• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

TAPOs - a conspiracy theory

#1
I have been musing over the TAPO problem (not for the first time).

Last night when struggling to drift off to sleep (on the wagon at the moment and it keeps me awake), I pondered the future of the chain of command in relation to command of a TA sub unit/Unit.

Suddenly, it hit me.

Of Course!!

If the TA CofC fails (as it will at current levels of TAPO recruitment), the pool of potential TA COs will eventually dry up. Not next week but certainly within ten years. 'That'll teach 'em' I thought, they'll have to increase the number of Regulars assuming command of TA units....uh ohhhh

Oh NO!..... then it dawned on me - maybe, just maybe, that's the plan!

It would explain the recent debate on TA CO primacy in Glasgow, it would underpin the increasing regularisation of the TA soldier, and it would support ongoing mobilisation of the TA in support of operations. Who else to focus entirely on delivering IRs than a Regular CO of a TA Unit? None of this ethos bollox, just crank up the sausage machine with no whinging TA officers worrying about their highly paid jobs, professional civvy careers and whinging wives to slow down the relentless pursuit of fulfillling the regular Army's mission. Write a CO's directive entirely based on supporting operations, tailor the Trg programme accordingly, and blame it all on MATTs.

So, what to do?

Easy!

Make the TA commissioning process so long winded, so difficult, with loads of entry barriers, and hurdles along the way, that no-one other than student or the self employed could countenance. Don't just stop at commissioning, add Mod 5 and a whole load of courses as well, and deluge them with dull and tedious paperwork - that should p*ss them off completely.

Suddenly, it's all making sense.

Perhaps it's too late?
 
#2
What's taken you so long?

The Regular Army knows exactly what is happening - they have the stats to prove it, therefore it can be nothing other than a deliberate plan...

Or indeed, a Sign of the Times.

msr
 
#3
msr said:
What's taken you so long?

The Regular Army knows exactly what is happening - they have the stats to prove it, therefore it can be nothing other than a deliberate plan...

Or indeed, a Sign of the Times.

msr
Alcohol abstinence!

I must get back on the beer! (I might need to now)
 
#5
http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/p=721410/highlight=plan.html#721410

And it isn't just Officers

Wingletang said:
fusilier50 said:
i look back at the fully manned platoon i deployed with in 2003 and the number of guys that are still in is shocking. I'm a member of a MG(SF) platoon.

In 2003 we offered to volunteer to a man if we were kept as a formed unit and our skills used. Some of us hadnt been back from Afghan very long and wouldnt have considered another tour only 4 months after getting back from the first. All the promises came back. Our skills were needed and we would stay as a formed unit..utter bolloks but by that time we were in and nothing could be done. The whole platoon were mobilised and only one multiple were kept together. the rest were spread throughout the company.

The point is there is a lot of unit loyalty that is being ignored at all levels.My platoon isnt unique i am sure of that. We train separately from our Battalion for much of the time and this fosters a greater sense of loyalty that shows when mobilisations occur.

On our return there were many resignations and now 4 years later there are less than a handful left from that original platoon. Many struggled to adjust back to the TA way of running events and gave up. Others didnt like the fact that whilst they had been away men who hadnt deployed had been promoted and had in effect been rewarded for not going. Some felt that it actually harmed your chances of being promoted going on tour. Family and work issues did it for the rest.

we have recruited far above our orbat and have been told to continue. we are busy training up the next lot to go out but i doubt they will ever go as a platoon. this is i think very wrong. i do think specialist platoons such as SF and Mortars should deploy as formed units and be kept as such when on op's.
its a sign of the times....
msr
 
#6
2007 stats from TACC = 81 Type B (UOTC), 59 Type A (there isn't another course this year), up from 67 and 49 respectively the year before. Trouble is there seem to be fewer in the pipeline next year.
 
#7
But it would be wrong to whinge with no solution so here's mine:

DETAPO is an unmitigated disaster, based on the number of YOs (or complete lack of them) coming out of the system

Solution: shorten the pre-commissioning bit and lengthen the post-commissioning bit.

Everyone knows that 1 pip=L-plates (i.e. do not let loose with anything sharper than a pair of scissors and even then, not to run with them) so make all TA Offrs serve at least 2 years as 2Lt.

That way, people get to be commissioned, the TA gets YOs and the YOs get to be properly guided / advised / trained in their new role. Hey, they might even be allowed to have a bit of a laugh and enjoy themselves...

Win-win all round?

msr
P.S. Is this not the 'Fasttrack' system from c1989?
 
#9
msr said:
Solution: shorten the pre-commissioning bit and lengthen the post-commissioning bit.

Everyone knows that 1 pip=L-plates (i.e. do not let loose with anything sharper than a pair of scissors and even then, not to run with them) so make all TA Offrs serve at least 2 years as 2Lt.

That way, people get to be commissioned, the TA gets YOs and the YOs get to be properly guided / advised / trained in their new role. Hey, they might even be allowed to have a bit of a laugh and enjoy themselves...
Funnily enough, there were rumblings of this when I was at Sandhurst this year. We were asked after one of our lessons what we would think of people being given a provisional commission earlier on in the commissioning course. The idea was that giving POs a pip would encourage them to stick it out and finish the course. Everyone was outraged for the following reasons:

1) We all felt that we worked incredibily hard to get to RMAS, and we felt that we earned the commission. Giving a pip to POs earlier would devalue the work that previous POs have gone through, but more importantly the new people wouldn't have the same sense of pride in wearing the rank or respect for what it represents.

2) To be honest, the rate of attrition resulting from the long course weeded out a lot of people that shouldn't have been there in the first place. Should they really be given an officer's rank?

3) As msr says, a single pip is an L plate in a sense. However, we endeavour to shake off this perception by proving our worth to our superiors and to the seniors that we work with. This would be a lot more difficult for the strong 2Lts to do if there were more weak 2Lts allowed to wear the rank, many of whom don't deserve it.

As I said, this appeared to be little more than a show of hands to see who would be keen on the idea, but it shows that they are thinking about it!
 
#10
Much as I appreciate GMs sample and views, they can hardly be taken as impartial. Too many babies in the bathwater, and frankly not enough bathwater (or babies...).

The crux of the problem is that the time available to the target population (young professionals) is simply not there for the all singing all dancing commissioning process. (One has to be suspicious that the officer training tribe were trying to expand the liabilty to justify their existence..?) If we don't sort this one out sharpish, all that will be left are LEs...

The expectation that ALL TA officers can complete the same training and be as employable as a regular officer is ridiculous and unrealistic. This is not to say however that a TA officer cannot carry out most of the day to day leadership and administration tasks of his regular counterpart, however there is no way that TA can cover the whole breadth of activities that an experienced regular would be expected to do. So why try?

What is possible, is that a TA officer can specialise in a fairly narrow set of subjects such as Int or mortars and be available to do these tasks in support of operations. We should stop trying to produce generalist TA officers, and concentrate on niche roles. Correct me if I am wrong, but we have not deployed a TA front line unit bigger than a company since WWII?

We need to attract young, intelligent and motivatied people into the TA. The regular Army is losing many of its "experts" and this is the area in which the TA can fill. The current method produces "good all rounders" but is this actually what we need? More importantly are we blocking good potential? My view is to get the guys and girls in early, before they get locked into work and family and THEN build up the capabilty over an extended period...

What is wrong with taking more of a "vicars & tarts" approach; give the YOs a quick marching & knife and fork course, give them a pip and bung them out to get sorted out by the NCOs. Let them stay as 2LTs for several years to reflect the slower degree of exposure. Do not perhaps let them have Captain's rank until they have completed a "specialist" course, maybe after 10 years if that is appropriate.

We need these people for their intelligence and capability, and have to compete with others for their time and attention. The market will have the last say..
 
#11
The issue is one of time, intent, output, demand and reality.

Seems to me that the balance is not right amongst these issues and at the end of the day HE117 may be spot on. The market will dictate what happens. However, if the market is the key driver here then what would a plc do in such circumstances?. Methinks it would change it's product.

The mist might be clearing on this.
 
#12
Mr_T,

We could pinch an idea off the regs: Gap Year Commission (aka 3rd Lieutenant)

Gap Year Commissions (GYC) can last from 4 to 18 months with no commitment to joining the Army on completion. Successful applicants complete a four-week course at Sandhurst before being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, attached to the Regiment of their choice on a non-operational tour.

msr
 
#13
msr said:
Everyone knows that 1 pip=L-plates (i.e. do not let loose with anything sharper than a pair of scissors and even then, not to run with them) so make all TA Offrs serve at least 2 years as 2Lt.
Spot on! Simply spending one year as a 2Lt is'nt long enough, regardless of the number of MTD's /being a graduate /alumni of a public school.

A good officer is like a good whiskey...It needs time to mature.

However, conversely, YO's being highly motivated also means you couldnt keep them a 2Lt for more than 3years before they tell you to poke it!

The current system is a good one, that by and large produces good officers (with afew exceptions). The quantity being produced is'nt the fault of the course, but that of the 'Marketeers' who promote the image of a TA officer.
We all know how fantastically exclusive the club is, with all its benefits, yet people are'nt kicking our door down trying to get on the course. Why?
 
#14
wee_mark931 said:
msr said:
Everyone knows that 1 pip=L-plates (i.e. do not let loose with anything sharper than a pair of scissors and even then, not to run with them) so make all TA Offrs serve at least 2 years as 2Lt.
Spot on! Simply spending one year as a 2Lt is'nt long enough, regardless of the number of MTD's /being a graduate /alumni of a public school.

A good officer is like a good whiskey...It needs time to mature.

However, conversely, YO's being highly motivated also means you couldnt keep them a 2Lt for more than 3years before they tell you to poke it!

The current system is a good one, that by and large produces good officers (with afew exceptions). The quantity being produced is'nt the fault of the course, but that of the 'Marketeers' who promote the image of a TA officer.
We all know how fantastically exclusive the club is, with all its benefits, yet people are'nt kicking our door down trying to get on the course. Why?
I am afraid I don't agree. If as a 2Lt you were properly trained, clued up for MK1, given STA courses etc people would be happy to stay there for a number of years.

The current system is an abject failure. People aren't joining (2 deeply unpopular wars aside) because the commissioning process is ludicrously long and complex - at exactly the time they are setting out to establish their civilian careers.

There must be an imbalance between perceived value and effort expended, otherwise more would be joining. Surely?

msr
 
#15
I am afraid I don't agree. If as a 2Lt you were properly trained, clued up for MK1, given STA courses etc people would be happy to stay there for a number of years.
Its prevalent perception within the TA that spending a prolonged period (over 3 years for instance) as a 2Lt, somehow reflects on your abilities as an officer in a negative light. (jocks will see it as a vote of no confidence by the CO).

The current system is an abject failure. People aren't joining (2 deeply unpopular wars aside) because the commissioning process is ludicrously long and complex - at exactly the time they are setting out to establish their civilian careers.
I dont see it as a failure, as some very sucessful people manage it, which is a testiment to their commitment. It is difficult to juggle, however, the lack of perceived benefits causes a lack of uptake in the first instance. Your right in the inequity between perceived benefits and effort. The effort required to gain a commission is not insurmountable, it is the benefits that seem to be lacking, perceived or otherwise.

Would a drop in standards/time in trg on the Commissioning Course create a new under class of officers if said officers had the same TCOS...? Discuss.

Something has to change, but its way above my payscale to work out what that may be.
 
#16
wee_mark931 said:
I am afraid I don't agree. If as a 2Lt you were properly trained, clued up for MK1, given STA courses etc people would be happy to stay there for a number of years.
Its prevalent perception within the TA that spending a prolonged period (over 3 years for instance) as a 2Lt, somehow reflects on your abilities as an officer in a negative light. (jocks will see it as a vote of no confidence by the CO).
Why should they? You only need to tell them there is a new system. I am sure many would welcome and extended period in which to mould their new boss

The current system is an abject failure. People aren't joining (2 deeply unpopular wars aside) because the commissioning process is ludicrously long and complex - at exactly the time they are setting out to establish their civilian careers.
wee_mark931 said:
I dont see it as a failure, as some very sucessful people manage it, which is a testiment to their commitment. It is difficult to juggle, however, the lack of perceived benefits causes a lack of uptake in the first instance. Your right in the inequity between perceived benefits and effort. The effort required to gain a commission is not insurmountable, it is the benefits that seem to be lacking, perceived or otherwise.
I don't give a toss who is managing it, I am looking at output (aka results)

wee_mark931 said:
Would a drop in standards/time in trg on the Commissioning Course create a new under class of officers if said officers had the same TCOS...? Discuss.
I am not advocating any sort of drop in standards, just a workable solution and possibly the last chance we are going to get to fix it

wee_mark931 said:
Something has to change, but its way above my payscale to work out what that may be.
But it should not be beyond your faculties to have ideas and defend them ;)

msr
 
#17
Why should they? You only need to tell them there is a new system. I am sure many would welcome and extended period in which to mould their new boss
Fair play, if the system changes to a longer probabtion period, theres no worries, but its generally accepted that in the Corps under the current system a 2Lt of 3+years is a chopper (even i think that and i should be enlightened enough to know better). personally, i wouldnt like to be a 2Lt for 3/4 years.

I don't give a toss who is managing it, I am looking at output (aka results)
Fair point. I'm wondering how many people actually apply Vs the number that Commission. If for every 250 people that express an interest only 1 commissions, then something is desperately wrong with the course. I suspect the Ratio is closer to >50:1? Are there figures floating around out there?

I am not advocating any sort of drop in standards, just a workable solution and possibly the last chance we are going to get to fix it
I cant see how it can be shortened, without dropping the standards. (i've already heard murmours that standards at sandbags have already been lowered, which i find abhorrent).

But it should not be beyond your faculties to have ideas and defend them
I just cant be hooped... :wink:
 
#18
wee_mark931 said:
Why should they? You only need to tell them there is a new system. I am sure many would welcome and extended period in which to mould their new boss
Fair play, if the system changes to a longer probabtion period, theres no worries, but its generally accepted that in the Corps under the current system a 2Lt of 3+years is a chopper (even i think that and i should be enlightened enough to know better). personally, i wouldnt like to be a 2Lt for 3/4 years.
With all due respect, you are missing the point. Currently you spend 1.5 - 2 years as a DETAPO then 2 years as a 2Lt.

Under the 'new' system you would spend 3-4 years as a 2Lt. Get people into the club and start enjoying the benefits.

msr
 
#19
Oh, your penny has just dropped. I'd like that, were it to be the 'new system'.

However, would that 'de-value' the rank of 2Lt? in terms of an easier commissioning course?
 
#20
It would be based on the Gap Year Commission or the PQO course.

You could even add a 2 week course at Sandhurst to 'confirm' eligibility for promotion to Lt. Having attended a number of modules at Bde OTW / OTC / their unit.

Just get them in and keep them interested.

msr

P.S. 'De-value' 2Lt ;) ?
 

Latest Threads