NAO rather than PAC. More importantly though, if this is not overstretch what the hell is?
Looking at the period of 30 months leading to January this year, the report said 14.5% of Army personnel had been sent on operations more frequently than the service's "harmony guidelines" deemed acceptable.
This figure rose to 40% in jobs which suffered particular shortages, such as vehicle mechanics and armourers.
There was also a brief bulletin on Radio 1 this morning, quoting it was 5000 recruits below required levels. They cited it was due to family pressures from extended tours of duty, and there was a rather succinct and suave BAFF spokesperson giving a statement too!
"In the last year 9,200 personnel have left with almost half citing the impact of the service on family life as their main reason. A third said that the quality of equipment and the feeling of not being valued contributed to their departure while 28 per cent complained of too many operational deployments."
I always found I had an answer for most soldiers on interview to sign off, but when one of my Cpls said he just wasn't seeing enough of his family, my only answer was to say that I couldn't promise it would get any better. That was in 2003.
I was listning on 5 live this morning had a 5 min or so debate about it, it seems it's not a case of people not wanting to join up, more that people can't because the army can't afford it.
increase the budget, thats obvious to everyone isn't it?
as for retaining soldiers, I can't really comment because I'm not even starting till January.
However I think it has something to do with, in say ten years time, I'm going to be about 30, I'm going to be thinking of a family, in the army my promotions have slowed down a little, I don't fancy going to AFG every three years, I can get a job in C'street with more pay, more time off, and can keep settled at home, instead of moving.
these are the reasons my dad, and his brother left the RAF and Army respectivley, but across the board in army style careers your expecting a high turnover.
The Ministry of Defence says its forces are "stretched but not overstretched" but the Army's chief, General Richard Dannatt, said in interviews last month his force could not sustain its present commitments indefinitely.
Stretched but not overstretched? Wonderful, slick choices of words and smarmy spin.
Iâd like to see certain elements at MOD and within the discredited Government âstretched but not over stretchedâ Stretched by their scrawny necks in the most undignified manner, over stretched and theyâd possibly escape arriving at the final court of justice!
These parasites know no shame and clearly feel no enduring sense of responsibility or duty of care toward our Armed Forces.
"I have got an army to look after ... I want an army in five years' time and ten years' time. Don't let's break it on this one. Let's keep an eye on time," he said. "Time is money and time is soldiers' lives."
The words of General Dannatt. However General Jackson, ACM Stirrup, PM Blair, Sec Browne, Minister Ingram, do not agree, preferring the phrase stretched but not overstretched. When will they agree with Sir Richard? When it is not physically possible to man these deployments? Or do they prefer to cut and run in Iraq and try and ignore the ensuing bloodbath? Or do they want to bring back conscription? 15% of all personnel breaching harmony guidelines in some cases 40%. With no plan to improve these breaches apart from pulling out of Iraq and using the troops elsewhere.
Who is right, Sir Richard, or the others? When CGS is warning that his Army is reaching breaking point it is time to listen. NAO report is a timely warning that we are approaching a tipping point. It would be helpful if those in Govt took notice and that goes for Sir Richard's colleagues.
MoD hasn't got a long term strategic plan?.........they never have had. Only recently have local commanders taken an interest in soldiers leaving and in some cases, that interest is only for the sake of their own interests. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with. I'd love to be a fly on the wall of the 'Recruitment and Retention Strategy Office' at Whitehall, but I'd probably die of loneliness.
We're not the only ones who are understrength though and are having to rethink our recruitment and retention strategies (there's that word again).
They've moved the upper age limit to 32? That means that a 32 yr old, completing a full contract, will leave when he is 54, but at the same time, the 'soldiering is a young mans game' Brigade, continue to oppose the complete eradication of the 22 yr contract and are more than happy to see most out at 40. Even with VEng, there are those out there who don't want older soldiers. Mind you, the potential for staying on isn't holding the attraction for some that it once did.
Looks like 'soldiering is a young mans game' Brigade won't have the choice for much longer. They better get used to fat ones as well (it works for the RLC....they've been used to it for years)
The first tour I did was in 1997. 22 reservists joined a single Rifle company. The CSM had a chat with us and pointed out he was still short 21 men. The army has been short bodies since the the late great JC had a rumble with the Romans.
But over the last 10 years it has become worse. It's no longer lending Companies to other units to fill them out because you're not going on a tour for at the next three 3 years, It's lending out entire battalions in bits, even when you're due a tour in a years time. There are no "No Tours" Battalion postings anymore. Black Watch found that out the hard way.
In response to the first two paras of your post, all I can say is that we've been here before with the redundancies in the 90s. We learned f*ck all from that and it looks like we'll learn f*ck all from this.
The MoD still has quite strict rules guarding entry to the UK forces. This is fair enough and quite understandable but some of it is shooting itself in the foot.
I'll give you an example - this is the reason i am 'medically unfit for service'. The SA80 can only be fired from the right shoulder, meaning that people with good right eyes but duff left eyes can join whereas people with good left eyes and duff right eyes can't. If they even had one ambidextrous weapon in regularion, this would be cut out a limiting factor and a number of recruits would be straight down to the AFCO to sign the dotted line (i'd be first - i want to serve time in the middle east before its all over).
Now, the MoD has told me directly that the reason the turned down left handed versions of the SA80 was because they wanted every soldier to be able to pick up any weapon and be able to use it. This is fair enough and perfectly understandable - can't argue with that. However, an ambidextrous rifle can be used by both... so wheres the problem? Im not suggesting for a second they scrap the L85 and adopt another rifle for me and a few others, but accomidating us (like just about every other developed military) isn't very difficult. Costly - but so is the lack of recruits.
Im sure there are plenty of other medical factors that rule out potentially able recruits champing at the bit to join up. If even some of these can be accomidated for then the number of potential recruits would be risen. Thats potential recruits. There are reasons other than fat lazy youths that prevent the numbers in the armed forces from being where they should be.
And for the record, my eyes meet the eyesight requirement - but the wrong way round (my left meets the requirements for the right and vise-versa)
"We are stretched but not over-stretched. While it is clear some people are unhappy with operations, quite a number want to join because of the operations. They are doing a tremendous job. Some of the Marines left because they could not go on operations."