TAPOs - a conspiracy theory

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by Wingletang, Nov 28, 2007.

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  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?


    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. msr

    msr LE

    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.

  3. Alcohol abstinence!

    I must get back on the beer! (I might need to now)
  4. Time to fall off the wagon then WT!
  5. msr

    msr LE


    And it isn't just Officers

  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. msr

    msr LE

    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?

    P.S. Is this not the 'Fasttrack' system from c1989?
  8. Sounds good to me......Not just echos of Fast Track but echos of how it used to be....
  9. 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. msr

    msr LE


    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.

  13. 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. msr

    msr LE

    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?

  15. 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).

    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.