Operations and Tours 2016 Onwards

Dear All,

I'm currently going through the process of Officer Selection for the Int Corps, and I have some queries that this website seems best placed to answer. The essence of my question concerns i) how likely are genuine overseas operations over the next few years for all newly-trained officers, and ii) whether there is any difference between the likelihood or nature of overseas postings in the Int Corps compared to, say, Infantry. Various media sources, The Economist, FT etc, state that the decreased likelihood of a major conflict in the near future is hitting recruitment figures, and during one's career one naturally wishes to have the opportunity to do one's job in some critical capacity. Or are there opportunities for officers to get their hands dirty even without the prospect of a major overseas operation? I realise that British armed forces have personnel based overseas at all times, but does this equate to real career prospects in the short- to medium-term? Many thanks in advance.
 
Why do you think people from this website are best placed to tell you the future?

Do you think after so many years we are issued with crystal balls?

Life is life and things happen, concentrate on doing your job well and dealing with things as they happen.

As an Int Officer you may find yourself reaching your 'critical capacity' (whatever that is) despite the British Army not being involved in high intensity, high troop number campaigns. There's lots of little things go on and the slime often has dealings in them.
 
Dear All,

I'm currently going through the process of Officer Selection for the Int Corps, and I have some queries that this website seems best placed to answer. The essence of my question concerns i) how likely are genuine overseas operations over the next few years for all newly-trained officers, and ii) whether there is any difference between the likelihood or nature of overseas postings in the Int Corps compared to, say, Infantry. Various media sources, The Economist, FT etc, state that the decreased likelihood of a major conflict in the near future is hitting recruitment figures, and during one's career one naturally wishes to have the opportunity to do one's job in some critical capacity. Or are there opportunities for officers to get their hands dirty even without the prospect of a major overseas operation? I realise that British armed forces have personnel based overseas at all times, but does this equate to real career prospects in the short- to medium-term? Many thanks in advance.

Zero money & even less political appetite would suggest no chance of a major land component operation in the next decade or so...that said, there are still deployments aplenty, but more disparate and discrete.

Likely lines of effort are training teams to the developing world where the UK has a strategic interest (e.g. W & E Africa) specialising in med, CIS, log, Int and a bit of advanced infantry. Likewise RE infra specialists are probably the most in demand trade in Defence right now as invariably works need to be complete to enable/deploy UK forces.

Any strike ops will be delivered by death from above or from men in leather trousers with throwing stars. If you're RAC or Inf there's about as much chance of me winning the lottery tmrw as them deploying & fixing bayonets for a show down with the queens enemy.
 
Dingerr, good point, and fair criticism. I suppose my question was more centred around whether this was a general concern that all applicants have when no operations are looming. If I understand correctly, do you mean that even in years without major operations there will be a similar level and similar type of work to get involved in with Int Corps? Specifically, I'm hoping my career will take me in the direction of Human Intelligence.
 
Danny, that's what I had in mind when I was selecting the Int Corps. The notion that the primary contribution of the army overseas should be the training of foreign troops and supporting other nations' militaries seems to be in vogue at the moment. I rather assumed that this would mean that the Int Corps were an area in which there was a greater chance of real operations. Is this a fair assumption? Your comment seems to indicate as such.
 
I know exactly where you are coming from, it's to be expected.

But you are going to be an Officer, you will get asked questions requiring you to see into the future several times daily, you have to learn to deal with them effectively without destroying a soldier's enthusiasm.

All I will say, the better you are, the more you'll get recognised the more you'll get the Gucci stuff
 
Specifically, I'm hoping my career will take me in the direction of Human Intelligence.

</Wah shield down>

Just remember that in the main the soldiers will be doing it, as an officer you will be managing it.... and all the legal process that comes with that.

Remember the really secret stuff you never see on the Bond films, happens in the legal department. If you are lucky, as on officer you may get to see some of the lawyers' special techniques as they deftly trade Hob Nobs with their counterparts the Treasury and F&CO Lawyers !

Do they do lunch at Simpson's ? *

don't get me started !

#WhoPaysWins

( * or is it OXO now?)

</Wah up>
 
further to my earlier post i should also have added C-IED; there's a steady drumbeat of trade for UK C-IED experts
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Danny, that's what I had in mind when I was selecting the Int Corps. The notion that the primary contribution of the army overseas should be the training of foreign troops and supporting other nations' militaries seems to be in vogue at the moment. I rather assumed that this would mean that the Int Corps were an area in which there was a greater chance of real operations. Is this a fair assumption? Your comment seems to indicate as such.

If you want to go on Ops, or at least deliver operational effect from the UK, the Int corps is one of the best places to do that. You won't find yourself in exciting situations like the infantry but the chances of ending up in an interesting job and seeing your work making a difference are high. There are a lot of interesting jobs out there once you've got past the first couple of years as a troop commander in battalion.
 
further to my earlier post i should also have added C-IED; there's a steady drumbeat of trade for UK C-IED experts

Shame that, I don't think me rolling up and stating "today lads I'm going to teach you operator search" is going to go down too well

Alternatively it would certainly motivate the desire to learn.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
i) how likely are genuine overseas operations over the next few years for all newly-trained officers

If it's left up to the government, Parliament or military hierarchy: slim to none.
If Vlad or some other obliging warmonger gets involved: slim to some, but really all bets are off if Russia properly kicks off.

ii) whether there is any difference between the likelihood or nature of overseas postings in the Int Corps compared to, say, Infantry.

Yes, on both accounts. Higher likelihood of being used operationally in Int Corps, different nature. Depending on what you want (and if you want to go HUMINT then I'll take a guess at it being some kind of slightly punchy / exciting ground role) that may or may not float your boat. Bear in mind that in the infantry, although nobody may be shooting back at you any longer, you'll still get sent abroad on exercises and various other roles.

Various media sources, The Economist, FT etc, state that the decreased likelihood of a major conflict in the near future is hitting recruitment figures, and during one's career one naturally wishes to have the opportunity to do one's job in some critical capacity.

If you join the Int Corps, I can give you a 100% guarantee that it isn't so much the recruitment that you want to worry about, but the retention. On present trends, there is an 80%+ probability that after 3-6 years as a junior officer you will be looking to leave. This will likely be due to being overworked, jaded, disillusioned with the work and organisation, and unimpressed by the career prospects. At least, that's what has been happening for the last 5+ years, and it isn't getting any better.

If you join the infantry, you can still look forward to being overworked and disillusioned with the organisation, but it doesn't tend to be quite as extreme, and the career prospects are better.

Or are there opportunities for officers to get their hands dirty even without the prospect of a major overseas operation?

See previous. Also be aware that if you are primarily interested in HUMINT and on-the-ground intelligence, there is no barrier to doing HUMINT from the infantry, nor official advantage to being in the Int Corps (experiences may vary!). Joining the infantry and undertaking HUMINT selection is probably a much better route to scratch the itch of getting ground experience and working in intelligence than joining the Int Corps.
 
If you want to go on Ops, or at least deliver operational effect from the UK, the Int corps is one of the best places to do that. You won't find yourself in exciting situations like the infantry but the chances of ending up in an interesting job and seeing your work making a difference are high. There are a lot of interesting jobs out there once you've got past the first couple of years as a troop commander in battalion.

See my earlier: I assume you're referring to such exciting places as Salisbury Plain, Batus or Poland - or teaching africans section attacks for 2 weeks every 4 years...If i had kids that wan't to join the Army for a life of adventure I'd tell them the worst place to be right now is Inf/RAC.
 
oh, and its not just lack of tours for RAC, but lack of resource means vastly reduced quality training opportunities.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
See my earlier: I assume you're referring to such exciting places as Salisbury Plain, Batus or Poland - or teaching africans section attacks for 2 weeks every 4 years...If i had kids that wan't to join the Army for a life of adventure I'd tell them the worst place to be right now is Inf/RAC.

Having experienced all of the above (except BATUS) I'd take them over permadeployment between Bulford and Catterick, which is what you can expect of your first few years as an Int Corps JO these days.

Quite honestly, it's pump. All the previous upsides (year attachments elsewhere; cross-training opportuinities; instant op deployment) have been canned, and now the options for the first three years are pretty bleak. I would advise anyone I gave half a shit about at Sandhurst deciding between Inf/Corps today to go infantry, and if they didn't like the look of it after a few years, to transfer to the Corps. The latter have been haemorraging people for years at such a rate that transfering is unlikely to be a problem.

Also, none of the interesting Corps officer jobs appear until Captain at the earliest, and most are mid to senior Captain or Major.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Having experienced all of the above (except BATUS) I'd take them over permadeployment between Bulford and Catterick, which is what you can expect of your first few years as an Int Corps JO these days.

Quite honestly, it's pump. All the previous upsides (year attachments elsewhere; cross-training opportuinities; instant op deployment) have been canned, and now the options for the first three years are pretty bleak. I would advise anyone I gave half a shit about at Sandhurst deciding between Inf/Corps today to go infantry, and if they didn't like the look of it after a few years, to transfer to the Corps. The latter have been haemorraging people for years at such a rate that transfering is unlikely to be a problem.

Also, none of the interesting Corps officer jobs appear until Captain at the earliest, and most are mid to senior Captain or Major.

I'd agree with that. A good mate of mine transferred from the infantry as a captain and has been in very interesting jobs since. That's definitely a good strategy.

And @Danny_Dravot, I know plenty of people who've had interesting times in the infantry and RAC. It's mostly STTTs, but then you won't be kicking in compound doors these days unless you're SF. At least an STTT gives you some interesting experiences and a medal.
 

Andre

Old-Salt
Grendel

Who knows what is around the corner. I joined expecting to go to Northern Ireland and or evaporate in a heat wave in less then 3 minutes fighting the Russians. As it turns out they ripped down the Berlin wall in 89 we were in Armored battle groups nocking Iraq out of Kuwait by 91, then onto UN NATO operations in eastern Europe some stuff in Africa all before a thing called "War on Terror" another story


There is a good chance there will be no medal issues for a few years to come apart from the odd small team here and there off to do stuff with some un heard of people. Look at old photos in the late 80's most soldiers and officers had one medal maybe two. I guess 2016 onwards will bring Operations / War at some time or it will not happen I would take it as it comes and enjoy it.

Sorry doubt that actually helps Grendel
 
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CRmeansCeilingReached

ADC
Moderator
Having experienced all of the above (except BATUS) I'd take them over permadeployment between Bulford and Catterick, which is what you can expect of your first few years as an Int Corps JO these days.

Quite honestly, it's pump. All the previous upsides (year attachments elsewhere; cross-training opportuinities; instant op deployment) have been canned, and now the options for the first three years are pretty bleak. I would advise anyone I gave half a shit about at Sandhurst deciding between Inf/Corps today to go infantry, and if they didn't like the look of it after a few years, to transfer to the Corps. The latter have been haemorraging people for years at such a rate that transfering is unlikely to be a problem.

Also, none of the interesting Corps officer jobs appear until Captain at the earliest, and most are mid to senior Captain or Major.

When are you taking over as SO2 Recruitment Roadshows again? :D
 
Currently if you want to be an Officer and get hands on I can only see two choices - SAS or ATO.

The problem with going ATO is that you only get limited time in the trade and if you just don't click with IEDD then you'll get 2 years then it's off to make sure the tyre pressures are correct on a Sqn of trucks.

The bright side is that if you fail the ATO course you can also go for the easier option of the SAS.

If you really want to do something and stick at it, you have to join the ranks and Ammo Tech is probably the best if you want to do something interesting and want to be treated like an adult. (And you get a pretty little badge).

I may be accused of bias at this point.
 

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