Comments by retiring senior officers

#1
Why is it that most senior officers only pass comment publicly about the state of our Forces when they are due to retire? Case in point The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West. Why can't they say aomething when they are due to start their appointment. Maybe they don't want to jeopardise any potentially lucrative employment positions that they usually inherit when they retire. SHOW SOME BALLS!!!!!!!
 
#3
To be fair, he did a fair amount of cribbing throughout his tenure.

Unlike a certain grumpy ex int corps chap, who seems to think we have spare Bdes available for ops in Darfur, and that we're an 'Army to be Used'..well....16 AA at the least - not to mention sanctioning the overturning of a COs judgement that a crap charge didn't have a case to answer...Tpr Williams, one pace forward MARCH!
Hurrah!
 
#4
Thought I heard him say yesterday on Radio 4 'Today' , that in his opinion Britain has the second most powerful navy in the world.
 
#5
Agreed, but there again this isn't exactly a new trait. My own opinion is that HM Forces in general and the Army in particular, repay those who do speak out, with career impacts and therefore the obvious financial losses to the individual. Given the ignorance of successive Government Cabinets' where military matters are concerned, it should come as no surprise that those who should speak out, don't.

On one hand the Army projects itself as an open communications model, where concerns can be addressed through the chain of command - "if you see something wrong, let us know and we'll get it sorted" type statement. Great, all for this, and my own experience tells me that this works well within units. The problem seems to come at the stage, where comments need to be made that are in relation to the wider Army / MOD. At this stage, communications, seem to stall "somewhere upstairs". So, the comment about having some balls is spot on. Never mind, there’ll all be civi’s one day!

The recent debate in relation to a Federation to represent soldiers, was widely supported on this forum, due (IMHO) to the lack of resolve, by those whose positions should speak out, but don't due to the repercussions, etc. Having discussed this point with my MP recently, he agreed that it appeared that soldiers were being let down by an unwillingness of those' higher up the chain, who sat on their hands.

It is time that the appraisal systems for these people started to look at their’ ability to function in a professional and representative way, rather than rewarding those, who “toe the line” and don’t cause trouble.
 
#6
Depends what you count. French navy is stronger than RN in the air but weaker below the sea. Russian navy probably stronger all ways on paper but more of a danger to itself than anyone else in reality. Japanese navy certainly larger and technologically advanced but doesn't have carriers or SSN's. Chinese navy currently provides USN/JMSDF with a large number of obsolete targets.

Anyway, it's like claiming to be the second best football team in the borough of Trafford, only the USN really counts. I'm not just saying this for the sake of argument, it's actually considerably more powerful than every other navy in the world combined!
 
#7
Why do senior officers keep schtum? Because they want to remain senior officers! Also, the difference in pay from a Brigadier (rates are published every year) to General rank (no rates published) is huge (think twice as much and you are getting close). How many officers who are capable of reaching General rank are going to throw it away, especially as they know the politicians can produce 10 or more yes men (people like Gen deleted -PTP) who will agree whole-heartedly with the Govt line?

They do not want to explain to their kids that they reason they go to a comp and not Harrow is because Daddy couldnt keep his trap shut. The doris wouldnt be too happy either!

Perhaps overly cynical, but there you go.
 
#8
Dread,
Having worked a couple of times for the chap you've maligned above, I would be obliged if you'd expand on why you think that he is a toe-er of the government line? I don't want to get into a "he's a good bloke"/ "no he isn't" sort of thing but every experience I've had of him and all t'other comments I've heard from those still in the game is that he is a good hand - admittedly gets the job done without much in the way of ranting and raving but that doesn't necessarily make him a government apologist. Oh, please , please, don't tell me its a RHA versus the rest thing!
 
#9
Fair points Dread, it's interesting to note threads that appear on ARRSE, that don't even seem to be on the Army' s radar. When I raised my concerns about issues relating to TELIC deployments in my unit, I was told: "There is no way that this HQ is going to take any post Op feedback outside of this HQ, if you've got concerns, speak to your MP." Before, anyone jumps down my throat, I should point out that there was no "whistleblowing" going on here, just several points relating to TELIC, which needed to be addressed outside the homely confines of my unit, which over a matter of time, most of which have been covered in the media. Is it just me, or is this approach to soldiers' concerns wider than I think / hope?
 
#10
@Rickshaw: Certainly isnt a RHA comment! It was just because when various cases with Hoon and other foul-ups were in the press and the Govt or the Prince of Darkness (Gen J) were getting a kicking for cuts etc, it always seemed to fall on Gen Freddy to write to all the newspapers supporting the Govt and PoD.

I have met (a few years ago) Gen F at RSA and a few other places and he was very polite and engaging, so no personal bone to pick either, apart from his letter writing to papers.
 
#12
Dread,
Thanks. At the time when he was obliged to burst into print, Gen F was the AG and, as such, the head of Service for matters personnel et al. I would be the last one in the world to suggest that he was ordered to write, perhaps directed is still too strong a word and obliged a rather weaselly one, but he was certainly "required" and "expected" to respond. <As an aside> I can't believe I'm defending a Gunner of all things.........
 
#14
AndyPipkin said:
Anyway, it's like claiming to be the second best football team in the borough of Trafford, only the USN really counts. I'm not just saying this for the sake of argument, it's actually considerably more powerful than every other navy in the world combined!
yet oddly enough entirely susceptible to nutters in rubber dingys
 
#15
Sadly the fact will always remain that when you become a 1* or above, especially involved in the MoD, then your job is increasingly political. As much as we love to think the Army (and armed forces) are above all of that, the fact remains: If you rock the boat too much then you might just get pushed out. Or at very least told to sit down and not get a chance to stand up again.

A requirement for balls? Damn right. I seem to remember the ex CO of the Coldm Gds complaining about the amount of armour he had in Basra last year. He complained pretty strongly... just before he got out. I expect if he wasn't getting out then he would have been given a ticking off of the highest order. It'd probably mean that you'd miss out on the plum jobs later because you 'can't be trusted'.

. . . Funnily enough the papers reported that he had resigned in protest at the lack of armour, but actually he had taken early retirement.
 
#16
Dread wrote
Why do senior officers keep schtum? Because they want to remain senior officers! Also, the difference in pay from a Brigadier (rates are published every year) to General rank (no rates published) is huge (think twice as much and you are getting close). How many officers who are capable of reaching General rank are going to throw it away, especially as they know the politicians can produce 10 or more yes men (people like Gen deleted-PTP) who will agree whole-heartedly with the Govt line?

They do not want to explain to their kids that they reason they go to a comp and not Harrow is because Daddy couldnt keep his trap shut. The doris wouldnt be too happy either!

Perhaps overly cynical, but there you go.
I've heard it said that acceptance of promotion to 2-star rank is a triumph of vanity over common sense.

However, it would be refreshing if senior Officers did actually tell the Nation how it is, warts and all, every now and then. Instead, its all waffle.
 
#17
Big Kahoona said:
Dread wrote
Why do senior officers keep schtum? Because they want to remain senior officers! Also, the difference in pay from a Brigadier (rates are published every year) to General rank (no rates published) is huge (think twice as much and you are getting close). How many officers who are capable of reaching General rank are going to throw it away, especially as they know the politicians can produce 10 or more yes men (people like Gen Freddy Viggers) who will agree whole-heartedly with the Govt line?

They do not want to explain to their kids that they reason they go to a comp and not Harrow is because Daddy couldnt keep his trap shut. The doris wouldnt be too happy either!

Perhaps overly cynical, but there you go.
I've heard it said that acceptance of promotion to 2-star rank is a triumph of vanity over common sense.

However, it would be refreshing if senior Officers did actually tell the Nation how it is, warts and all, every now and then. Instead, its all waffle.
I think I'm fairly correct in saying that promotion to 2 star rank is the first time that a promotion is subject to a political "nod" as to whether the aspirant is acceptable. By inference, if you ain't "one of us", you ain't going to get the nod. Something of an inhibitor, wouldn't you say?
 
#18
Truth is that any senior post is political - and open, unrestricted public utterances are not welcomed by Senior Army types nor Government. The real live truth is not often acceptable to the public, (they simply couldn't believe it was happening) so you have to allow for a cooling off period during which limited and controlled amounts of versions of the truth are released. In Info Ops terms it is better to never lie, but equally it is best to never tell the whole truth. The other factor to think about is a "whats the point". Unless by telling the truth we are suddenly going to improve our circumstances - why bother, coz most civvies either wont believe or wont understand why things like the penetration of a 5.56 round, limitations on ROE or the maintenance of Regimental strength is important. However what really wazzes the boys off is when they know something aint right and some smoothy is telling the world it's OK
 
#19
FABLONBIFFCHIT said:
Why is it that most senior officers only pass comment publicly about the state of our Forces when they are due to retire? Case in point The First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West. Why can't they say aomething when they are due to start their appointment. Maybe they don't want to jeopardise any potentially lucrative employment positions that they usually inherit when they retire. SHOW SOME BALLS!!!!!!!
Because they're career militarymen with families to support?
 
#20
We as a nation employ senior officers to run the forces and politicians to run the country. It is the duty of those senior officers to get the best deal possible for the forces out of the politicians. If they are getting the bums rush they have the option of resigning and going public. They do not and should not have the option of running to the press everytime they disagree with our elected representatives.

I do not think that people like Jackson, West and Dannat roll over get their bellies rubbed every time some arrse of a politician has another damn fool idea. They just have the good manners to say what they have to say to the people who we as an electorate have voted into power. and then keep stum. Remember that bit we were taught at Sandhurst, give every order as though it was your own, whether you agree with it or not.
 

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