Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Sir_Gonksalot, Oct 1, 2004.
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Is it me, or is there actually rather a shortage of Junior Officers in the TA?
Not in my Bn, we now do a rota between ourselves as to who is turning up on weekends so we can get a comd posn. Bad I know, but shadowing another OC or 2 i/c is a fcuking pisser
Not in our mob there isn't, I'd go as far as to say we have more Jnr Officers than soldiers!
In our company we have six TA officer slots, and only one officer, the OC, and he leaves next year. So yes, I would say there is a shortage in my area.
The general consensus from what i've been told is that there is a nationwide shortage of officers in the TA. Stemming apparently from poor retention and long training periods until the new system came along.
Far too many ruperts in mine! Mind you, quite often one is too many
This comment obviously doesnt apply to those officers from my unit who read this site!
Do other units normally insist on ruperts having some time in a different unit when they first get their pip?
And do other units make people serve time as a soldier before they go for a commission? We do (unless they've been to university CCF, sorry OTC) and I think it makes a far better officer.
In my unit we've got a full compliment, infact I think we've managed to pick one too many somewhere along the line... Other units in the regiment have quite a few vacancies though.
What do you mean by serving time as a soldier first, as in a set time period or qualifications? In my unit we all have to do basic and get at least class 3 trade training before going for the briefing and TCB but I thought that was a standard requirement anyway... then again the OTC types don't.
I think its a bit of a movable feast but 18 months being a trooper is the norm. Normally by then theyve seen that its more fun in the ranks anyway and if not they've got most of their trades.
If it is a standard requirement I'm quite impressed. Don't usually expect the army to have sensible ideas.
Some of our best troopers are ex-OTC types who left uni over a couple of years before and therefore couldnt go straight in as officers. I think most of them have decided to stay in the ranks as well which is good.
If your unit is short of officers make friends with your local OTC, invite them out on a few exercises with you to make up the numbers and hopefully even if you dont get immediate payback then long term you might get more officer recruitment when they get chucked out into the real world at the end of their course.
Back to the original point: yes, there is a nationwide shortage of TA officers. Hence the Direct Entry (oo-er, missus) scheme, which seems to amount to the following: take civvy, chuck through basic training, a few weekends, TCB then three weeks at Sandbags, et voila - one officer, with "continuing education" to make up the (ahem) minor deficiencies in his training.
The official TA website sorta glosses over the inadequacy of this (by giving an almost meaninglessly brief description of the scheme) but you can get the gist of it from here: http://www.army.mod.uk/ewrr/ewrr_officer.htm
However, the description on that site of the Direct Entry training programme is wrong. It says that there are nine steps from civvy to rupert:
This makes it seem as though your DE officer completes 107.5 days' training before becoming an Approved Rupert. Converting that into regular Army real-time (ie, a 4-day working week ), that equals 26 weeks' training. Respect!
But what's this?
In fact, there are only five steps: everyone does numbers 1, 3, 6 and 7 above. Numbers 2, 4 and 5 are (I'm pretty sure) alternatives: the requirement is to do either 2 or 4 and 5. Numbers 8 and 9 are things you do once you are rupertised. The list leaves off No. 10, which is the continuing edumication I mentioned. But the bottom line is that a DE officer would get Pip 1 after 57.5 days training - half as many claimed.
To my mind, this scheme is ... er ... interesting, and pretty much proves my assertion that there is a shortage of TA ruperts. By comparison, a TA potential officer at a unit which requires their officers to do an 18-month stint as a private soldier will have basic training, a few trades and an annual camp or two, plus a vague (though rapidly-fading) notion of what it is to be at that rank in addition to all of the above. Trouble is, he'd arrive into the unit as an officer about two years after his DE counterpart.
Interesting read Dr......
In my day I spent 4 years with an OTC and was essentially a private for most of that... then moved up the OTC rank structure before going to D.A.B and then Commissioning course etc etc.....
Now the OTC's - love them or hate them - have a number of different levels and you can get as much out of them as you put in - so if you are enthusiastic, fit and get into it whole-heartedly you can get some damn good experience of soldiering. And I would rate my time with them as a great foundation for future T.A service - which I then went on and did.
Cant say I am too enthusiastic about this D.Entry scheme - as described/illustrated above - seems it would lead to a huge number of Ruperts that would have troulbe finding their ass with both hands.... unless they had the wisdom to lean on their experienced Pltn Sgt for the first while until they can work out which way is up.
I certainly think some time building expereince at the 'sharp end' (in the ranks) is worthwhile.
But then opinions are like assholes - we all have one and they often stink!
Hmmm. If there's a 2Lt out there who doesn't lean on their Pl Sgt, they're a numpty or a total star.....and I know which is more likely
Strangely, I went to a TA Inf Bn from an OTC in the late 1980s; the bulk of the Bn's junior officers had come through DES. Or as it was about to rename itself, TAPOC. DES/TAPOC worked fine then (I know lots of good people who went through it) and I don't see why it shouldn't work now. I'm just waiting for a reappearance of "Ex FAST TRACK", namely all 57.5 days in a single chunk.....
IMHO, the OTC offered you the chance more "leadership" training; while DES/TAPOC offered far better soldiering training. Command appointments in an OTC could last a year; those on DES/TAPOC would be lucky to last 24 hours. But then, the OTC managed with what it had, while DES/TAPOC was a "Brigade Main Effort".
Remember that up until 1985 or so, only women had to do a commissioning course; blokes just passed an interview with their CO, did their DAB, and were probationary 2Lts until the CO f***ed them off or confirmed them...... but in those days we were trying to fill a TA of 72,000, with six large battalions of TA infantry in Scotland alone (or seven if you separated out the HSF, seven and a half if you counted A+D Sqns)......
I totally agree with what Gravelbelly says, I too was commisioned through the DES scheme, however there wasn't enough DEs and so they loaded it with TA pers, me being one of them (having done 2 years as a soldier).
I have always said that the best officers are the ones who have done 1 - 2 years in the ranks. Which may be why 90% of the people who passed were ex TA.
It's actually 10 weekends in phase 2 which is as far as i know the MTQ2 training which is then tested on weekend 10. Oh and the initial 14 days basic training.
Then there's the MTQ3 battlecamp over 7/8 days.
There are then about 5 more weekends planned pre RMAS as revision and additional training, how to run adventure training etc (or so they've said).
After this is RMAS itself, 3 weeks as stated by Dr Evil.
Then there are a few weekends afterwards (Module 5) to teach things like defence writing etc. We're also expected to get on the Defence Instructional Technique course ASAP.
Following all that there is of course your corps/arm specific training.
So it does add up to somewhat more than 57.5 days training.
All sounds great, my good man. And I have heard that DE punters will not be allowed to proceed from Module 2 (the 10 weekends you mentioned) until they have completed all 10. Ditto the five weekends you mention pre-Sandhurst. Huzzah!
However, this all smacks of what top management consultant boffins working for the Army call brainy-regular-Army-initiative-to-real-world-TA-implementation-conflict. In other words, if TA potential officers wants to subject themselves to all that, with that degree of commitment, they might as well try out for 21 SAS (V) first.
It is much more likely that people will bunk off various bits, get BIFF'd, etc., and yet waved through by some colonel eager to ensure that he doesn't screw up the DE scheme in its implementation years or let it all go to pot after gleaming (but obviously faked) initial success.
In addition, it's plain to any sensible observer that the 107.5 days is cooked, overegged, warmed up, salmonella-filled, goo.
That said, as Gravelbelly pointed out, in days of yore a very similar system to the DE scheme existed and it produced decent officers. And a lot of dross.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, mes amis ...
God, I love this site. Really lets me, like, let myself go, y'know?
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