Strategic Footprint


If she wants a strategic footprint
I could assist but it may be painful…


Is the 2020 strategy published somewhere (external)?

As someone who is looking to potentially start a new unit, having been told that this is something that the Wing has been looking to do for a while, which has some pretty high powered backers, and the Corps has (had?) a stated expansion strategy, I don’t quite know what to make of this statement about strategic footprint… Does it kill this plan stone dead? Does it mean they’d be more likely to to rationalise the urban units, which have a number of other squadrons in a 3-5 mile radius? Bit of a grenade this one really, in amongst a number of other grenades that seem to have had a minor impact on morale…


Steel toecaps.



As for the magic number of 30 for a viable sqn. There are all sorts of constraints.
Spooner huts due to fire regs van only house 30 max. This is everybody. Staff cadets and visitors. Toilets, 1 per 25.
I am lucky i have 2 spooner huts so 60. No i have one male and i female toilet. So max 50 plus no more than 25 of each gender.
Over half of the units in my wing are not alliwed to have the magic 30 plus staff


We have more than 30 cadets that attend in a spooner hut but it’s badly laid out and sometimes it’s a squeeze. The regulations state that we are all scaled for at least 180m2 but most spooner huts are only 116m2. It also says we are to be given an extension or extra building to meet the requirements but because of budgets this has not happened. That’s certainly the case for my squadron anyway!

I suspect this is about estate costs. The ACO can’t maintain the buildings it has, let alone extend and/or replace them so if they can reduce the amount of estate i’d assume their theory is it has it might help improve the others. :confused:


In my wing over the last 12 months 3 squadrons have been threatened with permanent closure in response to the OC’s threatening to step down, in all cases because the OC’s felt the wing wasn’t supporting them. In two cases the threat worked and the OC’s stayed. At the third unit, the OC did resign but a member of the squadron staff stepped in at the last minute to take over to save the unit, even though they didn’t want to be OC. I hope that this approach isn’t replicated across other wings as increased pressure comes on wings to close squadrons.


This is purely about estates costs. There is no money for critical H&S repairs. We have bee crying about a lack of staff for years and then suddenly there’s an expansion plan WTF?

Now it’s clear the cash has dried up, and buildings are getting dangerous, it’s a convenient way to rationalise and use the excuse of a lack of staff (spin it’s called).

The buildings that go won’t be the failed units. They will be units which can’t afford a repair, regardless of the success/staff/Cadet strength.


This process is already happening in Laser.
They have started on London Wing, I guess because the density of units is so great.
Not even founder squadrons are safe anymore.


At this rate CAC won’t be getting an extension as there won’t be an ATC


Can someone post the email this is all coming from?


So what’s happening in LASER Wokka? Unit closures and mergers? Any logic in what they’re doing, or does it seem more cost saving than providing a better experience for cadets and staff? Are they using this as a threat against units / staff to buck up or else?


My interpretation is it’s all about cost saving.
They are busy interrogating the cadet figures on Bader. There is more than enough historical data to prove current figures aren’t a blip. The therory being why keep open a failing squadron when there is another nearby. I beleive the squadrons under threat are then put on notice and if things aren’t turned around then they are history.
Couldn’t tell you how much time they are given though.
I was told the days of keeping Sqns going at all costs are gone.


But if we closing failing units… HQAC will soon be shut


Wow. Nothing says reducing the admin burden like putting OCs and other staff under that level of pressure.

That, if presented as you’ve put, is abhorrent, shocking, repugnant and cowardly. If anyone came to me with an ultimatum like that I would tell them exactly where to poke it. As if we don’t have enough stress in our lives without the future of a squadron on our hands too. I’m seething.


Not seen anything…


The founder squadron I’ve heard of (relatively local to me) was actually saved, it just conveniently moved to the location of another nearby squadron, that squadron then closed down, and the F sqn absorbed all the other cadets. This, of course, left some cadets for whom it was too far (or a multitude of other reasons) so they moved to other squadrons.

Luckily, that was in London, where there’s no shortage of squadrons. If this were to happen further out into the sticks, cadets wouldn’t have as many options available to them.


I’ve been told by Wing Staff down that way that the Regional Commandant is big on “you aren’t viable so you get closed” no discussion on whether their is another local unit or whether you are the only positive in the lives of disadvantaged youths. (And no joined up thinking with RFCA who have just spent over £100K on a new building for one of the least viable units.)


I would imagine that we’d be in the firing line and to be honest getting closed would be like when I was made redundant the first time, it gave me the opportunity to re-evaluate my life and do something different. I would have no intention of carrying on with the ATC as it has been made more than apparent through my experience, that we are not valued and it just comes down to numbers on a page. This is the worst type of management, but then should any less be expected?
As for budgets etc how much money has been thrown at gliding schools? I heard last year all new builds were on hold as the money put into gliding schools. Those new builds would replace old run down buildings that are probably now beyond a point where repair costs are economic, so with no money for new builds, the next step seems obvious.

I doubt that it has even occurred to those at Cranwell that get too low in numbers and their relevance decreases. So the suggested 3rd term for the FB queen would be in jeopardy and would you need 6 Group Captains? Then there is the opportunities for the ATCs wannabe’s as Wing Staff, too few squadrons and reduced need for them to flounce around.

I’ve been doing things with a couple of church youth groups over the summer and it has been a breath of fresh air after the strangling, micro management of the ATC. I’ve organised things to activity centres, done ‘walks’ and camping all similar ages to cadets and got some of my mates from cadets to take the youngsters canoeing and do archery. No piles of forms and other pointless admin, apart from DBS. I’ve been toying with helping at the local DofE open centre and getting some of them into DofE.
Speaking to the parents of the kids, one of them shoots and is willing to take them to his club for some shooting. He has got air rifles and shoots them his garage (converted barn) and is happy for the kids to go along. And I know a PPL who I’m sure would take the kids for a flight, so I can do some of the aviation theory stuff as well to make it more interesting for them.


I think it has occurred to them. There have been rumours of decreasing the size the cadet forces to offer “the best experience” - fewer cadets doing more of everything rather than more cadets doing a little bit of nothing. Plus, of course, the cost savings of not having units to manage, buildings to renovate and replace etc. And, for the MoD, the site sale and redevelopment money to pay for the budget shortfall for two massive grey elephants in Portsmouth.

The support structures and mechanism at HQAC will remain the same - despite the numbers reduction. Their head count has already been decimated following death from a thousand cuts over the last 10 year. Their workload hasnt changed - its just shared across fewer people. In some instances, it has increased over time - despite their lower headcount - hence the increasing prevelance of CFAV SMEs at HQAC (3 acronyms in 4 words!!!) - all jobs which FTEs would previously held.

HQAC is like a ghost ship, and expecting them to support the RAFAC organisation of its current size on their limited numbers has proven unsustainable - those late VA payments, lack of support and shoddy admin a product of this situation - and has had a knockon affect at CFAV level. We all bitch and winge about it enough on here and in the Mess.

Plus, of course, the low CS wages (and the CS in general) not necessarily attracting the highest calibre of staff. I’ve seen it elsewhere where many of the admin level jobs go to “RAF WAGs” who hit the CS competancies - do the job for 2 years, theb get moved when husband/wife/bf/gf gets posted elsewhere. The your back into the 6 month recruitment cycle again.

Then there are the CS methods so rife in the MoD as a whole that people are unable to think outside the box, work outside of anything but their job description or not empowered enough to challenge systems and processes. We always say “if HQAC was a business it’d fall over in a year” - but its not a business; it lacks, regretably, that business culture - as do many areas of the wider CS. Much to its - our and the cadets - detriment.

As for the two wing master race at 2FTS, they are at a year zero position following the closure of so many VGSs and “pauses”. They have no relevant historic benchmark to compare to. Which is convenient! So now they are making things up as they go along - part task trainers? Auditing BGA clubs to ensure compliance? Really? But its okay… They’ve got a shiny hanger.

CEP is a quick win to get around this. Schools will eventually foot the bill for the majority of the cadet forces - no accomodation overheads, no burdensome RFCA meetings, reduced staffing costs etc. The local community units immediately around the CEP schools will wither and die. The RAFAC will claim “great success” as the head count will probably remain unaffected as the cadets, within 2 years, wont know any different.


Now, of course, if they really wanted to support us, they’d revisit DYER - and some of the suggestions that didn’t make the final report. Joint service HQs. Alligned paperwork and systems across the CF. Wings alligned to Counties (or the otherway around). No regions.

Ah. Bliss.