Junior Officers

#2
Sir_Gonksalot said:
Is it me, or is there actually rather a shortage of Junior Officers in the TA?

Sir G
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
 
#4
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.
 
#5
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.
 
#6
Far too many ruperts in mine! Mind you, quite often one is too many :D

This comment obviously doesnt apply to those officers from my unit who read this site! :wink:

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.
 
#7
In my unit we've got a full compliment, infact I think we've managed to pick one too many somewhere along the line... 8O 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.
 
#8
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.
 
#10
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:

1. Arm or service Basic recruit course(14 days or 6 weekends)
2. 8 x Potential Officer Weekend Modules (2.5 days each)
3. Territorial Commissioning Board (2.5 days)
4. Military Training Qualification No2 (14days)
5. Leadership Development Course (8days)
6. RMA Sandhurst - TA Preparatory Course (7days)
7. RMA Sandhurst - TA Commissioning Course (14days)
8. Regimental Service Annual Camp (14days)
9. Special to Arm or Service Course (14days)
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 :wink: ), 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.
 
#11
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! 8O
 
#12
Pompey_Jock said:
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.
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 :roll:

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)......
 
#13
Gravelbelly said:
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 :roll:

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.
 
#14
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.
 
#15
antphilip said:
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!

*deep breath*

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?
 
#16
antphilip said:
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.
It had better involve a damn' sight more than just MTQ2, because I've seen the vast majority of OTC types pass that on the basis of a five-day cadre.

I think you'll find that it rolls in infantry tactics and leadership, and more nav and signals work than MTQ2 actually demands, in order to provide a more "rounded" potential officer. Namely, someone who isn't limited to doing attacks (because that's all MTQ2 tests in the estimate/orders), but can cope with patrols, etc, and is thus far better prepared for MTQ3 / Battle Camp / TAPC etc.

It certainly worked that ways in the 1980s form of DES, and I think that you'll find a lot of the old programmes have had the dust blown off them.....

Now, DES/TAPOC got cancelled because some bright spark thought they could save a shedload on the Brigade Assistance Table by sending TA OCdts to their local OTC. The original theory was that the OTCs didn't have to do TAPC, which replaced the old 9-day Battle Camp that DES did because the OTC types should have done at least three three-day infantry exercises as part of their Annual Camp by the time they hit Sandhurst, while TA OCdts might only have been in a year. Of course, TAPC rapidly went from "advisory" to "mandatory".....

The worrying thing is that in the 1980s, they used to have 120 people or so turn up at Redford for DES/TAPOC Phase 1, and have 40+ running in phase 2 post-DAB. That makes it easier to weed out numpties. Jungle drums have a somewhat lower number starting DES at Redford last month......

One big problem for the transition from PO to YO appeared to be that the DES/TAPOC types came off what had been described to them as "intensive" training, namely every other weekend; and discovered that no, that was about the minimum expected of a junior officer trying to make a go of it.

Same problem as all that literature that claimed you only needed to do six weekends and a two-week camp :roll:
 
#17
*Nods* What you've said Gravel about the weekends is probably correct, it is weekend 9 from this friday. More 7 questions (estimates and orders).

There was a patrols weekend. And 2 weekends of signals, involving section level and platoon level combined with practical application of QBOs and platoon level attacks.

The "intensive training" has dwindled the numbers, but it doesn't seem to be purely the blokes who've come from the TA who've stuck the course it is in fact the DEPO members.

Also of note is that the program in the Yorkshire area is 1 weekend a month.

A big part of this renovation I believe is to go away from the OTC training as you mentioned and is now centralised with RMAS who've got a special department now for TA officer development. Reports from training weeks/weekends go to them so all boxes get the appropriate ticks. No tick, no RMAS course.
 
#18
Dr Evil said:
*deep breath*

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.
Except that the amount of training described is no more than existed under the various OTC/DES/TAPOC/FAST TRACK predecessors.

When I joined my 1980s TA Bn, the CO made it quite clear that he expected his 2Lts in their first two years to do:
- an annual camp
- PCD(TA)
- methods of instruction course
- RMQ 1-3 (SA (A) 90, for the youngsters)
Being a sad sod, I did the above in the first twelve months. On top of that there were the various battalion study days (service writing, exercise planning, preparation for JOTES), attendance not optional.

The only difference between the scheme as described, and what we went through; is that the requirements are now formalised, and not so dependent on the quality of the Bn 2ic & Training Majors concerned.

Dr Evil said:
In addition, it's plain to any sensible observer that the 107.5 days is cooked, overegged, warmed up, salmonella-filled, goo.
Not really...... it's just that someone has finally added up the hidden realities.

After all, how many training days does the average TA officer/SNCO put in? It certainly isn't 36/year, in fact the advert for OC DES in Scotland explicitly stated 80 MTDs per year as a minimum. (In my eyes, that means it should be two separate jobs, but they found someone).
 
#19
Just come home from a London DEPO evening. They seemed like keen types, not fazed by the prospect of a year of one weekend on, one weekend off, plus the leave they would have to take to do the basic training, battle course and then Sandbags.

More power to them, I say.

Gravel is right about what is actually expected of young subbies in their first year. It really is two weekends a month. Better to come clean about this in advance than invest in and lose good people who just can't sustain that tempo.
 

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