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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

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UK Strategic Defence Review 2020 - get your bids in now ladies & gents

Old 23rd Dec 2019, 22:17
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An MoD spokesman said: "We have sufficient numbers of aircrew to meet our current front line operational commitments."
The chaps I have spoken to with very recent front-line experience (fast jet) don't seem to share the Spokeman's opinion.

I have no reason to believe they're lying, so why is the public being deceived?
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 23:02
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM
The chaps I have spoken to with very recent front-line experience (fast jet) don't seem to share the Spokeman's opinion.

I have no reason to believe they're lying, so why is the public being deceived?
The spokesman didn’t say “We have sufficient numbers of aircrew to meet our current front line operational commitments, conduct operational training, deliver overseas engagement and support to exports, and meet our Phase 2 instructor manning requirements while offering career satisfaction and a work-life balance deemed sustainable in the long term at current and expected remuneration levels.” Your answer may lie somewhere in the difference between those statements.

”Why is the public being deceived?” is quite the rhetorical question for someone who apparently wishes to join the military. As I think you have been advised before, try not to see the world in black and white: you will be perpetually confounded if you do.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 23:17
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Originally Posted by Easy Street


The spokesman didn’t say “We have sufficient numbers of aircrew to meet our current front line operational commitments, conduct operational training, deliver overseas engagement and support to exports, and meet our Phase 2 instructor manning requirements while offering career satisfaction and a work-life balance deemed sustainable in the long term at current and expected remuneration levels.” Your answer may lie somewhere in the difference between those statements.

”Why is the public being deceived?” is quite the rhetorical question for someone who apparently wishes to join the military. We are not in the habit of confirming or denying every statement made about us, even if true. As I think you have been advised before, try not to see the world in black and white: you will be perpetually confounded if you do.

It was not a rhetorical question, it was a question asked that I'd like an answer to, from somebody who is rather tired of seeing our treasured Armed Forces constantly sidelined in favour of the NHS, welfare and other such matters, through a lack of honesty at the political level, by politicians who are scared to death of being voted out of Office for failing to meet socialist demands and neglecting their primary responsibility - the defence of the nation.
It's because of this, that the Services are cut to the bone because both parties cannot grasp the basic principles of Keynesian economics.

It's very well our politicians saying that "we live in an uncertain world and our Armed Forces must have the right tools for the job," but it means absolutely nothing if they don't act on it, and implement policies that get the funding in place, the equipment bought, maintained and kept relevant, and young people are given the incentive to join whilst the experienced people can be retained more easily through that better work-life balance you mentioned. To achieve this, a grown-up conversation needs to be had about what we're spending and how much of it is being flushed down the toilet. Nobody with influence seems to have the cajones to have that conversation.
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Old 23rd Dec 2019, 23:33
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM
It was not a rhetorical question, it was a question asked that I'd like an answer to,
Your question “why is the public being deceived?” infers that the public is being deceived. Unless you can demonstrate that to be a fact, the question is rhetorical. I suggest there’s more chance of seeing Santa Claus than there is of seeing a MOD spokesperson going on record with “we’re deceiving the public about pilot manning to keep Defence off the news agenda” or similar.

Edited to add: your reference to Keynesian economics is wayyyyy out of left field. The Government has any number of better ways to stimulate the domestic economy than by spending on Defence, where much of the cash ends up overseas unless ‘buy British’ is enforced. Even then, the ‘British’ companies aren’t 100% British, and stand by for complaints about our forces not being allowed to have the best US/Israeli/other kit!

Last edited by Easy Street; 23rd Dec 2019 at 23:46.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 07:26
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Originally Posted by Easy Street


Your question “why is the public being deceived?” infers that the public is being deceived. Unless you can demonstrate that to be a fact, the question is rhetorical. I suggest there’s more chance of seeing Santa Claus than there is of seeing a MOD spokesperson going on record with “we’re deceiving the public about pilot manning to keep Defence off the news agenda” or similar.

Edited to add: your reference to Keynesian economics is wayyyyy out of left field. The Government has any number of better ways to stimulate the domestic economy than by spending on Defence, where much of the cash ends up overseas unless ‘buy British’ is enforced. Even then, the ‘British’ companies aren’t 100% British, and stand by for complaints about our forces not being allowed to have the best US/Israeli/other kit!

Which wouldn't be entirely accurate.

It's been said that the UK was offered F-22 in the 90's (reliable source), but the cost was astronomical and unjustifiable given our commitment to Typhoon at the time. Besides, it's not as if we need it now we have the F-35, which is just as good, if not better. It's on public record that President Reagan offered Maggie Thatcher the chance for the UK to invest in the F-117, but she turned it down because the existence of the jet was still classified at that time.

We also have Rivet Joint - one of America's most sensitive and strategically vital assets in their inventory. No other country has this. We stand more chance of being allowed to buy America's most sensitive kit than any other nation, but sadly every shopping list needs a budget.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 12:42
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There are by far too many non-jobs out there, particularly at a Headquarters and Command level.

The issue is not bred by those in posts (protectionism). The issue is generated by a procurement and sustainment system that is utterly incompetent, ignores frontline requirement and refuses to modernise. Worst offenders being budgetary control, a refusal to temporarily cut output to fund modernising requirements and Commercial, who seem to be scared of their own shadow and refuse to accept even the slightest risk if they were to own it. Which means the frontline now wear the risk as a result of their risk dodging. Each Headquarters requires it’s own commercial department, managed by the 1 Star, who can manage and accept commercial risk for reward. Get a few decent ones on contract, and pay them market rates. Not the typical polytechnic output.

People need to learn to find a reason to say no, rather than default to no on each occasion. For my hatred of Gollum like Cummins, he does have this aspect right when it comes to MoD.

Oh, the days of getting promoted by organising a decent summer ball and sucking off the boss need to end. We should be promoting leaders, initiative takers and people for being professionally competent. Not being in a job where you have spare time due to aircraft unserviceability to organise a better party for
the staish than your mukka on an operationally overcommitted squadron across the road from your own.
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Old 24th Dec 2019, 13:44
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Originally Posted by VinRouge
There are by far too many non-jobs out there, particularly at a Headquarters and Command level.

The issue is not bred by those in posts (protectionism). The issue is generated by a procurement and sustainment system that is utterly incompetent, ignores frontline requirement and refuses to modernise. Worst offenders being budgetary control, a refusal to temporarily cut output to fund modernising requirements and Commercial, who seem to be scared of their own shadow and refuse to accept even the slightest risk if they were to own it. Which means the frontline now wear the risk as a result of their risk dodging. Each Headquarters requires it’s own commercial department, managed by the 1 Star, who can manage and accept commercial risk for reward. Get a few decent ones on contract, and pay them market rates. Not the typical polytechnic output.

People need to learn to find a reason to say no, rather than default to no on each occasion. For dmy hatred of Gollum like Cummins, he does have this aspect right when it comes to MoD.

Oh, the days of getting promoted by organising a decent summer ball and sucking off the boss need to end. We should be promoting leaders, initiative takers and people for being professionally competent. Not being in a job where you have spare time due to aircraft unserviceability to organise a better party for
the staish than your mukka on an operationally overcommitted squadron across the road from your own.
so the kind of initiative takers who do the right initiative things, not the ones who use their initiative and spare capacity - created by faults beyond their control - to organise and plan a high profile and complex event that betters the minimal social life that remains in the Armed Forces?

That is to say, some initiative is better than others?

or we should Career foul those who've been streamed into an aircraft type, by a system that is beyond their control, with an inadequate stores and support solution created likely before they got to secondary school. That kind of leadership and professional competence they'd expect from their Senior Officers?
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Old 25th Dec 2019, 08:13
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Alfred - I would argue that there is a demand in the chain to see "spare capacity outside of your primary duty". This rather implies that all primary duties are equal, which they certainly are not! There is also an implicit assumption that these are completely removed from your primary duty - someone who organises the summer ball gets extra credit, someone who sorts the squadron/force with extra warfighting capability with their spare capacity doesn't get the same recognition as it's seen as just part of their job.

Where secondary duties have a place is to allow someone to fill gaps in their report that they couldn't by doing their primary duty. We seem to have lost sight of that and have let the tail start wagging the dog.

Back on topic to the SDSR - I'd be very happy to see some focus on improving retention and serviceability of existing kit, rather than shiny headlines.
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Old 26th Dec 2019, 07:44
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great

That is to say, some initiative is better than others?
There is no initiative involved. The highest visibility, lowest effort, most promotable to-the-board duties are allocated to the guy/gal who has made the best effort to snorkel the bosses oboe over the past 12 months. The system is buggering up the modern RAF by overlooking technical experts and role professionals over narcissists and butt snorkelers.

Woe be tired for pointing out the latest and greatest “plan” is about as deep as the PowerPoint presentation it resides upon and that without resource and cutting extant output, plans are not going to happen. You know, common sense. Refusing to drink the Kool Aid doesn’t get you far, as it doesn’t lend itself to the oboe snorkelling I mentioned previously.
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Old 26th Dec 2019, 07:58
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Originally Posted by VinRouge


There is no initiative involved. The highest visibility, lowest effort, most promotable to-the-board duties are allocated to the guy/gal who has made the best effort to snorkel the bosses oboe over the past 12 months. The system is buggering up the modern RAF by overlooking technical experts and role professionals over narcissists and butt snorkelers.

Woe be tired for pointing out the latest and greatest “plan” is about as deep as the PowerPoint presentation it resides upon and that without resource and cutting extant output, plans are not going to happen. You know, common sense. Refusing to drink the Kool Aid doesn’t get you far, as it doesn’t lend itself to the oboe snorkelling I mentioned previously.
interestingly, nearly all the Wg Cdrs and above I've met have been switched on operators and generally nice people.

the only exception would be an Gp Capt who was the textbook definition of a company man.

Oh, and R**** R******* who is utter poison.
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Old 26th Dec 2019, 08:04
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great


interestingly, nearly all the Wg Cdrs and above I've met have been switched on operators and generally nice people.

the only exception would be an Gp Capt who was the textbook definition of a company man.

Oh, and R**** R******* who is utter poison.
I would agree. Apart from those who have a vision.... of themselves at the top. Used to stay well clear. That railroad ain’t stopping and I didn’t fancy two steel wheels across my chest by getting in the way.
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Old 26th Dec 2019, 14:07
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Originally Posted by finningleyprince
Retention has not been grasped. It makes fantastic reading in a glossy, or a paper, but has anyone got an example of a retention initiative? The system is in total paralysis now.
RAF is miles ahead of the other services.
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Old 27th Dec 2019, 08:13
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Originally Posted by alfred_the_great


RAF is miles ahead of the other services.
Has the Senior Service started to look at it, or is it more famine and feast with bodies?
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Old 27th Dec 2019, 12:34
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Originally Posted by VinRouge


There is no initiative involved. The highest visibility, lowest effort, most promotable to-the-board duties are allocated to the guy/gal who has made the best effort to snorkel the bosses oboe over the past 12 months. The system is buggering up the modern RAF by overlooking technical experts and role professionals over narcissists and butt snorkelers.

Woe be tired for pointing out the latest and greatest “plan” is about as deep as the PowerPoint presentation it resides upon and that without resource and cutting extant output, plans are not going to happen. You know, common sense. Refusing to drink the Kool Aid doesn’t get you far, as it doesn’t lend itself to the oboe snorkelling I mentioned previously.
Love it VR! You are soooo cynical but, in much of what you say, absolutely spot on in your assessment.

As in all things, both the cr@p and the cream float to the top in my experience - leading, I'm sure, to a rather strange scumy-mix floating way, way above my head and some *'s wondering how their fellow VSOs ever got there. It's usually the mid-performers who suffer; those who spend too much time doing a good job to go "oboe snorkelling" (that's a new one on me!! ) but are not those whose amazing natural ability gets them promoted. You can guess where H 'n' H was - even if I say so myself!!! Mind you, think things are bad in the Mil re "odd" promotions? It looks the same/worse outside with some right clowns promoted to senior (even Director-level) positions with all sorts of personal grudges against fellow employees and the actual job in hand being the last thing on their minds - often the political (little "p") knives hidden behind backs at meetings are amazing. "I'll talk absolute bolleaux (and stab Fred in the back in the process) - but, if I sound good who cares? Promotion here I come"!

But Mil retention (as is the same for Industry) is a raft of factors; having the kit to do the job, having time to do the job, having fun doing the job (i.e. good people who work hard/play hard/don't shaft you), adequate time with the family, adequate pay, realistic/sane promotion prospects... The days of the "3 Badge ABs" have long gone but having experienced people at all levels is a real help, but only if you manage the danger of stagnation (ie useless 3 Badge ABs as opposed to really good ones who are just happy excelling at their level). Apart from the warfighting, it's the same - except Industry has the ability to pay individuals a bit more to stay - tho Unions keep an eye on that too so even that ability can be limited. And the civie "3 Badge AB's" (useless ones that is) and higher abound in Industry!

For the Mil, getting all that right is probably impossible, particularly as tasking remains high, but money is tight. Essentially, Politicians trying to do too much with too little. So, Career Managers (or whatever they are callled today) do their best to match the flow to the demand but, one could argue, if the tasking exceeds the budget, individual initiatives can, at best, try and balance things out at the odd pinch-point... today. Tomorrow? Well, who knows! I recall being paid the 2nd installment of a Retention Bonus .. while on the list for the next round of redundancies! In industry, resources are often shuffled between programmes at very short notice depending on the depth of the mire they are in vs the profit they will generate for Shareholders so there is more flex there.

So, will we see the "perfect initiatives" for each Service? Well, maybe some progress will be made under the current Boards but, with the next Political "wise idea" - the deck of cards comes crashing back down again.

As you can see, H 'n' H is not much of an optimist; just a realist! Oh, and Happy Christmas/New Year to one and all!
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Old 27th Dec 2019, 19:48
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I Imagine it will be the traditional de-enrichment of post. Possibly more use of contractors to deliver short term projects or cheap Civil Servants who can bring in continuity to senior middle management posts (OF4).
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Old 29th Dec 2019, 12:00
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Originally Posted by Misformonkey
I Imagine it will be the traditional de-enrichment of post. Possibly more use of contractors to deliver short term projects or cheap Civil Servants who can bring in continuity to senior middle management posts (OF4).
Sadly, you may be right despite all the "new leaf, new SDR" hype. After all, a strategy that has failed time and time again to deliver any meaningful improvements is definitely going to be the lead runner for the next "cunning plan". After all, it's tried and tested and so is low-risk!

Maybe you and I will be proved wrong - but, don't know about you Misformonkey, I'm not holding my breath here.
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Old 29th Dec 2019, 22:33
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Originally Posted by BVRAAM
Foreign policy as well? Interesting.

Iran's about to buy a bunch of WMDs then..........allegedly.
Don't mess with the Persians.They slaughtered 1500 of their own people without blinking an eye two weeks ago...

Seriously we need to get off the distant war train and re align our defensive efforts much closer to home.
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Old 30th Dec 2019, 21:57
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Originally Posted by weemonkey
Seriously we need to get off the distant war train and re align our defensive efforts much closer to home.
A voice of reason from the wilderness
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Old 2nd Jan 2020, 22:52
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Some people on Twitter are cooing over Shanghai's New Year drone display as an animal-friendly replacement for fireworks. Military analysts probably have other potential applications in mind. Seriously impressive...

(Didn't Dominic Cummings have rather a lot to say about this in one of his blogs? )

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Old 3rd Jan 2020, 07:48
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See Cummiings is looking for "weirdo's and misfits with odd skills" to help him out

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-50978329

The PM's senior adviser has called for changes to how government works, saying there are "profound problems" with how decisions are made. In a blog post, Dominic Cummings said the civil service lacked people with "deep expertise in specific fields". He said he wanted "weirdos and misfits with odd skills" to work in government.

But a civil servants' union said currently staff were recruited on merit and "because of what you can do, not what you believe". The union also said recruiting world-class experts is hampered by the "government's failure to pay a market rate".

In an unusual move, Mr Cummings also called for people keen to work in Downing Street to get in touch with him via a private Gmail address.

The former Vote Leave campaign director said he wanted to hear from "an unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds", some to work as special advisers and "perhaps some as officials". He said No 10 was keen to recruit data scientists, software developers and economists to improve the performance of government. In his blog, Mr Cummings added: The aim of the new recruits is to improve performance but also make Mr Cummings himself "much less important — and within a year largely redundant"
  • A junior applicant will become his personal assistant for a year - a role which will involve "very interesting work and lots of uninteresting trivia that makes my life easier which you won't enjoy". The job will be so exhausting that "frankly it will be hard having a boy/girlfriend at all"
  • He also urged against applications from "confident public school bluffers" and added anyone who plays office politics "will be discovered and immediately binned"
  • He wants to hire "some true wild cards, artists, people who never went to university and fought their way out of an appalling hell hole"
Mr Cummings added that the Conservatives' 80-seat majority meant ministers would try to solve political problems without worrying about "short-term unpopularity". "The point of this government is to do things differently and better and this always looks messy," he wrote. "We do not care about trying to 'control the narrative' and all that New Labour junk."

He added that officials should be encouraged to stay in their roles for longer so that they are able to build up expertise in particular policy areas. "Shuffling some people who are expected to be general managers is a natural thing but it is clear Whitehall does this too much," he said. "There are not enough people with deep expertise in specific fields."
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