Solution to the proposed axing of OTCs

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by msr, Jan 25, 2010.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    Surely this is where the TA, corporately, should be stepping up to the plate?

    My proposal:

    Add an extra PSI to the relevant TACs in University towns to cater for an 'Officer Platoon'.

    This would better integrate the OTC into the TA, should provide an improved stream of YOs into the TA, could help reduce the costs of the OTC TAC and be trialled at little to no additional cost.

  2. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    You mean like, even those bods in the TA that want to go for TA Commission could also join?

    Great idea - one flaw. TA service does mean a liability to service and call up for operations - the OTC does not. If that caveat can still be applied then great but policing and enforcing it would be a real drama. Add to the fact that pay and bounty schemes are also different.

    Essentially, I think you are suggesting simply rebranding OTC as "Officer Platoon" at a select number of TA units with an uplift of an additional PSI. Even if this where done, the J1 liability on the CoC in the unit would be increased thus meaning that keen useful TA Officers and support staff are having additioonal burdens on them that may place strain on "keeping the habit".

    I am not saying you are way off base - I am suggesting that, if they are going to "rebrand" OTCs, then it needs to be done carefully so the aim of the OTC is not lost in the true "supporting operations" context of the TA.
  3. msr

    msr LE

    I envisage them being there on a Gp B basis, just located at a TAC.

    One PSI (aka Pl Sgt) should be able to look after 30 part-time blokes, and I am sure the PSAO wouldn't mind giving up his wednesday afternoon gol... oh, bugger, there is a flaw in the plan :)

  4. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer

    MSR - yes to the plan, but.......

    The OTCs are bigger than 30 bods. Accepting that one would have to reduce by at least 50%, you still have a couple of thousand OCdts cutting about.

    Centre around the current Universities affliated to OTCs and add their sattelites then you would have a Coy size in the hubs and about Sect/Pl size in the satellites.

    This is what I mean about not being half-arrsed. But the issue of PSIs playing golf must be considered as a major planning factor.
  5. No.

    Any money saved from OTC's will go back into the big pot. Any new more TA integrated OTC will then come from the TA budget and still send the majority of people into the regular army and have negliglbe effect on officer recruitment in the TA.

    If someone fancies becoming an officer in the TA, then they join the TA proper. Some may train with OTC while at Uni but the same could be achieved by them joining a local TA unit.
  6. In my opinion, the principle is quite sound and would better integrate the OTC into the wider TA family. At least the Army would be better able to quantify the value the OTC adds (in terms of recruiting etc), but it does have a few real issues, that may need to be worked through.

    The following are just a few of the questions that popped into my head - as you can tell, I don't get out much :(

    Would this platoon be a separate entity, or would be capbadged to the unit it is co-located with?

    How would you choose units, that would have these "officer training" platoons? - Ideally you would like these to be co located with infantry units, but what happens if the university city has no real infantry presence,

    Given that the OTC syllabus largely centres around the orders/estimate process, would the PSI for this platoon be drawn from the infantry, or would he/she be drawn from the "parent unit" capbadge?

    What effect would this have on standards, especially those that would be attending sandhurst? or would the RTC's take up the slack and remotely manage the whole process?

    Answers on a postcard please....
  7. Its going to be an interesting Platoon. In most Uni towns Its members will be available for training from October to mid March. They will then too busy taking exams to be able to train and you WILL get the blame if they feck up their degrees. At the end of May/early June they will finish their exams and also lose their accommodation in Halls or rented flats. They will often go back to their parents home for the summer. They will certainly be looking for paying employment. They are HIGHLY unlikely to travel any distance to train over a weekend, they will come en-masse to Camp and they will blow out your training at the drop of a hat when offered a chance to do some decent civvy AT or attend a mates party.
    Good luck in writing that training programme and flexing it into the rest of the unit FOE.
  8. It seems like a good idea, and could be a solution, but how about going the other direction. I’ve been thinking about this and have... a possible solution of sorts. Just brain storming though, sorry for the long post.

    How about a mass reform of the OTC. Actually make its name mean something. I would propose that OTCs would be the sole training facility for TA officers (in run up to TACC). Whether they be straight OTC OCdts, TASO, DETAPOs and any other acronyms.

    In order to do this, training standards would have to be improved and standardised nationwide, in line with, or better than recruit training in the TA. This would have many effects. Firstly, it would not be just a drinking club, with high standards that must be met; only those committed would stay. Obviously AT would be kept in line with the TA (so... none at the moment) which would stop freeloaders just taking advantage. Also, improved training would mean a higher quality of OCdt at TACC, hopefully producing even better TA officers. Alternatively, when a cadet graduates but not want to become an officer then they may just transfer straight into any TA regiment as a soldier. Of course, they would still have to do phase 2/trade training. This way TA battalions across the country have an instant source of potential soldiers. This does mean that OTC recruit training will have to change from being the joke of MLDP1 (Here is a gun. It goes bang) to exactly the same standards as those in TA proper, and allow seamless integration.

    Speaking of which, I would want the OTC to transfer to being group A. Obviously at freshers fairs, much emphasis will be placed on the fact that students cannot be mobilised etc. This would give the option to mobilise, when fully trained, and would put OCdts in the same situation as any student who is in the TA, so no ‘us and them’ attitude.

    A proper selection weekend should be put in place. Again, standardised nationwide. Not quite Main Board level, more like Briefing, with equivalents Cat 1 and Cat 2 (3-6 Months) being a pass. This would sort out all the duffers with no hope and those not really interested/committed etc. I mean, ffs, on my ‘selection weekend’ we put up a tent and went on a DCCT, selected for having two working arms and two working legs, that is all.

    Another point, no commissioning into the OTC. It is a training establishment, you commission into a regiment. This would mean the TA would get the subalterns it needs. And these new subbies would do the job they trained for and signed up for, rather than lounging around in the OTC.
    I am not sure how terms of engagement work in the TA, as in, do people sign up for x amount of time? Or can you just quit when you want? (obviously not if you’ve just been called up) as I would keep the OTC fundamentally the same in that you can quit whenever. Due to tougher selection and recruits training only those who want to be TA officers, or keep involved with the army until going reg once graduated would really use resources, with only very few people giving up the military completely once they graduate.

    By keeping OCdts in a vamped up, better MLDP1 and then 2, they can then be streamed into those wanting to be TA officers and those not, i.e. waiting to go reg, TA soldier, or just ridiculously committed civvies. TA soldiers from other units who decide to go officer would just slot in at their stage, as in a lance jack would start at MLDP2 etc.

    These changes would, to all intents and purposes, change the OTC into a proper TA regiment, primarily to train officers. So, it could actually live up to its name, whilst also allowing other students to participate, as it obviously serves as a recruiting device as people who are interested, in some small way in the army would join, see what life is like then decide to stay on, either reg or TA. And we can throw in the captains of industry bit to boot if it makes people feel better. The only problem I can really see personally is that if say for example, a corporal of 6 years in TA, done a few tours maybe, wants to go the Officer route would then they have to train with OCdt students generally aged between 18-21. However, hopefully, these changes would move the OTC away from being a drinking club and dating agency, to respectable, professional soldiers/officers/OCdts who occasionally enjoy a lash up.
  9. msr

    msr LE

    Who cares?

    Doesn't matter

    Inf, I would foresee

    RTCs would be responsible for quality control issues.
  10. msr

    msr LE

    So in summary, not much difference to the average TA soldier? ;)

    They will run on a separate training programme, which integrates with the subunit's one where it can.

  11. msr

    msr LE

    See saladin's post above.
  12. good idea MSR, but because of that it will never happen
  13. It's not that great an idea for one reason, the OTCs act as a maturation tank for our PO's. It an extent. Mix them with the TA proper too early and they go native or sink, end result no commission a lot of the time.

    I've said it before I was immature as a 19 year old (as most are) and needed until I was 24 to have the maturity to commission. The OTCs give folk a bit of time to settle before unleashing them on the jocks.

    Of course this doesnt fit at all with OP Entirety and that is the question that the grown ups need to be asking - Are we happy to accept the risk the future for the now, a dimension of a war/the war.
  14. msr

    msr LE

    They would probably train on different nights and you could manage the level of 'mixing'.

  15. But then thats going down the line of using the TA infrastructure to deliver the OTC effect which whilst fine in principle does have staffing problems - Saladin will be able to comment on the burden of an OTC TM growing as we add quarrier to blenheim! So would the receiving TA unit be very receptive to the addition of all this work! Lots of issues fall out of that, then we have the element of relationships with the universities themselves - how large a value do we place on our MEC's?