Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by tmsbry, Sep 18, 2011.
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Morale in armed forces plunges to new low - Telegraph
...and yet from the ground on civvy street, I'd say respect for and understanding of the Army (i.e. 'The Army doesn't have the liberty of designating enemies, it fights them') was at an all time high..? So does this mean that most orifices are up their own arrse??
Nothing new in this year's CAS report - pretty much says the same each year.
The one issue that does alarm me is the number of Capts leaving. These tend to be the high quality ones who are seeing the writing on the wall and bombing out before getting sucked into the wife, kids, housing trap. The (shared) mess of which i'm a member 3 have PVR'd this year and another one intends to do so shortly.
People putting a fiver in the tin and going on like a bunch of Americans about 'Honoring Our Heroes' is a poor substitute for keeping your job, having a habitable place to live etc.
The theme endures (poor pay, housing and redundancies in the 70's, the moratorium in the 80's, Options in the 90's, pay freezes, allowance reductions and redundancies in the 00's). People come and go, conditions improve then worsen, army grows then reduces - it's called life, and if you stay around along enough the cycle will be repeated. The Army, however, continues to endure.
In the foreword to the report, Lieutenant General Bill Rollo, deputy chief of defence staff (personnel and training) says the armed forces have gone through "challenging times" in 2011 with operations in Afghanistan and Libya while having to contend with a large-scale redundancy programme.
The MOD comment was roughly blamed on being deployed on 2 Operational Deployments, apart from THEM and a handful of logistics/comms bods I wouldn't say Libya can be used as an excuse for bad morale when Afghan and Iraq where at a much higher tempo a few years ago.
It also does not take the brains of a rocket scientist to work out why all the senior Rodneys are rushing for the door either. The pay and pensions they will receive will be of far greater value than the other ranks will receive when brown lettered. The more senior Rodney's will also find it easier in civi life to walk into another equally well paid job. It will be the other ranks that will struggle due to the current economic turbulence that we find ourselves currently in. I would also say that the heads of the Armed Forces seem to speak their minds when they retire, I'm thinking of Mike Jackson, Lord Boyce and Dannant. A quick search on ARRSE show's this thread was doing the rounds in 2007 with morale being at rock bottom and Libya wasn't even on the radar then.
No, cigar. I think you'll find General Dannatt said quite a lot when he was serving as well:
Politics and the army: Trouble in the ranks | The Economist
CBO, Having served through all the examples you cite, yes, the Army does endure. That perhaps says more about the institution and the people who serve in it than the way in which it is administered by our political masters. The difference this time, I would suggest, is that today's Army has been on operations throughout the last decade and nothing erodes belief and dedication faster than the perception that you are being sacrificed for political expediency. This is, waste and profligacy notwithstanding, the most hardened Army since WW2 and one that (largely) enjoys the support of the populace. It is far more visible than previous generations and is, as a consequence more part of, rather than separate from, the society that it serves. It is also, I would contend, a better educated Army, more vocal, less given to automatic obedience and - critically - as a consequence of hard-won experience - far more jaundiced and critical than it's forebears. All these factors combined present a potential for the destruction of the Army as we know it: perhaps presaged with the outflow of junior officers and SNCOs. you are right; the Army will endure but it will not be the Army that we see now and nor, I fear, will it have either the capability or capacity to serve as this one has done and continues to do.
Surely the one follows the other; a change in the consciousness of the general public can only be a good thing. I won't recount some of the 'can't think outside the box' or 'they never settle into civvie street' (read as 'civvies can't do things efficiently by the numbers') attitudes I've encountered. We're not quite at 'Starship Troopers' but hopefully not far off...
I'll let you know about that when the old bill admit that the only actual official arrest I have had resulted in a caution aged 16. They're quite happy to not caution me on arrest after stomping on me, and remind me that PACE procedures aren't being followed, but quite willing to tell employers that I have a criminal record. It caused a bit of fuss when I went through a major process to join the Home Office, I had a fly on the wall of the recruitment office, and the manager in charge of recruitment didn't like someone with an apparent criminal record and vetting and clearance coming back from C Branch that didn't match, yet was still in place, working in their office; wonder what she had to hide?
Take your point completely, except for the last sentence. The forthcoming reductions will undoubtedly significantly reduce our capability, flexibility and agility, but I reckon the Army will retain just sufficient critical mass and quality to allow it to effectively expand again at some point in the future. Let's just hope that the tempo of modern conflict allows us sufficient time to do so.
I'm surprised that the HO made such a fuss. I work for the HO too, although I don't have a criminal record (no arrests, cautions or convictions) - quite a few of my colleagues do, however. IIRC, drink-driving, assault, illegal possession of a firearm, public order, the list goes on. The Departmental Security Unit always sem to take a pragmatic view when it comes to vetting. Ultimately, is the individual at risk of compromise or have they learnt their lesson, whatever lesson that might be. I don't like the whole CRB check process for the simple reason that it seems to be a very effective way of subverting the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. I don't think that the Government would have a leg to stand on if a test case went, ultimately, to Strasbourg.
Can anyone remember the mythical time in the armed forces when morale was claimed to be high? Morale is always low in these surveys, mainly because we all like to drip, moan and bitch about how shite things are. We then crack on with whatever comes our way. We also find that when these surveys turn up, the natural tendency is to make out that we're dooooooooomed on paper, not because we really think that, but because we think its what grown ups want to hear.
Morale is always seen as low but for different reasons. I recall people signing off due to boredom, too few tours, too many tours and somewhere inbetween.
The fact is that we all have different views of what our ideal service life would be, and while back to back tours in herrick may be one mans nightmare, they are anothers dream.
My own view is to ignore both surveys like this, and what i'd call 'white noise manking' (grumbling for sake of grumbling). Looking beyond this, my perspective of my own little corner of hm forces is that peoples morale was hit by sdsr, but not enough to leave yet. My worry is the post herrick environment, where when hopefully nearly 20 years of high op tempo ends, people will sign off if life returns to the sort of 'baor' existence seen in the seventies, with few real tours, no opportunity for doing the job for real and a quiet slip out of public awareness. 2015-2020 are going to be when it really hurts, more due to lack of opportunity than due to op tempo, in my own opinion.
To be honest I don't think it was the criminal record that was the problem, I think it was that AND the positive vet/clearance that got her back up.
(edited to add, it shouldn't remain a problem for too much longer as I'm doing the full disclosure thing at the moment, but it is really causing quite a fuss; I may get to wear some silly hats [other than at graduations] again soon!!)
Jim, Of course we love to chunter but the true barometer is the PVR rate: if folk are banging out in the midst of a recession, this is surely a significant combat indicator?
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