FORMATION OF SIMPSON WING, DFSS.
A The Simpson Wing naming history is directly related to that of the highly decorated war hero Major-General Colin Hall Simpson, CBE, MC, VD (1894-1964). MAJGEN Hall distinguished career culminated in being the Signals Officer-in-charge of Allied Land Forces in World War Two. He served in two world wars in theatres which included Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia and the South West Pacific. On a side note he was later the Vice-President of Essendon Football Club from 1947 to 1964.
PURPOSE OF THE RESTRUCTURE
For several years it had been felt that in order to deliver the very best training at the Defence Force School of Signals (a Tri-service entity since 2002) the trade and technical instructors would be better placed if they could take a step back from the command, leadership functions of trainees and focus solely on delivery of quality technical training. This was born out of a similar construct at other military Training Establishments and universities. Given that DFSS is entrusted with posturing its trainee's for ultimate operational success in the CISEW capability, the absolute focus must also be on delivering the highest standards of training, whilst ensuring a consistent command presence was supporting them through that.
CREATION OF SIMPSON WING
After much analysis and planning, Simpson Wing effectively replaced Support Wing on Friday 01 April 2016. The creation of Simpson Wing saw the arrival of many talented RASIG's personnel dedicated to a high standard of command, leadership and management of trainees whilst also providing a strong element of trade mentorship to new arrivals. In particular this trade mentorship is a crucial precursor that is setting new trainee's up for success prior to and during their relevant trade training.
Simpson Wing is structured along four technical trade Platoons; 1 Pl - ECN 661 and CISCON, 2 Pl - ECN 662, 3 Pl - ECN 665 and 4 Pl ECN 663 / 003 / 315. Simpson Wing is truly and unique flavour of Corps and services which adds to the overall vibrancy of the sub-unit.
An enlarged and cohesive Simpson Wing has undertaken many successful activities this year; including (but not limited to) the Combined Field Exercise (in May and November) and EX Simpson Wing in early November which saw various challenging physical activities being undertaken at several locations throughout the greater Melbourne area.
Overall, the revamped Simpson Wing has proven to be an overwhelming success in improving the quality of instruction, course management, physical fitness, field skills and overall esprit de corps amongst the trainees and the wider across the unit.
DEFENCE FORCE SCHOOL OF SIGNALS UNIT ESTABLISHMENT REVIEW UPDATE
Earlier this year the new Defence Force School of Signals (DFSS) Unit Establishment Review (UER) was endorsed by Chief of Army (CA) which has delivered a significant change to the way DFSS conducts training. There are a number of key areas of focus which the UER sought to address. Firstly, the need to free up instructors to become Subject Matter Experts (SME) in their given areas, to eliminate duplication of training and to invest in our instructors in order to improve the quality and methodology of training delivered to students. The second was the need to continue to "virtualise" and "regionalise" as much content from the Advanced curricula as possible. This would enable students to work through their on-going professional training in a smarter way with greater recognition of existing skills and less time away from home on residential courses. The last goal was to centralise and enhance the quality of field training across DFSS.
To achieve these goals, a significant structural change was required as follows:
1. Network Engineering Wing (NEW), formerly Technical Training Wing (TTW) and Network Communications Wing (NCW), formerly Land Air Wing (LAW) now operate as "faculties" delivering training in niche specialist areas to all trainees that require that particular skill. For example, router training is now centralised within the NEW faculty for all Initial, Advanced, Army, Navy or RAAF trainees.
2. Simpson Wing (SW, formerly Support Wing) have taken on all course management functions for IET courses, alleviating the CLM pressure on Faculty Instructors and enabling Simpson Wing to be the single port of call for all CLM, admin, welfare, trainee progress and discipline issues. Course management for Advanced courses remains with the faculties.
3. Regional Training Wing significantly enhanced with 12 additional Australian Regular Army (ARA) Cadre staff to continue to build on exported and regionally delivered training in the Advanced continua.
4. Corps and Advanced Training Wing Formerly Advanced Training Wing (ATW) are now responsible for the conduct of all field activities for Simpson Barracks based training. In addition, DFSS has now concentrated the assessment phases of as many courses as possible into bi-annual Combined Field Exercises (CFE). CFE 1 (May 16) and CFE 2 (Nov 16) have seen the combined deployment and assessment of ROBC, SUB 2 SGT, ECN 661, 662, 665 IET and CISCON sessions concurrently supported by the Unit providing BDE TAC, FWD, MAIN and BSG elements deployed to Puckapunyal training area. This has significantly raised the bar in terms of quality and realism of field training to better prepare our IET,
Officer and Advanced courses for employment in BDE environments. This change is significant, ambitious and has been very challenging to implement for DFSS staff who have been consistently called upon to be dynamic, adaptable and innovative in their approach this year. It has already delivered significant gains to members across the RA Sigs workforce from Initial Employment Trainees (IET) graduating with more mature field skills, to Advanced trainees achieving greater recognition or completing elements of their SUB 4 continua from home locations. DFSS will continue to build on this foundation through 2017 and beyond to keep pace with the increasing demands of the ICT workforce across Defence.
FORTY YEARS OF DEDICATED SERVICE THE ARMY AND THE CORPS
On Wednesday 04 May, the OC and myself had the privilege of travelling to Brisbane to witness a ceremony in which our own CAPT Geoffrey Quinn was presented a service award that very few achieve in their careers. Flanked by his wife Heather (also an ex Army EW Operator herself), and son; CAPT Brendan Quinn.
CAPT Geoffrey Quinn was awarded a fifth clasp and Federation Star to his Defence Long Service Medal, recognising forty years of service in the Australian Army.
As is customary, this extraordinary award was presented by a One Star Officer. More fitting though, was that this officer was the current RASigs Head of Corps, and current Commander 6th Brigade; Brigadier Marcus Thompson AM.
I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate CAPT Quinn and his family on this tremendous achievement, and ask you all to take the time to view these photos, in which CAPT Quinn (Geoffrey) elects to have his son; CAPT Quinn (Brendan), pin the medal on him on behalf of Brigadier Thompson.