Soldier or Officer

#1
Hi.

I am a 22 year old non grad. I have high enough grades at GCSE and A Level to join as an officer but do I need a degree for Int Corps? Do I need a 2nd language?

I am really interested in Intelligence but if I can't join as an officer can I join as a soldier and work my way up? I have been told I can apply for a commission after getting cpl but is this realistic? Or can I transfer in from another branch, signals for instance? What are my options?
 
#2
As far as I'm aware its rather unlikely that you would be selected as an officer without a degree I hear. Transfering is a rather long winded process too (took me 12 years!). I know of guys commissioning as JNCO's but as far as I'm aware they're not staying within the corps.
 
#4
12 years to transfer!?

I meet the minimum requirements of A level or equivalent for officer on the Army Jobs site but it looks like i'm unlikely to to get into a specialised job.

I also easily meet the requirements for OMI and this seems my most likely route into the Int Corps.

I have heard that if you are commissioned as a JNCO then you can't stay with your original regiment, is this the case?

It seems to be a toss up between being in Intelligence or being an Officer.
 
#5
My 12 years was more due to me getting my idiot years over with.... Some who may know me might not think thats long enough! We had plenty of guys with degrees on the OPMI course. Even more with A levels.
 
#6
Whilst in Sandhurst you will make a list of which corps you wish to commission into. You can put Int down but it's up to them whether they accept you. I have yet to meet an Int officer who was a non-grad.

As a soldier, you can apply to attend the officer selection board at any point. Your Platoon Commander will put you forward if they think you're suitable. Senior NCO's can apply for a Late Entry commission but the head shed in Int were not keen on LE's - this was a year ago and may have changed.

You need to decide whether you want to be an officer and 'manage' the Int troops and Int reports, or be an NCO and actually do the Int work. That's a huge generalisation but the jist is there.

Jack
 
#7
ironrations said:
My 12 years was more due to me getting my idiot years over with.... Some who may know me might not think thats long enough! We had plenty of guys with degrees on the OPMI course. Even more with A levels.
They're certainly not over yet!
 
#8
252_me said:
ironrations said:
My 12 years was more due to me getting my idiot years over with.... Some who may know me might not think thats long enough! We had plenty of guys with degrees on the OPMI course. Even more with A levels.
They're certainly not over yet!
I didn't think anyone from the corps had seen the upper lip adornment I'm sporting yet. I may be wrong!
 
#9
ironrations said:
252_me said:
ironrations said:
My 12 years was more due to me getting my idiot years over with.... Some who may know me might not think thats long enough! We had plenty of guys with degrees on the OPMI course. Even more with A levels.
They're certainly not over yet!
I didn't think anyone from the corps had seen the upper lip adornment I'm sporting yet. I may be wrong!
As if that PTI vest didn't make you gay enough already..................
 
#10
252_me said:
ironrations said:
252_me said:
ironrations said:
My 12 years was more due to me getting my idiot years over with.... Some who may know me might not think thats long enough! We had plenty of guys with degrees on the OPMI course. Even more with A levels.
They're certainly not over yet!
I didn't think anyone from the corps had seen the upper lip adornment I'm sporting yet. I may be wrong!
As if that PTI vest didn't make you gay enough already..................
Its ace!, It really brings out the red in my eyes!
 
#12
t_hedgehog said:
Hi.

I am a 22 year old non grad.

Did you drop out or not go - they will ask 'Why?'

I have high enough grades at GCSE and A Level to join as an officer but do I need a degree for Int Corps? Do I need a 2nd language?

What grades, which subjects?

I am really interested in Intelligence but if I can't join as an officer can I join as a soldier and work my way up?

Yes-currently JNCOs are being recruited as DEs, but you have to be good enough and bring something to the party.

I have been told I can apply for a commission after getting cpl but is this realistic? Yes. Or can I transfer in from another branch, signals for instance? What are my options?

Very likely if you are a Huminter - in my opinion part of what is wrong with our Corps as it permeates a narrow view of what Intelligence is,leading to misguided decisions based on ignorance and lack of experience.

It also disturbs me that the WOs/Sgts Mess of the future is denied the best JNCOs who are creamed off for DE- most likely elsewhere in the Army, DE transferees are gifted SO2 jobs and command appointments while those with the real experience and knowledge(in comparison to JNCO going for DE and DE transferees) - Int Corps WO2 and SNCOs -are not permitted to commission as LEs as it is restricted to WO1s, promotion to which is going to get harder and harder.

Frankly if I were an outsider looking in for the past several years I could only surmise that senior decision makers had a pathological dislike for SNCOs and WOs who first joined the Int Corps and werent Huminters, preferring instead to bring in anyone else as preferable Officer material. Of course 2008/9 might be the start of change.

I would like to see the day when our Corps actively encourages those that are more than capable of being selected and trained as an Officer in another Regiment or Corps or Service to choose to join our Corps over commissioning elsewhere and make a full career as a soldier, commissioning towards the end of their service and carrying on because they like our ethos, the way we conduct business and the impact we can and do have.

Perhaps someone will realise one day that if we send high calibre Cpls (for exampe) to do jobs interacting with the rest of the Army that calibre will be recognised and as a result people think 'bloody hell - hes a Cpl in the Int Corps - he could quite easily be a SNCO or Officer in my unit...'.

Of course some leave our Corps and make the grade in organisations such as The Parachute Regiment and the Light Infantry - best wishes, and some will leave and commission into the RLC. Err...ok. Some of those will even come back as transferee DEs into the Corps! Naturally some people want to push themselves, and some people are frustrated by those at the level immediately above them so decide to do something different.

You are not guaranteed happiness or job satisfaction as an Officer or Soldier but it is up to you to decide where you think you will be happiest. Dont join as an Officer because you think your 'status' as a soldier is beneath you, or because of peer or family pressure - do it because you want to.
 
#13
Pfft. The reality now...
If you're a 22 year-old bloke, go soldier. You'll be surrounded by young ladies who you can smash most nights of the week before they pass out of Phase 2 and get issued with their new military arses. If you go officer you'll have hardly anything to smash around you.
If you're a 22 year-old lady, you'd do well in both.
These trends will tend to continue after training.
 
#14
t_hedgehog said:
Hi.

I am a 22 year old non grad.

Did you drop out or not go - they will ask 'Why?'

I have high enough grades at GCSE and A Level to join as an officer but do I need a degree for Int Corps? Do I need a 2nd language?

What grades, which subjects?

I am really interested in Intelligence but if I can't join as an officer can I join as a soldier and work my way up?

Yes-currently JNCOs are being recruited as DEs, but you have to be good enough and bring something to the party.

I have been told I can apply for a commission after getting cpl but is this realistic? Yes. Or can I transfer in from another branch, signals for instance? What are my options?

Very likely if you are a Huminter - in my opinion part of what is wrong with our Corps as it permeates a narrow view of what Intelligence is,leading to misguided decisions based on ignorance and lack of experience.

It also disturbs me that the WOs/Sgts Mess of the future is denied the best JNCOs who are creamed off for DE- most likely elsewhere in the Army, DE transferees are gifted SO2 jobs and command appointments while those with the real experience and knowledge(in comparison to JNCO going for DE and DE transferees) - Int Corps WO2 and SNCOs -are not permitted to commission as LEs as it is restricted to WO1s, promotion to which is going to get harder and harder.

Frankly if I were an outsider looking in for the past several years I could only surmise that senior decision makers had a pathological dislike for SNCOs and WOs who first joined the Int Corps and werent Huminters, preferring instead to bring in anyone else as preferable Officer material. Of course 2008/9 might be the start of change.

I would like to see the day when our Corps actively encourages those that are more than capable of being selected and trained as an Officer in another Regiment or Corps or Service to choose to join our Corps over commissioning elsewhere and make a full career as a soldier, commissioning towards the end of their service and carrying on because they like our ethos, the way we conduct business and the impact we can and do have.

Perhaps someone will realise one day that if we send high calibre Cpls (for exampe) to do jobs interacting with the rest of the Army that calibre will be recognised and as a result people think 'bloody hell - hes a Cpl in the Int Corps - he could quite easily be a SNCO or Officer in my unit...'.

Of course some leave our Corps and make the grade in organisations such as The Parachute Regiment and the Light Infantry - best wishes, and some will leave and commission into the RLC. Err...ok. Some of those will even come back as transferee DEs into the Corps! Naturally some people want to push themselves, and some people are frustrated by those at the level immediately above them so decide to do something different.

You are not guaranteed happiness or job satisfaction as an Officer or Soldier but it is up to you to decide where you think you will be happiest. Dont join as an Officer because you think your 'status' as a soldier is beneath you, or because of peer or family pressure - do it because you want to.
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#16
It isn't impossible to be commissioned into the Corps without a degree but at the selection board at Sandhurst, you'll be competing against applicants who have very good degrees from top universities, and there are usually many more applicants than there are slots. Trying to be realistic, you would have to have shown exceptional aptitude to come out ahead of them.
 
#17
If you are thinking of joining as an officer, it is worth considering what your real role is. I was never privvy to the syllabus for JO training. However it is worth considering that most Intelligence Corps soldiers will be highly motivated and well trained when they leave the factory.

Nurtured by good CPLs and SGTs, those straight out of the training will instinctively know how and when, to do the right thing. Their motivation will be 110 % and especially on Ops, it can be difficult to keep them away from work. They will certainly not need a "follow me men!" style of leadership.

From their perspective, they may spend as much time trying to manage up the chain of command, as you do trying to manage down. You need to contend with the fact that they may be brighter and more capable than you. As an OC with less than 5 GCSEs, I had to cope with bright subordinate JNCOs who all had degrees.

As an officer you will need to ensure that they feel engaed in the decision making proces - they are also stakeholders. You will need to sell their good ideas up your chain of command.

When they screw up you might also like to consider if they had been given enough supervision by their own chain of command in the first place? Certainly I know that in Borneo Confrontation some JNCO FINCOs in SMIU went so deep on their solo patrols, that the only other friendy forces they bumped into were the SAS !

When something needs to be done that cuts against the grain you will need to understand with your SNCO / WOs all the reasons and strategies you need to employ to persuade them to do it.

If productivity is low and motivation has fallen, it may not be that you have landed with an inherently lazy bunch who need shouting at. Your predecessor might have had a slightly different management style


A style that your Teeth Arm G2 Staff Officers may be more familiar with.



JFDI may work in an emergency, your best leadership tool may be the application of logic and empathy if you hope to lead some of the brightest soldiers in the Army.

Conversely...

If you want to work with some of the brightest young officers in the Army and help to nurture them throught your carrear, whilst doing some of the most intellectually demanding and rewarding work that ANY soldier will have to do, often with little recogniton, then Intelligence Corps soldier is for you.

You will have the privelidge of working with peers who number some of the brightest men and women in the Army. My jaundiced and subjective view is that as a soldier, you will also have a much more fun than your officer counterparts and come away with a brilliant set of mates.

You may just have the satisfaction of seeing some of the bright young officers you work with get to two and three star rank. If you have nurtured them properly, they will remember that on their way up.
 
#18
Without wishing to denigrate anything Subsonic has said, or brush aside that wealth of experience, it is as appropriate to mention that as an officer it is not against the rules to have fun, and that it is also entirely possible to 'come away with a great set of mates'. Such things are not the exclusive reserve of the non-commissioned.

Additionally, you may just have the satisfaction of seeing some of the bright young soldiers you work with progress through the ranks and commission if they and the Army want them to. If you have nurtured them properly, that is your reward.

It works both ways.
 
#19
Its great. If you really want to be a DE officer in the Corps you have to bring something to the party that no one else does, but you also have to pass the RCB where you will be up against the best and the brightest.

You will have a lot of fun as either a soldier of officer. You will get away with a lot more as a soldier :)
 
#20
T Hedgehog, I must start by explaining that anything I say here will be deeply unpopular here and will provoke something of a rabid response. I have worked alongside the Intelligence Corps for many years working closely with both soldiers and officers. In some cases, even writing their annual reports.

If you decide on the Direct Entry officer route, you must prepare yourself to work alongside the two other species of officer that survive in this habitat.

The transferee: Can spend up to 8 years in another part of the Army, typically a teeth arm. He or she may have served as a G2 or J2 Staff officer drawing on the benefit of up to four weeks training at Chicksands. This individual will come to the Intelligence Corps with a deeper understanding of the rest of the army, and “real soldiers”, than his DE counterpart. He or she will already be adept at providing sound-bites and gaining valuable face-time at VTCs and “bird-table” briefings. They will know how to score points with consummate ease, some may also know when to hold their peace. At regimental duty they will shine in the eyes of their CO and passing Brigade Commanders.

They will have less understanding of Intelligence ( and Security) matters, and little idea how to cope with their Intelligence Corps Senior and Junior NCOs. ....... They constantly ask questions and routinely want to make changes to the plan, a sure sign of insubordination. The transferee officer makes an excellent job of keeping these troublemakers in check. An example must be made, the CO and RSM know those soldiers cards have been marked. The transferee officer has a reputation for being firm but fair at Regimental duty and is the apple of the CO’s eye. By good positioning, testosterone and charisma he manages to make the DE officer look weak and ineffectual. In reality the young DE has a stronger grasp of the craft and the soldiers. However, lacking in coursemanship and low on face time, the DE becomes disillusioned leaves before 6 years. They generally becoming successful in Law, the City, or Foreign Service. Those who are really insecure about commerce, are snapped up by GCHQ.

The Reg LE officer. The LE is master of his technical domain. He lives in the mess during the week, rarely turning up for dinner. He has long forgotten that his world is permeated by the smell of stale p!ss, a sure sign of his impending prostate problem. At weekends he returns to his family off the A1, A303 or County Down.

The soldiers respect him to a point, but he seldom turns up for phys or the BCFT, he can be outmanoeuvred by the Transferee. Some LEs will hate the DE with a vengeance, seeing them as a waste of space and may actively conspire to undermine the DE. However, the majority have their sights set on the Transferee. Whist unable to compete, they are wise to his gamesmanship, they spend hours on the phone or DII to the QM of the Transferee’s original unit swapping notes and probing for vulnerabilities. Some of these they could inject into the CO or the 2IC, except that he or she, may themselves be a fellow Transferee!

The LE bides their time and leaves to follow their true vocation in Quantum Physics, a doctorate in Psychology, clock repair or “office work” near London Bridge.

So the DE Intelligence Corps officer has to divide their time between Intelligence, Security as well as countering the schemes of the Transferee and the LE.

As a direct entry Intelligence Officer in the RAF, in relation to your Intelligence Corps counterpart you will be treated more equitably, gain deeper experience of managing intelligence and support to the deep attack. You will not be out manoeuvred by transferee officers from other arms, who will play the political game to gain OJAR advantage.

You will spend more of your career in Intelligence work, with enlisted personnel who are true subject matter experts in their trade. You will progress and like your RAF CI colleagues, will have significantly more chance of serving in an Intelligence ( or security for P+SS) related role in an influential policy role in PJHQ or Central Staff.

You may end your service later, having had a full career, have a great laugh and a brilliant set of mates, some of them may even be from the Intelligence Corps. You are however, less likely to be bothered if they are Officers or Soldiers.
 

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