Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Military Aviation
Reload this Page >

Bonfire of the Generals

Military Aviation A forum for the professionals who fly military hardware. Also for the backroom boys and girls who support the flying and maintain the equipment, and without whom nothing would ever leave the ground. All armies, navies and air forces of the world equally welcome here.

Bonfire of the Generals

Old 19th Dec 2011, 12:33
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Why oh why would I wanna be anywhere else?
Posts: 1,306
Should work for blunt types too.
Now I know this is showing my age - but bear with me - I'm sure that there is the equivalent in today's RAF.......

Flt Lt - OC Personnel Services Flight,OC Supply Control & Accounting Flight, OC Catering Flight

Sqn Ldr - OC Personnel Management Squadron, OC Supply Squadron

Wg Cdr - OC Admin Wing

... but you get the point - don't you????
sisemen is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 13:08
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
Age: 48
Posts: 1,761
Melchett,

A sqn arrives in location X at the start of an operation, headed by a Sqn Ldr or Wg Cdr, and everything works fine.

The operation expands and before we know it, there is a brace of one stars and a HQ element with swathes of OF4 and above, many of whom (note:not all) seem to serve little purpose other than collecting a medal, getting an op on their SJAR, using precious resources and generally acting as an ocean going handbrake.

I've seen it over and over, and you only need to throw a bread roll gently in any direction in a DFAC to see how many Sqn Ldr's and above you hit, as they munch through rations before returning to the HQ 200m away in their personal vehicle to bugger something else up, or create work to get noticed.

(Stand fast the small percentage who do actually achieve something)

This bonfire is much needed, and if you think it's a bad idea then I think we can guess which camp you're in.
minigundiplomat is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 14:22
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Darling - where are we?
Posts: 2,499
MGD,

Just to get my credentials out of the way to start with, I am not one of the senior officers likely being referred to and I am never likely to be one. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that we have probably shared the same bird table at Bastion. In my case, CR almost certainly means ceiling reached, so I don't even have a vested interest in preserving the status quo.

We are indeed top heavy and as you rightly say, thinning out some of the medal-hunters and yes men is probably a good thing. But I would ask you to re-read my post, very specifically the part of the article I quoted at the top. If anyone thinks a bonfire of the generals will stop with the generals, I think they are mistaken; this will go right down the commissioned ranks and have a far greater impact than the headlines suggest.

Imagine the scenario: Mr Slater makes his comments about pruning the top ranks. The top ranks eager to preserve pensions, knighthoods and potential future directorships close ranks and argue that you can't do that without adversely impacting on the promotion pyramid. Fine says Mr Slater, we'll get rid of more officers down the pyramid to maintain career prospects, but you lot are still in the firing line. At a stroke, the MOD civil service and the Treasury get exactly what they want - the opportunity to make even further cuts, either axing posts full stop or replacing military personnel with civil servants and contractors.

And that is the crux of my post. This will be a perfect example of the law of unintended consequences. Slater and his chums believing that military personnel are too expensive are handed even more of us on a plate than they had intended to cut in the first place. We will be left with expensive contractors and civil servants who you either can't deploy or refuse to deploy without significant expense. I have seen it happen in Iraq; I fought to get a capabilty on line during ops only to be blocked by the contractors refusing to come in country in without their company first renegotiating T&Cs. The Armed Forces are just that - armed forces, not civil servants or contractors. If you are relying on civil servants and contractors to carry out a military role, I'm afraid the politicians may well end up with a rather nasty surprise. A recent article in Janes Defence Review analysed the increasing use of contractors in the military, looking specifically at ISR as a case study. There are quite a few civvie UAV operators out in theatre, mostly doing launch and recovery, but a few providing full mission capabilities. But when asked if they would be prepared to fire on insurgents or carry out intelligence work that lead to kinetic operations, a significant number of them suggested those roles were more appropriate for the military to carry out.

All I am saying is be careful what you wish for. This measure, whilst no doubt well intentioned - or as well intentioned as you can get when your sole aim is to amputate significant chunks of the patient - will come and bite us on the arse a few years down the line. It would also be interesting to know exactly how many civil service equivalent posts will be going in the bonfire.
Melchett01 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 14:41
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MARS
Posts: 1,035
We are indeed top heavy and as you rightly say, thinning out some of the medal-hunters and yes men is probably a good thing. But I would ask you to re-read my post, very specifically the part of the article I quoted at the top. If anyone thinks a bonfire of the generals will stop with the generals, I think they are mistaken; this will go right down the commissioned ranks and have a far greater impact than the headlines suggest.
As long as all those who are left are fast jet pilots, because they are the only ones with the brain capacity/capability to be the future leaders of the RAF!

Widger is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 14:42
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Darling - where are we?
Posts: 2,499
I know it's Christmas Widger, but isn't it a little early in the day to be starting on the Absinthe?
Melchett01 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 16:28
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Asia Pacific
Age: 48
Posts: 1,761
Apologies Melchett, not too much undeserved scorching from the bonfire I hope. However, I hope their is a trimming of the entire officer corps [note: trimming not purge].
It has grown bloated in the last 15 - 20 years and many would not be missed, especially in some branches. Many manage to fit the category I described in my earlier post at home as well as whilst deployed.

Whilst we sit at either end of arc, I suspect the ideal is somewhere in the middle, though probably the last solution the MOD will apply.
minigundiplomat is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 16:29
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Torquay, England
Posts: 838
Originally Posted by Widger
During the 90s there was an inexorable creep in ranks in the RN, mainly to gain parity with the RAF. Squadrons that were commanded by Lieutenant Commanders suddenly got Commanders, Stations that were commanded by Captains got Commodores.

The Army in particular are overborne. they even have a 1* in charge of sport! I think at the last count they had something like 100 1*s from which they could choose the best to promote. The RAF and the RN have a much smaller pot to choose from, hence very few senior RN Officers get to the top in the MoD. IMHO!
Interesting post now in 2011,
One Rear Admiral Chief of Staff (Aviation) plus Rear Admiral Fleet Air Arm (same officer),
Commodore down west,
Captain at Yeovil,
Approximately 19 squadrons, 8 of which are commanded by a Commander, one by a Lt Col Royal Marines and the rest are all Lt Cdr. plus one Major RM (public records).

Captain ....................... Commando Helicopter Force
Commander .................... Merlin Helicopter Force
Commander ................... Lynx Helicopter Force
Commander ................... Sea King Helicopter Force
Commander ................ Fleet Forward Support Squadron
glojo is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 16:46
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 119
Evey time something like this happens they end up getting the numbers completely out of balance, which screws up the demographics. We end up with a void or a bulge trying to work its way up the pyramid, or the top of the pyramid ends up out of whack with the rest and no one gets promoted. This time, they'll burn the top and that will "suck" up a load of new promotees to fill the new posts they start to create again after the purge.

Don't think I'm going to make one star.
APG63 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 18:52
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Lincolnshire
Posts: 542
It's funny looking back at your own career. At times it was clear. As a junior nav, I had absolutely no influence over anything, including the direction in which my aircraft was moving! Later in my career I had command over what I thought was a lot but in reality, was not much. I had control, at times, over an empire yet limited command. Geography was a wonderful leveller! And ........... I had the occasional delusional moment!

The Air Force is a complex structure and promotion is based on a traditional model. We all know what it takes to stride, majestically, up the slippery slope. Some are good; some are clever and some just won't play the game.

Whichever way this new system pans out, it'll be a lot different to the model I knew as a Fg Off!
Geehovah is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:10
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
Geehovah. If you were flying with me at the time, your lack of influence wasn't your fault. Sorry about that.

I'm starting to see some familiar aspects of your career.

When I left, not long ago, it wasn't because I didn't love it, I did! So it was with slightly mixed feelings. But with everything that's going on new, I think I chose my moment well.

Courtney
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:18
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,490
Quote :
We could always just do what we used to do in earlier times and use the rank = job method.
Yaaaawwwnnnn.... ever heard of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, OC 617 Sqn? Or Gp Capt Leonard Cheshire, Stn Cdr RAF Marston Moor? Both examples of 'the way it was done in earlier times'. Indeed Cheshire went on to command 617 Sqn as a Gp Capt!

Most modern Sqns are many times bigger (in both aircraft and numbers of personnel) than the sqns which were commanded by Sqn Ldrs in the early days of the RAF. In fact, many modern RAF Sqns are broadly similar in size to WW2-era bomber sqns, which were typically commanded by..... Wg Cdrs!
Of course Post WW2 they also had a big rank restructuring as they were top heavy with higher ranks and those wishing to remain in the RAF often found they had to drop several ranks to fit the new structure of the RAF, perhaps another such cull is overdue
NutLoose is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:47
  #32 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Tarn et Garonne, Southwest France
Posts: 5,283
Nutloose, if they take up your idea, I'm now really glad I left when I did.

Anyway, stupid idea. JPAC could never cope with all the changes. A wg cdr becoming a flt lt would still be paid as a wg cdr for about a year and then would have so much over-pay to be recovered that he'd never pay it off.
Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 19:57
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Penzance, Cornwall UK
Age: 80
Posts: 32
I don't fully understand just how or why we ended up with a ridiculously over-ranked structure, nor why it is necessary to have crammed them into MoD, but it is long past time to remedy the mess we now find ourselves in.
Rosevidney1 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 20:53
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 734
I've seen it over and over, and you only need to throw a bread roll gently in any direction in a DFAC to see how many Sqn Ldr's and above you hit, as they munch through rations before returning to the HQ 200m away in their personal vehicle to bugger something else up, or create work to get noticed
I noticed this at Al Udeid when I was there; it was mainly SO3s who, once they realised they were closer than normal to a 1*, seemed to become infected with chisselerism - jostling with their peers to impress 'dad' with their enthusiam for the latest fashionable 'good idea'. Fortunately few people can remain pure chisselers for a sustained period and it was funny watching some of them run out of steam as their flight home approached, often leaving some bolleaux in their wake that was stopped the minute their jet was off the ground.

One good thing to come out of it: I promised myself I would leave the Service at first opportunity rather than risk being anywhere more dangerous with these thrusters, and so far it's worked out quite well
dallas is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 21:01
  #35 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: ici
Posts: 107
How many 'stars' are there in each service?

WARNING!! Maths in public alert...

If, for argument's sake, there are 125 'starred' officers in the RAF, that must be a total of what, 200 'stars'?

Before redundancies, there must be ~40,000 RAF personnel

That means there is a 'star' for every ~ 200 service(wo)men

God almighty! How about we make this more reasonable, one 'star' per 500? So we only need 80 'stars'

How about we let the RAF decide - 80 one-stars, or 20 four-stars - it's up to the high-paid help to decide how they dish out their 80 stars.

Of course, the other services have the same number of stars pro rata

Edit.. I suspect I'm being conservative with the distribution of 'stars'
passpartout is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 21:19
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,490
Blimey, they must have taken onboard the McDonalds reward structure with all those Stars floating about.



Last edited by NutLoose; 19th Dec 2011 at 21:41.
NutLoose is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 21:22
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Malkin Tower
Posts: 849
does that mean Ronald McDomald is Chief of Defence Staff?
jamesdevice is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 21:24
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hanging off the end of a thread
Posts: 16,490
Nope, he recently got the Chop too..
NutLoose is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 23:16
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Darling - where are we?
Posts: 2,499
does that mean Ronald McDomald is Chief of Defence Staff
No - Ronald McDonald wouldn't be seen dead in the new Army uniform
Melchett01 is offline  
Old 19th Dec 2011, 23:31
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Darkest Surrey
Posts: 6,043
McDonalds has 85,000 employees, how soon will it have more than total armed forces
racedo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.