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

In my experience, it's quite the opposite.

The very successful bank I alluded to earlier had absolutely no "common purpose" other than to make money. To that extent, it was as close to being a meritocracy as possible. There was no "mission statement", no strap-line, no greater vision and no headline corporate objective. Leadership was far too busy ensuring that the complex deals the bank was executing were simply good deals. Even the credit department, usually a real hurdle to deal execution, were wholly focussed on improving deal terms to ensure success. For those exposed to finance, you'd probably be surprised that there was no formal credit committee (and no credit department veto). Rather, we business heads comprised an approval committee for large deal approval, where the credit group presented just one voice among many (very experienced voices). That committee included the CEO, who would be across all aspects of important deals.

The ridiculously bureaucratic bank I alluded to was quite the opposite. There, the common purpose, despite being extremely ill-defined and wholly abstract, was a management preoccupation. There, rather than focussing on improving deals by being close to the coalface, managers spent most of their time attempting to penetrate the arcane deal approvals processes, which had no set form and was, as a result, subject to politics and whim. There, the credit-committee was a mysterious group of people, far removed from the businesses and with no incentive to participate in deal improvement towards execution. I spent my first year there, as a global business head, simply trying to map the organisation in order to figure out how deals actually got approved.

I realise that a strategic vision is more important in a military context, esprit de corps if you like, but in a civil or commercial context it can easily become a distraction and a goal in and of itself, rather like the nebulous objective of "diversity". It can easily provide a shield for the feckless and lazy.
In my experience, the more “professional” MOD tries to become, the worst it performs.

ISO9001, IiP, ITIL, Mission Statements, Visions, Objectives, “Leaning” etc. Every one an excuse for diverting resources and effort from delivering what matters.

I remember being in a MOD trial for “Enterprise Social Media” (a sort of Facebook for Businesses). I lasted about a week. It was full of senior people and bright young things essentially discussing how many angels could fit on a pin head. But they all thought it was great because it allowed them to raise their profiles, build cliques, and preach, rather than to share and learn.

The MOD is full of “common purpose”; the problem is there are multiple “common purposes”, they change constantly, and they bear no relation to what the forces actually need.
 
Quite how busy/involved in TELIC/HERRICK were the RAF and Navy 2003-15? And we’re they doing that while sustaining a body count?

I agree with the rest of what you say but I think it a little facile to praise the other services for buying new planes and carriers but criticise the army for not buying new tanks.
  • By what means did forces deploy to and around theatre?
  • Who operated MERT helicopters?
  • How was ISTAR provided?
  • Who maintained strategic comms links.
  • Who provided CAS?
 
  • By what means did forces deploy to and around theatre?
  • Who operated MERT helicopters?
  • How was ISTAR provided?
  • Who maintained strategic comms links.
  • Who provided CAS?
gain, how much of this was:

The percent of the service either about to go, gone or just back.

Outside core business (and yes, I know the army’s core business is to fight wars).

Putting its workforce in genuine risk to life positions

Facing political scrutiny due to a body count.

As I say, I do not mean this disparagingly, I know some parts were very busy. I genuinely have no idea how much pressure maintaining the air bridge put AIR under compared to LAND fighting TELIC/HERRICK circa 2008.
 
gain, how much of this was:

The percent of the service either about to go, gone or just back.

Outside core business (and yes, I know the army’s core business is to fight wars).

Putting its workforce in genuine risk to life positions

Facing political scrutiny due to a body count.

As I say, I do not mean this disparagingly, I know some parts were very busy. I genuinely have no idea how much pressure maintaining the air bridge put AIR under compared to LAND fighting TELIC/HERRICK circa 2008.
well, one example is the tactical airlift requirement which broke the C130K and J fleets, burning through airframe hours and FI, resulting in their withdrawal from service decades ahead of schedule. The strategic lift requirement rippef through the VC10 and Tristar fleet, resulting in the effective but ruinously expensive Airtanker PFI.
 
Your first, with a common purpose of making money, seems a pretty clear one for a bank? It pretty much sets the culture of the organisation from top to bottom and describes what a bank does. Why does a bank need anything more (provided that the governance works).

You'd be surprised. Banks are odd institutions, and can be vastly different from each other, both in ethos, culture and approach to business.

When people used to ask me what it was like to work for a bank, the stock response was "which one"?
 
You'd be surprised. Banks are odd institutions, and can be vastly different from each other, both in ethos, culture and approach to business.

When people used to ask me what it was like to work for a bank, the stock response was "which one"?
IMHO they have one thing in common “advantage Bank”.
 
IMHO they have one thing in common “advantage Bank”.

You'd be a bit worried if a business didn't try to create an advantage for itself.

Counter to popular belief, a successful bank has successful clients. There's little money to be made in clients going broke (although the restructuring can be lucrative......).
 
Doing what? And I do not mean that disparagingly.

All the aviation that wasn't Apache?

Contributed to the Logs effort (RN were DCom for several of the Log Brigades, and provided a wedge of the people needed to do it).

Comms.

One Brigade rotation in 5(?), which included all the broader Real Life Support Stuff.

Medics.

And whilst we maintained the majority of our usual tasking - two units in the Middle East, units in the South Atlantic/Falklands, working with NATO, homeland defence etc etc.
 
All the aviation that wasn't Apache?

Contributed to the Logs effort (RN were DCom for several of the Log Brigades, and provided a wedge of the people needed to do it).

Comms.

One Brigade rotation in 5(?), which included all the broader Real Life Support Stuff.

Medics.

And whilst we maintained the majority of our usual tasking - two units in the Middle East, units in the South Atlantic/Falklands, working with NATO, homeland defence etc etc.
yeah, but, what else like?
 
You'd be a bit worried if a business didn't try to create an advantage for itself.

Counter to popular belief, a successful bank has successful clients. There's little money to be made in clients going broke (although the restructuring can be lucrative......).
Now you're reading something else. Of course I would, but in your realms the corporate, that's fine and I appreciate that's what you are in. But actually in the retail side, there is an analogy with Bank managers who cannot make a decision without the computer says yes, it doesn't matter if the facts present the blindingly obvious. Plain fact is the Military will only know how it's performed when the next crisis hits because It can't change to face something it can't know, only practice what it knows. The Irony is that I have little doubt in the Army at all, They will come through largely because it's always had the flexibility to adapt despite resistance. You know the kind of thing, Airplanes and the SAS were never going to be any real use were they?
 
I’m not convinced that the Army can be relevant to the people if it doesn’t have a strategic vision. Nor do I think the other two services necessarily have this seem up; how relevant are the carriers as a first line of defence?

To me, what the Navy has successfully done over the last two decades is to build a vision around the carriers that they have single-mindedly pursued. So now they have a shiny new capability and can pursue the peripheral bits. The RAD have done similar.

The Army still has the same tanks in store as it did 25 years ago.
During the post cold war the Navy/Airforce struggled to define themselves as the threats had evaporated and the expensive kit programmes wrecked budgets. Yet now as you say, they're seem far more cohesive and most people believe they're are a little under-manned.

The Army I think were so locked into collaboration and NATO thinking that they're saw themselves as a leader and the hubris was off the scale. We threw ourselves into any conflict going and the plot of troops across the globe became its relevance to politicians. Without a great deal of thought for the damage it did back home with the general public or its own budgets. To some extent the people had sympathy for the men, but did not support any of the forever wars and the army has very little social capital left to expend with the public who just see a lot of waste.

Somebody else referenced the US Corp of Engineers and that is exactly where half the army budget should be re-directed and NATO told we are out of the business of carrying its water, with nominal forces maintained to provide a contingent no greater than a brigade (I await the usual anti-russian trolls to pitch up).
 
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All the aviation that wasn't Apache?

Contributed to the Logs effort (RN were DCom for several of the Log Brigades, and provided a wedge of the people needed to do it).

Comms.

One Brigade rotation in 5(?), which included all the broader Real Life Support Stuff.

Medics.

And whilst we maintained the majority of our usual tasking - two units in the Middle East, units in the South Atlantic/Falklands, working with NATO, homeland defence etc etc.
I am openly honest of my ignorance and am not asking to be antagonistic but to educate.

How much capacity/manpower/budget did that actually take up away from “business as usual”?

same question @Filthy_contract
 
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There's your mission statement right there..........
Good. Now if could only it could be decided which war we’re fighting…
 
Now you're reading something else. Of course I would, but in your realms the corporate, that's fine and I appreciate that's what you are in. But actually in the retail side, there is an analogy with Bank managers who cannot make a decision without the computer says yes, it doesn't matter if the facts present the blindingly obvious. Plain fact is the Military will only know how it's performed when the next crisis hits because It can't change to face something it can't know, only practice what it knows. The Irony is that I have little doubt in the Army at all, They will come through largely because it's always had the flexibility to adapt despite resistance. You know the kind of thing, Airplanes and the SAS were never going to be any real use were they?
Who controls the money ? in the retail sector its the customer and in banking it is its own master.
The military its the politicians who are the peoples representatives and its the people who see no relevance for the services.

On Airplanes/SAS it always reminded me of colonial war and without a reliable body of local men who are backed by the majority of the people to hold the ground you end up with the equivalent of a hand in the bath pushing water around uselessly, despite all the waves created.
 
I am openly honest of my ignorance and am not asking to be antagonistic but to educate.

How much capacity/manpower/budget did that actually take up away from “business as usual”?

same question @Filthy_contract
Don't for get that the budget for 'ops' is a central allocation and does'nt directly affect sS budgets - but capabilities purchased for ops under the UOR procedure have to be 'bought' by the sS if they want to retain them as 'core' after their expeditionary use is over.

For about 10 years - for the RAF and joint enablers - Iraq and Afghanistan was no 1 priority for manpower, training and capability purposes. I don't know the allocation of effort, but it was considerable in terms of lives and equipment. But in the background, the RAF and RN strategy teams looked beyond the current equipment programme - to rolling out carrier strike, space, cyber... (80% of Tier 1 cyber operators are light blue, for example). We survived 2020 SDSR by accepting early loss of aging joint capabilities (Harrier, Nimrod) and planned ahead to replace in-service capabilities eg E3D 'AWACs' and the GR4 Tornado fleet (retired 7 years early by being able to transfer enhanced capabilities to a larger and modern Typhoon fleet).


Where is the equivalent Army programmes of vision?


And don't forget that the RAF (and the RN) have been schwacking targets across N Syria and N Iraq almost daily for a decade.
 
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While not suggesting the army has great strategic vision, over the last two pages you’ve hailed the navy for single-mindedly pursuing aircraft carriers while denigrating the army that was fighting two COIN campaigns in desert for not replacing its armoured fleet for a war in NW Europe.

While the navy may have one clear vision, I’m not sure how relevant or viable a carrier group is. If I was to be kind to the army, I’d also say I’m not sure what the political masters want it to do. Colonial policing? Fight the Russians? Operate in the grey space? It’s all well and good making your organisation look like Thor’s hammer until the politicians present you with a screw.

OTOH having a good strategy is better than a bad one, but either will get you further than none (or six conflicting ones)
 
I am openly honest of my ignorance and am not asking to be antagonistic but to educate.

How much capacity/manpower/budget did that actually take up away from “business as usual”?

same question @Filthy_contract

It was in addition to business as usual. For example, there are two - three generations of jungly and AEW aviators who are only just now learning how to do embarked aviation. There is a decade or more of Royals who have never been to sea, and even less from the 29/24 community. We broke lots of individuals from making them do back to back deployments in the KIPION JOA (in particular) because we didn't have the spare people to do shore drafts, because that margin were engaged in Op Tours for HERRICK.
 

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