Acting rank for Officer and SNCO running a squadron


Some time ago, our squadron had no uniformed staff for a few reasons. We ran it as CIs with help from the sector commander for signing things off etc.

It wasn’t impossible, however it certainly wasn’t easy.

Thankfully our sqn is in a much better place now.


But why is it preferable? I can guess that under the old model with VR(T) officers, there was some scope to make OCs accountable under service law. Now we hold the same status at SNCOs, there is no difference.


If we actually trained our officers to be competent in management stills (direct leadership, personnel management, relevant admin, communication skills etc.) there would be a case for having an officer in charge of a unit.


I know of a regular staff sargeant beng a troop commander as there wasn’t enough jo’s


I am merely quoting what was said.


In one of the Batteries I served in Afghanistan with we had 6 Troops (Pln sized formations), only two of which had Officers in command. It would be fairly common for SNCO’s to fill roles like the Regimental/Battalion Operations Officer, and for WO’s to command specialist Coy sized formations like Spt Coy and HQ Coy.

The problem the ACO has with staffing isn’t the two stream method, it’s the admin burden making the OC role a part-time job, and the administrative hirarchy expecting OC’s to prioritize that part time job over the one that pays the mortgage, and having a relationship with partners and children, and the very limited training people are given to deal with an incredibly demanding role.

Until you get around the problem that no one in their right mind wants the OC role, trying to sort out retention and recruitment is a waste of time.


Senior NCOs can bring far more to the table in effect than JOs just hatched from Cranwell/Sandhurst/Britannia.


However, in our world, with them being direct entrant SNCOs, there’s really no difference between a new Sgt and a new PO.


These quotes combined are close to the situation at a neighbouring Sqn.
1x officer as OC
1x “new style WO” (promoted through from Sgt)
2x FS
Selection of CIs

The WO was 2IC and much more “Officer” than “NCO till i die” type and when the OC said they were standing down in X months due to bigger and better role at work everyone expected the WO to step up.

Apparently it was suggested he should get a commission given the enevitable path he was on but he like the CI couldnt see the personal benefit.
Despite 10 years service as an NCO, everyones favourite candidate and someone with the skills and compentance for the role - to do what everyone wanted was to get a commission.
A paperwork process to apply
A board to sit
OASC to complete
And then ATF

All to prove what everyone new he was capable and willing to do.
I heard it was “too much bother for a change in cloth [rank slide]” and why there is now a baby officer running the unit, less than 4 years experience of the organisation discounting time ~30 years ago when they were a cadet themselves.

The Squadron is doing ok, but the process doesnt attract the right people…or at least puts off those who could be right


The problems are multi-faceted but I do feel the rank set up creates problems. If the rank set up wasn’t seen to be all important, then there wouldn’t be so much aggro filling OC slots when they arise.

Why can’t the WO mentioned just be the CO, if there are Officers on the squadron so what, the WO has been charged with being the squadron commander and what he says goes. If these officers don’t like it as they like playing the I’m an Officer game, they have two options.

The CO being a job with the same as expectations a real job, is a major problem in the ATC that no one doing the ATC as a full time job is willing to tackle head on and make it not the case. Make the OC job as it was when I started running units and it could become more appealing.


It’s worth noting we do already have a term for OC’s that is not tied to rank: Squadron Commander.

I’m not sure whether it’s just our wing, but I hear it used a lot, and it makes sense. We have squadrons run by Sgt, FS, WO and junior officers.