RAA Liaison Letter 2017 – Autumn Edition 1 Editor’s Comment Welcome to a very late ‘Autumn’ edition of the Liaison Letter. Unfortunately due to events beyond my control, in a nut shell the Army withdrew their Desk Top Publishing support, I was required to cancel last years ‘Spring’ edition. After a great deal of effort and staff work I have put in place a system that, at least for the moment, will allow me to continue to produce the Liaison Letter in its current form. To achieve this in addition to being editor I have assumed the role of desk top publisher. It has been an uphill battle to get to where we are now. Fortunately I have been able to rely on the ‘voluntary’ assistance Michelle Ray our previous Army Desk Top Publisher. I cannot thank her enough for her continued support to the Liaison Letter and Cannonball. We are very fortunate to have a very proactive and outcomes focused Head of Regiment in Brigadier Craig Furini. We are very fortunate to have a very proactive and outcomes focused Head of Regiment in Brigadier Craig Furini. It was extremely refreshing to see his commitment, dedication and work ethic not only towards the Royal Regiment but the Army and wider Australian Defence Force recognised with a Member in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List. On behalf of the Regiment, and me personally, I would like to congratulate HOR on his award as it was thoroughly deserved. Continuing the ‘frustration’ theme from the Liaison Letter / Cannonball desk top publishing ‘saga’, HOR has limited resources in terms of staff and funds to support his role. In my experience it has almost become a popular ‘sport’ to continually questions the validity of the HOR role and the staff support and related resourcing required to deliver his responsibilities especially leadership in a meaningful manner. I accept that we must and should continually review organisations and structures to ensure we are delivering best value for tax payer’s money. At the same time I think some of our leaders forget in the rush to make savings imposed by our political masters that ‘we’ are members of a very unique profession – The Profession of Arms - and that to sustain and motivate individuals who are part of this team you need to lead as well as promote the history of our forebears, and preserve heritage and traditions as part of that leadership. HOR supported by an effective staff plays a crucial role in delivering this capability for Army and the Australian people. Continuing the ‘frustration’ theme from the Liaison Letter / Cannonball desk top publishing ‘saga’ … Our leaders cannot have it each way as they are attempting to do so at the moment – they appear to espouse the importance of the HOC role but then handicap the incumbent financially by not considering realistic funding bids. Currently regardless of the detail and justification included in a HOC funding bid, the ‘bean counters’ simply say you can only have what you received last year – what unprofessional illogical rubbish. This situation was made worse when the staff positions were transferred (in most cases) to the respective Corps schools. This move combined with different views at this level on the role and duties of a HOC and their staff has seen a view evolve within some circles that the ARA SO2 HOC position was not important and therefore was ‘ripe’ for the harvesting. This combined with Corps Schools wanting more ‘Major’ level staff has resulted in local arrangements evolving from the ARA SO2 being converted to APS; to becoming a member of the school staff eg OPSO, 2IC or as in the case of the RAA SO2 being dual hatted as SO2 HOC and 2IC. Those who remember the closure of Corps Directorates at the end of 1997 will recall DARTY (Colonel Paul Retter) issued a comprehensive Strategic Plan in an effort to ensure a smooth and efficient transition of DARTY responsibilities to other areas. One goal in the plan was ‘Safeguard and Promote RAA Traditions’ . This goal attempted to group all those related responsibilities addressed by DARTY and most importantly his full-time staff, and allocate the tasks to an Honorary Head of Corps (HOC), CO/CI of the School of Artillery and a range of retired appointments and organisations such as the RAA Regimental Committee.