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Is it just me or does anyone else feel like all those young offices comming out of that fine training establishment Sandhurst(all dodgy countries welcome as long as the cheque clears) are now below a standard that is not acceptable to us enlisted scum. They wont assist in solving problems but create more, they wont speak up for their men when somthing is clearly wrong. Their abillity to show any leadership is questionable cant understand why anyone wants to sign off. Should we be looking at new ways to train or recruit these people maybe adopt a new system like isreal where everyone  joins as a private and only until they reach sgt are they considard for office corps training this could be a good method for a small army like ours retention would increase as officers would want to get to that magic selection slot their understanding of our needs would be better as they would have gone through 6 to 9 years of the same shit we do. We are a small army and getting smaller should we not look at getting better quailty than quantity
You must come from a fairly unlucky unit.  That is almost without exception (there always are) untrue.
Surely if they are not of the required quality then it is down to the strength of your officer-supportive NCOs to educate them and to assist them in seeing the error of their ways.

That said, the Hurst , or should I call it the National Leadership Training Centre,is changing dramatically.

Standards are probably dropping everywhere across the board because of the endemic fluffiness which is imposed upon us by our now panzy liberal society where fewer people are prepared to work to achieve.  If something is unachievable or merely difficult, nowadays (and this definitely applies to Sandhurst), rather than the root causes being examined, the goal posts are shifted to the left in order that people feel better by achieving, albeit a lesser goal.
"endemic fluffiness which is imposed upon us by our now panzy liberal society where noone needs to work to achieve.  "

You must come form a pretty poor society...

The one I live and work in has the longest working hours in Europe, hasn't a lot of job security (when was the last time you were made redundant?) and I don't know anyone who gets paid for doing nothing (and I won't make any cheap jibes about Sports Afternoons or Block Leave)

I read a lot of comments on this site about liberal/lazy/fluffy/idle/moral-less/fatunfitoverweight society...................I suggest you get out more and see how people support their families without job security and generous Govt pensions.

Been there, done that etc etc - did you really  think I would express an opinion about a body of people I knew nothing about?!!

I have lived both sides and it frankly never ceases to amaze me how little comprehension of each other military and non-military folk have. There are hardships, sacrifices, strengths and weaknesses endured by all, but I will no more tolerate a blanket condemnation of civvies as "liberal blah blah" than I will of soldiers being condemned as thoughtless grunts. (or "mindless idiots" as one particularly offensive line manager in a Defence Industry company used to describe them to me).


War Hero
Having now been on both sides of the fence i feel it is more a case of not so much failing to support your soldiers, but more of when you do stand up for our jocks you get thoroughly shafted by the higherarchy (especially when you're in the TA. :mad:
Amen to that- I speak from personal and temporairily bitter experience.

You may have done the right thing, but Lord, the hierarchy WILL make you pay for it  :mad:
Sounds like  a really bad case of communication break down. I believe all that you say.

Why would the "Hierarchy" not want to protect their soldiers (No snorts of derision please!) and why woud they attack anyone who was trying to do so?
I'm with Prodigal on this one.  

We all have a clear grasp of the Moral Component of the Military Covenant in our unit.

The obligations of the chain of command are well understood and we all have our PDRs updated monthly.

London Scot and PTP must surely be in the minority?
Every generation comments that the one going through the system now isn't up to the same exacting standards it was in their day. That is par for the course I am afraid. I hear it from the old and bold truckies of the RCT who decry the fact that a lot of modern vehicles have power steering, and they didn't in their day...all more rufty tufty when men where men and sheep were nervous, that sort of stuff. The fact they overlook is the modern battlefield requiers equipment that is highly manouverable and sophisticated and a bit of power steering doesn't make the task any less demanding now than it was then. The same is true of the Inf and fitness standards, and the majority of the army when the older generations talk of discipline.

The issue that should be addressed is not "are we as tough/disciplined etc as we were before?", but " does the training environment meet the needs of the army as it stands today?". Allied to this is "how much flexibility exists in the system to allow us to train soldiers with the transferrable skills they will require to meet the challenges of tomorrow?"

I recognise the point made by para_padre that YOs do not always understand fully the nuts that soldiers go through. Where I disagree is on the suggestion of scrapping DE in favour of 5 or so years in the ranks. If a man (read also woman...don't wish to be too un-PC) has the potential to be trained as an officer on entry into the army he should be able to do so as to put him in the ranks for 5 years wastes that potential. That man will also feel frustrated and jaded by that potential being wasted and will likely leave before the point at which he would enter RMAS and we would loose an asset. This also discounts the "them and us" mentality that would bgin to develop within the unit as the potential officers would stand out from the guys who would otherwise stay in the ranks. This was evidenced during the days of National Service where the better schooled and educated were ostracised from the others in their Pl.

The RN employ a system whereby a Midshipman will spend tmie on board a ship doing all of the jobs that an Able Seaman would do, but lives in the Wardroom. This is an eye-opener as the young officer has to experience preparations for Captain's Rounds and so on. The RM do something similar where Officers Under Training will command a Platoon of recruits while at Lympstone. Both systems have their difficulties in that if the YO messes up, he does so in front of the men he will lead in the future and that creates a credibility gap from the outset which is hard to make up. Training is an environment where YO must be allowed to make mistakes, as they are less serious when they have no direct impact on the success of an operation.

The Army relies on the maturity and self-discipline of its NCOs to educate YOs. When looking at Cpls who are to be fitted for promotion to Sgt, one of the questions asked is "how does he relate to YOs?" in that we are looking predominatntly at how supportive they are to the development of YOs. It is a truism that SNCOs are the backbone of the army, and we are erliant on them at the early stages of our commissioned careers for guidance and support in what to do, and what not to do.

I don't believe any major changes to the system are needed. Ultimately the kind of people that come out of RMAS are moulded by the ASM and the Commandant as they set the tone for the Coy and Pl commanders and the CSgts. I know one recent commandant had a reputation of stamping on any OCdts who showed a bit of "personality".  One or two newly commissioned 2Lts I saw were terrified of their own shadow when they left RMAS as a result, and again it fell to the SNCOs to give them the confidence they needed to lead not only in terms of the skills for the jobs they were doing, but also to develop in them some personality quirks that the guys could latch on to. It would be a sad day when officers no longer donned flying jackets and goggles and tipped out of the top of their tanks, swords aloft screaming "charge" when going hell for leather at the enemy. it is behaviour like that at times of adversity which inspires creativity and morale in the men under an officers command.

Feel free to disagree with me, but I think we all have a responsibility to pick up where RMAS leaves off.

First, you misunderstand me.  I am not for one second suggesting that civvies are fat etc.  I am suggesting that society as a whole (and we are a part of it) appears to expect more return for less effort.  

That said however, there is a trend to suggest that we are all becoming fatter, check the stats on obesity which are readily available.  Just think how many sports clubs there were available when at school, or how many periods of phys you used to have time-tabled.  I can assure you, with many of my family in the teching profession this is considerably less than it used to be.  Consider what you probably used to do for entertainment as a child.  It probably didn't involve a plug but rather was outside.  Consider what the majority of children do now.  A stark contrast.  This has knock on effects on physical robustness.  I have had soldiers (how some of them pass out of training I do not know) who think that because they are out of breath, that they are close to death. Rather than pushing themselves, because noone has in the past, and because it is increasingly not the case to be able to label someone a failure if they do not reach the required standard, they feel comfortable falling out.  This is the kind of touchy feely stuff I am talking about.

As for the get out and have a look around.  Surprisingly, many of us do talk to our friends / relatives who do not serve.  The message appears the same.  Juniors appearing to think that they cannot start at the bottom of the pile and that making brews is demeaning and below them.  This would appear to be particularly true of graduates, of whom as the ridiculous number of HE establishments expands, grow increasingly each year.  I believe that this may breed a false level of aspiration and contributes to the above preconceptions.  Again, noone can be seen to be below a standard, lest their feelings be irrevocably damaged.  This increasingly the case in the Army, where tests have largely become assessments.

Bottom line, this is not a civvie -v- forces thing.  We are here to serve the society we come from.  Our problems (and I am sure that you experience the same at work), is that our society appears to becoming less robust, be it mentally or physically.  We are becoming soft, are having lower standards imposed on us and face the possibility of a severe kicking next time we fight if it is not addressed soon.  I do not know the solution, answers on a postcard.  You may even be able to enter it as a Gem.
Sorry I misunderstood Dogmonkey, nicely explained.

Sca-ary, I agree with absolutely everything you said. I haven't had too much experience of young graduates, in my civvy jobs it has been older people, or 16-25 yr olds (who, I have to say, were a bright and energetic bunch - they would mostly have been ideal military material but they thought they were worth more - worrying).
I wasn't raised in this country, didn't see TV until I was 14, still don't wear shoes and accept the arguments about too many Media Studies Graduates and not enough electricians, about kids being too sedentary etc etc.

And why have subbys stopped being allowed to be lunatics?! Hells Bells, it gives everyone something to laugh about in the Mess if nothing else!


Book Reviewer
Is part of the problem that we have to many graduates at RMAS? Roughly how many Subbies are Graduates now, as compared to, say, twenty years ago?  
Is it a good thing, i.e. are threy 'cleverer', more mature, etc., or have they just missed oout on three years of military experience?  

Does an Infantry PC need to be a graduate, or are there more important things for them, which cannot be taught at Uni?

This should get a discussion going!

Not only an Army problem, by the way; the Crabs are having real problems here - by the time a grad trainee passes fast jet training, he/she is getting passed it as regards reflexes!


War Hero
I freely agree with Subbsonic that I might be in the minority here - but it is still telling that i was busted and sidelined after writing a report about recruit trng for my unit which did not go down well with HQ.  I told the truth and pointed out that the recruiting syllabus and some instructors were breaking both military and civil laws. It was also not working and has been redone.

As i mentioned this was for a TA unit and because of it my career as a YO was cut dramatically short and i was forced to resign.  I am now a jock!!  Another reason quoted to me by HQ was my obstinancy in defending my pl when they had been wrong accused of various jock like acts (fighting with other companies etc...).

I hope that most other serving members of the services have it better than me,because if they don't god help us all.....


I think a general problem in the forces is that exercises are now not places to make mistakes and learn lessons.  Due to the decreasing training area space and the sheer cost of putting men and materiel on a training area


I think a general problem in the forces is that exercises are now not places to make mistakes and learn lessons.  Due to the decreasing training area space and the sheer cost of putting men and materiel on a training area


oops,  hit return before fininshing  :p

What I was trying to say was that even on execises now, there is so much pressure to make sure everything goes right that people cannot and are penalised for making mistakes.

When a Brigade Commander only has one period in a few years to carry out an FTX or only has a single "rehearsal" before a Bde capability assessment, there is no room for error.  As a result, the very basis of an Exercise, i.e. to learn by your mistakes and experiences, has gone.

This puts pressure on CO's, who in turn put pressure on Sqn / Coy Comds and so on.  The result is that the fun is knocked out of life and youngsters joining the service are expected to perform very quickly.  This might lead to a perception that "youngsters aren't as good as in our day".  The reason could simply be that in our day we could make mistakes, buy the beer and move on.  Today, a similar mistake could lead to a "hanging" to appease an irate 1 star.


War Hero
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

The percentage of graduates at RMAS is around 85%. Of the other 15%, most have either been to uni and have dropped out or have come through the ranks. There were very few 'traditional' non-grads, ie 18 years old straight from school, in my time.

Talking to seniors in my unit I think they prefer a slightly older and hopefully more mature YO- an example given was a 19 year old YO trying to give marriage counselling to 35 year old with 2 children. I'm not saying I would have been in a better position to give that advice but I would like think that I might have realised I wasn't experienced enough to do it.


As a former SMC officer subsequently MA, psc(j) I think I may be qualified to make a small observation on this topic.

I have recently taken possession of two of the new       subalterns, both of whom came straight from the lesser known universities to the National Leadership Centre of Excellence (NLCE).  Further more  I was a DS on a JOTES 1 exam last month  (and for the cynical ORs,  I did fail a candidate).  There I saw a number of similar      s and although a number were not in the GTI range,  They were all pretty good and understood the military side of their chosen profession as much as could be expected from any employee in a big firm after 18 months.  

The issue therefore is not the training regime at RMAS, but in my opinion our failure to adapt to the change in our recruiting pool.  The ROC study will re-dress this error but it will take a few years to reap the benifits.
Snowy...again I think you have to look at the world today as opposed to a decade or so ago. With the explosion of new "Polyversities" many more 18 year olds are going to un iversity than ever before.

In the 60s RMAS was 2 or more years long for non-grads and there was time to make OCdts more rounded individuals in terms of an education component. Graduates were a much rarer commodity and a degree had more weight to it than today where it is pretty much seen as the completion of formal education for most.

Most of the current intakes are grads, and although you can in theory go to RCB with 5 CGSEs and 2 A Levels, very few DEs will be so poorly qualified.

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