Who wants to be a CO anyway!!

theloggie said:
RLC Officer MCM roadshow visited and said well done for being promoted but you've all going to stay at that rank for the rest of your careers as you have less than a 5% chance of ever being promoted again. There's loads of you and only 5 or 6 Regiments a year, to get on you have to command so basically you are all screwed.
I was, if not inspired, at the least goaded by the above. It is very correct, but deosn't explain why the majority of the 5 -6 COs are ex-RCT choppers. But I digress.

Who wants to be a CO. And why. Well I've always thought, and this has been confirmed by the large number of infantry COs I deal with, that within a Regt/Batt you are the leadership focal point. You are there to lead and inspire the junior officers, give direction to your OCs so they nurture the Capts so they grow in the fertile soil of your man management.
Inspire and build trust with the WOs and SNCOs, the bedrock of your command and make your soldiers want to follow you. Sounds great.
However as a CO you can do lots of other stuff instead. And in this thread I want people to share those inspirational moments they have seen from their CO.
Charterhouse rules though chaps...what goes on in the mess stays in the mess...unless you touch up the barstaff and it makes the STUN newspaper. but when.........allegedly......


Ex ******** at Longmore, a couple of JNOCs for a giggle decided to bring their Mini Moto bikes for evening entertainment unfortunately Sandhurt decided they’d like to share the camp with us and were accompanied by a troop of Gurkhas and a handful of SAS chaps for security.
Now picture this, our camp CSM is by the FIBUA village briefing (more likely being briefed by) the SAS chaps when two LCpls and one CFN suddenly go whizzing by on their Mini Motos :D
After the third lap there were several very annoyed men with very big badges.
Oh how we laughed as the LCpls and CFN received a right royal bollicking and were threatened with being charged :lol:

Mini Motos, a quality bit of kit :wink:
Knights, what you have posted is extremely harmful and frankly I will not be surprised in the slightest if the RLC makes The Sun at a time when our dirty washing, if it needs a spin, should be scrubbed in-house. This isn't banter at all. If is in your intention to highlight this issue it is a cowardly way of going about it.

Chatham house rules is an accepted concept of confidential agreement by those in the know to keep incidents behind close doors. Charterhouse rules, apart from being a prestigous school's dining arrangements, I presume, must be the reverse; place all on the internet in a rather vindictive and subversive manner to avoid confronting the individual professionally.

If there are only 5 or 6 CO slots a year then so be it. There certainly are not as many in other areas of the Army's Regts/ Bns or indeed as many Lt Col places should candidates be unsuccessful in being selected for command. If the whinge is the inability to reach a career ambition there are several solutions namely create a Regt for every Lt Col who wants one (unlikely/ lunacy), perform to a level that gets you those rare commands (highly probable) or leave.

In summary, it appears that, in some cases a great deal of man hours are spent tapping away on ARRSE, often with the clarity, content and motivation that should be channelled in to organising interesting training, leadership development and fostering unit cohesion for those we are honour bound to serve and lead in the RLC. Of course in typing this post I am guilty of that very offence; I hope my few words may allow a little perspective and effect a change in the tide.

More fodder for those journalists who wish to undo what they cannot understand and for those who may wrongly think we are REMF cnuts.

Banter yes, slagging always, bad personal drills never.

Quality outs. Rant over.
Charterhouse is neither a prep school nor prestigious. I believe the best description of said establishment is that given in Rogue Male when the SS officer, an old Carthusian, tries to suck up to the Etonian sniper - "a mousy middle class school".

All that being said, I do think KOR needs to think about what his actual aim was when posting. Because if he has trouble with selection and maintenance of the aim for something as trivial (nay, banal?) as this, then I think his expectations of command were perhaps misguided in the first place.
Cuddles, my apologies you are of course correct (a retort usually saved for Mrs Cakewell when my fingers type furiously in a world of their own).
RLC Officer MCM roadshow visited and said well done for being promoted but you've all going to stay at that rank for the rest of your careers as you have less than a 5% chance of ever being promoted again. There's loads of you and only 5 or 6 Regiments a year, to get on you have to command so basically you are all screwed.
There were 10 RLC Commands filled on the Board that was announced on 26 October 05 so that's just doubled your chances!!
This post coms in two parts, first as a moderator and second from a personal perspective:

First the mod bit:

I've just done some culling on this thread, both editing and deleting for a couple of reasons:

1. Editing. Some of the comments by KoR could easily identify the individual concerned and so they have been removed. Remember KoR that unless you choose to reveal your identity that you have the cover of anonymity and I don't view it as big or clever to use that anonymity to slag off the behaviour of others when they themselves could be identified by a judiciously lpaced comment or two.

2. Deleting: I've deleted comments that have extensively quoted the content I have an issue with.

Now the personal bit.

Cakewell, I'm in 99% agreement with you. If we were in 1994 and just merged then to a degree you have to accept a bit of carping, especially from guys who are not in a position to sign off and don't like what they have been confronted with in terms of the identity of the cap badge they find themselves in. I suspect the same will inevitably be true of the new Scottish regt when formed. Change management is a thorny issue and any newly merged and formed institution will need time to bed down. I think in 12 years the Corps has had that time and, in theory should be bedded down with a majority of RLC rather than ex-legacy soldiers/officers and thus an RLC identity. I'm not 100% convinced that this is the case and the reasons behind that are complex and should be discussed.

I see a preponderance of threads on this forum that irk me about how pump the Corps is. All the DE Capts in a Reg't signing off? Is X Regt crap? Is Kineton/Leconfield et al cak? Is this bit of kit cak? Does DRLC give a toss? All of these are themes in recent threads and it's frankly depressing reading, but I don't think it is entirely representative of the Corps as a whole. It might be easy to think, and this is where I'd temper some of your comments Cakewell, that the views expressed are indicative of a large number of the Corps when in fact they represent the contributions of the more vocal contributors to this forum and need to be kept in perspective. I get the impression that the majority view is a silent one as far as this forum is concerned and it would be wrong to suggest that the Corps is rotten throughout. Like any big organisation is suffers from institutional issues, show me an organisation of like size that doesn't! That being said, I accept that people need a forum to air grievances and while I may disagree with a fair bit of the content I am mindful of the need to air it, though within reason. I don't know how much visibility this forum has with DRLC, or if it has any impact assuming it is visible. I know if I were in that position I'd be more concerned with constructive criticism with answers than constant carping and the dragging of individuals through a kangaroo court of public opinion.
From my experience comments on this forum are not taken to heart by the higher formations. An immediate turning up of the nose as if the CO's dog has just let one go, then carry on normal jogging.

In other words things are normally blown out of all proportion by the do gooder Adj trying to make a name for themselves, when in reality there are far more important things to be getting on with.

Persec, slander and security issues are another matter of course.
Woopert, Melchett. Granted I was well out of order there. Having a w*nk week and my anger spilt out.

But I don't think I've articulated my aim very well. I don't intend to out anyone.
And personally I have limited aims I want to achieve as far as the Army is concerned, and I'm almost there. I certainly have never had any interest in commanding a Regt. I have worked for a couple of really good blokes, and they will go and are going places. However I have worked for a greater number of blokes who are weak, self-serving and not to be trusted.

What irks me, is having the Values and standards chat rammed down my throat, given the 'we must be robust in dealing with bullying' etc, you will not do this or that. Fine I can accept that. And I wouldn't have it any other way...Then watch this same chap then totally do the opposite.
It annoys me because I have had the privilege to work with some truly excellent officers, and command possibly some of the finest JNCOs and SNCOs we have to offer.

I have no problem offering my unswerving loyalty to these soldiers and to the Chain of Command. And whilst the soldiers have reciprocated this. But in recent years I have noted a distinct drying up of loyalty from the chain of command. I don't mind getting trodden on every now and then, but when you keep getting shat on, well that’s a different matter. Now if this keeps happening to me as an experienced officer what chance do the boys stand? And frankly they deserve a damn sight better.
But this is just I. I'm getting old and grumpy. I don't want an IPod. I liked CDs.
But perhaps it’s not just me. Which is why I asked.

I acknowledge what cakewell says. But you can't keep it in the mess if it is happening down the road. But Cakewell, you need to take a look around you pal. When I first went to RD, I spent 12months of my first two years on exercise. Every other month, Sqn, Regt, Bde Ex. Firing Camps, MEDMAN etc. Getting out there doing the job. I loved being in the RLC; it offered loads of opportunities that other Regts and Corps can only dream of.
We go everywhere, we enable everything. Go work in PJHQ and you'll really see what I mean.
So why are so many people moaning that things are sh*t. Well on my last stint at RD in 2 years we went on 1 Regt Ex. It was the most bone thing I have ever been on. Unrealistic, unimaginative. The Regt conducted the same exercise the previous year, right down to locations and serials. Because the main effort was the Bde Comds visit, not trg the soldiers. When something went wrong, instead of looking at why or where the problem was, someone had to be blamed. Well, what does blaming someone solve? And woe betide you should you voice that opinion. I soon learnt to keep my gob shut.
I know this is mostly budget driven, but things are changing and sometimes for the better. Yes its part of the plan to loose a number of officers through wastage. But then you start to loose them at a rate that means you suddenly can’t fill all your E1 appts or Regt commitments. But nobody seems to care, least of all the heirachy. The general attitude seems to be, if you don’t like it, hand your bedding in.
So I’m pissed off with having to work for blokes who want me to flog myself to death to make sure they get on….which is part of the course and part of the deal….but then make it clear they couldn’t give a toss about you.
It’s a bit like when you let a car out of a junction, and he doesn’t say thank you, But instead he sticks two fingers up at you. What’s the point?
But why should I care, I’m off soon anyway. I suspect that will make Cake happy.

And lets face it, Leaconsfield was always a bit arrse, because it’s a Trg establishment and they always are. They still try to get the YOs cse to march across to the Adv Dvr Trg wng. They even try to get the RSOs cse to march about.
But it’s still my second favorite officers mess, and the MGS have never given me any trouble. I suspect its all a matter of attitude.
What a difference a day makes. More clarity with this one although, KoR, what lead you to believe I hadn't served in PJHQ or that I am an Officer? Lastly I am not at all pleased to hear you are leaving/ moving on to other things; on the contrary it sincerely saddens me to hear that Officers feel that is their only option. I took issue with one aspect of your post, it has been dealt with, lets move on. Generally speaking where I have a grievance it is with the man/ woman who either talks endlessly about signing off and doesn't have the bollocks to do it. Even worse, once they have, insist on taking as many blokes with them or seriously undermining the very commissioning and leadership values that they see being flogged by the chain of command which lead them to leave in the first place? I agree there are some less able/ vicious individuals out there; occasionally we need them to make us look good, show us how not to do it and to continue the circle of military life. But in many cases if you think they are a w**ker everyone will think they are a w**ker. At least with the Army they are within arcs; if the grass is truly greener on the other side you can guarantee it is not because of the excellent standard of the untouchable 'David Brent' industrial leader.

And relax...as the thread is undergoing a sea change it may be time to prompt the Devils Advocate: are some our young officers leading by popularity and therefore becoming over-sensitive to criticism or the requirements of the system? Do a very small minority of them know it all already and is some of the thick skin increasingly harder to mould? Are a tiny number too precious to march or do some see it as an example? Is this apparent 'Men in Black' like memory erasing technique post RMAS leadership lectures widespread or are some using these techniques to overcome and adapt? Or are the statistics right about the 5 - 6 year man fufilling all he/ she intended and this being a natural course across the three services bang on? Have we embraced a blinkered view of operations/ racks of gongs being the key learning ground rather than some time in barracks, the training wing and the messes?

Personally I think we have some fantastic young officers who, unlike a few years ago, need to know their stuff more than ever, have no real time to get it wrong and will be fufilling senior posts a couple of years after leaving the Tp Comd cse.

Quality outs.
Please let me introduce a different thought. At Capt or junior Major level an Officer is HIGHLY employable in the civilian world at more or less equivalent earnings levels to his/her army pay but still with sufficient youth to ensure the prospect of a very successful second career. Wait on in the hope of a better post and you are clearly taking a gamble because the window of opportunity is increasingly narrow for a transfer of this type. (I speak as a senior manager of a civilian employer with a personal staff of just over 100 and responsibility to a total staff in the region of 7,500).

What happens then when you tell your bright young things that they are unlikely to progress beyond Maj because of (insert reason here)? How likely is it that our very best will stay when clearly they can do so much better (lifestyle choices and job satisfaction notwithstanding) outside?

The answer should be fairly obvious and, in my opinion, the Regular Army is likely to go the same way as the TA where - largely because of the reduction in size of the Reg Army AND MOST ESPECIALLY because of the scarcity of Comd Appts - rank ceiling is now effectively Maj for all but the most politically adept, well connected an/or exceptionally talented (and forgiving). I believe that all Bdes now retain a SO1(V) post as a consolation prize for the good ones that they cannot promote but cannot afford to lose. This used to be what UOTC Comds were for but have a look at the number of UOTCs now commanded by Reg Officers and the scale of problem should be apparent to all. The TA is now haemorrhaging quality officers leaving a shortage of role models for the keen youngsters we might like to bring on in our place.

Please note that I am NOT having a swipe at the Reg Army here - it's not your (i.e. Reg) fault that our (i.e Reg & TA) organisation is shrinking, but don't anyone be under the impression that you can shrink an organisation without creating "people consequences". You can't.

And just to support DRLC, I happen to know that he is aware of this issue with TA and that it is definitely not his fault that last year's boards did not go in the RLC TA's favour.
I can vouch for Cakewell's view that the quality of the junior officers that the RLC are recruiting is in the main (there are clearly exceptions) very very good these days. The RLC used to be "everyone's favourite second choice" at 'Hurst, but there are a significant number of quality folks now coming to the Corps with RLC in their first choice slot.

I always like to think that anyone who doesn't have an eye on what is happening in the civvy jobs market has closed off, uncessessarily, an avenue of opportunity. Those that go early could therefore be considered to be the ambitious ones with an eye to their successful future....

I won't go, cos i'm crap ;)
I was having a pretty bad day when that came flooding out. but,

CakewellTart said:
Personally I think we have some fantastic young officers who, unlike a few years ago, need to know their stuff more than ever, have no real time to get it wrong and will be fufilling senior posts a couple of years after leaving the Tp Comd cse.

Quality outs.
And here my good man I think you hit the nail right on the noggin. Too much time is spent by Tp Comds worrying about MK1 and 2, their careers, etc etc.
Instead of concentrating on the important issues of man management and leadership and getting to practise this. When I was a Tp Comd, you did your Jotes and some point, wrote some essays and spent the rest of your time charging around Trg areas and the like with your lads, or doing Adv Trg, etc etc. They have no time to enjoy it. I as a non grad had two tours as a Tp comd. Brilliant experience, both from personal enjoyment and fulfilment and as a cornerstone in testing your own leadership skills.

As to 'you taking people down with you' I agree, its not on. theirs no need to try and coerce others, and I think thats close to mutiny talk.
But unlike a lot of my officer bretherin I do not feel the herd instinct and I am quite happy to plow my own furrow, which is why I know I'll never progress very far. But I always like to watch what the herd are doing, they may have seen somthing you missed.

Interesting perspective and of course entirely correct although my only observation is the descision isn't always obvious but certainly tempting. Of the people I know who have left only to rejoin, ableight sometimes in different cap badges, their main motivator to come back was of course not money (!) but a lack of challenge, identity and sometimes frustration (in many cases in the last year they'd be back as a reserve anyway!!). These individuals have in some case, by default, forfeited a right to command as their competition has leapt past but they seem content. Perhaps command, as the title of this thread would suggest, it not everyones goal and in fact could be argued is not as enjoyable less you be the nature of beast you accurately picture. Opening the formal career review system is possibly an area that could better control the flow? The Australian model for taking time out for 3 - 12 months periods on a range of pay scales is another area - allowing some to try it and find out. As for the TA I for one I am a huge fan and it is sad to see it undergo such a public problematic period.

Any job vacancies!!
CakewellTart said:
Of the people I know who have left only to rejoin.... These individuals have in some case, by default, forfeited a right to command as their competition has leapt past...
Wasn't this the whole point of that report in the 1990s on Officer Careers (Betts Report?). Namely, that the possibility of "cross-posting to industry" would make for a more rounded and experienced officer cadre?

It strikes me that if you make a move to the Reserves a certain career-killer (either explicitly, or as an implicit result of age/time constraints), then the Army may be shooting itself in the foot. My father's observation from the "big shrinkage" of the late 1960s was mirrored during Options for Change; namely, if career progression is limited in some way, then it's the best people who take the pay-off and leave (confident that they can succeed outside), while many of the mediocre stay (because it's a "comfort zone" and the easier, less risky option).

I can understand if you consider time spent in green to be so precious that missing any of it means that you are under-equipped for Command, but is that really the case? Why should showing that you have the courage to take the step outside the institution, and make your way in a less certain world for a year or two, be a disadvantage? By way of analogy, one story has it that until the 1980s (and the intervention of the PM) a career in SF was a hindrance in promotion to very-senior-officerdom for similar reasons.

As you say, quality outs. The danger is that the "out" is to leave the Army.
Gravs you raise an interesting point and as I highlighted only some of those who get back in are spoiling their chances. In a larger Corps, possibly, they are safer than most. Conversley there is a CO currently serving who left and got back in and is very successful. I do not suggest for a moment they should be disdadvantaged. I do however reserve judgement that during concepts such as Options the quality leave and the mediocore remain else Options for Change, in theory, would have have left us with complete toss at the moment which is clealry not the case.

My primary concern being that in the RLC at present we do not have such a forced redundancy package; although it appears that is may occur, if we are not careful, by default. Furthermore, it must be remembered that being a CO is not at the forefront of every officers mind and neither is reaching the dizzy heights. Bypassing these to tackle other jobs and roles should not be confused with comfort zones.

Placed in context the Infantry, I am lead to believe, has recently seen 150 or so Officers go and I would hazard a guess there is a smattering of those who feel they can succeed elsewhere knowing they will not get a Regt or certain type of Bde and those who simply feel it is time to move on or would have gone, convieniently, at that time anyway with a bit of an extra Asda smack on the arse and good luck to them. You raise a very valid point namely Betts highlighted cross posting and not people leaving with a view to not coming back. It is this area Gravs I am in total agreement with you and why I suggested we look at different models/ opportunites. A few years on this be looked at more closely as we may be surpriseds at the results.
I wouldn't mind being a CO - it's a great opportunity to tap off with Subalterns' girlfriends, and impress them with yuor rack of medals and intersting war anecdotes.

It's also great to know that you can disgrace yourself when drunk, and everyone being to afraid to tell you that you were a tit.

RHQ Rug-rat said:
I wouldn't mind being a CO - it's a great opportunity to tap off with Subalterns' girlfriends, and impress them with yuor rack of medals and intersting war anecdotes.

It's also great to know that you can disgrace yourself when drunk, and everyone being to afraid to tell you that you were a tit.

Or even just tap off with Subalterns!

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