Amalgamation of Cadet Forces

Has the time come to amalgamate the ATC/ACF/SCC into one force as per the CCF… discuss.



No… would be good to see some views

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So nationwide CCF?

My unit works well as a CCF, but this could be more down to the staff team (we are all external volunteers, not teachers) than CoC. Milage may vary.

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God No!!!

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Reduction in number of facilities required therefore costs reduced and potentially far better maintenance by RFCA and operating costs, one CoC with a rotating commandant as happens with JHC or even down to RAF Squadrons (5 Squadron RAF previously 360 Squadron as well, joint service medical facilities). Cadets able to access different experiences easier and in these time possible reduction in costs which can be ploughed back into the organisation. By the overall cost reduction a better experience maybe obtained for the cadets.

Present ACF units are usually on far more secure premesis in AR centres, one stand alone ATC unit I know was recently broken into and two minibuses stolen, fortunately recovered by the police.


Definite and obvious cost savings.

No ‘model’ or tradition to follow, lack of personal train set / pension gravy train for civil servants.

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Considering the Royal Air Force was a shotgun marriage between the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, and adopted traditions from both of them. Royal Air Force officers initially held comissions in both the RAF and RN so that they could fly from aircraft carriers, until the Fleet Air Arm was formed. Today F35s will fly from the new carriers just as has happened in recent times. Harriers from the Invincuble class.

In the words of an ex-Commandant of RAFC Cranwell when he was a more junior officer, ‘If I’d wanted to go to sea I’d have joined the Navy’ he went to sea with the RN.

Or in the words of a Naval Officer at a dining in night when the PMC stated ‘it’s a tradition in the RAF for sherry to be drunk pre dinner’. The Naval Officer reputedly stated that ‘The Royal Air Force is not old enough to have traditions just habits and bad ones at that’.

This type of thread kicked off years ago; everyone turning into a ‘purple’ cadet force.

Never happen.

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i think its going to be increasingly difficult to justify having two MOD sponsored cadet forces, both with a ground-based syllabus…

i’d just go all in and have one ‘Joint Cadet Force’ without buggering around with RAF and Army sections, with the RAF and Army providing the specialist syllabuses. having two lots of accommodation costs, often within walking distance of each other, two training streams, two admin streams, two supply streams - all while contuinually cutting funding - is just stupid.

the cadets, broadly, don’t care about service identity - they want something that isn’t school, that gets them out of the house, thats fun, offers experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, and, err… thats it. the number of kids who would otherwise join either the ACF or the ATC but who wouldn’t join a JCF that had a good mix of RAF and Army themed opportunities is vanishingly small.

before anyone gets too sniffy about how wonderful the ATC is and how superior its ‘offer’ is to the ACF, i’d ask you pull out a roadmap and open the Wales page - the ATC has seven units between the North Wales coast and Merthyr Tydfill. there are kids who live in towns in Mid-Wales that are an hours fast drive from an ATC Sqn. the ACF by contrast has three times that number, some in villages that have no bus service and barely have a school.

when the nearest ATC unit is 40 miles away, how well do you think the ACO serves those kids?


The ATC’s USP is flying and they are not providing that as such in many areas. People like Teflon state that trying to persuade cadets to join is hard when the USP is missing.

Pfft :joy:

I was an ATC cadet from 13 and a half to 20 and am now a CCF (RAF) Section Officer as an adult - and let me tell you the opportunities that I have seen offered to my cadets through Purple training made my inner child very jealous.

Don’t knock the idea until you have seen it in action.


With the push towards ‘super squadrons’ and the cost savings in the long term and a better experience for the cadets, I feel it should be re-visited again.

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Is that indicative of your particular units, though, or of the national trend?

The unit I’m on now as staff does far and away more - and varied - activity than unit I was on as a cadet, they’re both ATC sqns.

Canada tried amalgamation of their Military with just one uniform and different headgear. They have given it up as a bad idea, returned to multiple arms with individual uniforms again.

Looking at the replies, it suggests that CCF would say yes, as they get to see all services and all activities. ATC would say no as they have little or no interaction with the other services.

Also the there are at least two Sea Cadet Organisations, the SCC and the STC. If they can’t combine, what hope is there for the rest of us combining?


The differences in socio-economic backgrounds between the different cadet forces are well established, it goes through everything from educational attainment, commissioning rates, university entrance, conviction rates and even life expectancy - however that should not forbid looking into a merger, not least because the ACF would really benefit from exposure to the quality of our Sqn level staff, and the effect on kids with lower levels of educational attainment and expectation of only mixing with other kids with lower levels of educational attainment and expectation is well documented. The ATC on the other hand could well benefit from the Coy and Bn level staff found in the ACF, who - ime - are a significant improvement on Wing and Regional staff in the ATC.

There are potential problems, however that should not blind us to what one organisation with a budget of £80-odd million could achieve compared to two with budgets of £40 million and a great deal of duplication.

I’ve just removed a post that has no place here. Don’t openly criticise other units, ACF or not. Go through the proper channels please.

This was mooted in the Dyer Report but the childish attitude from HQAC as they had more to lose, was lamentable. I would see HQAC’s paid employees and the RAF as being the stumbling block, given how much they have to lose.

The problems we have now are costs and the justification in terms of having different ‘military’ youth groups which have long lost the notion of preparing youngsters to join up and ‘go to war’ and are now little more than activity clubs with a military leaning. The running of one organisation would cost the same if not less to run than two, which is well established in the business world. We have the potential to offer a broader range activities without going through loads of mindless hoops. Plus there is the huge potential for more staff, which as individual organisations we lack.

It concerns me with the way some ACF cadets and staff act/behave. But this is from those I’ve seen act like this is a mentality that squaddies act like this. However this has only really been the case in my experience, since the ACF lost barrack dress and went into “DPM”. God knows why, this should be the case, but it’s how it appears. Maybe being in DPM as it is by its nature less tidy looking clothing, makes them behave as they do. Although much will come down to the staff and what they instil into the youngsters. But then why anyone would think a move like this would make Air Cadets any different to what they are now, is a mystery. What might happen is that those who find the ATC’s expectations a bit high and join the ACF and similarly with staff, have to stick it out or just hang out on the street corner. We’ve seen youngsters who couldn’t handle the ATC’s expectations, join the ACF and similarly some join from the ACF who have found the childishness not what they expected.
I’m not sure why it is suggested the ACF should attract those from a lower socio-econmic, lower educational and more prone to offending background, unless the view is that the ATC is ‘middle class’ and ACF is ‘working class’. This is nonsense as we both get cadets from the same schools and streets. We have cadets whose friends/neighbours are in the ACF.

We do more varied things than I ever did as a cadet, but that is to try and keep cadets interested.
As cadets we did more or less the same things every night, mainly drill and classifications and hardly anything at the weekend, which if was published as a training programme in the modern world would be heavily criticised. We didn’t have courses and other things run by Wing at the weekend, outside of sports. Imagine that today. But we did shooting at a level that no squadron could do now, full flying and gliding programmes and annual camps that were more than a PGL with lots of external visits, because we had a proper Air Force to support this. Which seemed to keep us all happy. Maybe we were simple souls who didn’t need the things supposedly needed today to entertain teenagers, as we did and were more than able to do things ourselves to keep entertained.


Where I live the ATC is retreating out of the inner city, ACF is still there though.