FR2020 active sabotage?

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Strikesure, Dec 21, 2012.

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  1. And taking you a stage further in strange things going on in the army is this little fact I’ve just stumbled on:

    Number of OTC/OTUs in the country = about 19
    Number commanded by a TA CO = 1

    WTF! Are we really all that bad?

    Now, I will set out this train of thought for you to shoot down: the key area that FR2020 will fail in will not be the blokes but will be the commissioning of decent young officers. I think the original target number was something like 640 TA officers a trg year through the doors of Sandhurst (so, 33 per year from each OTC/OTR would do the trick).

    Now, if we can’t create enough officers then the units they should be running will start to fail (I accept units are not driven solely by their officer corps but let’s keep the dit that there are no such things as bad units, just bad officers in mind and accept that they are important in unit well being).

    So, the units can’t run effectively and start to fail and the FR2020 project starts to look even more shaky.

    There is a solution: give the CO’s of the OTC/OTR a target of TA officers to get through ASOB and make it their ME.

    However, the entirely regular OTC/OTR are not interested in creating an effective TA officer corps to lead FR2020, and why would they be, as it involves work that can be seen to be undermining the Regular Army.

    As long as the CO can keep his and his PSIs hands off the OCdts and can deliver a decent ATP then his reports will be fine and he’ll come up smiling. Currently, none of them have their toes being held to the fire to generate these TA officers. This means we’ll have no commanders in the future and FR2020 will not work and we’ll be taken back to the drawing board with the Regular Army saying “I told you so” on the way.

    Oh, and on that cheery note, Happy Christmas
    • Like Like x 1
  2. msr

    msr LE

    Here is a solution:

    It isn't expensive in the grand scheme of things, it isn't popular with some people, stacker1 can't get his head dobber around it, but no-one has come up with a better idea that I have seen...

    And the OTR targets will have to be carefully managed, so that of the 33 they commission each year, 33 actually end up in the TA and those going regular are not counted towards this target.


    P.S. If you wanted to be really cynical, you could suggest that the plan to run the TA Officer Corps into the ground has been in place long before FR2020.
  3. I really don't think there is a conspiracy by the regular army. Most regular army officers see weaknesses in the plan to rely more heavily on the TA, but that does not mean we would wish to sabotage the TA, quite the opposite in fact. I for one believe that if we are indeed forced down the path of greater reliance on the TA (not the right path in my view), then we need to ensure that we have the right number of TA officers of the right quality.

    I notice the OP spoke about numbers and not quality. While I'm sure OTCs could coach borderline or even unsuitable candidates to pass AOSB, this would not advantage either the individuals or the TA as a whole.

    Interesting point from MSR above, relating to those who commission into the TA prior to joining the regular army. I quite agree with this, I don't see the point in commissioning people into the TA who will then never spend time at a TA unit. To that end, I believe that the OTCs should be set up to deliver suitable OCdts to the TACC at the end of their three years of study and focus on finding them TA regiments to go on to on leaving university.

    Perhaps there should be a separate stream for third year students who intend to join the regular army or go into civilian employment but not join the TA.

    To my mind the OTCs would (or should) seem to have three main purposes, all equally important.

    1. To recruit, encourage, nurture and support suitable potential regular officers so that they do indeed join the army after university.

    2. To recruit and train suitable individuals as TA officers, before passing them onto to TACC and other TA units.

    3. Foster an understanding and positive view of the army (both regular and TA) amongst university graduates who join neither the regular or territorial army. This task is particularly important given that these individuals may be the civilian employers of our reservists in the future.

    Just my thoughts, but hey I'm in the regular army so what do I know?!

    By the way, are UOTCs now called OTRs?
  4. msr

    msr LE

    If there is no conspiracy, then please explain why no-one has been held accountable for the fact that the TA is some 2,500 2Lts short...
  5. Hold on let me get my tin-foil hat...
  6. msr

    msr LE

    You're the one who said there is no conspiracy...
  7. The Officer pipeline is now ME (for how long now?), people are now starting to get it and start pushing/ helping at Bde level. I would hope for improvement to be visible after the summer.
  8. I'm not sure it is solely a conscious conspiracy. I think it is more to do with poor management systems-I.e what incentives are in place to force a cultural change, and to encourage OTC COs to produce a decent crop of TA officers? I would wager none; firstly, the Army HR system doesn't allow for incentives beyond rather nebulous notions of 'smart' job selection and promotion. I read somewhere (unreferenced) how in industry this is effective in motivating only the very top echelons of a peer group. OTC COs aren't in that 'A' stream-good, but unlikely to make it to the very top. So smart job selection may be less of an incentive than for those officers on the escalator to ECAB. Secondly, I know we can't directly transpose lessons from industry into the military, but a civilian corollary would be along the lines of, "recruit X numbers of TA officers meeting select criteria and we will increase your salary by £25k, fail and we sack you/send you to a dead end job." In similar change management projects in civilian life, this acts as a significant motivator to behave in a certain way. I don't see similar encouragement at work in the Army. Thirdly, if there is resistance to politically instructed change at the top, this will distort personal objectives and the metrics by which success in middle management roles is measured.

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  9. I think no one in the higher HQs really gave a **** about the TA officer crisis, until now. Hence the dawning realisation amongst the constellation of stars in said HQs (and their related CoS), that the car crash will be on their watch, so they'd better fix it.

    We'll see.
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  10. A question/strawman:

    If the future role of the TA (taking the infantry as an example) is to produce three full strength Pls per Bn to support the three Coys of its paired regular Bn, do we need all that many TA officers?

    Could we do with just three officers per TA Coy? The Pl Comd, the Coy Comd and a 2IC/Trg officer? The Pl Comd would obviously command the Pl that goes to be the third Pl in the adaptable force Coy. The Coy Comd and 2IC are responsible for generating that Pl by recruiting, retention and individual training. The regular Bn is responsible for delivering the Pl's collective training.

    Do we actually need a TA Coy/Bn ORBAT to mirror a regular one, if it's mission is to generate a third of the ORBAT of a adaptable force regular Bn and not to actually deploy on its own, without years of notice during which it could be built up.

    Please take this as a strawman and nothing more.
  11. You've missed the point that the mobilised / deployed component of a TA / Reserve unit will not represent 100% of its strength.

    In my Company we have just mobilsed one of our Platoon Commanders; AIUI his platoon will be commanded by a Colour Serjeant.

    The Wehrmacht did alright with platoons being commanded by SNCOs and we have taken a lot from them ( Auftragstaktik, for example.)
  12. I haven't thought through a detailed answer, but in principle I don't think we should assume that a TA Bn ORBAT should mirror a regular one, and I don't think platoon command intrinsically (and historically) requires a subaltern. But I do think that like the Regular Army, we need proportionately more subalterns serving their apprenticeship to produce the company commanders (and to a lesser degree, the staff officers, COs and E1/E2 officers) of the future, allowing for the inevitable wastage along the way. One platoon commander does not produce one company commander ten years later.

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  13. No, that is my point. I don't see why a TA infantry Coy whose job is to deliver 1x Inf Pl at full strength plus deliver a local recruiting and training pipeline to deliver that Pl, needs any more than 1x Pl Comd. Most of the training/generation activity would be best done by SNCOs as you suggest and overseen by the TA Coy Comd and his 2IC/Coy Trg officer.
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  14. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator


    One of the future roles of the TA Inf is to provide platoons to augment paired regular units. Other roles include delivering formed sub units and possibly even units for operations in suitably benign environments. To do so they would need a suitable TA CofC unless you propose stripping the regular unit of it's command structure to deploy when the TA do?
  15. Good point, but how many staff officers do the TA really need/want to produce? My experience of TA staff officer posts are that they are used as place holders for officer between jobs. Those I have met delivered minimal value and just saw the posts as a way to remain in the TA while waiting for their next RD appointment.

    If we remain with the concept of three officers per TA Coy, could we have two subalterns as Pl Comd and 2IC/Trg officer and a Capt as Coy Comd? Given what the Coy is designed to do (not deploy as a formed body), do we really need a Maj as a TA Coy Comd?