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Sufficiently Grown Up?

Worcester

Newbie
Interesting to note how the RNR always shoots itself in the foot. Maybe we should run with what was being muted at the MOD a few years ago. Keep the professional Aviators/Mariners/Medics and ex RN, bin the rest. It will get rid of the arguments of whether any reservist is capable of taking on Senior rank. Of course we do not want this and there have been a lot of arguments put forward against it. Talking to Senior Regular officers, they have been impressed by the Reserve and those officers at SO1 level who have been able to stand their ground with their equals and peers. Promotion within the reserve has changed and is no longer based on whether you are a good egg for the unit or the Reserve. Your RN functional employer is having more say. Within the three specs above it is the Regular 1* Functional employer and his COS, who endorses any recommendation for promotion to SO2 or SO1. It is your insert slip from your exercises that now carries the weight, plus also your OJAR from your mobilsation. Are we now saying that the assessment of Regular 1*'s and his staff are not good enough, as they are basing their assessment on the person being capable of filling an SO1 position and weighing up against regular competition for the rank. If that is what we are saying then certainly one 2SL when he was an OF5 was under the wrong impression. Re the number of SO1's. There are only really three specs that have a requirements for SO1's and they have been mentioned above. Their relevant 1*'s are adamant that they are as substansive rank. At present none of the SO1's are CO's of units. Therefore we now have a conflict between what some on this forum want and what the regular service want. Are we to deny any JO the right to progress through the ranks to the highest level, if he or she has the professional ability to do so? There are quite a few that have been promoted to SO1 due to their performance during their mobilised time, where work thrown at them was at the level expected of an SO2/SO1.
 

dunkers

War Hero
Worcester said:
Interesting to note how the RNR always shoots itself in the foot.
We're not here for our own self-interest! We are here to be useful. Your phrase "shooting itself in the foot" implies that the RNR is, or ought to be, looking out for its own interests for its own sake. This shouldn't be. If any RNR activity becomes surplus to requirements then it should rightly be cut out.

Are we to deny any JO the right to progress through the ranks to the highest level, if he or she has the professional ability to do so?
Yes, absolutely. If the Service does not NEED someone to be promoted then of course he (she) shouldn't be. Again we are here for the benefit of the Service and not our own.
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
wysiwyg said:
There may be a requirement for RNR Cdrs at battlestaff level where the reservist has the specialist knowledge which the regulars do not.

and what knowledge would that be?
 
I don't quite follow McGrew's logic. It would take 26 years of annual ORT to get 1 year (i.e 52 weeks) of RN experience. What is the alternative to the present system? Where is his evidence that people are 'grossly over-promoted'?
 

dunkers

War Hero
I'm surprised at that comment Davy. The answer is that the RNR can't match the level of regular experience (I hate the contrasting terms "RN" and "RNR", are we not one navy?). Therefore, don't try to.

The evidence that people are over-promoted is that they achieve in a number of weeks what normally takes several years (a number of weeks of intense activity spread out over a similar number of years as a regular's training and experience).

The alternative? Acceptance in reservist T&C's of service that promotion is capped at a certain level.
 

McGrew

Midshipman
davy_longshanks said:
I don't quite follow McGrew's logic. It would take 26 years of annual ORT to get 1 year (i.e 52 weeks) of RN experience. What is the alternative to the present system? Where is his evidence that people are 'grossly over-promoted'?

What I am saying is that there are plenty of Cdrs in the RNR who have made the grade over a period of say twenty years by completing course after course after exercise after course. There are plenty of examples in the RNR where a twenty year career has been made in this way with a few good egg reports from doing all the jobs in the unit. I do not need to name names since I am sure that we all know a person that fits this criteria. This is the person that might get mobilised and end up doing a gash job giving the RNR a bad name. How can this person be compared to the RN Cdr who, as already highlighted has significant experience in all aspects naval over a similar period of time that makes him better equipped. I make two concessions to this, firstly the reservist’s experience is more intense in that two weeks in the RNR is better value than two weeks in the RN since the full timer has plenty of leave, admin and time where he is not advancing himself at the same rate. However the difference is not such that a year in the RNR equates to a year in the RN (by a very long way). The other concession is that in some cases the RNR officer may be better raw material and hence can perform certain tasks better than the RN equivalent. It is easy to find a specialism where the civvie skills are better and a case in point may be the area of public relations and all things luvvie where these skills can be brought to bear and the RNR outscores the full time equivalent every time. Another area is the use of merchant navy officers in STUFT where they have much more experience in the nautical arena than the RN equivalent.
Where my drip is that everyone has gone rank mad – having checked I believe that the last count was actually 87 commanders although I am not certain that this needs to be seen in the context of the trained strength of the RNR being about 2,000 odd. (There are also in excess of 350 Lt Cdrs but only 250 Lts).
If you are a good luvvie does it matter whether you are a Cdr or a Lt. If you know your onions then you will garner the respect of those that you are providing a service to. Pity the [RN] fool that does not get this, in civvie street respect comes from skills, experience and your bearing. The same is true in the RN, the higher you are (whether by rank or perception) the further you fall. And given the compensatory remuneration that exists for mobilisation it matters not one jot whether you are an AB or a Cdr.

Rant over.
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
McGrew said:
the reservist’s experience is more intense in that two weeks in the RNR is better value than two weeks in the RN since the full timer has plenty of leave, admin and time where he is not advancing himself at the same rate. .

Can I just stop you there. Now please think!

But no, you dribble on "in some cases the RNR officer may be better raw material and hence can perform certain tasks better than the RN equivalent".

mm, yes, really!

And, "it is easy to find a specialism where the civvie skills are better and a case in point may be the area of public relations and all things luvvie where these skills can be brought to bear and the RNR outscores the full time equivalent every time."

Yes we like the self publicists who manage to get their own companies work! And in the meantime have managed to train enough PR staff who oddly manage to do the job okay!
 

wave_dodger

MIA
Book Reviewer
And even in the INT world it is all changing as the RN finally realises what its not been doing(right) and stumbles towards a 30% solution.

Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-RNR, but I want a focussed RNR.

Problem is the RN has to know what it needs and wants!
 

dunkers

War Hero
I think the current promotion system harks back to the days when the RNR was a mass reserve to be called out when the red hordes were crossing the Rhine, heading for Blackpool.
(swings the lamp)
In time of another world war breaking out, everyone would get the brown envelope through the door and be required to go. That kind of wartime situation is no longer likely in the near future (and if it is, we're truly fcuked, but that's another discussion altogether).

However, now, reservists are frequently being called out to fulfill regular duties and consequently are being expected to perform with the same high standards. The "system" is slowly evolving to account for this, albeit slowly.

The RNR is no longer a little fringe empire of the RN being kept on the back burner for a rainy day. Waterfront manning organisations are starting to make use of the manpower it can provide; orbats for operations actively state if a role may be fulfilled by a full- or part-timer. This shows that the days of us being a Cruel Sea-type apocalyptical organisation, there only to put minds at rest that we had some kind of reserve backup, are dead and gone. And so why do we still have people hankering for promotions for the sake of having those ranks "just in case" they are ever suddenly needed?

I can only imagine they are due for retirement fairly soon..!

The current RNR structure seems to be an overbearingly complicated way of providing what it really needs to provide. FTRS and Royal Fleet Reserve (anyone ever met one of those?), with personnel controlled directly by Fleet or whomever, perhaps a more efficient and directed solution. Maybe that will happen when the budget is cut so much that the RNR is entirely disbanded and the reservist requirement is reconstituted from scratch...
 

Purple_twiglet

War Hero
Moderator
Some od the reasons for promotion dated back to NATO and the Cold War too - I recall doing some work at CINCEASTLANT a few years ago to shut down some manning plans that were no longer relevant pertaining to mobilisation in another country. For that one section alone, we had requirements for multiple RNR captains and Cdrs. These plans are long dead, but I wonder if the system still promotes to fill them?
 

McGrew

Midshipman
wave_dodger said:
McGrew said:
the reservist’s experience is more intense in that two weeks in the RNR is better value than two weeks in the RN since the full timer has plenty of leave, admin and time where he is not advancing himself at the same rate. .

Can I just stop you there. Now please think!

But no, you dribble on "in some cases the RNR officer may be better raw material and hence can perform certain tasks better than the RN equivalent".

mm, yes, really!

And, "it is easy to find a specialism where the civvie skills are better and a case in point may be the area of public relations and all things luvvie where these skills can be brought to bear and the RNR outscores the full time equivalent every time."

Yes we like the self publicists who manage to get their own companies work! And in the meantime have managed to train enough PR staff who oddly manage to do the job okay!

Perhaps you would allow me to add a little more to clarify what I was saying.

I was suggesting that the two weeks role training in the RNR is normally quite intense and since this is the typical annual activity then it is possibly more value than the typical two weeks of the full timer which includes such things as leave, admin and generally doing the job. The point was not to denigrate the full timer’s experience since I go on to say that a year for the full timer massively outweighs the two weeks annual training completed by the reservist. Easy to find examples such as BRNC (two weeks versus two terms), Fleet time (almost a year versus two weeks), warfare courses (? weeks ? versus PWO course) etc. etc.

However my point on the reservist being better raw material is extremely clumsily worded and I concede to your point. What I am perhaps trying to say is that there is plenty that the reservist may have over and above the full timer which will mostly be drawn from his civilian experiences. Now this is heavily caveated since there are exceptions to every rule but please allow me to paint an example:

The reservist may have accrued skills in the workplace that can be significantly utilised by the RN. Now I a trying to avoid the obvious tangible skills where there is probably no argument whatsoever and I include medical, linguistic, vicar, etc. and maybe even the media operatives. However what I am trying to say is that there could be the officer out there who may be holding a junior rank who has the analytical skills, people skills, and general life experience far in excess of what might be expected of him at the same level in the full time RN. I am sure that we can all think of the newly promoted subbie who is running his own business or holding down a senior management role, quite clearly this is ahead of his RN counterpart at the same level (save for the obvious military skills). Where he scores is in a role which does not necessarily call upon specific skills (e.g. OOW) but on one that draws upon the less tangible skills which can be brought to bear to complete a different task.

Now I am certain that that does not necessarily read as well as I would hope, however knocking out a response on the mobile is harder than I thought!
 

AntC

Lantern Swinger
McGrew said:
wave_dodger said:
McGrew said:
the reservist’s experience is more intense in that two weeks in the RNR is better value than two weeks in the RN since the full timer has plenty of leave, admin and time where he is not advancing himself at the same rate. .

Can I just stop you there. Now please think!

But no, you dribble on "in some cases the RNR officer may be better raw material and hence can perform certain tasks better than the RN equivalent".

mm, yes, really!

And, "it is easy to find a specialism where the civvie skills are better and a case in point may be the area of public relations and all things luvvie where these skills can be brought to bear and the RNR outscores the full time equivalent every time."

Yes we like the self publicists who manage to get their own companies work! And in the meantime have managed to train enough PR staff who oddly manage to do the job okay!

Perhaps you would allow me to add a little more to clarify what I was saying.

I was suggesting that the two weeks role training in the RNR is normally quite intense and since this is the typical annual activity then it is possibly more value than the typical two weeks of the full timer which includes such things as leave, admin and generally doing the job. The point was not to denigrate the full timer’s experience since I go on to say that a year for the full timer massively outweighs the two weeks annual training completed by the reservist. Easy to find examples such as BRNC (two weeks versus two terms), Fleet time (almost a year versus two weeks), warfare courses (? weeks ? versus PWO course) etc. etc.

However my point on the reservist being better raw material is extremely clumsily worded and I concede to your point. What I am perhaps trying to say is that there is plenty that the reservist may have over and above the full timer which will mostly be drawn from his civilian experiences. Now this is heavily caveated since there are exceptions to every rule but please allow me to paint an example:

The reservist may have accrued skills in the workplace that can be significantly utilised by the RN. Now I a trying to avoid the obvious tangible skills where there is probably no argument whatsoever and I include medical, linguistic, vicar, etc. and maybe even the media operatives. However what I am trying to say is that there could be the officer out there who may be holding a junior rank who has the analytical skills, people skills, and general life experience far in excess of what might be expected of him at the same level in the full time RN. I am sure that we can all think of the newly promoted subbie who is running his own business or holding down a senior management role, quite clearly this is ahead of his RN counterpart at the same level (save for the obvious military skills). Where he scores is in a role which does not necessarily call upon specific skills (e.g. OOW) but on one that draws upon the less tangible skills which can be brought to bear to complete a different task.

Now I am certain that that does not necessarily read as well as I would hope, however knocking out a response on the mobile is harder than I thought!
Makes sense to me. I observe several fair points.
 

Worcester

Newbie
PT. The RNR no longer promotes to man up to the old Cold war days. The regular service have basically told the MR to run it's own personnel side, as they do not have the manpower to do it, hence RNPT(R) was formed. We have two sides to the MR. Those there to run the untrained strength and to get them onto the trained strength and those to organise the trained strength training, responsible totaly to their functional employer. Both sides are now heavily integrated with their regular counterparts. Senior officers are required in both parts, namely because if you do not carry the rank, no one is going to listen. It's a case of we have heard what you say, but as you are not of the correct rank for this meeting we will shove it to one side, because you haven't bothered to represent at the correct level (Yes this does go on). The other problem the reseve has, is the Regular service cannot make up it's mind what it wants us to do. The spec SO1's areat present relooking at their manning plots with their functionally employers, to find out what rank/rates and positions weactually require. They are also working with the DACOS's in Command building to sort this out. There lies the problem the DACOS's want the MR to do everything and backfill as required which now gives us an even bigger headache. They are under the impression, the MR have been trained to cover most eventualities and positions and where required extra training can be given. All major staff course are now open to selected officers to bring reservists up to speed for the senior positions.
 

mandama

Newbie
Interesting how this thread has developed. There seem to be two main schools of thought - one suggests that the RNR should be limited to tasks within its trained capacity, with the caveat that due to training limitations (time and money) these will, of necessity, be relatively low level tasks, whilst the other suggests that the RNR should be composed mainly of ex-Fleet personnel (in whom the training investment has already been made) which would enable the RNR to exist as a direst backfill to the RN in any role at any rank and rate...

Now, and I standby for the inevitable hammering I am about to take, lets consider training issues as they present for the RN (and I will limit myself to Officers). Training has, traditionally, been front loaded. The BRNC commissioning course, CFT and Fleetboard represent a lot of professional training loaded at the beginning of the Officer's career (about 2.5 years worth in fact). There are very good reasons for this. Roughly speaking, there is one term at BRNC to convert the civilian to the military way of doing things (+ leadership skills), there is one term to provide the base level of professional knowledge to act as a JO and one term to provide the wider management and "polish" expected of someone who will be representing UK PLC as and when they interact with the big wide world out there. CFT provides the LEGAL seatime required to obtain the STC95 watchkeeping certificate + practical experience at sea, working in what is for most people a completely alien environment when they first meet it. The Fleetboard is a check that the individual has completed this training regieme and is competent to operate as a JO.

If the requirement for RNR officers was identical, the training regieme would also have to be identical...say 33 weeks academic training and 12 months fleet time. I'm sure you see the problem - unless (like the US) you are willing to sponsor people through something like the ROTC programme then allow them to serve for a very short period at sea (3 years) it is impossible (ie UNECONOMIC) to even consider this type of training. For many years the RNR followed the system set up during the Second World War (I would strongly recommend the book "In Which They Served") which identified that BASIC officer training required about 18 weeks training - which could be spread out depending on the skill set desired. Working on the rule of thumb 4 weeks @ sea (inc weekends) and 2 weeks ashore it required 3 years to gain your Sub Lt. Similarly, it took 7 years (roughly) to Lt and a further 5 years (roughly) to Lt Cdr. Given a "career" of 16 years it can be seen that the training system was designed to provide mainly Lts with a smattering of Lt Cdrs.

The night of the long knives put paid to this system (which had worked reasonably well); the RNR became a niche service (with fairly ill defined training requirements) and problematic career structures. The numbers referred to in earlier posts, 87 Cdrs, 350 Lt Cdrs and 250 Lts are largely a legacy of the downsizing in 1994. Similarly, the current training regieme of 2 weeks (course/exercise) per year + specialisation training of about 2 weeks per year is a legacy of the financial restrictions placed on the RNR and the LEGAL decision that since it was impossible to fulfil the requirements of STC95 (under the version signed up to by the UK), there was NO WAY RNR officers (other than List 1) would ever fulfil posts requiring BWC etc.

One might lament the loss of core seagoing skills, but the RN made the decision that RNR officers could get by with the training they get - because in general, until fairly recently, they fill posts with no need for detailed knowledge of operating pussers war canoes...

In terms of rank - it really is irrelevant whether an RNR Cdr has the same "experience" as his/her RN counterpart UNLESS they are in an active command appointment at sea! Most RN SO1s fulfil staff jobs, and unless these are specialist (engineering/logistics) or operational biased, they are simply middle management roles which happen to be filled by officers in uniform. They require good staff skills and a degree of military knowledge. Most RNR personnel at SO1 rank are probably quite capable of filling these roles at FTRS/mobilisation as, based on their age, they are probably filling similar roles in their civilian employment! As has been pointed out, RNR SOs can attend the regular advanced staff course (if they are willing to enter into an FTRS contract to amortise the cost of the course. This is a very good management course (with a military bias) - IT IS NOT A "HOW TO FIGHT YOUR SHIP" COURSE. It recognises that SO1s will, on the whole, fulfil generic management appointments within the MoD.

Now, given the current desire to "change use" of personnel to get a greater usage out of the RNR can we change the training regieme to improve the skill set? The answer is, of course, yes - providing we are willing to invest in it. I would, personnally, like to see the training more biased towards JOs, with the old 4+2 system reinstated for A/Sub Lts and Lts (probably financed by a reduction in the training for Lt Cdrs and above). It would enable the RNR to grow limited seatime skills - but only if that is what the RN wants!

Just before I get off the soapbox, RFR...there is the thorny question of how do you use the RFR. This is a POLITICAL question - not one for the military manning system. How many of the ex-matlots reading this would be "happy" to be pulled back from their civilian job at zero notice for as long as the system needed them? The reason that the RNR is used instead is that the civilians have "volunteered" to accept that requirement (under the RFA1996). RFR recall requires the equivalent of the old Red Hordes coming...it would be a very brave set of politicians who enact the same type of regular recall requirement as the US operates (for example). We effectively shut down our ability to do this in 1958.

I apologise for the rant - I spent most of my military career as a Schoolie and have a relatively short fuse when training and the RNR are mentioned.

WE used to have, pinned in the office, the following statement which is well worth remembering:

"If you think training is expensive, try ignorance!"

Rant over - now retiring to the citadel to await the inevitable.
 

bipod64

Midshipman
Oh dear. Dont things get complicated in such discussions. That is why is better to keep things simple.

Intense 2 weeks training does not, and will never replace regular and thorough training. RNR personnel experience too much skill fade to take onboard and retain the complexities of technical specialisms. It is human nature and no one is going to change it, other than more training and more deployments for reservists. FLEET are not going to be inclined to use staff with faded skills. Simple. I am not being dismissive, but realistic. Someone on here mentioned promotion because a person has been in so many years and ought to qualify. Bo**ocks come to mind. If we are supposed to be one Navy, I believe it is only if a Reservist can match the skills and ability of a Regular are they to be considered for promotion. And with the reductions in RNR training budgets and natural skill fade, that parity is unlikely at any rank or rate higher than Lt or PO. Simple. Realistic.

From my experience, of both the RNR and the RN, regular higher ranks and rates run rings around the reservist when it comes to specialisation skills, every time. How can it be otherwise, when the regular has spent months on courses and developed those skills over years with operational and exercise experience? Where the reservist betters the regular, I have found, is in their determination to succeed in the task they have been assigned and the ability to think outside the box to produce innovative solutions to problems in hand. The combination of the two makes a great product.

I am all for the RNR, but it is vital best use of everybodies time, effort and resources is made to achieve realistic goals for the good of the service, not the individual.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
There is little that hasn't already been said, but I would throw this into the general pile: in a few years one would expect that anyone who is up for promotion to Cdr will have done at least one 12-month operational deployment in their specialisation. So we are not just talking about 2 weeks times no of years.

The problem with delaying promotion to Lt is that it is currently linked to being on the trained strength - stretch it much beyond 3-4 years and add time spent on the lower deck and many people will have left/retired before they are deployable. The TA can deploy people as subalterns because it is quick to get people on the trained strength - it has to, because the average TA career is IIRC 3 years.

Sure, in an ideal world people would get more initial training, and there is a lot of skill fade, but remember that pre-deployment training is up to 4-6 months for many jobs.
 

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