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Smaller NATO Navies Struggle with Recruitment, Awareness

OceanBonfire

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Three senior NATO navy officers said their countrymen have cases of “maritime blindness” and don’t understand how their navies operate.

Speaking at an international navies session at the Surface Navy Association symposium in Arlington, Va., Capt. William Quinn, naval attache at the Canadian Embassy, said despite his nation’s extensive coastlines on the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans, “I run into many Canadians that don’t know we have a navy.”

In Canada, to bring attention to the sea services and boost enlistments, Ottawa has positioned its reserve components inland — in the Alberta and Manitoba provinces — to attract young people.

Canada needs to address manpower issues as the country modernizes its surface fleet while maintaining readiness, Quinn said.

...

Looking at future needs, Quinn added, “I’m not saying take man out of the loop” in combat decision-making but there is a role for unmanned systems “going into high-risk areas.”

...

Neither Schneider nor Quinn saw the Arctic as becoming an immediate security threat to Germany or Canada. Quinn said that the Northern Sea Route closest to Russia now is more attractive to merchant shipping than the poorly charted Northwest Passage.

“The bigger issue will be how we divide up that pie” of mineral and energy exploration, Quinn said. He added this has to be done while preserving environmental safeguards and the rights of the indigenous peoples.

 

dimsum

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It might be just me, but the line about the NAVRES components inland makes it sound like it's a recent thing, when most units have been around since WWII.
 

Navy_Pete

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Automating the systems to make up for smaller crews only works if you maintain the automated systems and make sure they work. We don't even allow enough time to do the maintenance right now, let alone actually do it. That will take a big adjustment from the Ops side to actually schedule 8 weeks of real time alongside for an 8 week short work period (without having 4 ships at the same time).

Our OPSCHED is the underlying issue that is killing us, and no point recruiting people if we do nothing about the issue that is driving people out and causing the ships to fall apart.
 

FSTO

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The big heads are looking for the silver bullet that right now seems to be unmanned systems. While I am not a complete luddite I'm of the opinion that unmanned warships are a bridge too far. This article points out the shortcomings of LCS as one of the bell ringers to relying too much on this type of tech.

 

stoker dave

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I was part of a large cohort that started their education and careers in the Navy, then left at about age 30. This was in the mid-1990's (a time of limited opportunity, force reduction programs, etc.). Of my cohort that left, they went on to all kinds of different professions: engineering, law, medicine, business, teaching, academics, etc.). What is interesting now is if you look at their CVs, very, very few even mention ever having been in the Navy. It's like that part of their life didn't exist or had no bearing on what they do now. To me, that is one small aspect of how the Navy remains invisible.
 

daftandbarmy

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I was part of a large cohort that started their education and careers in the Navy, then left at about age 30. This was in the mid-1990's (a time of limited opportunity, force reduction programs, etc.). Of my cohort that left, they went on to all kinds of different professions: engineering, law, medicine, business, teaching, academics, etc.). What is interesting now is if you look at their CVs, very, very few even mention ever having been in the Navy. It's like that part of their life didn't exist or had no bearing on what they do now. To me, that is one small aspect of how the Navy remains invisible.

To be fair, given all the adverse media, I also try to play down my military background in my current occupation especially in some particular settings.

It's not worth losing clients who, after all, pay my staff's wages - and the mortgage ;)
 

stoker dave

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To be fair, given all the adverse media, I also try to play down my military background
Hmmm, you raise and interesting point.

Not to take this too far off topic (it is related to Navy recruiting) but you allude to the idea that in the civilian workplace, former military service is a bit embarrassing.

So instead of listing military service on a CV as a sign of pride, service to country, leadership experience, discipline, focus on mission, enduring hardship (or whatever trait we think civilian employers look for) should it be omitted because its not something in which there is pride?

This opens up a whole new thought. If (in general) former service people are acting this way, it really shows had bad things have become.
 

Good2Golf

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…or the previous time in the Navy just isn’t relevant. CV’s should be tailored to the opportunities being sought, and if something’s not relevant, it’s taking up room for something that is.
 

daftandbarmy

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Hmmm, you raise and interesting point.

Not to take this too far off topic (it is related to Navy recruiting) but you allude to the idea that in the civilian workplace, former military service is a bit embarrassing.

So instead of listing military service on a CV as a sign of pride, service to country, leadership experience, discipline, focus on mission, enduring hardship (or whatever trait we think civilian employers look for) should it be omitted because its not something in which there is pride?

This opens up a whole new thought. If (in general) former service people are acting this way, it really shows had bad things have become.

It's not news that it's been bad for quite awhile. Decades.

Especially when some of the people I've worked for in the CAF, as a reservist, might be described (in any other walk of life) as dangerous socio-paths who, had I associated myself too closely with them in the small community in which I live, might find me painted with their psycho coloured tar brush.

If the CAF doesn't regularly 'clean house' and get rid of the dross, especially at the Senior Officer level IMHO, people like me will continue to keep their involvement in the CAF either a 'dirty little secret', or leave.
 

Halifax Tar

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It's not news that it's been bad for quite awhile. Decades.

Especially when some of the people I've worked for in the CAF, as a reservist, might be described (in any other walk of life) as dangerous socio-paths who, had I associated myself too closely with them in the small community in which I live, might find me painted with their psycho coloured tar brush.

If the CAF doesn't regularly 'clean house' and get rid of the dross, especially at the Senior Officer level IMHO, people like me will continue to keep their involvement in the CAF either a 'dirty little secret', or leave.

Could this be regional ? I know here on the right coast my service is a huge plus. In fact I was head hunted last week, specifically because of my military experience. I turned it down though.
 

Halifax Tar

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KevinB

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Could this be regional ? I know here on the right coast my service is a huge plus. In fact I was head hunted last week, specifically because of my military experience. I turned it down though.
Regional and Career Specific.
Certain jobs can generally require prior service - while others don't. Plus depending what field and where it is, the lens they look at Mil service might not be rosy in some areas.
 

Kirkhill

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The big heads are looking for the silver bullet that right now seems to be unmanned systems. While I am not a complete luddite I'm of the opinion that unmanned warships are a bridge too far. This article points out the shortcomings of LCS as one of the bell ringers to relying too much on this type of tech.


FSTO

Would you operate a flotilla of patrol boats the same way that you operate a modern frigate? What happens if you look at the LCS, and other lightly crewed vessels in the same manner as patrol boats? Not as long ranging independent commands but as parts of flotillas tied to a deployment base with the navy's versions of MRT and MRV vehicles operating within the flotilla?

Also could there be better use of the Crew and a Half concept? Three Divisions with one of them always ashore and regularly swapped out for sea duty?
 

Humphrey Bogart

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I'm not sure what more we can do... Press gangs anyone ?
1. Take an incredibly hard look at the sailing schedule and do a proper troops to tasks analysis, also decide what is critical to core business and what isn't. Sorry, but a dog and pony sail with bureaucrats for a week, immediately after a deployment, is not a good use of sailors who just got back from seven months away.

2. Actually follow pers management policies and implement a proper rest and rotation cycle (aka eliminate jetty jumping).

3. Do some actual validation of the way the Navy does things. There is so much confirmation bias in Navy it is almost comical. The default answer to every time to someone asks "Why?" In the Navy is always "Because we've always done it this way!"

100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress is a real thing. The problem is people are too educated and to smart for the BS now.

4. Actually strive to certify people to Civilian Standards instead of reducing standards in a vein attempt to reduce people's ability to find employment elsewhere.

I thoroughly believe the CAF has a duty to make Canadians better but also impart skills on them so that they can continue to serve in other ways once they transition out of the service. Perhaps that Tech who was a rock star leaves the service with a Red Seal, starts his own business and becomes a leader in his community and speaks highly of what the Navy gave him.

Instead, what we currently have is people getting pissed off and never speaking of or supporting the institution once they leave.
 

dimsum

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100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress is a real thing. The problem is people are too educated and to smart for the BS now.
Wasn't it 200 years? Progress already! :ROFLMAO:

I thoroughly believe the CAF has a duty to make Canadians better but also impart skills on them so that they can continue to serve in other ways once they transition out of the service. Perhaps that Tech who was a rock star leaves the service with a Red Seal, starts his own business and becomes a leader in his community and speaks highly of what the Navy gave him.

Instead, what we currently have is people getting pissed off and never speaking of or supporting the institution once they leave.
Bingo. I'm actually surprised no one (even in the bitch-fest that is CAF Reddit) has mentioned that. If people are pissed off, they're going to leave anyway.

At least with a Red Seal or whatever, they can say "well the RCN gave me this", which may inspire someone to at least join up for a bit to get the same.
 

KevinB

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Wasn't it 200 years? Progress already! :ROFLMAO:
100 years since they stopped with Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (at least publicly)
Bingo. I'm actually surprised no one (even in the bitch-fest that is CAF Reddit) has mentioned that. If people are pissed off, they're going to leave anyway.

At least with a Red Seal or whatever, they can say "well the RCN gave me this", which may inspire someone to at least join up for a bit to get the same.
Nothing is too good for the troops, so that exactly what they get, nothing...
 

Halifax Tar

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1. Take an incredibly hard look at the sailing schedule and do a proper troops to tasks analysis, also decide what is critical to core business and what isn't. Sorry, but a dog and pony sail with bureaucrats for a week, immediately after a deployment, is not a good use of sailors who just got back from seven months away.

2. Actually follow pers management policies and implement a proper rest and rotation cycle (aka eliminate jetty jumping).

3. Do some actual validation of the way the Navy does things. There is so much confirmation bias in Navy it is almost comical. The default answer to every time to someone asks "Why?" In the Navy is always "Because we've always done it this way!"

100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress is a real thing. The problem is people are too educated and to smart for the BS now.

4. Actually strive to certify people to Civilian Standards instead of reducing standards in a vein attempt to reduce people's ability to find employment elsewhere.

I thoroughly believe the CAF has a duty to make Canadians better but also impart skills on them so that they can continue to serve in other ways once they transition out of the service. Perhaps that Tech who was a rock star leaves the service with a Red Seal, starts his own business and becomes a leader in his community and speaks highly of what the Navy gave him.

Instead, what we currently have is people getting pissed off and never speaking of or supporting the institution once they leave.

100% in agreement but I think we both knew that. Desolee, I had compartmentalized this into separate recruitment and retention and was more aiming at recruitment, I should have been more specific.
 

FSTO

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FSTO

Would you operate a flotilla of patrol boats the same way that you operate a modern frigate? What happens if you look at the LCS, and other lightly crewed vessels in the same manner as patrol boats? Not as long ranging independent commands but as parts of flotillas tied to a deployment base with the navy's versions of MRT and MRV vehicles operating within the flotilla?

Also could there be better use of the Crew and a Half concept? Three Divisions with one of them always ashore and regularly swapped out for sea duty?
The MTBs in the English Channel and the PT Boats in the Western Pacific worked that way. So that is nothing new. The LCS were sold as a multi-mission platform (by using interchangeable pods - a concept that never worked) with minimum crewing costs. It failed in that mission spectacularly.

As I said above, I'm not a luddite. There is a place for unmanned or minimally man vessels, but in conjunction with fully booted and spurred vessels and with a full realization that there will be no major savings by going min-manned or un-manned. There is no panacea, but an integrated set of units will work and maybe in the far future (long after I'm dead) the tech will match the concepts.

Also I haven't even touched trying to operate autonomous vessels in the EM denied environment.
 
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