Land Information Assurance Group
Once upon a time...
... in a bar far, far away (if you've any luck at all), an officer had a "WAGI". And everybody sensible ran away. However, the officer was a Brigadier and once they sobered up, they had to come crawling back. Luckily there was a Warrant Officer to take charge and he suggested that the "good idea" was such a wonderful thing that it should be given to the TA to do - because were not 81 Sigs such a wonderful example of industry knowledge being (ab)used to the benefit of the Army? So the regular officer corps breathed a sigh of relief and went back to drinking, for such is the only entertainment available in the wasteland known as Corsham.
So the 'Knights that are called "John"' were born. And the people came from far and wide etc, etc.
Who Do I Complain To?
For a long time, LIAG wore the "2nd prize in the Gymkhana" badge along with the rest of 2 Sig Bde. But with the defenestration of that venerable organisation (or was it that "past its best talking shop"?), they wandered lonely as a cloud, straight in to 11 Sig Bde. Who didn't have time to do that much with them, apparently, but the G4 seemed to get a little less sparse.
Now the Army Reserve part of the "Joint Force Cyber Group", waiting for the arrival of their dark and light blue colleagues and wondering what that is all going to mean.
Q: I have heard that you need to be called "John" to be recruited into the LIAG.
A: Never technically true. But it certainly seemed that way for quite a few years. New officers are no longer, thankfully, required to change their names by deed poll to John or Joan (entirely up to them - it's the modern Army) after the probation period expired - several non-John COs and a few retirements has forced this diminution of unit traditions. There are now a worrying number of "Matthew"s and "Matt"s being recruited. Yet to see our first "Matilda", though.
Q: Has anybody joined after reading this?
A: Not known. But this page has been mentioned at the required (see below, or TA Regs if you are sad) unit board. To me, actually. It's not fame, precisely, but it will do!
Q: A Royal Signals Unit?
A: Strictly, not. Except for the CO, who must be a scaley. Well, the current one is now - but used to be in the Infantry. The one before that was a scaley except she used to be in the RAF. The previous one spent a long career as a Fusilier, the one before that was Yeomanry (admittedly Sigs Yeomanry, the one before that is (still) a Gunner, and before that another Yeoman. It has to be said that the cap-badge diversity of the unit is dropping alarmingly, having lost our Cav, Cheshire and Int Corps peeps. We still have a couple of Gunners knocking around and have recently imported a new Para.
Previous members include the world's most enthusiastic Unit Equal Opportunities Officer (XV Para), and people from the Woofers. Being born in one of the MoD's usual fits of extreme purpleness, membership also includes one matelot and a number of ex-crabs, although they usually wear green kit and Jimmy badges to confuse people.
Q: So I can get a PQO commission as a Captain by joining this mob?
A1: Yup. Not a problem - if you are over 27. You will have to pass the Joint Cyber Reserves Selection Board (with a recommend for LIAG OF) and then the "Specialist Selection Board" at AOSB. Then you will do the PQO course at Sandhurst (the first bit may be done at Strensall). Oh, and being an expert (we do actually mean this) in Information Security is essential. Being qualified on any of the ITPC, CLAS or CHECK schemes would be a start.
We should also note that there are now a limited number of NCO / SNCO places available for people already qualified in a number of specialist areas - TEMPEST, TSCM, DefMon and DIMon.
Q: What do you do?
A: Information Assurance (the clue is in the title). We trog around the Army kicking computers and breathing in through clenched teeth. We then go home and write reports that nobody reads. Someone thinks it's worthwhile.
Q: Do you deploy?
A: Yes - on pukka operations (if there are any) and on real tasks in non-operational theatres. All the f*cking time if you want to (or if you are having 'marital harmony' issues). Rarely, it has to be said, for very long, though - so it'll take you almost as long to get a tour gong as it will for your VRSM (although there are increasing opportunities for normal-ish length mobs, now, if you hate your boss / spouse / life enough.) About a couple of to three weeks is more normal and time on task is less (although time spent waiting around for transport can seem like forever.) It originally came as a shock to three of us when we were forced to spend a whole day at RTMC (more of a shock to them, it has to be said) but we can still often manage it in a day or two rather than the usual 3 weeks.
You 'd be pushed to find a bunch of people around (considering that we are part-timers) with worse things to say about our gallant light-blue colleagues of the movements branch. Currently advertised opportunities (unit task deployments) include Afghanistan, the wider Middle East (KIPPION since the demise of TELIC), as well as the Falklands, Brunei, Kenya, BATUS, BIOT and numerous other highlights of the Army travel schedule.
Q: What would the real Army normally say to you?
A: "Point that rifle down range or I'll beat you stupid with it... Sir." (As in "You will call me 'Sir' and I will call you 'Sir'. The difference is that you will mean it!")
A2: "Get your hair cut you f*cking hom... oh, sorry... Sir."
Q: I am in a desert with one of your officers and we are under fire. What should I do?
A: A quick check of the officer to see if there are any indications of military competence might be beneficial - para wings, their stable belts, firing aimed shots towards the threat, etc. Otherwise, or if time is not on your side, ask him to put a brew on.
A: Errm. The Queen's Commission, if you don't already hold one. A contractor-friendly TA commitment. Mostly a decent bunch of folks. More MTP than you can shake several hairy sticks at (if that's what turns you on).
A: Corsham. Definitely. Brize Norton. MATTS. Corsham. Doing the same job in the TA as you do in the real world but for much, much less money (unless you mobilise, in which case it is slightly less money, or are a civil serpent in which case you may even get a pay rise!.) Corsham. And although Maj JP is now with the other lot we can't guarantee he won't be back.
Q: Do I have to be in the Army Reserve already or have any military experience?
A: No. But those would probably help for AOSB. Frankly, the most important thing is your relevant skills. That's what the JCRSB is for.
Q: I want to be a steely eyed dealer of death / I want to lead men into battle.
Q: I am really interested in joining / I really fancy a laugh. What do I do?
A: PM me (Idrach) and I'll put you in touch with the SO2 Recruiting. Or you could just email email@example.com.
You could try the official website, although there is not a lot there.