Author Topic: Army Communication & Information Systems Specialists (Sig Op, Lineman and LCIS Amalgamation)  (Read 924857 times)

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Offline IT_Dude_Joeschmo

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Figured I'd start a new thread as the start of this was in my previous "Cease of Training" rumour mill thread...

Today (4 Jun 08) I attended the Lecture on our Trade Amalgamation... It was quite a dump of info with some answers and more questions towards the end... Lecture started about 13H00 sharp and ended 16H30ish...

New trade will (tentatively) be called: Communication and Information Systems Technologist (CIST). They're wanting to drop the Technologist part of it and put something else in there but for the time being we were told (by the Master Sig) that's what the name is for now.  There was a lot to absorb so I'll do my best to blurt it out for you all...

General info given in Introduction: 3 out of 5 trades covered in C&E Branch are army owned+run now, LCIS, Sig Op, Lineman... Approx 4000 pers across C&E Branch of CF with approx 50% spread out all across entire CF and others posted to "traditional" positions for each trade respectively. Manpower shortages by trade: Sig Op - 220-300pers (I give this range b/c the Master Sig gave both figures during the lecture), 100 LCIS, 0 Lineman. So it seems the Lineman aren't having recruiting problems. They said part of this problem (no kidding) might be because the Aptitude Qualification for Lineman is 18 where for Sig and LCIS it's 30. This obviously disqualifies some people. We'll cover that more later...

1.) The Amalgamation stems from project MOSART originating in 1999, whose purpose it was to examine the  CF Trades and determine if there was a way to cut-down how many Trades were. The reason they wanted to cut down the amount of trades is because someone thought we didn't need as many seeing as our legal manpower was cut from 90,000 to 60,000 ASAP back then etc... This project stopped dead in it's tracks approx April 2006. When the new CWO (now our Master Sig) CWO Helmann(sp?), he was told to get the ball rolling once again on Amalgamation.

2.) Program now called MES, I scribbled that note unfortunately and have only gotten Mes- Military E???? Structure. Basically MES has the same purpose in mind but is actively enforcing change as we stay Operational and keep a high tempo. No cease of training anywhere or operations to accomodate the new changes.

3.) Without posting a bunch of the technical yabber, I'll give it to you straight...

BMQ+SQ for everyone (no surprise) then a common CIST course which will have components of all the 3 trades... The idea of this course is to have a CIST be able to perform Line 1 repairs on equipment in a rad van etc... That's the whole purpose, use and maintain/repair the equipment. He (Master Sig) said that the idea is to have field expedient fixes for everything from line breaks to troubleshooting the TCCCS system in the back of a CP van...

After this common core training, you would be posted to HQ+Sigs of each respective Brigade as is now for most Sig Ops, learning the ropes of Brigade life and that whole back of worms. The Corporals/Specialists would be moved on to other postings etc... Yes, I said Specialists. So after you're "Core" CIST training, you would be evaluated by you're Chain of Command at you're unit, consulted (asked what you'd like to do) and given the option to "Specialize" in one of the 3 old trades. Kind of... LCIS, Sig Op, Lineman. So then you get more specific training pertaining to that job. All this training will be conducted mostly at CFSCE. They are trying to find a way to make the training unit-doable so they can get people trained faster and keep them up to date. Weather that's hiring civilian instructors locally or sending people to local educational institutions Master Sig did not specify. Onward...

So you've been at you're unit for a year or two, you've got some dirt behind you're ears, you're asked what you want to specialize in, you say Sig Op (of course the best Trade...  ;) ) you do you're first specialist training (Which might be called QL4). You go back to unit, work for a few more years, get course loaded on a QL5A... This is where it gets interesting...

QL5+QL6 will be COMMON for the trade. So all CIST trades people, even though you've now "specialized" in you're respective field, will go to a 5A/6A etc, and do a common course mixed back in with other Lineman, Operator and LCIS types... This is to ensure we're all on the same page, we use the same lingo, we all have the same training to a degree and can communicate effectively. So that when a Sig Op is talking about a CEOI, an LCIS tech will know exactly what's he's yammering on about. And so that when you call a "tech" in to fix the stupid NAU in the back of you're rad van, he understands what you're saying and how it doesn't work from an operator's point of view. Interoperability.  I'm giving the exact examples Master Sig gave BTW...

Grandfathering us who are already in and trade qualified? Sort of. They haven't worked out the details yet on what rank they'll cut that off from. Example: Tel ops being amalgamated in the past, simply told to get out or remuster? Nope, not this time. Apparently we'll be given a choice if we're under the rank cutoff, say for example it's MCpl, to pick our specialty, according to our current employment/unit and work experience and training, with education being included in the deciding factor.

Another interesting point. Since we will ALWAYS be considered a CIST, no matter what and will be technically under the same trade, no remustering. If you've been a Sig Op  Sub trade for the past 3 years, you can switch to lineman without having to perform a remuster. And they want this to be able to be completed and decided at the unit level. So obviously they're expecting the unit to know their troops!

Manning issues: Since the Sig Op trade in particular is so short on people, they're also looking at changing the style of recruiting. Currently, it takes an Aptitude score of 30 or higher to be able to apply for Sig Op or LCIS tech, but only 18 for a Lineman. They have studied this and found that partially this is the reason that the Lineman trade isn't really short. They think the bar is set a little too high for Sigs and LCIS and that otherwise would-be CIST's are getting turned away or going to another trade. They're going to put further study into this and see if they can lower the Aptitude requirement to something more reasonable. Because to them, a Lineman is just as intelligent as a Sig Op as a LCIS tech... We Sigs know better of course!  ^-^  Furthermore, they're going to make it very easy for other trades to remuster into Sig Op/CIST, at the moment there is a standing order CF wide that if a combat arms soldier wants to remuster to Sigs, his CO cannot decline, he has to approve and pass it up. The Master Sig said this program was implemented and advertised about 4 years ago by unit CO's (or was suppose to have been advertised, I could see how that got brushed by...) but said they will look at revisiting this idea and refreshing it.

SPEC PAY

So, obviously I bet you were wondering what was said about this... Well guess what! Nothing definitive. He said that the whole purpose of amalgamation is NOT about Spec pay, it's about manning and making us more effective. He said amalgamation will address approx 80% of our manning issues and problems currently. It's not perfect, but it'll work and it's definitely better than our current situation. So what about Spec pay you say? As of now, nothing changes, they're looking at it continuously and trying to sort of "qualify" the new trade for it. He said that's up to the Treasury to decide who deserves it or not. He said they look at similar civilian occupations and their pay levels and determine if they need to issue Spec pay to that trade of troops. He said that it will not be a deciding factor at all in the upcoming changes but they will do their best. He did sound hopeful about it though and said that they'll receive feedback from the Treasury on what to work on to "qualify".

Trade Amalgamation is aimed to be completely implemented by Spring 2011. New "CIST" type courses and training being updated at CFSCE by Sept' 08.

So, that just about sums it up, I'm sure there's something I'm forgetting but that's what I was able to scribble down as important points and get to you people here.

Thoughts? Gripes? Complaints? Release forms? What new Sub-trade do you want?
"When I retire, I want to become a gay Hollywood actor, they always make more money!"... My old boss's plans ;)

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Offline meni0n

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Uhh, so people under the cut off rank going to have to do the common course?

MikeL

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Hopefully the rank level is Cpl, or even grant exceptions/waivers for experianced(ie, time in unit, tour, etc) Ptes. If they made everyone under MCpl redo a QL3 course I'd be pretty choked. Hopefully having a couple years in a Infantry Battalion(posted there straight off my QL3) and a tour will be good enough to not have to go back an do a QL3 course all over again.

Offline IT_Dude_Joeschmo

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Actually nobody under the cutoff, as it seems so far, will have to be doing the new training. They said it would be impossible. They're going to take time in, tours, postings etc and qualify you based on experience primarily, and maybe just give some background training to accomodate/upgrade as needed. That's the idea from my understanding of what the Master Sig said. He said it would be rediculous to try and retrain everyone! They're also trying to lower the training time to below 100 days, seeing as right now the training timem for a Sig Op is 105 days and for the other trades even longer...
"When I retire, I want to become a gay Hollywood actor, they always make more money!"... My old boss's plans ;)

ACISS-IST's, look here:
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PS> It's not a trap!

Offline Sigger

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Sig Joe...

Thank you! Much appreciated for the sitrep.

Out
-VVV-

Offline Jager

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I sketched down the graph thing he had going for the QLx's, here's the vague info (if I got it right)

Basically Spring 2009 New CIST QL3
Spring 2011 New CIST QL5 (giving all the guys who finished there 3's before spring 09 a chance I guess)
Spring 2011 New CIST QL6..... all the way to QL7(?)

VELOX VERSUTUS VIGILANS
" Private ....you are a piece of Sh!t............just kidding........................maybe."

Offline Bintheredunthat-Muzzled

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Wow - lots of info.  But I anticipate lots of changes before the polished version is delivered.

The Master of Signals is CWO Hohmann by the way.....not that I could ever name the MOS during my younger days.

Some things I read are surprising.  Lowering the aptitude for Sig Op/LCIS.......yuck.  Lower standards on aptitude to make up numbers is such a friggen bad thing for the trade it's not funny.  I'd rather be a man short than have an extra man requiring constant supervision.  I'd be willing to bet that if Aptitude minimums changed that we'd either see A) more failures on QL3 which causes even more strain on the system when you end up with people awaiting training and losing motivation or B) the standards of CFSCE following suit and tailoring ECs/PCs to match.  Not good either way. 

On another note - although I'm not a big advocate of Spec Pay for "Rad Ops" (I am 215 FTR)
, perhaps it's time to make the trade more appealling to others.  I have friends in various other trades and have never heard anyone say they'd EVER want to be a Sig Op.  I've even found over the years that remusters were often rare - not unheard of.  We'd get the occasional Ex-031er going to the dark side......but very rare.  Maybe spec pay is not the right way to do things, but it would in my opinion be better than lowering standards.  Signing bonus anyone?  I know of a few people who've made the jump from Res to Reg taking full advantage of the ever changing Sig Op 20G bonus.  Whatever works.

I was surprised that there was no mention of a separate trade or division of IT type operators.  I don't think that someone is looking at the whole picture and the evolution of equipment if they think they're going to continue to use the common Sig Op for highly skilled IT positions.  Sure some people are doing just fine now, but is it just me or does the same thing happen every posting season where there is a refresh and fresh meat goes through the grinder all over again in order to turn out competent IT people?  I'm not talking about Help Desk but rather of troops using COTS equipment in the field units.  I understand the need of cross training someone when you are talking about something like moving dets - I just think the learning curve and training requirements have demonstrated quite clearly that another trade is required.  There has to be a few canvass slingers out there who agree at least a bit.  Bueller?  Bueller?

Anyway, informative but still very cloudy.  How was moral after your briefing?  What was the overall mood or opinion about the future as delivered by the Master of Signals?  If I know my fellow 215s, I'd say there was a whole lotta bitchin'.

Bin

Offline Jager

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I'll try to answer a few of the questions:

Quote
On another note - although I'm not a big advocate of Spec Pay for "Rad Ops" (I am 215 FTR)

Specifically spec pay would be awarded to bring certain 'sub speciality's' up to par with civi employment, as in the same way spec pay is used now.

Quote
I was surprised that there was no mention of a separate trade or division of IT type operators

I guess Sig Joe missed this part. The CIST trade will be broken down into several (read 4) sub trades.

The main CIST which will be operators, from what I jotted down during the meeting they will be responsible for the Rad truck, and basic trouble shooting, 1st line Com's including line (FOCA, etc) including road crossings, splices, etc

CS - Basically LCIS, responsible for the actually repair etc...

Line - Line, responsible for the majority of line, both black and red

IT- And the IT side of things, such as help desk, computer repair, etc

Now this is all subject to change, and I might of got a few things wrong or written in the wrong spot..

Quote
Anyway, informative but still very cloudy.  How was moral after your briefing?  What was the overall mood or opinion about the future as delivered by the Master of Signals?  If I know my fellow 215s, I'd say there was a whole Lotta bitchin'.

The moral was OK afterwards, a lot of confusion though. I'd have to say the overall mood and opinion isn't all to great at this exact moment. A lot of grey areas exist at this exact moment, and will come to affect us all once the plan goes thru. Some are wondering about what courses they are going to end up having to do, etc... And yea, there was a good amount of bitchin'

[edit]guess I need to learn how to spell  ;D
VELOX VERSUTUS VIGILANS
" Private ....you are a piece of Sh!t............just kidding........................maybe."

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Parts of this make sense to me, at least the the LCIS-Sig Op bridge...

I've had problems (And some extremely good experiences, they're not all terrible) in the past with LCIS techs conducting 1st line repairs, one particular pair in Kingston comes to mind, who spent a full 10 hours "diganosing" my truck, before finally at a conclusion which matched exactly what I had told them was wrong and what to repair from the very beginning, a little bit of experience operating the equipment you're going to fix is going to be huge asset in the long run...

Other benefit, having the operators able to perform first line maintenance would be a huge boon as well. Doesn't take a great deal of skill or training to teach somone to conduct basic soldering repairs of connectors, to swap out cards, or replace a HUB.

The major DOWNSIDE I see to this? Skill fade. Train people too broadly, they'll forget whatever they don't use on a regular basis, and they'll loose it, but that's a forces wide problem anyway, training up to our necks, and not enough opportunity to get skilled.
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline Sigger

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The major DOWNSIDE I see to this? Skill fade. Train people too broadly, they'll forget whatever they don't use on a regular basis...

IMO the Amalgamation would improve this.. as you would become a 'specialist' in one area - with a general base of knowledge in everything.
-VVV-

Offline Not a Sig Op

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IMO the Amalgamation would improve this.. as you would become a 'specialist' in one area - with a general base of knowledge in everything.

Not even close. The way I read it, you start out as somone loosely trained in all three jobs, then get "specialized" into one job, all three of the jobs already each cover a very large area of expertise (Example, I brought some busted TCCCS cables into our STIS guys the other day, because as the only techs, they've got to sign off on the NS tags... they all became rather excited, because it was the first "green" kit they'd seen in a long time...)
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

aesop081

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IMO the Amalgamation would improve this.. as you would become a 'specialist' in one area - with a general base of knowledge in everything.

LMFAO.......

I dont understand how people can buy that argument. I know you army types ar allergic to anything air force but maybe you should come and see how our amalgamations worked out. The "super tech" things didnt exactly work out. In fact, the process has started to undo some of it.

"Jacks of all trades, masters of none"

Offline Sigger

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they all became rather excited, because it was the first "green" kit they'd seen in a long time...)

And unless I am way out to lunch, this would be resolved with the separation of the IT and the repair trades of LCIS.... No?
-VVV-

Offline Bintheredunthat-Muzzled

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Not even close. The way I read it, you start out as somone loosely trained in all three jobs, then get "specialized" into one job, all three of the jobs already each cover a very large area of expertise (Example, I brought some busted TCCCS cables into our STIS guys the other day, because as the only techs, they've got to sign off on the NS tags... they all became rather excited, because it was the first "green" kit they'd seen in a long time...)

Like I mentioned before, looks like there'll be some requirement for some polish on the plan.  Making a someone into an operator in 100 days is tough enough (from what I've seen) - but then saying they'll also be responsible for 1st line maintenance on gear is another story.  First line maint in the old days was A) check your settings B) check your cables C) give it a boot D) perform drop test E) replace it with one of the other several spares that were at your immediate disposal.  Not a lot of spare RT-5121s to go around though so now operators will be responsible for their own gear?  What a novel idea.

Guess this means the pyramid builders will not be allowed to continually hoard hold up batteries as replacing a HUB will no longer be a "tech only" job (ok - so this was an encounter I had once).

Finally, a part of the plan that makes perfect sense though.

Bin

Offline Not a Sig Op

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First line maint in the old days was A) check your settings B) check your cables C) give it a boot D) perform drop test E) replace it with one of the other several spares that were at your immediate disposal.  Not a lot of spare RT-5121s to go around though so now operators will be responsible for their own gear?  What a novel idea.

Guess this means the pyramid builders will not be allowed to continually hoard hold up batteries as replacing a HUB will no longer be a "tech only" job (ok - so this was an encounter I had once).

There's a great many things I do/have done that are supposed to be "tech only", but of course, we have no techs... so...

Like I said, doesn't take long to teach somone to solder/use a a fluke meter.

Another downside, I see this as just one more nail in the coffin of the line trade...
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline Sigger

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Another downside, I see this as just one more nail in the coffin of the line trade...

Linemen will always be needed to splice FOCA. Plus its for the greater good.
-VVV-

Offline Not a Sig Op

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The problem with linemen is, 90% of what they do can easily be replaced by contractors... unfortunately, by replacing them with contractors, we loose the other 10% of what they do....
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline Sigger

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Dont Sigs do that other 10% anyways?
-VVV-

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline HFXCrow

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Out of my lane story, but my trade (NESOP) amalgamated EW Operator & Fire Controller (two separate completely different trades) in 1985

we still haven't recovered? (as CDN Avaitor can attest to EW is easily a trade by itself)

My question is what happens if somebody can't climb or is afraid of heights. Are they remustred as they do not meet the OC Specs of this new super trade?
Enjoying the ride and doesn't want to get off

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Great question, particularly if they make pole-climbing part of the CIST portion...

I know sig-ops who had originally planned on being linemen, but courtesy of a fear of heights..
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline X-mo-1979

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The problem with linemen is, 90% of what they do can easily be replaced by contractors... unfortunately, by replacing them with contractors, we loose the other 10% of what they do....

Really?That guy crawling with the wires around the defensive position could be a civilian from chalk river?

Offline Not a Sig Op

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Really?That guy crawling with the wires around the defensive position could be a civilian from chalk river?

Preferably not, and that's why I said we'd loose the other 10%.

No need to be sarcastic, I'm in favor of keeping the line men
Remember troops, the minimum acceptable standard is still an acceptable standard.

Offline canadianmak

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So for someone just going into SIG OPS, already passed my CFAT so there will be no falling standards from me! This means I’ll still be trained,  probably in a more round-about but hopefully quicker way. However once trained the SIG OPS job and duties will remain the same correct? Just making sure I’m still applying for the same job! Thanks

Offline adaminc

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I am joining up in about a month, hopefully to the LCIS Trade, I already have a college education in Electronics Engineering Technology(3yr program), and the recruiter told me that more than likely I will get to skip POET and go straight to OJT after BMQ/SQ, so what do you think would happen for someone like me?