Do we need RTCs (and satellite units)?

Discussion in 'Royal Naval Reserve (RNR)' started by dubaipusser, Aug 21, 2006.

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  1. The recent strings on the Summer shutdowns at some Units combined with ongoing comments about the quality of drill night training etc beg the obvious question - Do we really need RTCs?

    1. They are expensive (at a time when money is not exactly growing on trees) and only used for a fraction of the week
    2. RNR personnel tend to deploy to the RN as individuals rather than as formed units (unlike the TA for example) and therefore do not 'train together in RTCs'
    3. Whole wedges of time on drill nights are increasingly spent in administering a building
    4. JPA is going to require even more time on 'self administration' cutting even further into the 2 hour slots
    5. To sustain the training the units are going to have to invest in even more PCs and with so much training now 'e-learning viable' the best options could be a 'train at home in the week, travel to Naval Establishments at weekends' regime.

    Arguments FOR the RTCs include

    1. Retention (under the pride in the Ship's Company' consideration but I read regularly on RR about problems of retention so is it really working?)
    2. RN Footprint (but the SCC seem to be constantly held up as the specialists in this area)

    I do not advocate such a dramatic (and probably irreversible) change to the RNR as getting rid of the Units - personally I suspect that it would a decision long regretted if taken - but simply wanted to pose the question.

    Any thoughts?
  2. It would be the last decision taken. No unit = no presence in the area.

    I cannot imagine trying to get people organised for local events, such as guards for ceremonial, without a regional unit. What is needed is better use of a drill night (which I believe will be happening with regionalisation of branch training) and greater use of them.
  3. I wouldn't say we need to get rid of the RTCs as such. Just the useless drill nights. We have one night a week, of 2 hours. At least half an hour is taken up by ceremonial nonsense.

    The RTCs are good meeting places for carrying out necessary training as a group - unfortunately we don't get the training we need. And when we do get some useful training in, someone, somewhere in the management has an axe to grind about what was done, and they try to stop it.

    Too much red tape involved in getting the right training in unit.

    The RAF auxilliary as I understand, do not have drill nights. They just pitch up for training weekends and ORT.
  4. FWIW, I feel the drill nights are important for retention - without wanting to make the RNR sound like a drinking club (the days of which were a very long time ago now) the social element is important in keeping people coming back.

    I also note that I lose contact with what's going on in the unit & the wider RNR when I've missed a run of drill nights; I find that I can also fill an entire drill night with admin without actually trying (in a branch that does no in-unit training).

    Finally, for those of us on shift work, there is a limit to how many weekends we have free (I do 1:4, and I am sure others have it worse), and families etc. have rights to them too - how would we get the days up without the drill nights withoug increasing the number of weekends?

  5. Useful to have as an admin hub and as a regimental style "depot". Utterly irrelevant to meaningful branch training in any other way.
  6. With more and more time being demanded of us at the weekends and the definite improvement of training opportunities within specialisations, and I think a definitive improvement in the RN/RNR relationship, does anyone else here start to find the unit actually just a chore? I am personally more interested in training for and doing the job the RN supposedly wants.

    I therefore find it hard to reconcile the amount of time and emphasis on "in-unit" activities whether it be drill nights or ceremonial duties. After a long day at work and a journey to the unit it doesn't fill me with enthusiasm of going to a place where the IT is worse than your local primary school and hours are wasted on admin. I admit I enjoy the social side but surely that can be arranged around being a member of the RNR without the £13million of outgoing per year on a bunch of buildings and permanent staff to do so.

    At the end of the day the units only provide a source of admin and a venue for socialising/community. I get more out of my branch "community" than the unit as I actually spend more "quality" time with those colleagues in a year than I do at my unit. If admin could be done elsewhere eg TA barracks, JPA, AFCOs it would leave the RTU without much of a purpose. Perhaps then we could use that £13million to cover our training costs instead of constantly waging a war against the budget to get us to be doing what we are meant to be doing!! Here endeth the rant....
  7. I agree regarding the IT - it is a total disgrace.

    However, I can't help feeling that the admin has to be done somewhere/sometime and I spend enough of my 'non-RNR' time sorting stuff out for the RNR/PSIs without having to do all my admin in my own time as well.

    In addition, I have no intention (not least because CINCNAGHOME would go apeshit) of spending weekends at the unit doing PULHHEEMS (unless someone orders me to do it) - quite happy doing them on a drill night though.

  8. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    A couple of thoughts from t'other side of the Pond, in glorious isolation a long way from my RTC (should be safe-ish!).

    When I were a lad I joined a CTC which had one CRS / CCY as permanent staff later asssisted by a PO(R) as an administrator. The unit I joined, although called a CTC (Comms Training Centre) also had a nascent Seaman's branch who did both Seaman Spec & MW. The PSI did little or no instruction, neither did the PSA.

    With the demise of 10MCM and the loss of the sweepers, we went to a common model of RTCs, each with a permanent RNSO, a support manager, a civvy admin officer and numerous PSIs. When a unit had an attached tender, I think the large staff and the RN Lt-Cdr could be justified; now the units are smaller have no ships, yet we have more RN Staff Officers and PSIs than we did in 1993! Why?

    As others have already said, the Reserve Unit is losing its importance in specialisation training; it serves as a focus for a geogaphical area and as an admin base for its personnel. Does each unit still need a Lt-Cdr as an XO? Does it require as many SRs?

    If we're going to regionalise the RNR, why not introduce the concept of a regional RNSO; cut down the number of unit's permanent staff and get rid of the "instructor" part of their title - this should not be seen as devaluing their role in any way their support and co-operation is invaluable, however we need to recognise that their primary role is no longer instruction. Each unit could have say 3 or 4 Permanent Staff, a CPO, PO/LH plus 2 overseen by a Regional Staff of say 1 Lt-Cdr (not a sunset appointment, please!) plus 2 or 3 CPOs in the key specialisations, for example CPO(M), CPO(CIS) / CRS and including a CWTR.

    Ducks and runs for cover.... :)
  9. Interesting concept but haven't the RNR already gone some of the way towards regionalisation? This perhaps better reflects the training requirement for ratings and broadening for officers/SRs. When that happens, the unit will provide what; NE training, admin support(?) and some form of social cohesion. Oh yes and everybody's OJAR/RORRS.

  10. I was in the RNR prior to joining as a regular I completed my "in unit" New Entry training and joined my "Crew" but my regular entry Raleigh date came before I completed RNR Raleigh.

    From what I can remember, the best part of a drill night was the mustering in the bar on completion and spending a couple of hours swilling beer and "ditting on"

    Within my intake we even managed to arrange for an extra (unpaid) drill night for those who lived within easy travelling distance for "NGT" which normally consisted of a little bit of drill and marching around the dockside followed by the beer and dits!!

    If the social element of the RNR is not there anymore (and I'm sure it isn't) then that would possibly be a factor in me not returning to the RNR once I leave the RN

    What was the saying RNR - Best of both worlds!!
  11. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    When I was a JR we had draught beer in the mess and cracking functions; in the SRs mess they sold tins but had draught available for functions which were on the whole very well attended.

    Today messes only sell tins - the wastage on draught is too high; mess functions are abysmally supported and even with opening a function to ex-mess members, it can be difficult to get sufficient numbers. The mess committee tend to be made up of a small core of members who organise the functions, cajole their messmates and then attend to enjoy the fruits of their labours - sadly many people who say they'll attend pull out at the last minute and then wonder why they can't get a refund!

    What's changed in the last 20 years? Lack of public transport, longer journey times on average for a reservist, stricter drink driving have all had an effect; at one unit, the RNSO forbade overnight stays on the grounds of "liability insurance" - this killed weekend training / socials. I think there's been a steady erosion in the social side of the RNR which means today people aren't used to enjoying themselves - what a bunch of sad old bastards we've become!
  12. " agree regarding the IT - it is a total disgrace. "

    It surprises me to hear that the IT is bad, I'm just in the process of re-joining and now have lots of civilian IT skills and experience. Why don't the RNR use skills like this to ensure that their IT is as good as money can buy, and use contacts they have to spend available funds in the best way? Or am I just misunderstanding?
  13. FlagWagger

    FlagWagger Book Reviewer

    First of all, the RNR don't get anywhere near the IT - the day-to-day management is the responsibility of one of the PSIs (usually Comms) while hardware support is external.

    There are several reasons why this is so:

    1. availabilty of support outside drill night hours - (bit obvious really!);
    2. security - the RNR IT is connected to an accredited network; the applications and hardware that can be connected to such a network are controlled by SyOPs - if the RNR were themselves responsible for speccing and configuring systems, there's a significant risk that SyOPs would be breached / ignored (delete as applicable).
    3. Consistency - each RU should have similar facilities available.

    With the introduction of JPA the RTCs are being migrated onto DII which is being run by a consortium known as ATLAS - they're taking over the management of all IT assets and will be responsible for the configuration and security of all applications, user accounts, etc.

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