British Army #Metoo

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
It's instinctive to those with the instinct. What happens if every officer is taken out except a YO - do they assume command?
One of the things the Navy does. is to avoid having "all the officers except the acting subbie" in one place for convenient obliteration, and the AS/Lt will likely be in the Ops Room, listening and learning and trying not to panic, during action; so will be taken out in the first hit and conveniently removing the problem.


For real giggles, what do you do when all your occifers are hors de combat but you've got a civilian searider who (a) helps teach PWOs and EW teams anti-ship missile defence, (b) had a "CS equivalent rank" that was notionally senior to the CO (while they were still alive?)

(The answer, by the way, is you ask them for tactical advice and keep them right in their box, they may be experts inside their bubble but they're entirely clueless of many important elements of managing and fighting the ship outside it, and by the time they're good at their day job, they know that and have some idea where they can help and where to shut up)

In similar vein, a RNR acting subbie aboard for two weeks of sea time (part of their training) will, if the ship goes to Action Stations, muster with the spare hands and accept direction from qualified personnel - they might be baby officers, but they're not trained or able to do more than carry the back end of a stretcher to get casualties out, and haul drums of firefighting foam forward. So, they're just another unskilled body to use where useful and their job is to "be useful if possible, while not getting under the feet of the SQEP"

In the Arrmy, a 2Lt was at least "able to command a dismounted platoon attack", if not with any guarantee of martial brilliance; the case of "every other officer on the ship is dead" is like asking a fresh-from-RMAS subaltern to take over fighting a battlegroup with a couple of companies of infantry, an armoured squadron or two, and artillery and airpower in support while co-ordinating with the rest of the brigade.
 
They bring to the table societal acceptance for spending money on the Army. Unfortunately for you society has changed, and it wants women on the front line.
When did society say it wants women in the infantry?
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Mainly, be petrified.

What would you want her to do about?

Genuine question - go outside in her nightwear, start shouting and suddenly hope a clear Command voice and a hand chop will get a bunch of pissed up, lairy lads who've just come in from a night on the piss to click their heels together and do one? If you do think that, I suggest that after lockdown you go and reacquaint yourself with the "great british high street at chucking out time on a friday night" to see how drunk packs of men behave. There are enough dits on here about rumbles and rucks in NAAFI bars various at chucking out time - I bet you can probably spin some yourself.

So perhaps the bigger point is - why are you questioning what she did, not why a bunch of pissed up lads were behaving in an unacceptable manner?
last couple of years.

It was when she was an OC (i.e. not yet a full Officer) so my understanding is that they are in whatever the replacement for Britannia Block is.
Yes, clearly such behaviour from anyone is unacceptable. But equally yes, being unwilling or unable to deal with such behaviour from subordinates is also unacceptable for an officer. It means you are not commanding or leading anyone. That's allowable as development up to the point someone commissions as an officer (or non-commissions as an NCO), but not afterwards, and it doesn't change the point being made by others about your defence.

The reasoning error here that the current bureaucracy pursues is the assumption that she can be both things - both a victim and a leader. It's not true. You cannot fail to respond to threats to your person (which is what they are) from subordinates and still expect to hold respect - if you can't or won't defend yourself, why should others expect you will defend them? This is, in fact, one of the few things that is still actually ensconced in QRs, and is the foundation of severe penalties against striking superiors as well as saluting and other mandated displays of respect.

It's certainly not fair on the individual. She's expected to be both the victim and the prosecutor in this case, but that is how the military discipline system is deliberately structured, and it has, over the past decade, regularly argued that structure remains necessary in the face of external criticism. Therefore, while unfair, it is both what history and the present military teach and legislate about leadership and discipline. The plain fact is that not everyone who wants to be a leader becomes one. It never helps the military when it empowers or allows weak officers who are incapable of commanding the respect of their subordinates. It does that in a hundred and one ways with both men and women, this just happens to be an example which applies to women. We could equally point to a male officer who willfully ignored criminal activity among his subordinates: the crime is not his fault; the willful ignorance is.

I completely accept your points about female service personnel feeling under threat, and can confirm to those who are sceptical that I've seperately heard many similar stories. It happens. It's a culture that needs to stop for all the various reasons stated, most obviously that it fatally undermines any concept of teamwork based on merit rather than mere tribalism. That's not quite the point that is being made, however.

I find this diversion of views particularly ironic seeing as how you seem to think I'm chronically predisposed to see only the effect on individuals and dismiss the effect on the whole, and have stated that your guiding principle is what is best for the team. Letting harrassment of any kind pass is never going to be 'what is best for the team', which, in the case you've stated, is also why it's not clear she did the right thing either.

PS The second quote changes matters. Certainly I've seen training establishments in the Army create a paradox where it expects 2Lts and, to a lesser extent, OCdts in Phase 1-3 training to both "be officers" and "be recruits", without admitting that the two are incompatible. I don't know what the command relationships would have been in this case, but clearly it's possible that the understanding of who was responsible for what would have changed things. But the general point stands.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
When did society say it wants women in the infantry?
Not sure when, but the where was definitely Twitter.

How else would society give its opinion, other than the opinion pages?
 

LayKil

Old-Salt
Reminiscent of a recently retired ALS Lt Col who would have made General had she not been discriminated against allegedly

Ooh ooh, you've got my creative juices flowing there because I'm almost sure that I could have made General too had it not been for some unfortunate circumstances. Maybe I should write a book.

By the time I was in my mid teens, I had realised that God really hadn't made the world a particularly fair place. There's no better institution than the Army for reinforcing this absolute certainty.

Some 10 years before I left I had the misfortune to command an utterly useless female and made the mistake of telling her so under strict MS guidelines. Some (considerable) time later I found myself in a world of shit for having the temerity to write the truth (under strict MS guidelines!) and tell her why.

It took me a while before I realised that I was the one in the cross hairs here and ludicrously and unfairly I wouldn't make General. So, should I write my turgid little book and expect somebody, anybody to read my tale. Or should I have a word with myself and admit that I really wasn't good enough to be a General. I mean I've always known that shit happens and then you die and that para 2 ALWAYS applies.

But the snappy title "Shit happens and this is your signal to whine about it until you've got enough dosh to shut you up or you become hopelessly over promoted and fail again" still has a certain appeal.

Anyone know any publishers?
 

Chef

LE
I have a (female) Young Officer who whilst staying in accommodation ashore had to endure a week of drunk sailors banging on her cabin door demanding sex with "Ma'am". They undoubtedly thought it was funny at the time and probably don't even remember doing it; she was utterly petrified.
I'm guessing you're higher up in her CoC. Serious question,

What did you do about it?

Apologies, @Just_plain_you already asked the question and @alfred_the_great answered it.
 
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Yes, clearly such behaviour from anyone is unacceptable. But equally yes, being unwilling or unable to deal with such behaviour from subordinates is also unacceptable for an officer. It means you are not commanding or leading anyone. That's allowable as development up to the point someone commissions as an officer (or non-commissions as an NCO), but not afterwards, and it doesn't change the point being made by others about your defence.

The reasoning error here that the current bureaucracy pursues is the assumption that she can be both things - both a victim and a leader. It's not true. You cannot fail to respond to threats to your person (which is what they are) from subordinates and still expect to hold respect - if you can't or won't defend yourself, why should others expect you will defend them? This is, in fact, one of the few things that is still actually ensconced in QRs, and is the foundation of severe penalties against striking superiors as well as saluting and other mandated displays of respect.

It's certainly not fair on the individual. She's expected to be both the victim and the prosecutor in this case, but that is how the military discipline system is deliberately structured, and it has, over the past decade, regularly argued that structure remains necessary in the face of external criticism. Therefore, while unfair, it is both what history and the present military teach and legislate about leadership and discipline. The plain fact is that not everyone who wants to be a leader becomes one. It never helps the military when it empowers or allows weak officers who are incapable of commanding the respect of their subordinates. It does that in a hundred and one ways with both men and women, this just happens to be an example which applies to women. We could equally point to a male officer who willfully ignored criminal activity among his subordinates: the crime is not his fault; the willful ignorance is.
There are a couple of threads of ARRSE where people (Ex officers) gallantly explained why they would try to avoid getting involved in trouble when on orderly officer. One particularly amusing excuse for being yellow was that if they get involved then the person(s) causing the trouble would be in even more shit.

Leading from the back is for winners.
 

Bob65

War Hero
Karen, a screeching harpy.
It’s more subtle than that. A Karen is white, middle class, probably 30s or 40s, has had an easy life with no real struggle or hardship but has a permanent sense of grievance and wants to speak to your manager about it. It’s a very specific archetype.
 
It’s more subtle than that. A Karen is white, middle class, probably 30s or 40s, has had an easy life with no real struggle or hardship but has a permanent sense of grievance and wants to speak to your manager about it. It’s a very specific archetype.
Screeching harpy then.
 

Rab_C

War Hero
The person in charge.

Take an example - I go to anchor, and to help the sub lt learn, he goes on the fo'c'sle. The LS Sea is in charge of the evolution (and the fo'c'sle), and everyone - from me as CO to the newest AB on Part of Ship - knows that the LS is in charge.

If it goes to ratshit, then all eyes are on the LS.

We have always done this, it's instinctive.
Am I remembering correctly from my Sea Survival courses that the person i/c of a life raft is the person most suitably qualified (CBM, Sea Spec) not necessarily the most senior in the life raft?
 
I want compensation for being smashed found the heed with a GPMG butt for leaving the cocking handle forward.

Yes you know who you are Sgt Bush.
 

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