Sorry, I'm Not a Technical Officer.....

"Don't ask me anything about communications, I am not a technical officer!"

A fair statement for the defence if you truely don't understand the basics of the job?  

In this day and age can the Corps really afford to employ an Officer at any rank that cannot field and answer the correct technical question or at least come back with something better than "I'm sorry I don't do comms, I am not a technical officer." ?

Surely the basics of the job are to be capable of being able to provide technical advice across the core areas of R SIGNALS employment to the staff in a way that they understand?

In Big Brother decide...

Some thought provoking, stimulating debate would be appreciated...
I quite agree old man...most of the rodneys are in fact a waste of internal organs when it comes to answering anything remotely technical, however there are always notable exceptions, the ones that are as clever as a brain pie........its just iI cant think of any at this moment in time.
They have neither the experience nor the common sense needed to deal with situations that  people like JNCOs SNCOs (and not forgetting the ever-valuable signallers) find simple and mundane...most of us were in Baghdad while they were in their Dads bag.
we must not forget that they are at a disadvantage from the start.
We have to be mindful of the fact that most of these oxygen thieves are either doing theír time so that daddy can be proud of them and they get a better inheritance, or simply doing their return of service because the army put them through their degree.
As well as this they need a job to pay off their university student loans, and an overdraft the size of Liberia's trade deficit.
Although they went to uni etc...we still need to remember that half of these guys and gals are the self same people we all victimised at school, the ones that snivelled a lot and couldnt make friends if their life depended on it.....or have I got it all wrong in my twisted bitterness?
Who Knows?

Are you still living in the 1700s?  I dare say there are v few R SIGNALS officers that joined to get their inheritance!!

As for the other stuff I think....

You may be right ... bitter and twisted..after all we do expect our SNCOs and NCOs to have some input into officer training don't we?  Are you telling me that after all the Troop Comds you have  had (and I don't mean that in the biblical sense) you haven't had a positive input into any of their education...shame on you..

Actually, I found it useful (if not embarrassing) that Officers weren’t able to answer technical questions.  It meant that people like me had to do it and this meant that the recipient got useful and correct info.

What are worse are the Officers who either give factually incomplete or downright wrong answers.  In this case, honesty of a lack of technical expertise must be a good thing.

The worst case scenarios are officers who commit their manpower to pointless or near impossible tasks through trying to bluff (usually totally off the cuff) and with no real grasp of current activities which have manpower already tied up.  Makes them look good as they promise the Earth but usually leads to overstretch.  It is only down to the professionalism and commitment of the Lads/Lasses that save a Units reputation.

Bitter words?  Maybe, but all based on experience

Interesting points that you have made.  And actually I am guilty of getting my ORs (the experts!!) to do briefings to higher ranks when required (I remember a particular American colonel who appeared to be lost for words when I got one of my signalmen to give a 5 minute briefing on the role of his detachment...apparently that never happens in the US Army!!).  And I also agree that as an Ops Officer invariably you cannot be expected to know off pat every single bit of information there is to know about all aspects of communications (thats why we have Ops Teams with varied experience and areas of expertise... and believe me when briefing formation commanders I always had the YofS and FofS nearby).  However, there are some officers who wouldn't even consider this and as you have stated often take on impossible tasks simply through a lack of knowledge of even the basics, or worse still bluff their case and then expect the Ops Staff to pick up the pieces.  My point is that a response of "Sorry I am not a technical officer" when you wear the R SIGNALS cap badge is not a good enough answer in any forum any longer.  If you don't know the answer then find out!!  Using your own professional knowledge or (lack of it) as an excuse for not answering a question when we are blessed with quality soldiers all around us is not an acceptable solution.

If I was asking an Infanteer a question on the use of Warrior, I would expect to be given a coherent and sensible answer, if I was asking a R SIGNALS Officer a question on Electronic Warfare I would also expect to be given a coherent and sensible answer.

O.k, I was being a bit flippant and agree whole heartedly with what you say.  It would be ideal if an Officer had some answers to hand.

Why don't they ?  Perhaps, as an answer, it would be interesting to know how many R.Signals Officers have Engineering / Telecomms / IT degress or qualifications.  

Perhaps also in their formative years, they should spend less time organising or taking part in sports/adventure training/writing essays and actually learning what it is that their soldiers do and the capabilities of the equipment they use.

The more fun things in life are important for any soldiers development but seem to be the priority in a Junior Officers life.  As a Sprog, I cannot ever remember seeing my Tp Comd.  The Tp SSgt was ever present and things ran smoothly.

I've been out of the "Main-Stream" Signals Regiments/Squadrons for a while but am reliably informed that this situation is the same (also same in other Corps apparently).

I am not naive to the fact that an officers devlopment doesn't (and probably shouldn't) follow that of a Soldier, but surely there should be some significant overlap in their early years.  Situations like the one that started this thread may then not re-occur
The non-technical officer that sparked this thread off has just been posted to DInfo(A) - how scary ??  ???

Speaking to an SO1 from DInfo(A), he remarked that said officer had been especially picked because of their technical understanding and HR experience... ???

That makes DInfo(A) somewhere else I don't want to be posted to then.... 8)

Me ? I've got a CV to write.. ;)
Speaking from an OR point of view, is it not far easier to let Offrs look after the man management side of life and let the OR's get on with the job they are paid to do. Invariably it's when Offrs try and get technical that things start going tit's up!
F.A.O. All Ruperts;
If it works, leave it alone.

To a certain extent I see where you're coming from but..

Frank Whittle wouldn't have said that when he invented the jet engine.
Dyson wouldn't have thought that when thinking of a better way to hoover. ( Did you know he invented those wacky wheelbarrows with the big orange balls at the front?)
Barns Wallis wouldn't have said that when thinking about flooding the Germans out with his revolutionary bomb.
Clive Sinclair wouldn't have said that when inventing the C5..Ok - 3 out of 4 ain't bad !!

My point is that in the mob there is too much of the 'ain't broke - don't fix' attitude which is why things don't get better.

Me ? I've got a CV to write.
Their technical understanding of what??  Flower arranging??

R-T its all very well letting the ORs get on with all the technical stuff, but when you're sat in a HQ in a technical staff appointment without a fellow bleep in sight to get on with the technical stuff, it can lead to a rather embarrassing end....look at the Armys' track record in procurement...

The simple fact is that there is no Staffy, FofS or YofS to go crying to when you don't understand the issues that DInfo (for example) is facing.  And don't you look a wally when you can't answer a relatively simple technical question without refering to the Data Comms handbook (Halsall I think) (A right rivetting read...recommended to all ranks)

And we wonder why the Army is in a mess.....

PS GI how long is this have been writing it for months!!
And don't you look a wally when you can't answer a relatively simple technical question ...................

and thereby hangs many a tale, presentation is just abot everything.

What happened to " I dont have the detail to hand but will get back to you right after this brief"

surely in the time of information overload, the secret is not to know the answer, but know where to find it fast???

If I have to  look a wally to save someone else some  nugatory effort, then so be it?
This CV has about one careers worth and much technical knowledge to impart. It will be a work of art and therefore demands much personal attention... ;)

Me - I've got a posting to DInfo(A) to avoid  :eek:
Which all comes back to my question would be interesting to know how many R.Signals Officers have Engineering / Telecomms / IT degress or qualifications
In the RAF and REME, Engineering Officers generally have Engineering / Telecomms / IT Degrees or at least a high level qualification in the the subject for which they are employed to manage.  I never met a R.Signals Officer (except those who attemted the TSE Course - which most of them failed) who had what I would call a relevant Degree / Qualification.

Imagine the scene when these people are in 6th Form or College:-

Careers advisor -  " What do you want to do with your life ?"

Pot YO -  "Be a Royal Signals Officer !!!! ;D"

Careers Advisor -  "Well it's a "History of Modern Art" or a "European History Degree course for you then Laddy"

Pot YO -  "Is that relevant to the job ?"

Careers Advisor -  "Who gives a s**t, you'll be skiing / playing Rugby etc most of your early career.  When you need an answer, they'll be a FofS / YofS / Tp SSgt to wipe your ARRSE.  When you're pushing Major, perhaps then you may need to worry"

Pot YO - "Yehaaaaaah, thats the life for Me :D"

In all seriousness, shouldn't there be a drive to find better qualified graduates to illeviate this problem ?
I've got one  ;)

..and there are others. But what you say is true to a cerain extent.

The RAF blokes do know what they're on about at a very early age....but, oh my god, they're usually very dull !!

The REMEs are a lot better.

Helicopter breaks - mend helicopter - helicopters flies again as opposed to the RAF diatribe about pay, expenses, last years trip to Cyprus for duty free...and then there's that mess kit with the shiny shoes  ::)

May be a technical bone of some sort in her body would have prevented said officer from forming a thread on Arrse ?

Me ? Who knows I might even get a second technical degree to put on my CV one day. Where is that CISM application form ?
Hmm. I'd hoped that we'd moved on a bit with this. Old people like me remember the time when a certain SOinC (oh allright, it was Archie..) said "We seem to be recruiting officers better qualified to run London Zoo than Royal Signals".  He was, of course, talking about the CQ course (that shows my age  ;D) that had 2 zoology graduates and a microbiologist (or something like that). Plus Ca Change...
Look in the current White List and you'll find that there are a large number of BEng Officers (and many with a MSc)

If we tried to recruit the same officers as the REME, we'd fail outright due to the fact that they offer an Engineering environment for their Officers and a certain amount of career development that the IT sector just cannot hope to compete with (speed of change etc...).  they also have a very well developed recruiting base and are culturally well known for attracting only engineering grads.

As a technical grad, I rejected a RegC with the REME and took the SSC R SIGNALS offer.  Why?  Better lifestyle, more interesting people, better jobs as a junior officer, more diverse career potential, Growth sector (for when I eventually leave), and they got me drunk in the HQ Mess...  need I go on?
Man at Cis,

I hope it was my policy of getting POs drunk that recruited you...always thought it was the best policy.  I think we have to be pragmatic about our approach to officer training.  Unfortunately with the current policy of everyone (effectively) being a graduate when they join, you don't always get the opportunity to either recruit those with the relevant degree or send those without a relevant degree away to Shriv (or Newcastle now) to get better acquainted with the EMS.  So what is the best option.  Well I suppose if we recruited the best officers that we could get our hands on who have a bit about them.  Who can organise a piss up in a brewery (and the odd game of rugger or footy), who would take an interest in their soldiers career not just their own, then perhaps at the point when they are just about to need to know the percularities of their job (ie when they are about to become SO3s/SO2s), we send them for some technical training, TEM, CISM, DIS, AIS or whatever.  Perhaps this would be the best answer (I think it has worked for me).  However the new ROC report is trying to do away with this system, which could add more pressure on our recruiters to get the right "Technically Qualified" chap/chapess from the start.  Balances must be struck.  Whilst ROC may codemn the requirement for MSC's per se...maybe we need a course like the CISM course for example in the same way that the RLC requires the ATOs course.  Professional development.  Just added thoughts...

Some good points, however..........  sometimes an Officer with a technical background can me more dangerous than someone who doesnt know what he is doing !

I had to spend a couple of hours trying to figure what out what this Rupert had done in the back of his 432 after he decide to have a fiddle with the harness wiring, radio wiring etc etc.  

he may well have had engineering degrees coming out of his backside, but unless they have been specifically trained on the green kit they shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere near it !

Not only should he have not been anywhere near fiddling with the kit..he should have been outed as some sort of real geek... its one thing to have the technical knowledge ... but to actually attempt to try and put the right type of grease on something is outside of the scope of any officers job .. (although I was trusted to assist with painting Landrovers in my younger on the black bits and green on the green bits sir!!)

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