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Rant MOD wants to scrap UTC

Discussion in 'All Non Military Discussion' started by John A Silkstone, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. John A Silkstone United Kingdom

    John A Silkstone Mi General MI.Net Member

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    The MOD has announced it is drawing up plans for emergency cuts to the defence budget, which will include abolishing the University Officer Training Corps (OTC).

    The OTC is a part of the British Army which provides military leadership training to students at UK universities. There are currently nineteen OTC units throughout the UK, with each acting as an independent regiment with its own cap, badge and insignia.

    On the face of it this may seem like a sensible policy. After all, cuts are expected all round, so why continue to spend £82 million on 3,000 university students, many of whom never have anything to do with the military after they graduate?

    However, having spent seven years as a reservist paratrooper, which included two years with the OTC, I can personally testify that this is a short-sighted policy for three reasons.

    Firstly, it is the flagship recruitment organisation for the future of our military. Senior military officers appreciate that some budget cuts are inevitable, but they are aghast one so significant will be not just scaled back, but abolished in its entirety. While the purpose of the OTC is to provide military and leadership training to future officers, it does much more than that. It also serves to create a civilian leadership more appreciative of the military, and who empathise with our troops. This is particularly relevant at a time when politicians are routinely criticised for being disconnected from the needs of those in uniform, having never had any exposure to the military.

    Secondly, I can testify to its life-changing training, which I went on to utilise in various other walks of life. From leadership under stressful conditions, to discipline, and from motivating a team to work towards a clear coherent goal to self-sacrifice and honesty, the OTC creates individuals with skills and values central to the armed forces of this country which are highly valued by any employer. It is therefore providing a vital talent pool not only to the military but also to civil society and industry. I have personally employed the technique taught in the Platoon Combat Estimate - a method to create a very comprehensive plan of action to ensure you consider all available information, resources, weaknesses and strengths - in many of my business dealings to ensure I do not overlook any important details.

    Thirdly, the OTC is also an excellent medium for social mobility, giving those from less well off families a chance to become officers due to their OTC experience. I have personally witnessed young students, unsure of themselves, walking through the doors of the OTC office being transformed into ambitious, confident leaders in a matter of months. Such individuals will contribute meaningfully to society at large and benefit any industry they walk into.

    Abolishing the OTC is very short-sighted and will hit the most precious resource of the military the hardest - its people.

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