The Army view of itself!

#1
Folks,

We have decided that we need to present on this subject as well, really to place everything in context.

So, what do the Army do really well? What are we sh!t at? Is all the talk about being a 'people organisation' just that - talk? CGS has said that 'SO2s are the Army's vital ground' - is that so? Do you feel that your careers are well managed, and if not, why?

Usual drills as with the other thread. And could I ask the horde from e-Goat to keep adding value to the 'Army vs RAF' thread please as opposed to this one - it's all greatly appreciated!
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#2
Proximo said:
Folks,

We have decided that we need to present on this subject as well, really to place everything in context.

So,

Q. What do the Army do really well?
A. Most of whatever it turns its hand to.
Q. What are we sh!t at?
A. MiddleManagment, but not on a broad scale.
Q. Is all the talk about being a 'people organisation' just that - talk?
A. Yes. Most 'sound bites' when used by the Army not only sound out of place, but are generally total bollox and used by middle management to allow it to feel good about itself and impress the Senior Management. Mutual back slapping, arrse kissing, etc.
Q. CGS has said that 'SO2s are the Army's vital ground' - is that so?
A. Don't know.
Q. Do you feel that your careers are well managed, and if not, why?
A. Nope. Middle Management too interested in getting the most recent sound bite in and are notbothered by anything that they themselves cannot not benefit from.

Usual drills as with the other thread. And could I ask the horde from e-Goat to keep adding value to the 'Army vs RAF' thread please as opposed to this one - it's all greatly appreciated!
 
#3
One huge systemic problem we have (and I do not know how mirrored this is in the other services) is that a senior officer in a command position has two years to 'make his name' and he has just arrived fresh back into his regt.

The guys may be thrashed but sometimes there are those who will compete to be the army equivalent of the kid at school who always puts his hand up first. LAND needs a battalion to go on on ops again - well before harmony guidelines should allow it? "Me, sir, please, oh please choose my regiment" Keen as mustard can lead to welfare negative outcomes with subsequent manning problems.

Another problem is the need to make one's mark in a staff job. Again, a need to be recognised within a short time window without the long term consequences being laid at your door can lead to an excess of enthusiasm over sense.
 
R

really?_fascinating

Guest
#4
We are good at being on ops, but bad at ensuring we are set for future ops. Retention, rehabilitation and work- life balance all out of kilter at present. As for So2 vital ground - if so, why allowing so many to bail out wihtout any form of strategy to hold vital ground? Maybe just key terrain?
 
#5
Absolutley crap at welfare and accomodation. Look at the RAF OR RN, we do the brunt of the work and the vast majority of us live in shoite when we get back to unit.
We also screwed ourselves with pay 2000. We made it a communist system where virtually everyone is on high band now as retention measures to the detriment of those in pinch point trades with skills etc. Though those with skills and trades wonder wheres the reward for applying yourself?
 
#6
Worst thing:Short term memory loss we learn from mistakes then make them again and again and again.

Best thing: Guys are cold/hot, wet/sweaty been up for hours not been fed ran out of fags, no booze but still see the funny side of anything.
 
#7
Do you feel that your careers are well managed, and if not, why?
Career management? What is that? Oh wait, is that the system where a bloke who never sees the work you do and doesn't even understand your job writes your reports for you? I may only be knee high to a grasshopper in years served but even I can see the bs of this system.
 
#9
Matts and wips
Where its more important to know that excessive alcohol/drugs is bad for you, That racism/sexism is wrong, But things like fitness or basic soldiering skill take a back seat because hey those things aren't very PC are they?
 
#10
What the army does well.

Give a bunch of soldiers an impossible job and they will normally get it done (legally or otherwise)

The welfare system for getting people back to dead or dying relatives cannot be compared to anything on civvie street whether its diverting flights to getting the rozzers to blue light a soldier down the motorway.
 
#11
Purple_Flash said:
One huge systemic problem we have (and I do not know how mirrored this is in the other services) is that a senior officer in a command position has two years to 'make his name' and he has just arrived fresh back into his regt.

The guys may be thrashed but sometimes there are those who will compete to be the army equivalent of the kid at school who always puts his hand up first. LAND needs a battalion to go on on ops again - well before harmony guidelines should allow it? "Me, sir, please, oh please choose my regiment" Keen as mustard can lead to welfare negative outcomes with subsequent manning problems.

Another problem is the need to make one's mark in a staff job. Again, a need to be recognised within a short time window without the long term consequences being laid at your door can lead to an excess of enthusiasm over sense.
I spotted a thread in the REME chunk discussing 4 years postings, whilst having their pitfalls in some trades I do see a soddin' great bonus in certain, very expensive areas.....To Wit. ANYTHING to do with manning a desk in ANY kit buying job......I strongly believe that projects, such as FRES, have suffered from too many revolving desks....Too much time is wasted on bringing up new faces to speed and keeping new faces pointing the same way....instead of haring off into unsustainable tangents. From a my view point, the old Job advert line "Hit the ground running" is mostly complete and utter bullocks, all that happens is you waste time running in the wrong direction.....
 
#12
Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute.

I am disappointed that we couldn't be more honest with ourselves. 1 page? The RAF thread raised 9 pages. Are we really that awesome? Answer: no. A cursory examination of the Continuous Attitude Survey will show that.

Perhaps it's symptomatic of ARRSE being overrun with wannabes and civvies, I don't know. Oh, and 21 stone muscle-bound jailbirds.

Thanks all the same.
 
#13
Proximo said:
Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute.

I am disappointed that we couldn't be more honest with ourselves. 1 page? The RAF thread raised 9 pages. Are we really that awesome? Answer: no. A cursory examination of the Continuous Attitude Survey will show that.

Perhaps it's symptomatic of ARRSE being overrun with wannabes and civvies, I don't know. Oh, and 21 stone muscle-bound jailbirds.

Thanks all the same.
Maybe you should have posted in the NAAFI bar, That seems to be where all the real soldiers seems to hang out for some reason.
 
#14
stacker1 said:
Proximo said:
Thank you to everyone who took the time to contribute.

I am disappointed that we couldn't be more honest with ourselves. 1 page? The RAF thread raised 9 pages. Are we really that awesome? Answer: no. A cursory examination of the Continuous Attitude Survey will show that.

Perhaps it's symptomatic of ARRSE being overrun with wannabes and civvies, I don't know. Oh, and 21 stone muscle-bound jailbirds.

Thanks all the same.
Maybe you should have posted in the NAAFI bar, That seems to be where all the real soldiers seems to hang out for some reason.
Brilliant, just when I was having a sh1te morning, thanks stacker :D

As already said, we do a fantastic job, wherever we go and whatever we are told to do.

Retention, career mis-management, housing and looking after our injured are all very poor.
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
The Army turns the spotlight on itself:

The Good:

1. The soldiers and junior officers are doing a fantastic job under very challenging circumstances.

2. CR2, WR, Apache, AS90, UAVs and SA80A2 are battle winning equipments.

3. The classic make do & mend, 'can do' attitude is still here and in force.

4. There is more synergy between the Arms & Services now than ever before.

5. We have a fine CGS at the moment, he is doing his best and is supported (in the main) by the Army - that is leadership.

The Bad:

1. No matter what anyone says, there is a retention issue. It is not criticial yet, but will be soon. This is forcing younger people, who are a little too inexperienced into jobs they are not ready for yet (but would be in one job's time) - they suffer whilst doing their best and get pi$$ed off - either they leave or are affected by the experience.

2. We have got to get over the fact that old Regimental system as we know is evolving into a Battle-grouping style of Regiment. That is fine - if everyone wears the same cap badge and come from the same catchment area but has different roles that works. But it will present challenges to the years of history behind each Regiment that will defend themselves to the death (and rightly so even if it is inevitable).

3. CVR(T), Gazelle, half of the enginneering fleet and FV 430 series are not battle winning equipment - but the boys do their best with it.

4. WFM - it simply does not work and we will suffer in the long run for it.

5. The pressure on COs to make their mark is so great now that the Regiments ultimately suffer as the CO is there for 2 years but the boys remain. Sprints can only be maintained for short periods. It is a brave man that takes the foot off the pedal to recuperate a Regiment rather than trying to get the operational tick in the box - because the current climate means that he has blown all hope of getting his Red Tabs.

6. We cannot communicate with the Civil Service - although I don't think the Army has the monopoly on that!!

7. Most importantly - the Army is tired, very tired indeed. The Operational tempo is punishing.

7a. The boys could withstand it if our G1 was better. Housing, welfare, rehabilitation, support to our families (both married and parental ones), pay (in some areas - not all) and the pension scheme all need to be looked at again. The package was all about being paid a comparable ammount of pocket money to your peers with a good benefits package behind it.

7b. The Covenant - is sacrosant - it is the single most influential bargaining chip we have with the boys. Promise that you will look after them and see it through - the Boys will be there, everytime. Let's sort out our own house so we can concentrate on operations.

Proximo - PM me if you want more bile and invective!!

Edited for typing mong and shpeelung mistooks!
 
#16
I take Proximos' point on board and thus shall now add to this thread!

Training: One thing that grips my shit, day in day out, is that we do not train appropriately. When was the last time any of you actually trained to pass the APWT rather than just rocking up on the range and blatting off rounds until the job was done? Limitations on track mileage and use of training areas means that armoured units suffer. The majority of the time is spent maintaining vehicles for them to be handed over via whole fleet management to another unit for them to maintain and handover etc etc. With the time being spent trying to appease this system, we lose out on the low level infantry skills. BOWMAN conversion was a farce that could have been so much better. Get the equipment and train on it, not get a simulator and then class yourself as converted.

Career management of soldiers and officers alike is dire. (this is more aimed at the infantry). It is often seen that and Officers posting is only released to him a month or so before he takes control of the job (at RD), as if the Officer plot is some closely guarded secret. Soldier management is pish, with soldiers doing back to back courses in preparation for the next op tour. Yet this is in place of other course for career progression (CLM, MK2 etc) which lead to career fouls.

Family Life; not being a stinking pad I can only summise what I have been told on this but the general feeling is that Families are taking a backseat in place of the Regimental requirements. Fine that is accepted, but 5 years of this has caused a lot of soldiers and officers to leave as they are never seeing their families. Its a Pads army but a single mans job.

Kit: Vastly improved over the last 8 years, but still a lot to do. Also I feel certain equipment requirements are being rushed through with the field army having to try and make it work and not always being that successfully.

Morale: Its taken a kicking. We like tours, we go on them and they are what we joined to do but some units are getting turned over well outside the Harmony guidlelines.

Healthcare: Struggling under the current demand. A lack of doctors and military medical staff really are having an impact.

Manpower: The boys (and girls) are working hard, but I think that the need to relook at recuperation and Adventure training is becoming important. We need to give the guys and girls other activities that do not just revolve around the constant work requirement.

Operational: If I am speaking out of line, slap me down, but the general feeling from the shop floor is that we have lost our way in Iraq and now see no purpose in it. The Afghanistan mission is still a keen focus, perhaps because we are seeing results (?). Do we feel we have achieved what we set out to do in Iraq, I think not. Are we learning lessons from these deployments and then incorporating them in training? I think not having recently gone through CAST & CATT and fought GENFORCE with limited serials on insurgent activity.

In summary, we are working ourselves to the bone with limited reward. We are not training appropriately and when we do train we do not do it intelligently. We are going to suffer more so in the future than we are now due to manning as our people leave due to not being able to justify the demands on their life.
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
Joker - good post, especially about the training angle.

Training is costly but critical. Joker is right when we need to be more intelligent in how we train, especially in core skills such as musketry ( :thumleft: ).

The operational focus in Iraq is laughable because it is politically driven and the Armed Forces are sitting there without a coherent strategy as a result.

L2s - the last time I looked at Lessons Learnt, the log said the first lesson we did not learn was the lessons from before. The Army holds no monopoly on that - but we can do something about it. Many successful businesses do.

Bring back the Fun Pt 1- We all know that Frank on the windsurfer was a bit of a fib - but AT has reduced dramatically for the average bod from 10 years ago. People will be quick mention the Everest exped and the march on the pole. These are great and do exist - but for a minority. In my service, I went on AT 3 times, once was laid on at BATUS as part of the training programme and the other two I organised. Is that a whinge - yes it is but I did something and didn't wait for others to lay it on for me. I will also mention that I tried sorting out 5 other trips that got canned because of commitments or lack of funding.

Bring Back the Fun Pt 2 - It ain't all about AT either, I ask you all when was the last time you had a 'smoker' at ENDEX or went out on a day trip with the Pl / Tp / Dept? What about the last battlefield tour? These things just don't have the frequency as they used to. It is not a lack of desire - but a lack of time, resources and funding. If we let these things fall out of favour - the younger generation will never experience them and will never allow it to continue.
 
#18
Again sadly it all comes down to money, Better training - love to but no money, adventure training - love to but you have to pay yourselves, bottle field tours - love to but pay yourselves, better kit - love to here's a catalogue where you can buy it yourselves, better rehabilitation - love to as soon as we an get you transferred to the NHS.

Spend less on civvies in Glasgow or London sitting round getting in touch with their feelings and more on all, not only front line but all service people bringing the fun back into the Army.
 
#19
Probelm with the army is that we are all proffesional liars. If you ask any soldier how they are, they will all pretty much tell you what you want to hear. Ask them how training is going and you will get the same answer, 'Fantastic Colonel'! Any seasoned soldier will know that to say anything different is a sure fire way to nail that coffin lid shut on your career.

However, mine is long over so I couldn't give a sh*t.

Poor pay for private ranks and SNCO'S
Poor standards of living all round
Poor equipment (kit on Ops is generally fine, but this is at the cost of kit to train on back home)
Lack of time between Ops. 4 to 6 months is not sustainable.
Poor promotion chances because of to much time on Ops and not enough time on training and promotion courses.
Poor travel prospects (other than the Middle East obviously).

Poor leadership from the PM.
 
#20
Perhaps we should rather ask "what is the army for" and "what is the best way to maintain an army that is fit for the determined purpose". As a certified serving geriatric, I see an organisation that has changed beyond all recognition in the time in which I have served in it. Perhaps the most significant thing tohave changed is "pace". We need to do more, more quickly and with less. This promotes something of a dichotomy: we seek to preserve the best (loyalty, the regimental system, cohesion and all the other good cries) but at the same time seem to flail around for modern, often off the shelf systems with which to achieve the "more for less" that drives the Department. When we seek to impose "commercial" solutions, that in itself promotes a change in mind set: to succeed in the two years that you are flying a procurement desk, you must become a manager. being a manager does not often lend itself to being a leader (and seeing how much one can earn outside the Service is often very tempting to a desk-bound warrior who still wants to get out into the field with soldiers.
One could write reams on this culture conflict (you'll be glad to know I'm not going to) but I'll attempt to summarise it in simple military terms: work out what you want to do, establish whatt you need to do it and have a fully funded, set out long term plan to work to without knee-jerking. Do that, and I reckon you'll soon have a Service that regains its purpose, morale, self-belief and effectiveness.
 

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