Author Topic: RCN personnel woes  (Read 3116 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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RCN personnel woes
« on: February 14, 2019, 13:03:31 »
Now this:

Quote
Sailor shortage causing headaches for Royal Canadian Navy

OTTAWA -- A shortage of sailors is making it hard for the Royal Canadian Navy to operate its ships and work on replacing them at the same time, according to a senior naval officer.

The revelation by Commodore Steve Waddell, head of naval strategic readiness, follow similar concerns from the Royal Canadian Air Force about the difficult choices it is facing thanks to a shortage of experienced pilots.

Taken together, they underscore the severe personnel challenges facing some parts of the Canadian Forces, which tend to be overshadowed by the numerous problems facing the military procurement system.

In fact, Waddell indicated during a presentation to a defence conference this week [big annual CDA/CDAI one] that the navy's personnel shortages could threaten the Trudeau government's "ambitious" defence policy.

That policy -- entitled Strong, Secure, Engaged -- says the military must be able to conduct several missions at the same time. It also sets aside billions of dollars for upgrades to the navy, including new warships and modernized submarines.

Some of those projects have already been delayed, such as the construction of new support ships, though the blame for many of those delays rests outside of the navy and with private shipyards or other federal departments.

The navy nonetheless has its work cut out for it, including imminent talks with U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax to decide the final design for its new $60-billion fleet of warships.

"In terms of delivering on Strong, Secure, Engaged, what I think is going to really fundamentally be a constraint in the next little while is the reality of the workforce," Waddell said.

While the navy is at least 10 per cent short of trained sailors, he said it is facing a shortfall of up to 40 per cent in some places when sailors it does have are unavailable because of training, medical problems or other reasons.

"So when you're trying to deploy and have a forward presence ... while at the same time trying to account for the institutional needs of delivering on Strong, Secure, and Engaged, you can imagine the bit of a dance that's in front of us."

The navy's problem is different from the air force's: the navy is struggling to simply recruit people while the air force is losing experienced pilots to civilian jobs.

Yet there are also parallels, as Waddell said the navy, like much of the rest of the military, is fighting industry for employees at a time when unemployment is low, demographics are changing and there are other opportunities for people.

Not that the navy is completely without a plan. Waddell and others have talked about using technology, particularly in its new ships, to ease the navy's personnel requirements as well as attract a new generation of recruits.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, navy commander Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd talked about using artificial intelligence to ease workload and the addition of wireless networks to ships as areas where change is coming.

"What does it mean to be a digital navy is what we're focused on," he said. "I think that's going to be key to our ability to attract (people) and then recruit them and then hopefully retain them."
https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/sailor-shortage-causing-headaches-for-royal-canadian-navy-1.4296620

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 13:30:26 »
2 ships with 250 sailors or 10 ships with 50 sailors?

2 targets or 10 targets?
2 Launch platforms or 10 Launch platforms?
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 15:03:25 »
Now this:

Mark
Ottawa

This is not a new problem, in one way or another we are always short in certain areas and certain trades. We have many people on the unable to sail list for various reasons and like industry struggle to attract new sailors. The good thing is for future fleet with a high instance of automation, the manpower needs will be less. We also do have time before CSC to attract new sailors, the trick is to be able to come up with a way to attract them, new equipment? better pay and benefits?, that's a start. We are getting ships to sea but perhaps we need to start tying them up.
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Offline stoker dave

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 15:18:17 »
I think a good starting point might be to find out why there is a shortage.  Is it a problem of people leaving?  If so, why are they leaving?  Not enough people being recruited?  Too many 'unfit sea' as Chief Engineer suggests? 

You can only solve the problem when you understand the root causes.   

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 15:44:26 »
I think a good starting point might be to find out why there is a shortage.  Is it a problem of people leaving?  If so, why are they leaving?  Not enough people being recruited?  Too many 'unfit sea' as Chief Engineer suggests? 

You can only solve the problem when you understand the root causes.   

I think stoker dave is if we knew both why and how to fix it and be allowed to fix it we would be in good stead. I personally think years of marginalization by successive governments, including under funding, not being looked after by VAC among others gives a very real perception either true or not that joining the military in general is not a viable career path.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 16:45:34 »
I think stoker dave is if we knew both why and how to fix it and be allowed to fix it we would be in good stead. I personally think years of marginalization by successive governments, including under funding, not being looked after by VAC among others gives a very real perception either true or not that joining the military in general is not a viable career path.

Does stuffing people tween-decks in hammocks generate more or less recruits than Asterix style suites and gyms?

And yes I am arguing from logical absurdities.  But seriously I am interested in whether or not those old ships, built in the Commodore 64 era when there were institutional memories of being crammed into Corvette fo'c'sles were colouring impressions, aren't hindering recruitment and retention efforts.

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 16:54:40 »
Does stuffing people tween-decks in hammocks generate more or less recruits than Asterix style suites and gyms?

And yes I am arguing from logical absurdities.  But seriously I am interested in whether or not those old ships, built in the Commodore 64 era when there were institutional memories of being crammed into Corvette fo'c'sles were colouring impressions, aren't hindering recruitment and retention efforts.

There is no doubt about Asterix has much better conditions than I do on my current FFH. 

Having said that, there isn't much we can do about the lay out CPFs now.  The comical side of it, is we posted brand new ODs to the Asterix as their first ship... Man are they ruined for life now...

The only reason the RCN has manning problems is because of its self.  I love my service, very much, but just because Nelson did it, or the RN currently does it, does not mean we should be emulating it. 
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2019, 16:56:49 »
Does stuffing people tween-decks in hammocks generate more or less recruits than Asterix style suites and gyms?

And yes I am arguing from logical absurdities.  But seriously I am interested in whether or not those old ships, built in the Commodore 64 era when there were institutional memories of being crammed into Corvette fo'c'sles were colouring impressions, aren't hindering recruitment and retention efforts.

Honestly the Asterix type accommodations while nice causes loads of problems when we place new to the RCN personnel there and they then get posted to a CPF. While people think the CPF style berthing is draconian, it was hailed as very comfortable compared to the steamers which I sailed on. I would also imagime WW2 era sailors said the same thing when they went to the steamers. I would imagine the new AOPS and CSC will have nice accommodations, it won't be like Asterix.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Offline Furniture

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 17:00:16 »
One of the issues I saw while posted out on the left coast was already mentioned. Too many people with "saltwater activated injuries" as one of the Snr HT's I sailed with once said. In my 5 1/2 years out west I spent just shy of 800 days at sea because nobody else could or would sail. That takes a toll on you, even if you love the job and the travel.

One issue I don't see mentioned much that the navy seems to love is what I refer to as "clock punching". All pers must be on board at 0750, and secure isn't piped until 1545, doesn't matter how much the ship has been sailing, how little actual work or training there is, or how much the ship will be sailing next week. We ask people to sail for a week straight, take two days off(unless duty) and come back to sail the next week for weeks at a time. Then when people ask for a bit of time they get told sailing is why they get Sea Duty Allowance, a whole $311 before taxes a month for the first few years. In a good job market $311 before taxes isn't going to keep good people around. Either the CAF needs to look at increased allowances, or more time off in compensation, because the current system is a dissatisfier. Maybe not the "one" thing driving people out, but it doesn't help.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2019, 17:10:35 »
One of the issues I saw while posted out on the left coast was already mentioned. Too many people with "saltwater activated injuries" as one of the Snr HT's I sailed with once said. In my 5 1/2 years out west I spent just shy of 800 days at sea because nobody else could or would sail. That takes a toll on you, even if you love the job and the travel.

One issue I don't see mentioned much that the navy seems to love is what I refer to as "clock punching". All pers must be on board at 0750, and secure isn't piped until 1545, doesn't matter how much the ship has been sailing, how little actual work or training there is, or how much the ship will be sailing next week. We ask people to sail for a week straight, take two days off(unless duty) and come back to sail the next week for weeks at a time. Then when people ask for a bit of time they get told sailing is why they get Sea Duty Allowance, a whole $311 before taxes a month for the first few years. In a good job market $311 before taxes isn't going to keep good people around. Either the CAF needs to look at increased allowances, or more time off in compensation, because the current system is a dissatisfier. Maybe not the "one" thing driving people out, but it doesn't help.

is there rationale for treating sailors like firemen when their ships are alongside? 
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 17:11:37 »
Maybe not the "one" thing driving people out, but it doesn't help.

I was in the Navy prior to going light blue.  That was actually one of my big reasons for the OT.  Home port duty watch was another one, but that's another story.
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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2019, 17:41:48 »
One of the issues I saw while posted out on the left coast was already mentioned. Too many people with "saltwater activated injuries" as one of the Snr HT's I sailed with once said. In my 5 1/2 years out west I spent just shy of 800 days at sea because nobody else could or would sail. That takes a toll on you, even if you love the job and the travel.

One issue I don't see mentioned much that the navy seems to love is what I refer to as "clock punching". All pers must be on board at 0750, and secure isn't piped until 1545, doesn't matter how much the ship has been sailing, how little actual work or training there is, or how much the ship will be sailing next week. We ask people to sail for a week straight, take two days off(unless duty) and come back to sail the next week for weeks at a time. Then when people ask for a bit of time they get told sailing is why they get Sea Duty Allowance, a whole $311 before taxes a month for the first few years. In a good job market $311 before taxes isn't going to keep good people around. Either the CAF needs to look at increased allowances, or more time off in compensation, because the current system is a dissatisfier. Maybe not the "one" thing driving people out, but it doesn't help.

All of your points I am in agreement with.  I have saying, never once in the field did I question my life's choices, almost every day at sea I do. 

My Top issues:

- Op Sked:  The days away from home on most ships is unparalleled from my experience and observations.  We are going sail in April, be home May, gone again June and July, Home Aug,  Gone Sept to Nov, Home Dec and then deploy in Jan for six months.  And get this, we are sailing for a week juuuuuuuuuuuust before we deploy.  Wicked eh ?  Thats not the exception thats the rule. Pre-deployment leave anyone ?

- Leave:  I came home from Op Reassurance in July '16 (6 month trip).  The ship was alongside until Sept; then back at sea again until Xmas of that year.   We were given 14 days PDL, after that you had duty watches and prepping for the next sail.  That doesn't even touch the "normal" trips, month or week here and there were you get maybe a day if you're lucky.

- Command Teams:  These are looked at as ticks in the boxes now.  A triad comes in, does a deployment and leaves.  Leaving behind the other 95% of the crew to suffer the whims and desires of another command triad that has to make their imprint on the commodores mind now, while having no sympathy, empathy or understanding for what that hull or crew have just been through. 

-  FMF/BLOG:  These guys are great.  Both seem to have forgotten they exist to support the fleet.  Trying to get work done by FMF with out overtime nailed on is damn near impossible.  Lets not talk about the ship having to supply things like fire sentries which draws man hours away from actual jobs,  how about that dockyard shuffle ?  BLOG, well the Base Supply orgs are pretty much civilian empires now that exist to employ family members and push work on ships.  I love bringing up the Supporting Supply Organizations matrix too them. 

- Malingerers:  These guys are killing us probably more than my previous points, for 2 reasons.  1)  The make manning damn near impossible as they clog up shore billets and destroy any sort of "ship-shore" rotation that we once had.  It gets worse the higher up in rank you go.  2)  They set terrible examples that our young people are emulating. 

I am done for now its valentines day... I should be doing more productive things... we are trying to have another kid lol






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Offline Furniture

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2019, 17:58:28 »
is there rationale for treating sailors like firemen when their ships are alongside?

There is, but there are more efficent ways to do it than how the Navy chooses to do it.

I personally never found duty watches too bad, except on the weekends between sailing weeks, or when in a less than 1 in 15 rotation. I'd switch for weekend duties so I dodn't have the foolishness of dealing with working day DCox'n problems, and the people with families/personal lives got time at home.

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2019, 18:00:45 »
There is, but there are more efficent ways to do it than how the Navy chooses to do it.

I personally never found duty watches too bad, except on the weekends between sailing weeks, or when in a less than 1 in 15 rotation. I'd switch for weekend duties so I dodn't have the foolishness of dealing with working day DCox'n problems, and the people with families/personal lives got time at home.

We are going to a Duty PO now.  Combining DCox'n and DTech
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 18:32:21 »
I am done for now its valentines day... I should be doing more productive things... we are trying to have another kid lol

When you done that, maybe you can elaborate a bit.  Any way to fix these issues?
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2019, 18:33:54 »

I think a good starting point might be to find out why there is a shortage.  Is it a problem of people leaving?  If so, why are they leaving?  Not enough people being recruited?  Too many 'unfit sea' as Chief Engineer suggests? 

You can only solve the problem when you understand the root causes.   


There was a Working Group that was done in 2017 - the results of which are posted on the MARLANT F4Eng website (Internal/DWAN).


It's worth a read.  The biggest underlying cause (in tying 3 of the 6 main points together somewhat loosely) is that we're losing technicians because we're not employing them as technicians.  They joined the Navy as a RADAR/SONAR/Comm/etc tech, and they are spending an average of 80% of their time not doing technical work (stat drawn from the NTO seminar 2017) and the Senior Technical Officer in the RCN (at the time Commodore Page) had set a goal of techs doing their job only 40% of the time...and only one ship got as high as 36%...the rest were below 20%.


That's a piece that, when I attempted to address with the Occ Manager and the LCdr from D Mil C, they were reticent to even consider, let alone discuss.


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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2019, 18:49:03 »

All of your points I am in agreement with.  I have saying, never once in the field did I question my life's choices, almost every day at sea I do. 

My Top issues:

- Op Sked:  The days away from home on most ships is unparalleled from my experience and observations.  We are going sail in April, be home May, gone again June and July, Home Aug,  Gone Sept to Nov, Home Dec and then deploy in Jan for six months.  And get this, we are sailing for a week juuuuuuuuuuuust before we deploy.  Wicked eh ?  Thats not the exception thats the rule. Pre-deployment leave anyone ?


The way I have (and continue to) address this one (which ties into your FMF/BLog point below:


"The Operational Planners in the RCN are not adequately factoring the time necessary for the logistical functions to occur to support sustained operations."


Simple phase - deep meaning.  We can send BLog staff out and buy every bottle of water from every Walmart in the city in one night.  $140K worth of water.  Loaded onto a ship the next day, and that ship sailed for disaster relief ops.  It sailed 3 weeks early...and when it came back, it didn't get that 3 weeks back into an alongside program to help the crew catch up on...stuff.  Then they did a crew-swap on that ship after a deployment...and the incoming crew has to 'deal with' the backlogged admin, paperwork, returns, etc.  That ship has, currently, almost 1400 outstanding items due into returns worth $58 Million dollars.  Is it the result of that three week window?  No, it's the result of taking a day here, a day there, forcing ships to go to the ammo jetty overnight to get a 2-day ammo process done before morning on the 2nd day...it's all of that and more. 

Quote
- Leave:  I came home from Op Reassurance in July '16 (6 month trip).  The ship was alongside until Sept; then back at sea again until Xmas of that year.   We were given 14 days PDL, after that you had duty watches and prepping for the next sail.  That doesn't even touch the "normal" trips, month or week here and there were you get maybe a day if you're lucky.


When I came back from Libya in 2011, we had our 'decompression port' stop.  Came alongside Friday - helped Berth VAN, spent Saturday doing turnover to VAN personnel.  Sunday we had a Change of Command Parade.  Monday we sailed for Halifax, and because we had new trainees that got flown over, we did exercises on the way back across the pond to get them trained up...sound like a great way to decompress?

{quote]- Command Teams:  These are looked at as ticks in the boxes now.  A triad comes in, does a deployment and leaves.  Leaving behind the other 95% of the crew to suffer the whims and desires of another command triad that has to make their imprint on the commodores mind now, while having no sympathy, empathy or understanding for what that hull or crew have just been through. 


No comment.


Quote
-  FMF/BLOG:  These guys are great.  Both seem to have forgotten they exist to support the fleet.  Trying to get work done by FMF with out overtime nailed on is damn near impossible.  Lets not talk about the ship having to supply things like fire sentries which draws man hours away from actual jobs,  how about that dockyard shuffle ?  BLOG, well the Base Supply orgs are pretty much civilian empires now that exist to employ family members and push work on ships.  I love bringing up the Supporting Supply Organizations matrix too them. 


See my note above...the Navy doesn't get logistics.  Also, most of the people that we have in the Base Supply Org are those broken ones you mention...I'm a Technician in a supply world, and I see the pressures that they face.

Quote
- Malingerers:  These guys are killing us probably more than my previous points, for 2 reasons.  1)  The make manning damn near impossible as they clog up shore billets and destroy any sort of "ship-shore" rotation that we once had.  It gets worse the higher up in rank you go.  2)  They set terrible examples that our young people are emulating. 


Don't even get me started....I have a plethora of examples.



What's the solution?  Well, first, you have to look at the problems...as you've done.


How do you solve them? 

Well, I've got about 4 pages written at work so far for my 'solution' for the W Eng trades...I know it's not going to be welcome, but every 'solution' we've seen in the past 20+ years has been related to training.  Give the sailors less (or 'more focused') training so that we can get them into the fleet faster.


Getting them to the fleet faster hasn't helped when we haven't used what we've gotten to the fleet properly...see my comment above about the 'goal' is for Techs to do Tech work 40% of the time, and only one ship got above 20%...that's a broken model.  It actually dates to the 1980's and the MORPs program.  Our current employment model for techs in the fleet is based on how Steamer crews worked.


That needs to be fixed.  And that's what I'm writing up...in all of my spare time...between PERs and prepping for my own release on the 20th of March.


NS

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2019, 19:02:31 »
When you done that, maybe you can elaborate a bit.  Any way to fix these issues?

Sure, lol I expect comments on speed now lol

All of your points I am in agreement with.  I have saying, never once in the field did I question my life's choices, almost every day at sea I do. 

My Top issues:

- Op Sked:  The days away from home on most ships is unparalleled from my experience and observations.  We are going sail in April, be home May, gone again June and July, Home Aug,  Gone Sept to Nov, Home Dec and then deploy in Jan for six months.  And get this, we are sailing for a week juuuuuuuuuuuust before we deploy.  Wicked eh ?  Thats not the exception thats the rule. Pre-deployment leave anyone ?

You have to boost either compensation monetarily or with time.  Or you we need to start speaking truth to power about what we have the personnel resources to actually accomplish. To be honest I don't have a lot of faith in either.

- Leave:  I came home from Op Reassurance in July '16 (6 month trip).  The ship was alongside until Sept; then back at sea again until Xmas of that year.   We were given 14 days PDL, after that you had duty watches and prepping for the next sail.  That doesn't even touch the "normal" trips, month or week here and there were you get maybe a day if you're lucky.

This ties into the one above.  Time or money.  Perhaps look at the leave manual and do some positive adjusting ?  Would that need treasury board approval ?

- Command Teams:  These are looked at as ticks in the boxes now.  A triad comes in, does a deployment and leaves.  Leaving behind the other 95% of the crew to suffer the whims and desires of another command triad that has to make their imprint on the commodores mind now, while having no sympathy, empathy or understanding for what that hull or crew have just been through. 

This one seems easiest too me.  Command teams should have definitive fixed tour dates, say 3 years for example.  And if deployed they must remain as ships senior leadership for no less than 1 year post deployment, regardless of position in tour cycle.

-  FMF/BLOG:  These guys are great.  Both seem to have forgotten they exist to support the fleet.  Trying to get work done by FMF with out overtime nailed on is damn near impossible.  Lets not talk about the ship having to supply things like fire sentries which draws man hours away from actual jobs,  how about that dockyard shuffle ?  BLOG, well the Base Supply orgs are pretty much civilian empires now that exist to employ family members and push work on ships.  I love bringing up the Supporting Supply Organizations matrix too them. 

Burn them down and start again.  No seriously though, inject more uniformed members.  Start with all leadership and executive positions must be filled with military members.  Rebuild the military structure and culture that has been lost. 

- Malingerers:  These guys are killing us probably more than my previous points, for 2 reasons.  1)  The make manning damn near impossible as they clog up shore billets and destroy any sort of "ship-shore" rotation that we once had.  It gets worse the higher up in rank you go.  2)  They set terrible examples that our young people are emulating. 

Fix the above and malingering will fix itself.

I am done for now its valentines day... I should be doing more productive things... we are trying to have another kid lol

Navy shooter has some great point as well. 

I guess I didn't elaborate much.  But; ask me a direct question and I will give a direct answer.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 19:10:14 by Halifax Tar »
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Offline Lumber

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2019, 10:00:12 »
I'm a little curious about the tech doing tech work 40% of the time, but in reality only doin git 20% of the time:

What are they doing the rest of the time? I'm assuming that you're not counting eating, sleeping and ******** in the total that that percentage is based on, so what's the rest? Scullery? Cleaning stations? SSD Helmsmen? Admin? Tech of the Watch? (or does TOW count as doing "tech work")?
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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2019, 23:28:33 »
Howdy folks.

Was curious since there is a major shortage what the chances are that my recruitment will be rushed through or if it will take the usual time frame? At least from any of your experiences?

I am really wanting in and to get off to BMQ asap....

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Re: RCN personnel woes
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2019, 08:33:51 »
[Waddell indicated] … that the navy's personnel shortages could threaten the Trudeau government's "ambitious" defence policy [Strong, Secure, Engaged].
Revisiting this, I can't help but believe that producing SSE was  the extent of the Trudeau government's "ambitious defence policy."

I assume they contracted out the actual thinking of national defence priorities and security policies to produce the document.  It was then presented with much fanfare and now they point to it and proclaim, "see? We're all over this military/security stuff -- especially the feminism and ecology bits;  can't win a war without those!"

Recruiting and retention?  Major defence procurement?  "Pffft….don't bother us with trivialities;  you've already got SSE, you ungrateful war-monger people."


…..leaving it to the military leadership to continue cobbling things together to try and make things work... comme d'habitude.  :not-again:


(Sometimes cynicism can be rooted in reality   ;) )