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Is it that bad?

#1
Having just got back from POTL today and a few of us were chatting about the Army and the state of the RLC in general, we came to the opinion that life is going to be pretty pump in the near future.
We are about to start life as a TLR stylee Unit and already we can see problems arising. Such things as top heavy Tp's in our trade to jobs that are fine on Ops but dont work as well together in peacetime.
The common theme was a lot of lads that were chatting (Cpl and above) were hoping for redundancy or thinking if that didnt come about, hitting the JPA button and binning it. Im out in July after 25 years in uniform and actually cant wait and that is a change from say 3 or more years ago.
This seems to be a common theme, amongst the older lot, to leave and make more money abroad (and when i mean more think $8-8500 per month i saw advertised last night in our scope of work). Now i understand the pull of loadsa money can be strong in this day and age but has the Army or has more importantly the RLC started to go down the pan?
Exercise after Exercise we train with fuel that a BFI in FOB would get through in a day or we struggle to get, out of 18 DROPS, 10 (or more likely less) out of the gate or look and fail to find CST trained Operators to get the small amount of fuel out on the ground?!
I think this TLR thing etc has come about 4-5 years too late and i dont hold my hopes for it to work well when we have no where to go to every 18 months!?
The drama is the lads that are wanting to go, and some already have, are decent blokes. They are of the fully fit, done a few HERRICKS type and dont whinge so are we going wrong somewhere?
 
#2
Whilst I do not think situation is quite as bad as you suggest regarding the future of either the Army or the Corps, your comments clearly chime with the front page of today's Times (8 Jan), where the policy of accepting volunteers for redundancy first is highlighted as a problem. Whilst it may salve the conscience of politicians, it inevitably means that a lot of those who know they can walk into a job on civvy street will leave whilst those who may not be quite as competent keep their heads down. However, the restructuring that the Corps is now going through should, nonetheless, deliver better structured, more capable, self-contained units that are not subject to the continual re-subordinating that goes on to get us balanced for operations now. If we are to see betterment, however, the restructuring also needs to be accompanied by appropriate resourcing of relevant training to ensure that skills are maintained at the right level and those in both the Reactive and Adaptable Forces are capable of being, er.....reactive and adaptable. The danger, as ever, is that the combat support services fall to the back of the queue again when it comes to resourcing worthwhile training and we end up supporting every one else's. I also suspect that over the years most people who walk out of the door after 25 years service see things going to pot or, more frustratingly, the wheel being reinvented but I think that there is still a worthwhile and enjoyable career to be had for those who join now. It will just be different from what we have known. But is that necessarily a bad thing?
 
#3
I suspect from the tone of your reply you are part of the heirachy and whilst i agree with the logistic structure needed change as you said "needs to be accompanied by appropriate resourcing". Its this bit that will be the thorn in the side.
Even on PDT phases of the FORM Cycle for HERRICK the resources/money wasnt always there (OSPREY until last min during Ex or lack of TES vehicles back in UK). With the Operational push diminishing over the next 2 years will this money be made avail for "peacetime" purposes? No, of course it wont as this budget is nothing to do money being made avail outside Afghanistan. I understand that the reason to restructure stopped the forming of these TLG/CSLR type units prior to deployment to only return and work in a formation that didnt mirror todays Ops. But word is already spreading on what is easy to practice in-Theatre is not is easy and sometimes impossible to do back in the UK with certain trades. Now im sure this looks good on paper but another issue is the Reserve side of life, having spoke to a PSI mate of mine things are not looking good there either for the whole 2020 resturcturing.
This is not just an Army thing, the Navy have carriers that will not have a plane to fly off of and the RAF may or may not get A400 in the next 5 years but looking closer to home of course the Army has changed from 1987 when i joined but it just seems to have dipped drastically in the past 3-5yrs.
 
#4
Agreed. Defence is in a mess and it will take time before we come through it. But we will. It just depends at what point the politicians stop tilting at windmills and reality sets in. The next Strategic Defence Review in 2015 might provide an opportunity but I suspect those in power now will be reluctant to acknowledge that they made a wrong call. In the meantime, there are still a lot of good people around who will do their best to make sure that those working at RD are protected (as far as is possible) from all the crap that's flying around. Enjoy whatever it is that you end up going out to do.
 
#5
It's not just the RLC. A lot of the people I know (Signals) who are still in are desperately hoping to be in the magic redundancy range next week. Not just young lads blinded by a bit of cash either - that's ranging from Siggies up to WO1.

Presumably for the same reasons as your mates - no money for anything, no kit, crap job when you're in the UK and fewer and fewer chances to ever see anywhere other than Catterick and Salisbury Plain as foreign garrisons and op tours are cut back.


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#8
The Corp is a bad place to be full stop, We don't have strong enough W01's anymore we have have WO1's trying to please whoever is going to interview them for commision and thats where the problems start and the lack of leadership roll's down hill. TLR is far to late and goes against the army wide notion of going back to basic's and is very Afghan theatre specific, a theatre which took 10-11 years to develop our next (if affordable) war will be different and the wheel will get re-invented again after month's of looking like normal cluster fook Loggies. I've had the same conversation over and over again about the next tranche and every one I've spoken to wants it. To many suppliers with no stores being led by to many drivers with no vehicles who are hungry because to many Chef's are working for civvies who stand a better chance of seeing a boat than the port ops and marine engineers who were once the leading light but now fade like Pioneers.
 
#9
The TLR / CLSR concept smacks of GS / CS Regts to me...

Personally, I've PVR'd as I suspect my peer group won't be on the next tranche. The other reason is that I'm very disillusioned with the fact that only now do I feel I'd add any credible value to the last job I did at RD (Sqn Capt) - a role which I'd like to go back to but unfortunately the RLC Officer career path is so set in stone that it's pretty mucn a case of stay in **** Staff jobs or get out. So I'm getting out...I reckon that's the reason there's a large wastage at mid/Snr Capt level in the Corps so I'm hardly unique in that sense.

The other reason I got so threaders with things is that, apart from on Ops, I've never actually done any Logistic stuff. It's all SJARs and stupid meetings about things that don't really matter. In my Tp Comd role the biggest vehicle I ever saw in the field was a Combat Minibus because the trucks were all broken and no ****** was trained to drive them anyway!

So in my opinion, yes, it is that bad. It won't get better until people stop arselicking for promotion by ******* their blokes around, we stop having to do so much ******* paperwork (JSATFA anyone?) to do anything that isn't sitting in camp with our fingers in our arses and we start being an Army again instead of a piss-poor mob flipping constantly from panic to boredom. In my opinion, things will only get worse when Afghan closes and the only thing the Brass have to distract them from how skint the Army is is **** people around some more.
 
#10
KoL, nail hit head!!
I was expecting a "well your in a position to make a change instead of moaning about it" comment from people but looking at the posts above i dont think this is a minority concern. Maybe people that work wherever Head Honcho RLC resides may look at these comments and think about what is happening. Yes the decision has been made and we are in the early stages of this TLR malarkey but be careful that what indeed works(ish) on Ops, back home will certainly make life difficult for lads waiting for the next Op tour.
 
#12
KoL, nail hit head!!
i dont think this is a minority concern. Maybe people that work wherever Head Honcho RLC resides may look at these comments and think about what is happening.
That's the thing...it's NOT a minority concern. Anyone in DRLC/CD CSS (I'm sure they'll be reading this so hello to them) who thinks otherwise is simply ignoring the fact and burying their head in the sand. Have you spoken to anyone lately who's super keen and loves Army life at the moment? Granted if we're not moaning we're not happy but I really think morale and job satisfaction are genuinely low - and nothing seems to be being done about it from the top, so people are doing the maths on how much they NEED (as opposed to want) to earn every month, weighing that up against quality of life and hitting the big red button.

I'd say the most recent example of this disregard for the morale of the masses is the way in which those in the Pnr trade have been treated...love them or hate them, making announcements (or more accurately, saying nothing) that imply deleting a whole trade with little or no apparent consideration to how this effects the blokes is no way to treat your Soldiers. Similarly, getting caught out by not doing your Staff work and allowing the situation to develop in the first place is a public show of arrogance or incompetance - I can't work out which.
 
#13
KoL, nail hit head!!
I was expecting a "well your in a position to make a change instead of moaning about it" comment from people but looking at the posts above i dont think this is a minority concern. Maybe people that work wherever Head Honcho RLC resides may look at these comments and think about what is happening. Yes the decision has been made and we are in the early stages of this TLR malarkey but be careful that what indeed works(ish) on Ops, back home will certainly make life difficult for lads waiting for the next Op tour.
The what works (on ops or elsewhere) is one of the main drivers (cost and meeting manpower caps being two others) behind the FLR/TLR development insofar as we have been bending ourselves out of shape for too long to meet operational needs and we need to be configured to be more adaptable to meet the up and coming task rather than the last one. What will make life difficult for those waiting for the next tour will be if we fail (yet again) to learn the lessons from operations and neglect relevant training. How many times, for example, do we need to identify that without real stocks and experience of accounting procedures, and use of the relevant storage media, our suppliers skills fade quickly which not only means we end up storing the wrong things in the wrong quantities but it also gets us into the shit with the NAO when they discover millions of quids worth of stores that are obsolete!? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, peacetime loggies must be engaged in relevant training not on irrelevant RAAT tasks.
 
#14
Relevant training?! You're a lunatic man!

Next you'll be suggesting that the Corps would enjoy doing a job such as running a large depot, moving bits and bobs to it's supported units from that depot and even driving armour around the country in peacetime instead of doing nothing, drinking too much and getting into trouble while losing valuable skills! After that, you'll be suggesting that discipline and retention will both improve if the troops have a job they enjoy and feel valued in!
 
#16
Gents the grass always looks greener outside where you state big cash vacancies doing fuel jobs!! Its not happening wages and condictions are getting surpressed on the civvi side
 
#17
And the relevant training issue was brought up in the Mess today. A Supplier said we can learn a lot from what all the civilian companies do and dare we say it, help them out as well. I can see scope in this and if you go along the lines of the G4S debacle last Summer but in a positive way, is there a way to allow military pers to be "attached" to large civilian logistic companies?
Lets not kid ourselves, i read ages ago we have more line items in the mil than a civilian company but they day-in-day-out (think Supemarkets/DHL etc) move more stores everyday than we do. I remember that Army nurses used to do this with civ hospitals years ago.
I agree with the TLR concept especially a Unit being able to deploy on Ops in its entirety and not meet up with people when you get off the plane at BASTION but its the home bit which will be the worse side of the coin. There will not be all the Trg serials that were envisaged and if you are in a so called "high profile" Regt like mine, im afraid certain people like "our kind" appearing on RAAT taskings.
My own view on this jumping ship attitude is an example of one of my SNCO's who returned with me from HERRICK 16, took part in numerous contacts with the Inf etc etc, fit and able to do his job back in the UK. But like me, he isnt stupid to realise that although the job he did in HERRICK (at the start of the tour) was loosely fuel related he knows it wont happen in any large amount here. Also he has looked at the Pension option he will be placed with after 2015 and has worked out that the damage caused by cutting his losses on going before the Pension point is outweighed by the popstar wages he can get in a civilian fuel supply company in Afghan, former Soviet states and Africa all of which ex Pet Ops are now being employed. He will have enough to put some aside for mortgage, save and live comfortably on his rotations back to the UK.
 
#18
Gents the grass always looks greener outside where you state big cash vacancies doing fuel jobs!! Its not happening wages and condictions are getting surpressed on the civvi side
True but then in the downstream side of life in the fuel world its always been the case. But if you are willing to do the job you do in green but as a civvy abroad, there are civilian companies that will pay the wage of a WO1+ tax free for a ex Pet Op LCpl or Cpl.
 
#19
Slightly off topic. Coming up to the 20th anniversary, which bits worked and which bits didn't and why? Will post my (limited) opinion later on when I've got more time.
 
#20
Going on PT's request, i actually find it hard to choose something from the past 25yrs that we did good! I dont think we have done anything that is worthy of mention. We have continually muddled through making it happen in the end but i dont think this is cause for celebration.
One thing i will say though is in certain trades, the Officer status is wasted as they are led to believe that doing their specific "long cse" will enable them to carry out that task, when in actual fact the majority of the time they realise they are nothing more than an MS focal point or a body to carry out the OC's/CO's wishes in the Mess.
Although Officers reading this may not agree, is there a need for a professional qualified logistics officer?? There are certain trades that though do need it, ATO for one, but in the fuel world certainly the majority dont touch the liquid gold they so grew to hate on the Cse and as i have experienced recently, that little newly found knowledge can be very dangerous!
 

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