Wavell Room - objective quality Brit PME or an OJAR enhancing echo chamber?

Is the Wavell Room:

  • a genuine bottom up volunteer PME site?

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • handy to get something published pre OJAR?

    Votes: 4 22.2%
  • a forum for the "right" chaps to put out correct messaging that everyone should adhere to?

    Votes: 8 44.4%
  • past its sell by date?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • a useful site to keep underemployed Staff types busy whilst the grown-ups get on with the real work

    Votes: 1 5.6%

  • Total voters
    18
I think it's excellent, some sound content on there. The recent piece on the appraisal system is a great example!

Did you write it?
 
Well, at first glance it's not as wrong as Parts #1 and #2...

Meh - its still pretty weak.
Modularisation of training, pitching to various levels, some already dated "novel" approach to admin.
Again some really huge gaps in knowledge; Does Chris even have a Defence Connect log in?
The "Reserves don't have easy access to Modnet, that's bad" also applies to 60-70% of the regular army.
Yes, there are problems, however there seem to be a suggestion this is what the Army reserve have chosen:
e.g
As Steve B has pointed out, the current model of Reserve units seeks to mirror regular laydowns. Few have questioned why this mirroring is needed? Many reservists AR have questioned it and capbadge linking seems to be a Regular heuristic. AR units operate within their AOR as distinct entities, often working to 2 maybe 3 Bde HQs (Operational, RPOC and functional if RE/RSIG/RLC), the CO has to balance many masters. Good COs often make multi capbadge events the norm.

The other main bit that is missing is that of decent innovative leadership. there are units out there that are delivering well over A2020R requirements, that have broken LTNA and Drill night paradigms and are pioneering the critical AR generational change needed that everyone bellyaches about, but do little to enable.
Massive broadbrush: if an AR unit is underperforming/bumbling along, look to its leaders. Reservists require genuine leadership, not the "command by coercion" style more familiar in regular units, sticks don't really work with reservists.
Regulars can't easily enable sharing this good practice between different AR units, as they often don't have enough depth to their AR knowledge to understand the myriad forms that good can take.

The AR conference as a knowledge/good practice sharing forum is broken and is often a "VSO transmit only" affair
 
Yes, there are problems, however there seem to be a suggestion this is what the Army reserve have chosen:
e.g. As Steve B has pointed out, the current model of Reserve units seeks to mirror regular laydowns.

You had to mention that muppet and his lazy article. From it: "With a few exceptions (the House of Lords highlighted the integration of 77X) reserve training is broadly for no discernible purpose." Really? Based on what evidence? It looked a bit of a combat-arms choppy hand and bluff overconfident statement.

I'm still a bit underimpressed. I appreciate the difficulties of putting together a site as a part-time activity, but now they've started pushing out tweets saying "why not try writing an article?". Having reacted to @alfred_the_great and his challenge, I thought I'd put something together and sent it in late November. No reply since the immediate (automated) confirmation response, not even after a chase-up. I mean, I'm just an out of date ex-STAB, but even a note to say "Sorry, too chippy badly-written and under-evidenced, show again" would be nice...
 
You had to mention that muppet and his lazy article. From it: "With a few exceptions (the House of Lords highlighted the integration of 77X) reserve training is broadly for no discernible purpose." Really? Based on what evidence? It looked a bit of a combat-arms choppy hand and bluff overconfident statement.

I'm still a bit underimpressed. I appreciate the difficulties of putting together a site as a part-time activity, but now they've started pushing out tweets saying "why not try writing an article?". Having reacted to @alfred_the_great and his challenge, I thought I'd put something together and sent it in late November. No reply since the automated response, not even after a chase-up. I mean, I'm just an out of date ex-STAB, but even a note to say "Sorry, too chippy badly-written and under-evidenced, show again" would be nice...
Maybe they think you have nothing to say?
 
Could well be, I'm nothing special. In which case, a polite "F**k off, there's a good chap" would be both polite and appropriate...
True - but as you say they are both busy young men with actual jobs.
My wife writes and her first 1000 or so goes got no response from any publisher - I am surprised that part time blog hosters are held to higher standards.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
True - but as you say they are both busy young men with actual jobs.
My wife writes and her first 1000 or so goes got no response from any publisher - I am surprised that part time blog hosters are held to higher standards.

How much do contributors to the Wavell Room get paid?

If the answer is "they don't", then that may explain part of your surprise...
 
I am surprised that part time blog hosters are held to higher standards.

I'm not holding them to a higher standard, I'm just mildly surprised that they've recently started asking for more submissions if they're overloaded by the one that they already have...

Kudos to your wife, being an author seems a thankless task...
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
The same as the people who run the blog I expect. SFA

Which may explain why publishers saying "if we choose you, you get money" get lots and lots of submissions, while publishers saying "if we choose you, you get the warm glow of a job well done" might get less input... making a "not what we were looking for, the areas of current interest are X, Y and Z" form letter a useful go-to response for rejected submissions.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Refrained from judgement for quite a while re: the original poll, but despite the occasional good article posted, afraid it seems to be mostly a combination of OJAR polishing and right messaging.

The depressing thing the quality of writing and thinking in both. It's just through the ground. I'm mildly shocked at how poorly officers, in particular, are able to explain an idea. When you read US equivalents, many of them have adopted the irritating and opaque forms of postgraduate academic writing, but at least they have progressed beyond A-level essays to something you might see in a journal or opinion site.

I wonder if that is a legacy of the British Army being more skeptical of higher education, so fewer officer have exposure to it, or whether it's indicative of a genuinely reduced ability to make a case for their ideas.
 
I’d guess it’s the fact the authors are out to a deck clench and no one is giving (useful) feedback.

If you have a busy and indifferent CoC, and an internal intellectual culture that prioritises PowerPoint thinking, what do you think?
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Refrained from judgement for quite a while re: the original poll, but despite the occasional good article posted, afraid it seems to be mostly a combination of OJAR polishing and right messaging.

The depressing thing the quality of writing and thinking in both. It's just through the ground. I'm mildly shocked at how poorly officers, in particular, are able to explain an idea. When you read US equivalents, many of them have adopted the irritating and opaque forms of postgraduate academic writing, but at least they have progressed beyond A-level essays to something you might see in a journal or opinion site.

I wonder if that is a legacy of the British Army being more skeptical of higher education, so fewer officer have exposure to it, or whether it's indicative of a genuinely reduced ability to make a case for their ideas.
My bold. That this is still the case in such a technology-driven age is quite extraordinary - when I joined up back in the Stone Age, being seen to be actively interested in military 'thinking' was very much viewed as rather odd and there was a feeling that while officers should 'know their stuff' knowing too much of it interfered with the cult of 'amateurism' that the Army had made a fetish of.

I'm quite surprised it is still seen in the same way (and the Wavell Room would seem to suggest it is), perhaps it will be different when some the current crop of busy staff officers are CGS, CDS etc.

However, given that the Army's vision and strategy are pretty pump, that it can barely recruit, can't get its equipment programme right (see vision and strategy), seems to have little or no political cheerleaders and has no part in Global Britain other than driving fuel trucks and 'yebbut Rangers' maybe the low intellectual standard of it's officers doesn't matter.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
My guess would also be that the risk of publishing anything remotely controversial or off message is (correctly in my experience) seen as vastly greater than any potential reward of contributing to debate, identifying problems, introducing new ideas, etc.

Many years ago a CLF gave a course speech encouraging us junior officers to show moral courage and speak up about things at our level that were going wrong (which he openly acknowledged existed). I asked a) would there be, like bravery awards, any reward by [CLF; senior officers; anyone] if we did so? And b) how would he protect those who spoke up from being penalised by their immediate chains of command, those responsible for problems, or those who disagreed with him? There was quite a bit of mumbling that ended in a "good point, we'll have to look at that".

The abject lack of seriousness and thinking through the problem that is created by an anti-intellectual culture, is also one of the major roadbumps to solving an anti-intellectual culture.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
My guess would also be that the risk of publishing anything remotely controversial or off message is (correctly in my experience) seen as vastly greater than any potential reward of contributing to debate, identifying problems, introducing new ideas, etc.

Many years ago a CLF gave a course speech encouraging us junior officers to show moral courage and speak up about things at our level that were going wrong (which he openly acknowledged existed). I asked a) would there be, like bravery awards, any reward by [CLF; senior officers; anyone] if we did so? And b) how would he protect those who spoke up from being penalised by their immediate chains of command, those responsible for problems, or those who disagreed with him? There was quite a bit of mumbling that ended in a "good point, we'll have to look at that".

The abject lack of seriousness and thinking through the problem that is created by an anti-intellectual culture, is also one of the major roadbumps to solving an anti-intellectual culture.
It's no accident that throughout British military history, the innovative thinkers and radicals were rarely general officers - I think anti-intellectualism is caused in the main by the socio-cultural baggage the Army carries with it and its corrosive effect of form over substance.
 

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