Defence Cuts incl OTC

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Poppy, Jan 24, 2010.

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    Officer Training Corps faces the axeJonathan Oliver and Michael Smith

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    British Marines of 40 Commando Royal Marine during a military exercise near Limassol, Cyprus
    THE Ministry of Defence is drawing up emergency cuts including the scrapping of the Officer Training Corps (OTC) and the withdrawal of troops from Cyprus.

    The dire state of the defence budget also means that new Nimrod spy planes, costing £3.6 billion and due to come into service next week, will be parked in their hangars.

    Other cuts, expected to be unveiled in the next two months, include:

    - Closing up to three airbases.

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    - Reducing the £700m annual bill for army accommodation by giving soldiers housing credits to buy or rent property.

    - Axeing the grace and favour homes provided to 20 army, navy and air force chiefs.

    - Closing Aldershot and Shrewsbury, two of the army’s five regional headquarters.

    - Privatising parts of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the organisation that repairs and supplies naval vessels.

    Disclosure of the cuts comes amid fierce wrangling between General Sir David Richards, the head of the army, and Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, the head of the Royal Navy, over which service should suffer the most.

    MoD officials are drawing up savings in current spending ahead of the budget in March, which is expected to demand reductions in defence spending in real terms.

    Capital projects such as new aircraft carriers and the joint strike fighter will be considered in a separate strategic defence review, which will be launched after the general election.

    The OTC, the cadet scheme for students, costs £82m a year. A defence source said: “Very few private companies spend this kind of money on graduate recruitment. It is an expensive luxury a modern army can do without.”

    Founded in 1908, it has long been unpopular with left-wing politicians who see it as a subsidy for the privileged. Its bases, at 19 universities, serve cheap drink and teach military drill, weapons training and fieldcraft. While some officer cadets go on to Sandhurst or join the Territorial Army, the majority have no further contact with the military.

    Withdrawal of forces from Cyprus, where 3,000 British troops are based, would be controversial. Britain’s “sovereign base areas”, which cost the MoD about £300m a year, were created when the island gained independence in 1960.

    Cyprus is used by British troops as a forward base, with a battalion of infantry held there as reinforcements for Afghanistan, and troops returning from the front line are taken there for rest and recuperation between operations.

    Officials believe about £100m could be saved if most of the troops are moved back to the UK. “The practice of using Cyprus is long-standing, but no one has stood back and asked whether it is still a good idea,” a defence source said. “Many soldiers don’t regard Cyprus as a jolly, but would rather be back home if not on the front line.”

    The RAF base at Akrotiri and Britain’s electronic listening base at Ayios Nikolaos will be retained.

    Aldershot has an even firmer role than Cyprus in military logistics; it is regarded as the home of the British Army. But Richards believes that the regional divisional headquarters there and in Shrewsbury are largely unnecessary. Sources say he also had his eye on the regional headquarters in Edinburgh, which survives for political reasons. Two other regional HQs — Bulford, near Salisbury, and York — will remain.

    Nine new Mk4 Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft were due to come into service next week, replacing the discredited Mk2. But Quentin Davies, the defence equipment minister, has cancelled a visit to the Nimrod base at RAF Kinloss, Morayshire. Sources blame the £30m annual maintenance costs.

    “We expect to have only one or two aircraft flying until 2012 and the rest are going to be parked up until we can find some money to fly them,” an RAF source said.

    Mk2 Nimrods were used in Afghanistan, where the crash of one led to charges that it was a flying coffin; but the Mk4 is planned for maritime surveillance. Originally, 21 were due to come into service in 2001 for £2.2 billion. Time and cost both overran drastically as the manufacturer, BAE Systems, ran into design problems.

    A spokesman for the MoD said: “We regularly review the defence programme to ensure our commitments match the resources available.”
  2. It will/would be sad to see the OTC go completely....

    Maybe we could reform it, cheaper and more relevant?
  3. They did, and they called it DTUS! :D
  4. It needs to be given a deployable or semi deployable role. Even if it was doing KAPE and MACC and stagging on to assist the rear parties of deployed units it could suddenly become more usefull. I would have been quite happy to spend a few weeks training and working the gate for a unit who were off in NI or somewhere in my (rather long) holidays.

    I have a nasty suspicion this is a side swipe at the percieved "privilidged" from a left leaning minister....
  5. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    What would this mean for the University RN Units?
  6. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    Meridian - probably the same as UAS. They all will get a culling under the same banner. OTCs are just more recognised in the media.
  7. That is the difficult bit... what happens if.. just supposing... the unit goes during term time?

    Besides, you say that now as a abstract theory... the stagging on bit would have you running for he Rugby club quicker than a quick thing.
  8. I'd like to know where they get this from, is it taken from say a load of people that join up in the first year, then leave in the second year? Because based on personal experience I'd say that about 80% of those that last the whole three (+) years go on to some kind of service, be it Reg CC, TA, RAF or even join the ACF.

    Sooner or later in this thead I'm sure we'll hear the "most of those that go Regular after the OTC were going to anyway" so I'd like to get in now that do you think the Army can afford to just sit back and think "ah, we've reeled in another 17 year old, in four or so years after uni he's going to go straight to RMAS" no further action needed? A lot can happen whilst someone is at Uni, by joining the OTC (as bursars have to if they can, at least administratively) the Army is keeping tabs on them.

    Moves have been afoot (perhaps several years too late..the UOTC has long enjoyed being some kind of sacred cow) to reduce numbers and impose targets for commissions.
  9. Strong buzz that two URNUs (and two P2000s) are being binned at the end of this academic year. Can't say which ones publicly, but happy to PM if you're interested.

    URNUs are in an easier position, funding-wise, relative to the OTC. The training vessel is a FLEET asset, is utilised accordingly during the week, and only embarks students for training at weekends and in university holidays. So FLEET pays for a ship, and 5 ship's company (1 Lt, 2 CPOs, 1 LH, 1 AB) which it would be funding anyway to carry out other tasks.

    The land end of the URNU organisation is run on a shoestring. Only 50 students, max; 3 permanent staff (the CO- RN Lt. who also commands the training vessel; a CPO and a civvy part time secretary to do the admin). Training is carried out by up to 4 RNR List 7 SLTs. Training days have been cut successively in the last 10 years- students are lucky to get more than 24 training days paid.

    Unlike the OTC there is no large staff of PSIs, no large expensive TA centre to run, no recruiting budget, and far fewer students on the books. The most expensive URNU asset, the ship, is a FLEET unit with an operational role, thus easier to find funding for in the current climate.

    Hope that helps. Would be interested if anyone knows what the plan is with the UASs.
  10. why don’t you just stop paying the cadets, those who want to join up were more than likely in the ACF any way so there used to doing things for free,
    Skiing trips, and jolly’s that they get keep them just don’t pay them a wage,
    yes numbers would collapses but what you would be left with would be a hardcore bunch of useful recruits that are more likely to carry on after uni,
  11. 1) By anyone's standards, £80m is a lot of cash to spend on recruitment of graduates!
    2) Everybody seems to be forgetting that it's not as if students would have to wait 3 years for uni to finish until they can do RMAS. The TA will take Officer Cadets in much the same way, but the TA has it's own purpose as well as being a place for them to develop their skills OCdts could even do a tour before going to regular Sandhurst, which I'm sure would get them a lot further than 3 years of funded drinking sessions!
  12. And there you have it. This general election will be fought on the basis of a class war. Labour know they are going to loose so they are playing to their key support base to try and hold on to their working class constituencies.
  13. Surely putting a ROS T&C to OTC engagements would be one way of increasing the perceived value of the OTC?
  14. Camp Adjt

    Camp Adjt Swinger Book Reviewer RIP

    The OTC is a waste of money for one simple reason. Today nearly 40% of the population go to university. Many have little academic aptitude. The jobs market will soon be flooded by graduates, many with dubious degrees. The army only needs a small number of officers. The idea of a graduate being 'officer material' is out of date. Soon (already?) most graduates who want to join the army will have to join the ranks. Thus there is no need to spend money trying to recruit officers on campus via the OTC.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator