Too many soldiers in DLO/DPA?

Discussion in 'RLC' started by untallguy, Jul 14, 2006.

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  1. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Should the Armed Forces be so involved in DLO/DPA? A vast number of officers and soldiers (and airmen and sailors) are now working in DLO/DPA – many in posts which a civil servant could be correctly employed.

    I appreciate that there are areas of the DLO/DPA that are suitable for employing members of the Armed Forces – these would include:

    1. Specialist areas such as explosive storage and handling.

    2. Areas where Armed Forces experience/knowledge is essential (eg IPTs examining new equipments, some planning areas).

    3. Interface between DLO and FLCs (eg DSDA ops).

    That still leaves a lot of people in green (and light/dark blue) kit doing jobs that a civil servant could do. I know that serving in an agency does allow individuals to have a break from field service and let bodies recover, marriages to have both members present etc. However, the Field Army is always short of blokes for this and that, be they gaps in units’ regular establishments or in WFE for units going on ops. Most of these gaps are at the ranks employed in DLO/DPA.

    Is it time that somebody bit the bullet and pointed out that DLO/DPA may be a wee bit overstaffed and that some/many of the Forces’ individuals should be released back to the Army/RN/RAF?
  2. I don't want to spoil the day of any Civil Servants who might read this, but the question boils down to whether you want your equipment procured and maintained by people who know how and where it will be used, or by a 21 year old graduate from a former polytechnic who has just studied Media and Dance for 3 years?

    There are a lot of very good technical civilian staff in the DLO and DPA, but the majority of them are older than the average teddy bear, as they joined when the MOD Civil Service provided apprenticeships and a wide range of technical training. Those guys are now retiring and the pool from which the MOD Civil Service recruits is the one from which the Services have already taken their pick, and the Civil Service therefore finds it hard to recruit, train and retain technical staff.

    I would argue the opposite; the DLO and DPA need more military staff in there to guide the Civil Servants.

    A good friend of mine tells me that the rush by Civil Servants to become IPT Leaders has died away because they are high pressure jobs, aren't paid well enough and Min DP has sacked a few. The feeling is, reportedly, that such jobs are not worth the candle especially when Smart Acquisition is anything but, and projects are again exposed to the whims of Ministers! The vacancies will be filled by military staff. That is good from the military perspective but bad from the perspective of continuity; not many will want to hang around beyond the 3 year point!

    Now that the DLO/DPA crash (or takeover, depending on one's point of view) has been announced, it will be interesting to see what happens. I believe there will be a huge loss of technical expertise as those in Andover decide not to move to Bristol. And that loss will translate into poorer techncial support for the Army in 5-10 year's time, IMHO.

    I am glad that I am not in those two empires.

  3. I must agree with litotes on this issue. The MOD civil service has some excellent individuals in it, but very few who fully appreciate the impact on the ground some of the projects they work on have on the ground. There are less and less technical SME's these days as more and more is contracted out, with MOD Tech staff outsourced with it. Lets face it, unless you where MOD trained, who would work as a tech for the same money as an administrator sat 2 desks away?
    Guys in uniform are the ones who will be going in harms way with whatever is procured by the DPA/DLO. These are the same people who need to have a large say in the way a project is delivered.
  4. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Litotes and Baldrick66 both make fair calls and I would agree that technical expertise comes very strongly under paras 1 and 2 in my original post.

    However, do many of the business streams really require people in green kit or individuals in a suit who better aware of the commercial environment? Other areas such as comms, finance, business planning, coord appointments still have Armed Forces' personnel in them (albeit less than they were). We should recognise that DLO/DPA is effectively a commercial organisation where Forces types have a limited, albeit key, role.
  5. Untallguy

    Sorry mate, but you have all the hall marks of a local DLO/DPA office snoop! The civil service has a lot of valuable contributions to make to all of us in uniform, Commercial and contracts being a case in point. However what is needed within both organisations is an awareness of both civilian (political or Value for Money!) and military point of view. The only individuals I Can think of who to date have lived up to this seem to be one of the DPA (DCSA) IT managers who has a military background and is now TA who seems to be (on occasions) the only IT bod who appreciates rapidly changing circumstances! (Oh the black art of networks) More to the point bends over backwards to deliver the DCSA promise of ‘Information Anywhere, Anytime!’ Also another individual (again a TA SNCO) with an IPT (Small Arms) who will go out of his way to ensure what can be delivered, is delivered, when needed NOT when it suits the contractor, or because red tape allows it. Undoubtedly there are many more individuals in both DPA and the DLO that do deliver what we want, when we want. But I just can’t place a finger on them right now……………………
    I believe that for a civil servant to fully understand what they deal with day to day affects real people, in uniform, in which ever branch, A civil servant MUST!!!!!! Either have served, or experienced service life, and frustrations.
    Example: An IPT is tasked to deliver ……………. New boots
    Members of IPT (New Boots) wear new boots as part of there project.
    If you want a new IT system…………… Speak to the guys who need to use it.. Inf/Sigs/RTR/RLC/RMP whatever.

    Bottom Line,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
  6. The Soldier today, needs the kit of tomorrow………… TODAY!!!
  7. You cannot leave procurement to the cvil servants. They have limited appreciation of what they are buying for and some of them care even less. Military content is completely appropriate and necessary in all aspects of the MoD and this includes the DLO/DPA.
  8. Im working as a SME for the UST project and although i have met a lot of knowledgeable people on it, it makes me feel better when the CIVILIAN firm builds the truck, the CIVIL servant says "thats will do" and me in GREEN says "no, do it like this and the lads will like it more"....low and behold they took notice of me!
    When it comes to SRD's etc then let the civilians write it but make sure there is good input from people like myself and the users.
    I find though, having been involved with other projects, that if the mil are not involved early on, it seems to go wrong later on. It also pays if the IPT's involved are willing to listen as well.
  9. untallguy

    untallguy Old-Salt Reviewer Book Reviewer

    OK, guys, point taken on DPA as the majority of the responses have been tailored to procurement - taxi for one, name of untallguy!

    Any views on DLO (not withstanding future merger of DLO and DPA)?
  10. Not happy with Civilians writing the SRD unless they are very heavily monitored by a military Requirements Manager. It is amazing how much can dissapear between the URD (User Requirement Document) and the SRD (System requirement Document).
    Do not forget that MGO told the civvies to provide the 80% solution. we need the miitary in DPA to make sure that te 80% is what we want. Tank 80% protection Mobility ooops no main armament - 80% that will do. The BGTI programme is a classic. FOOs have a worse system than they ever had before. DPA traded out all the difficult requirements ands the military were not there in the correct levels to stop it happening. RMs are a major requirement and Military IPT Leaders are normally far better than their civvie counterparts.

    You really need more military not less. I know I have been at both ends of the M4 and in an Arms directorate picking up the pieces!
  11. Maybe my comment about civilians writing SRD's was taken too literally. Due to the tech nature of the UST, it is sometimes better for an "outside" influence to contribute to the SRD. The UBRE, which UST replaces, was designed years ago and legislation has more than moved on. We, the mil, tend to get blinkered on what happens in respect to new developments and regulations. The UST incorporates such things as Safe Pass Loading which unless you had contact with civilian agencies, you would not have a clue what it is. Saying that the Safe Load Pass was put on hold anyway!
    But i agree with that IPT people should speak to the ones on the coal face more and not wait for a EFR to wing its way to their desks!