Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by Reservist-Monkey, Feb 16, 2006.

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  1. All this talk of forum titles has got me thinking.

    What is the feeling on the ground about the current list of specialisations. A few thoughts from Monkey.

    1) Command Support - how much do we really need this? I can see a use for the ratings but haven't the days of NCAGS officers sitting in Dubai reaching its end.

    2) MW - come on guys, we have about 3 MCMVs that work and since you can't be properly deployed until you hit, what 1*?

    3) C4ISR - Just how long does it take to sort out a new branch

    4) Logs - Sorry feel asleep trying to think of something to say about them. The RPR, perceived to be the glorious future of the RNR. Is it really any good?

    5) AW - WTF does a non STCW95 officer do in this branch and would it by default become a two tier structure.

    6) GSSR - Actually don't have anything to say other than, if you wanted to wear green... ;)

    OK bored now, over to you!

    Monkey (R)
  2. You almost got a flash! Just because there's a MW officer in every rank from Commodore to SLt doesn't make them bad people. When PMOK specialises MW, world domination will be complete ,and everyone will then get all those fancy deployments that NCS have been hogging for years!

    On a serious note, The RNR needs roles that the RN do not routinely do, that way our value is seen straight away without having to compete with RN counterparts. Actually NCAGS is a perfect example.
  3. You've hit the nail on the head there GCYZ. The RNR, non-List 1 at least, could never hope to have an equivalent level of training for equivalent specs in the regulars. The value of the RNR must be in areas in which it would be uneconomic for the RN to fill in peace-time, many of which may require deep specialist knowledge and experience, gathered over years of training.
  4. That will all change when all the old and bold dating back to the river class are told they have to deploy!

    Once the new blood comes in they will be seriously outnumbered.
  6. Hi Monkey(R)

    I’d be happy to weigh in with my thoughts on two of those issues.

    You used Naval Control and Guidance of Shipping (NCAGS) as an example of Command Support and rather implied that this was no longer a need.

    I would argue that there is a very clear need within the RN for people who understand the merchant navy world and can run Maritime Trade Operations. There are sort of elements NCAGS which hark back to running convoys across the Atlantic but not a great deal, nowadays it’s all about two key areas:

    1. The ongoing need to provide an interface between the Royal Navy – in practice often some kind of command structure over a couple of different national navies - and the merchant marine. Partly this involves interpreting two very different ways of doing things, but there is a much more practical element. Think of it from the point of view of a merchant captain at sea. You find yourself witnessing an act or piracy or terrorist activity. Who do you call? The RN doesn’t have a hotline, but the NCAGS bit of command support can supply the way in to the command structure.

    From the point of the RN, if you are in the ops room trying to run Maritime Interdiction Ops and your radar screen is toppers with contacts – you have to prioritise your operation. If NCAGS has given you a list of merchant shipping in the area which is known and in the system you have a real head start and it enormously increases your chances of chances of success by being able to maximise your resources on those contacts which look most promising.

    I am sure that the guys in the shipping centre in Dubai will be contributing to this forum with their own point of view and can give concrete examples of when they have acted as a way into the two different worlds.

    2. The need to bring lots of sea lift capacity into the system very quickly for operations. The Army has pretty much concentrated on “away fixtures†of late and when it needs to deploy its heavy armour you are talking about a lot of kit. The limited resources available to Defence Logistics can’t cope with anything too large. Taking ships up from trade is a bit of a non-starter nowadays, so the only option is to charter merchant shipping on the open market. So you buy in loads of Ro-Ro capacity, task it to go to Marchwood, load it and then dispatch it to wherever the Army needs its stuff. That’s all done by the DLO and during Telic those guys did a terrific job with really limited resources. However, there is much more to it than that.

    Firstly, once you charter those ships you need to protect them – obviously that entails putting a SPO team of GSSR people on board – but as they make the ships make their way around the world you can do a lot more by ensuring that as they go through choke points, like the Straits of Gibraltar or the Straits of Hormuz, they’ve got some protection from warships. We are not talking convoys here, were are talking about facilitating communications and liaison between chartered shipping and warships which are probably doing stuff in the area anyway.
    Secondly, you need to keep those chartered ships fully informed of what the situation is and what is expected of them and
    Finally, you need to support them. Facilitate their passage to and from where the Army needs its stuff by sorting out bunkers, spares, crew changes, passage through the Suez and so forth.

    All of these elements Protection, Information and Support can be done quite simply by deploying a few NCAGS people around the place on top of the formal command structure: some people at the DLO, some briefing officers in Marchwood and key points abroad, some other people around the world in those key areas where support is most likely to be needed, and a few people floating around the system to keep it all running.

    All this is good common sense, and the argument is ceaselessly made by people within NCAGS (which has some excellent advocates) to the RN. It has to be said that those people in the RN who have seen how well it all works when NCAGS people are involved are real converts. Maritime Trade Ops even has a real financial benefit, chartering ships is a very expensive business; ships cost anything from $25k per day upwards to charter. If NCAGS people can save a day here and there by booking bunker facilities ahead, making smooth crew changes, sorting out spares and getting ships through Suez promptly the savings can be considerable.

    Not only do we really need the NCAGS function of Command Support, it is something of a mystery to me that the RN hasn’t embraced it more fully and isn’t continually asking for more help. It has been a real RNR success story.

    On GSSR, I know what you mean when you say “If you wanted to wear green …†but, the SPO role needs that combination of basic soldiering skills and knowing your way around a merchant ship. Obviously the Royals would be first choice for this, they are a bit overqualified. SPO is really necessary and, again, I don’t know why the RN isn’t getting people away on the Point ships to give teams the practice.

    Incidentally, SPO is one area which is crying out for a really imaginative and thought through training course, with really slick drills and top combat shooting skills. The Army has some excellent simulators for SA 80 nowadays and it would be interesting to see if the software could be rewritten for a marine environment. Engaging an incoming rib doing 50 knots at night from the upper deck would be better than any video game – although to make it more realistic I think that the shoot should start from the prone position in a bunk and before even picking up the weapon candidates would have to run up four ladders in the dark before emerging on to a brightly lit upper deck just to make sure they had mastered breathing control and protecting night vision properly!
  7. Le_jaq - I could not agree more with your comments. I am in the (fortunate?) position knowing people in both the RN and MN and there is often a lot of bad feeling between the two - usually because one doesn't understand what the other one does, or indeed why. NCAGS provides a vital link between the two - if anything we need more of us !

    I can also advise that junior officers in the RN (and RFA) who complete the JWO course at COLLINGWOOD receive an NCAGS lecture as part of the course, so knowledge of our existence is being expanded upon (and not before time!)
  8. le_jaq
    Good post & fully agree with you about NCAGS & GSSR being plus points for the RNR that the RN needs to make more use of.
    I think anyone in the RN who's had dealing with NCAGS (admittedly a v.small minority) would also agree.
    As for SA80 stimulators - apparently naval scenarios already exist. Our GI is trying to get hold of them for our use in our local army barracks.
  9. As is Sub Ops - though our problem is more that skimmers don't understand boats at all...
  10. Assuming we all agree on the concept of filling roles the RN can't readily do. I still need an answer as to why we need MW officers. I'm not convinced that the RN can't manage that if they needed to.
  11. What have MW officers ever done to you? The RN does not have dedicated MW Battlestaff watchkeepers. The RNR provide these both during execise and conflict. Filling this role from the RN would mean taking officers and Senior rates away from thier normal appointments. The structure of an MCM squardron is such that it allows for a core staff during normal day to day operations and is augmented during exercise and conflict. The crux of the matter is the RN have decided they need them. It is a dangerous path to go down making decsions for the functional employer.
  12. OK. Serious point this time ;)

    Where are you going to get MW personnel in the future now that those that served in the MSF (I am old enough to have been on the odd one) are getting on a bit. Surely the depth and breadth of experience that was gained on those vessels can never be gained in the current training strcuture.

    Maybe not a problem for today, but in 10 years time?
  13. Ok, easing to 5.

    Its is a misconception that we need MSF experienced people for MW. There is no longer a need to man up MCMV's. The emphasise is on having a good working knowledge of the caps and lims of MCM to allow effective C2 at the battlestaff level. Essentially Lt's should move across to the MWBS at 5+ years seniority. The training program that is in place will means a Lt ,by the time they are in zone for Lt Cdr, will have more sea experience than any other branch of the RNR. There are currently MWBS officers who have never seen an MSF or a best completed one CTP.

    With regard to ratings, there is still a need for LS and SR's in the MWBS. Although all AB's will enter as GSSR, they can opt to undertake a MW TEM (Targeted Employment Modules). At LH level they can complete a further MW TEM to allow them to deploy as Ops Room Assistants in the MWBS. On promotion to SR they become Ops room Supervisors, responsible for the running of the MWBS ops room. The targeted numbers of GSSR ratings going down this route is about 120.
  14. So MW is now like Sub-Ops. they have some people doing the job who have never been in boats but have learned to understand them. When will the uniformed branch of the Fleet Air Arm Officers Association (The RNR Air Branch) come in to line with the rest of the RNR on that one?
  15. ") Command Support - how much do we really need this? I can see a use for the ratings but haven't the days of NCAGS officers sitting in Dubai reaching its end"

    Clearly someone here didnt get to go to Dubai :)

    Having done it twice (oh yes) I can assure you it is a vital deployment and also having seen how the information gets used, it is of real value. I suggest we're seeing people with big chips whining becuase they're not getting to do something fun rather than accepting that stuff like Dubai makes a big difference.
  16. You have missed the point. MW officers will complete up to 5 years of ORT in an MCMV. This is supplemented by regular Sea weekends in MCMV's. No-one can effectively work in an MWBS without prior sea experience in an MCMV.
  17. Surely the Air Branch is missing from the list?

    Stands by for a lot of abuse directed at the WAAFUs
  18. Aha! I was wondering when the glorious WUs would get mentioned. The mighty Air Branch can be seen as being a model for the rest of the MarRes, as it seems to be the only branch that fulfills 2SL's vision of the RNR being "frontline gap fillers" - at any one time lots of us are in squadrons around the Fleet - personally I think we should have a little "A" in the curl, just like the good old days....
  20. I agree wholeheartedly that the GSSR SPO teams need a "well thought out" training programme, not to mention proper kitting for the job.

    Having recently come into the branch myself as a re-cat with quite a lot of years experience, operationally and otherwise i thought the following would be relevant:

    Firstly the teams should be sent on regular CQB training weekends. I'm not talking about Tipner Range as that is not the correct environment. I'm talking about ships, both merchant and RN, simulators and 'Killing House' type training areas. I realise that a dedicated CQB range exists only at RM Poole, but the guys there from MCT are the best in the business at doing maritime CT, so why not send a few select senior SPO Managers down there to see how they do things and maybe even jack up some training for teams down there with the CQB instructors. I realise that some people will think this is going a bit far, but as we're going to be tasked with protecting multi-million pound ships, wouldn't it be worth investing in training us properly so that it becomes second nature, practiced to a fine art? Knowing a lot of the guys who are on the teams they will embrace the job in a professional manner, so why not back that up with the tools for the job? Thoughts anyone?

    Also, while i'm on the subject, it would be prudent IMHO to look at how we're kitting the teams. There are many practical suggestions that could be made with regard to this and as this is an open forum i'll refrain from listing my personal suggestions on this, but it would be an idea for the WO's to gain the opinions of the guys as to what may be needed to do the job to the best of our ability. There are a lot of people with the knowledge and experience to know what works and what doesn't so why not have a 'suggestion box' system that could be put forward and looked at by the branch seniors. The SPO budget isn't going to be the biggest i'm sure but there are a lot of small things that would make the job more viable. Again any thoughts from the teams?

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