Programme CASTLE

Cyberhacker

War Hero
Yep, it is usually more important to a RAO (meaning their report) that their staff assimilate into the units training programme rather than insisting that they concentrate at becoming expert at their own trade.

I have yet to serve in a Tri-Service environment where the AGC matched, never mind exceeded their peers in the Navy/RAF.
I guess this is all a result of the "soldier first" mentality - where (especially the infantry) units treat everyone as a rifleman first.

Let's be honest, if the cooks or the clerks are firing their rifles, or skirmishing, then something has gone seriously wrong.
 
But not helped by the Army's phenomenal ability to waste people's time by "on the bus, off the bus", "stacked readiness" and "2* direction over the fate of single Cpls". I'd suggest there's plenty enough time to do both "be core role" and "be core Army", but it isn't allowed to happen.
 

Buddy!

War Hero
Yep, it is usually more important to a RAO (meaning their report) that their staff assimilate into the units training programme rather than insisting that they concentrate at becoming expert at their own trade.

I have yet to serve in a Tri-Service environment where the AGC matched, never mind exceeded their peers in the Navy/RAF.

Absolutely. I've seen it time and time again and the outcome is invariably poor trade skills and very mediocre soldiering skills. A similar problem exists in my trade.

Here's a good, shocking dit: I was off on a last minute tasking a few years back and I had to show the clerk (a Corporal) where to find a NATO Travel Order on the system; he was searching on google image search. This isn't an exceptional case either.
 
Yep, it is usually more important to a RAO (meaning their report) that their staff assimilate into the units training programme rather than insisting that they concentrate at becoming expert at their own trade.

I have yet to serve in a Tri-Service environment where the AGC matched, never mind exceeded their peers in the Navy/RAF.
Is that down to who the RAO's 1RO is ?

As if it, that suggests the 2RO should be outside the unit and someone who knows the trade.
 
.....................

I have yet to serve in a Tri-Service environment where the AGC matched, never mind exceeded their peers in the Navy/RAF.
Agree with that. Supply Wing at MPA was another example. The OC, a Lt Col, couldn't get his head round the fact that RAF stackers were interchangeable in their various roles, i.e a fuels guy doing SCAF work, a clothing store wallah doing heli refuelling at Fox Bay/Hill Cove. I had a pet lab SNCO working for me, good at that kind of work but lacked the ability to take charge of the aviation/tac fuels teams. The RN POSA who was on the team was a top guy who would take on anything and reflected what I had found working with the matelots on 892/PTF during their Leuchars days.
 
Agree with that. Supply Wing at MPA was another example. The OC, a Lt Col, couldn't get his head round the fact that RAF stackers were interchangeable in their various roles, i.e a fuels guy doing SCAF work, a clothing store wallah doing heli refuelling at Fox Bay/Hill Cove. I had a pet lab SNCO working for me, good at that kind of work but lacked the ability to take charge of the aviation/tac fuels teams. The RN POSA who was on the team was a top guy who would take on anything and reflected what I had found working with the matelots on 892/PTF during their Leuchars days.
I noticed that on Herrick 15. Not one of the Infantry lads could turn their hand to anything that made their lives comfortable in a Helmand winter, like working out how the hot air blowers worked...
 
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But not helped by the Army's phenomenal ability to waste people's time by "on the bus, off the bus", "stacked readiness" and "2* direction over the fate of single Cpls". I'd suggest there's plenty enough time to do both "be core role" and "be core Army", but it isn't allowed to happen.
It is the hiding space of rogues and happens in the Other Ranks as much as with officers. First take a fairly average, bottom of the bottom third of a Sandhurst intake, Put them through basic training and a pass off parade. Allocate them to a Corps which completely baffles them and they will always take the easy route talking a hinted at SF level of military skills constantly demanding Tradesmen repeat sections of their basic training again and again as that is all they can understand.
 
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It is the hiding space of rogues and happens in the Other Ranks as much as with officers. First take a fairly average, bottom of the bottom third of a Sandhurst intake, Put them through basic training and a pass off parade. Allocate them to a Corps which completely baffles them and they will always take the easy route taking a hinted at SF level of military skills constantly demanding Tradesmen repeat sections of their basic training again and again as that is all they can understand.
Absolutely bang on the money. I have thought that since my Cpls' Course (At the time known as the Royal Signals Detachment Commanders' Course) in 1983. It was clear that the majority of the people in the 11 Sigs Trg Wg were hiding from the real army in their cushy little training slots, bullying people on a conveyor belt. I think they believed that the course members looked up to them, when the reality was that they just completed the course and went back to their lives. Very much a missed opportunity.
 
Absolutely bang on the money. I have thought that since my Cpls' Course (At the time known as the Royal Signals Detachment Commanders' Course) in 1983. It was clear that the majority of the people in the 11 Sigs Trg Wg were hiding from the real army in their cushy little training slots, bullying people on a conveyor belt. I think they believed that the course members looked up to them, when the reality was that they just completed the course and went back to their lives. Very much a missed opportunity.
Fortunately it's not like that now, unfortunately there are still plenty of places for "legends" to go and until you see supervisors jump into a traditional RD LE role, they will exist for a long time.
 
Fortunately it's not like that now, unfortunately there are still plenty of places for "legends" to go and until you see supervisors jump into a traditional RD LE role, they will exist for a long time.
The first bit is re-assuring. I know that the SOinC in about 2003/4 had a purge of instructors with no recent operational experience, which was a welcome move. The Licences, Streffords and Campbells were a toxic breed that poisoned years of R Sigs NCO courses. They were awful.

We should endeavour to wheedle out the rest so that they cannot infect future generations.
 
We should endeavour to wheedle out the rest so that they cannot infect future generations.
Then you need to change DE perceptions. As a whole I would say that it's far easier to hide in the RD community, once established you're made. A good battle camp etc then incidents get brushed under the carpet.
The RD fraternity was on the edge of disappearing due to lack of engagement with CADUCEUS. A couple of decent CRSMs on the bounce put a stop to that, though in my opinion if you were to make cuts, why do we use RD LEs in jobs that the RAF use DEs for.
The duty of care processes in Blandford are very robust which is probably what has pushed the toxicity away.
 

Cyberhacker

War Hero
in my opinion if you were to make cuts, why do we use RD LEs in jobs that the RAF use DEs for.
Swings and roundabouts... but given we're talking about institutionalised b**lshit, perhaps having some more LEs might be better? They'd come in with "real world" experience (and often skills and qualifications), not "we've always done it this way" (because that is the only way they know).

I'm not for one minute suggesting *all* DEs could be LEs
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
The first bit is re-assuring. I know that the SOinC in about 2003/4 had a purge of instructors with no recent operational experience, which was a welcome move. The Licences, Streffords and Campbells were a toxic breed that poisoned years of R Sigs NCO courses. They were awful.

We should endeavour to wheedle out the rest so that they cannot infect future generations.
I'll add my thanks to yours. I suspect we were rough contemporaries, within a couple of years of each other and dealt with essentially the same pack of baying imbeciles at 11 Sigs (I did my RSDCC there, rather than 13 as I was coming off a long UK course). Apparently 13 Sigs was just as annoying, with extra pain and humiliation; I just found Catterick pointless and, as you say, the course was just something to be endured, I didn't learn anything remotely useful. Being academically quite strong, I ended up with a B grade and it was hilarious to see the reaction from some of the DS, who thought I was an EW Op pouff. They were particularly annoyed at my command tasks on exercise, I didn't think to mention that I'd done SCBC when I was in the TA.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

Linked by @Stonker here

While basically everyone blowing the lid on the abject failure that is APC is welcome, increasingly I get the feeling that even serious attempts at reform are going to miss more than half the point, because most discussions, like that article, focus on the nature / role of "combat commanders" and generals.

This misses out the Corps, i.e. more than 50% of the Army. Corps officers are even more incompetent from following the same career system, because it is tuned to create combat commanders, and they are resoundingly unlikely to ever be one. Combat arms officers are merely wasting 60%+ of their time and potentially harming specialist areas they misunderstand by their incompetence. Corps officers are wasting 100% of their time, and definitely harming specialist areas because they are assumed to be specialists when they are not.

As an example, I've heard a large percentage of the current Major-Col crop of Int Corps officers openly and happily (obviously in private) espouse their lack of experience in intelligence, in favour of various platitudes about being managers, staff officers or (don't laugh) leaders. Plenty of RSigs capbadged people on here have said the same about Signals officers. Conversely, a lot of the Corps officers I've known who have left have done so partly in disgust at this lack of professionalism - why stay in an organisation where you strive to be competent in your core role, when it instead rewards bootlickers, personal assistants and HR managers?

At the same time, we suffer continual "intelligence failures" and even senior officers admit that our cyber and comms capabilities are seriously lacking more than 10 / 25 years (respectively) after they were first identified as major areas for investment. Perhaps sometimes correlation does equal causation.
 
It’d probably help if the LE/SNCO cadre in both J2 and 6 stopped actively blocking their Officers from doing “real” work…
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
It’d probably help if the LE/SNCO cadre in both J2 and 6 stopped actively blocking their Officers from doing “real” work…
...in the same way they block their Lance Corporals, with similar levels of experience and somewhat higher levels of training, from doing "real" work. It's a vicious circle. Until the DEs are professional peers of their subordinates and accepted and valued as such..... although that would, of course, be a massive career foul by a DE, on account of he wouldn't have all those sexy 'crunchy' jobs to decorate his OJAR with and hence would be rapidly overtaken by his gifted amateur, short-stay, high-speed generalist peers.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
...in the same way they block their Lance Corporals, with similar levels of experience and somewhat higher levels of training, from doing "real" work. It's a vicious circle. Until the DEs are professional peers of their subordinates and accepted and valued as such..... although that would, of course, be a massive career foul by a DE, on account of he wouldn't have all those sexy 'crunchy' jobs to decorate his OJAR with and hence would be rapidly overtaken by his gifted amateur, short-stay, high-speed generalist peers.

Makes me very glad of my own odd little niche in Defence, where in one role I happily do technical work as an OF2 for - and under the operational command of - an excellent Petty Officer, who won a Security Innovation Award at the last Defence Security Awards Ceremony (for “outstanding individual or team achievements in developing Defence Security capability or improving security outcomes through innovative means”)

I make myself useful where I can in that team, but the PO running it is in charge, and (rightly) gets the credit for its success despite his latest outing having had an OF2 and OF3 on the team - his job, his leadership, his recognition.

Not the way other places do it, to put it mildly? But in a small group with mutual trust and respect, "rank stops at the door, experience and knowledge doesn't" for working purposes is pretty successful.
 
It’d probably help if the LE/SNCO cadre in both J2 and 6 stopped actively blocking their Officers from doing “real” work…

Time invested in training/educating someone who is only going to be posted away to something completely unrelated in two years is time wasted for both parties. The "real" work still has to be done. But this comes from policy set well above any of this.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
It’d probably help if the LE/SNCO cadre in both J2 and 6 stopped actively blocking their Officers from doing “real” work…
Can't speak for J6, but in J2 the only officers who were actually blocked by SNCOs were weak or complicit (i.e. they didn't actually want to do the work anyway). LE's are a structural matter, where certain roles have been shadow defined as "LE only", which usually isn't great for a number of reasons. It also raises the possibility that the LE is actually a superior, which isn't exactly being 'blocked', more being 'ordered'.

For the same reason, if an officer can't tell their subordinates they are getting involved in the "real" work, they are failing in other ways too. Mostly it doesn't happen because it's their choice.

...in the same way they block their Lance Corporals, with similar levels of experience and somewhat higher levels of training, from doing "real" work. It's a vicious circle. Until the DEs are professional peers of their subordinates and accepted and valued as such..... although that would, of course, be a massive career foul by a DE, on account of he wouldn't have all those sexy 'crunchy' jobs to decorate his OJAR with and hence would be rapidly overtaken by his gifted amateur, short-stay, high-speed generalist peers.
I'm not sure they do this. JNCOs still do most of the legwork, but SNCOs often put it together or make decisions about what the "answer" is (or officers who are any good). Which is pretty much how it should be.

The second part is accurate enough. But unlike the combat arms, that is then inverted when they get to Major. The Corps have a lot of E1 staff roles at IG2/1, often singleton posts. These are assumed to be occupied by relevant specialists, but simply are not. They are occupied by ex-Adjutants and 2ICs. Those staff officers are dangerously unqualified to give specialist advice, and there are a lot of them. But those roles are the equivalent of Lance Corporals in the staff world - they do a lot of the actual legwork, which quite likely explains why so much of our capability and policy stuff is totally inadequate.
 
pack of baying imbeciles

A most splendid description.

I lay much blame at the door of the Corps senior leadership. They must have known of the mutual contempt between the baying imbeciles and the rest. How could they let such a dysfunctional structure exist for so long? The trades were changed a couple of times while I was in, that was a golden opportunity to put this to bed. Yet no matter what the new titles were, it always came back to the same tired old nonsense.
 

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