MoD struggling to maintain aircraft and supplies to troops

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Aug 24, 2008.

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  1. MoD struggling to maintain aircraft and supplies to troops

    Lack of staff could confine Britain's nuclear submarines to dock within 18 months, warns defence expert

    By Andrew Johnson
    Sunday, 24 August 2008

    The Scottish submarine base on the Clyde is suffering from a shortage of nuclear engineers

    The Ministry of Defence faces such a critical shortage of civilian staff, engineers and technical expertise that it is struggling to maintain its aircraft, and the supply of equipment to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq is under threat, leaked memos reveal.


    Senior commanders are also warning that the nuclear submarine deterrent could be confined to docks within 18 months unless a shortage of submariners and nuclear technicians can be resolved. The revelations came to lightin the week that the civil service union Prospect began a High Court action claiming plans to cut 5,000 MoD jobs are illegal.

    A memo sent last month from the head of the MoD's supply department reveals that the organisation is struggling to process urgent orders for land and surveillance equipment to be sent to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The memo calls for staff to be co-opted from other departments for 12 months to plug the gap, a move it admits is a "sticking plaster" solution.
    More on the link
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mod-struggling-to-maintain-aircraft-and-supplies-to-troops-907211.html
     
  2. They've shrunk the MoD down as fast as they could and given the private sector the work, with more cuts to come in the next couple of years. I can't see anyway back, the private sector picked up all the decent guys who left and they'll not come back as the money isn't anywhere near the same. That leaves university graduates who have the theoretical side of engineering, but not the technical or experience on the equipment. The only other new staff that come in with the required experience are ex forces, but that experience is being lost from the frontline then.
     
  3. It's the non technical graduates doing Engineering jobs that worry me.
     
  4. i've seen the MoD at close range quite a lot - working in the defence industry and all - and they have a number of problems.

    1. Pay - it's crap. Any decent engineer (Ceng or equivalent) can earn a lot more in industry. So they do. This leaves the unworldly who don't care about money and the dross.

    2. Civil servant mentality - prizes process over results. So long as you do lots of hours, are outwardly keen and tick all the boxes the fact that you add no value whatsoever is not even noticed. And they get posted around so they never face the consequences of their lousy decisions - and their successor gets promoted for fixing them.

    3. Lack of SME expertise - I've been to places whete the low level CS responsible for shuffling a particular item around the world doesn't even know what it does. But no problem is perceived as they're following the process. It would scare the crap out of me were I flying the aircraft concerned.

    4. Lack of commercial nouse - I've been to meetings where it feels like killing mice with artillery fire, they truly have no idea how industry works and what traps we've just put in the contract. Let them think they've gouged you when they sign up, wait for the inevitable changes and bingo ! We're back in profit. This is made worse by the number of ex-Forces who join thinking "ex-Col = commercial wizard". No it doesn't, but please keep thinking that, our shareholders love it.

    5. Lousy customers - can't make their minds up, demand a completely unreasonable paperwork burden because they don't understand what they're doing, always delay.

    6. Customer 2 - great idea, but by the time they start to understand how the world outside the Forces work they're posted out.
     
  5. Just sent the wife out to post my claim now :) Thanks to Crab Air stating they could service all their tornado's and then finding out that not only do they not have the manpower, but also most of the experienced technicians have gone off to earn megabucks abroad, they then got good old (slimey spivs) BAeS to get them out the faeces. Me i would love to have my £28k a year as an uncivil serpent fixing swingers, then again, £1k a week modding Sea Kings is more fun :D
     
  6. if you pay peanuts you get monkeys!
    maybe a recession will help,cant help but think that labour will be enjoying this, were'nt they against the mod any way, before they were elected?
     
  7. 1. Pay - it's crap. Any decent engineer (Ceng or equivalent) can earn a lot more in industry. So they do. This leaves the unworldly who don't care about money and the dross.

    Totally true - its a little known fact that 75% of the MOD CS earn under 25K per year - by comparison the starting salary for a corporal is 28k. Not suggesting the roles compare - but it gives you an idea of how difficult it is to get high quality staff in for a poor package compared to the private sector.

    2. Civil servant mentality - prizes process over results. So long as you do lots of hours, are outwardly keen and tick all the boxes the fact that you add no value whatsoever is not even noticed. And they get posted around so they never face the consequences of their lousy decisions - and their successor gets promoted for fixing them.

    The problem is the system is designed to encourage people to move now - those that stay put no longer get promoted. If you don't move every 2-3 years, preferably to a new area, then your career is effectively over. Great in theory, but takes no account of the need to develop long term skills in some areas. The military also trickle post too though - its a common problem for both sides.

    3. Lack of SME expertise - I've been to places whete the low level CS responsible for shuffling a particular item around the world doesn't even know what it does. But no problem is perceived as they're following the process. It would scare the crap out of me were I flying the aircraft concerned.

    Depends on where the CS was in the food chain - does every corporal from the RLC responsible for moving something know exactly how it works? If they don't need to know what it does then should they? if they need to know and don't know, what action did you take to remedy the situation?
     
  8. Problem is they are not paying peanuts, i am sure BAeS, Serco, GE, Wastelands and others are making a pretty penny out of various contracts. Not to mention the agencies supplying the manpower. Check out the aviation job sites, lots of decent money to be earned and thats just in the UK. Just who is to blame is the problem, the MoD were always trying to get rid of the dirty, smelly, technical people because we need more than a clothing and travel allowance, we end up needing safety clothing, training and a decent wage to stop us walking. How great it was when some wag said lets tender it all out to industry, and if that don't work just get the RAF to say they can do it and then change their minds after fecking up a couple of times.

    Yes folks they have really screwed any chance of you getting enough and on time to quote the WW2 American poster. :x :x :x
     
  9. Not all IPT's get it wrong though. I know a certain IPT that values SME input from the "on the ground" perspective. I was asked to be SME on SV and in some meetings i was the lowest rank, but on some points managed to get the highest rank to take my suggestions and include them in the finished product. My name also appears on all the SRD verification serials for one SV variant and if i said "it doesnt do what it says on the tin", they went back to manufacturer to ask why not.
    Because of my name now being known within the IPT, i was heavily involved with a soon to be in HERRICK UOR for fuel delivery. Again, i went to the German manufacturer on meetings, and i almost had carte-blanche to what i wanted the final product to do. The downside of this, is your the one they go to when it goes tits up! :(
     
  10. I have a friend who works within MoD. Without going into details he is responsible for or works on many UORs in addition to 'normal' work (which barely happens such is the volume of more important things). He is nationaly one of a mere handful of post graduates with directly relevant experience (others requiring at least 12 months to begin to get a useful grasp of what they are working with) and working his socks off.

    MoD pay him a shade over 25K I think; he could earn around 10K more in civi street, possibly more than that. Funnily enough, they are loosing manpower to civi defence companies at a rate that is surely too high for normal recruitment and training to cover. Why? Worked too hard for too little money getting worse as more leave and most importantly, too little time at home; too much one-way goodwill. Sound familiar?

    From the news then it would appear that we haven't been paying our nuclear engineers enough so they've walked. So, if true, we could have a load of expensive boats alongside doing nothing because we've managed to save £20K per engineer? Great, congratufuckinglations! :roll: A £Bn capability at risk of stand still, probably then costing the entire years saving in a second for no return at all. Not to mention the national security / strategic aspects!

    Cut or squeeze to or beyond critical mass and you will lose entire capabilities with enormous cost to re-build. :x

    Rockhoppercrab you are spot on.
     
  11. Hey, let's face it. the DLO-DPA-MOD PE- QMG- has had one constant thing going in my 15 years - constant organisational change. How can we expect people to become proficient, let alone experts when we keep moving the deckchairs every 2-3 years? I'm all for chucking out the deadwood, and making sure the organisation reflects the priorities of defence, but at some stage, we've got to stop moving the seats around and let some folk crack on and do the boring stuff - like getting into the detail of the contract, the requirements, and all that malarky. Next thing, as per above posts is for the pay in DES to be put up to attract professionals from outside Civil Service, and to help retain the good ones! Thin out the dross, cut the processes and start giving Defence what it needs - which is kit, NOW, and lots of it! Oh, and start making some of the more senior people in the organisation stay in post for longer, and sack them when it goes wrong, is late, or massively over budget. That should refocus a few people!
     
  12. Reading the last few posts does sound like my career, start off on the tools, job gets moved to industry, move to IPT, stay for 3 years, job gets moved to industry and move over to another IPT. I'm no longer a SME for my original area, because i've been out of it for 5 years now, so i'm trying to become a SME in another area, but to me it's a total waste of a 4 year apprenticeship, 3 years on the bench and 5 years at college. When i had to move from the original IPT i did look at moving to industry, i was offered a job and found out it was doing the exact same stuff that was being let go by the MoD, the starting salary was 10k more than what i was earning at the time, work that one out :x

    An interesting thing i was told was that to get the go ahead to create a new post and fill it is near impossible these days, but to go out and hire a consultant at over a grand a week is easy.
     
  13. Probably because it's cheaper. Once you fill that new post, you're looking at a minimum of £50k per year (the rough rule of thumb is "double the salary to get how much it costs to employ someone"), for the next decade or so, and another decent wedge if you decide to sack them; you're committing to at least £150k of expenditure over the next three years, probably far more. If you hire too many, or the work takes a downturn, you're paying all that for people to sit on their arrse all day (through no fault of their own, I might add).

    Instead, you can get a consultant/contractor (managing it, or doing it, respectively) to turn up for a project that's a month or two long, spend £8k or £10k on them, and tell them to f**k off at the end of it.

    That is of course the theory. Reality is that you get good consultants/contractors and you get bluffing wasters, just like anywhere else. I married a consultant (and she's a damn good one); and at work I sit next to a contractor with a double first and a doctorate from Cambridge, bright as a bag of light bulbs, worth every penny.