Generals First - Scurrilous Rumour On "jobs For 1*+ Boys"

#1
I recently have heard a scurrilous rumour that when A2020 was first mooted, heads were put together to work out how many Generals needed jobs and then the structure was built around those figures.

Now this line of too many Generals is one that Frank Ledwidge has brought up, highlighting comparisons with the Israelis and Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.

I've also read (though can't find link) that the British Army has one of the highest global officer to soldier ratios, beaten only by a couple of tin pot armies which like gold braid and tailoring far more. This apparently dates back to when commissions used to be sold, and it made sense to have as many slots to sell as possible.

What has been less amusing to see is figures from dasa that suggest there might be some grist to this mill.

Since 2010, across all 3 services:
MOD Civil population has fallen from 85,850 to 63,810, a reduction of 22,040 (26%).
Other Ranks have dropped from 159,730 to 140,600, a reduction of 19,130 ( 12%)
Officers have dropped from 31,930 to 30,110, a reduction of 1,820 (6%)

3 Questions:

1. Is any one surprised? Does this match commercial HR percentages in corporate reductions or is it as unbalanced as it seems?
2. I can't find an army specific break down in reductions by rank 2010 - 2013, nor projections for the next tranche. Is there such a thing?
3. Apart from the bog standard "Come the revolution, first against the wall" top tier personnel reduction strategies advocated by some of the more "foamy at the brain" arrsers, any one have any bright ideas on if there is a realistic solution that doesn't call on la la land levels of political will and commitment? ( I.e redundancy with immediate pay off to 20% slice of all officers above rank of Lt Col or Col).
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
There's an argument in the forces generally that we have more than we actually need because lots of them are in international organisations. You might argue that that is none of our business but having, using the navy as an example, a British flag officer in command of international naval activity in the Indian Ocean wins friends and influences people. We may decide that we shouldn't or can't afford to do that sort of thing but that really ought to be a foreign policy decision not a military one.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#3
I recently have heard a scurrilous rumour that when A2020 was first mooted, heads were put together to work out how many Generals needed jobs and then the structure was built around those figures.

Now this line of too many Generals is one that Frank Ledwidge has brought up, highlighting comparisons with the Israelis and Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.

I've also read (though can't find link) that the British Army has one of the highest global officer to soldier ratios, beaten only by a couple of tin pot armies which like gold braid and tailoring far more. This apparently dates back to when commissions used to be sold, and it made sense to have as many slots to sell as possible.

What has been less amusing to see is figures from dasa that suggest there might be some grist to this mill.

Since 2010, across all 3 services:
MOD Civil population has fallen from 85,850 to 63,810, a reduction of 22,040 (26%).
Other Ranks have dropped from 159,730 to 140,600, a reduction of 19,130 ( 12%)
Officers have dropped from 31,930 to 30,110, a reduction of 1,820 (6%)

3 Questions:

1. Is any one surprised? Does this match commercial HR percentages in corporate reductions or is it as unbalanced as it seems?
2. I can't find an army specific break down in reductions by rank 2010 - 2013, nor projections for the next tranche. Is there such a thing?
3. Apart from the bog standard "Come the revolution, first against the wall" top tier personnel reduction strategies advocated by some of the more "foamy at the brain" arrsers, any one have any bright ideas on if there is a realistic solution that doesn't call on la la land levels of political will and commitment? ( I.e redundancy with immediate pay off to 20% slice of all officers above rank of Lt Col or Col).
 

WW13

On ROPS
On ROPs
#4
I recently have heard a scurrilous rumour that when A2020 was first mooted, heads were put together to work out how many Generals needed jobs and then the structure was built around those figures.

Now this line of too many Generals is one that Frank Ledwidge has brought up, highlighting comparisons with the Israelis and Uncle Sam's Misguided Children.

I've also read (though can't find link) that the British Army has one of the highest global officer to soldier ratios, beaten only by a couple of tin pot armies which like gold braid and tailoring far more. This apparently dates back to when commissions used to be sold, and it made sense to have as many slots to sell as possible.

What has been less amusing to see is figures from dasa that suggest there might be some grist to this mill.

Since 2010, across all 3 services:
MOD Civil population has fallen from 85,850 to 63,810, a reduction of 22,040 (26%).
Other Ranks have dropped from 159,730 to 140,600, a reduction of 19,130 ( 12%)
Officers have dropped from 31,930 to 30,110, a reduction of 1,820 (6%)

3 Questions:

1. Is any one surprised? Does this match commercial HR percentages in corporate reductions or is it as unbalanced as it seems?
2. I can't find an army specific break down in reductions by rank 2010 - 2013, nor projections for the next tranche. Is there such a thing?
3. Apart from the bog standard "Come the revolution, first against the wall" top tier personnel reduction strategies advocated by some of the more "foamy at the brain" arrsers, any one have any bright ideas on if there is a realistic solution that doesn't call on la la land levels of political will and commitment? ( I.e redundancy with immediate pay off to 20% slice of all officers above rank of Lt Col or Col).

I absolutely love a conspiracy theory. Very popular amongst certain sections of this site as well.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
#5
I recently have heard a scurrilous rumour that when A2020 was first mooted, heads were put together to work out how many Generals needed jobs and then the structure was built around those figures.
Bollocks. Indeed the reverse, hence loss of Arms Directors, Regional Brigade commanders etc
 
#6
The good thing about this is that you can actually easily check the numbers by the annual reports that the government produces:

Thus in 2011 there were 43 x OF7 (Maj Gen) and by 2013 following SDSR reductions that had gone down to 44! Lt Gens had reduced from 9 to 10 and we had seen our 6 x Gens slashed to 5.

Fair play though as OF6 (Brigadiers) had reduced from 170 to 150. I have no idea what they are all needed for though. Full Colonels had also gone from 580 to 530 although we still have enough for a pretty well recruited Battalion!

UK armed forces annual personnel report: index
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#7
The pitiless Darwinian world of the general officer, eh? One can almost feel sorry for them.

Incidentally, has anyone spotted that, years after Field Marshal/Admiral of the Fleet/Marshal of the RAF were officially abolished - i.e. there would be no further promotions to 5* rank - a number of folk have picked up promotions after retirement. Good news for them, they go straight back on to full salaries until the day they die.
 
#8
It's enough to warm the cockles of your heart to see the Army is expanding again, and that some soldiers are doing so well for themselves.
 
#10
The pitiless Darwinian world of the general officer, eh? One can almost feel sorry for them.

Incidentally, has anyone spotted that, years after Field Marshal/Admiral of the Fleet/Marshal of the RAF were officially abolished - i.e. there would be no further promotions to 5* rank - a number of folk have picked up promotions after retirement. Good news for them, they go straight back on to full salaries until the day they die.
Aren't the likes of FM Walker, MRAF Stirrup & that Boyce fella honorary 5-stars? ie. I don't think they go back on the active list & draw the salary.
 

Subsunk

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#11
You can see this rank preservation/inflation kicking in at junior levels as well. Big RN warships carry SO2 Department Heads and SO1s from the same branch above them.

Allegedly, the SO1s are retained on board so that when the warship deploys as part of a Task Force, they can then run with Task Unit issues.

That is what I was told, what I saw a lot of the time (not all of the time, I hasten to add) were useless comedy SO2s assigned to the platform because they had a grown-up who could step in when needed on their behalf. Which was most of the time from what I saw.
 
#12
The pitiless Darwinian world of the general officer, eh? One can almost feel sorry for them.

Incidentally, has anyone spotted that, years after Field Marshal/Admiral of the Fleet/Marshal of the RAF were officially abolished - i.e. there would be no further promotions to 5* rank - a number of folk have picked up promotions after retirement. Good news for them, they go straight back on to full salaries until the day they die.
Not quite. Appointment to FM is by remit of HM only. It is not a promotion but, nowadays, an honorary title. FMs in UK, unlike US 5*, do not pick up full pay unless holding an appointment. As we no longer have a CDS of 5* then none of these recently honoured will pick up full pay but will, like all generals, continue to receive half pay.
 
#13
1. Is any one surprised? Does this match commercial HR percentages in corporate reductions or is it as unbalanced as it seems?
The imbalance might, in part at least, be explained by the need for officers on various staffs where you wouldn't have so many ORs.
 
#14
Does this match commercial HR percentages in corporate reductions or is it as unbalanced as it seems?
I can't comment on specific percentages, which will I suspect vary widely dependent on the nature of the business, but I am certainly aware of commercial organisations that have made significant numbers of staff redundant and not a manager or director has as much as flinched.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
The pitiless Darwinian world of the general officer, eh? One can almost feel sorry for them.

Incidentally, has anyone spotted that, years after Field Marshal/Admiral of the Fleet/Marshal of the RAF were officially abolished - i.e. there would be no further promotions to 5* rank - a number of folk have picked up promotions after retirement. Good news for them, they go straight back on to full salaries until the day they die.
WRONG. You are MISINFORMED. 5* went to half pay on the Active List instead of to pension on the Retired List, and in some cases 5* half pay was less than the pension they would have got as 4*. Recent promotions (for ex-CDS )are entirely honorary and do not confer any financial advantage.

Oh and AoF BEFORE FM if you don't mind.
 
#16
Just remember that a lot of these red tabs occupy positions as defence attaché etc at embassies around the globe so there are a lot of them in civil service/ Commonwealth and Foreign Office posts
 
#17
You can see this rank preservation/inflation kicking in at junior levels as well. Big RN warships carry SO2 Department Heads and SO1s from the same branch above them.

Allegedly, the SO1s are retained on board so that when the warship deploys as part of a Task Force, they can then run with Task Unit issues.

That is what I was told, what I saw a lot of the time (not all of the time, I hasten to add) were useless comedy SO2s assigned to the platform because they had a grown-up who could step in when needed on their behalf. Which was most of the time from what I saw.
It's a bit chicken and egg. In general, the SO1s just get in the way.
 
#18
Thus in 2011 there were 43 x OF7 (Maj Gen) and by 2013 following SDSR reductions that had gone down to 44! Lt Gens had reduced from 9 to 10 and we had seen our 6 x Gens slashed to 5.
Don't forget that Chief Defence Materiel was civilianised from Mil 4* OF9 to a civilian (Gen Kevin O'Donahue to Benard Gray) just in time to create another 4* appointment, Comd JFC.

If you want to see shameless jobs for the boys, take a look at the Air Force List, the RAF Regt has something like 19 x OF5s...
 
#19
You do surprise me. The RAF is filled with over-ranked wasters!
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#20
WRONG. You are MISINFORMED. 5* went to half pay on the Active List instead of to pension on the Retired List, and in some cases 5* half pay was less than the pension they would have got as 4*. Recent promotions (for ex-CDS )are entirely honorary and do not confer any financial advantage.

Oh and AoF BEFORE FM if you don't mind.
Oooh. CAPITAL LETTERS, I suppose the only good news is I was spared a harsh font.

Your point on the Senior Service well taken and my apologies to the shrinking violets of the Andrew for inadvertently disrespecting that fine body of men.

5-stars on half pay? Really? When was that introduced? It has always been my understanding that the whole point of 5-star rank (previously the preserve of CDS) was that the salary kept rolling in until the coil was shuffled off. Does this mean that FM Lord Bramall's income (for example) suddenly halved sometime in the Blair years?
 

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