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

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I fail to see what value there is in placements for any Army Officer other than in support of a subsequent DE&S job
In theory it makes sense to send very senior officers on placements because they can see how things are done at eg. Google, Amazon or Vodaphone*. After all, there's a pretty steady drum beat of people on this site telling us that we need to copy industry more in a number of areas. That's only the theory though; unless they're empowered to actually change things then I agree that it's probably a waste of time that mostly just makes seniors feel that something is being done.

@Crash will be able to comment on exactly how the armed forces employ people fresh off an academic placement. I believe a similar manning process is currently being used for industry placements (ie. it's ignored completely at APC) although things are changing.


*when I saw the list of placements a couple of years ago, it was mostly to companies we've all heard of and all of these three are real examples.
 
In theory it makes sense to send very senior officers on placements because they can see how things are done at eg. Google, Amazon or Vodaphone*. After all, there's a pretty steady drum beat of people on this site telling us that we need to copy industry more in a number of areas. That's only the theory though; unless they're empowered to actually change things then I agree that it's probably a waste of time that mostly just makes seniors feel that something is being done.

@Crash will be able to comment on exactly how the armed forces employ people fresh off an academic placement. I believe a similar manning process is currently being used for industry placements (ie. it's ignored completely at APC) although things are changing.


*when I saw the list of placements a couple of years ago, it was mostly to companies we've all heard of and all of these three are real examples.
Same same in the RN. We’ve a fairly health stream of engineers (in particular) going to placements - both within STEM and non-STEM areas. The problems are that they come back and are immediately back into the West Battery (Career Management) “round peg, square hole” process.

And I wasn’t joking about the PVR point - I reckon we lose about 25% of post-placement officers to PVR as a direct result. I suspect it’s a “pull” factor (i.e. this is what a proper organisation looks like) rather than a direct “head-hunting “ affair.
 
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@Crash will be able to comment on exactly how the armed forces employ people fresh off an academic placement. I believe a similar manning process is currently being used for industry placements (ie. it's ignored completely at APC) although things are changing.
Unless it has changed very recently, there is only lip-service paid in the RAF to employing personnel in related roles. It has got better, and there is greater use of Cambridge fellows as a sort of a Brains Trust. But the Branch and the Manners have the say. Same, too, for those with extensive diplomatic experience. In spite of Defence Engagement meant to be a career stream, it is, for most people, career death to step outside of their Service and core employment roles. And don't start me on the OJAR system if your 1 and 2 ROs are not of the same service...
 
In theory it makes sense to send very senior officers on placements because they can see how things are done at eg. Google, Amazon or Vodaphone*. After all, there's a pretty steady drum beat of people on this site telling us that we need to copy industry more in a number of areas. That's only the theory though; unless they're empowered to actually change things then I agree that it's probably a waste of time that mostly just makes seniors feel that something is being done.

@Crash will be able to comment on exactly how the armed forces employ people fresh off an academic placement. I believe a similar manning process is currently being used for industry placements (ie. it's ignored completely at APC) although things are changing.


*when I saw the list of placements a couple of years ago, it was mostly to companies we've all heard of and all of these three are real examples.
I struggle to see how much valid experience one can get in a short attachment, particularly if you enter with little, or no, prior knowledge of how business operates.

What you really need is exposure to the whole business; senior leadership & decision making, procurement, business development, sales, operations, risk management, HR etc etc with a mentor who can walk you through the whole thing. Few businesses do that for their own new hires unless they run some kind of fast track. Why would they do it for someone else’s employees?

Perhaps a better way of doing it would be some form of sponsored MBA program that is offered defence industry wide so that it gets participants from across the industry. After all, an MBA is the way that industry gets round pegs out or comfy round holes and develops a holistic view of how business works. I’ve just reinvented the old DBA.......

The whole would need careful planning so that it has clear, relevant objectives.
 

Riga

War Hero
Good points, but where does the MOD get the expertise for that?
You begin with Civil Service procurement officers and making sure that they work in private sector organisations before each promotion. I worked with Defence Buyers and they were nice chaps (things may have changed) but they had had no real world experience.
 
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You begin with Civil Service procurement officers and making sure that they work in private sector organisations before each promotion. I worked with Defence Buyers and they were nice chaps (things may have changed) but they had had no real world experience.
One problem is retaining staff on CS salaries.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I struggle to see how much valid experience one can get in a short attachment, particularly if you enter with little, or no, prior knowledge of how business operates.
Assuming zero prior knowledge, which is probably the case for most army officers, how long do you think you'd need to spend to get valuable experience out of a placement? Some of them are up to a year long and I think most are about 6 months.
 
Assuming zero prior knowledge, which is probably the case for most army officers, how long do you think you'd need to spend to get valuable experience out of a placement? Some of them are up to a year long and I think most are about 6 months.
Thar really depends on what the objective are, both for the program and for the individual. If you really want people to see how business works then a year isn’t unreasonable; I think most leavers take that long to really be effective in business.

It also rather depends on where the business is in it’s business cycle. My PQE course design office attachment was to a company which was short on business and was letting people go; there wasn’t much valuable to do.

The danger to me is people getting stovepiped in a narrow operational role, rather than getting a holistic understanding of how the business works. Engineering attachments work because they focus on the practice of engineering; you can embed a participant in a deeply technical role and they will gain benefits. Generalist attachments need a much wider over view.

Personally, I’d combine an attachment program with some business education so that people are prepared. Something like the AMAC resettlement course; three intense weeks of business education.
 

Riga

War Hero
A rationalisation and reduction in the numerous staff headquarters required to sustain a regular Armed Force of less than 150,000 and Army of 82,000.

The Army alone currently has a 4*, 2x3*, 6*2* (possibly more) and dozens of 1* commands. Most of which replicate and create staff work to justify their own existance.

Units at the receiving end of this post Staff college job creation scheme have multiple ‘dads’ and get bogged down in responding to negatory and conflicting demands on their time.

The savings in MODNet resources alone would be significant and allow for a larger field force.

But then again, Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas :)
One for @Crash does Turkey vote for Christmas ;)
 

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