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MOD now much the same as Hitler's War Ministry towards the end of WW2

#1
For fear of replicating a dozen threads all over the ARRSE network, i would like to pose a few questions for my own interest if anything.
With the massive amount of cuts and cost saving throughout the military, everything from things such as the brand new Nimrods which have never been flown, being broken up for scrap, to the chop in allowances. All the austerity measures which have come down from the MOD. Now we are all assuming the MOD is full of Civil Servants and retired Officers, and all they are interested in is saving their own 'worthless skins', with more perk packages and bonuses while the frontline Military suffers. Liken this, if you will, to Hitlers War machine towards the end of WW2. Most of the General's and politico's in charge of the military from the safety of Berlin, continually lied to Hitler about the reality of the Military's situation in order to save their own skin. Are we in a similiar, (obviously less kinetic operations), situation?
Is our MOD of today the same? Full of staff with no actual full time role just feathering their own nests. All the cost cutting measures are being implemented by the MOD, are they using the old boys network? 'Cut what you like, just protect the MOD' Are they serving a legitimate purpose or does someone from the frontline cabinet need to go in and overhaul what is effectively a partially working museum piece?
Discuss
 
#3
Seems a reasonable analysis off where things are at, although I am not convinced about the safetly of Berlin in the closing year of WWII.
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Nothing changes it was just the same in the old War Dept, in WW1, the village of Westminster has always been populated by cnuts
 
#5
For fear of replicating a dozen threads all over the ARRSE network, i would like to pose a few questions for my own interest if anything.
With the massive amount of cuts and cost saving throughout the military, everything from things such as the brand new Nimrods which have never been flown, being broken up for scrap, to the chop in allowances. All the austerity measures which have come down from the MOD. Now we are all assuming the MOD is full of Civil Servants and retired Officers, and all they are interested in is saving their own 'worthless skins', with more perk packages and bonuses while the frontline Military suffers. ....Is our MOD of today the same? Full of staff with no actual full time role just feathering their own nests. All the cost cutting measures are being implemented by the MOD, are they using the old boys network? 'Cut what you like, just protect the MOD' Are they serving a legitimate purpose or does someone from the frontline cabinet need to go in and overhaul what is effectively a partially working museum piece?
Discuss
I am sure, the very senior military officers and CS mandarins are intent on protecting their jobs and pensions and this will be at the expense of the front line and lower grade civil servants. Dont bracket all CS together, many of the 25,000 posts to go will be in Main Bld / -some not all, are decent people doing a good job who now fear for the future.

What we need is a clear out at the top. Unfortunately the mandarins take the decision and "Turkeys do not vote for Christmas".
 
#7
F

Now we are all assuming the MOD is full of Civil Servants and retired Officers, and all they are interested in is saving their own 'worthless skins', with more perk packages and bonuses while the frontline Military suffers.

Discuss
I put in a 9 hours of overtime this week. Mil staff cleared off at midday Friday, most CS staff finished at 4 as per normal, 3 of us 'worthless CS' worked on till 6.30. Just another 'normal' week.

Overtime payment? Nope. Perks? Who they? Bonuses? Nope. Payrise this or next year? Nope. Further job losses expected in an already lean manned outfit amongst the E and D grades that make everything tick? Yep.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
Some suggestions to get things right:

1) Proper Strategic Defence Review

The starting point for this would be (a) what are our foreign policy objectives, (b) how much cash is in the kitty and (c) what capability can we afford?

2) Rationalisation of facilities/capabilities

The three services run as separate entities with (for example) separate staff colleges, medical facilities, etc. Surely there are big savings to be made from amalgamating all of these, both in terms of facilities and command structure.

3) Rationalisation of the 'tail'

Following on from (2), although the 'teeth' of every service differ, the 'tails' bear a lot of similarity to each other. Lorries and ration packs do much the same thing irrespective of service. Radical though this might be, I would form a fourth service - "The Royal Logistic Service" and leave it as a common source of supply for the three fighting services. Rationalisation of the support function would surely lead to efficiency savings.

4) Proper Project Management

Instead of being assigned to a project for 2 - 3 years, both military and civil servants at senior levels in managing the project would be with it for the life time of the project, with promotion and bonuses dependent of successful delivery. If you don't meet the project milestones, you don't get promotion.....

In summary then: three 'teeth' services supported by a common infrastructure and logistic service, designed to meet clear strategic objectives and run by senior officers/civil servants whose promotion depends on deliving projects on time and to budget.

Simples...

Wordsmith
 
#9
I put in a 9 hours of overtime this week. Mil staff cleared off at midday Friday, most CS staff finished at 4 as per normal, 3 of us 'worthless CS' worked on till 6.30. Just another 'normal' week.

Overtime payment? Nope. Perks? Who they? Bonuses? Nope. Payrise this or next year? Nope. Further job losses expected in an already lean manned outfit amongst the E and D grades that make everything tick? Yep.

I'm not an MOD CS, but I agree with much of what you say above. What people don't seem to realise is that over the years, many military posts have been replaced by CS. In just about every unit/station/establishment you will find CS where there used to be uniforms; accounts, registry, admin, training, IT etc etc. They were taken on in order to save money, and now, ironically, they are to be decimated to save money. Without them, it would be extremely hard to function. Sure, cut some fat in procurement (ha!), media & comms (double ha!) and other bollocky non-jobs, but at grass roots level there isn't much to cull.
 
#10
I put in a 9 hours of overtime this week. Mil staff cleared off at midday Friday, most CS staff finished at 4 as per normal, 3 of us 'worthless CS' worked on till 6.30. Just another 'normal' week.

Overtime payment? Nope. Perks? Who they? Bonuses? Nope. Payrise this or next year? Nope. Further job losses expected in an already lean manned outfit amongst the E and D grades that make everything tick? Yep.
Apologies for that mis placed the quotations. I was paraphrasing, it was a quote. I don't see all CS as worthless. Some good points raised though. Further to the review of different areas, such as procurement and comms. Should it be mandatory for a department or a team to see through, from start to finish, any sort of new system or implementation. How many posts have been created by Officers who then change said post to CS just so they can guarantee themselves a job when they retire?
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Wordsmith: "1) Proper Strategic Defence Review ... "

The starting point for this SHOULD be (a) what are our foreign policy objectives, (b) how much cash is in the kitty and (c) what capability can we afford?

(a) objectives should include threats, i.e. what may be coming at us as well as what would we like to be able to do, and also commitments to allies and Europe. List should then be prioritised.

Step (b) is what is needed to defend against these threats and to pursue other aims? And how much would this outfit cost, i.e. the irreducible cost of % probability of achievement, noting that some assets are versatile and may, while essential for high priority objectives, also offer % confidence against some lower ones.

(c) is what's the deficit against what the Treasury is already handing out? followed by a clear understanding of what we CANNOT do on present money. Then stuff that back to Cabinet and get it minuted as an agreed decision on what the holidays are in our defence posture.

In a perfect world there are no efficiency savings as managers are paid to run their shops efficiently, not hoard fat.
 
#12
Should it be mandatory for a department or a team to see through, from start to finish, any sort of new system or implementation.
Definately needs looking at. On more than a few occasions I've seen a project start to go off the rails and the head honchos just breath in, circle the wagons, send out positive signals while counting down the days until they move on and it becomes someone elses shit sandwich.
 
#13
Some suggestions to get things right:

1) Proper Strategic Defence Review

The starting point for this would be (a) what are our foreign policy objectives, (b) how much cash is in the kitty and (c) what capability can we afford?

2) Rationalisation of facilities/capabilities

The three services run as separate entities with (for example) separate staff colleges, medical facilities, etc. Surely there are big savings to be made from amalgamating all of these, both in terms of facilities and command structure.

3) Rationalisation of the 'tail'

Following on from (2), although the 'teeth' of every service differ, the 'tails' bear a lot of similarity to each other. Lorries and ration packs do much the same thing irrespective of service. Radical though this might be, I would form a fourth service - "The Royal Logistic Service" and leave it as a common source of supply for the three fighting services. Rationalisation of the support function would surely lead to efficiency savings.

4) Proper Project Management

Instead of being assigned to a project for 2 - 3 years, both military and civil servants at senior levels in managing the project would be with it for the life time of the project, with promotion and bonuses dependent of successful delivery. If you don't meet the project milestones, you don't get promotion.....

In summary then: three 'teeth' services supported by a common infrastructure and logistic service, designed to meet clear strategic objectives and run by senior officers/civil servants whose promotion depends on deliving projects on time and to budget.

Simples...


Wordsmith
1) unfortunately does not imply (b) and (c) Any realistic Strategic Defence Review implies that if a threat is identified then the funding to counter that threat is made available. Otherwise why are we no longer flying a MR plane to protect against such an identified threat and deal with a legal international obligation ?

2) & 3) Oddly enough it's not that simple....otherwise the Canadians would be telling us how to do it...

4) I have absolutely no quarrel there. The 2 year posting cycle has****ed over more projects than BL made cars.
 
#14
Definately needs looking at. On more than a few occasions I've seen a project start to go off the rails and the head honchos just breath in, circle the wagons, send out positive signals while counting down the days until they move on and it becomes someone elses shit sandwich.
You honestly think you can force someone to stay in the same job for five, ten, twenty-five years to see through some of these major equipment programmes? In the case of civilians, that's a big fat no. All of us have employment rights (including the right to advance our careers), and some of us even have the ambition to move up in the world. Military posts would probably be easier to force about, but then why would you train someone as an officer and pay them the wage if you're just going to leave them in the same Abbey Wood post for half their service?

It's not necessarily the regular changes at the top that **** up defence procurement, but the culture that says the only way to the top is to make those sweeping changes every three years.
 
#15
You honestly think you can force someone to stay in the same job for five, ten, twenty-five years to see through some of these major equipment programmes? In the case of civilians, that's a big fat no. All of us have employment rights (including the right to advance our careers), and some of us even have the ambition to move up in the world. Military posts would probably be easier to force about, but then why would you train someone as an officer and pay them the wage if you're just going to leave them in the same Abbey Wood post for half their service?

It's not necessarily the regular changes at the top that **** up defence procurement, but the culture that says the only way to the top is to make those sweeping changes every three years.
Well it would certainly give people an incentive to ensure the project gets delivered on time instead of things turning up a decade or more late. I've witnessed a high end CS staffer deliberately time out a difficult decision as he knew he was moving on in 18 months time. And what sanction exists to people who drag the balls out of a project knowing they are only in it for 18/24mths and all they want is a good write up for the duration of their time in post and bugger the contract?

And please, spare me the career development crap! Most of us spend our 'careers' watching the latest new wizzkid breeze in the door and breeze right on out in a few years while we plod on picking up the fallout years after year, while he carries on up the career ladder with the help of his latest BZ for a job well done. And therein lies a big problem, for a lot of people, the posting is just a step on their careers, a box ticked and onwards. Very few people in that situation want to drop a turd on the grown ups desk and tell them the wheels are coming off.

Project leaders: 'Yes Minister, there is a minor problem but we have it well in hand and the project is still on track. Meanwhile round the water cooler with the people at the coalface: Can we fix it? NFC!

What's your plan, carry on with the same old stuff?
 
#16
You honestly think you can force someone to stay in the same job for five, ten, twenty-five years to see through some of these major equipment programmes? In the case of civilians, that's a big fat no. All of us have employment rights (including the right to advance our careers), and some of us even have the ambition to move up in the world. Military posts would probably be easier to force about, but then why would you train someone as an officer and pay them the wage if you're just going to leave them in the same Abbey Wood post for half their service?

It's not necessarily the regular changes at the top that **** up defence procurement, but the culture that says the only way to the top is to make those sweeping changes every three years.
You know what....**** them. They're not paid to have fun, they're paid to do a job, if they don't ****ing like the rules, there's the door, **** off.

It's my ****ing taxes those tossers are pissing up the wall with their "**** me, That's too hard for me and MY career, lets piss around for 18 months then I'm gone and it's NMP"

I frankly don't give a ****ing rat's ****ing dead wet turd for their precious career.
 
#17
I'm answering this as a CS who lurks in MB, and also as a reservist just returned from active duty in Afghanistan - I'm lucky enough to see things from both ends.

I see the 'MB and particularly the CS in it' as a common theme here on ARRSE. I think there is a major problem in MB at explaining to the forces out there what it is that Main Building (and the MOD) exists to do. At its simplest, the MOD represents the physical location of a range of senior officers offices (e.g. CDS, VCDS, service chiefs and the PUS). It is home to the Ministers, and also to a range of directorates - some of which need to be in London (e.g. Ops directorate and parts of the DIS), others of which are there more through historical quirk and are likely to move on soon enough.

There are about 4000 people in the MOD building - thats everyone from the PUS through to the security guards and cleaners- this is split roughly 50/50 between service and civilian staff. Main Building is one of 2 buildings run in central London for MOD (other being old war office). This may sound a lot, but bear in mind 20 years ago we had 20 plus seperate buildings in London and a staffing figure well above 10,000 staff in London alone. Hopefully this answers your first question - is MOD being protected? The answer is an emphatic NO! Rustification efforts, plus moves to get directorates into MB, and also shrink the building headcount (I've heard people say up to 30% of building occupants may go) in the post SDSR environment means that MOD MB is just as vulnerable as any other organisation to cutting.

The second problem we have is the perception that MOD MB is somehow a seperate entity to the rest of the armed forces - you don't leace the Navy to join an MOD posting - you are posted to the MOD. The staff in MB are not a special organisation apart from the rest of HM Forces - they come there from field postings, and will depart there to other field postings. In my last job, I had 6 direct military colleauges (and was the token CS), of which 4 had come from command tours from SO2 - 1* level, one was going to a command tour and one left to take command on an operational tour. All had done tours in the Middle East JOA. Indeed I struggle to think of any officer I've met in MB at any level for the past few years who hasn't been to TELIC or HERRICK on a tour at some point. The guy I used to work with in an obscureish desk role had a gallantry medal plus bar for his efforts in previous years - yet was now doing a desk job.

The other thing to remember is that your CS are equally gaining in experience now - its been made clear that to progress in the system, CS are expected to volunteer to do operational tours. I did one in Iraq a few years ago, and my civvy TELIC gong is mounted proudly alongside my military HERRICK gong - and I am clear about the differences on the tours and I am very proud of that. I know several civil servants personally who've done enough time overseas in recent years to qualify for the ACSM (although CS don't get awarded it), and plenty more travel into theatre regularly to do support work.

On the allowances question, if you read the briefings, the CS cuts package is going to be about £50M, and the military will be £250M - thats because the CS allowances bill is only £221M, while the military one is £880M. The CS cuts are due to be announced shortly, and will be just as painful for CS as for the military announcements last week. The difference is that the papers won't do anything to support the CS losing income - just gloat happily on the sidelines.

The MOD is far from a museum piece - it has its creaking edges, but so would any organisation that is trying to run operations on all continents, plus deep space and deep underwater, encompassing issues from nuclear warfare to conservation of ruins in Salisbury plain. Its a very complex beast, but I'm happy that at its heart it has got a regular supply of fresh meat from the wider CS and the military who bring a wealth of experience and operational tours to bear. Decisions are made with clear understanding of the front line situation because the people making the decisions have usually only recently returned from a tour out there. Its emphatically not populated by dinosaurs.

More broadly though, its a difficult time to be a CS - pay is frozen and allowances are being cut. Its difficult to retain good staff who have genuinely useful skills, and its hard to be positive when you know that 1 in 3 CS is going to be cut in the next few years. This is going to really harm the front line, because it means more work for the lads. Its also forgotten that the MOD is far from a dusty deskbound organisation - of its 86,000 (soon to be 60,000) people - we have to include all the security guards, RFA, industrial workers, mess staff, cleaners, technicians, airfield support staff, intelligence analysts, policy wonks, rocket scientists and so on. There are not thousands of grey people doing non jobs - there are thousands of keen, well motivated people who adore defence working in an environment where 30% overall are going to be fired in the next 3 years.

I know its just as difficult for the rest of the armed forces, and I know that reductions need to be made in spending - but fundamentally I worry that seniors have gone for a nice large cut to the CS total because it is politically nice, not becuase it is the most sensible course of action.
 
#19
You know what....**** them. They're not paid to have fun, they're paid to do a job, if they don't ****ing like the rules, there's the door, **** off.

It's my ****ing taxes those tossers are pissing up the wall with their "**** me, That's too hard for me and MY career, lets piss around for 18 months then I'm gone and it's NMP"

I frankly don't give a ****ing rat's ****ing dead wet turd for their precious career.
Excellent post. You keep up the moronic vitriol and in the mean time you'll see people - good and bad - walk right past you. Just because you've hit a ceiling doesn't mean others have to.

Do they trust you with a staff? I'd ****ing hope not. If you want the most from your tax money, good people management is vital. If you want the MOD staffed with robots, you'll have to accept the inevitable consequences.

I do so love it when the shallow end of ARRSE's intellectual pool get on their soap box.

Sent from my X10i using Tapatalk
 
#20
You honestly think you can force someone to stay in the same job for five, ten, twenty-five years to see through some of these major equipment programmes? In the case of civilians, that's a big fat no. All of us have employment rights (including the right to advance our careers), and some of us even have the ambition to move up in the world. Military posts would probably be easier to force about, but then why would you train someone as an officer and pay them the wage if you're just going to leave them in the same Abbey Wood post for half their service?

It's not necessarily the regular changes at the top that **** up defence procurement, but the culture that says the only way to the top is to make those sweeping changes every three years.
Implement a system where, although the replacement will turn up on time, if the replacement doesn't sign off on the HOTO the incumbant doesn't move/promote, etc.

Then if the replacement signs off it becomes their problem and they 'own' it. If it becomes apparent that the previous incumbant was not so forthcoming with certain things to expedite the HOTO, they could be done for fraud when/if the wheels came off.
 

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