Armed Forces order of command in event of conflicting orders

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Maalox, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. If the UK economy really is a tinderbox
    and there was suddenly a crisis of leadership/social unrest, to who are the UK Armed Forces beholden to take orders in the first instance: the UK PM? The UK cabinet? The UK Defence Minister? Or the Field Marshal/Air Marshal/Sea Lord of each Armed Service?

    If there are conflicting orders, who are they duty bound to obey first?

    Or is it discretionary?
  2. Now you are defiantly a journo.
  3. You get to chose...
  4. Hmmm. Start at the Queen and work down.
  5. No. But after seeing recent films like "Children of Men" and "V for Vengeance" about military coups in the UK, I am in to Alternate Histories: past & future!

    When UK General Jackson was ordered by US General Wesley Clark to open fire on Russkis in Kosovo, he refused, saying "I am not starting WW3 for you!".

    But what would have happened if he had been given one order by PM Tony Blair and a contrary one by the UK Joint Chief of Staff?

  6. Then take some ketamin, sit in a dark room and all will be revealed-that, or you'll decide that ears are really funny.
  7. I thought we all got to vote on which orders* we wanted to carry out?

    *or 'suggestions' as we prefer to call them.
  8. conflicting orders are when two dishes arrive, not just one.
  9. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Typical cheap superficial shot regarding the Pristina airport business. General J was perfectly clear that he wriggled out of it without actually disobeying an order. And he was right to do as he did, too. Clark wasn't up to the job - very highly educated but hadn't learned much.
  10. Stick your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and hum. Somebody else will come along shortly to assume responsibility.
  11. The film "By Dawn's Early Light" depicted a nuclear standoff where the TACAMO planes receive conflicting launch/no launch orders. The first order is the one to be obeyed.

    The film "Crimson Tide" had a similar theme, with nuclear submarines.

    Has the question of conflicting orders and who is to be obeyed never come up in real life?!
  12. Of course it has. An entire term at Sandhurst is dedicated to learning how to produce ambiguous orders.

    Or so it seems.
  13. Quite easy in the Royal Navy. Simply count the stripes noting that a thick stripe counts as 5.

    This will lead you to the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy. The only rank above that, and the UK's only holder of a six star rank (c.f. General of the Armies in the US Army) is the Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy otherwise known as:-

    Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Mercy, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

    As you can see, the Secretary of State for Defence:-

    Bob Ainsworth MP, Spot Welder (Rtd), Blue Oyster Moustache Wearer of the Year (1982)

    features nowhere in the chain of command. If he tried exceeding his authority the Queen would either give him a smack with her massive business card or order her armed forces to give him a smack with the butt of a SA80 (or, better still, get me or Sven in to smack him with the butt of a SLR).

    Britain may be a constitutional monarchy - but it's still a monarchy, and there aren't any monarchs sitting in parliament.
  14. chrisg46

    chrisg46 LE Book Reviewer

    Having said all that, isnt the reason that its the ROYAL air force, and the ROYAL navy, but the British Army? The army during the civil war was under the control of parliament or so i read once?

    Just so we are clear, i would go for her maj over the PM...
  15. In theory, would an order to a sailor direct from the Queen take precedence over one direct from Prime Minister Gordon Brown?

    And in practice?

    Or does the PM, like the Defence Minister, not even figure in the chain of command?!