NG style Officer Commissioning - simple

#1
My BC has just come back from an exchange visit to the US and it seems (once again) the septics have got Officer commissioning sort out rather neatly.

It goes like this

2 weeks, followed by 12 weekends (can be done from one per month to every single weekend for 3 months) followed by a 2 week commissioning course.

So you can get your camp in year 1 and in year 2 and each weekend is learning a different skill.

Why can't we make it this simple?

msr
 
#2
2 weeks, followed by 12 weekends (can be done from one per month to every single weekend for 3 months) followed by a 2 week commissioning course.

Why can't we make it this simple?
Never, I tell you. It should be two weeks, followed by eight to ten weekends, followed by a nine day battle camp, followed by a two week commissioning course.

You know, like the DES of the 1980s, or the TAPOC of the 90s. Heretic.

Next you'll be suggesting that we allow candidates to do it all in a concentrated eight-week course; perhaps called Ex FAST TRACK, or similar...
 
#3
followed by 12 weekends (can be done from one per month to every single weekend for 3 months)
How much resources, that we don't or would ever have, would it require to do that? Considering the RTCs already struggle to maintain their current frequency of training! Otherwise its pretty close to what we do anyway.

I think everyone would rather be in the NG than the TA, but we don't have the money or will to do stuff like this.
 
#4
MSR, isn't that just the same as doing 2 weeks Mod 1 (lets call it the first 2 weeks of a Summer Challenge or any other concentrated Ph1 cse, e.g. run at the same time as unit annual camp) followed by Mods 2 and 3 over weekends followed by TACC? With options to do the Mod 1 as weekends alongside CMS(R) recruits, or to do Mods 1,2,3 in one 6 or 7 week block (lets call it Summer Leader) and get it all done in a oner as well?

Any way you cut it, it should be easy to get your Mod 1 done one summer, and to do 2 and 3 in time for TACC the next summer. I have heard of folks doing 1,2,3 (Summer Leader) and TACC all in the same summer...

Perhaps redesigning courses isn't the answer, but some sort of effort at getting more UOTC types who should be doing plenty of these sort of Modules to come into the wider TA/Reserves once their student days are over would strike me as the obvious place where we are losing people with training. That said, I'm not convinced all of them would want to be in the TA proper, nor that the TA would necessarily want all of them. Worth considering though.
 
#5
My BC has just come back from an exchange visit to the US and it seems (once again) the septics have got Officer commissioning sort out rather neatly.

It goes like this

2 weeks, followed by 12 weekends (can be done from one per month to every single weekend for 3 months) followed by a 2 week commissioning course.

So you can get your camp in year 1 and in year 2 and each weekend is learning a different skill.

Why can't we make it this simple?

msr
That is but one option for completion of OCS, run at state level. They also do a straight 8-week couse of the summer/winter, and the federally-sponsored OCS at Ft Benning, which is 14 weeks long. Many people choose the latter optins to get it over quicker!

And don't forget, in order to complete OCS, you will have also done 16 straight weeks of OSUT (phase 1/2) when you join!
 
#6
How about something radical? Why not train TA officers to a level where they can actually do their job on mobilisation? That's not going to happen in 52 days.
 
#7
How about something radical? Why not train TA officers to a level where they can actually do their job on mobilisation? That's not going to happen in 52 days.
Nope, nor does it. I reckoned that I did well over 100MTDs worth of stuff to do with commissioning and becoming even mildly useful (and that was back in the 1980s) - not all TA training happens on centralised courses.
 
#8
How exactly does TA commisioning work?

For RAuxAF it is 2 weeks, 5 weekends, followed by another 2 weeks. Then you are commisioned and off to do trade training. Is the TA version alot more convoluted?

As to R_H point, it is certainly a consideration for alot of the youngsters we try and convince. Why should they commision if they will never deploy, when they can stay as a boot on the ground, and go deploy in role?
 
#9
I am sure that if the balloon went up and the GSFG descended onto the North German plain, the TA would have acquited itself well.

But, times have chagned. In the COE (and that goes beyond HERRICK) very few reservists will deploy who have not received training equivalent to their regular counterpart. A TA officer can manage without some of the RMAS CCC academic package and 95% of the drill, but that will leave at least at least 5-6 months of full time training to complete. [Funnily enough, that's not much short of the old SGC / SMC.] Of course, then we have to add on special to arm training. For TA Inf that means regular PCBC (some TA officers are already attending).

If the future role of the reserves is to deploy (maybe as IRs or as formed sub units), then we will have to start training officers sufficiently to do the job. Perhaps the way ahead is an old style (3 years incl RMAS) SSC followed by a period of reserve service.
 

WatchingWater

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
#10
Funny thing is, I was talking to an American soldier the other day and he said he preferred the British way of commissioning ('it has more common sense about it').
 
#11
Nope, nor does it. I reckoned that I did well over 100MTDs worth of stuff to do with commissioning and becoming even mildly useful (and that was back in the 1980s) - not all TA training happens on centralised courses.
I agree with Gravelbelly on this one...I kept a record and it took me around 120 days to become useful, and this time did not include the 10 mile run in boots once a week in my own time, with lots of subsidiary runs in between, and plenty of cross country night navigation with my Silva among the fields and farms of the West Midlands, and sitting in a blacked out room packing and unpacking a large pack, among other distressing and faintly disreputable things. :)

That was back in the 1980's too; of course, we were a drinking club then you know...
 
#12
I am sure that if the balloon went up and the GSFG descended onto the North German plain, the TA would have acquited itself well.

But, times have chagned. In the COE (and that goes beyond HERRICK) very few reservists will deploy who have not received training equivalent to their regular counterpart. A TA officer can manage without some of the RMAS CCC academic package and 95% of the drill, but that will leave at least at least 5-6 months of full time training to complete. [Funnily enough, that's not much short of the old SGC / SMC.] Of course, then we have to add on special to arm training. For TA Inf that means regular PCBC (some TA officers are already attending).

If the future role of the reserves is to deploy (maybe as IRs or as formed sub units), then we will have to start training officers sufficiently to do the job. Perhaps the way ahead is an old style (3 years incl RMAS) SSC followed by a period of reserve service.
Except that a TA OCdt starting the commissioning process is expected to be trained soldier standard when he starts the process - much like his NG equivalent going through OCS.

I do agree however that a relatively common deplyable (following STA) standard is required at commissioning, although I also think that the Regular Army might also reconsidered how much of the Regular CC is really needed to turn out the required standard of 2Lt...

As an example, whilst NG officers might have the option of a 'weekend and camp' based OCS, far more of their professional development occurs post-OCS. In the case of armor (sic) officers, this includes the full (6months?) of Armor Officer Basic, whilst infantry Officers will find themselves sampling the full delights of Ranger School...

It's a big investment upfront in training time, but IMHO opinion, worth it for a career of payback, and makes for a far more flexible regular-reserve transition capability, without the mind-baffling situation where TA officers who have completed frontline tours in AFG being forced to go back to day 1, week 1 at Sandhurst if the choose to make a regular career of it...
 
#13
Except that a TA OCdt starting the commissioning process is expected to be trained soldier standard when he starts the process - much like his NG equivalent going through OCS.
Well, let's take 'trained soldier standard' to be term 1 of the CC; that still leaves at least 6 months of training to undertake similar to R_H's proposal.
 
#14
Well, let's take 'trained soldier standard' to be term 1 of the CC; that still leaves at least 6 months of training to undertake similar to R_H's proposal.
Actually, I thought R_H was proposing to remove 95% of the drill, and much of the academic studies.
So assuming term 1 = trained soldier, as you say, removing drill and academics as proposed would reduce 2 x 14 week terms to something like 15-20 weeks?

My proposal would be that Sandhurst removed most of the academic coursework, drill beyond term 1 standard, and much of the work relating to formalised 7 question estimate (in the US, this is not practiced below Bn level) and teach this at STA level and post-JOTAC (in fact, where JCSC used to be).

I agree with the contention that a TA commissioning system that doesn't align with a regular commission borders on useless, especially if the Army is trying to encourage greater mobility between the active and reserve components, but I think we also need to take a long hard look at the training aims and objectives of Officer Training in general.
 
#15
Actually, I thought R_H was proposing to remove 95% of the drill, and much of the academic studies.
So assuming term 1 = trained soldier, as you say, removing drill and academics as proposed would reduce 2 x 14 week terms to something like 15-20 weeks?

My proposal would be that Sandhurst removed most of the academic coursework, drill beyond term 1 standard, and much of the work relating to formalised 7 question estimate (in the US, this is not practiced below Bn level) and teach this at STA level and post-JOTAC (in fact, where JCSC used to be).
Not sure if I'd agree with the removal of the estimate process. The equivalent 'combat appreciation' as it was known in my day was an eye-opener for a 19-yr old ocdt, and helped put things into proper perspective after two years in the TA ranks, where the question 'why?' was not encouraged. As a logical thinking skill it was easily transferable to civvy work and personal life and I have to say that I still use it pretty much to this day (only now without so much smk on the right flank).
 
#16
Not sure if I'd agree with the removal of the estimate process. The equivalent 'combat appreciation' as it was known in my day was an eye-opener for a 19-yr old ocdt, and helped put things into proper perspective after two years in the TA ranks, where the question 'why?' was not encouraged. As a logical thinking skill it was easily transferable to civvy work and personal life and I have to say that I still use it pretty much to this day (only now without so much smk on the right flank).
Oh, I agree the notion of a combat appreciation (for want of a better buzzword) is still invaluable. However, the long winded method of doing a full 7 question estimate - replete with point-winning notional courses of action - serves only to confuse the matter at section and platoon level, with the result that by the time the process becomes useful (Bn level and above), many have lost faith in it.

As I've mentioned before, the US maintain two separate systems: the troop leading procedure at Coy and below, and the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) at Bn and above.

The 'appreciation' upon which troop leading procedures are based boil down to a checklist of METT-TC (mission, enemy, terrain/weather, troops/support available, time and civillian). There is no real format that I'm aware of, just things to bear in mind, and it seems to work well.
The full MDMP process becomes a lot clearer at Bn and above, when the staff sections all work together to provide the commander a clear picture to make command decisions from - not just a long winded method for a single commander to work through by himself.
 
#17
...As I've mentioned before, the US maintain two separate systems: the troop leading procedure at Coy and below, and the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) at Bn and above.
Good for the Amercians!

As for us Brits we do things slightly differently and thus there is much utilitiy in the 7 question estimate. I think you'll find it's used extensively at sub-unit level on operations and it's a skill you can't just 'turn on' as an OC, hence why it is introduced at an early stage to develop sufficient experience.
 
#18
Good for the Amercians!

As for us Brits we do things slightly differently and thus there is much utilitiy in the 7 question estimate. I think you'll find it's used extensively at sub-unit level on operations and it's a skill you can't just 'turn on' as an OC, hence why it is introduced at an early stage to develop sufficient experience.
Indeed it is, but I feel it's taken too far. I give a recent JNCO cadre as an example. The instruction handed down from Brecon was for the section commander to step back after the contact occurs, and go through a 7 Questions estimate. All this achieves is slowing down a process which by this stage should be instinctive to a PJNCO. IE "Fcuk me theres woods to the right, **** all to the left, bags of smoke, right flank"

I agree in its use as a planning tool at platoon plus, however we have to be wary of overcomplicating things, which with the long winded nature of 7 Qs is a real possibility
 

BBear

LE
Kit Reviewer
#19
Actually, I thought R_H was proposing to remove 95% of the drill, and much of the academic studies.
So assuming term 1 = trained soldier, as you say, removing drill and academics as proposed would reduce 2 x 14 week terms to something like 15-20 weeks?

I'd think that it would be less than that. Most people who I knew when in the TAs (sic) who attended Sandhurst for the full course came away from it hating it, resenting the bullshit and not any better at their jobs. The thing they had picked up was an attitude that because they can polish, do a troop attack and have been shouted at for a year they were more worthy than the rest of the army. A few didn't get this attitude but they were very much in a minority. I mean, I've commissioned, done a few ardous courses and the like, and generally don't walk around all badged up. So what else would drive a young officer, just commissioning into the ETS (FFS) to start a bout of finger jabbing after overhearing me and my mate talking about a course.


I think that the actual amount of time spent doing anything that useful is very low, to around 10 to 12 weeks.

My proposal would be that Sandhurst removed most of the academic coursework, drill beyond term 1 standard, and much of the work relating to formalised 7 question estimate (in the US, this is not practiced below Bn level) and teach this at STA level and post-JOTAC (in fact, where JCSC used to be).

Nah, 7 Questions (when taught correctly and appropriately) is a good tool to utilise when people know how much of it to go through. That's more of an instinctive thing however, and will not be generated by a "you will go through the entire thing ********" mentality.

I agree with the contention that a TA commissioning system that doesn't align with a regular commission borders on useless, especially if the Army is trying to encourage greater mobility between the active and reserve components, but I think we also need to take a long hard look at the training aims and objectives of Officer Training in general.

Yes. Agree wholeheartedly. I've heard of this "1 army" concept, but it is a load of bollocks. Differentation between TA/Regular army is everywhere. One of the issues is, when looking to slam an organisation down you pick on the worst block, whilst offering your best as a comparison. All we need is one idiot and thats any credibility screwed. Unfortunately, there are plenty in the army, some of whom are in the TA (and some very notable offenders being ex-regular to boot).

Why can't we screw the nut between bullshit courses, and actual operational experience. It is a joke that TA ruperts, who have been platoon commanders for regular units (and high profile ones) or have done some nifty staff work, have to go back to day 1 week 1, as was mentioned before. If people could move away from the mentality of "I did it, so they should have to" then that would be for the better.

Before anyone pipes up, I'm not advocating that people try the TA course as an easier option. The tricky part is managing your life around the course, just something to think about.
 
#20
....a relatively common deplyable (following STA) standard is required at commissioning, although I also think that the Regular Army might also reconsidered how much of the Regular CC is really needed to turn out the required standard of 2Lt...

....It's a big investment upfront in training time, but IMHO opinion, worth it for a career of payback, and makes for a far more flexible regular-reserve transition capability...
Agree with all that. In fact, this is starting to look a lots like the old SMC for all SSC (and I would add in reservist officers) followed by the old RCC fo senior Lts and Capts converting to Reg C.

If the reservist commissioning process can no longer produce an officer who can be deployed in the COE in his / her primary role, then its time for rethink. Otherwise the TA commission might as well have the same status as an ACF one.
 

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