Thousands of Troops to go, but MoD to expand

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by kimmi851, Sep 11, 2010.

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  1. According to this article Defence spending: thousands of troops to be cut - Telegraph, it looks like drastic.

    I know I may be overreacting as this may be one of those favoured "trial leaks" to see how the public will take it as they seem to be covering their backs in the wording, but it still looks very well costed (the tin foil hat wearer in me thinks probably by civil servants in the MoD who have screamed "its them or us"). Especially the ease that it trips off their tongues that "Soldiers could also be ordered to serve longer on the front line in Afghanistan, and be given less time to recuperate between tours." Fair enough to say that Cyprus is not an operational tour (for anyone who wasn't out there a few years back when it all flared up at Aki), but do they they make it sound like an operational tour recuperation and preparation is the same as a break for a salesman after a trip to Norwich for a few months - nice to comfort the wifey, but not required in the bigger scheme of things, rather than an essential recovery. I am willing to put big money if it does go ahead that they wont put any significant amount into the psych services they will need for the care of blokes they have sent out there for these extra times without time to wind down from it.
  2. It mentions Cyprus. But surely (and i stand corrected if not) the only 6 month tour out there is the UN one. The Resident Inf Bn is 2 or 3 years isnt it, like the LANCS have just done. So why not get some other UN (perish the thought!) to take on the Green Line duties?
  3. Why are people still listening to the Telegraph?
    They have been printing any old shite of a rumour for weeks on end without any evidence to back any of their tales up.
    According to the Telegraph the UK won't have any armed forces within the decade and the French army will garrison the Tower of London before the end of the year
  4. Kimmi - you are very definitely wearing a tin foil hat - arguments on force structures will usually be done by the military staff. Such a protest wouldn't happen.

    The problem is, as has been shown in the paper, it costs 50% more to employ military than civilian, and many military staff are currently employed in jobs that could easily be done by civilians - for instance, admin, some training, MT jobs etc. I think this is a sensible acknowledgement that if we want to keep capabilities we have to cut people and it makes sense to cut those military staff whose jobs can be civilianised if possible.

    I know this won't sit easily with many people, but its an unfortunate reality that with all the pay rises and generous allowance packages compared to most employers, the armed forces are now too expensive to keep in current numbers. I suppose we could go down the 'mass paycut and allowance slashing' road, but that would be impossible to carry out. So, the sad result is that we have to cut the headcount to get the forces to become affordable in the current climate.

    I'm going to sound even more controversial now - the media like to portray the armed forces to a man as steely eyed dealers of death on the front line, but the problem is when you start looking into this, you discover that only a relatively small number of the forces do the sort of 'warry jobs' that many people assume everyone does. There are lots of areas where forces people carry out work that is fundamentally civilian in nature (eg SPS or writers in HMS NELSON) and which could be done for a fraction of the cost by civilianised staff. I have no problem with cutting the tail if it preserves the actual front line capabilities that can only be done by military people.

    The key is going to be to work out how we can ensure enough jobs exist to provide some form of respite from constant tours (an era which looks like it may be coming to an end anyway post HERRICK). Ultimately though from a financial perspective if you employ a Sgt to do an admin job at in excess of 30K per year plus allowances pension etc, why not employ a civilian equivalent to do the same job for 16-18K per year with no allowances and smaller pension contributions? One post doesnt make much savings, but civilianise 5000 posts, and over 10 years (current planning cycle) you suddenly realise you make some huge savings. What is the net difference to the Forces though? Both people will work a similar length working week, but you lose the ability to deploy someone, and the flexibility of moving them at short notice around the UK. However its significantly cheaper to hire them, and if they go, you can source a replacement easily enough. Sadly its a no brainer really.
  5. 'If we want to keep capabilities we have to cut people' aka 'if we want to keep expensive ships & planes, we will need to cut soldier numbers'? I see the Army has failed to make its case again. The other two services are all about things, the Army is about people. Things keep BAe in business. Soldiers just die.

    The civilianisation thing was done to death at Options. 'Front Line First'? It won't work out cheaper anyway - not when outsourced to a private company who will reduce the service and up the price in order to satisfy shareholder needs.
  7. People will still wilfully refuse to accept this harsh economic truth.

  8. Remind me again how much overtime I'm allowed to claim now?*

    *It's somewhere between none and fuckall.
  9. Ashford - it is far more expensive to employ a Mil member of staff than military at every level and every grade. This has been done to death here, and the moment you look at the cost of employing a military member of staff, with a higher base rate of pay (usually 30-40% higher compared to their civilian equivalents) and the large number of allowances and travel options, it is never cheaper to employ military personnel. Using examples as overtime and pager allowance doesnt hide the fact that even with allowances a CS will always be cheaper to employ than their military equivalent number.

    "Overall it is much more expensive to employ a civilian, and they can turn around and say no whenever they want."
    No they can't - a common misconception. They cannot refuse to do something which is within their job spec. They can refuse to do things like work till midnight with no notice because they have a contracted number of hours to work per week and often have real world commitments outside of work hours. If you ask them to work late with no notice and no overtime, then you are asking them to work for free. Would you be willing to give up your evening with no notice to work for free?

    As for overtime - you are completely wrong - CS cannot get triple overtime for working part of an hour (god I wish they could!). The OT budget is frozen anyway at the moment, so you should get TOIL. If you do overtime then you'll get normal hourly rates for weekdays, and double time on weekends. The only way I can see someone getting 'triple time' is by working on a bank holiday as theoretically they're on double time for working, and getting paid for a statutory holiday.

    Don't forget though that there are pretty much no allowances, no travel support, no HTD travel, no FIA and no Boarding school allowance or any other support network out there. There is no cheap accommodation either. The only CS allowances out there worth a damn are london weighting (a whole 2700 per year) and a couple of detached duty allowances which ensure you are not out of pocket (ie paying of actuals bills when living away for long term posting) - you don't make a profit as its all actuals. Pager allowance is still clinging on, but is for specific roles only and for short periods of time.

    "It is incrdibly hard to manage a civvy in mil employment as you cannot order one to do something at short notice "
    That mentality sums up why CS / Mil relations are poor at times - the CS are not military people, but they will do work that they are tasked to do. If you treat them like you'd treat a private soldier then expect them to get stroppy - they're not soldiers, and won't respond well to being treated like that. Realise that they are civilians, and manage them appropriately - if needs be, go do the DB Learning course on managing civilians and understand the differences.
    I would say the biggest issue I've encountered in CS / Mil relations is both sides forgetting that the other is a very different beast, and trying to act like they are one and the same. They are not, and never will be. Treating CS like soldiers, or Soldiers like CS is a recipe for trouble. Accept that you can't order CS about, but equally they are obliged to do their jobs - if they don't then discipline them in line with their system.
  10. I think that anyone who has done any serious time in the Armed Forces knows that there are a multitude of posts that can be civilianised. Clerks, cooks, drivers, Commcen Ops etc in lots of places could be got shut of.

    It has to also be said that while it'll take some initial outlay to sort out, it's an anachronism that we maintain any units in Germany. The Armed Forces can get fitter in terms of how it does it's business. All Govt departments are taking the hit, and it's not realistic to think that the Armed Forces haven't got to do the same.

    Having said all that, it's a two way street. The Government of the day HAS to realise that they have a responsibility to the men and women to arm and protect them to the very best of their abilities. Any deployments that are out of scope of normal budgeted operations should be FULLY funded by the Govt from central funds.

    And if they are REALLY interested in saving cash, they want to streamline and smarten the procurement process. Abbey Wood is not fit for purpose. It needs culling.
  11. Jim 30, this is the usual rubbish that has got us into this mess in the first place. Whilst the annual pay may be higher the hourly bill is lower. When we come in to work at 0730-0800, the mil clerk has been in since 0700, the civi one rocks up at 0900 and is gone by 1630. The mil clerk is still here at 1900 and I leaves at around 2000. I had 5 days up north last month, cost 4 nights IE £20, I stayed in the mess. The Civi guy was on overtime and expenses for 5 days, no mess for him he had a nice 3* hotel. We keep replacing experienced mil personnel with civi staff, when we deploy we have to backfil the posts as the civi guys don't deploy. This is not a dig at our civi colleagues, but a dig at the system that thinks it works to replace those posts that need mil knowledge and training with someone who used to work in Tesco or has just left school. We are already over exposed. The mil staff are working longer hours to make up for the shortfall, every time we save a post or replace a mil one with a civi we work longer to compensate.

    Another thing, this is the defence of the UK we are talking about, if I have to I can grab my rifle and defend. Can you Jim? How many civilian posts are there in defence and how many in uniform? Its not a competion, but shouldn't the green, blue machine be mainly in uniform?
  12. Jim heard it all before cut the admin posts, chefs,clerks, medics, drovers etc this will free up front line troops well has it in the past no less medics = less medical support, less chefs = PAYD, less drivers = mis employing inf soldiers to do the same job,no clerks = no clerical support in the field so if your pay goes wrong on ops will you phone your AO, EO fin in the UK to solve it from Fire Base Knob don't think so.

    The end result is you end up employing civvies and paying them agency fees at twice the rate.
  13. "Another thing, this is the defence of the UK we are talking about, if I have to I can grab my rifle and defend. Can you Jim? How many civilian posts are there in defence and how many in uniform? Its not a competion, but shouldn't the green, blue machine be mainly in uniform? "

    Yes - actually I'm looking at my rifle & pistol right now, its beside my desk here in a hot and sunny theatre (and I'm bored out of my skull on a quiet weekend, hence playing on NIPR...) (and before you ask, yes I do regularly go outside the wire with it. Its not sitting there gathering dust for 6 months!)

    As for the posts - roughly 185,000 mil posts, 50,0000 reservists and 85,000 civilian. The civilian total includes the MPGS / RFA (roughly 7000), all overseas LECS (11,000), all the lecturers and teachers in MOD schools for service kids (1200), and all the rocket scientists and intelligence types. There are about 15,000 industrial staff (factory workers, munitions depot staff, technicians etc) The majority of the remainder is roughly 30,000 admin staff across the UK doing work at up to roughly SSGT equivalent levels of responsibility, but for about half the salary. These figures are likely to drop by at least 10 - 15% post SDSR.

    As for your office - thats a good example of one place where mil do long hours. I can point to when I worked in LAND and show you that come 1600 the mil admin staff were out the door, same as they are in MB. For every hard working mil admin staff out there, there are plenty that will do CS hours given half a chance. Similarly, when doing OPTAG to deploy, I was stunned at the 'lets take every opportunity to secure early' mentality of some training course staff - sports afternoons, 1030 finishes on a Friday (having worked to a maximum of 4pm during the week) etc. I'm not saying that its all like this, but I've been to plenty of military places where an 0800-1600 culture (with Wed sports afternoons and early Fridays) mentality still exists.

    "had 5 days up north last month, cost 4 nights IE £20, I stayed in the mess. The Civi guy was on overtime and expenses for 5 days, no mess for him he had a nice 3* hotel. "

    Why did you send the civilian then? If your TLB wants to save money, don't ask the civilian to travel. As for overtime, why are you paying overtime for a normal working day? He should only have got actuals for the cost of the hotel and the same IE as everyone else (5). More to the point, I'm impressed that you COC made you stay in the mess - most places I've worked, the mil staff are falling over themselves to stay in hotels - nice to see thats finally changing.
  14. I like the way J30 keeps banging the drum for CS as being value over uniformed personnel.

    Talk about backing the wrong horse.... perhaps better but not best value eh?

    why do you think the Telegraph is highlighting the disparity in cost between the "normal" CS and a MoD one?

    Perhaps it is because MoD is going to be the lead Department in Serco-isation. When Dr F gets his three pillars to their desired endstate, only one of them will have any numbers of CS in - and it will be the polstrat one. So, I would not be so smug - still at least all the clowns on Development schemes will be looked after, well the Fist Strimmers anyway, the MIDIOTs may be hung out with the rest.
  15. I hope and pray that the MIDIOTS (!) get scrapped - the sooner that scheme is abolished the better.