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

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From what I've seen it's an Officer sport, and all attempts to get industry placements for ORs are politely rejected.
I’m sure RAF SNCOs have been placed in industry, but granted, not at the same volume as officers.
 
I’m sure RAF SNCOs have been placed in industry, but granted, not at the same volume as officers.
Our last placement was cancelled because the T&S hadn't been planned for by the unit holding the PID, well that was the reason given to the incumbent anyway.
 
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That’s a wet as p!ss excuse...
Our last placement was cancelled because the T&S hadn't been planned for by the unit holding the PID, well that was the reason given to the incumbent anyway.
 
From what I've seen it's an Officer sport, and all attempts to get industry placements for ORs are politely rejected.
We have RN WOs in with us too!
 
From what I've seen it's an Officer sport, and all attempts to get industry placements for ORs are politely rejected.
Not sure if it still happens, but RE Clk Wks used to get short attachments on their course and a few were embedded with contractors as a posting. Long time ago though.

IMHO you can’t get much from a few weeks working at a functional level. You need people to see the commercial side and that needs much longer.
 

Yokel

LE
[QUOTE="Gravelbelly, post: 9439639, member: 837"

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...
[/QUOTE]

In 1992, ten years after the Falklands Conflict, the BBC broadcast a series of documentaries (all personal perspectives) called War Stories. The first one was by Captain Nick Barker RN (Rtd), the CO of HMS Endurance during that period. He outlined how the Argentines were appeased by things like turning a blind eye to illegal landings in South Georgia by the Argentine Navy, and how what should have been considered as intelligence (Argentine warships exercising unexpectedly, increased security in Argentine ports) was ignored.

A staff officer then working in MOD said that the intelligence was ignored, as the politicians thought the Navy was 'playing politics'. Then he protested that the Franks Committee ignored his evidence. He lamented Whitehall characteristics of arrogance, obsession with secrecy, and a refusal to admit mistakes.

I ahve then these things at unit level - not at all pleasant. Not a proper unit with proper leadership though, and checks and balances...
 
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Not sure if it still happens, but RE Clk Wks used to get short attachments on their course and a few were embedded with contractors as a posting. Long time ago though.

IMHO you can’t get much from a few weeks working at a functional level. You need people to see the commercial side and that needs much longer.
Agreed, 12 months would be ideal, but probably a bit much for a newly promoted SSgt who should be finding his/her feet in their role. I can't see why we couldn't do both. Interestingly, ISS BLOS are co-located with Airbus. I constantly hear the word "partner" when working with them, however successes are claimed by Airbus and failures are firmly thrown over the fence to MOD. Nice canteen though.
 

Brotherton Lad

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Kit Reviewer
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...

I'd say in my DDR days a third of a century ago it was a matter of mutual consent, gifted automatically and without question. A 3 man team where rank didn't matter, but mutual regard of what each individual could bring to the party did absolutely matter.

As a Company Comd in Bosnia it was a matter of respecting each and every soul, listening to them and their concerns and trying to point them in the right direction. The exercise of that sort of authority has to be done with humility and compassion. Ideally you should love your soldiers and then they will move heaven and earth not to let you down.

It's something very moving when the crap hits the fan and stuff just happens successfully around you. If it goes a bit tits up then the comd should take the fall-out and get back in the saddle straight away.

An appreciation of the absurd and a very well-grounded sense of humour are essential. Ego be damned.
 

Goaty

Swinger
MJDI/VITAL/JAMES/OLIVER/MODNet in fact nearly every system the military uses. They're slow, crash frequently, are about as user friendly as something from the mid 90's and flat out not fit for purpose. Why we don't take a leaf or two from the books of multi billion pound companies in they way the utilise their systems is way beyond me.

The justification has always been security and reliability, but the reality is any commercial system out there is far more robust than what we use(we have
 
I’m sure RAF SNCOs have been placed in industry, but granted, not at the same volume as officers.
Yup, has happened for decades. We used to lose quite a few Sgts/Chiefs to BAe and others as a result as well.
 
MJDI/VITAL/JAMES/OLIVER/MODNet in fact nearly every system the military uses. They're slow, crash frequently, are about as user friendly as something from the mid 90's and flat out not fit for purpose. Why we don't take a leaf or two from the books of multi billion pound companies in they way the utilise their systems is way beyond me.

The justification has always been security and reliability, but the reality is any commercial system out there is far more robust than what we use(we have
I disagree with you on MODNet, I don’t think it’s to bad now, especially compared to other government systems. With you on the applications though. However they’re only shite because of procurement and the luddites involved.
 
It’s a big ask but I’d like to see the application of common sense. A good example of a failure to apply can be seen in the new (ish) accommodation at RAF Akrotiri. Every single window has a portable aircon wedged in it. MoD will be paying the electricity bill. It would surely have been more cost effective to stick a split unit in every room?
 

Goaty

Swinger
It’s a big ask but I’d like to see the application of common sense. A good example of a failure to apply can be seen in the new (ish) accommodation at RAF Akrotiri. Every single window has a portable aircon wedged in it. MoD will be paying the electricity bill. It would surely have been more cost effective to stick a split unit in every room?
Not necessarily. The likelyhood is that aircon wasn't specced originally on the contract to save a few pennies, and this is the result. Installing split units or full accommodation aircon would cost a fair sum upfront, and then the contracts to maintain it another chunk. Purchasing OTS portable units with a decent warranty which can easily be swapped out/sent off to repair probably makes more sense. It's amongst the reasons why you no longer see big industrial washers on contract about, rather bog standard civvy ones.
 
Not necessarily. The likelyhood is that aircon wasn't specced originally on the contract to save a few pennies, and this is the result. Installing split units or full accommodation aircon would cost a fair sum upfront, and then the contracts to maintain it another chunk. Purchasing OTS portable units with a decent warranty which can easily be swapped out/sent off to repair probably makes more sense. It's amongst the reasons why you no longer see big industrial washers on contract about, rather bog standard civvy ones.
I would agree if the were being used efficiently but they’re wedged in an open window.
 

Caecilius

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Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
IMHO you can’t get much from a few weeks working at a functional level. You need people to see the commercial side and that needs much longer
I think the whole industrial placements scheme is half-baked. It's laudable that the army wants to send people away to learn from industry but there's no real mechanism to choose the right people to do it, and no real way of them using their experience to change the armed forces for the better except in a few very niche roles.

I'm not qualified to talk about whether people learn much on the placements, although I suspect they do. The problem is that the army has decided to do them but not really put in place the systems and processes to get the most out of it.

The same is true of the academic placements, although I'm not convinced putting officers on full-time PhDs could ever be good value for money.
 
I think the whole industrial placements scheme is half-baked. It's laudable that the army wants to send people away to learn from industry but there's no real mechanism to choose the right people to do it, and no real way of them using their experience to change the armed forces for the better except in a few very niche roles.

I'm not qualified to talk about whether people learn much on the placements, although I suspect they do. The problem is that the army has decided to do them but not really put in place the systems and processes to get the most out of it.

The same is true of the academic placements, although I'm not convinced putting officers on full-time PhDs could ever be good value for money.
We had a FofS sat in BAe (I think). The value was seen on the shop floor as units had a direct military point of contact to respond to any engineering RFIs, of which there were many. The FofS in question didn't really have the right SQEP for the role as they had served in a FALCON unit before. They did a good job, which just makes me question how should you select for a placement. I fail to see what value there is in placements for any Army Officer other than in support of a subsequent DE&S job.
 
I think the whole industrial placements scheme is half-baked. It's laudable that the army wants to send people away to learn from industry but there's no real mechanism to choose the right people to do it, and no real way of them using their experience to change the armed forces for the better except in a few very niche roles.

I'm not qualified to talk about whether people learn much on the placements, although I suspect they do. The problem is that the army has decided to do them but not really put in place the systems and processes to get the most out of it.

The same is true of the academic placements, although I'm not convinced putting officers on full-time PhDs could ever be good value for money.
Business attachments are great for forming that post-Command PVR network...
 

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