What systemic issues would you change in the MOD or in the single Services?

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
@Caecilius I'd also say, if it helps: discard completely the "subjective assignation of objective pass/fail metrics" OJAR Objectives point I made earlier in the thread from my argument, and see if the whole makes more coherent sense.

That point is theoretically and practically consistent so long as you assume the ability to assign different states to data sets. This is programatically very easy to do (you simply assign state variables to each class of data, which define how they or the sets they belong to are allowed - or not allowed - to interact with other data in the system). However, looking back, it's not particularly important to the argument as (since it implies a closed set) nothing else depends on it.

It's apparent this isn't theoretically clear in my argument, and seems to have affected everything else you think I'm saying. It's not necessary or important to my overall argument, so discard if you wish.


... and breathe ....
Don't worry, unlike most of my posts that one percolated over a few days.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Finally - headfuck approaching - the above means: within a subjective system starting with subjective data, there are objective calculations, made from objective data, which give objective results, that may inform how the problem is subjectively assessed, without the objective calculations or data becoming subjective
Yes and no.

I agree that an overall subjective process can have elements of objectivity in it.

I disagree that these are ever truly objective in the way you think they are. The selection of those metrics is subjective. Sometimes the metric will be blindingly obvious, like the number of hits you make on target, but it remains the fact that this is a subjective assesment of the value of an objectively measurable occurrence.

It's not the case, either theoretically or practically, that subjectivity in one part of a data set implies subjectivity elsewhere
I'm afraid it is, theoretically speaking. What you include and exclude in any scientific study alters the results of that study irrespective of the subject of analysis.


It implies a science in measurements being incrementally more true.
Which is partly why I disagree fundamentally with this. Larry Laudan laid out other concerns better than I ever could but, in short: you have no possible mechanism by which to judge anything as being more true than anything else and, more importantly, your selection of measurements is inherently a value judgement that undermines any claim to truth in an overall sense.




My argument is: you can't prove anything until you change to an objective approach, using objective data. Insisting that I first prove an objective approach works with non-objective data is fallacious reasoning. You are putting theory before practice and assuming theory proves practice possible or impossible. But it doesn't - you're using an outdated system, by about 500 years. I presume you don't insist that other sciences prove that things are true before they can collect data? I equally presume that you accept that the value of objective data and iterative analysis has been well proven elsewhere over the past few centuries? Perhaps you can see why I sense a degree, unconscious or otherwise, of bad faith in your reasoning?
And I don't think an objective approach is possible in the sense you mean, which is why I would like you to demonstrate how it's possible. You aren't being asked to show your results, you're being asked to demonstrate that a theoretical methodology that you advocate can actually work in practice. A demonstration of methodology IS routine in science grant applications. I can also show you several thousand examples of where an iterative process led to bad science and poor outcomes because the data and methodology weren't viewed with appropriate criticism. No bad faith at all: I just think you have an unwarranted belief in both the objectivity of data and what supposedly objective data can actually tell you.

Case in point:

That's a good example of exactly why more objectivity is required. You need some objective data to be able to baseline any analysis,
This just isn't true. You can achieve a subjective analysis perfectly reasonably without needing objective data to compare it to. If you do choose to use objective data as a means of comparison, then the gap between the objectively measurable data and the actual result you want to assess (ie. how good an OC is) will determine the validity of that comparison. I would say in most military cases the gap is so large as to make the objective data useless as a means of comparison. That's why I asked you to show how you would collect the data for an infantry platoon - for your argument to hold water, you have to be able to demonstrate that you can collect data that approximates to the totality of an infantry platoon's desired outputs/outcomes. If you can't then the objective data is less useful than a subjective assesment that can judge how good the platoon is against the desired outputs even if that subjective assessment is flawed.

You have trusted your life to vehicles that have gone through a lot more objective testing than simply the opinion of the tester. Why isn't the same principle solid for the infantry, or the soldiers who operate the tanks?
Because almost everything I want from the vehicle can be objectively measured. Most of what I want from the infantry can't.

A good counter example here is that I would never buy a new car without test driving it first. Why? Because while I can look at all the specifications about BHP and MPG, but I still need to judge which car feels the most comfortable to sit in and whether I like driving it. Unless I'm using the car for a specific job like trying to break the land speed record, in which case I need the fastest car possible selected objectively, the subjective measurement of which car I want to own is far more important than all of the objective measurements (assuming certain safety baselines).

We should measure what we can, but most of what we want to assess can't be measured.

At worst, you will end up where you already are.
And I think this is the real gulf between our positions. I just don't think the reporting mechanism is anything like as broken as you think it is, and I think we can end up with a MUCH worse reporting system very easily.

We clearly have some intractable philosophical differences about the nature of science and data that we aren't going to resolve so shall we leave it there?
 
Last edited:
Saw this appear elsewhere...

View attachment 408229
Doesn't prove or disprove some of the wilder "SEALs Gone Wild" stories, but does indicate there's a peception of problems...

Taken from elsewhere

They should be able to fix the problems in the SEALs pretty easily. There is a lot of literature out there to help them with the issue(s):

1. Reaching Beyond Boundaries: A Navy SEAL's Guide to Achieving Everything You've Ever Imagined
2. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
3. The Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS
4. Navy Seals for Kids
5. The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed
6. Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons
7. Elite: High Performance Lessons and Habits from a Former Navy SEAL
8. Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL's Guide
9. No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid
10. The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL
11. Navy Seal: Self Discipline: Greatest Lessons of the Toughest Soldiers
12. Navy SEAL Invincible Mind: Develop Mental Toughness, Confidence, and a High-Achiever Mindset!
13. Navy Seal Mental Toughness: A Guide to Developing an Unbeatable Mind
14. Self-Discipline: Master Self-Discipline and Develop the Mental Toughness of a US Navy SEAL in 30 Days; How to Build Self Confidence, Maintain
15. Transformed: A Navy Seal's Unlikely Journey from the Throne of Africa, to the Streets of the Bronx, to Defying All Odds
16. First SEALs: The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit
17. No Hero: The Evolution of a Navy Seal [
18. 8 Weeks to SEALFIT: A Navy SEAL's Guide to Unconventional Training for Physical and Mental Toughness
19. Self-Discipline: How to Develop the Mindset, Mental Toughness and Self-Discipline of a U. S. Navy SEAL
20. Warrior Workouts : Get fit now with these awesome collections of workouts designed by a Navy SEAL
21. Breaking BUD/S: How Regular Guys Can Become Navy SEALs
22. 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation
23. The United States Navy Seals Obliterate the Leadership Gap! Collection: Navy Seals Special Forces Box Set
24. The Making of a Navy SEAL: My Story of Surviving the Toughest Challenge and Training the Best
25. SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper
26. Trident K9 Warriors: My Tale from the Training Ground to the Battlefield with Elite Navy SEAL Canines
27. Navy Seal Training: Forging Self-confidence Book By David Rutherford Navy SEAL, motivational speaker
28. Navy SEALs BUD/S Preparation Guide: A Former SEAL Instructor's Guide to Getting You Through BUD/S
29. The Red Circle: My Life in the Navy SEAL Sniper Corps and How I Trained America's Deadliest Marksmen
30. Suffer in Silence: A Novel of Navy SEAL Training
31. Navy Seal Training Class 144: My Bud's Journal
32. The Finishing School: Earning the Navy Seal Trident
33. Navy Seal Workout Challenge & Navy Seal Buds Training
34. Navy Seals: Buds Class 234
35. Maximum Fitness: The Complete Guide to Cross Training by former SEAL….
36. Navy Seal Exercises: Cutting Edge Fitness Total Body Workout
37. Anatomy of Fitness Elite Training: Navy Seals Workout
38. The U.S. Navy Seal Guide To Fitness And Nutrition
39. Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior
40. The Navy SEAL Physical Fitness Guide
41. Special Ops Fitness Training by ex-SEAL…..
42. Seal Team Six: Hunt the Wolf
43. Anatomy of Fitness Elite Training Navy Seals Workout
44.....
 

Cyberhacker

Old-Salt
Is it beyond those at the MOD to agree a contract and then demand that that contract is carried out for the specified price / cost as per the specifications of the contract ?
Of course not... but is it beyond those at the MoD to get the contract right, before issuing the RFQ (or whatever), and not waiting until after contract award to start changing things?
 

Cyberhacker

Old-Salt
The observation was based on the increasing experience that split chains of command are incredibly common, both internally within Regiments / Corps and externally.

...

The internal split has been codified by organising Corps' into Battalions, so is widespread. They classically have a (de facto) ADMINCON HQ down to sub-unit level who aren't necessarily co-located or under the same CoC as their component elements, who are usually directly attached to and co-located with a tasking (de facto) OP/TACON unit.
Interestingly, over The Pond, the Septics are move TO (or maybe BACK to) this split command...

Previously, the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Commander had full command over the units in the BCT, and battalions/squadrons had MI and Fire Support personnel directly part of the unit.

Now, all fire support peeps belong to the Artillery battalion, which in turn is now part of a Divisional Artillery - but task organised back to how it was. Similarly, MI analysts (previously at Bn/Sqn level) are now in the MI Company, while a Divisional Signal Regiment has ADCON over the BCT Signal Companies.

Similar, a number of Echelon Above Brigade (EAB) units are OPCON the BCTs... but remain at EAB as there is a cap on the size of the BCTs.

Whatever happened to train as you will fight?
 
Interestingly, over The Pond, the Septics are move TO (or maybe BACK to) this split command...

Previously, the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) Commander had full command over the units in the BCT, and battalions/squadrons had MI and Fire Support personnel directly part of the unit.

Now, all fire support peeps belong to the Artillery battalion, which in turn is now part of a Divisional Artillery - but task organised back to how it was. Similarly, MI analysts (previously at Bn/Sqn level) are now in the MI Company, while a Divisional Signal Regiment has ADCON over the BCT Signal Companies.

Similar, a number of Echelon Above Brigade (EAB) units are OPCON the BCTs... but remain at EAB as there is a cap on the size of the BCTs.

Whatever happened to train as you will fight?
So long as the BCT has the same sub-unit task-org’ed in then they are training as they expect to fight.

They have gone exactly the same as the British Army in that case
 
Of course not... but is it beyond those at the MoD to get the contract right, before issuing the RFQ (or whatever), and not waiting until after contract award to start changing things?
The reality of complex contracting is that “getting it right” is impossible. The tender documents on which the contractor bid can only ever be a snapshot of the requirement on the day they are approved and they can only ever be the tender writers’ interpretation of the user requirements. And that’s before you work out who the user is in a complex organisation like the MoD where the end user rarely holds the purse strings.

The contractors bids can only ever be based on the bid teams interpretation of an already flawed and probably out of date interpretation of the customer’s true need.

Variations are therefore inevitable and unavoidable. What matters is how those are dealt with. In an adversarial environment like government contracting where price is all, contractors will inevitably have bid below the true cost of delivery and will always be looking for variations to actually make a profit.

That’s why partnering contracts work, but for them to work, both sides have to partner. It’s nearly impossible for government to partner under EU public procurement rules.
 
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
Of course not... but is it beyond those at the MoD to get the contract right, before issuing the RFQ (or whatever), and not waiting until after contract award to start changing things?
Added to the fact that the MOD, almost alone across Whitehall, is the only department that contracts for such complex programmes. But that's no excuse for a lack of commercial understanding in the MOD, expecting contractors to take on a variety of financial and programmatic risks which are not understood by the Department. It wasn't until I spent a brief amount of time in the financial services sector did I begin to understand risk from a financial modelling perspective. Companies get it; MOD doesn't - even within FinMilCap.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
The reality of complex contracting is that “getting it right” is impossible. The tender documents on which the contractor bid can only ever be a snapshot of the requirement on the day they are approved and they can only ever be the tender writers’ interpretation of the user requirements. And that’s before you work out who the user is in a complex organisation like the MoD where the end user rarely holds the purse strings.

The contractors bids can only ever be based on the bid teams interpretation of an already flawed and probably out of date interpretation of the customer’s true need.

Variations are therefore inevitable and unavoidable. What matters is how those are dealt with. In an adversarial environment like government contracting where price is all, contractors will inevitably have bid below the true cost of delivery and will always be looking for variations to actually make a profit.

That’s why partnering contracts work, but for them to work, both sides have to partner. It’s nearly impossible for government to partner under EU public procurement rules.
I'm not sure that is because of EU rules. In France, the military and Thales embed people in each others' organisations for long periods. This has led to significantly improved delivery and a deep understanding of the needs of both sides, by both sides.
 
Done here as well; done for decades, I believe.
Yes, we have them - usually in the areas of requirements and capabilities, etc. They are posted in for two/three years then move on.

ETA: it would appear they are posted to Abbeywood but their desks are located with us.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:
I'll reply to your post about objectivity later when I have time but trust me, you don't want this. Leadership by consent is extremely difficult and doesn't really work in a military sense.

There's good evidence for this from SOF/SF which are the only military organisations that work with a 'leadership-by-consent' model. The results aren't good.
One model I saw posited that leadership was based around three axes: cooperation (let's do this!); coercion (do it or I'll hit you); and contract (do it or you're sacked). The main difference between the Regulars and the Reserves isn't a desire for consent, it's the absence of coercion and the weakening of contract. No Provost Sergeant to explain that "can't means won't, won't means refuse to soldier" and a few days in a boiler suit as a SUS.

Others have pointed out that the Reserves lead by consent; and your suggestion was that there was insufficient compulsion, because attendance rates are (to your mind) low. I normally had a good understanding of likely attendance; because people were (for the most part) very honest. If someone says "can't turn out this weekend, it's our anniversary / kid's party / work's going batshit", fair enough. After all, we were only casual labour (as the MoD fought to define our contract), do I have the moral right to coerce? If I wanted to lead, I had to work hard at both competence and the provision of what was felt to be worthwhile training. F**k people around uselessly, and you could watch the attendance drop like a stone; work people bloody hard where they see the point, and attendance rises.

After decades in industry, I've done a few "project death marches" - where task took primacy over team and individual, occasionally to the point of burnout. Again, there was no coercion; it was done with consent backed up by contract. The measure of "was it consent or contract" can be found in the staff turnover rates; it's not as high as you might expect.

I have to ask whether the reasons for SOF/SF indiscipline was due to "leadership by consent": you've identified that "being someone's mate makes it harder to pick them up". That's true, as every LCpl in history has discovered, but is it really the reason for war crimes? Look at the case of Baha Mousa and the QLR. Did that Regiment have a consensual leadership model? I don't know, I've heard that it was more coercive than it should have been. And yet... the unit turned a blind eye to torture, from officers down to Private Soldiers.

My question is whether the real problem comes from "the rules don't apply to us, we're special", and is the damage done by ego? I'm curious as to what @Brotherton Lad thinks about this one...
 
Bin the whole "belt & braces" approach, we have neither the money nor the people for such luxury. Source a non MoD grown up to find out what the actual legal requirements are for a given activity, process or piece of equipment and we just do that, like everyone else does.
Task Master Drivers to actually make things easier for people to utilise the vehicles we have. This one is so contrary to their usual nugatory cuntsmanship that hopefully it will make them collectively prolapse.
Get the National Audit Office in to investigate RFCA's.
 
Last edited:
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
I’ve related the story before, but in the run-up to Kosovo there was a dreadful road traffic accident near Skopje and an RAF field ambulance responded and rescued the survivors-2 Norwegian officers – and then had to fight their way back through Roadblocks etc to get the injured to the field hospital. It was a bit more complex than this with people Pointing guns at them and so on and there was minor damage to the ambulance. The driver and medic behaved most admirably and were written up for commendations; the following day the Master Driving rang me and demanded the Charge Sheet for the driver...
 
I'm not sure that is because of EU rules. In France, the military and Thales embed people in each others' organisations for long periods. This has led to significantly improved delivery and a deep understanding of the needs of both sides, by both sides.
EU public procurement rules make it very difficult to tender a framework contract, get a contractor on board and then build out the requirement together. So you end up with consultants who have never delivered anything advising the client side to build a complex ITT that doesn’t really match the need.

Big B2B partnering contracts tend to be let in a very different way; get the contractor in board early and work together to deliver the need, rather than the contract.

I wouldn’t blame the EU for this; government contracting the world over is characterised by adversarial behaviours in which both sides argue a flawed contract. In partnering arrangements both sides coalesce around outcomes.

The nearest you can get with EU rules is Competitive Dialogue, but that just ends up with multiple bidders helping the client to build their requirement before a conventional tender submission.
 

Latest Threads

Top