'New Model Army'? The case for direct entry at SO1 level...

Why do people managing or delivering programs need to be in the army anyway? I doubt any of the directors at crossrail spent their early career driving trains or checking tickets, and BMW's car design engineers didn't learn their trade at Quikfit. A government company would be a better structure, thus circumventing the civil service low pay and performance challenge.

The argument that you need army people leading the program to ensure the outputs are suitable for the army is easy to demolish - look at BOWMAN, FRES etc. etc. You'd have to ensure it didn't become "jobs for the boys", stuffed with retired SO1s and 1 stars. You'd get a lot more accountability and oversight. Same for defence estates, logistics, intelligence etc.

From a now outside perspective the current job hopping every 2-3 years is such a nonsense. Nobody knows what they are doing and are looking for the exit as soon as they have got their feet under the desk. PRINCE 2, a partially completed distance learned MBA from Coventry and ACSC doesn't make a good project director. Gifted amateurs are fine in war, where you are pursuing a limited number of immediate options with little freedom of action, but not when you are managing a very complicated program with a 10 year lifespan.

Imagine if the channel tunnel was built by the army. "You've got a GCSE in French, so we'll send you on a language course for 6 months and you can then go and head up the French side for 2 years. Your elementary knowledge of Clausewitz, your top 1/3rd last report and your sports science degree will be fine".
 
I think the army is looking to change this under project CASTLE. One of the ideas being floated is a modular ICSC, with people only attending the relevant parts.

My instinct is that it will end up with combat arms attending all of it and others attending less, thereby undermining the whole concept, but I live in hope.
Should have a common core syllabus with specialist and/corps modules
 
If you were selecting a leader for a £200M project, which would you pick? The post command officer qualified at ACSC who did a thrusting staff job at the centre and did PRINCE 2 or the person with and MBA, a proper project management qualification and a record of delivering big projects?
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The guy with the MBA etc isn’t a specialist (in military terms)... he is trained to lead projects ..... not trained to lead projects on specifically on say MBT upgrades
 
Why do people managing or delivering programs need to be in the army anyway? I doubt any of the directors at crossrail spent their early career driving trains or checking tickets, and BMW's car design engineers didn't learn their trade at Quikfit. A government company would be a better structure, thus circumventing the civil service low pay and performance challenge.

The argument that you need army people leading the program to ensure the outputs are suitable for the army is easy to demolish - look at BOWMAN, FRES etc. etc. You'd have to ensure it didn't become "jobs for the boys", stuffed with retired SO1s and 1 stars. You'd get a lot more accountability and oversight. Same for defence estates, logistics, intelligence etc.

From a now outside perspective the current job hopping every 2-3 years is such a nonsense. Nobody knows what they are doing and are looking for the exit as soon as they have got their feet under the desk. PRINCE 2, a partially completed distance learned MBA from Coventry and ACSC doesn't make a good project director. Gifted amateurs are fine in war, where you are pursuing a limited number of immediate options with little freedom of action, but not when you are managing a very complicated program with a 10 year lifespan.
My civvy employer has outsourced its IT support..... open a ticket and they are looking to close it either seconds of opening it (and not cause it is fixed).... same with HR sourcing... they want feedback on every CV individually and immediately..... green lights syndrome (they are measured on how quickly they are closed not the quality of the result or if the issue has been solved).

The consultants we have used on major IT projects have burnt through the budget but when you tell them what you need it to do to allow you to do your job.....

Imagine if the channel tunnel was built by the army. "You've got a GCSE in French, so we'll send you on a language course for 6 months and you can then go and head up the French side for 2 years.”
Hang on now.... you know well that person would be well and truly be kept in the UK and be banned from communicating with anyone in French
 
I haven't seen it applies so narrowly. I have seen, for example, CEng required. Should a finance lead be a chartered accountant? Are you going to expect your LEGAD to have some legal qualification?

It can also be excessive. I can see one of the ways that obstacles will appear to external candidates will be PSC(j). Totally irrelevant in most of the circumstances where an external would bring value.

The FLCs play at SQEP most of the time, it's another half baked adoption from the world outside.

That said, we've always seem it play out in career management. In my service you're unlikely to get an OF5 role in HR unless you've done a couple of jobs there in the past. You're not going to be a navigator if you're an engineer or loggie. All we're now taking about is a bit of formalisation. Similar to career fields that we've had in the past.
True especially in very specialist fields
 
Why do people managing or delivering programs need to be in the army anyway? I doubt any of the directors at crossrail spent their early career driving trains or checking tickets, and BMW's car design engineers didn't learn their trade at Quikfit..
Whilst I fully agree with your line of argument, I should point out that Crossrail”s Engineering Director is a former 1* Engiineer in Chief.
 
Job opportunity :- Know nothing about the rail industry?

Willing to admit the f,k up was your fault?

BENEFITS.

Early retirement with generous pension.
OBE/MBE when the fuss dies down.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
maybe the concept of letters of marque should be dusted down and spin up again.
This is basically what the security contracting world already does. Who knows the actual numbers, but from a straw poll of people I know, a significant majority of security contracting jobs are those that previously were filled by the military or government depts. In many cases, they are directly subcontracted to those, for various reasons. Plenty of these include jobs that bored soldiers would jump at the opportunity to do.

It's rarer when weapons and HET are involved, primarily limited to PS, bodyguarding and security guard style stuff. And I've never seen or heard evidence of any contracted military offensive ops a la Africa, Oman etc in the 60s-70s, although obviously that's all the fiction authors ever want to write about. But literally every other role is substantially devolved to the private sector, while the military equivalents sit on their hands.

Only if you want all your best junior commanders to leave the service immediately and go and work for someone more fun.
...and this is partially what happens already. More money, more freedom, more individual responsibility, and - again if my acquaintances are anything to go by - a lot more chance of doing "fun" stuff, largely because there isn't a massive bureaucracy above you preventing it, and you're often the only one there, and have to do everything.

That said, like @bobthebuilder notes, the grass is never really greener. There is a lot of total bullshit too. If you fill an industry with people from high-bullshit organisations like the Army, expect some of it to come with them.

So I think you may be too late. Already happened!
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
...and this is partially what happens already. More money, more freedom, more individual responsibility, and - again if my acquaintances are anything to go by - a lot more chance of doing "fun" stuff, largely because there isn't a massive bureaucracy above you preventing it, and you're often the only one there, and have to do everything.

That said, like @bobthebuilder notes, the grass is never really greener. There is a lot of total bullshit too. If you fill an industry with people from high-bullshit organisations like the Army, expect some of it to come with them.

So I think you may be too late. Already happened!
Fair, but the thing that's missing is the combat opportunities. They exist occasionally in the contracting world but in reality they're rare. I think joining anything that looks like a mercenary organisation is illegal under UK law.

If you started an organisation that actually did offer combat opportunities on behalf of HMG then I think you'd find a lot of people choosing to join that rather than taking the desk job that Glasgow wants them to do. The drain in US SOCOM at the moment is significant and I think our combat arms would find a similar effect taking place if they can do real fighting somewhere.
 
Fair, but the thing that's missing is the combat opportunities. They exist occasionally in the contracting world but in reality they're rare. I think joining anything that looks like a mercenary organisation is illegal under UK law.

If you started an organisation that actually did offer combat opportunities on behalf of HMG then I think you'd find a lot of people choosing to join that rather than taking the desk job that Glasgow wants them to do. The drain in US SOCOM at the moment is significant and I think our combat arms would find a similar effect taking place if they can do real fighting somewhere.
So, a minor thread deviation... in May this year August Cole (he of Ghost Fleet fame) wrote a short piece about Brit blended AI and augmented combat teams fighting in down town Djibouti.
Automated Valor
In it he proposes the British Commonwealth Legion as a mechanism and motivation for those fighting future conflict.

Its not a new idea and as @Condottiere can explain is based on the French approach of taking a mixed bag of manpower, training it up, firing it towards challenging objectives with a lower concern about fatalities/casualties than full citizens, and dangling a citizenship carrot if one survives one's term.
Also can be a bit deniable on some more grey zone operations.

It worked for the Romans, encouraging people to earn their franchise and i hear it might have some future take up as well....
service guarantees citizenship.jpg
 
So, a minor thread deviation... .....Its not a new idea and as @Condottiere can explain is based on the French approach of taking a mixed bag of manpower, training it up, firing it towards challenging objectives with a lower concern about fatalities/casualties than full citizens, and dangling a citizenship carrot if one survives one's term.
Also can be a bit deniable on some more grey zone operations.
The (French) Foreign Legion has recently significantly expanded and is now at its largest since the departure from Algeria after the end of that conflict. ........... No need to wonder why.
 
Even then, it's an obstacle. If we're talking about bringing in people from the world then they won't have had the opportunity to do ICSC or ACSC. the question becomes, do then need to have done it or will it become an opportunity to put irrelevant obstacles in place.

As @bobthebuilder is identifying, do you actually want someone with an MBA, MCIPS, or an MSc in Project management to be leading the procurement of, for example, RPP2 or do you want a cavalry Col supported by a MoD contracts officer?

Equally you do risk excluding good candidates for a role from within the service, which gets back to the question of whether you need that individual to be in uniform or not. Going back to RPP, did that need a Col leading it, or would it have benefited from a civilian with some good experience negotiating contracts of that scale and complexity?
I’d suggest you want someone with the SQEP (although I dislike the term) to build and run a multi-disciplinary project team in a complex stakeholder environment. Someone with the commercial nous to get a good deal, someone with experience of securing resources, including budget, in the MoD investment system.

That is unlikely to be a cavalry Colonel or an MoD commercial officer. It is likely be an experienced professional project manager who combines education, knowledge and experience in the field.
 
So, a minor thread deviation... in May this year August Cole (he of Ghost Fleet fame) wrote a short piece about Brit blended AI and augmented combat teams fighting in down town Djibouti.
Automated Valor
In it he proposes the British Commonwealth Legion as a mechanism and motivation for those fighting future conflict.

Its not a new idea and as @Condottiere can explain is based on the French approach of taking a mixed bag of manpower, training it up, firing it towards challenging objectives with a lower concern about fatalities/casualties than full citizens, and dangling a citizenship carrot if one survives one's term.
Also can be a bit deniable on some more grey zone operations.

It worked for the Romans, encouraging people to earn their franchise and i hear it might have some future take up as well....
View attachment 354811
Like Gurkhas and Fijians?
 
Like Gurkhas and Fijians?
Not really, Gurkhas are classified as Treaty Troops, and their service is agreed and ratified at a governmental level.
This pre-existing mechanism has been used to increase Brigade of Gurkha PIDs to cover @600 unfilled specialist roles and potentially stand up a third Battalion as a SPIB.
Fijians are commonwealth citizens and so join under that citizenship cover.

The idea he proposes in his article is a little wider
[QuoteE] There were now 91 million members of the British Commonwealth worldwide, including the 64 million resident citizens in Great Britain. The other 27 million were members of the “e-Commonwealth,” and another 3 million were currently working to become virtual citizens of Great Britain. The British program was modeled on Estonia’s e-citizenship, begun in 2014, but expanded on it with dramatic and unexpected success. Born in Caracas or Los Angeles or Seoul or Chengdu? For a nominal fee, an applicant could begin the years-long process of earning points toward citizenship through a variety of avenues, such as paying British taxes.

For a lucky 32,000 people, their route was a three-year contract in the British Commonwealth Legion. This gave Britain a highly motivated, diverse and internationally savvy fighting force that could be used in ways and places regular forces could not. The closer applicants got to full Commonwealth citizenship, the more benefits they accrued, such as unrestricted home market access, e-health services and bot-wellness clinics, free online advanced education at top universities, software guild memberships, and more. Just being selected to be an applicant conferred benefits, though the criteria were cloaked in mystery and managed by the so-called “royal family” of artificial general intelligences from the Home Office, Foreign Office, and Ministry of Defence.

As with any advancement, however, there were unanticipated complications. In just a few short years, Britain’s foreign economic and cultural engagement spread far wider than even during the Empire’s peak, which put the country in increasing conflict with China—and Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy that overlaid its trade and strategic interests with the world’s economically vital regions. These same regions were home to millions of current and aspiring Commonwealth citizens.
[/quotE]
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Fair, but the thing that's missing is the combat opportunities. They exist occasionally in the contracting world but in reality they're rare. I think joining anything that looks like a mercenary organisation is illegal under UK law.
Agreed, as I said in the post before.

Starting a combat arms contractor / mercenary group is fraught with problems. The basic issue is that there isn't real demand on either side (e.g. western governments or conflict region governments). Sometimes demand will appear, but it is very temporary and situational. There are also significant headwinds in today's political environment with using foreign troops, anywhere, let alone from half way across the world.

In the US it only worked in the 2001+ period because there was a very situational demand from a very specifically ideological home government...and that went wrong with Blackwater / Xe.

In Oman and Brunai and so on it only really worked because there was a specific demand from a powerful individual - usually the head of government - in country, and no barrier (like the law you mention) from the providing country(s).

Add to that the facts that a) the capital investment for any combat arm is substantial, b) modern employment and other laws in western countries make it largely impossible to run something where there is significant risk to life without massive overheads, and c) the business model of much of the security sector pushes the responsibility if anything goes wrong onto the individuals, because the companies cannot afford to carry those costs themselves. That does not make for engaged and content employees - it makes for worried and mistrustful ones.

So you are looking at something that is set up abroad; requiring a lot of investment; recruiting from the "home base" while avoiding those national laws; with an itinerant employee pool; without a significant demand. Those factors above also mean it is open to all sorts of legal complications from the outset. Also, add the fact that you also have several massive potential competitor monopolies (state militaries) who may decide to get in on your job for "free". It's a bad business proposal, and since it needs investment, that means you aren't going to get it off the ground. There is a reason that all the public examples are failures.

In other words, the security world has probably expanded (and it has done so rapidly) to the practical extent it can expand, under current conditions. There is still a substantial element of the sector that does "operational" (in mil terms) work, it's just not generally the kind that involves carrying a rifle or driving a tank.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
Why do people managing or delivering programs need to be in the army anyway? I doubt any of the directors at crossrail spent their early career driving trains or checking tickets, and BMW's car design engineers didn't learn their trade at Quikfit. A government company would be a better structure, thus circumventing the civil service low pay and performance challenge.
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I get your point but I work in a number of areas where we have parachuted in B2, B1, 1* and 2* from industry with "experience" and "successful track records" and do you know what the result is!!

What I do think is that we could and probably should do is fill PMOs with experienced project support staff and give people relevant financial and project training from quite early on in their careers.

Typically, note I say typically, in the RN we see people at SO1/OF5 being appointed at Project Managers/Programme Directors yet for most of their career they've not been exposed to the mechanics of finance, financial management and project/programme management and we wonder why they flounder?

The best examples are warfare Officers, 14+years at sea, selected for Command, success at command and rewarded with a MoD tour, the best selected for RP - with a significant likelihood of no prior experience. Can you imagine industry following that model?

But, you do need people to understand how this works, because many will go onto Senior strategic positions and they need a good grasp of capability development, financial management, programme/portfolio management to run what is quite a large enterprise. We just need to bake it in much earlier which won't be easy.

Going back to the original point, those leading the projects/programmes (uniformed) I've rarely seen any that don't understand it. Fine digging at PRINCE2, but many have done MSP, P3M/MOR, MPLA etc and aren't really that stupid. You very quickly realise though that we don't work with the same levers as commerce. I'm a Programme Director now, passed MPLA, I don't actually have true fiscal control and I can't move money around in my programme. Just makes me well informed and able to admire problems!

Hands kind of tied and then compound that with my only two delivery mechanisms ISS and DE&S, both of which run around on fire, with ever less resource and we throw ever more work at them. I can write strongly worded letters of annoyance, rant that we're missing CASP/ISP milestones but there is no real way to hold them to account. Thats why we're getting nowhere quickly.

The disaggregated/delegated model doesn't really work, the financial constraints/controls we operate under don't allow us the expected freedoms and we're constrained to use two struggling delivery mechanisms.

In this context you could appoint God as the SRO for MORPHEUS and I doubt he'd deliver it to PCT!
 
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