The Deane Drummond Prize Essay Competition

Discussion in 'Royal Signals' started by choff, Jul 29, 2010.

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  1. Oke doke,

    I am expecting to get all the usual ARRSE associated abuse/banter for asking this but here goes anyway.

    I have to throw together an essay for HQSOinC, as do most Officers/WO's in the Corps. I thought I would try and get a different angle on it by appealing to all ranks for some 'feedback'.

    For those of you thath don't know what i am talking about, here is the blurb:

    "Explain how to make best use of a Royal Signals troop commander in the contemporary operating environment"

    "In the contemporary operating environment (COE), where the delivery of ICS is generally from static rather than manoeuvre HQs, the role of the Royal Signals troop commander has evolved. Post operational tour reports have indicated that troop commanders have been used in a variety of leadership and signalling roles. At the same time, as written in the Signal Officer in Chief (Army) vision , ‘we will offer every man and woman (soldiers and officers) a life filled with purpose and challenge’."

    So how would you “make the best use of a Royal Signals troop commander in the contemporary operating environment?”

    I will clearly look at things such as:

    The pre Afghan/Iraq roles of a Tp Comd and compare them to how Troopies are emplyed these days.

    It has to be tempered with employment in "A War" vs "The War".

    The fact we use so many more COTS eqpt on ops instead of military kit procured through the EP channel.


    My inital thoughts are that Trooop Commanders in the field act as the 'string' that ties together some very skilled tradesman, the person that acts as both a moral compass and the person that enables other people to excel within some very testing circumstances.

    I clearly have a lot more work/thought to do on this but am keen for any earnest input.

  2. Choff, funnily enough I've just been doing a bit of work on leadership for an OU TMA that I'm knocking out. Other industries, not just mil, have the same issue with functional experts being governed by less-specialist leaders / managers. I found a very old piece of work by legendary British economist Adam Smith and have started to draft something to that effect. My work so far reads as follows...

    OK, it's a bit fluffy but I still have 4 more weeks before I submit it. It's a business assignment but my way of thinking is that specialist skills are like "vertical" functional silos and the officer / supervisor acts like a "horizontal" cross-function controller.

    I would argue that the troopy often has extremely little theoretical knowledge from training - the troopy's course doesn't teach them how to understand the ISAF ICS laydown for example. RMAS and RSS only really gives them the equivalent of Phase "2.5" training and they need to have on-the-job ICS experience in order to become knowledgeable. Surely it's a waste of talent and leadership ability to simply ask our officers to stay out of trouble? I think it's also often (but not always, obviously) the case that the Tp SSgt doesn't understand any of the CIS characteristics and he/she is really a G1/G7 generalist. So if the Troopy is a sprog and the SSgt is not a "communicator", we're fecked.

    It's definitely real challenge and it's hard to see any easy answers. I would suggest that we look at the case of "fighting THE war, rather than fighting A war", since the COE is likely to provide a blueprint for future conflicts in the foreseeable future. That means the Tp Comd needs to understand ICS interoperability and capability. Perhaps that's the lynchpin - the interoperability piece?
  3. I pretty much agree with everything thats been put, nice to know my gut feeling wasn't too far wide of the mark. PD and Roadster, thanks a lot.

    I would be keen to here from some of the junior ranks too.

    How have Troopies been employed on Ops over the last 6-8 years while you have served and if you could write your own jobspec for a deployed Troop Comd, what would it entail?
  4. I think Roadster's hit the nail on the head. Troopies should provide top cover for their wards, and take the opportunity to learn as much as he/she can.

    We had a new subbie take over our troop halfway through an op tour last year, and he was dead keen to leave his mark so tried changing a lot of things that were fine the way they were, including office layouts. Naturally, he was handed a copy of JSP 480 and SDIP-29, then told to wind his neck in.

    "We have two ears and only one mouth, so a good leader should listen twice as much as he shouts..."
  5. Thanks for the feedback so far, if I could just try and tease some more info that would be great.

    What do Troop Comds do well, and what do they do that isnt good or well appreciated?

    Anychance of someone jotting down what they think the key roles of the Troop Comd should be? I dont care how trivial the points may be, IMHO opinion a lot of the time, little things are what marks people out from the crowd.
  6. We Troop Commanders are epic at deflecting flack from our Soldiers (as long as RHQ keeps the long screwdriver away - fat chance!).

    Other than that, my personal experience at my unit is that the system of Command goes from Capt to WO, completely skipping the Troopy in everything. It's a little bit pump.

    Best of luck with the essay, we're all in the same boat!
  7. There are often lifelong bonds formed between Tp Comd's and those they command, not many Lt's will remain so and many of the JNCO/SNCO's they command will go onwards and upwards too. Although perhaps more nostalgaic as opposed to based upon pure fact, I am sure there are many WO's and LE Offr's out there with great respect for CO's (and above), whom they first met as 2nd LT's.
  8. Totally agree with the two ears and one mouth analogy. And he should be man enough to take the flack from all sides and still support his troop. Best tool any troopie can have is a friggin' notebook and pen. Nothing worse nob-looking than having to say "OOps! Forgot it!":pale:
  9. PD you know more than I by the sound of things, one trend in industry is to create vertical deliveries and horizontal capabilities.

    Reading the discussion here, and from my humble few years as a STAB, and a lot more working with you lot from the industry side of life the role of a Tp Cdr ought to be as a delivery leader. That is making sure the right resources are assigned, making sure requirements are being met, and that feedback is sent up the chain. Capabilities ought to be managed by your technical specialists - each trade group managed by a senior member of that group (if even just at a Sqn level). The Troopy should be able to go to a capability manager and say 'make this happen' - it is then down to them to make sure that the right person with the right skills is assigned. At the moment it sounds like there is a horrible cross over of attempting to do both vertical and horizontal management. Amusingly HR aspects would fit into the horizontal group - you're 'owned' by the YofS or whatever and not the Officer Corps ;)

    Loosely speaking Lt fits a project management role. SNCOs = technical governance and staffing ( :S ).
  10. You're not wrong, really, but things are never that simplistic in the military, are they? ;)