Future role of TA RSIGNALS

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by polar, Jun 17, 2012.

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  1. I've not used BOWMAN to describe radio because I'd argue the scaling of comms equipment within the TA (all cap badges) means they just have Harris radio.

    I understand problems with TA, the kit is to complicated for TA (Ptarmigan and I suppose now falcon), training to bring them up to speed is too expensive and the return is too small, etc. Also from a civil service/defence contractor point of view a fair number of soldiers would not be employable in other government/civilian IT departments as trainees.

    Can TA RSigs do the job or have the potential to do so? Other government IT departments think so, e.g. NHS - about 60% of my old AS Operators, officers, techs are employed in informatics or IT, at all levels above basic IT.

    What can be done to fix the TA and stop it from its current role which appears to be 'we have TA because every other corps does and they supply LCISG, 81 and LIAG Sqns which are useful'

    I'd suggest:

    1. Entrance tests to be same (or higher)
    2. No over bearing (e.g. ED's - enforcing 1 means more people will only offered this).. or re introduce lower pay band operator (e.g. Radio Relay) - if those kind of skills are still needed
    3. Put TA units in IT areas to catch more suitable recruits [groan: this actually means putting TA Sigs Sqns back in original locations e.g. Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham/Derby..... and ignore areas of unemployment which has meant numbers through the door]
    4. EQUIPMENT - Sharing a FFR Det between 4+ detachments is hardly going to result in productive training.

    So quality over quantity. Also which came first the chicken or the egg.... or the TA can't do the job vrs the TA were assumed to be incapable. I'd go for the latter, I find it very difficult to understand how a Sqn providing a decent trunk node, SCRAT + access now hasn't the skills to run one FFR (except for HF Voice)
  2. You can write Ptarmigan off straight away.
    Secondly, BOWMAN was procured with no redundancy measures (which is why no-one has spares sitting on shelves, like we did with Clansman). As kit is denied/destroyed/wears out, the spares have to come from somewhere, so that falls to the TA to give up their kit so that it can be sent to theatre. This has been a problem from the outset, and led to a great deal of kit being reissued from the TA during the early stages of Telic to present. If you want more kit to train your troops, I would suggest either speaking to the fat twats who signed the contracts, or just wait for the Disbandment axe to fall. You might be able to procure it from the soon to be defunct Regiments. They might throw in a few SUSAT/ACOG's for good measures too
  3. The fundamental problem is this - the Corps have a clearly defined role for CVHQ i.e. 81 Sig Sqn, LISCGand LIAG and want to double this particular capability in size (quite from where, I don't know, and this will potentially be an unfulilled aspiration); the Corps do not really know what to do with the TA Regiments, already cut from 11 to 5, with the potential to be cut again from 5 to 4. Yes, the remaining regiments all have a UK Ops role, although their primary role at the moment is providig IRs for HERRICK, but HERRICK is coming to a close and we will then have 4-5 TA Signal Regiments focused on UK Ops and without the training, equipment or ethos to do much else.
  4. How about Drill nights being spent on the theory, and the Sqn/Regt organising 'Trade concentrations' with kit pulle din from wherever for the practicals?

    There is absolutley loads of stuff the guys coud be doing like programming cisco routers on 'simulations', before they do it for real.

    Phoning up Reg units for spots on their exercises?

    Ie. Hello 21 Sigs, could we at 33 Sigs install 1 Vol per det on your next radio ex?

    Then advertise with plenty of notice.


    Hello 22 sigs could we at 71 sigs install some lads in each o fyour Richelieu dets for hte upcoming exercise?

    see above re advertising.

    Need to start thinking outside of the empty box.
  5. 33 Sigs is but a distant memory these days c_f; it was disbanded by Bob Ainsworth, when he was SofS.
  6. But that is the equipment used in the role, not definition of the role itself. One of the (G1/G4) roles was to support the Army Medical Services by providing trunk comms at hospitals (Euromux), message centres (SAS/MC) for Med Bde HQ, etc.

    A secondary role was to extend the ptarmigan network. This role became extant, the main role remained but I presume it went elsewhere.

    As for Telic, I'm not aware of any kit taken from the TA - except maybe delaying the introduction of HF radios.

    Going back to the ptarmigan role.... lets say the units did loose the role, when ptarmigan went and they supplied troop(-) to support the AMS (not radio because that's RLC) on all herricks and telic deployments. [It could have used agreements with the NHS to use it's IT staff (maybe not in big numbers)]. Regulars doing this didn't have ptarmigan but also didn't have health IT experience either.
  7. editted (because of a coffee fuelled post)

    What kind of box and what is the box for?
  8. I was the regular BOWMAN System Manager for a regular unit with 2 TA sub-units in the ORBAT. The TA element converted to BOWMAN in 2005. By 2009 when I was posted all their BOWMAN equipment and platforms had been withdrawn and redeployed to HERRICK/TELIC. This was true throughout the majority of the TA and conversion of the remainder of the TA to BOWMAN was put on hold.

  9. I'm not sure role being defined by equipment is correct, training the TA to use BOWMAN mimics regular trade training. As I understand it, BOWMAN is used to deliver general information systems training objectives - a means to an end, i.e. the prime objective isn't to supply a BOWMAN operator.

    If you were asked to find roles within your unit for TA soldiers, I'd assume some roles would be reserved for regulars because understandably you wouldn't take the risk, following that thinking through you end up with roles for the TA to train towards or to provide units for... I suspect the answer is similar to where the Corps and it's proposed use of the TA was 10+ years ago, also many of the IT roles associated with trunk systems are still very valid and very good candidates to place your TA IR's (cable laying, HQ IT support, etc).
    Would a TA BOWMAN operator be useful or waste of training resources?
  10. How about...someone just makes a decision then ensures that everyone from PSI upwards is read in on that decision and is correctly trained to ensure that we can all move towards a common goal. Or, more likely, everyone just carries on doing their own thing and getting mugged off for promotion.
  11. The future is not bright :-(

    To begin with, I don't think the Corps will be around to celebrate its 100th Birthday. The post of of SOCinC has been eroded , from a Major General based in London, to Brigadier based in Blandford and eventually abolished. Our head of Arm is now a Colonel on a time share in Andover.

    I agree with you, that the Corps has never really known what to do with its TA element. We've almost been a Corps within a Corps. The way that we never saw the axe coming on the TA elements of 11 Signal Group, doesn't fill me with confidence that something similar won't happen to the extant structure, post HERRICK.

    To me, the future lies in embedding sub-units with the regulars and concentrating on core skills of BOWMAN - the Army will always need trained BOWMAN ninja.
  12. TA Signals went down hill when we allowed all those Yeomanry Chaps in.

    Merge the Signals in to some sort of 'HQ Support Function' Corps inc RMP, Int Corps, AGC Staff minions (not CHRS role) and Pioneer element?

    Capbadge could be a tent. You get five capbadges showing various stages of erection, the fifth one is worn as a backbadge. Which badge worn is put on part 1 orders for that day... changes at NAAFI and Lunch acceptable.
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Surely you mean it was disbanded, along with 34 and 35, by COinC?

    Anyway, I'd suggest the future role to be (per Regiment) 1x Server Sqn, 1x Desktop Sqn, 1x Router Sqn and 1x Network Sqn.

    All trained to civilian standards (MCSE / Comptia / CCNA etc) and available to support Ops and also to act as a feeder for the LIAG, LICSG etc iot bring them up to strength. Use leased lines to connect the Sqns and they can do most of their trade training in barracks.

    Buy the books from Amazon, use 'obsolete' IT assets being stripped out from the MOD or somewhere else in government, open an account with Prometric to book the exams and off you go.

    This would cost peanuts in the grand scheme of things (I might even get my fag packet out to prove it), and do more for TA/Employer relations than any amount of SaBRE and crappy curry nights ever will.

  14. msr

    msr LE

    If you were feeling really daring you could configure defensive and offensive regiments to provide:

    1x Firewall Sqn
    1x Forensic Sqn
    1x Log file analysis Sqn
    1x IDS Sqn


    1x Certified Ethical Hacker Sqn
    1x Penetration Testing Sqn (includes DDOS Tp)
    1x Security Assurance Sqn
    1x Social Engineering Sqn
  15. That's just crazy talk.