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

The same question has been asked over on Pprune.

Surprise, surprise, a member of the two-winged master race has come up with "Abolition of the current hotac and travel booking system". Nothing like getting the priorities right.
And he is absolutely right, money p*ssed down the drain in staggering amounts. And something that affects every single service person.

So not a chance of anything being done :)
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Am I right in assuming this paragraph was at least partly prompted by the army star chart from the last beige list, which shows Int Corps officers end up grading an entire third below their peers on average? That chart alone tells you everything you need to know about the supposed efficiency of the system
Actually no, although that doesn't surprise me. Probably the more interesting thing, however, is comparing that to ICSC results, which tend to rank the Int Corps groups relatively highly. As you say, that suggests there is something wrong with one or both ranking systems.

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

The external split everyone understands: if you are J* in a staff or Joint role, there are two potential options for reporting officers. Either a "head of arm" of your capbadge who understands the capbadge politics, or your immediate tasking officer, who is less likely to be your capabadge or even Service. That problem gets solved in a variety of ways, but never consistently. The difference in inconsistency creates more or less of a split command disadvantage - either you eat your tasking and reporting officers being different, but potentially benefit from more sympathetic reporting, or you get a unified tasking/reporting chain that doesn't understand how to write reports in the flavour of arm/Service you need.

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. Except they are never officially given those command states de jure, so both command chains basically claim whatever command state suits them at any given time. This is sheer madness and, if I'm honest, demonstrates the chronic intellectual inability of the British Army staff, that it can't even analyse or apply its own self-created rules. It means that, de facto, sub-units report on and "command" individuals they rarely see, and for whom they aren't the primary tasker. The sub-units and units are, in reality, paper constructions which seem to exist purely to occupy real-estate, and create paper structures and officer-heavy job pools. To achieve this, they create several different layers of nugatory bureaucracy; hugely extend tasking chains therby slowing down and often duplicating tasking; piss off subordinates by forcing them to try and please two dads and giving them unclear command states (note: Unity of Command is an American principle of war, but ADP Ops describes exactly the same thing just as "chain of command" in the Principles of Command...it also continually uses "unit of effort" or "unity of purpose", while happily ignoring how you achieve this without specifying "unity of command"); and undermine the basic principles on which the MS system is meant to work. To me, it's the single stupidest example of systemic inefficiency in the Army, because it's entirely self-inflicted, and directly contravenes the Army's own principles of command.
 
The foreign office recently expressed similar concerns over some infrastructure projects in the Middle East. The FCO estimated a £5 million build; DIO came out at 25 million, using UK contractors rather than the local companies.
The FCO have learned since the issues which led to PRISM being introduced then. Why the feck was DIO using UK contractors? Costs more money and less local goodwill.
 
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D

Deleted 60082

Guest
The FCO have learned since the issues which led to PRISM being introduced then. Why the feck was DIO using UK contactors? Costs more money and less local goodwill.
Try telling that to DIO. MOD money - infrastructure - DIO. No deviation allowed.
 
Three things:

1. Set up a pan-MOD Procurement Organisation, make it a career stream for those entering it. With a system of personal liability (reward or censure) for those who excel or fail.

2. Introduce, in some way, shape or form, an 'up or out' promotion system. In the RAF we have the Professional Aviator scheme, whereby a pilot can 'put his feet up' at the age of 35. The RAAF, RNZAF and US military have no such equivalents. Similarly the RN used to have a system whereby on passing AIB you were guaranteed Lt Cdr and signing on till 55 - based upon a 3-day job interview at the age of 18!!! In the USAF the Base Cdr can dismiss someone from Service up to and including the rank of Major, introduce something similar here.

3. Introduce a system of meaningfully financially rewarding people for introducing savings, or improving processes. The insulting and demeaning "£50 cheque from the Stn Cdr" concept that used to happen (not sure if it does now) was just cringe-worthy.
 
Three things:

1. Set up a pan-MOD Procurement Organisation, make it a career stream for those entering it. With a system of personal liability (reward or censure) for those who excel or fail.

2. Introduce, in some way, shape or form, an 'up or out' promotion system. In the RAF we have the Professional Aviator scheme, whereby a pilot can 'put his feet up' at the age of 35. The RAAF, RNZAF and US military have no such equivalents. Similarly the RN used to have a system whereby on passing AIB you were guaranteed Lt Cdr and signing on till 55 - based upon a 3-day job interview at the age of 18!!! In the USAF the Base Cdr can dismiss someone from Service up to and including the rank of Major, introduce something similar here.

3. Introduce a system of meaningfully financially rewarding people for introducing savings, or improving processes. The insulting and demeaning "£50 cheque from the Stn Cdr" concept that used to happen (not sure if it does now) was just cringe-worthy.
In some ways, the "Up or out" element is part of the problem. There is too much up to go to!
 
Lots of good points but ill add to something that previous posted mentioned.
DIO, if they are going to be the lord and masters of specific areas then for God sake dont allow your chosen Contractor in that area self-audit and report "everything is fine". Due to lack of knowledge/experience/competence DIO then think everything is hunky-dory and "here is another 5 year contract for you". Alas the realism is your Contractor knows as its not a cost+ contract its easier to blank off a safety valve that has failed or not calibrate meters etc to make those monthly KPI's look awesome!
 

mess pres

Old-Salt
I’m now working on a little academic project on Defence Transformation and engagement of our personnel. I have my own ideas of systemic faults that I think should be addressed.

I’d welcome comments (pm if you prefer) of things that you feel could be addressed to make the Forces more efficient and more effective given the challenging fiscal environment and strategic setting.
Medical Services.

1) Stop posting people between Birmingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth etc. Instead let people specialise and settle in a location where they buy a house. This will improve retention and decrease demand on the under resourced service accommodation.

2) Get rid of most nursing officers. We are too top heavy, the numbers we have seem to be based on when we had military hospitals. Cut the numbers of MSOs.

3) Put ALL registered health professionals (i.e. Nurses, ODPs, BMS, Rad, Paramedics) across the 3 services on to common terms of service and some sort of timed promotion structure. Promotion is linked at the moment to SJARs which usually relates to who is on the ents committee rather than who is good at their job and can clinically lead/make decisions.

4) Stop being retentive about service writing.

5) Stream Line JMC/JHG (or what ever they are calling it this year). Put the majority of medical staff under control of the Field Hospitals, R2s etc rather than deploying them as IAs. This could reduce the head count of senior (Lt Col and down) officers as COs and OCNs of JHG units and SAVE ££. Like a lot of things in defence it has become a self licking lollipop. The role of JHG would be to assure the deploying units and mandate hours and job plans for the clinical staff (to avoid over zealous COs and RSMs reducing clinical time too much)
 

mess pres

Old-Salt
Make accommodation bookable on a single online portal.

Buy faster computers

Stop messing people around, listen to what is said on exit interviews.
 
Actually no, although that doesn't surprise me. Probably the more interesting thing, however, is comparing that to ICSC results, which tend to rank the Int Corps groups relatively highly. As you say, that suggests there is something wrong with one or both ranking systems.

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

The external split everyone understands: if you are J* in a staff or Joint role, there are two potential options for reporting officers. Either a "head of arm" of your capbadge who understands the capbadge politics, or your immediate tasking officer, who is less likely to be your capabadge or even Service. That problem gets solved in a variety of ways, but never consistently. The difference in inconsistency creates more or less of a split command disadvantage - either you eat your tasking and reporting officers being different, but potentially benefit from more sympathetic reporting, or you get a unified tasking/reporting chain that doesn't understand how to write reports in the flavour of arm/Service you need.

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. Except they are never officially given those command states de jure, so both command chains basically claim whatever command state suits them at any given time. This is sheer madness and, if I'm honest, demonstrates the chronic intellectual inability of the British Army staff, that it can't even analyse or apply its own self-created rules. It means that, de facto, sub-units report on and "command" individuals they rarely see, and for whom they aren't the primary tasker. The sub-units and units are, in reality, paper constructions which seem to exist purely to occupy real-estate, and create paper structures and officer-heavy job pools. To achieve this, they create several different layers of nugatory bureaucracy; hugely extend tasking chains therby slowing down and often duplicating tasking; piss off subordinates by forcing them to try and please two dads and giving them unclear command states (note: Unity of Command is an American principle of war, but ADP Ops describes exactly the same thing just as "chain of command" in the Principles of Command...it also continually uses "unit of effort" or "unity of purpose", while happily ignoring how you achieve this without specifying "unity of command"); and undermine the basic principles on which the MS system is meant to work. To me, it's the single stupidest example of systemic inefficiency in the Army, because it's entirely self-inflicted, and directly contravenes the Army's own principles of command.
What in actual ****.
 
Medical Services.

1) Stop posting people between Birmingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth etc. Instead let people specialise and settle in a location where they buy a house. This will improve retention and decrease demand on the under resourced service accommodation.

2) Get rid of most nursing officers. We are too top heavy, the numbers we have seem to be based on when we had military hospitals. Cut the numbers of MSOs.

3) Put ALL registered health professionals (i.e. Nurses, ODPs, BMS, Rad, Paramedics) across the 3 services on to common terms of service and some sort of timed promotion structure. Promotion is linked at the moment to SJARs which usually relates to who is on the ents committee rather than who is good at their job and can clinically lead/make decisions.

4) Stop being retentive about service writing.

5) Stream Line JMC/JHG (or what ever they are calling it this year). Put the majority of medical staff under control of the Field Hospitals, R2s etc rather than deploying them as IAs. This could reduce the head count of senior (Lt Col and down) officers as COs and OCNs of JHG units and SAVE ££. Like a lot of things in defence it has become a self licking lollipop. The role of JHG would be to assure the deploying units and mandate hours and job plans for the clinical staff (to avoid over zealous COs and RSMs reducing clinical time too much)

Ah, time based promotion - that’s guaranteed to make people actually demonstrate some merit.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Ah, time based promotion - that’s guaranteed to make people actually demonstrate some merit
For some PQOs it makes sense. Keep promotion in line with professional quals, which are time based to a certain extent. Doctors are almost on that system at the moment I think.
 

cowgoesmoo

Clanker
Stop putting officers in charge of things they know nothing about just because they're officers. Being good at commanding troops doesn't necessarily correlate to good business skills or project management ability. Painful the amount of Majors/Lt Cols who know jack-shit about what they're doing but got there because they're "good leaders". Putting someone on a week long PM training course and letting them loose on a multi-million pound engineering project isn't fair on anyone.
 
For some PQOs it makes sense. Keep promotion in line with professional quals, which are time based to a certain extent. Doctors are almost on that system at the moment I think.

Indeed. And the only reason we promote them is to pay them more - not because they’re necessarily “promotable”...
 
I’d like to see an understanding of the value servicemen bring when contracting skills out. For example, when project MARSHALL truly kicks in, where are we going to find the SQEP to manage an airfield in an austere environment? Or how about throwing some Scaleys into the SPOC, we ran it on Herrick.
 
Am I right in assuming this paragraph was at least partly prompted by the army star chart from the last beige list, which shows Int Corps officers end up grading an entire third below their peers on average? That chart alone tells you everything you need to know about the supposed efficiency of the system
I was told last year that the same was true of Gunner officers...
 
D

Deleted 60082

Guest
Thanks for all the suggestions and input. I might PM some of you for a bit more clarification; anything I might use will be generic and anonymized
 

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