Strategic Footprint


True dat.

Of course, if you’re a Wing Commander, and have been asked to shut some squadrons to save money, I’m guessing closing a squadron with immediate staffing issues is an easy win…


Shocking, Just shocking how CRAFAC can allow this to happen.

Personally I feel the Corps is struggling at the moment and closing sustainable units is another kick in the teeth.


And there’s the crux of the matter! Nobody - in modern times - wants it. Or, where there are people, the Corps might not want them. “Squadrons run by Sgts? That’s not the sort of thing I want in my Wing” - a lack of respect for the volunteer and/or not valuing the skills people offer over an out of date model of what people “think” they want the ATC to look like.

Maybe, just maybe, if there was more support in place and a lot less BS, then they’d find more people willing. But with the slow and gradual erosion of the core offer, the ever increasing burden of administration and BS, the bureaucratic nightmare of staff recruitment - and subsequent retention - means that this organization is really, really up against it.

It requires a special kind of person to run a squadron in the current climate. And we’re very short on them, and with very little in the way of incentives to get them into post.


But they haven’t.
They have been told not to be too precious about squadrons if it makes sense to focus resources on a single unit rather than 2, having one healthy, thriving unit and not two struggling units.

We all know the reality of that desire and the various elements that come into play. We also don’t know the full story here, only what their chairman knows and has chosen to whine to the press about, and that through the filter of sensationalist journalism.


I would hope that the staff, cadets and Civ Com do a Churchill to the ATC and find somewhere where they are valued and respected.

I do hope this doesn’t allude to the ‘super squadron’ model, which is a childish concept held by some in the ATC’s higher echelons. Having met a number of these over the years, their lack of understanding of what squadrons are really like, not the pen pictures they have, is easily apparent when they speak. What they are doing in the Corps is always a mystery.


Not really, but it is similar. Rather than trying to produce large units running on multiple nights, it is more about helping cadets and staff benefit from the stability and flexibility that can come with a healthy parade strength of cadets and staff. I’m talking about a more normal size of squadron - around 30 in my experience.

If a unit cannot attract the necessary staff (or cadets) to function effectively and regularly, the goal should not be to maintain a squadron at all costs, Instead it encourages wings to look around and see if anything can be done to redeploy personnel, even if that means 1234 Sqn closes in favour of 4321 Sqn nearby, who may have fewer shift workers.


Why not just parade one night a week at both squadrons?

Given the lack of opportunities in the Corps, having smaller squadrons has to be the model going forward, so that cadets get a chance at the meagre opportunities on offer now. Having larger squadrons with more cadets will only mean more cadets unable to do the exciting things.

Where does this “redeploy” personnel idea come from? The uniformed staff have been told quite blatantly they are not employees and nothing to do with the RAF and as CIs we never were nor considered ourselves as such, so why anyone could be or suggested anyone could be redeployed is an interesting concept. The only people I’ve known to be redeployed is when they are facing redundancy and if the company has other places they could work.


You move them around to units where they are needed. The difference is that you can’t post them - you ask them and hope they see the benefits and help you.


What are the benefits to the individual? Drive further to the other squadron?


There needn’t be a specific benefit to the individual - some people will step up to the mark when needed and be a little altruistic. For the greater good, you know!

Anyway, who is to say that they already attend a closer unit? My nearest is a mile from my house and by squadron is closer to 20!


We all do this for altruistic reasons already. There is no particular gain for anyone other than a warm glow.
When you’ve been treated with such disrespect by the organisation to have this situation forced upon you already, there would need to be some really good selling to make this seem like a good idea.
I stayed as a CI for altruistic reasons. This is the area I live and grew up in and wanting local kids to benefit, that I wouldn’t have for another area.


It’s the senior bods not understanding people or volunteers. If they shut my unit I would probably leave as would many of my staff.

HQAC wouldn’t understand that, they would expect us to all go where we are told like tin soldiers because that’s what they are used to.


Maybe we should move HQAC up to Lossiemouth and tell them to travel each week…
It won’t be long until they get the idea of being local in the local community…


The RAF have scraped Sqns of fully serviceable Harriers in a bId to save money, it is hardly surprising that they also want to look at the number of ATC Sqns. It is all the same pot of money.


It’s not hard to feel a massive sense of irony given the way the RAF (we are told) like the ATC as it represents the RAF “on the street”. To then say we need to get rid of ATC squadrons. The ATC and the people in it have been knocked over the last few years, yet we keep going. IF we took the easy route and said sod it, it would save them £20 odd million a year forever and lose all the jobs that go with it.

You can’t compare Harriers and all the other aircraft ‘retired’ by the RAF in the last 15-20 years, with ATC squadrons. What they’ve got rid of could probably pay for the ATC many times over.

You can bet as the RAF 100 ramps up the major ‘light blue’ element of parades will be Air Cadets.


Saxa Vord maybe re-opening or better Bennecula or Macrihannish.


The Defence budget is stretched to the point where a few tens of millions matter. As examples only (no comment on relative merits to Defence); One Bay class LSD(A) was disposed of in 2012 to save the running costs per annum (~£8 million) and only one of two LPDs is operated to save on running costs (~£24 million).


So if HQAC were able to secure ongoing sponsorship / funding it would remove some of the pressure. But like all public sector bodies they spend money without having to think about where it comes from, until someone cuts the amount they get, then they squeal like a stuck pig. Their only recourse is to cut things.

IIRC the Red Arrows have been spoken about as a luxury, but they bring in apparently lots of money for BAE and others and are massive public draw, so are to all intents self-financing.

It would be mistake to close Air Cadet squadrons as the local benefits they bring are like all youth organisations huge. In the main squadrons are self-financing anyway, so where is the precedent for closing them? I bet if committees were asked to fund a proportion of any lease or rent, they’d do it. Closing just on cadet numbers is a moot point, as we’ve seen more cadets leave, especially in the 15½-17 age bracket as the Corps doesn’t do a Ronseal. Our current average age has to be mid 14, if not lower. We’ve got 8 Year 11s who we will see less and less of over the coming 4 months and probably will have lost all but 1 by next summer, if not all.


Take the financing for Squadron Works away from RFCA and give it direct to units, Wing get X amount for big projects and all OC’s get a couple of grand for wear and tear to be spent via the CWC. We could get local businesses in to do works rather than the cowboys on the RFCA approved list.

It would save a fortune, you could bin all the surveyors and the works would be done to a far higher standard at a far lower cost.


That sounds like the T&A grant we used to get, but for hut maintenance. Sounds far too efficient and get things done on a timely basis.

It’d never happen as you couldn’t see the RFCA big wigs going for it though, too many trainsets.