I just wanted to ask something out of curiosity. With CFAV routes, there is Commissioning and becoming an SNCO:

What are the differences in duties/responsibilities on a squadron when compared with each-other?
What kind of positions in a Wing can each route have available to them?

Many thanks : )

On unit I traditionally saw the SNCOs as trainers and officers as admin.

It’s not that simple these days as many NCOs run units as well as being discip. Conversely when I commissioned I didn’t stop training as though I was still an NCO. My AFS just stopped me taking drill :slight_smile:

As for wing positions, scaling is officially in an ACP but most positions will depend on the person and their experience/qualifications to be in that SME post.

Off the top of my head, the only position that needs to be an officer is Shooting Officer. And even that can be done by someone else if required.

I suppose WWO can only be done by an NCO :stuck_out_tongue:

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Shooting officer can be a WO now too.

Edit to say I know of FS shooting officers but they don’t SPO and have a stand in.


Traditionally, officers plan the doing, NCOs do the doing.

But, in a volunteer world, everybody does everything if they need to.


Only matters when it comes to more senior leadership; some positions such as sector commander, wing training officer and others require a CFC.

Generally not much difference though. We’re all pulling in the same direction for the same outcomes.


It also depends on Wing Structure, if the Training Officer is a stand alone function it can be any rank, however if they are expected to line manage the other training roles (BTEC L, Radio, Cyber etc) then it’s more likely to be restricted to an Officer rank.

Whenever this question is asked in this forum, I’m always a little dissatisfied by the responses because in some ways I believe the membership aren’t 100% sure themselves of the difference.

Whilst SNCOs and Commissioned Officers are both more or less capable of delivering the training experience to cadets (we receive the same core training and can pursue the nearly the same specialist training pathways), an officer’s primary focus should be slightly different to that, and I think it’s easier to describe that by changing the question slightly…

When I think of why I chose a commission rather than the SNCO route, it was because:

  • I want to influence our policy direction rather than just implement it.
  • I want to level up our baseline access to training opportunities and raise that bar on the quality of delivery.
  • I want to help to reduce the administrative overhead my colleagues face when completing routine tasks.

I was able to do that on a small scale as a Squadron Commander and can now offer that over a wider area of influence on the Wing team. Volunteering with the HQ Digital team has allowed me to push that reach further still.

Whilst there are WOs/SNCOs (and even CIs) out there running units, it is not typically because they wanted to but rather because there wasn’t a commissioned officer willing or available. Equally, there are lots of commissioned officers around that are happy just to deliver training/implement policy as is. That doesn’t mean there’s no difference between the two roles, it just means they’re not necessarily doing the one they signed up for.

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