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

#61
.Danger Mouse Said: At Sandhurst no mention is made of requiring an aptitude for, qualifications relating to, or interest in, CIS.
Whilst the Corps might underplay the technical requirement at RMAS doesn't the name Royal Corps of Signals give something away about the job. We may not be recruiting technical graduates but surely we should be recruiting officers with enough common sense to have picked up on the fact that a technical corps might require its officers to have some interest in technology.[/quote]
 

DangerMouse

Old-Salt
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#62
StudentGrant said:
.Danger Mouse Said: At Sandhurst no mention is made of requiring an aptitude for, qualifications relating to, or interest in, CIS.
Whilst the Corps might underplay the technical requirement at RMAS doesn't the name Royal Corps of Signals give something away about the job. We may not be recruiting technical graduates but surely we should be recruiting officers with enough common sense to have picked up on the fact that a technical corps might require its officers to have some interest in technology.
[/quote]

..You'd think so, wouldn't you? If that were the case though, then - relating back to the start of this thread - there wouldn't be any people stating, as if perversely proud of the fact, that they're "...not technical officers..."
 
#63
My view is that its just a get out clause for those that do not have enough morale courage to admit the fact that they are unsure on a point, or don't trust their seniors (fatal), can't be arrsed to find out (is it difficult in this day and age), Or merely would hope not to be caught out (errrrmm too late) or just can't bluff to the required RMAS standard level.....

An officer ... in any arm?

Your call....
 
#65
I might just say that an interest in technology is ceratinly not underplayed at the College Of Knowledge when young officers do their TC course. My sources there tell me that the officer training review currently being carried out by TDT is focussing critically on the technology training gap for middle piece and senior captains who are expected to know as much about their business as you would expect the battery captain to know about his. Bit more complicated for a R SIGNALS officer as we we have our fingers in so many technological pies! But rest assured it is being addressed.
 
#66
As I have said in other threads on this board I feel the real problem is that COs and OCs do not put any pressure on their YOs to learn or understand the equipment and its capabilities and limitations.

While it is encouraging to see that those YOs who do take the time and effort to learn tend to do well, it is slightly worrying when people with obviously (and sometime proudly :? ) no understanding of the technical issues get great OJARs and are promoted.
 
#68
I personally have NEVER met a technical officer and have often been told to "pass me that phone Signaller" when working on a CNR det. The best one I've ever had was "How do I call the Boss?". The Rupert in question was looking at the set like he was trying to work out where the phone number went....When I went to take the handset off him, it was snatched away like it was made of solid gold and a look of 'I want to play as well...it looks like fun' was dished out in my direction.

I always like HF for when the ruperts come round on visits...they dont like "all that interfering noise" and leave well alone.

RRBs are the worst for new ruperts, they are like moths...'Has lights, must play'.....Will they ever learn??
 

DangerMouse

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#69
chalkntalk said:
I might just say that an interest in technology is certainly not underplayed at the College Of Knowledge when young officers do their TC course.
Hmm… That’s all very well, but the Tp Comds’ Cse is delivered as one huge lumpen ‘blob’ to a load of very junior, completed inexperienced 2Lts who have just finished 12 months intensive training at RMAS and are all fired-up to command their Troops, at their Regts. (Regts to which we, for some reason, still insist on sending them for around two month on 'attachments' of dubious worth, on which they are virtually unemployable as they will shortly be disappearing off to RSS for 5+ months.) Sitting them in front of endless Powerpoints (usually ones adapted from the FofSs’/YofSs’ courses) and expecting them to learn a) anything for longer than the passing-out tests, and particularly b) anything that they will subsequently remember two years later, on posting to a new job as a captain, is highly optimistic I suggest. All the Tp Comds’ Cse can hope do is set the conditions for junior officers FIRST tours. It sort of manages that by the current 'training by immersion' technique, but evertheless further training is then required to build in the experience they have gain in that first tour, and prepare them for future appointments. (If anyone doubts how little use the Tp Comds' Cse is for "general grounding", "long term training", "professional education" et cetera, conduct an EXVAL of junior captains being posted out of their first tours - see how much they've remembered from their days sleeping through lectures at Blandford...)

chalkntalk said:
My sources there tell me that the officer training review currently being carried out by TDT is focussing critically on the technology training gap for middle piece and senior captains …
Really? Tell us more! I've just finished the (excellent) Data Comms course at RMCS, that I convinced my Regt to let me go on; I'd really like to do a technical MSc at some point, so I asked the instructors at RMCS about what's happening with long term training for R SIGNALS, and other Army officers, and I was told the following:

- AIS and DIS (Advanced Information Systems and Design of Information Systems, both run at RMCS) are likely to be cancelled in their current form.

- CISM is presently - I can't remember the exact term used - 'semi-unofficial' in terms of its funding and statement of training requirement, and may continue if the Corps can find the funding, and justify it's continued existence.

- Post-full ROCC implementation, Army officers' IT/CIS training will consist of a series of modular courses attended after completion at ICSC(L). This would in theory, enable a more tailored approach to be taken to what training is required for what posts.

As I was at RMCS anyway, I thought I'd take the opportunity to find out as much as I could, so I looked at all the courses that are currently available, and had a chat will one of the Cranfield University professors who runs one of the Information Warfare-type MScs. They're apparently most concerned that ROCC sacrifices broad and general CIS education in favour of narrow job-specific training. That seems to be a fair assessment of the aim of the Employment Training (ET) component of ROCC, and it has no doubt been implemented for almost entirely financial reasons. The question of whether such fiscal frugalness is compatible with our expressed aims of implementing Network Enabled Capability, with all of the training, education, knowledge and personnel implications this carries, is interesting. If the Infantry are concerned that their more junior levels aren't up to the requirements of digitisation (see recent ATRA newsletters), and are conseqently ramping-up the training directed at these personnel, why are we in R SIGNALS, and at a pan-Army officer level, considering degrading the quality of training?

Lest anyone raise the 'Oh, ICSC(L) will give the opportunity to study an MSc with the Open University in your own time...' I question whether anyone doing a busy SO2 will have the time to do an additional 2-3 hours a day work (typical OU or RMCS masters requirement: 15 hrs per wk), and maintain any semblance of a life, let alone a relationship or family. I am currently doing an OU course in IT and Computing, and it's an absolute nightmare to find time for the work, without ending up working at daft hours of the morning in the days preceding TMA completion. There's no way I intend to go through that while juggling an SO2 job.

I was told at RMCS on Friday that there are meetings next week about the future of the RMCS (AIS and DIS) courses. I asked when they expect to know more solid information, and was told early next year.

chalkntalk said:
...the officer training review currently being carried out by TDT is focussing critically on the technology training gap for middle piece and senior captains ...
What training is envisaged, then? At present we do a captains' course that is described by attendees as a 'good chance for a week off work, and a pi$s-up', and then let people continue through to ICSC(L) (for a graduate, who promotes off the Beige List at second look, ICSC(L) is 9 years after commissioning). What's planned to train between Tp Comds' Cse and ICSC(L)/CIS ET cses?

SOMEONE OUT THERE READING THIS MUST BE WORKING AT RSS ON THESE SORT OF QUESTIONS! Tell us more! ;-)

Thanks
 
#70
Thankyou DM my my we are an angry young turk are we not :!: If I had a penny for every time I had heard a young officer say that he or she did not think that the Q course or the CQ course or the TC course was inadequate in some way or other then I think I would be typing this message from somewhere sunny whilst nursing a cool brandy sour.....I'm not :cry:

The fact is that training a R SIGNALS officer for their first tour is easier said than done. We are a multi faceted multi skilled Coprs with a diversification which I would doubt is matched anywhere else in the Army. Sadly perhaps other arms officers and particularly commanders expect someone with a jimmy over their left eye to be capable of spouting forth with knowledge and confidence about thoeir chosen arm. Unfortunately first tour officers do not get red jimmies to denote learner and few would wish to openly admit that they do not know about particular aspects of their Corps and core capability.

Add to this that the technology we are dealing with is advancing and changing at an alarmingly rapid rate it is difficult to know what to teach on the TC course. The material, approach and learning outcomes are examined more often on this course than perhaps any other at RSS but inevitably they come back to the same point which is delivery of a broad brush overview which also naturally centres on the current in service systems. These in service systems are not used only to teach the specific characteristsics and capabilities of those systems but also as vehicles to teach the general principles for the provision, delivery, deployment, sustainment and recovery of ICS from a Corps perspective.

RSS does not set out to create engineers it stes out to lay the basis for development of CIS generalists with the emphasis being on managing that first troop of R SIGNALS officers. I would worry less about what newly promoted Captains at end of first tour have to say and worry more about what employing officers have to say. The views expressed by them cause TDT and RSS to worry more about the technical awareness and competece of middle piece officers, junior captain to junior major. Hence I understand that the Capts course is likely, but please do not quote me I am no authority, to become an operational planning course tailored and geared for the R SIGNALS officer. It will be about 2 weeks long and will involve some considerable preparation before attendance and a good deal of work while embarked.

As to professional development and employment training the jury is out. My opinion for what it is worth is that ROCC is not doing the Corps any favours at all and I am nervous about its implementation in the absence of a clear funding strategy and plan to see it through. I agree with you DL is a poor substitute for formalised residential training and education in a climate where junior officers are busier and more accountable than I think they have been in my 30 years of service.

R SIGNALS HQ SoinC and TDT in particular are not complacent about this and are struggling and fighting to keep CISM and to chart a logical development path from TC through the Capts and Majs level courses to CISM or whatever might take its place.

Be careful about the spin that RMCS will give you they have an agenda which is to do, quite naturally, with grabbing resources. Interestingly they are not capable, as we stand currently, of delivering the Corps requirements and HQ SOinC continues to battle for the survival of CISM or something substantial to rplace it in the ROCC era.

As to the immersion principle I quote the story of the young officer who left a course at Blandford 2 years ago and bemoaned the fact that he had wasted a deal of time in RSG when he was going to a Ptarmigan unit. I read the letter that he sent back to the School some weeks later saying thankyou for the HF training that had saved his bacon when tasked by the CO to run an offshore HF exercise only weeks after he had arrived to take command of his trunk node. You never know what is going to be thrown at you as a young R SIGNALS officer...tube artillery is tube artillery :!:

Of course if you feel this strongly about the subject get yourself on the phone to your desk officer and get a posting to RSS where you can effect change on the ground rather than taking pot shots from afar. :roll:
 

DangerMouse

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#71
chalkntalk said:
Thankyou DM my my we are an angry young turk are we not :!: If I had a penny for every time I had heard a young officer say that he or she did not think that the Q course or the CQ course or the TC course was inadequate in some way or other then I think I would be typing this message from somewhere sunny whilst nursing a cool brandy sour.....I'm not :cry:
Yes, fair enough - people will always complain. I submit however, that they have often done so with legitimate reasons in the case of the Tp Comds' Cse. If I may suggest a few reasons why: (Although, please note the time of day that I'm posting this. It's not going to be comprehensive or JSP 101-compliant..)

chalkntalk said:
The material, approach and learning outcomes are examined more often on this course than perhaps any other at RSS
Good to hear, if true. However, the Tp Comds' Cse became seriously dated between the early 1990s and 2002 (in 2002 the onset of ROCC triggered a review of the course: I can not comment upon it after that period.) Until 2002 however, the SAT process had failed. This wasn't the TDT's fault, SO2 TDA in 2002, Maj Tony K<> AGC(ETS) explained that he was extremely undermanned for the size of the SOTR that Blandford is tasked with fulfilling. Nonetheless, as a student going through the system it is disheartening to be on a course that has been 'frozen in time'. If you cast your eye over the INVALs from the latter part of that period (they're on the RSS intranet, so there's no excuse for instructors not to have read them) you can see Comd Trg Wg instructors complaining repeatedly about certain points, that were never acted upon. It was best summed (in a document available on the intranet) up by one Comd Trg Wg instructor (Capt Dave W<>, later Adjt 1 (UK) ADSR) that "...the SAT loop at RSS is broken - INVALs points are being ignored..." He identified that although RSS and HQ SOinC(A) were going through the motions, the points from INVALs were not being actioned by the Course Design Cell (CDC). The linkage on the SAT loop between the TDT and CDC wasn't happening. It didn't help that the CDC appeared to be run by an irritating little jobsworth - Rex something, as I recall. He couldn't be any more unhelpful, and regarded every comment made as an opportunity to deflect blame to another dept. Hopefully he's gone by now.. Additionally, the course hadn't, as far as anyone could tell, been subjected to an EXVAL for at least half a decade.

chalkntalk said:
We are a multi faceted multi skilled Corps with a diversification which I would doubt is matched anywhere else in the Army ... You never know what is going to be thrown at you as a young R SIGNALS officer... tube artillery is tube artillery
I agree with the point, and I like the example - I hadn't thought of it that way before. However, whether the principle of 'broad but not too deep' training is actually implemented by the respective groups can be different matter. You state that your desired End State is the
delivery of a broad brush overview ...
This may well have been espoused by the TOs and supporting EOs, however it was not evident in the manner in which the course was delivered a few years ago. Two examples:

In General. WO2 ic ASG stated “Troop Commanders are given pretty much the same training as FofSs and YofSs”. Later he confirmed that the same time period (6 weeks) is allocated to ASG for training FofS, YofS, and Tp Comds. This is irrational considering that huge difference in backgrounds between Tp Comds and FofS/YofS, and you have just confirmed yourself that you do not envisage such depth of training. It is however, "how it's always been done".

Specific Example. To pick an example of training in detail, as opposed to RSG devoted considerable time to Manual PPAs, to the exclusion of Raptor. ASG covered it in a morning however stated that it was taught "“in case Comtext/other IT eqpt fails” and - in the DS's words, officers would "never use it ever again". A component of SAT is Job Analysis. This comprises Operational Task Analysis (OTA), Difficulty, Importance and Frequency (DIF) Analysis, and Early Training Analysis. The last is for new courses only. The first two however, would - if a proper SAT approach had been taken to the Tp Comds' Cse - have identified that under the OTA, certain skills taught at ASG and RSG are not required, and that under DIF Analysis the relative lack of difficultly, limited importance, and infrequency of the tasks, render days spent at Blandford studying them an inappropriate use of the School's resources, and of junior officer's time away from their Regts.

You identify yourself that we do not need detailed training for all of our junior officers:
http://www.arrse.co.uk/html/modules...start=45&sid=9d4f44ee7f6582639b7ffd4fab20747f

chalkntalk said:
I know a little about the training of our officers...and YofS..... and FofS..... and IS Supvrs.....and soldiers

One of the great strengths of our officer complement is that we have always recruited from a broad church. Our requirement is different from the REME. We need officers who have a broad technical understanding in the main and we need a bunch, slack handful, number not quite determined, of technocrats who can compete for the important and influential engineering staff posts particularly in the Defence and Joint arena. As to accreditation the TC course is not an engineering course. It is about teaching the principles of ICS management and understanding the three components of capability....equipment, manpower and training = capability. It is only 20 weeks long and only qualifies for accreditation in management terms not engineering terms. I have managed good quality R SIGNALS Engineers for some 24 years on the strength of a physics O level and my Corps training. I have managed with my teams to deliver capability in peace and on operations without the need for letters after my name.
We concur that not everyone requires a hugely in-depth and technical knowledge of CIS. However, I question your use of the word "only" to describe a 20-week course for 2Lts fresh out of RMAS, and recently dragged back from their attachments at their Regts. If you follow through the logic of your 'generalist' argument, then junior officers do not require training at RSG and ASG that is as detailed as FofS and YofS in many areas.

Next point: If there is a failing in the system at the Tp Comds' Cse stage, then I believe the contribution of junior officers is essential. Your comment on this is interesting:

chalkntalk said:
I would worry less about what newly promoted Captains at end of first tour have to say and worry more about what employing officers have to say.
Agreed - the perspective of employing officers, and by implication, the service is important, but not exclusively so. I query whether junior officers themselves can not offer equally valid information. SAT identifies a "Training Balance", on one side of which we deliver too much training, on the other we fail to deliver enough. There are clear disadvantages to both. Interviewing employing officers will only identify training gaps not the delivery of surplus training, which I am criticising. That is why during the EXVAL stage sources of information are listed as: FIRST - "Interviews and questionnaires with job holders", THEN "Interviews and questionnaires with job supervisors and managers", going on to other useful sources such as "Operational analysis and training exercise feedback". (Source: SAT Distance Learning Package, Def Centre of Trg Sp, dated Apr 03, page 2-2 and 8-2)

chalkntalk said:
The views expressed by [employing officers] cause TDT and RSS to worry more about the technical awareness and competence of middle piece officers, junior captain to junior major.
This is exactly what I am suggesting - that by disproportionally biasing the delivery of training at post-RMAS, 'CIS virgins' and subjecting them to an extended and in-depth training course, the detail of which they only begin to require as middle piece officers, junior captains to junior majors we are boring and over-training 2Lts, and undertraining captains. We would not deliver FofS training to junior technicians, as they lack the experience, yet we are happy to deliver than equivalent to 2Lts on Tp Comds' Cse despite their lack of CIS experience.

If you don't believe me that junior officers are frequently bored senseless on the present course, I refer you to the following thread, in which a former instructor states his opinion of 2Lts on the Tp Comds Cse:
http://www.arrse.co.uk/html/modules...start=15&sid=9d4f44ee7f6582639b7ffd4fab20747f

ADC said:
The Corps differs from the rest of the Army in that we have a far greater diversity of equipment and systems than the others. It is therefore difficult for an officer to be an expert on all of them - but I wholeheartedly believe that every officer should have a basic grounding and understanding of the fundamental technology and the capabilty it delivers to the Army ... Having taught in Blandford and seen the lack of technical ability in young officers, and their unwillingness to embrace even the simpler aspects of radio propogation or data communications I am filled with dread [my emphasis] at the Corps potential downfall with the roll out of BOWMAN, FALCON, CORMORANT not to mention DII, NEC et al
If control of the syllabus were ever wrested from RSG and ASG, and the compacted, retaining the extra time within the SOTR for a more comprehensive CIS planning Capts' course, then we would have a modular system of courses that more closely resembled the demands made on officers. (Just in Time, not Just in Case)

Incidentally, as I tie-up:

chalkntalk said:
Be careful about the spin that RMCS will give you they have an agenda which is to do, quite naturally, with grabbing resources. Interestingly they are not capable, as we stand currently, of delivering the Corps requirements and HQ SOinC continues to battle for the survival of CISM or something substantial to rplace it in the ROCC era.
In RMCS's defence, they made no bones that the CISM course was a key requirement for the provision of CIS Wpns staff for the Corps, and that it was Blandford's responsibility. Their concerns revolved around the future of AIS and DIS.

chalkntalk said:
Of course if you feel this strongly about the subject get yourself on the phone to your desk officer and get a posting to RSS where you can effect change on the ground rather than taking pot shots from afar.
I agree with the sentiment, although I resent the snide implication that I was not proactive while at RSS myself. To criticise from afar now, without having raised my head above the parapet then, would indeed by difficult to justify. I did try to contribute upon completion of my Tp Comds' Cse; I got the distinct impression that junior officers are expected to be seen and not heard. The only time one can effectively contribute is nearer the heady heights of the pink list, and more likely, post-command in an SO1 post at the school. I refer you to the repeated, and repeatedly ignored criticisms made by Comd Trg Wg instructors over the years in the numerous INVALs that I mentioned at the start of this post. Tp Comds' and Capts' views tend to be ignored. Look back at how you started your own posting, it reflects an attitude hardly conducive to encouraging feedback from junior officers, nor paying attention to it, if it is forthcoming:

"...If I had a penny for every time I had heard a young officer say that he or she did not think that the Q course or the CQ course or the TC course was inadequate in some way or other..."

That some comments by junior officers may be misinformed, immature and/or badly researched does not mean that they all will be. Some of us will make efforts to familiarise ourselves with the Command, Staff and Technical requirements necessary for a full career and, in this case, the SAT processes that [in theory] drive our training. That you are not 'nursing a cool brandy sour whilst reclining on a beach somewhere sunny' does not mean that complaints raised by junior officers are without merit.

It seems pointless to many people to even attempt to influence the powers that be, until we too are senior, old, stuck in our ways, and equally dismissive of our juniors... It brings to mind Liddell Hart's observation concerning young British officers:

Liddell Hart said:
Ambitious officers, when they came in sight of promotion to the generals' list, would decide that they would bottle up their thoughts and ideas as a safety precaution until they reached the top and could put these ideas into practice. Unfortunately, the usual result, after years of repression for the sake of their ambition, was that when the bottle was eventually uncorked the contents had evaporated.
 
#73
Devil's Advocate Here,

Here's an idea. Should we completely scrap the TC Course in its current format. Look at something like the REME Plt Comd Cse i.e. 4/6wks learning about the relevant G1, MS issues of commanding a R Sigs Tp, inspections etc couple of overviews in Broad brush speak of the relevant major comms systems and then finish up with something fun and possibly useful llike a AFV comd cse down the road at Bovy. (PS need to make them all learn to horse ride as well, as it was outstandingly useful in my 1st Tour! Although it was excellent fun!) All relevant in depth training is taught in Unit once the young sprog has got to grips with the personnel management on his Tp (therfore may focus them more on whats required in the early stages of comd) and then subsequently more in depth training taught on the Capt's cse (might actually give that course an end state objective!!)

Only write this because I want to give DM repeatative strain injury when he gives us all another interesting but nether the less long essay. (He is a very angry young Turk!!)
 

DangerMouse

Old-Salt
Moderator
#74
Jammy_Jimmy said:
Here's an idea. Should we completely scrap the TC Course in its current format. Look at something like the REME Plt Comd Cse i.e. 4/6wks learning about the relevant G1, MS issues of commanding a R Sigs Tp, inspections etc couple of overviews in Broad brush speak of the relevant major comms systems and then finish up with something fun and possibly useful llike a AFV comd cse down the road at Bovy. (PS need to make them all learn to horse ride as well, as it was outstandingly useful in my 1st Tour! Although it was excellent fun!) All relevant in depth training is taught in Unit once the young sprog has got to grips with the personnel management on his Tp (therfore may focus them more on whats required in the early stages of comd) and then subsequently more in depth training taught on the Capt's cse (might actually give that course an end state objective!!)

Only write this because I want to give DM repetitive strain injury when he gives us all another interesting but never the less long essay ...
(my emphasis)

Well, you asked... Here's an extract from something I prepared earlier.

I liked your example of the REME. In the interests of even-handedness, it is only fair to highlight that there is one Corps that goes heavily the other way - RE officers do an extremely intensive course, that appears to serve their needs. I would like to highlight another example. I happended to have some information about the RA YOs' Cse handy:

The RA makes a big deal of how much fun its Young Officers (YOs) course is. They credit it with being a major draw for OCdts at RMAS. Their persuasive argument is: if you have a short service commission, 5-6 months doing a YOs course represents a sixth of your time in the army - join us and do a short, fun course.

Their, arguably common sense, concept - a modular YOs cse - runs thus: Their officers all do their common 'command/admin/management' training, followed by an overview of the entire RA. Then they are broken down by speciality to Field (guns), Depth (MLRS), or AD (HVM or Rapier - RA MCM directs what output is required per course). They then do that job for two years before returning to Larkhill and doing specific employment training, e.g. a captain going to a Field Arty unit would do an FOOs course, etc. This 'Just in Time' approach run by the gunners, and others, has been adopted pan-army for senior captains’ jobs by the ROCC, and has been best practice for industry for many years. The idea of teaching RA officers everything immediately after RMAS because ‘You’re a Gunner, you’re expected by the rest of the Army to be an expert on all artillery systems’ is as illogical as ‘You’re in the R SIGNALS, you’re expected to by the rest of the army to be an expert on all communications systems’.

A suggestion then for a less painful R SIGNALS Tp Comds' Cse?

- The Tp Comds' Cse should begin 4 weeks after commissioning (2 weeks leave, 2 weeks attachment).

- Officers should spend the shortest possible time in training, acquiring the knowledge required for their initial duties, and as much time as possible at their units, gaining vital experience commanding soldiers. This is in line with ACGS’s review of initial training conducted in 2002. (ACGS tasked Arms Directors with reducing Phase 1 and 2 training to 12 months. Although aimed at soldier training one could argue that this approach equally applies to officers. With 12 months at RMAS followed by up to 4 months on attachment (8 if a course is too large) and 6 months at Blandford the whole process is extremely lengthy.)

- Training should be Just in Time - not Just in Case - covering just what offrs need to know for their respective first tours. Therefore it must be modular. A core syllabus should comprise two weeks CIS, and 1 week Info Ops/EW, as at present, and a completely re-written command element. This should be followed by a very brief, broad overview of different comms systems. Then officers should be streamed into different groups, each receiving focussed, relevant training.

- Suggested groups are: Ptarmigan, Radio, and Satcom. (Arguably, one could split Ptarmigan Trunk and Access: they have differing requirements - TN comds perhaps do not need to practise building a HQ and maybe Access Node comds do not need to manage a TN deployment.)

- Such a course would also be far more flexible as new equipment comes on line - Modules could be added for Cormorant and Bowman, et cetera, for those returning to work in those environments - rather than having to add the training on top of the legacy course.

The main advantage of a shorter course is obvious: junior officers spending more time spent at Regts commanding soldiers. The complaint that junior officers only spend two years commanding soldiers is exacerbated by up to 4 months of that time being on attachment probably ‘shadowing’ someone before being moving to Blandford and spending 6 months there, then, eventually, returning to the unit they left many months earlier, to a troop where only a fraction of the original soldiers remain, the others having been posted out or recently posted-in.

Other benefits include making the Corps a more attractive career for those at RMAS, cost savings for RSS, more resources available for hard-pressed groups (e.g. ASG) and, for the first time in a long time, the production of Tp Comds who actually care about doing well at Blandford because they believe in the course and are invigorated and motivated by it.

By the looks of how many people are reading this forum, there are far more browsing than there are posting. This shouldn't be the preserve of a vocal minority - what does everyone else think?
 
#75
I throroughly enjoyed my Tp Comds course and by and large I thought the stuff was useful, even though I have not used large parts of it directly.

I came through under the old system of an attachment to a different unit to the one that you were actually posted to after the course and I think that was a better system. You saw 2 different units early on and were able to learn you lessons and embarress yourself without having to go back to the same unit 5 months later.

I belive the Corps still need to train it's YOs in breadth and depth as the rest of the Army expects us to understand it. By putting on a R Sigs capbadge you are a magnet for every staff officer with a problem. Saying ' I'm sorry but I only do CNR I don't do Ptarmigan helps no-one' We need to ensure that our Officers understand this stuff.

I believe that the 5 month TCC taught me the basic of what I needed to know, I also belive that we need to give refresher training to Offrs posted into a different unit on the equipment and capbilities of that unit. It doesn't need to be long just a couple of weeks refresher course would be fine.

We also need to ensure that a YO's training in CIS continues after he/she leaves RSS. Too many COs and OCs leave it up to the YO to learn by him/herself and too many YOs take the easy option and fail to do this.

Finally we need to be more selective about who we select from RMAS. A good third of my TCC had no idea about CIS or technology and even less inclination to learn. They were all good guys/galls and some had done really well at Sandhurst, but they were totally unsuited for the Corps. We even had 2 who had failed to get into the Paras and the Corps had recruited them on the promise of 216. They had no interest in the Corps other than as a back door into the Para Regt. As I heard one past SOinC bost "we recruited more officers than any other corps from this RMAS intake". We need to get away from the numbers game and select the quality not quantity.

Rambling rant over.
 

DangerMouse

Old-Salt
Moderator
#76
chicken_jim said:
I throroughly enjoyed my Tp Comds course and by and large I thought the stuff was useful, even though I have not used large parts of it directly.
Surely by definition, if as you state, you have not used it, then it can't have been useful, can it?... The fact that you personally may have found it interesting, is not in itself a legitimate reason for the inclusion of superfluous material.

chicken_jim said:
I came through under the old system of an attachment to a different unit to the one that you were actually posted to after the course and I think that was a better system. You saw 2 different units early on and were able to learn you lessons and embarress yourself without having to go back to the same unit 5 months later.
The original reason that they changed this was apparently to get offrs immediately after RMAS moved off the ATRA/Manning and Training Margin budget, and on to LAND's budget. Even if the TLB budget changes after RMAS, I don't see why the old system (different units post-attachment) couldn't have continued - the field army would have had the same number of offrs going to and from the same units before and after each Tp Comds' Cse; whether the individuals in question had been swapped around would be irrelevant in fiscal terms, surely? Arguably, the 'new' system is more expensive to the service overall, as offrs posted to Germany are paid residual LOA, and LSSA while at Blandford, which I believe wasn't the case when they stayed on the ATRA budget.

chicken_jim said:
I belive the Corps still need to train it's YOs in breadth and depth as the rest of the Army expects us to understand it. By putting on a R Sigs capbadge you are a magnet for every staff officer with a problem. Saying ' I'm sorry but I only do CNR I don't do Ptarmigan helps no-one' We need to ensure that our Officers understand this stuff.
Understand, yes. Be intimately familiar with, no. If the contents of the current course were being effectively and efficiently learnt by junior offrs, then we wouldn't have the situation which ChalkNTalk alludes to in which junior captains do not have the knowledge required of them to undertake their appointments: http://www.arrse.co.uk/html/modules...start=60&sid=0fa41122fd3e42400ad7cce3e3199dae

chalkntalk said:
The views expressed by [employing officers] cause TDT and RSS to worry more about the technical awareness and competece of middle piece officers, junior captain to junior major. Hence I understand that the Capts course is likely, but please do not quote me I am no authority, to become an operational planning course tailored and geared for the R SIGNALS officer. It will be about 2 weeks long and will involve some considerable preparation before attendance and a good deal of work while embarked.
Perhaps we should be shifting much of the technical content of the Tp Comds' Cse to this proposed Capts' Cse?

chicken_jim said:
I believe that the 5 month TCC taught me the basic of what I needed to know, I also belive that we need to give refresher training to Offrs posted into a different unit on the equipment and capbilities of that unit. It doesn't need to be long just a couple of weeks refresher course would be fine.
Were the training budget infinite then I'm sure that having a the present long Tp Comd's Cse, and a succession of 'refresher cses' would be wonderful. It's not however, and RSS, like any other part of ATRA or indeed the Army, operates to a budget. Rather than the current 'Just in case' approach used at the moment therefore, a 'Just in time' package would divest the Tp Comds' Cse of all the superfluous archaic and anachronistic detail lazily imported from the YofS and FofS cses, and deliver focussed training - initially, but only broadly, post-commissioning, and then later, after a first tour, as you suggest, targetted at an individual's second tour. I do not believe that the 'slack' exists in the SOTR to continue both the current legacy course, and any additional CIS 'top-up' courses for junior officers.

chicken_jim said:
We also need to ensure that a YO's training in CIS continues after he/she leaves RSS. Too many COs and OCs leave it up to the YO to learn by him/herself and too many YOs take the easy option and fail to do this.
How? I'm curious - what do you expect COs and OCs to do? Even with an explicit mandate to train junior offrs for JOTES, we regularly failed to do so. My CO and OC happily stated that "offrs are expected to train themselves"... ?!?! I was at the Land Warfare School, at Warminster, speaking to the SO1 at the new Junior Officer Tactics Division, and he was incredulous at that attitude. I checked with about a dozen junior officers on JOTAC, and there was a clear divide - combat arms train their junior officers 'in house', combat support/service support arms apparently expect junior officers to 'read a few books' and do it themselves. Why this would be any different with CIS training, which is not mandated to OCs/COs to deliver, I fail to see.

What training do you expect YOs to undertake of their own accord? There are precious few courses in-service available (probably only Data Comms at RMCS, SATCOM at RSS, and European Computer Driving Licenses at AECs). They're all very minor, and for more detail I can think only of IT and Computing courses with the Open University, but they're expensive. I've done the courses that I mention there, but it is unrealistic to expect junior officers to pay for their own Open University training, so what do you expect them to do?

chicken_jim said:
Finally we need to be more selective about who we select from RMAS. A good third of my TCC had no idea about CIS or technology and even less inclination to learn. They were all good guys/galls and some had done really well at Sandhurst, but they were totally unsuited for the Corps. We even had 2 who had failed to get into the Paras and the Corps had recruited them on the promise of 216. They had no interest in the Corps other than as a back door into the Para Regt. As I heard one past SOinC bost "we recruited more officers than any other corps from this RMAS intake". We need to get away from the numbers game and select the quality not quantity.
This is immensely difficult though - at the risk of generalising immensely, people with a deep interest in CIS join BT, not RMAS! At RMAS the pool of people from which we recruit are indoctrinated with infantry-centric training and outlook, and trying to recuit OCdts with the lure of high technology will fail when other Arms and Services are promoting more apparently exciting options. Why did we for years (I assume we still don't?) have our RMAS Arms and Services Display stand manned by 1/3 264 Sig Sqn soldiers, 1/3 216 Sig Sqn soldiers, and 1/3 'mainstream Regt' soldiers? The beige/maroon/black beret mix was hardly typical of the Corps!..

I think that it is in our interests to get as many quality officers from RMAS, and then - gradually - give them the training they require - just in time - rather than overface them at the Tp Comds' Cse level, as at present.

chicken_jim said:
A good third of my TCC had no idea about CIS or technology and even less inclination to learn.
(my emphasis)

As I have suggested, perhaps the inclination to learn was because of the nature of the course. After a hectic year at RMAS, enduring almost six months at RSS tends - in the experience of my Tp Comds' Cse course, and most of the people in subsequent courses - to sap the will to live, let alone learn...

Where's ChalkNTalk? It's been over a month since his last posting, and I'm sure he can offer some interesting comments...
 
#77
Fair play to all for the comments on this obviously touchy subject.

However it would make sense if our glorious HR team used the info provided to them for deciding postings (i.e. Posting Prefs and details of degree courses) to make an educated decision on who to put in more 'technical' junior officer posts. I know a bloke that used to be an offr in my Regt that has spent the last 9 or 10 years doing 'management' related bollocks and his MSc in Comms related shenanigans (don't ask me what it is) has been rotting somewhere in the back of his brain (in fact, maybe that's what the smell is). He's even got a real degree (even if it was from Birmingham) and not one of those ones you get when you go to Welbeck then get pissed for 3 years afterwards. :wink:

Meanwhile, back on planet Jimmy, we have recently seen a number of junior capts from Blandford who probably can't even work the timer on their video (arts and sports science degrees) posted off to organise operations in Bdes across our glorious Army...... truely ARRSE.

Incidentally, I spoke to a REME officer about this recently and he felt pretty much the same despite their training program and professional development provision.

Any comebacks?
 
#78
Fair play to all for the comments on this obviously touchy subject.

However it would make sense if our glorious HR team used the info provided to them for deciding postings (i.e. Posting Prefs and details of degree courses) to make an educated decision on who to put in more 'technical' junior officer posts. I know a bloke that used to be an offr in my Regt that has spent the last 9 or 10 years doing 'management' related bollocks and his MSc in Comms related shenanigans (don't ask me what it is) has been rotting somewhere in the back of his brain (in fact, maybe that's what the smell is). He's even got a real degree (even if it was from Birmingham) and not one of those ones you get when you go to Welbeck then get pissed for 3 years afterwards. :wink:

Meanwhile, back on planet Jimmy, we have recently seen a number of junior capts from Blandford who probably can't even work the timer on their video (arts and sports science degrees) posted off to organise operations in Bdes across our glorious Army...... truely ARRSE.

Incidentally, I spoke to a REME officer about this recently and he felt pretty much the same despite their training program and professional development provision.

Any comebacks?
 
#79
Norfolk, not so much a comeback but an oppinion.

Arts degree/Sports science/history/david beckham - dont really give a rats. If the officer is of high calibre, is willing to take and learn from the advice of their SNCO's (and JNCO's/Sigs where necessary) and is dedicated to the job and a natural leader of men, i'm happy with them. IMHO they make the best officers and are our future unit commanders.

Having a technical degree is without doubt an advantage, but an officer with aptitude and dedication can be an asset to the Corps, no matter what their degree. Also, in my honest oppinion, the person makes the officer, not the degree.

Boney
 

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