Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by irlsgt, Apr 3, 2011.
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Isn't that the point of Firm Base?
Whilst your johng allusion amuses me, it is incorrect. Most of what you have discussed above either a) doesn't require a serviceperson to do it, or b) doesn't need doing at all. It certainly doesn't need the huge numbers that sit within the Regional Forces Brigade HQs.
The Army is fat, and places like this are an ideal opportunity to refocus back onto the front line. Cut 90% of hte PIDs associated with them and you could re-introduce a whole swathe of OR1 - OR4 posts to give the lads in units a bit more flex.
Great way to cut costs from a government point of view. The Army is not currently involved in high profile conflicts . ...great time to slash costs on accomdation. Of course they will not increase wages to compensate for the loss of this.....just drip feed the Daily Mail on how good it is...how expensive service accommodation is....etc...etc
If those jobs are really necessary you have rear link non-deployed posts in the operational Bdes.
Eg if 16 Air Aslt Bde is based in X and the local cadets want a helo but the Bde is deployed there is a captain in the rear link party that they contact.
Administrative brigades, which don't have a nominal operational role, but undertake a variety of routine tasks including some responsibility for 2 battalions.
Yes. Yes it does. Thats the point. Hence the unusual nature of 52 Bde going on Herrick - unprecedented at the time and not subsequently repeated.
You're missing a key point aren't you?
If the posts merit their funding, they should be kept, if not, they shouldn't.
It doesn't make a whit of difference whether they're notionally attached to a "proper" operational Brigade or to an admin blob with various responsibilities, using the nomenclature of "Brigade".
You can delete a few "Brigade HQs" but you haven't achieved anything unless you've reduced the number of jobs.
The issue at hand is not whether we've Brigadiers with large staffs hiding from the MoD, sitting on piles of equipment but wasting their time hosting Rotarians and avoiding deployment ( we don't ) but whether the Army should be relieved of some responsibilities or is overmanning the ones it has.
Well, that would be nice. At least we agree on something.
But I doubt ditching the odds and sods jobs ( resilience, cadets, land, Cambrian patrol etc ) and a host of AR PIDs are going to buy many battlegroups.
This the key point, related to the manning thread. I genuinely think the Army is far too wedded to old, discretionary tasks that just need to be cut in toto. Instead of salami slicing, just get rid. Whilst individually each task binned might not add up to much, I think you'd be surprised about what the whole would look like. A battlegroup - probably not; PIDs back at training establishments to allow JNCOs and SNCOs a non-deployable (but output focused) job for 2 years (and replacing a civvy) - absolutely.
I don't disagree. I really don't.
I just don't think that AHQ is actually wedded to discretionary tasks, but simply can't shrug them off.
In the past we sacked off quite a few things like covering floods etc, for good reasons on both sides, only for politicians to publicly require boots on the streets as soon as Something Needed To Be Done.
Just because the Army decrees "we no longer do this shi.t" doesn't mean it isn't going to be expected to do it.
Moreover, I have genuinely yet to witness or hear about these layers of fat.
I do, however, see double-hatting, skeleton ORBATs, use of civilian contractors, high use of FTRS and ADC contracts, and hundreds of notional AR posts in the fields you allude to.
Oh, and internet experts confidently declaring "we need fewer senior officers lolling around Chepstow in 3 piece tweed suits, visiting the local Rotary club, putting their kids through Charterhouse... instead we need more deployable soldiers!"
The drawback is, I have. I've met people who confidently declare they're "Ops Officers" of organisations that have no operational output, and (in the main) produce only internal products. I've met Officers who frankly are in sinecures because no-one wants to get rid of a cushty post in Dorset or Devon (or Monmouth, or Northumbria). Nearly all of whom are drawn from the 'Regional' or 'Adaptive' force areas.
I've met great Officers, SNCOs and JNCOs on the Front Line who genuinely impress me, but they seem consistently let down by an Army that is unwilling to make some really big decisions: why is there any Service involvement in Land or Cadets? FTRS and ADC contracts are frankly just as bad - they represent a real cost and the second order opportunity cost - what is that well trained and experienced bloke not doing that could add operational value.
It's a point of view, but not one shared by the General Staff - 'Persistent Engagement - at Home and Overseas' is seen as a key part of the Army's output and an enabler of recruiting for the regular and reserve and resettlement. Also, the future contribution by the Army to UK Ops is unavoidable. The UK public is not interested in adventures overseas and upstream capacity building. It is much more concerned that the Army it pays for is available when the 'effluent hits the affluent' and when there is a threat of blood on the streets of UK. Whilst the organisational arrangements might change, the requirement is unlikely to change soon.
The Regular component providing firm base at an RPOC Bde HQ is surprisingly thin. Probably not much more than a Colonel (DComd) and a couple of SO2s. The rest are either FTRS or reservists on ADC or MTDs. I'm not sure how many NCO PIDS at training establishments such a move would liberate.
There's plenty of inefficiencies and wasted effort in formations and units. Consider the vast number of man-hours per year that are spent on MS and career management across the whole Army and the number of PIDS devoted to CM. An overhead that no civilian organisation could possibly afford. Essential? Yes, although it's an enabler not the output the level of resource and effort would suggest. Efficient and effective? No. Massive scope to improve the process, free-up PIDs and to refocus effort on outputs.
@alfred_the_great Well - you might be right. Our experience evidently differs.
I see no problem in using the term "Ops Officer" for organisations which are not operational - titles are 90% vanity exercises. Most jobs in the AF, as in civilian life, are general manager roles overseeing internal processes. And anyone with more than a year or two in uniform can distinguish an SO3 in 16 Bde from his equivalent in - say - the AGC reserve admin cell.
But of course I do see a problem in the kind of sinecures you describe - although I do see some role for the Army in liaising with / keeping a watchful eye on civilian agencies and doing some cadet work.
Whether its too big or not, I dunno. But I suspect ( as Richard_Hannay alludes to ) there are bigger issues to tackle.
Exactly so operationally of limited use
again showing that they lack utility
My argument is this cut the ivory towers to reduce the chance of the meat (ie units that have real utility) being cut (and if at all possible increase the meat available).
If the taskings can be reduced excellent but can't see that happening.
But there is no reason why the Welsh Bde has to be the one to run Cambrian Patrol.
True, though it makes sense for the FTRS WO2 who spends 6 months a year organising the thing is based in South Wales with ease of access to the ranges, training camp, local farmers and the LTAR folk. He could be based at IBS, though I guess IBS doesn't want the distraction of running the Cambrian.
I can't see the Welsh Brigade going anywhere soon, especially given the public duties and representational role it has wrt the Welsh Assembly.
You missed the detail about RPOCs being 60-70% Civil Servant, of the remaining, a large chunk of being FTRS or ADC (so not really counted as Regulars, even if they are filling a PID formerly held by one) and those in the rest of the regular slots (which most definitely aren't WTE) are either a. on the glidepath out to civvie street, b. posted to the area for personal reasons or C. Picked by the fickle finger of APC to become a. in 6 months.
The "pare to the bone" so regular critical roles are maintained already took place. It was called AVANTI. It was a few years ago and guess what - if the posts that remained were self licking lolipops, they would have long gone in the budget slashings since 2009/10.
Let's take this to PMs if you want, and i'll jack up a visit to an RPOC to go and find the fat to trim.
I'm not in the UK for the next 6-7 months, v sorry!
I have. Lots of times. I just think @alfred_the_great is looking in the wrong place.
Could we do without regional bde HQs? Probably not. We could maybe downgrade the job to OF5 rather than 1* if we're desperate to save the pennies, but the difference will be minor.
Central headquarters is where the fat is. I defy anyone to visit Army HQ and then look at HQLF across the road and not think that there must be some serious fat that needs culling. Personally I'd look to reduce staff officer numbers by 50%. At least the 'OpsO' for a non operational formation probably has some kind of output; there are too many people in the defence hierarchy who do nothing but slow down decision making processes. A really deep set of cuts would do away with a large number of posts with very little drop in output.
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