he was promoted after the crash, but before the enquiry reported?
Either way, the RAF promoted the Officer who was responsible for the safety case...who was responsible for keeping those troops safe.

Again, no penalty at a senior level for a huge failure.
 

Alamo

LE
Either way, the RAF promoted the Officer who was responsible for the safety case...who was responsible for keeping those troops safe.

Again, no penalty at a senior level for a huge failure.
Well, I’m not defending him or anyone’s decision to promote him. What I would say, though, is that prior to H-C (which not only re-wrote the rule book on safety, it changed the syllabus) he wasn’t behaving any differently to the rest of that business. The emphasis at that stage was 100% on getting capabilities into theatre, even when the challenges were extreme. What H-C did was draw a line under the press-on regardless culture.

Final point, people can’t have it both ways. I lost count many years ago of the times when (mainly Army) officers rolled their eyes and made sarcy comments about people being ‘wet’ when the RAF has invoked flight safety and crew duty rules. If nothing else H-C capstones that.
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
The easiest sales pitch for any UK defence contractor offering sub-optimal kit is to say if you buy X it will create y jobs, but if you don't w'll have to shut a factory in a marginal constituency.

The correct answer is "Listen matey, it is not the job of the UK taxpayer to subsidise your production of shit kit that also gets Tommy Atkins killed at the taxpayers expense. If you can't produce on spec, on time, on price you're out of it."
The Government has to look at the big picture - and employment, research & development, and potential exports are all part of that.

In many ways, the UK is less afflicted by the Pork Barrel Politics though - consider the US, where every defence project is carefully manipulated so that key states get workshare... making cancellation a bigger political football.
 

Allan74

Old-Salt
The Government has to look at the big picture - and employment, research & development, and potential exports are all part of that.

In many ways, the UK is less afflicted by the Pork Barrel Politics though - consider the US, where every defence project is carefully manipulated so that key states get workshare... making cancellation a bigger political football.
Contract spreading around states...a point made brilliantly by the book and film "Pentagon Wars".
 
Quote from The Times pinched from the Ajax thread.

"The army is believed to have been dishonest about problems with Ajax prior to the integrated review, so the defence secretary did not axe it."

When it says “the Army” it isn’t referring to Private Snodgrass in the the Princess Productions Company the 1st Loamshires. It’s referring to CGS.
 

Allan74

Old-Salt
Quote from The Times pinched from the Ajax thread.

"The army is believed to have been dishonest about problems with Ajax prior to the integrated review, so the defence secretary did not axe it."

When it says “the Army” it isn’t referring to Private Snodgrass in the the Princess Productions Company the 1st Loamshires. It’s referring to CGS.
Of course its the fault of the Loamshires...it's either them or the RLC...they exist to carry the can for all s45t kit they had nothing to with the purchase of....

...besides, the Senior Brass will by now, have gone through the Revolving Door...
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
In many ways, the UK is less afflicted by the Pork Barrel Politics though - consider the US, where every defence project is carefully manipulated so that key states get workshare... making cancellation a bigger political football.
True.
But, like so much in UK life, the fact that they do it that way in the USA (and, increasingly the EU for that matter - e.g. Airbus) neither makes it right nor effective. Political involvement in detail of widget making simply adds cost, and causes delay. For mind-bl;owing examples see the offset programmes (a Canadian invention).

It is a sad delusion of government that they can add value to commerce; if widget has export potential the widget manufacturer will have already found it - or decided that it's not worth pursuing until they can protect their technology. Developing a product from scratch to market takes far longer than the life of one government or the career of several ministers or PUS.

BEIS employs about 20,000 people. Quite what they deliver is a mystery.
 

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