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Group Captains Galore

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Group Captains Galore

Old 20th Mar 2021, 14:46
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
There are probably the sum total of about 12 UK citizens (I may have slightly exaggerated that number for comedic effect) outside of the British military that either know or care what an Admiral or a Gp Capt is. You are evidently one of them.

The bottom line is that the senior officers in question are employed to do a job and they do it. Whilst that may no longer mean commanding ships and Sqns they still have a role to play.

The amount of bureaucracy (think Haddon Cave and the MAA for example) that has come about in recent years obviously requires a few grown ups to deal with it.

Whilst we are repeatedly told everything was much better in the good old days remember that things are not the same as they once were. That is for good and bad.

For example, we no longer accept service deaths as just ‘one of those things’ or brush things under the carpet to save face. We have much more accountability these days.

It is not the military that chose to go down the path of massive regulation and accountability but they must stick to it. That requires senior officers to put their name on a document and accept the blame when things go wrong.

If you can actually identify a single senior officer of any service that is not gainfully employed in a job befitting their rank then I would be surprised.

BV
Very well said BV but, having worked for the Naval Secretary, I would actually be more astonished than surprised. Regrettably, Mr Asturias's Post # 32 seems to suggest that he's either not prepared or not able to take up my modest challenge. It's simply a matter of fact that numbers of officers of flag rank and their equivalent have reduced sharply over recent years.

Jack
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 14:53
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Originally Posted by esscee View Post
Not sure if this is true today, however a few years ago the highest rank in the Israeli Air Force was a the equivalent of a Brigadier General. They may have a fair few aircraft than UK, but as someone will point out no doubt less than the RAF. Far too many high ranking officers in the Armed Forces overall, more admirals than ships/boats for example. Cut out 50% of high ranks/posts etc and start to save some money that way.
Oh look! Hot from the press: https://www.raf.mod.uk/news/articles...isited-israel/

The proper use of "plethora" is sometimes a useful way of describing excess numbers.....

Jack
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 16:23
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by sharpend View Post
Ridiculous. I remember when Sqn Ldrs were squadron commanders and Flt Lts flight commanders.
Well, some of them were ... and some weren’t.

WW2 heavy bomber sqns had wg cdrs, did they not? And Air Cdres commanded their clutch of Base airfields (main plus 1-2 satellites). Post WW2, most front line FJ, and certainly V-Force, sqns had wg cdrs almost from startex. Presumably based on their sqns’ importance in the Defence constellation? At Tengah, wg cdrs ran the Javelin//Lightning sqns, but sqn ldrs ran the Hunter/Canberra sqns.

No doubt someone will explain why VC-10 captains needed A/sqn ldr rank, but that’s a separate handbagging topic! 😎
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 17:03
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On the face of it, it might seem that there are too many VSOs for the size of the air force, ditto other services but there are some good reasons for this apparent abundance. Some of the reasons have been touched on already.

There is the obvious one that you need 25X in order that 35 years later 1X pops out the top. There is an international equivalence to be considered and hence an apparent over promotion. The complexity of the modern services requires appropriate remuneration and the only way seen to do this is by advancing rank (it might be that some people could be paid a premium without promotion – a sort of Branch Officer/specialist setup for higher ups). We still seem to have a pyramid of 3 times A reports to 1 times B but then 3 times B report to 1 times C etc.

In about 1994 there was a study undertaken to consider ranks, rank skipping and one or two other things, including doing away with some ranks entirely but as long as those most likely to be affected are probably the same people who will decide the study’s outcome, it won’t happen. The only outcome of the 1994 study was that Marshals of the RAF wouldn’t normally feature!

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Old 20th Mar 2021, 18:10
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by sharpend View Post
Ridiculous. I remember when Sqn Ldrs were squadron commanders and Flt Lts flight commanders.
Bomber squadrons were commanded by wing commanders from as early as January 1925 due to the larger number of aircrew and technicians required to fly and maintain these larger and more complex machines. Fighter squadrons got there in the 1950s and 1960s as the complexity of their aircraft increased. Meanwhile groups have been commanded by AVMs since at least the 1940s. You either have a long memory, or are thinking of training squadrons...
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 18:11
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Didn't Parkinson's say

" Superiors generate subordinates"
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 18:15
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You either have a long memory, or are thinking of training squadrons...
Not that long ago. 103, 110 and 230 Squadron had Sqn Ldr commanders until the 1970s.
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 18:30
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No doubt someone will explain why VC-10 captains needed A/sqn ldr rank, but that’s a separate handbagging topic

"The ring of confidence "

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Old 20th Mar 2021, 19:05
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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I suspect that it would help their confidence when dealing with real VC10 Captains such as BOAC Captains down route.
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 19:22
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Far East Driver is correct and then again 22 Sqn was the largest (in aircraft terms) and was also commanded by a sqn ldr.

The RAF (until about 1969) had General and Supplementary Lists, several types of direct entry aircrew commissions and Branch officers. The General List (eg Cranwell grads) were those on full career terms and the Supplementary List contained the 'also rans'. It was possible to transfer from supplementary to general (I did it about a year before it was abolished - but then I took my 'B' and 'C' exams the year they were binned and so was trebly f**^ed).

I do believe that there is a place for those who simply want to fly or whatever and those who genuinely aspire to carve a successful career and as long as the latter realise that : a. they are favoured and b. don't think they are God's gift and try to lord it over others, things can work. There used to be a retired AVM who resided at Cranwell and his job was to read Forms 1369 (confidential reports) and pick out 'high flyers' or put the black spot on the no hopers.

Of interest, there were a significant number of Cranwell graduates who, having been promoted to sqn ldr en masse, didn't get any further.

Perhaps somebody will resurrect the 'green shield stamp' sqn ldrs - HEY HO!!!!

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Old 20th Mar 2021, 19:23
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As an archetypal Old Cold Warrior I accept that things have changed. The Air Force is much smaller but strives to be better and more effective. It seems to achieve this but I do worry that it retains sufficient mass. The overburden of administration and legislation however has certainly not decreased in proportion to the force size, if anything the opposite has occurred. I recently read:

“The Changing of the Guard - the British Army Since 9/11” by Simon Akam.

Whilst one might not agree with all Akam writes; and he refers specifically to the army; there is much in his book that at the least should provoke thought. I am sure that the other two services have similar traits. At the core of Akam’s concerns, is that the army still lacks accountability and tends to reward failure. I am sure it has raised blood pressure in places, but I am equally sure that some aspects will ring true to most who have served in any of the services.

On a lighter and mischievous note, I should enjoy asking one of the myriad Diversity and Inclusion Zampol managers “....and what is your war role?”

YS
😇
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 23:17
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Not that long ago. 103, 110 and 230 Squadron had Sqn Ldr commanders until the 1970s.
OC 28 Sqn was a Sqn Ldr at the point of the Sqn’s disbandment in 97 when we handed HK back, becoming a Wg Cdr’s post only in 2001 when it reformed at Benson.
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Old 20th Mar 2021, 23:44
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This is a regular argument that appears on this website every now and then. And yet, those who trot out the ‘more Air Marshals than Sqns’ line never seem able to answer the challenge below.

if there are so many excess senior officers, name 5 air rank posts that you would disestablish today. Should be easy, shouldn’t it?

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Old 21st Mar 2021, 04:58
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Originally Posted by Fareastdriver View Post
Not that long ago. 103, 110 and 230 Squadron had Sqn Ldr commanders until the 1970s.
So just 50 years or thereabouts. So very soon that will be nearer to the inception of the RAF than the current day. 🤣
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 10:10
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Originally Posted by Red Line Entry View Post
This is a regular argument that appears on this website every now and then. And yet, those who trot out the ‘more Air Marshals than Sqns’ line never seem able to answer the challenge below.

if there are so many excess senior officers, name 5 air rank posts that you would disestablish today. Should be easy, shouldn’t it?
1* Force Commanders - let the Groups manage their assets
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 12:39
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Interesting debate. Stuff and Bob Viking have it spot on - the current duty holder hierarchy requires each level of risk (specifically Risk to Life, although wider functional safety risk is salient) to be owned by those with the authority and resources to effectively manage that risk. As you may imagine, the higher levels of risk require owners with more levers to pull, hence more Group Captains these days. Most I have met performing these roles are extremely switched on and often hampered by budget.

RA1210 illustrates the post Haddon-Cave SRM responsibilities: https://www.gov.uk/government/public...k-risk-to-life

Obviously the realities are much more complicated and nuanced to warrant an exhaustive description of here but those are the bare bones of it.
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 12:50
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Two facts I regularly throw into these threads, so I apologise in advance to those I've bored with them before!

1. The RAF I joined had about 150 000 personnel, about 7 Commands/Air Forces and Lord knows how many aircraft. And was run by a 4-star CAS. Now the RAF numbers in the low 30 000s, has one Command, not many aircraft and .... er .... is run by a 4-star CAS!

2. The Met Police has more people in uniform (about 35 000) and has a total of 11 ranks (from Constable to Commissioner), which is 2 or 3 more than most forces. The RAF has about 18 (not quite sure where we are with Tech ranks and Rockape L/Cpls).

Discuss........
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 14:30
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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teeteringhead, IIRC there was anout a dozen ...

Bomber, Fighter, Coastal, Transport, Flying Training, Tech Training, Signals, Maintenance ...
RAF Germany, Far East AF, Near East AF, AF Middle East ...

... and I’m sure I’ve missed one!

Last edited by MPN11; 22nd Mar 2021 at 11:38. Reason: Adding Maint ... thanks TTN!
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 16:04
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
2. The Met Police has more people in uniform (about 35 000) and has a total of 11 ranks (from Constable to Commissioner), which is 2 or 3 more than most forces. The RAF has about 18 (not quite sure where we are with Tech ranks and Rockape L/Cpls).

Discuss........
One is police force that has responsibly for the majority of just one city and one is a military force with responsibilities across the globe that can face armed conflict in the most hostile of environments.

Or how about Lincolnshire police - with an annual budget that could not run just one of the squadrons at Waddington yet has a Chief Constable that is salaried around £165k.

Completely meaningless stats (both yours and mine) and utterly superfluous when we have have a parsimonious Treasury-led pay review process for the Armed Forces that does include job-weighting and civilian equivalents in its terms of reference.
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Old 21st Mar 2021, 16:47
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Only £100,000 p/a for a Chief Inspector of Police here in our peaceful little Island, with a population of about 110,000. 😎

https://www.gov.je/SiteCollectionDoc...y%20scales.pdf
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