Military Knowledge (MK) 1 & 2...

Discussion in 'Officers' started by DangerMouse, Jan 1, 2005.

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  1. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    Extract from MK2 Study Guide:

    Welcome to Military Knowledge Part 2 (MK2).

    MK2 is one of the results of a detailed study, the Review of Officer Career Courses (ROCC), to identify the education and training that officers require at various stages of their careers. Further explanation of these stages is contained in the Officer Career Development Handbook (OCDH), of which all students will already have a copy. ... MK2 is not like many formal military instructional manuals or other documents. It is not written in a military manner, using Defence Writing conventions – it is designed specifically for on-line study, which requires a very different style to promote effective understanding and learning – even enjoyment!
    (my emphasis)

    How exciting! A whole world of e-learning opportunities opening up for all those fortunate enough to be subject to ROCC! Be still my beating heart. Of course, pausing briefly from the celebrations, it would be even better if:

    a) MK2 worked over dial-up (it doesn't), and;

    b) The Defence Academy could keep their servers online, so we could actually have a look at the course, never mind consider starting it. The main Defence Academy site ( is currently offline (as at 1 Jan 05), as is the actual MK2 site itself, (

    Great start!

    PS No cynical comments about the likelihood of OCs and COs a) having even heard of MK2 [because they all read the letter from MS, didn't they...], and b) giving people time during working hours to complete it... [OCs and COs will embrace the opportunity to lose unimportant staff like Adjts & SO3s (target audience is pre-Beige List, so people who aren't busy at all, then..)]
  2. I was given MK1 on disc and told to learn it for the exam! If anyone has tried to assimilate knowledge by reading from a 200+ pdf document (one of several) you will come to realise its not easy - and I dare say damaging to the eyes.

    I asked for the 'old fashioned' bound editions (even volunteered to buy them!) only to be told "Dont worry the package is being rewritten" for distance learning with incremental learning milestones. In other words pass a test on one bit before moving on.

    I was led to undertsnad MK1 & MK2 was the way forward - and its being rewritten after how long?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. The way forward is to print it out, methinks. Naturally, quite a bit of it will only make sense if printed in colour. Pop down to your local print shop and ask them how much it will cost to print out 1000-plus pages in colour. Then bill G Hoon Esq.
  4. msr

    msr LE

    The TA only seem to get the CD, which is a bit disappointing.

    I can't see how MK1 (a pre-requisite) for JOTAC can be completed by individual study. The information is interesting, but the way it is presented on the CD is about as dry as Gandhi's flip-flop. The there is the issue of finding the time (up to 70 hrs) of your own time*, plus the two weeks for the JOTAC course itself.

    The solution is for this to be taught at various TA Centres within the Bdes - e.g. a Signals unit for the comms bollocks, and Artillery unit for their bit etc, with a social to get the junior officers together on the Saturday night, so at least we know someone when we go on the JOTACS.

    It is very unfortunate that so much effort is going into the DEPO scheme to get potentiaol officers to join and so little towards ongoing training and development for junior officers.


    *I heard a story about an (apocryphal) exchange which went like this:

    Reg Lt "When are we supposed to do the studying"
    Crusty MS Major "You are supposed to find spare time to study when you are not commanding soldiers"
    TA Lt "But sir, that's what we do in our spare time"
  5. *sweet as pie mode on*

    Would they really make such a crass distinction between TA and Regs, given that both are doing the same course?

    Why, that would mean that one lot would have an easier time of preparing for the course (in that they would have the videos and other "learning aids" on the other CDs plus the user-friendly hardcopies of the modules) than the other. Plus, one lot would have the bumf on the other CDs which is supposed to enable them to put what they have learned into effect by means of presentations and such like, while the others would have to make their own.

    They wouldn't do that, would they? Would they?

    *sweet as pie mode off*

    Well, it would save them about 70p (the cost of the other four CDs), so you never know - they just might.

    A plea, then: anyone with the other 4 CD-ROMs should bring them on the course so that there can be a mass copying extravaganza.
  6. I have 1 x super duper hard copy of all MK1 materials FREE to the first PM I receive. I will even deliver if you live nearby!! And there's a lot of it!!

  7. MSR
    Would you like someone to come around and give you on a silver platter what this qualification results in? Old US adage ' It is not work if you are enjoying it'
  8. msr

    What a great suggestion - someone may get promoted with that idea. But hang on, TA and continuous professional development are not normally used in the same sentence.

    I've still got my 'Professional Development Record' box file which was given to me 5 years ago. Remember those? Could be inspected by supervision and you can plan your individual it still rolls off the tongue.

    Mines still in shrink wrap straight from stores - waiting for someone to ask to see it! Wonder if I can trade it in for 2 pairs of green socks?
  9. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Old-Salt Moderator

    (Ref. the posting that started this thread - the Defence Academy and MK2 websites are back online again, after an absence of some 5 days+)

    My understanding is that the desired end state is that both MK1 and MK2 will be online courses. As MK1 already exists in hard copy format, MK2 has been the priority for development. The online version of MK1 is due out at some point this year. It will be similar to MK2 in style and design, which I suggest is a good thing - MK2 is well implemented, as long as you have a) a broadband connection, and b) time to study it. There are many advantages to being online, not least of which are cost and ease of revision - it is a format that allows it to be kept up to date without expensive revisions of hard-copy publications (For example, the Defence White paper last November has already rendered some of the strategic doctrine in the original paper version of MK1 redundant).

    In RMCS's defence, the 'CDROM version of MK1' to which you refer is merely a stop-gap measure until the online version is available. The version of MK1 on CDROM at the moment is just a straight conversion of the existing books into Adobe PDF format - it's a quick fix until the online version is available.

    I believe MK1 is meant to take 50 hours study. Am I correct in assuming that you have between completion of the TA Commissioning Course (TACC) and whenever you expect to promote to captain to do MK1 and JOTAC? How long is that usually, msr? - I'm out of date with expected TA promotion timelines. Assuming a TA Direct Entry officer with no prior regular service, for example completing OTC/TA Potential Officer training, then TACC, you would not expect to promote to captain for at least 5 years, surely. MK1 should be be achievable over 5 years?

    More importantly, given that TA officers do not undergo the same selection at RCB, training at RMAS, or experience serving in the Army, as regular officers - surely the basic level of knowledge required by MK1 is entirely reasonable. This is not a criticism of the TA - I am just concious that, at university, as a TA officer I knew exceedingly little - TCB was a breeze and three weeks at RMAS only gave the DS sufficient time to weed out the complete mongs! I would have welcomed MK1 before I was mobilised to command a troop on Op PALATINE - the learning curve would have been far less steep. Indeed, if the much-quoted "One Army" soundbite is anything other than rhetoric, then surely anything that offers TA the opportunity to undergo the same training as their regular counterparts should be welcomed?

    Ultimately, MK1 and JOTAC are a choice - if an officer decides that the level of work required is too much, then they can choose to remain a lieutenant. The following article makes interesting reading, I've highlighted the most relevent paragraph:

    RSI Journal XXIV, Spring 2002

    Lt Col Bob Wythe was a famously aggressive officer with an individual and unique style of command. His regiment only existed for one purpose to go to war. The mortality rate of subalterns was about 2 weeks, similar to that of World War 1. Lt Col (Retd) Roy Shiner currently in the LSRC, believed that his keenness to play Corps rugby instead of taking the promotion exam was a catalyst for this letter, carefully preserved by Lt Col (Retd) Alan Browne of RHQ R SIGNALS. Additional illumination, given an appropriately encouraging libation, might be provided by Maj (Retd) Pat Lafferty of RHQ who was the CO's RSM at the time.


    22nd Signal Regiment
    British Forces Post Office 16
    Tel: Lippstadt Mil Ext 341
    Ref. CO/1
    Mar 64

    All Royal Signals Captains and Below.


    1. I wish all officers to realise that examinations for promotion and staff are a test on two counts:

    • a. For academic knowledge.

      b. For grimly undeviating tenacious standards (guts). This is by far the most important.
    2. If (a) and not (b) was relevant, any superficially clever man could be an officer.

    3. There are always some second raters who wish to hold others down to their own pace. Around them Parkinson created his laws.

    4. One of their methods is to say "There isn't time to do it all".

    5. Many, many officers have studied, and are studying under conditions which have existed, and exist now, in such places as Korea, Malaya, Cyprus, Borneo etc, etc. In 1 (BR) Corps hundreds of officers are studying hard. The system is designed to bring such officers to the top while the marshmallow men (nice outside, squashy in) go under.

    6. Because guts enters into it as a requirement, it is quite normal to have to work weekends, evenings, periods before breakfast etc, etc. There is nothing noble or sacrificial about it. It is strictly a matter of who is going to succeed in a highly competitive profession.

    7. If second-raters spent the time studying which they spend explaining why they cannot study, they would pass anything and everything. As it is, they try to convince themselves first, and others if possible.

    8. The rules are:

    • a. Realise from the beginning that hard private study is a built in requirement for success as an officer.

      b. If you are satisfied to be a second-rater, keep your mouth shut whenever you feel tempted to discourage others, and stay a lieutenant or captain as you prefer.

      c. If you are dissatisfied at being a second-rater, keep your mouth shut, and do, not say, something about it.
    9. Finally, do NOT heed such remarks as "In Barnard Castle they have THREE MONTHS off to study". The correct reply to this weepery is "And bloody good luck to them!".

    (A.R. WYTHE)
    Lieutenant Colonel, Royal Signals.
    Copy to: Royal Signals Majors
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. I'm going to stick my head up for a little while and ask a few questions, hopefully reasonable ones.

    Firstly could someone explain what MK1 and 2 are? From what i've picked up here they're materials to be learned (in your own time) in order to be promoted but i'm not sure what's covered in them.

    The next question would be whether this is an automatic process handled by your unit (speaking TA wise) or do you need to put in numerous phone calls/vists to a number of people to get anywhere? (I'm fast finding the latter to be the only way to get some things done).

    As always clarification is appreciated and welcomed by those of you who know.
  11. DPM

    DPM Old-Salt

    Dangermouse: cheers for the encouragement. Seeing as my backbone so obviously fell out last month I shall redress my anger having spent 3 hours down loading the Study Guide for MK2 and wasting 2 hours trying to load lesson 1 following the server crash - this of course totalled 10% of the total time it apparently takes to complete the course.

    With morale courage now intact, could you please arrange for someone to send a (working) CD copy so that I can complete my studies on the Light Role Node that so often stops working off the back of the shockingly bad quality generator I've been issued. Of course, I'll have to prioritise my time a little, away from command, patrol planning and reporting, etc, etc. Or, in line with your best suggestion so far, I'll use my weekends.

    WHAT PLANET ARE YOU ON? Most infanteers have been on 4 1/2 years of ops and op trg out of the last 6, not including RAAT, etc, assuming you do actually count Ireland and a couple of other gems that Sir Mike doesn't. To accuse us ofa lack of professionalism stinks - most of fully understand the reasons for a busy armed forces, being at war and all, and don't have a problem with it. I would like nothing more than to get MK2 sorted, indeed a couple of multi-nationals have done nothing but extract the urine for me working on it over the last few weeks (no doubt you also spent Chrimbo sqaring away your own professional development...)

    The fact is, MK2 is presented in a ridiculous format, the questions are barking (quote a Col looking over my shoulder 'I worked at MOD for 2 years, and no-one there could answer that). It's a poor substitute for AJD that saves MOD money in the short term but is extremely likely to retention negative and a poor substitute 5 months at junior staff college, costing more in the long term in wasted man hours as Ops Offrs and Adjts make more cock ups at Bn, and SO3s arrive at Bde and Div under trained.

    GUTS? Whatever. I'm off back out on patrol.
  12. Good call DPM - there is no doubt whatsoever that MK1 and 2, and JOTAC, are feeble attempts to fill the massive yawning void left by the demise of AJD. I feel sorry for any subbie who has to fulfill their normal duties AND complete these ridiculous long distance modular blah blah blah. If the Army were serious about it, they woulsd have issued all Officers (and NCOs for that matter - for CLM) with their own laptops etc.

    I like Colonel Wythe's letter, having read it many times in various guises, and agree with its basic sentiment that there is more to this profession than brains. I'm as thick as a whale omelette and I'm doing alright! :D

    However, if the essential reason for canning AJD was the amount of time spent in nugatory study and pointless front-loaded exams, why on earth did the Army decide to give birth to MK1 & 2, and JOTAC??
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Tell me and I'll forget; Show me and I may remember; Involve me and I'll understand.
    - old Chinese Proverb


    It all depends on what you want to see at JOTAC: TA subalterns who have rote learned the contents of the CD, who can regurgitate it on the course and then forget it, or those who have a genuine understanding of the material.

    I appreciate that you do have time between commissioning and JOTAC, however, there is an urgency to getting people onto the course in Jan-Mar this year and some of us have just missed JOTES, so are being pushed towards a crucial promotional course with, as you aptly describe it, a stopgap solution.

    Again, as you rightly say: "then surely anything that offers TA the opportunity to undergo the same training as their regular counterparts should be welcomed? ".

    This is all that I am asking for.

  14. When I went to JDSC(TA) in the mid-1990s, being a sad sod, I enjoyed it. Limited sleep due to the amount that had to be read up on before the next day's work (well, that and the Dinner night), but an intellectual challenge.

    The question we asked at the time was "why wasn't more material posted out in advance, so that we could do more preparatory work for the course".

    The answer that we were given was that having tried this, in their experience it was too easy to misinterpret the written packages; and harder to replace mistaken ideas than to present fresh ideas. That, and the fact that some mongs wouldn't read what they'd been sent, and other poor sods would only be given the package by their Chief Clerk with a week to go, after it had gathered dust in the Trg Maj's in-tray for a month or two.

    So, either the people who wrote the packages are better at it than their forebears, they're more confident in their admin, or we're going to relearn something......
  15. This presupposes some knowledge already! I agree with the more thought-provoking areas but some mailed basic background on 'capabilities', a fair chunk of TA JDSC, would have helped those poor unfortunates from the AGC and QARANC who had to keep asking 'how many platoons in a section again?'. And no, the comedy value in Ex [BG TEWT whatever it's called?] in my being CO with a dentist ops officer, a nurse int officer, and a AGC OC HQ was not long-lived.