Army 5 battalions short before new deployment

#1
Another spin on this story

Army ‘five battalions short’ before new deployment

IAN BRUCE January 25 2006

THE army is heading for a frontline manpower shortage equivalent to five infantry battalions on the eve of a major new deployment to Afghanistan, according to a leaked internal document.

Despite the launch of a high-profile recruitment campaign, the latest forecast from the director of infantry predicts a shortfall of 2898 soldiers by June, 676 down on the total at December 1.

If there is any good news in the restricted headquarters document, it is that Scotland's six hard-pressed foot battalions have lost top billing as the worst-manned in the army.

That now belongs to the Welsh Guards, with a predicted deficit of 165, followed by the 2nd battalion Royal Welsh at minus 157. The Argylls come a close third at minus 139. Only one of 40 regiments, the Duke of Wellington's, has a predicted surplus, of just four men. Even the three battalions of the Parachute Regiment, the single biggest source of candidates for the SAS, will be short of 267 men by early summer.

The drop in strength comes as the Paras are facing the prospect of sending at least one battalion to Afghanistan and another on a new mission in support of special forces...

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman said: "We are running recruitment adverts on television and elsewhere and hope to reverse the trend.

"We acknowledge that recruitment is not good, but it has not reached crisis proportions by any means. All commitments can be met and we are working to increase the intervals between operational tours."

LINK
 
#2
I just find this whole issue completely frustrating and off-p1ssing in equal amounts.

The Army in particular seem to have a view that a quick knee jerk advertising campaign will have 'em storming the gates of the AFCOs, (or whatever they're called these days), battalions fill back up and then we continue normal jogging. It does work to an extent, but the utter frustration is borne out of the continued ham stringing of any real investment in recruiting by bean counters, myopic politicians and ignorant consultants on a huge wodge of dosh from the feckless recruiting organisation. YOU CANNOT SIMPLY TURN THE TAPS ON AND OFF. How many times have we been down this particular road and promised ourselves we wouldn't be caught out the next time?

Real and sustained recruitment, particularly to the Infantry, is borne out of a long term investment plan in all aspects of the marketing mix, which over rides the odd bit of turbulence (bad press usually) and is not seem to be a fly by night quick fix. If we are to recruit / nuture / encourage the dwindling target market effectively, it will require money, sensible thinking and a determination not to be swerved from the path.
 
#3
hackle said:
Another spin on this story

"We acknowledge that recruitment is not good, but it has not reached crisis proportions by any means. All commitments can be met and we are working to increase the intervals between operational tours."

LINK
Surely any lack in manpower is a crisis if it makes the job any harder????
 
#4
The fault lies with the MOD bean counters. A few years ago there were some very successful recruiting campaigns and the Army was overstrength. Recruiting was reigned in and not started properly again until now. The bean counters have got to realise that recruiting is not like a tap that can be turned on and off instantly but something that requires constant attention.
 

Legs

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
...also look at the time it takes to get a recruit from "Hi, my names Frank and I want to join the Army" to "Good Morning Sir, I'm Pte Bloggs and I have just been posted in to your unit from training". I'm not expert on the recruiting process, but i would guess that it is up to a year for some trades. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. (as if you need encouraging!) :wink:
 
#6
mushroom said:
The fault lies with the MOD bean counters. A few years ago there were some very successful recruiting campaigns and the Army was overstrength. Recruiting was reigned in and not started properly again until now. The bean counters have got to realise that recruiting is not like a tap that can be turned on and off instantly but something that requires constant attention.
Surely retention should be taken into account as well, even if recruitment gets up to its correct speed, if the army haemorrhages to many men and women (due to the current state of affairs) it would be stuck on a downward slope. Potentially losing a middle generation of soldiers (4-5 year point seems to be a peak in signing off at the moment).
 
#7
Ads for recruitment are better, but they need to sell better points of the Army. There should be more benefits to joining the army, cash incentives, more pay, better equipment!!! etc.
 
#8
Older_by_the_day said:
Surely retention should be taken into account as well, even if recruitment gets up to its correct speed, if the army haemorrhages to many men and women (due to the current state of affairs) it would be stuck on a downward slope. Potentially losing a middle generation of soldiers (4-5 year point seems to be a peak in signing off at the moment).
Agree to a point - but this is all about the Infantry for the moment. They have traditionally 'managed' a high turnover (up to 30%) by stacking them in at the bottom. I admit that there are circumstances where the system cannot cope and no amount of recruitment / retention will help - and the current trend for the Paras to outsource their skills is but one example. However it's all about recruitment, recruitment, recruitment for the PBI.
 
#10
cannon fodder said:
Ads for recruitment are better, but they need to sell better points of the Army. There should be more benefits to joining the army, cash incentives, more pay, better equipment!!! etc.
That's something I noticed working as a reservist with a regular unit... everyone is so keen to sh*g the blokes, it just seemed as if there were no perks to the job anymore, with everyone (headshed mostley) being so career and PC orientated that no-one could stop to chill out and think that they were cacking in the poor enlisted non ranking soldiers.

Storeman Norman said:
and no amount of recruitment / retention will help - and the current trend for the Paras to outsource their skills is but one example. However it's all about recruitment, recruitment, recruitment for the PBI.
Actually ended up thinking that an officers mess do where copious amounts of alcohol were served took the mickey a bit when the blokes could have 2 cans a week if they were lucky. All adds up to the retention problem. Great recruiting is no good if as soon as a new bod gets to his/her unit they start to think about signing off because they don't have a life! Something needs to change.
 
#11
Good point, had experience of that sort of thing myself, and it doesn't impress.

There are a number of good incentives out there. It's just no one tells the civvies, read pot soldier. I told a guy about the ELC and he was gobsmacked, this is the sort of thing we need to get out there.

Sod the gap year, how about 3-5 with the Army, as a viable alternative. Seeing the world ,which is something else the Army needs to push or at least the chance to go between tours. With £3000 on the hip and anything else you've saved for uni/college/whatever.
 
#13
And this comes as a surprise???? unfortunatly I dont think so, well done Blair, Brown, Hoon (remember that tw*t!) - C*nts!

Its not as though they werent warned!!!
 
#14
but....why hasn't anybody replied to my national service suggestion?

Think about it, the "bad age" for fackheads are 16-20. Force everybody to either enter service from the ages of 16 to 20 or to enter full time higher education (college, university). Let's face it most chavs are 16-20, out of school, no job, not doing anything.

people who are 16-20 and in full time education often aren't annoying little gobshites (a.k.a. chavs).
 
#15
I reckon the national service suggestion is a good one except that in todays health and safety pc gone mad society it would be impossible to run a decent training scheme as every five minutes you'd have someones mum turn up at the gate with a lawyer shouting about bullying and harrasment.
As well as the outcry about unfair treatment of the poor as just because they can't afford to go to university their sun/daughter has to go and fight while some rich b**tard gets to loaf about for three years studying surfing or some such rubbish.
 
#16
Retention and Recruiting are linked in someways. It is a very clever person who can persuade someone to join an organisation that is in the process of shedding staff right, left, and centre. It gets even harder when the organistation is notorious for its Dickensian working conditions and poor pay, not to mention the poor clothing and equipment. Doubly so when organisation commits itself to buy twice as many executive jets as it has active executives and then complains that it has no money left over to buy repmobiles and that in future all cars will be replaced every ten years instead of every three. If you've just had a very public debate about why you don't need so many infantry battalions and proceed to axe them you are bound to look a little silly when you announce that you don't have enough soldiers and now need some more.

I've just spent three months and a lot of MTDs using a lot of bodies in a recruiting drive, you name it we've done it, all the old chestnuts, a few novel ones, and a few that broke some rules. Thousands of leaflets, hundreds of posters handed out, and I personally spoke to dozens of people. Net hits on website could be counted on two hands, incoming phone calls on one.

I'm afraid that public perception is that the Army is a very incompetent organisation and not a worthy career or even as a step to a career. Without answers to questions like: "If the kit so bad iwhy did you just buy the Eurofighter?" or "If you shoot back you might get jail time, right?" or "Why don't you use helicopters to move around like every other army?" you are quite frankly p1ssing into a hurricane. Three years ago I stood in a UK civil airport in uniform and had folks coming up to introduce their sons to a 'real' soldier, last month I had people suggesting I must be soft in the head to still be in uniform. To add insult to injury a policeman wandered over as we were handing out leaflets to let me know that they were recruiting themselves and that I would have no problem getting better money.
 

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