THE PURPOSE AND ORGANISATION OF STAFF RIDES
Purpose: Leaflet Sponsor:
To define the purpose of RAF Staff Rides, OC GETC (DACOS FD)
clearly articulate the authority for their RAF Cranwell
implementation and give guidance to those
charged with their organisation.
Scope: All personnel charged with the Point of Contact: Wg Cdr A A F WHITE
organisation and delivery of SO1 FDSG
References: Additional Reading:
A. Air Command Guidance – Funding and A. AP3000
Approval of Staff Rides. B. AP3002
B. RAF QR Appendix 36A. C. AP3003
C. JSP 375 Vol 2 Lflt 11 – Safety in D. AP3370 Lflt 2410
Military Training and Exercises.
D. AP 1.
E. JSP 751 Jt Casualty and
Compassionate Policy and Procedures.
F. JSP 765 Armed Forces Compensation
THIS POLICY APPLIES TO ALL RAF STAFF RIDES
1. Staff Rides (SRs), properly organised, researched and led can be a highly effective tool to reinforce
and develop education across the spectrum of FD domains. Whilst many commanders and subordinates
have gained valuable recent operational experience, this tends to be within the bounds of their Branch /
Trade, can be Theatre specific and may have limited wider application. SRs therefore enable participants to
research key historical operations in a wider context, in order to promote discussion and analysis of events
that have direct application to modern operations at all levels both in current and future environments. SRs
differ fundamentally from Battlefield Tours in that they require significant, proactive participant involvement
from the outset to guarantee productive analysis and discussion to meet specific training objectives which
examine both historical events and modern operational concepts.
2. Careful construction of SR objectives, coupled with considered selection of relevant geographic
locations for delivery, are critical to ensuring that SRs continue to provide significant, cost effective FD
benefits and ultimately enhance the operational effectiveness of RAF personnel. To that end, and in addition
to the checks provided through this policy, all proposals for SRs are liable for external scrutiny by Kings’
College London (KCL) RAFC Cranwell, the Air Historical Branch (AHB) and the Directorate of Defence
Studies RAF (DDefS (RAF)) at the request of the Force Development Support Group (FDSG).
DEFINITION AND AIM OF A STAFF RIDE
3. A RAF SR is defined as:
‘The guided, participatory analysis of selected historical operations at relevant locations, in order to
develop the moral and conceptual components of Air and Fighting Power across the RAF.’
4. The aim of the SR is the proactive analysis of past operations from which direct application can be
made to current and future operational environments through the study of:
a. The spectrum of military activity.
b. The employment and development of Air Power.
Air Power, Leadership, Common Military Skills, Deployed Operations Training, RAF Ethos and Heritage.
c. Command and Leadership at all levels.
d. Deployed operations.
e. The Ethos and Heritage of the RAF.
5. SRs are military exercises with clear aims and objectives and are not to be used solely to fulfil
defence diplomacy tasks, commemorations, representational duties, maintenance of historical sites,
community projects, AT or team building. Whilst it is accepted that team building may be a ‘fringe benefit’ of
SRs, it is not an FD Domain and is, therefore, not to be the Main Effort of a SR. All other activities above
should be staffed and funded separately within the stn / unit. Guidance for incorporating SR elements into
other activity is at Annex A. SRs are only to be undertaken where alternate forms of training cannot
achieve the same outcomes more cost-effectively.
6. SRs are available to all RAF personnel, regardless of rank, branch or trade, as well as selected
civilian staff, contractors and others who support operations where applicable. RAF stations/units should aim
to ensure that a minimum of 10% of their personnel attend a SR in each of the financial years 07/08 and
08/09. The Service aspires to raise this figure to a 20% minimum in due course, with every serving member
of the RAF attending a SR at least once in every 5-year period . SRs fulfil an education / development need
across the Service and places on such exercises are necessarily limited, therefore the same personnel should
not undertake more than one SR in this initial period. These requirements will ensure that a consistent
approach to the organisation of SRs is adopted across the Service.
7. It is emphasised that a properly organised one-day SR held in a station’s local area can achieve
significant benefit. The key elements are directed research to achieve specific training objectives with
direct linkage to modern operations.
PLANNING SEQUENCE FOR RAF STAFF RIDES
8. All RAF SRs are to be organised and conducted following the phased format below. Detail
concerning the organisation of SRs is at Annex A. Applications for all overseas SRs and any (including UK
based) requiring central funding support are to use the application at Annex B.
a. Phase 1 - Planning and Preliminary Study. In order for a SR to be a success, planning
must begin well in advance of the planned deployment. To that end it is recommended that Phase 1
commences at least 4 months ahead of Phase 2. In addition to the actions below, a unit SR organiser
may wish to engage the services of an experienced, qualified SR academic / historian. Details of
such individuals are at Para 16c and early approaches to them will pay dividends during the
construction and potentially, the delivery of the exercise. During Phase 1 the SR organiser is to
undertake the following actions having first sought advice from a qualified (see Para 16b) member of
the stn FDS (or FDSG if the unit does not have access to a stn FDS):
(1) Decide upon the Training Objectives (TO) of the SR which anticipates the
knowledge level and composition of the intended group.
(2) Select a suitable type of operation to meet the objectives with relevant application to
current and future operations.
(3) Select the location for the Field Study (Phase 2) of the SR to meet requirements
(4) Construct questions for participants to research that will draw out the SR objectives.
(5) Identify how the SR will be evaluated.
(6) Carry out a cost estimate and gain financial authority for use of unit funds from
the unit BLB holder (iaw Para 11).
A policy review will be conducted by the FDSG at the end of the initial 2 year period in order to assess overall success in achieving this
(7) Gain diplomatic clearance for the planned destination to be visited (iaw Annex A).
(8) Seek security advice from the Stn RAFP Counter Intelligence (CI) Section for the
planned destination to be visited (iaw Annex A).
(9) Apply for Authority for the SR to proceed (and Central Funding support if desired)
using the application form at Annex B. The application is to be sent to the stn FDS in the first
instance for checking and data capture before being sent to the FDSG for approval. The
application must then be sent in e-mail format to the FDSG no later than 8 weeks ahead of
the planned Field Study (Phase 2) of the SR. The FDSG will not accept hard copies. The
FDSG will scrutinise the application and will, on occasion, forward them to the RAF Academic
Staff at RAFC Cranwell for further comment. Following this, the FDSG will return the
application to the originator confirming the success or otherwise of the application and stating
the amount of central funding (if requested) that has been provisionally allocated to the SR.
Actual funds will only be transferred to the nominated unit UIN on receipt of the SR PXR at
(10) In order for Phase 2 to run as smoothly as possible it may be desirable for the
organiser to conduct a recce of the destination. This is recommended if the unit is not
accompanied by a SR academic / historian (Para 16c), or if the destination has not been
visited previously by a SR from the stn. The costs for recces are borne entirely by the unit and
are to comply with guidance at Reference A and Para 11. Additionally, organisers will need to
gain authority for use of funds from the unit BLB holder. Recces are not to occur until
authority has been granted by the FDSG for the SR to proceed.
(11) Issue questions and background reading to participants who will be delivering
stands. It is essential that all participants conduct appropriate pre-study if full value is to be
gained from the exercise. Additionally, any pre-Field Study lectures, film viewings
(acknowledging the obvious ‘Hollywood angle’), and museum visits should be conducted in
this Phase. Significant participant involvement before embarking on Phase 2 will ensure
productive analysis and discussion in ‘the field’.
b. Phase 2 – Field Study. The aim of Phase 2 is to visit the significant sites associated
with the selected operation or with the proportion of the operation emphasised during the Phase 1
study periods. Participants are to demonstrate the results of their Phase 1 study through the delivery
of presentations and interactive discussion periods which seek to answer the questions set with
reference to current and future operations / roles.
c. Phase 3 - Consolidation. No matter how detailed the Phase 1 preparation and how well
executed the Field Study (Phase 2), the truly successful SR requires comprehensive consolidation.
The aim of Phase 3 is therefore to measure the effect of the exercise, confirm the SR outcomes and
to determine whether or not the original education/development and training needs were fulfilled.
Phase 3 also provides the ideal opportunity to capture the preparatory work carried out by individuals
in support of their stand delivery and consequently means that this effort can be used for the benefit of
others. The PXR which results from Phase 3 will be used by the FDSG to inform the CAS annually on
the progress of RAF SRs and to support other units in preparing their future SR programmes. In
Phase 3 the organiser is to:
(1) Conduct a collective de-brief with all participants on returning to unit. This affords all
participants with the opportunity to reflect jointly upon their experiences during all phases of
the SR and forms the basis of information for the PXR. Information regarding source
documents and references used by participants when preparing their stands should be
collated and passed to the FDS for future use.
(2) Produce a PXR (using the format at Annex C only), completing each section as
comprehensively as possible. Positive and negative points are required in order that the
FDSG can assess the value of the SR for future use by other stns / units. This will be then
used to form a database (in future to be accessible via the FDSG web page) that can be used
by other stns / units when preparing their SRs.
(3) Forward the PXR to the FDSG in e-format NLT 3 weeks from the end of the Field
Phase of the SR. Information copies are to be sent to stn cdrs, unit cdrs and OC FDS. The
FDSG will not accept hard copies of PXR. On receipt of the PXR centrally allocated funds (if
previously requested) will be transferred to the unit nominated UIN.
9. All RAF personnel, irrespective of rank, Branch or Trade are eligible to participate in SRs at Public
expense. MOD Civil Servants (CS) are also eligible to undertake SRs provided that it can be demonstrated
that the SR meets a clearly identified education/development need that cannot be addressed by existing
formal training and meets current work objectives as agreed by the individual concerned in consultation with
his/her line manager. A full pre and post SR evaluation will be required to demonstrate to the CS Line
Manager the direct relevance and benefit to work objectives. Non-MOD Civil Servants, other civilians and
contractors or personnel employed in support of the RAF may also take part in SRs, but will be expected to
fulfil the criteria above, take leave and pay for their own expenses. Additionally, they should be advised to
take out personal insurance for the exercise.
AUTHORITY AND FUNDING
10. Authority. This Policy is the only authority for the conduct of SRs in the RAF (including UK SRs
involving overnight travel away from duty unit). The sole exception is for SRs which are conducted in the
formal (Phase 1 – 3) training environment. All units planning SRs are to adhere to the requirements of Para 8.
Units are not to proceed with preparations beyond Phase 1 or deploy on Phase 2 of the SR until authorisation
is granted by the FDSG. To gain authority to proceed, the proposed SR must meet the aims and objectives of
this policy. Conduct of one-day local (UK) SRs is a matter of stn policy; however, this document is to be used
for planning purposes and for application for Central Funds if required. Where SRs form part of a formal
course (Phase 1 - 3 Training) the syllabus provides the authority and resources (including funding) for the SR,
having been approved by the Branch / Trade Sponsor.
11. Stn / Unit Funding. There are 2 sources of funds available from within stns / units for SRs; Trg
Budgets and T&S. Stns / units routinely receive funding for training and education which can be used for
some aspects of SRs. During Phase 1, units requiring funds from the Stn Trg Budget should submit their
requirements to the Budget Holder (usually OC TDF / STDO) who will provide advice on usage (Eg Museum
fees). Concurrently, approval for use of T&S is to be gained from the unit T&S Budget Manager. In
accordance with Reference A, organisers of SRs that are wholly or partly funded from BLB funds are to
ensure that applications (in the format at Annex B) are routed via stn finance staff at the appropriate level.
Finance staff will be able to confirm the availability of funds and ensure compliance with Departmental rules
on value for money, affordability, regularity and propriety. The application is to include a full cost estimate
(including all incidental expenses associated with the SR) and be accompanied by a nominal roll of proposed
participants. This action is to be carried out and confirmed before an application for Central Funding is made
to the FDSG.
12. Central Funding. To assist stns / units to realise the stated aims of this Policy, SR organisers may
apply for central funding within the application at Annex A. This application must be received by the FDSG in
e-mail format (via a units stn FDS where applicable) at least 8 weeks before the intended departure date on
Phase 2 of the SR. If the application meets the requirements of this policy the SR will be financially supported
up to a maximum of 50% of actual total costs, subject to FDSG scrutiny. Funding will also cover individual
participants from sister services, provided that the majority of participants on the SR are from the RAF. If a
unit is Joint, a proportionate amount of funding should also be sought from the other services sources. In all
cases, central funding is limited to a maximum of 50% of actual costs. The FDSG will return the application to
the originator confirming the success or otherwise of the application and stating the amount of central funding
that has been provisionally allocated to the SR. Funds will only be transferred to the nominated unit UIN on
receipt of the SR PXR. Failure to provide PXRs within timescales may result in the stn / unit wholly funding
13. Role of Stn Force Development Squadrons. Stn FDS fulfil a number of functions that contribute
to the overall success of SRs across The Service. These are as follows:
a. Advise / provide assistance to unit SR organisers on their stns in the setting of TOs, selection
of operations for study, advice on stand locations to be visited, construction of questions for
participants and determining outcomes for the SR.
b. Provision of selected sources of pre-study material for participants.
Transport regulations for civilians must be discussed in advance with the relevant MT authority.
c. Assistance with completion of authorisation documentation (Annex B).
d. Scrutiny of all unit SR applications and their onward despatch (e-mail) to the FDSG for
e. Financial assistance to units via stn FD budget (See Para 11) where applied for outside unit
f. Assistance with completion of the PXR (Annex C).
g. Maintenance of a database of unit SRs for future use by units on their stn.
h. Collating reference material, source documents and SR ‘findings’ of participants in order to
capture the effort expended by participants when preparing their stands for the future benefit of
i. Maintenance of a database recording details of participants in order to meet the
requirements detailed at Para 6.
14. In order to best undertake the above roles, stn FDS are to have at least one member of uniformed
staff qualified as SR facilitators (iaw Para 16b). It is not necessary (or indeed desirable given current
workloads) for this qualified individual, or any other member of stn FDS staff, to lead the unit SRs themselves,
this is the role of the unit organiser (who themselves should pass on SR organisational responsibility to
another for future exercises). The FDS is there to provide advice in planning and post-exercise assessment,
not ‘in the field’ delivery. Stn FDS should however aim to run two SRs annually aimed at stn personnel who
are not on the strength of recognised Formed Units.
15. Duty Status. In all cases, SRs attract Duty Status in accordance with Reference B, and therefore
personal contributions are not appropriate. Duty Status safeguards personal benefits in the event of an injury
whilst participating in a SR, including the performance of specific functions and time spent in particular
locations, which although not core SR activity, are considered to be integral in supporting the overall aims of
the SR. Only those activities authorised by the Det Cdr and articulated in the application at Annex B will be
permissible for duty status during a SR. Duty status requires that all Service personnel conform to the
following minimum standards:
(a) Are medically and dentally fit and have a MES appropriate to the nature of the SR. If the SR
requires a degree of physical activity, or involves travel overseas, then the MES must be of the
appropriate level. Further guidance can be sought from the SMO or Chf Clk.
(b) Are CCS current to ensure adequate first aid and emergency care can be administered in the
event of an accident.
CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS FOR STAFF RIDES
16. The concept and aims of the SR must be decided at the outset. The primary factors to be considered
a. Objectives. Fundamental to the success of a SR is the selection and delivery of the TOs, not
the climate or hospitality of the local populace of the country visited. The TOs must be of
demonstrable relevance to operational concepts, doctrine, C2 capabilities, roles and equipment and
must complement other forms of training. Set at unit level, the TOs must focus on the employment
and development of Air Power, Command and Leadership at an appropriate level, the spectrum of
military activity and the Ethos and Heritage of the RAF. Specific lessons or learning points that can be
applied to current and / or future operations must be identified for each stand: without any such
objectives a SR cannot be justified. Additionally, units may wish to examine the role of a particular unit
/ wg / sqn / branch / trade during a particular operation whilst contrasting this with operations today.
Given the aims of RAF SRs, organisers need not look further back in history than the beginning of the
20 Century when setting their TOs. Whilst it is accepted that much can be learned from the study of
C3, application of firepower and logistics (etc) during more distant conflicts, these alone should not
form the basis of a SR.
In time, this information will be called for by the FDSG and where appropriate published on the FD website for future use.
b. Qualifications. Iaw Para 14 Stn FDS are to have at least one member of uniformed staff
who is qualified to assist units with organising SRs and who is also responsible for organising and
consulting on the delivery of stn level SRs. This qualification is currently awarded through successful
completion of the DDefS (RAF) Exercise TALLY HO (Training) Course. Successful completion of this
training confers a ‘q-sr’ status on individuals. Unit organisers may consider applying for a place on
Exercise TALLY HO (Training) for an appropriate person on their unit in order to assist with the
planning and conduct of the SR. Whilst it remains an aspiration that all RAF SRs are accompanied by
a ‘q-sr’ individual the numbers currently holding this qualification are limited, therefore making this
impractical; however, by Jan 12 all SRs are to be accompanied by a q-sr individual . In the interim
units are encouraged to ensure that they have a ‘q-sr’ individual assist with the planning of the SR, if
not the delivery. SR applications that are received by the FDSG from a stn which have not been
scrutinized by appropriately qualified personnel risk being returned to originator without being
authorised. Should a unit or FDS not have a ‘q-sr’ individual the FDSG is to be contacted for advice in
the early planning stages of the SR. Because of the forward looking, operational aspects of RAF SRs,
each exercise must have a regular serving officer (q-d JOCC) or SNCO q-d AMLC) to facilitate these
aspects of Phase 2 field study.
c. Use of SR Academics / Historians. Previous SR PXRs show that the employment of
appropriately qualified and experienced SR Academics / Historians can add considerable value to the
exercise in the planning stages, during delivery and in the achievement of the overall objectives. They
can add depth and breadth of knowledge to individual SR stands, can provide linkage between the
stands and prevent the SR becoming a series of isolated, unrelated historical incidents. Such SR
Academics / Historians may be sought from a number of sources, primarily:
(1) The AHB.
(2) KCL Lecturers.
(3) The FDSG.
(4) Commercial Companies.
(5) Freelance Guides.
Organisers wishing to engage such ‘external’ support should, in the first instance, seek advice from
the FDSG, DDefS (RAF) or the KCL Management Team. It is strongly recommended that this is done
early as ‘in Service’ SR Facilitators (AHB, KCL, FDSG) will be required to be released from their
primary duty. Such staff can provide considerable guidance, sources of information and assistance
with key learning points during Phase 1, even if they are unable to accompany the SR itself. Any use
of a commercial company / freelance guides will need to be wholly justified to the FDSG. Organisers
are to ensure that the TOs of the SR and the requirements of this Policy are still met and that the
company or guide does not default to simply providing a battlefield tour. The over-riding principle is
that the Academic / Historian is there to enhance the SR and their input should not in any way reduce
the work required from, or the active involvement of the participants. The forward looking requirement
remains (Para 16b). An additional consideration is that of insurance. MOD will accept the liability to
pay compensation to civilian Academics / Historians employed as guides on staff rides if the
Department or its employees should cause them injury. MOD is authorised to do so since these
individuals are assisting MOD in the fulfilment of its core, publicly funded duty of training its personnel.
MOD will not, however, accept liability for any injury or damage which the civilian Academic / Historian
themselves may cause. If the individual works for a company they will be covered by their employer's
liability, but if they are freelance it is recommended that they should hold their own personal liability
d. Location. SRs may be conducted locally, nationally or overseas, the over-riding factor being
that the chosen location must demonstrably support the achievement of the TOs. Local knowledge
and research will offer the potential for one day activities in the vicinity of stations / units and a
significant number of assets which can be used to support SRs exist within the RAF nationally (RAFC
Cranwell, 11 Gp bunker Uxbridge, etc). Locations overseas offer the opportunity to walk the sites
over which noteworthy actions occurred and can increase the benefit to participants through detailed
examination of the terrain. To that end, Northern Europe offers a vast quantity of examples of air
power application in joint and combined operations, leadership in war and RAF Ethos and Heritage
achievable in a cost-effective manner. Organisers who select operations for study outside this region
are to fully justify the reasons for their choice and the associated cost benefits. Regardless of location,
the procedures and considerations for organising a SR are equally applicable. Within the general
location of the SR, site selection for delivery of stands is vital. Major considerations are:
(1) Relevance. What is the relevance to the SR and what effect is to be achieved?
(2) Accessibility. How accessible is the site by vehicle, what size of party / vehicle does
the site cater for / private land / ground conditions / weather conditions etc?
(3) Historical integrity. Is the site relatively unchanged since the operation or has later
development obscured / obliterated the ‘key’ features? What evidence remains from the
(4) Sources. What sources of information regarding the site are available for participant
research? (unit histories / F540s / first hand accounts should be utilised if available)
(5) Logistic support. What support is available at the site to support the party? (Toilets /
museums / feeding / locality in relation to accn etc)
e. Target Audience. The target audience may be defined at unit level or be largely driven by the
SR objectives. As SRs are applicable to all ranks the selection of TOs, setting of research questions
and the content delivery of stands must be carefully tailored to suit audience needs, rank and
experience. Unit organisers are encouraged to select a broad rank mix when organising SRs to
ensure personnel receive the widest possible opportunity for development.
QUALITY CONTROL AND EVALUATION
17. Externally, The Generic Education and Training Centre (GETC) staff will conduct periodic standards
evaluation of RAF SRs, which will usually occur during the Field Study Phase (2) of an exercise. Additionally,
on behalf of ACAS, DDefS (RAF) and AHB staff will provide an independent check on standards in
consultation with the FDSG. Short notice observations of SRs in the field will provide confidence in the quality
of organisation and thinking behind the exercises and highlight any areas that require further direction.
During Phase 1, the SR organiser is to identify how the SR will be evaluated. In line with DSAT QS, due
consideration must be given to the following:
a. Does the SR have clearly defined, measurable and relevant objectives?
b. How are these objectives going to be measured during the SR?
c. How will the PXR confirm that these objectives have been achieved?
d. How are participants’ views of the SR going to be gathered and collated?
e. How will the overall value of the SR be measured?
f. In what format is the ‘Value to the RAF’ of the SR going to be measured and presented?
ORGANISATION OF STAFF RIDES
18. The conduct of Phase 2 of a SR can be likened to any other detachment from a unit, be it for a day or
for an extended period either within or outside the UK. The detail for the organisation of SRs is at Annex A.
RECORDING OF TRG
19. Stn FD staffs are to ensure that a record of SR trg and attendance is maintained for all participants in
order to fulfil the criteria at Para 6.
CONDUCT AND DISCIPLINE
20. Participants of SRs are representing both their unit and the RAF and in the case of overseas SRs,
guests in the host country. Behaviour commensurate with Reference D and the high standards expected of
Service personnel is to be displayed at all times. Personnel are also to be made aware of the requirements of
Equal Opportunities and consequences of any form of harassment. Any indiscipline should be dealt with by
the Det Cdr and, if required, by the appropriate chain of command on return to home location.
A. Organisation of Staff Rides.
B. Application for Central Funding for a Proposed Staff Ride.
C. Staff Ride Post Exercise Report Format.
D. Outline Admin Order.
E. Diplomatic Clearance Contact Details and Conduct Protocols.
Appendix to Annex E:
1. Request for Transit Clearance – Germany, France, Low Countries.