Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Levers_Aligned, Jul 12, 2007.

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  1. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    TOPMAST is officially a failure, huh? Now they are moving toward a more 'Squadron-Related' manning system. If there's not enough manning, the ships don't sail. Hear that one before, like. Anyone facing the sack for one of the most disasterous gambles on the goodwill of naval personnel since the introduction of the OM? I doubt it. Those presented with the ability to roundly and soundly **** with our lives will simply dream up another sightless scheme which has no future and will either leave people covering three jobs with no leave or have them logging on to submit notice. Which is good, because the rate they are laying ships up and selling them, soon we won't need any sailors.

    Apparently, some branches on a large capital ship are 1 in 2. Another more high-profile vessel has 1 in 6 with their notice in.

    Oh, and the reservists are being integrated more, with their ability to be indistinguishable from regulars.

  2. If you've been in long enough you should know its been going downhill for a long time. I'm sure some deskjockey on more money than us will think up some arse idea that us at the sharp end will have to try and make work.
  3. Slightly off track, but, with people joining up for 4 years then jacking it in, does that effect manning?
  4. Not really, it's pretty apposite to the subject.

    Short answer, yes, slightly longer answer, it depends.

    There are several impacts, but it varies by branch. The main effect is to deplete the pool of promotion candidates, which IMHO has a long term effect on the stability of each branch affected. Other effects are overstretch, greater utilisation in operational jobs and reduced ability to get training in.

    The problem is that it's a vicious circle, it takes a finite time to get people into the service and trained, and you can't recruit straight in at Senior Rate or Senior Officer (Lt Cdr and above) so any problems are with you for a long time.
  5. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    We have recently been treated to a 'brief' to accompany the thin tissue of lies that was the recent Briefing Paper issued by the head-shed. I don't blame the people delivering it - you don't blame the newscasters for the news, do you - but the shoddy veneer of gloss and spin smeared across it is as contemptible as it appears. For people who have racked up a considerable amount of time in uniform, it is nothing short of risible bullshit, and more than the usual stuff that used to funnel out of the places that churn it out. I spoke recently to people within my field up in the Big Blue Cube and they are as resignatory as can be expected. The manning initiatives are broadcast as unmitigated successes, yet are patently anything but, the upward curve in manning strength is a smoke-and-mirrors excerise which alleviates not very much at the sharp end and our propensity to change eveything in a rolling programme of confused mayhem is wrecking the esprit de corps, the sense of ownership and more importantly, our own sense of identity. I do know some senior staff read this site - they'd be ******* stupid not to - but here's a little tip from the middle to be going on with. Stop it now. We have had enough of dickheaded ideas, glossy magazines, lies, spin, sorting out our own devisive pay structure and carrying gaps in badly-resourced, poorly-funded ships. The junior ranks and rates may appear thick and compliant to anything that is rolled into their nest but they will vote with their feet, and the senior rates and officers are doing likewise. You can't fall back on the old myth that the mob was a decent wage which went in regularly any more than you can the fantasy that the Navy took you round the world for free. Civilian life largely negates the X Factor and offers no on-leave-stitch-ups, steam driven dial-up-internet connections to check your financial health, 1 in 2 duties, back to back Gulf patrols and the stresses of keeping fucked ships doing the nation's bidding. It will boil over and spill on the stove if any more heat is applied, and someone needs to turn it down - not in a way that we can apparently think that our comitments are more flexible and easier (because believe it or not, many of us see it as a duty to carry them out to the maximum) but in a way that restores the motivation, commitment and morale to everyone out there on your ships. You're ot helping us do that in any way at all - least of all by asking us ridiculous questions about how well information filters from the top. The best way information filters from the top is in a conduit of leadership, management, connectivity, morale and steady certainty that this is the last ******* change for at least the next year. None of you can convince any of us that this is currently the state of affairs within the thick blue line of management.

    If we don't see stability set within five years, we could be looking at a catastrophic situation. There is no way on this planet that anything can get better from the position we are in.

  6. Levers,

    I think you put it across well-with feeling. After 32 years I am glad I'm away from the spin, everythings ok pc bullshit,corporate pink and fluffy identity. I'm sad but I think we're at the gurgly swirly bit just before we disappear down the stink pipe. I'm not surprised people are voting with their feet. There'll still be someone in Fleet saying it's not really that bad and massaging numbers and percentages. Perhaps they should turn the light off?
  7. Your point is well made and with lots of passion which is representative of how many in blue (and other colours feel) but lets not forget that spin didn't originate within the Services. In order to curry any influence with those in overall control many of our seniors have had to adopt the same style and language. We have moved away from traditional values and deep into the absurd world of business management. We no longer think of ourselves as a fighting force manned by highly trained professionals. We are “assetsâ€, “budgetary expenditure†and “human resourcesâ€. We’re expensive and we cannot dispute that.

    Over the years we have "reviewed", "consolidated", "managed change" and "out-sourced" beyond all reason such that those who control of us financially are almost all civilians, many who have never served and by default do not understand who we are and why we are necessary. They do understand hospitals, schools, roads, CCTV cameras and above all “votesâ€. On top of this we have finally realised that we are terrible self-publicists we haven't managed to improve the situation enough.

    The question is with one hand tied behind our backs and the other desperately hanging onto the rope, what the hell can any of us do about it? Find an answer to that and I suspect you will earn the appreciation of many an Admiral. The problem is that until we conclude the business of Iraq and Afghanistan (and I don’t mean early withdrawal or it will all have been for nothing) we simply will not have the finance to look after our people and ships better and we are likely to continue to lose or break them. Even after these operations end we will need a number of years to put things back in place. It’s either that or more money from the treasury but they have other organisations, who shout a hell of a lot louder than we would ever do, to look out for.

    I’d be really interested to see if anyone out there has an answer. As you say it is entirely likely that some senior staff read this site. Maybe we can give them some realistic tips on how to do it better.

  8. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    I'm well aware that we have morphed into a pseudo plc with business managers at the helm. I'm also aware that our senior officers are fraught with worry regarding the sad demise of our capability and strength. The problem is that these 'mandarins' (for want of a better Daily Mailesque word) sit well out of my swing-arc in an ether of complacency and hard-assed stupidity. There is a solution of course and everyone knows it. One of the main problems leading to where we are today is past compliance with doctrine (for whatever reason) and the inability to play them at their own game. Sure, we compete with large governmental organisations for funding and support. But we lack any workforce grounding - we lack the might of collective agreement and the ability to suspend our labour in protest. Of course, this is unthinkable ... we could no longer support democracy with a striking armed forces but having credible organisations and affiliates to do our fighting for us sin't quite so unthinkable. It is disappointing to now acknowledge that the NDA and BAFF have been the damp squib that everyone predicted, so we are still left at the mercy of, as you say, people who have never set foot on a naval warship.

  9. fwiw that suggestion undermines any pretence at professionalism in service far more than any need for awareness of the commercial realities of our environment.
  10. Too many of the Service's problems stem from an inherent 'Change Culture.' Admittedly, some of those changes are driven by outside pressures: political, social, budgetary, operational and the like. It's often been argued that the Service has little or no control over these outside pressures, other than to 'manage' them, but how many of us have come to the conclusion that unwelcome and unnecessary changes could often have been better resisted with the application of a little backbone?

    On the other hand, have you ever considered how many of the RN's problems stem from an internal management structure that insists on moving it's key personnel every couple of years or so, regardless of what they're involved with at the time? Has there's ever been a military officer who arrived in a new job, realised his/her predecessor had been doing a good job and so just sat back to keep the whole thing ticking over nicely for the duration of the appointment? If so, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I've never met him/her. No, the standard military scenario goes something like this:


    'Well good luck Tim and once again, many thanks for all your hard work on Project X. Your new promotion is well deserved and I suspect you're going to do equally well shaping up Project Y in your next appointment.'

    'Thank you Sir, nice of you to say so. I must say I'm looking forward to the challenge of getting the whole thing back on track.'


    'Hello Henry and welcome to Project X. You've got big shoes to fill you know, but I'm sure that having recently completed the Staff Course you'll bring lots of interesting ideas to the table.'

    'Thank you Sir, it's good to be here. I've had a chance to do some reading and it's clear that Tim's done well, given the constraints of the Project so far, but it's also apparent that the Project stands at a critical point and I've a few ideas gleaned from 1SLs presentation to the Course that I'd like to run by you when you've a few minutes.'

    Having spent most of my adult life in the Service, I've never worked for an equivalent sized Private Company, so I cannot speak with authority about how they do it. That said, I just can't imagine a similar scenario taking place in the private sector. Or then again, maybe it does ......

    'Nice one David. The production forecast for the Company's latest model is very favourable indeed and it's all down to your revision of the entire manufacturing process. The Board are delighted. So much so, that it's been decided to give you a 'broadening' job in marketing.'

    'But Sir, this couldn't come at a worse time. We're about to implement my new manufacturing process. We're talking about a 5 million pound investment and there are bound to be teething problems. Besides, I don't know the first thing about marketing.'

    'Don't worry David, it's all under control. We're bringing in Charles from marketing to implement your manufacturing process and I've every confidence in your ability to read your way into marketing in a few days. In the long run, it will make you a more rounded manager and that's the most important thing as far as this company is concerned!'

    What do you think?
  11. I recall in 2003, we were all saying the same thing, RN never learns huh
  12. Levers_Aligned

    Levers_Aligned War Hero Moderator

    Does it? You can only flog a dead horse so far. As far as conditions of service are concerned, the issue is pretty much sewn up and 'we will get what we are given, Jack'. We have worked off that edict for years, and perversely, it works. But that has always been dealt from the deck of cards held by our lords and masters, themselves veterans of many years service. But now as we morph into some kind of PFI entity, supported by inept, civilian-led agencies and at the mercy of non-military financial controllers, you can slather on as much well-trained, disciplined, uniformed work ethic as you want but all you will end up with is shit, shit and more shit. Does anyone really think that it was the whole brainstorm of matelots, at any level, to swap a crappy old Batch 1 Type 42 for a less than crappy old Batch 3 and expect those transiting from one empire to the other to be delihted at the prospect? It smacks of Powerpoint Politics - in essence 'a great idea', in reality fraught with potholes full of shit which are left conveniently for lower management to fill. None of the initiatives are convincing, less so the recent 'change environment' we seem to be trapped in orbit around. The ethos of matelots has always been, 'if it aint bust, don't **** with it', and save for the financial penalty one has for having 'The Best Armed Forces in the World' (copyright, Blair, Hoon et al) it isn't obvious enough why we are in this state.

  13. Well I have been moved in that sort of way, but I agree it is not that common, but we change people in different ways, for example one team will estimate and bid for a job then it is given to a new team to actually implement, often the new team redesigns the thing and oops all the original estimates are wrong. Industry also is very good a promoting to the point of incompetance, often promotion means managment so good engineers become bad mangers just because it is the only route to promotion, and I have seen some absolute disasters from that. Equally many companies do not train you for the promotion and get pissed of when you fail. The grass is perhaps not always as green as you have been told, just different
  14. I was about to write something largely agreeing with Levers. I can't currently do that sensibly, though, as I've just read a document that has made me surprisingly angry. The particular paragraphs were, and this is UNCLAS:


    With immediate effect Stores System 3 (SS3) is to be regarded as the target base inventory management system and the default system for new equipments.


    ***** is to:

    a. Initiate action to amend the Support Solutions Envelope (SSE) to reflect the requirement that as new equipments are brought into Service the default base inventory system to be utilised will be SS3. Use of CRISP and SCCS will only be supported by the relevant Subject Matter Expert (SME) if it can be demonstrated that SS3 could not provide the required capability within reasonable cost and time constraints.

    For those who don't know, Store System 3 is the Army (called Land in Newmodspeak) supply provisioning accounting system and CRISP is the Naval (called Fleet in Newmodspeak) equivalent, to be found in the Bases and the Maritime (also Newmodspeak) IPTs.

    This is another example of the rot within. The clever system that has been introduced to modernise and, perhaps, improve material support to both sandpits can't cope with stores being held on more than one supply system. The new Policy is in aid of that. In short, the solution to all the problems, largely manufactured by ourselves, is invariably an Army one. If Naval needs don't match it, tough! This aligns neatly with the emphasis on amphibious warfare and the role of the Navy slowly degenerating to no more than a projector and protector of the Army.

    Please excuse me while I go for a calming walk in the drizzle.
  15. The answer to most of the Navy's (and Army and Crabs), problems can be solved with one small word… 'No'

    Unfortunately, that word seems to be deleted from the lexicon as soon as any Officer reaches the exalted position were he can exert an influence.


    '1SL… Trouble in Godknowswhereistan, send a Frigate'

    'No PM, can't do that, I have none to spare'

    What's the PM going to do, sack him?

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