RAF Cosford Present
COMMAND AND CONTROL AT THE COSFORD SITE
The Station Commander of RAF Cosford (an RAF group captain) is also the Commandant of the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE), i.e. he is dual-hatted. He is deputised for by 2 officers; OC Base Support Wing is Deputy Station Commander and the Chief of Staff DSAE is the Deputy Commandant DSAE.
RAF Cosford provides site-wide support services to the lodger units based at Cosford. This is delivered through 2 wings:
Base Support Wing (BSW) provides Personnel Management, Security, Administrative, PEd and personal Education/Training and services and is commanded by OC BSW, an RAF wing commander.
Station Logistics Wing (SLW) provides Supply Services; Contract Monitoring (against the catering, engineering support and accommodation-provision contracts); liaison with the Estate Management and Computer Systems providers; SHEP&SD (Safety, Health, Safety, Environmental Protection & Sustainable Development) and running of the iHub services. SLW is managed by OC SLW, a C1 Grade Civil Servant.
Medical, Dental, Chaplaincy and the provision of airfield services are provided via Service chains of command.
RAF COSFORD, THE DEFENCE TRAINING REVIEW AND BEYOND
Following the publication of the outcome of the Defence Training Review (DTR) in 2001, and the implementation of the DTR Rationalization Programme thereafter, the whole of the MOD’s Phase 2 training was placed within one of 6 training streams (Air Engineering, Electro-Mechanical Engineering, Communication & Information Systems (CIS), Logistics, Security, Languages, Intelligence and Photography (SLIP) or Police and Administration). Each training stream, headed by a one-star officer, constituted a Federated College.
The Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE) located its headquarters at Cosford (the vesting of the College took place on 1 Apr 04). No1 Radio School and the Defence School of Photography remained at Cosford post-1 Apr 04 but their command and control migrated to the Defence College of CIS and Defence Intelligence and Security Centre, respectively. On the 5 Jan 06, the RAF School of Physical Training transferred to the direct command and control of DACOS Trg Mgt at the then HQ Personnel and Training Command (now part of Air Command) but, subsequently, C2 migrated directly to OC BSW at RAF Cosford.
On the 17 Jan 07, the Secretary of State for Defence, as part of a broad statement about the whole of the DTR programme, announced that a Public Private Partnership route had been chosen for the delivery of a Defence Training Academy of which the DCAE would be one element. Subject to further negotiations with the Preferred Bidder (the METRiX Consortium), and subsequent decisions within the MOD, the DCAE and No1 Radio School were expected to move to a newly-built Defence Technical College (note name change since 2007) at St Athan, South Wales.
On 19 Oct 10, the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was announced; on the same day, a statement was made about the DTR programme. As a consequence of the latter, which included the information that the preferred bidder statusof Metrix had been terminated, the future for staff and students at RAF Cosford was once again placed under the microscope.
The DTR announcement explained that despite strenuous efforts of the MOD and Metrix, it hadnot been possible to make the project affordable nor had it been possible to develop the required commercial structurewithin the time allowed. However, it also recognised that the aims behind the DTR were still valid, i.e. there remained a need to continue to deliver the highest quality technical training to the military in a way that is effective; delivers value for money and is affordable; and using modern and up-to-date equipment and facilities.
Given that the need still existed to deliver Defence Training Transformation, a range of alternative proposals for the delivery of training began to be explored. Indeed, the Defence Technical Training Change Programme (DTTCP) was introduced as the successor to the DTR. Moreover, while the work of the DTTCP was to run in parallel with the SDSR, it was acknowledged that the training requirements would be amended in due course to account for the outcome of the SDSR.
The DTTCP was to generate an alternative training solution across Phase 2 training for Defence. However, and crucially, it was recognised that wider pressure on budgets across defence meant that the military could not wait until the DTTCP solution came along to improve defence training and make it affordable. Rather, the instruction was, “get on with it”. Thus post-DTR as a Defence Change Programme the Phase 2 ‘training machines’ continued to operate in broadly the same organisational construct, but doing better in sharing best practice and using modern training methodologies.
A Ministerial announcement on 18 Jul 11included the following comment on the DTTCP:
RAF Lyneham is the preferred location for future Defence Technical Training. This confirms that the Department will withdraw from Arborfield, in Berkshire and Bordon, in Hampshire, releasing the sites for sale by 2014-15 at the latest. This announcement in no way threatens the existing Defence presence at St Athan. There are no plans to move or reduce the 300 technical training posts as part of the rationalisation to Lyneham. Indeed plans to relocate additional Defence units to St Athan are being developed, and if those plans come to fruition, they will bring a major uplift in employment at that base. We intend to make an announcement before the end of the year.
While neither DCAE (DSAE wef 01 Oct 12) nor RAF Cosford was specifically mentioned in the statement, the MOD DTTCP Team advised that work would begin on options for the most effective and efficient phased moves of Defence Technical Training to Lyneham, rationalising the estate whilst ensuring continuity of training. Significantly, options will be subject to detailed scrutiny and investment appraisal and resulting decisions must be affordable and deliver VfM.
There are no plans for the movement of any DSAE unit at present, apart from the Arborfield move mentioned in the Ministerial announcement of 18 Jul 11. Furthermore, while the DTTCP includes an element of estate rationalisation with a longer term (by 2020) aspiration to relocate all technical training to RAF Lyneham, there are still the hurdles of affordability and VfM to be overcome before technical training will relocate from Cosford to Lyneham.
THE DSAE AND THE DEFENCE COLLEGE OF TECHNICAL TRAINING (DCTT)
As part of the DTTCP-driven development of Defence Technical Training, the DCTT formed on the 01 Oct 12 from:
- Defence College of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DCEME),
- Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering (DCAE)
- Defence College of Communications and Information Systems (DCCIS)
With the above colleges having changed to schools wef 01 Oct 12, the DCTT now has 4 Pillars:
- Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) - School HQ at Cosford.
- Defence School of Communications and Information Systems (DSCIS) - School HQ at Blandford.
- Defence School of Electro-Mechanical Engineering (DSEME); initially comprising Borden and Arborfield schools with 4SoTT to become subordinate on move to Lyneham.
- Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) - School HQ at Gosport.
The DCTT structure is coherent with training volumes in each of Defence Schools and provides OF5-level command to enable delivery of site functions as Heads of Establishment in the Stations and Garrisons concerned (e.g. Commandant DSAE also the Station Commander of RAF Cosford).
The HQ DCTT will be initially based in HMS SULTAN, Gosport, but will move to Lyneham no later than the end of 2014.