Fieldcraft policy update - Dec 2018


I’m not too sure anyone has been advocating turning cadets into “pack horses” or “tortoises”.

AFAIK, most will go by “live out your bergen, fight out your webbing, survive out your smock” - which generally keeps cadets as light as possible. Goretex and warm kit in a daysack is a no brainer, although if a cadet has webbing and no daysack for whatever reason then it has to be in the webbing.

This is in the context also that few cadets so far will have actually fought from their webbing or even carried a rifle in the field.

The only things not mentioned that we encourage cadets to carry is a med kit and I’ve known cadets be told to carry a second water bottle in their daysack for drinks powders - so they always have fresh water available.


Yes, but my point was that (certainly when it comes to the bergan) I’d rather have cadets carry more and move less, in a way that wouldn’t be ideal for infantry.


Agreed. I do see @Smudge3311’s point though - cadets do bring some daft objects sometimes and it doesn’t hurt to highlight it.

Having said that, we had some rebriefing to do once when cadets turned up with baking trays - they had been told by Sqn staff that they needed them to cook on…


Well, we’ve got round the problem of them carrying too much, by mandating they use a rucksack that can’t carry what they need, let alone what they want!

Even more ironically, we also have to show them a climatic injury training video which shows a gunner using the same pattern rucksack not taking a sleeping bag on exercise because it wouldn’t fit in the bag!



My lot usually don’t take sleeping bags, that would limit the amount of space for all the Irn Bru n pot noodles


On longer, more remote activities, cadets in my (old?) Sector carried a jungle sleeping bag and bivvy bag in their daysack. We’ve only used it once - normal stuff: everything took longer than it should, nav error, weather worse than forecast…

Everyone was ok - morale high, hot food, softy jackets and woolly hats did the job.


4 cans … just a morning then


It’s all well and good having lengthy debates about what / what not to use / carry, but how many staff are currently “qualified” to the new regime requirements?
We were told at our sector meeting (as some not in slightest bit interested in FMS it could be right) that we have no one currently qualified in the Wing and those that were instructors under the old regime, were having a bit of teddy chuck over having to redo it again, after getting qualified to be told you have to do more for no reason than someone moved the goalposts. After all this is just the ATC and not infantry training and while some cadets and staff get quite into it, for the majority FMS isn’t a major draw.


What bit of the Qual are they missing?

What will need adding to the process of training people to be an FCI in your Wing that wasn’t there before?


That would be concerning if true. If no one is qualified now then that would mean that you had no one qualified as FECO to run any fieldcraft.

Additions for previously authorised instructors is only to bring them up to the level that used to be FECO. There’s very little to “redo”.

I think @bob1 may have a different view, but our upgrade process is a session on the paperwork and an overnight in the field. People can complain about “another weekend”, but as instructors I expect they would have been doing a weekend at some point anyway.


They were qualified under the old scheme and as I recall got ahead of the game, but as I understand it from their POV this is just another change for the sake of it. I doubt they won’t do it as they are the FMS clique and they enjoy it. TBH I see their point, people spent time getting qualified not so long ago after HQAC got the shakes and now this and give it another while and who is to say there won’t be something else later.
Frankly it makes no sense, FMS passed me by years ago as I was always more inclined to AT, much easier … at the moment.


But AT had its major overhaul 19 years ago when we started sacking of “CTE” and switching to NGBs. Externally verified and recognised qualifications to provided assurance of training and standards. And you probably remember all too well the pain of those transition years!

Fieldcraft never had the same level of assurance, and only now - aside from a brief spell where ACP16 was deemed “good enough” - we’ve never had the same levels of training. I dont feel this is change for the sake of change - but I do feel this is a product of people jumping around wanting B&P but without fully embracing the SST and training before it. The new system just gives the building blocks.

I’m thinking they missed a trick by not having a decent transition period for this stuff to bed in, not to mention staff getting qualified over and above their current levels. What I see now is a “pause” whilst people get qualified. Plus a transition would - given the discussions above and elsewhere - get those wrinkles ironed out.

But, just as I said close to 2 decades ago with AT, if people want to continue to deliver, go and get qualified. The difference is that the line in the sand back then was a good few years off - not last December when the policy landed on us!!!


“missed a trick” is an understatement - it’s a mishandling… Again.

This had been the intention for a few years, so it wouldn’t have been hard to say that “From (date x months from now) ECOs will become FCIs and AIs will need to upgrade their status through xyz method. Until that date, lower level training can continue under current rules. After that date, the new policy will come into full effect.”

As you say, this has paused a lot of training - FCI(T)s are busy training staff and prequalified FCIs will struggle with anything over and above local or esf training because there aren’t enough instructors.

Instead they dropped a poorly written bomb a day or so before Christmas and ran for cover.

@Teflon it sounds like the policy hasn’t been well sold/explained to your ECOs/AIs. You’ve said a couple of things that don’t quite mesh, but you’re getting info third hand so I won’t dwell on it.

Conversely, as someone who isn’t in the AT world, from my POV it would be a large undertaking to get involved as there are a lot of days required to upskill. Somebody coming in fresh would spend less time qualifying as an FCI than to get into the walking quals.


Yes I do, but we had grandfather rights for 2/3 years, to get the qualifications which worked and while it was a pain AT didn’t stop.
If it had come in like the FMS changes then AT and DofE would have stopped and we know how that would have gone. FMS stopping would not have the same effect in the ATC.
The lack of intelligence at HQAC amazes me in that there isn’t a period of 2/3 years so it keeps going while people do whatever they need to.


That strikes me as a sensible upgrade plan.

What I don’t get is all these Wings that are saying they have no qualified instructors at all. What must have been missing from their processes before to leave a big gap. The new policy hasn’t changed that much?

The main driving factor in the original change was an investigation in to the death of a Cadet. That was overseen by someone with no fieldcraft knowledge really which is why no grandfather rights were issued. Then they’ve handed over management of fieldcraft to ATF who don’t understand the delivery mechanisms hence confusion and crap policy.


From what was reported that could have happened to anyone at anytime, at the squadron, at an annual camp, on an AT weekend, FMS element was just a random factor and not as contributory as I feel was suggested.
If it hadn’t happened I doubt there would have been anything done with respect to FMS.
I can recall incidents wrt AT that should in theory have brought it to a grinding halt.

However in the current climate all those doing FMS are qualified so wrt this change it could have been carry on as you are, but by 2022 (given 3 years grace) you will all have to done the additional bits. Those coming in fresh would know no better/different.


It was, but the investigation highlighted shortcomings with the way FT was run nonetheless.


But if there had been no incident there would have been no investigation and FMS would have carried on as was.

The fact there was an incident especially of the gravity it was, there was an investigation and it opened a can of worms. However that was then and this is now, so the need for people to do additional training for FMS, highlights a failing in the senior management’s appraisal.


I tell you what let’s never review our practices and we will just continue to do everything on the basis of “we’ve always done it that way” :roll_eyes::roll_eyes::roll_eyes:


I don’t think we can just go and ignore previous learnings because you think it’s a bit much. The Safe System specifically states one of the reasons we report things is so as we can learn from them…