The problem with the ACF

Discussion in 'OTC and ACF' started by green_slime_officer, Nov 23, 2003.

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  1. I'm a TA officer, and in the past four years before joining my current (proper) TA unit, I served as an Officer Cadet in a UOTC and an Under Officer in the ACF. The ACF does have some value, but there are some significant problems with it, which, in my opinion, are as follows:

    a) While there are some really keen and enthusiastic Cadets, the majority of them are medioca at best, lacking in motivation, attention spans and the ability to basically do what they're told.

    b) Again, while some of the adults are very professional and excellent instructors, a large number are absolutely useless, and hold their current position not because they have any special knowledge, but because they happened to be cadets themselves and stayed on. They're stuck in their ways (most of which are outdated at best) and are not upto date with training and doctrine.

    c) While ACF Officers hold the Queens Commission, most of them do not deserve to be anywhere near the Queens Commission with a shitty stick. Most of the officer's I've meet in the ACF are more interested in 'acting' like Officers, and huge snobs (for example, insisting on having somewhere different to eat to the adult NCO's when on camp) than leading and managing their troops. These people aren't assessed for their Commission - even if they do attend TCB, if they fail, the county can override the boards decision and commission them anyway!

    d) Finally, when someone professional comes along and wants to, for example, run a proper exercise with vehicles, radios, night sights etc. using outside support (a local TA unit as enemy for example) the road blocks that get put in the way by the perminant HQ staff are unbelivable.

    I think the ACF is an excellent organisation and should be supported, but it's staff need to be more professional, and it's officers need to actually BE officers, not act like officers. And it's always worth remembering that the ACF provide about 25% of our future NCOs.
  2. A question,

    are the CTT's (Cadet Training Teams) still in existence?
  3. Yes. Professional soldiers, but varying motivation I've found. Some are just seeing out their time to pension point, some love the job - like permanent staff at a TA unit or UOTC, very dependant on the person in the job as to how good they are.
  4. Ok , yes an age old proplem with such posting's, alas.
  5. the cadet training team for my sector are excellent. really devoted to the job and always have the cadets bestinterests at hearts. the unfortunate side of it is they never have time for us except for 1 week of our 2 week annual camp when they run the SCIC. the CCF units always have them because they are, lets face it, less proffesional!

    in my 4 years as a cadet things have gone from bad to worse when it comes to restrictions. we cant do anything fun anymore and takes away most of the things kids joined for. we haven't had any LSW for a year now because of the STABS!

    my affiliated RLC regiment never give us any support. most didn't even know they had an affiliated cadet unit when asked at pirbright while i was there on a mil skills comp. and the reg units that do offer help kindly get told, thanks but no thanks, just because they are not from any of the regiments we have in our group!!

    no AIs from my group wants to put themselves out and organise things because the OC is a model officer like GSO described! a pompos G I T!!! and its to much paper work.

    the voices of the senior cadets, who are out there on the ground with the cadets listerning to what they want, are ignored. we have no power but we are told to do to much with so little authority! the adults make us look stupid infront of the cadets and the expect them to listen to us and us to co-operate with the AIs.

    Its all A R R S E!

  6. Sounds like the ACF county I was attached to.

    Most of the AI's didn't want to bother, and when they did, weekends wheren't planned in advance - most of the time I would turn up, as simply because I had a vauge idea of what we should do ended up writing the training program on the hoof on the friday evening.

    The restrictions that the ACF keep getting placed under are completely stupid, but that's nothing compared to the incompetence of the staff.

    Once, as a det training officer working for a very good Det Comd with a totally SHITE female NCO who refused to get involved in weekends I ran, and subsiquently vetoed our years training program when she became Det Comd, I planned a series of exercises. I had to get O/Cdts from mine and another UOTC to come to DS it, and when I sent the Admin Instruction into HQ for authorised, I was told it had too much information in (which I found odd, as I was under the impression that an Admin Instruction should cover, well, EVERYTHING!).

    As to the links with regular units and TA units....

    As to the LSWs, afraid you have to face facts - the TA (not STABs - not the best way to get us to help you is it?) have a mobilisation liability and with a huge number deployed on Operations, their training need is greater than yours.

    As for links with them. As with all liason, it comes down to personnalities. Det Comds and training officers and OC's need to get involved with their local TA units - go to their bar, drink with their Opos, invite them into the ACF mess, and to dinner nights. Then there's the other option - be a cheeky bastard on the lines of 'don't ask, don't get'. You'd be suprised how willing TA and Reg units are to help. You ring up their QM, RQMS, Training Officer etc and introduce yourself and say, 'We're running an exercise on xx of xxx. I'm trying to get some radios/night sights/tentage/vehicles for it. Would you possibly be able to help?' If they say yes, you write a properly formatted letter to the CO, referencing the Teleconference and asking for their agreement (which you'll usually get). Build on that link, and you'll end with them offering to loan you instructors for exercises.

    But it all takes time.

    The problem as you pointed out is that your OC is a twat. Find a keen junior officer if you've got one and ask him/her to start planning something like a patrolling weekend with night sights etc. and start the ball rolling.
  7. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    I couldn't agree more strongly.

    What a lot of ACF officers/AIs fail to appreciate is that the rank they wear on their shoulders is no refelction of authority. In any case, the army works on a system of who you know and who will do things for you because you are a "good bloke" and not because you are "Capt Bigballs". The problem I have found with ACF officers is that many are ex-rankers who did a couple of years as a Pte or LCpl and have a very jaded idea of how being an officer works and instead of picking up the phone and asking for a favour start firing off poorly written DOs to people tasking them to do things. They are then surprised when unit commanders and COs politely write back refusing.

    The good ACF officer is the one who picks up the phone, politlly introduces himself, and asks for some help/support. He will also spend time writing thank-you letters and occasionally arranging to meet up with the people in the units that support him and tank them in person over a beer or two in the mess.
  8. sounds like me , i would like to do all that once i get my ITC and instructor course etc sorted and out of the way
  9. When I was a cadet this question was asked a lot!

    I was in the ACF for 5 years and I only met CTT people 4 times and those times where all from doing courses and competitions.

    I know of some cadets who were 'of less ability' who did not get to attend these things and ended up spending the same time as me in the ACF and never meeting a CTT instructor ever!

    I think the CTT should be cut in size and associated more with the CCF (if its possible) and the ACF should get some PSIs like the OTC possibly one per sub-unit in a CSM role.

    This would keep training to the army standard (not the 'when I was in the RCT in 1764 we..' standard) and give cadets a better link with the army instructors than they get at the moment.
  10. We saw the CTT all the time-two of their kid's were in my platoon! :D
  11. [quote="100_Bayonets]
    I think the CTT should be cut in size and associated more with the CCF (if its possible) and the ACF should get some PSIs like the OTC possibly one per sub-unit in a CSM role.

    This would keep training to the army standard (not the 'when I was in the RCT in 1764 we..' standard) and give cadets a better link with the army instructors than they get at the moment.[/quote]

    Interesting idea but wouldn't work. Why? PSI's are there to deliver trade specific training - ie a RSIG WO2 teaches signals, and a RE WO2 teaches sapper stuff. They aren't there to act as CSMs - in a TA unit the CSM is a volunteer.

    Also, many people see a posting to a UOTC as one of two things:

    a) a career break before a WO1 post opens up, which is great

    b) somewhere to see themselves out to pension point

    There are, however, more reason why soldiers end up in these slots:

    a) the Battalion wants to get ride of them

    b) they aren't good enough for posts within their parent unit

    At least in an UOTC or TA units the PSI's have the advantage of being in a 'proper' military environment - ie the troops are under military law and are soldiers etc.. Also there is an issue that the ACF doesn't teach what the Army does - if you look at the Cadet Training Manual you'll see it hasn't been updated since about 1996, whereas Pam 3, for example (Infantry training manual for Platoon tactics), is constantly being updated.

    As to the CTTs - the reasons you don't see much of them is that your not suppossed to! Their job is to teach the SCIC etc. to cadets, help out with competitions and train Adult Instructors, they also spend a lot of time with CCFs. The average cadet isn't suppossed to see them a lot if at all.
  12. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    The other problem with the suggestion is that there isn't an over-abundance of WO2s to spare the manpower necessary.

    The way the army appointing system works is that it fills slots primarily on the assumption that you have somewhere to go afterwards. It would not promote people to make them WO2 PSIs for the ACF unless there were posts to go onto either as a WO2 or a WO1, and this would create more WO2s than the system could effectively promote/post/handle. For some PSI's the post is their last, though the army would not be inclined to promote people to spend years in an ACF post before leaving as it is a waste of a SSgt/WO2 that could be doing something elsewhere.

    I think it is a sensible idea to recruit ex-regular WO2s into ACF established posts as permanent staff, but again there is the issue of funding as their salaries have to be paid from somewhere. I believe that many school CCFs have a full or part time CCF WO2 in a quasi-PSI role, but they are funded by the school which draws income from school fees, endowmnets, and trusts that are not available to the ACF.
  13. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer

    I feel that closer integration between the TA and thre ACF would certainly help the situation but could also lead to a fair number of younger ACF instructors receiving a good shoeing because of the lack of relationship between appointed rank and maturity.

    The ACF has several hundred "Sergeants" aged between 18-25 who have maturity issues. How is this going to go down with the mess members at a TA unit?

    Many of these "Sergeants" are on a post cadet power kick of similar proportions to the officers previously mentioned.
  14. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    The flip side to that though is it might make the SI's see how they should be behaving and act as a reality check. After all, if they grow up to be Cdt CSM's and then go on to be an SI they have led a closeted life in terms of where they perceive themselves. A short, sharp kick in the knckers from, someone with 15 years in might make them see how they should behave and knock the chip off their shoulders.

    I would also advocate putting all potential adult instructors into regular and TA units on attachment for a week as part of their induction process so that they can get a picture of how things are done and gain some perspective. I know that the RFCA (Or TAVRA as it was then) approached a former CO of mine and asked for practical assistance in this manner, and a number of adult instructors walked away after a few days having been put straight on a few matters. Those dets also received considerable help as a consequence of making connections.

    Of course setting the minimum age for appointment to SI at 25 would also help.
  15. maninblack

    maninblack LE Book Reviewer


    I couldn't agree more.

    Initially there would be a lot of friction as the youngsters were knocked into line but in the end everyone would benefit.