Army Recruitment and Popular Opinion

I fear this is where we diverge. I am by no means convinced that they would, having seen numerous examples of this process failing spectacularly when logical analysis meets political reality. I'm also pretty sure that the IED threat on such a scale would have been a very long way down the list of potential threats, so a request to stockpile large numbers of PM vehicles would have been both low priority and hard to justify.
You might well be right I terms of outcome; I wasn’t involved in PM vehicles. I was deeply involved in protected accommodation. We were seeking funds for protected facilities as early as Telic 2 yet they weren’t provided for five years and after multiple casualties.

The risk was obvious and documented early, the mitigation was provided late. I’ve always been convinced that the submissions that were prepared in 2003/4 would have secured funds if VSOs had engaged to drive them through.

My comment re Stonkers post was not directed at you in any way either.
 
The problem with using risk as a basis of securing funds is that if it done properly, the risk will never be realised, and thus the funds will be seemingly "wasted". At this point, HMT or the Press might be wanting a word.

And of course, I've no doubt that the next time we go for a decent scrap we'll fully mitigate against IEDs, and promptly lose people to another threat (CBRN or innovative urban drones perhaps?). A risk methodology is great for known unknowns, but mildly rubbish for anticipating unknown unknowns.


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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I was deeply involved in protected accommodation. We were seeking funds for protected facilities as early as Telic 2 yet they weren’t provided for five years and after multiple casualties.
That one seems much worse. The mortar threat was already apparent by Telic 2 so you'd have thought it'd be realatively easy to make a risk case in favour of buying hardened accomodation.

And of course, I've no doubt that the next time we go for a decent scrap we'll fully mitigate against IEDs, and promptly lose people to another threat (CBRN or innovative urban drones perhaps?)
Very true. It's notable that many of those on arrse who bemoan us going into Iraq/Afghanistan without a full set of PM vehicles are also those criticising the army for not being able to field world-beating tanks and serious div level artillery when we're emerging from nearly two decades of COIN and Op ENTIRETY. You can't have it both ways.
 
BFO IEDs were unknown unknowns prior to TELIC?

We were seeing IEDs in Ulster in the 1980/90s that weighed in at over a tonne.

That was a province whose terrorists were without ready access to military grade munitions.

Massive explosive devices were a commonplace of insurgent/terrorist/assymetric warfare across the globe by the turn of the century.

And we sent troops into Iraq (a country whose known capacity for irregular warfare had led Dick Cheney to warn off Dubya's dad from invading the place in 1991) equipped with patrol vehicles that we wouldn't have used in South Armagh prior to the GFA?

Unknown unknowns, my fat arrse.
 
Stonker might have a small point.
The UK did invest in Tempest and some RG32s in Bosnia, but then sold them off, implying the unknown unknowns were known and discounted.

IIRC one of the RG32s went to Estonia and appeared in Sean Langan's fighting the taliban (2007) supporting the British OMLT and Afghans near Garmsir.
 
@Stonker The Government wouldn’t (understandably) commit to TELIC until the 11th hour.

A major and tragic consequence (among many) was the MoD’s inability to equip front line troops with body armour, desert clothing and full ammunition scales.

So it seems a stretch to suggest the Army could be expected to field a fleet of IED resistant vehicles during Telic 2 - whatever the lessons of Northern Ireland. Sometime before Telic 5 would have been nice though - that a shaped charge ripped the arse off my Snatch leaving all safe with little margin for error owed more to the presence of the Padre in the back than the inherent robustness of the design.

Staff Officers should have been, and were, aware of the threat of large IEDs. But, as always, things were a little more complicated than that - even before you consider that the American Uber-plan could be (charitably) compared to a burning clown-car pile up, tended to by trainee firefighters equipped with buckets of liquid shit.

The operational risk management can be reasonably good, but if the strategy is as fcked as TELIC then all bets are off.
 
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@Stonker The Government wouldn’t (understandably) commit to TELIC until the 11th hour.

A major and tragic consequence (among many) was the MoD’s inability to equip front line troops with body armour, desert clothing and full ammunition scales.

So it seems a stretch to suggest the Army could be expected to field a fleet of IED resistant vehicles during Telic 2 - whatever the lessons of Northern Ireland. Sometime before Telic 5 would have been nice though - that a shaped charge ripped the arse off my Snatch leaving all safe with little margin for error owed more to the presence of the Padre in the back than the inherent robustness of the design.

Staff Officers should have been, and were, aware of the threat of large IEDs. But, as always, things were a little more complicated than that - even before you consider that the American Uber-plan could be (charitably) compared to a burning clown-car pile up, tended to by trainee firefighters equipped with buckets of liquid shit.

The operational risk management can be reasonably good, but if the strategy is as fcked as TELIC then all bets are off.
You've neatly summed up a fraction of my reasons for resigning.

I remain perplexed as to why anyone wanted to be a part of the industrial scale goat rodeo that was TELIC.

I'm curious too, based on what has been said by @bobthebuilder , to understand why the feck it took so long after deployment, to to redress these shortcomings.
 
Incidentally, none of the above is honestly a factor in recruitment. The only people who debate procurement, risk management, IHAT, the regimental system etc are sad bastards like us on here. We’ve got memories and families to feed - potential recruits have parents to avoid and fat girls to finger.

So unimpressed were potential recruits by the well publicised controversy over the political roots of the TELIC, and evident fuckups in its implementation, that they signed up at unprecedented levels throughout the campaign, and HERRICK as well.

Chicks dig medals, even dull tours can be edited & given a good soundtrack, and young men are going to live forever.

They’d rather volunteer to risk their lives in pursuit of glory in a shithole than piss about in their home town. Or to kill time in a garrison town as a bit part in a low budget, high bullshit organisation.

Can’t say I blame them.
 
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Incidentally, none of the above is honestly a factor in recruitment. The only people who debate crown immunity, IHAT, the regimental system etc are sad bastards like us on here. We’ve got memories and families to feed - potential recruits have parents to avoid and fat girls to finger.

So unimpressed were potential recruits by the well publicised controversy over the political roots of the TELIC, and evident fuckups in its implementation, that they signed up at unprecedented levels throughout the campaign, and HERRICK as well.

Chicks dig medals, even dull tours can be edited & given a good soundtrack, and young men are going to live forever.

They’d rather volunteer to risk their lives in pursuit of glory in a shithole than piss about in their home town. Or to kill time in a garrison town as a bit part in a low budget, high bullshit organisation.

Can’t blame them.
I believe TELIC and HERRICK were monstrous screw-ups by HMG* (ever since wondering: "OK, now what?" at the end of the warfighting phases on TELIC 1). But happily mobilised for three tours as I was post-divorce, needed the money, got a fair whack of COLI (I was pulled off a nice little earner in Algeria for TELIC 1) and then post-tour walked into highly-paid contractor jobs in the same theatres. I can thank Bush and Blair for helping me to rectify my bank-balance, buy another house and find another wife. However, I have a picture in my study of the 1023 IDF IPs on Basra Airport on Op TELIC 11 when I was based there with a PMC which never fails to impress the in-laws (and others). I didn't tell them about the close shaves when out and about. The additional gongs are "nice to haves" for Remembrance Day parades.

*Hats off to Frank Ledwidge for having the balls to put pen to paper on that.
 
Incidentally, none of the above is honestly a factor in recruitment. The only people who debate procurement, risk management, IHAT, the regimental system etc are sad bastards like us on here. We’ve got memories and families to feed - potential recruits have parents to avoid and fat girls to finger.

So unimpressed were potential recruits by the well publicised controversy over the political roots of the TELIC, and evident fuckups in its implementation, that they signed up at unprecedented levels throughout the campaign, and HERRICK as well.

Chicks dig medals, even dull tours can be edited & given a good soundtrack, and young men are going to live forever.

They’d rather volunteer to risk their lives in pursuit of glory in a shithole than piss about in their home town. Or to kill time in a garrison town as a bit part in a low budget, high bullshit organisation.

Can’t say I blame them.
Sad.

But - since you can't argue with the stats - true.
 
Very true. It's notable that many of those on arrse who bemoan us going into Iraq/Afghanistan without a full set of PM vehicles are also those criticising the army for not being able to field world-beating tanks and serious div level artillery when we're emerging from nearly two decades of COIN and Op ENTIRETY. You can't have it both ways.
That’s not what I am arguing. We were never going into Iraq or Aghanistan with a fleet of PM vehicles because the timeframe didn’t allow it.

I’m suggesting that with effective risk identification and management we would have got them in to service earlier. But I’m only using PM vehicles as an example. There are multiple examples on early Telics and Herricks where the force was wrong footed which I believe could have been avoided with better risk management.

IMHO the Estimate process lacks rigour around risk.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
That’s not what I am arguing. We were never going into Iraq or Aghanistan with a fleet of PM vehicles because the timeframe didn’t allow it.
That wasn't a swipe at you!! I haven't seen you argue that we should have had PM vehicles prior to deployment, but I have seen it argued by many on here; they're usually the same people currently moaning that CR2, etc are behind the curve.

IMHO the Estimate process lacks rigour around risk.
On that we can definitely agree.
 
So unimpressed were potential recruits by the well publicised controversy over the political roots of the TELIC, and evident fuckups in its implementation, that they signed up at unprecedented levels throughout the campaign, and HERRICK as well.
Urban myth I am afraid, recruitment dropped from 2003 onwards and resulted in drives to recruit across the Commonwealth commencing 2005 which resulted in the 10% cap being breached. Add to this pitiful retention in pinch point trades and you have an undermanned Army over at least the last decade.
 
Urban myth I am afraid, recruitment dropped from 2003 onwards and resulted in drives to recruit across the Commonwealth commencing 2005 which resulted in the 10% cap being breached. Add to this pitiful retention in pinch point trades and you have an undermanned Army over at least the last decade.
It’s probably rather more nuanced. Perhaps there was a Herrick/Telic recruitment surge that masked an underlying downside trend. Post Herrick, we are seeing the underlying situation but it’s easier to blame Capita than accept that the cause is more fundamental.
 
As always, the picture is nuanced. If we're talking about recruitment of full time soldiers (i.e. the starting point of this thread) then recruitment saw a hit in 2005/06 before recovering, only to trend downward after 2010.

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To me this doesn't suggest recruits were *that* bothered about the Iraq war controversy & high profile kit issues. You could argue that the 2007 recovery was down to the credit crunch rather than the glamour of going on tour. However I don't think potential recruits were too aware of early stages of the financial crash and if they were you'd expect another subsequent uptick as the consequences of the recession began to bite.

More relevantly, 2006 onwards saw a lot of gritty helmet-cam footage on the news. My feel is that Herrick got old in the public imagination after 2010, reflected in lower recruitment. Who knows - maybe there was a bit of SDSR in there too.

Source - Appendix 6 of House of Commons UK Defence Personnel statistics -
UK Defence Personnel Statistics - Commons Library briefing - UK Parliament

Granted the above classifies by White/BAME/Other so there's no Commonwealth factor in there.
 
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It’s probably rather more nuanced. Perhaps there was a Herrick/Telic recruitment surge that masked an underlying downside trend. Post Herrick, we are seeing the underlying situation but it’s easier to blame Capita than accept that the cause is more fundamental.
Agreed, recruitment has been below or just touching requirement for ever.

It is simply fashionable to assume now that recruitments was better during Telic and herrick when the opposite was often the case.

Funnily enough, the Capita debacle may in fact be burying a rise in applications that subsequently go west due to the process.
 
Agreed, recruitment has been below or just touching requirement for ever.

It is simply fashionable to assume now that recruitments was better during Telic and herrick when the opposite was often the case.

Funnily enough, the Capita debacle may in fact be burying a rise in applications that subsequently go west due to the process.
I was told recently for every 100 people applying to join the inf, 3 left ITC qualified and the pipeline takes a year from application to starting. Not hard to see someone applying in September after leaving school, parents telling him he needs a job come September and by Christmas being completely against joining up and leaving his friends/family/job/gf to go stag on in tidworth.
 
Agreed, recruitment has been below or just touching requirement for ever.

It is simply fashionable to assume now that recruitments was better during Telic and herrick when the opposite was often the case.

Funnily enough, the Capita debacle may in fact be burying a rise in applications that subsequently go west due to the process.
I was told recently for every 100 people applying to join the inf, 3 left ITC qualified and the pipeline takes a year from application to starting. Not hard to see someone applying in September after leaving school, parents telling him he needs a job come September and by Christmas being completely against joining up and leaving his friends/family/job/gf to go stag on in tidworth.
 
I was told recently for every 100 people applying to join the inf, 3 left ITC qualified and the pipeline takes a year from application to starting. Not hard to see someone applying in September after leaving school, parents telling him he needs a job come September and by Christmas being completely against joining up and leaving his friends/family/job/gf to go stag on in tidworth.
" The median time taken between application and enlistment by the cohort of soldier recruits enlisting in the last twelve months to the end of the third quarter of 2016/17 was 267 days for Regulars (enlisted at start of Phase 1 training) and 148 days for Reserves (enlisted at Army Assessment Centre.) "

Remember 'median' simply means middle not average. If the quickest was 1 day then the longest would be about 533 days, Likewise:

30:504
90:444
180:354
266:268
 
IMHO the Estimate process lacks rigour around risk.
The Estimate process is fundamentally unfit for use with Risk.

Risk is, probably, fundamentally, unfit for use on operations...
 

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