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Purple Trades: Definition & Trg Discussion

McG

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Halifax Tar said:
So what your saying is the CANFORGEN that topic discusses is null and void ? Please correct me if I am wrong.
You are wrong.  I am not saying any CANFORGEN is "null and void."
I will say that the CANFORGEN being discussed made no mention of creating environmental sub-occupations.  The CANFORGEN simply mandated training to certain groups based on a uniform colour.  That CANFORGEN will introduce (has introduced) a degree of service dysfunction because it mandates training based on uniform colour without going the extra step of creating sub-occupations based environmental employment requirements.
 

caocao

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From a CE NCM point of view, although we wear Army and AF DEUs we can and are posted with all 3 elements and when it comes to postings we are colour blind meaning that we try to post the best person for the job regardless of DEU.  We have pers (AF DEU) who have spent their entire career with the Navy and Army DEU pers who have spent all their time with the Air Force.  Myself, i have equally spent my 25 year career between Army and AF postings (Valcartier twice, Gagetown, Lahr, Cold Lake, Winnipeg, Uplands).
 

Pusser

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Halifax Tar said:
I don't think it would be as much of an issue as you think to be honest. I may be naive but I doubt the, figure head position, of Branch CWO has a great effect on the everyday duties of the persons in that branch. If we can have an Army CDS that can lead all 3 elements complete and the supporting arms then I fail to see how it would be difficult for an Army CWO to be an effective branch CWO comprised of Army, Navy and Airforce.

I don't think you would have one element that would suddenly be short of a specific tradesmen. We manage to work it now and the billets for those positions come by environmental manning lists not dictated by the branches. All you would have to do is over a 5 year period, move people to their elements and give those who wish to stay in that element the chance to change uniforms if possible. I really think you would see it all come out in the wash, so to speak. As well to fill the deficiencies, when the young lad or lassy comes to the CFRC and wants to be an RMS Clerk you advise them on what elements are open and looking for RMS Clerks, then its their choice.

Obviously, you've never been to CFSAL - the Canadian Forces School of Army Logistics.  ;D

In my experience, as far as the Army is concerned, "joint" means army and you're not "joint" unless you do it the army way.  OK, so that's an oversimplification, but I think folks will get my drift.

The biggest criticism of my criticism seems to be the difference between "field" positions and "desk positions (i.e. static vs operational), but I'm not talking about that.  I'm not saying that personnel should be allowed to concentrate their careers on bases vs operations.  What I'm saying is that when you go to an operational position (be it a field unit, a ship or whatever the air force does), it should be in the same element (i.e. ship to shore to shore, etc. and field to base to field to base etc.) so that your experience and training can be put to good use.  The argument that you need experience in multiple elements in order to function in joint headquarters is hogwash.  If that were true then we would sent infantry officers to sea and pilots to drive tanks.  Remember, most of the senior leadership in joint headquarters are operators who have almost never operated in the other elements.  They learn "joint" on staff courses and through experience in the headquarters once they get there.

As for the argument that larger branches that encompass all three elements provide more opportunities for advancement, I don't see it.  How does competing for promotion with an air force transportation officer in Winnipeg, whose job is nothing like mine, enhance my career opportunities?
 

Pusser

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ModlrMike said:
Officers are considered specialists (even GSOs), and NCMs are considered generalists (even when they collect Spec pay).

Actually, precisely the opposite is true.  NCMs are much more specialized than officers.
 

Snakedoc

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What we have from an institutional standpoint, is a lot of cultural confusion (ever since 1968) which arguably decreases organizational effectiveness.  Looking at other militaries around the world with seperate services, the organizational identity of each seperate service is very clear and there is no question for each person from Clerks to NavComms that their role is to support their service and the service culture is a huge part of that.

In the CF, we have one service, the Canadian Armed Forces, but no clear unifying culture.  What we have are 3 elemental cultures from the former services, branch cultures, and the Candian Armed Forces culture.  I can only imagine how confusing this would be for a brand new Navy OS clerk posted to an Air Force base.  Which identity do they belong to?  The army from their army-centric BMQ?  The Navy from their rank and uniform?  Or the Air Force from where they currently work?  Are they a Sailor, Airman, Soldier, or simply a generic Canadian Armed Forces member first?  Or does their identity belong to the Logistics branch and their purple trade?
 

FSTO

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Pusser said:
Obviously, you've never been to CFSAL - the Canadian Forces School of Army Logistics.  ;D

In my experience, as far as the Army is concerned, "joint" means army and you're not "joint" unless you do it the army way.  OK, so that's an oversimplification, but I think folks will get my drift.

The biggest criticism of my criticism seems to be the difference between "field" positions and "desk positions (i.e. static vs operational), but I'm not talking about that.  I'm not saying that personnel should be allowed to concentrate their careers on bases vs operations.  What I'm saying is that when you go to an operational position (be it a field unit, a ship or whatever the air force does), it should be in the same element (i.e. ship to shore to shore, etc. and field to base to field to base etc.) so that your experience and training can be put to good use.  The argument that you need experience in multiple elements in order to function in joint headquarters is hogwash.  If that were true then we would sent infantry officers to sea and pilots to drive tanks.  Remember, most of the senior leadership in joint headquarters are operators who have almost never operated in the other elements.  They learn "joint" on staff courses and through experience in the headquarters once they get there.

As for the argument that larger branches that encompass all three elements provide more opportunities for advancement, I don't see it.  How does competing for promotion with an air force transportation officer in Winnipeg, whose job is nothing like mine, enhance my career opportunities?

Good post Pusser. My highlight of the Air Force officer is what drives me nuts about the Air Force. Heaven forbid that any light blue officer is multi-tasked. Whereas the Sea Logistics Officer is in charge of Pay, Supply, Transport and administration the obese Air Force base is full of officers doing one job only! I know that this is an oversimplification but it seems that the Navy (and not just ours but all navies) is able to do a lot more with a lot less then at least one other service. This is mainly due to our environment (stuck in a steel box with limited space) and that is the number one reason we think and act the way we do.
 

Journeyman

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FSTO said:
.....(stuck in a steel box with limited space) and that is the number one reason we think and act the way we do.
Like caged rats.    ;D



Sorry, it was too good a target; I'll STFU now
 

FSTO

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Journeyman said:
Like caged rats.    ;D



Sorry, it was too good a target; I'll STFU now
No, that made me laugh outloud. We are actually multi-tasked caged rats! ;D
 
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aesop081

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FSTO said:
is able to do a lot more with a lot less then at least one other service.

Well, why dont you come down here to Shangrila and try and tell me how underemployed i am.
 

FSTO

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CDN Aviator said:
Well, why dont you come down here to Shangrila and try and tell me how underemployed i am.

LOL oh I knew I would stir up a hornets nest. Its all the nature verses nurture debate. The Navy is constrained by space and is forced to do thing the way they do, the Air Force and Army do not operate in that environment and that is why they do things their way. Not saying one way is better than the other (oh who am I kidding, of course I am!  ;D) is just the way it is.
I applaud the purple trades for trying their damnest to bridge the gap between the 3, but as Pusser states far more eloquently than I, what advantage are they really gaining?
 

Neill McKay

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Pusser said:
In my experience, as far as the Army is concerned, "joint" means army and you're not "joint" unless you do it the army way.  OK, so that's an oversimplification, but I think folks will get my drift.

Or, purple is another shade of green.
 

Jungle

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Pusser said:
In my experience, as far as the Army is concerned, "joint" means army and you're not "joint" unless you do it the army way.  OK, so that's an oversimplification, but I think folks will get my drift.

Your experience is different from mine; if i'm going on a Ship, I expect to be told where I can go, when I can go, and what I am permitted to do.
The few times I have done amphib ops, the Navy was in charge of getting us to the point where we leave the Ship, then it was our plan from then on.
When Sailors go ashore, in an Army unit's AO, it is perfectly normal that they should coord time and space factors with the owner of the battlespace.

Don't forget that everybody else exists to support the Infantry in it's job: close with and destroy the enemy.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I will join this interesting thread with a few personal comments, which I hope will be taken in the spirit in which they are offered.

I think there is a great confusion in many of the posts between "jointness" and "unified", and then there is further confusion between the execution of a "joint" operation at the unit/sub-unit level as opposed to the actual "joint" planning or command of it.

Jungle's last post includes some of this confusion.

First of all, his (hers?) last statement that "everybody else exists to support the infantry" certainly confirms Pusser's view that for the Army, joint means the Army way ;).

The example in Jungle's last post however show two units participating in a joint operation, but at a level that requires jointness from neither: Just because a ship embarks troops for the purpose of landing them somewhere, it does not make it joint in its operation in any way - its just one more normal - I would even say "standard" - naval task. As captain, I have a job to do and do it the Navy way up to the point where my responsibility for those lives ends (which BTW Jungle, is a the water's edge, not when you leave the ship). At that point, the Army unit does whatever it has to do the Army way - in the normal way the Army usually does it. Similarly, if a wing of ground support planes was assigned to support the Army in this example, it would do so the Air Force way. There is nothing "joint" in any of the ways those units act.

The real "jointness" is done at the planning stage - where the Navy, the Army and the Air Forces' staffs are put together to come up with a single overall plan - and potentially at the Command level, where the Officer in overall command of the operation can be from any element (The British overall command of the recapture of the Falklands was a Commodore, Sandy White), regardless of its most important aspect, and the HQ staff supporting it must by necessity include personnel from all three elements. That is jointness .

The idea that  "purple trade" should be joint by having experience in all three elements is, pardon my expression, bullshit left over from the old unification days. Whilst armed forces everywhere in the world have proven that each environment requires its own culture - and this culture is quite similar for each environment from one country to the next - none have ever held that some "trades" require an individual culture that crosses from one environment to the other. That is not to say that  we cannot have systems that are unified and operated by trades personnel in the same way but within their respective environments. Communicators in all three environment can and do use a "unified" message form. Logistics trades personnel can and do use  a "unified" system of Material Distribution Account, etc. This however does not require a sea logistics officer to know how a service battalion works or  for a Squadron logistics officer to know how to lead a damage control party, as a sea log would.

So  I say, let the trades people learn the unified processes and systems at schools that do not have any Navy/Army/Air Force bias  but then let them chose their environment, absorb its culture and live within it. I am sure it would make Pusser and Halifax Tar happy.

As for the original question, while I can live with Canadian Navy, I would be proud to serve the Royal Canadian Navy again.
 
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aesop081

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Jungle said:
Don't forget that everybody else exists to support the Infantry in it's job: close with and destroy the enemy.

Far from it. A CP-140 chassing an SSBN in the Atlantic support national survival not the Infantry. You may find this hard to beleive but yes, not everyone's job supports 031s. My primary peacetime job doesnt even support the infantry.
 

dapaterson

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To slightly amend:

The idea that  "purple trade" should not be joint by having experience in all three elements is, pardon my expression, bullshit left over from the old pre-unification days.


A key goal of unification was to reduce the tooth to tail ratios.  Maintaining excess capacity of three kinds of supply techs (for example) to fill positions is a waste of money and of personnel.  In a resource constrained environment we don't have the luxury of bloated establishments (writes the guy in NDHQ, I admit).  Maintaining ship to shore, field unit to garrison, and squadron to wing ratios across all the environments means many positions more than are needed - and leads to an imbalance in postings and deployments - "Oh, that's an air force sup tech; we need an Army Sup Tech to work the LPO desk on deployment" has been said more than once, and remains a fraudulent statement.

I grew up in Montreal as an Anglophone, and so am immediately suspicious of anyone who makes the "distinct society" claim.  To argue that "The Navy is so different" or "The Air Force is unique" is ridiculous.  It's a base, emotive claim, as if somehow people can't move to antoher environoment and work there.  Of course that's not true; in the real world people are often forced to move to new workplaces witrh radically different cultures.  Only in the nanny-state of the military would we attempt to institutionalize fear of change and inflexibility and call them character traits to emulate.
 

Jungle

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Wow, I guess I wrinkled some egos there...  ;D

Oldgateboatdriver said:
The real "jointness" is done at the planning stage - where the Navy, the Army and the Air Forces' staffs are put together to come up with a single overall plan - and potentially at the Command level, where the Officer in overall command of the operation can be from any element (The British overall command of the recapture of the Falklands was a Commodore, Sandy White), regardless of its most important aspect, and the HQ staff supporting it must by necessity include personnel from all three elements. That is jointness .

This definition may have been applicable in the good-ol-days, but now "joint" defines an operation planned / conducted by more than one element. If the third element was essential, then nothing would be joint in Afg.
We are joint at lower levels of planning now.

CDN Aviator said:
Far from it. A CP-140 chassing an SSBN in the Atlantic support national survival not the Infantry. You may find this hard to beleive but yes, not everyone's job supports 031s. My primary peacetime job doesnt even support the infantry.

Dude, Relax... I'm not suffering from some egocentric syndrome. I understand that many tasks are not done in direct support of the Infantry, or the Army for that matter; but at the end of the day, if you want to win a battle, you need Infantry to close with and destroy the enemy, then hold the ground. Everything else exists to facilitate that, whether it is tanks offering intimate support, guns sending love in 155mm bundles, planes keeping the skies friendly or ships controlling the seas.
 

Blackadder1916

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
The real "jointness" is done at the planning stage - where the Navy, the Army and the Air Forces' staffs are put together to come up with a single overall plan - and potentially at the Command level, where the Officer in overall command of the operation can be from any element (The British overall command of the recapture of the Falklands was a Commodore, Sandy White), regardless of its most important aspect, and the HQ staff supporting it must by necessity include personnel from all three elements. That is jointness .

You may be thinking of Rear Admiral "Sandy" Woodward who was a task group commander during OP CORPORATE, who, although he may have been the senior British officer (afloat or ashore) in that part of the South Atlantic, was not in "overall command" of operations to recapture the Falklands.

http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/history/battles/falklands-conflict/
On 2 April 1982, the day of the invasion, destroyers and frigates exercising off Gibraltar under Rear Admiral 'Sandy' Woodward were ordered south. They were joined by the carriers Hermes and Invincible, loaded with Sea Harrier fighters as well as amphibious ships and merchant ships were taken up from the trade for use as troopships. These were also three nuclear powered submarines to cover the surface ships. In overall command was Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse at his headquarters at Northwood near London. Woodward commanded the carrier task group while Commodore Mike Clapp was in charge of the amphibious ships.

Including ground and air elements the commanders would have been.
http://www.naval-history.net/F18taskforce.htm
TASK FORCE COMMANDERS, NORTHWOOD
Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, Task Force Commander,
Major General J J Moore MC and bar RM, Land Forces Deputy,
and later
Lieut General Sir Richard Trant,
Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss, Air Commander,
Vice Admiral P G M Herbert, Flag Officer Submarines

SOUTH ATLANTIC COMMANDERS
Rear Admiral J F Woodward, Carrier Battle Group,
Commodore M C Clapp, Amphibious Task Group,
Brigadier J H Thompson RM, Landing Force Task Group and 3 Commando Brigade RM,
Followed by:
Major General Moore RM, Land Forces Falklands Islands,
Brigadier M J A Wilson MC, 5th Infantry Brigade

I do, however, agree with your explanation that applying "jointness" is most reserved for 'higher end' operational planning and execution and that when many refer to "purple trades" needing joint experience they should be talking about "unified" or "integrated" or "static/generic" positions that support the organization as a whole.

As for the suggestion that purple trades should be single service employed only, it is more than adequately addressed here:
dapaterson said:
A key goal of unification was to reduce the tooth to tail ratios.  Maintaining excess capacity of three kinds of supply techs (for example) to fill positions is a waste of money and of personnel.  In a resource constrained environment we don't have the luxury of bloated establishments (writes the guy in NDHQ, I admit).  Maintaining ship to shore, field unit to garrison, and squadron to wing ratios across all the environments means many positions more than are needed - and leads to an imbalance in postings and deployments - "Oh, that's an air force sup tech; we need an Army Sup Tech to work the LPO desk on deployment" has been said more than once, and remains a fraudulent statement.
 

Snakedoc

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dapaterson said:
To argue that "The Navy is so different" or "The Air Force is unique" is ridiculous.  It's a base, emotive claim, as if somehow people can't move to antoher environoment and work there.  Of course that's not true; in the real world people are often forced to move to new workplaces witrh radically different cultures.  Only in the nanny-state of the military would we attempt to institutionalize fear of change and inflexibility and call them character traits to emulate.

But each element IS quite different, the function of each base is to support operations within that environment, organizational identity and culture play a large role in that.  I do not know of one civilian organization in the real world that has 6 different cultures for an employee to adopt.  Not only this, but one of the main reasons why civilian employees are not hired or end up quiting is that they do not fit within an organizations culture.

Now, I completely agree with the fact that this should not mean 'somehow people can't move to another environment and work there.'  If additional surge capacity or support is required there should be the ability to move people of equivalent training to a new environment and for them to learn the new environment and how it works.  However, this should not be the norm, the majority of this person's career should be spent within their environment, and at the end of the day, this person should be able to say 'I am a Sailor, I am in the (Royal) Canadian Navy, and my role is to support the (Royal) Canadian Navy within the CF.  As a Sailor, I am able to defend a ship or naval establishment, be part of a damage control team, be part of a fire fighting team, and perform general shipboard duties required of all Sailors (ie coming alongside etc.)' or something to that effect.

Oldgateboatdriver said:
So  I say, let the trades people learn the unified processes and systems at schools that do not have any Navy/Army/Air Force bias  but then let them chose their environment, absorb its culture and live within it. I am sure it would make Pusser and Halifax Tar happy.

As for the original question, while I can live with Canadian Navy, I would be proud to serve the Royal Canadian Navy again.

Here Here to that.  I completely feel the same sentiment.  The benefits of a unified system can still be reaped while maintaining a strong sense of organizational culture and identity.  Most major militaries around the world are moving towards this.  However they are doing this gradually whereas the CF went a complete 360 (gutting the identity and culture of the former services in the process) and then is now slowly back-peddling to find a balanced medium.  Though I've never served in the Royal Canadian Navy, I would certainly be proud to adopt the name and identity.
 
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