Dissertation: British Army capabilities post Cold War

#1
Hello all,
My name is Hugh and I am an MSc student at the University of Glasgow on the International Relations course, and I am looking for candidates to participate in my dissertation research on the British Army in the post-Cold War and post-Afghanistan eras. My topic is ‘Have the previous three decades irreparably damaged the British Army’s battlefield capabilities?’. Anyone participating will be sent a questionnaire via ARRSE's PM system. Answers can be as short or in depth as you like, and is expected to require around 30 minutes of your time.

I have already contacted the admin team here at ARRSE and Bad CO has kindly given me permission to use the site for my research.

Who am I looking for?
Ideally, I’m looking for serving and recently retired members of the Army, however I am aware that ARRSE is a broad parish with varied and interesting members – which is one of the reasons I came here.
Accordingly, I am looking for a wide range of candidates rather than limiting the pool to just those who are currently serving in the Army:
  • Serving or retired members of the armed forces (British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force). All ranks.
  • Civil Service staff (MoD, DSTL, etc), working or retired.
  • Subject matter experts – I’m aware that there are a few defence industry professionals and experts on here, and would gladly welcome their input.
  • If you are not part of any of the above categories but think you may have valuable input, please feel free to get in contact to discuss the matter further.

Anonymity, personal data and security
This forum thread is intended to recruit candidates. The research and your participation will be in the form of a questionnaire via ARRSE’s personal message system (this may seem strange, however this was the only way I could get ethical approval for this research from the Postgraduate Ethics Committee at Glasgow).
Rather than approaching individuals for formal interviews I felt that the anonymity provided by ARRSE would allow candidates to speak freely on the topic. Anonymity and confidentiality will be kept as strict as possible. I will not be asking for real names, nor will I be publishing ARRSE username - unless a candidate has expressly consented to me doing so. Throughout my dissertation candidates will be referred to as an alpha-numeric, such as “A1” or “B9”. An appendix will provide limited details in the form of a ‘key’, to give context to candidates’ comments and differentiate them. For example:
‘A1 – serving – junior officer – combat support arms (artillery)’
‘B9 – retired – civil servant’
A friend and serving officer has helped me devise this system, as he pointed out that any other details (such as years serving or a specific rank) could allow an individual to be more easily identified and (quote) ‘end up having a meeting without coffee and biscuits’.

Personal data (sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, location, marital status, name) is not being collected.
As per my university department’s ethical approval I will be deleting the private messages once my research is complete by 30th August. I will be leaving the forum topic open however, as it could stimulate interesting conversation.

Who am I?
My name is Hugh, and I’m an MSc student at the University of Glasgow. I’ve had an interest in military history and defence/security issues from a fairly young age. I can confirm that I’m not an investigative journalist nor am I a Russian spy. I am not looking for technical details of equipment.

My supervisor is Professor Beatrice Heuser. Should anyone wish to contact me, my supervisor Professor Heuser, or the University of Glasgow Postgraduate Ethics committee, I will be more than happy to provide the relevant contact details via private message (I’d rather not post email addresses on a public forum).

Thank you for your time,
Hugh.

Edit - I have attached the Plain Language Statement (PLS) for those wishing to participate, and I'll be sending it on again to those who agree to participate. I am required to do this to ensure that you are aware of what the research will involve and that you can properly consent to taking part.
 

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#2
Well Done Hugh! We get a few of these per year and they usually ask pathetic questions, with a pre-conceived idea that those with military service are in some kind of social underclass, despite them being impoverished students at 4th rate universities themselves.

This is therefore a very welcome change so far as I can see, and well laid out. I've probably been out too long to be of much help, but best of luck.

PS - your last name isn't Jardon, by any chance? :)
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
A friend and serving officer has helped me devise this system, as he pointed out that any other details (such as years serving or a specific rank) could allow an individual to be more easily identified and (quote) ‘end up having a meeting without coffee and biscuits’.
If the information identifying a specific individual was inadvertently publicly disclosed it might also be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. Link below.

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/

From your original post, it appears you have such considerations in mind, but it might be an idea (if you are not already doing so) to password protect any such data so as to restrict the chances of illicit access. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not just names and addresses, but any combination of information that would allow a specific individual to be identified.

Wordsmith
 
#4
Hi Hugh

There is a specific sub forum for very senior Officer types., you may find it useful to ask them for input as well..

Staff Officers are the kind of people who actually make the long term decisions and there may be some mileage in going there.

I am led to believe that some of them actually use fountain pens...

https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/forums/staff-college-and-staff-officers.31/







Do NOT ask about red corduroy trousers though, whatever you do.
 
#5
If the information identifying a specific individual was inadvertently publicly disclosed it might also be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. Link below.

Guide to Data Protection

From your original post, it appears you have such considerations in mind, but it might be an idea (if you are not already doing so) to password protect any such data so as to restrict the chances of illicit access. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not just names and addresses, but any combination of information that would allow a specific individual to be identified.

Wordsmith
More likely a breach of GDPR, which the DPA 2018 confirms as the general Data Protection Law in the UK. DPA does amongst other things provide legal requirements for the processing of personal data in certain specific circumstances (Law Enforcemement and Intelligence for example) and sits alongside the GDPR not above or instead of.

PII is a USA legal term whereas the DPA and GDPR refer to Personal Data.
 
#6
Anyway - happy to answer questions.
 
#8
Well Done Hugh! We get a few of these per year and they usually ask pathetic questions, with a pre-conceived idea that those with military service are in some kind of social underclass, despite them being impoverished students at 4th rate universities themselves.

This is therefore a very welcome change so far as I can see, and well laid out. I've probably been out too long to be of much help, but best of luck.

PS - your last name isn't Jardon, by any chance?............. :)

...........Its Jampton.................
 
#9
Interested, first time in years anyone wants to know about what I did in the Army.
Was never on that balcony, in the deseret with "them" or appeared in Chris or Andy's books!
 
#10
Thank you so far for the responses. Apologies in advance if this is a block of text and mess of quotes, I thought I'd reply to everything in one post rather than clutter the topic with several posts.

I've edited the original post to include the Plain Language Statement (PLS) which further explains what this research involves before you make a decide on whether you'd like to consent to participating.

Well Done Hugh! We get a few of these per year and they usually ask pathetic questions, with a pre-conceived idea that those with military service are in some kind of social underclass, despite them being impoverished students at 4th rate universities themselves.

This is therefore a very welcome change so far as I can see, and well laid out. I've probably been out too long to be of much help, but best of luck.
Thank you, I hope my project lives up to expectation! Any information and opinions are welcome, so by all means please feel free to contact me about getting involved - you may be able to offer interesting perspective on how things have changed.

PS - your last name isn't Jardon, by any chance? :)
It's Jarse actually...

If the information identifying a specific individual was inadvertently publicly disclosed it might also be a breach of the Data Protection Act 2018. Link below.

Guide to Data Protection

From your original post, it appears you have such considerations in mind, but it might be an idea (if you are not already doing so) to password protect any such data so as to restrict the chances of illicit access. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is not just names and addresses, but any combination of information that would allow a specific individual to be identified.

Wordsmith
Understood, and I can confirm that all PII is being password protected.


Anyway - happy to answer questions.
Thank you - please could you send me a PM.
 
#11
Well Done Hugh! We get a few of these per year and they usually ask pathetic questions, with a pre-conceived idea that those with military service are in some kind of social underclass, despite them being impoverished students at 4th rate universities themselves.

This is therefore a very welcome change so far as I can see, and well laid out. I've probably been out too long to be of much help, but best of luck.

PS - your last name isn't Jardon, by any chance? :)

....nor Jampton?
 
#12
More likely a breach of GDPR, which the DPA 2018 confirms as the general Data Protection Law in the UK. DPA does amongst other things provide legal requirements for the processing of personal data in certain specific circumstances (Law Enforcemement and Intelligence for example) and sits alongside the GDPR not above or instead of.

PII is a USA legal term whereas the DPA and GDPR refer to Personal Data.

Good God you've sat through the open-your-own-veins-with-a-biro training sessions on this too?
 
#14
Good God you've sat through the open-your-own-veins-with-a-biro training sessions on this too?
Its dire, I spent a year going over it word by word, sentence by sentence, para....................................................

I sometimes burst into tears for no reason.
I used to sit in a corner and rock whilst banging my head against a wall...........matron say's I only have to wear the strait jacket when I have visitors now.
 
#17
There is actually a risk that this thread may well go the way the OP intended! Well done Hugh!

My army number was in Roman numerals so I doubt I’ll be of much use, but I will offer this: in 1984, during ex Lionheart, my troop recce sergeant was Australian, on loan to us for six months.

We struggled with the idea that the Australian defence forces had no ‘threat’. How did they train? How did they equip? What were they for? It was easy-peasy for us - we had 3 Shock Army to face up against.
 
#18
There is actually a risk that this thread may well go the way the OP intended! Well done Hugh!

My army number was in Roman numerals so I doubt I’ll be of much use, but I will offer this: in 1984, during ex Lionheart, my troop recce sergeant was Australian, on loan to us for six months.

We struggled with the idea that the Australian defence forces had no ‘threat’. How did they train? How did they equip? What were they for? It was easy-peasy for us - we had 3 Shock Army to face up against.
Interesting point. We had 'the' threat as well as numerous peripheral post-colonial obligations, if I might term them thus.

At the time, the constant refrain was prepare for 'a' war, not 'the' war.

Of late, I think we've neglected that. We've concentrated too, too much on 'a' war (typically expeditionary, for two reasons: until recently it was the immediate task at hand; and because it didn't involve lots of heavy elements it was relatively cheap and therefore acceptable to politicians' ears).

It's left us under-resourced and over-exposed.
 
#19
I'm fairly sure that I'm not in the bracket of 'people with constructive information from a relevant generation', so I won't be taking part, but wish you the best for the project.
 
#20
I'm fairly sure that I'm not in the bracket of 'people with constructive information from a relevant generation', so I won't be taking part, but wish you the best for the project.
I play my 'those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it' card.

The determination among seniors/budgeters to ignore history is the biggest driver of the hole we're in now.

I'd therefore enthusiastically encourage your participation.

(But then we're probably in considerable agreement over many things...)
 

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