Programme CASTLE

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I would agree - but isn't restricted to the Army, or to Defence, it's quite widespread in the commercial world too from what I can see.
But the Army has the thorny problem of its stated Values & Standards being a lot more severe; those we are discussing being most explicitly responsible for enforcing them; and them regularly enforcing the standards against their subordinates. Much more so than those other groups of organisations. It is the same problem, for example, that universities have worked themselves into by releasing pronouncements about how structurally racist they are, only to be sued because racism is illegal, and start furiously backpedaling.

At the most basic level, it's a problem of hypocrisy, not comparison. You can't crow about leadership by example and holding yourself to a higher standard, while overtly failing to uphold that standard. That will breed more cynicism and discontent than never having the standard in the first place.

After nearly 15 years, I'm still amazed that this is not more clearly understood by ex- or serving officers as an immutable red line.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
And anywhere where the potential for “mates rates” exists. That is to say everywhere.
Again, an answer displaying no moral compass. As any 6 year old learns, "everyone does it", is no answer to "it is wrong".

See my previous comment about amazement and red lines.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Again, an answer displaying no moral compass. As any 6 year old learns, "everyone does it", is no answer to "it is wrong".

See my previous comment about amazement and red lines.
Of course there are values & standards and these are respected...except where the Sandhurst Mafia have to work to keep the system going as is to look after their own.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
D. Individual goes to ADC interview and gets ADC position. Individual is subsequently quite open about General being a family friend who had promised individual would be his ADC

Cavalry ADC and infantry General? If not then this has happened to more than one person in the fairly recent past.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Cavalry ADC and infantry General? If not then this has happened to more than one person in the fairly recent past.
Nope. All examples Int Corps within roughly the same peer group spanning about 4 intakes. So a non-trivial proportion of the whole.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Of course there are values & standards and these are respected...except where the Sandhurst Mafia have to work to keep the system going as is to look after their own.
Displaying again a need for an "agree" button for when "like" doesn't cut it!
 
Cavalry ADC and infantry General? If not then this has happened to more than one person in the fairly recent past.
Well, if you’re going to choose an individual to spend most of your waking time with, selecting someone you know and get on with might have a bonus side...
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Well, if you’re going to choose an individual to spend most of your waking time with, selecting someone you know and get on with might have a bonus side...

Thats why MA jobs are among the very few in defence that have an interview process.

In fairness, ADCs are basically entrenched nepotism anyway. They usually come from the General's own unit. It wouldn't necessarily be a problem if outer office jobs didn't grant a career boost to the selectee.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Well, if you’re going to choose an individual to spend most of your waking time with, selecting someone you know and get on with might have a bonus side...
Sure! I would have about 90% less problem with all of this if the Army's MS policy was:

"Look, the General, your CO or any legitimate winner of rank paper scissors know what's best for you, so they are just going to decide who goes where, and you can like it or leave".

At least then the unwary university graduate could see what they are buying. Perhaps that will be the outcome of CASTLE. It would at least have the virtue of honesty. But we all suspect that is unlikely to happen, on the grounds of it being recruitment suicide. So for as long as the above statement is not, in fact, the official MS policy, and there are actual rules around how appointments, jobs boards and so on operate, it does not seem like a huge ask for officers to demonstrate a bit of Integrity and ******* follow them.
 
Thats why MA jobs are among the very few in defence that have an interview process.

In fairness, ADCs are basically entrenched nepotism anyway. They usually come from the General's own unit. It wouldn't necessarily be a problem if outer office jobs didn't grant a career boost to the selectee.

I think the last point is key: why do they, and how is that experience spread? I’d suggest that instead of trying to hide the process of decision making, it needs significantly more sunlight. ADCs/MAs get a head start because they see much more at a far earlier point. Either establish something like a shadow executive board who also get to see everything or just put everything out in the open for everyone to see.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
But the Army has the thorny problem of its stated Values & Standards being a lot more severe; those we are discussing being most explicitly responsible for enforcing them; and them regularly enforcing the standards against their subordinates. Much more so than those other groups of organisations. It is the same problem, for example, that universities have worked themselves into by releasing pronouncements about how structurally racist they are, only to be sued because racism is illegal, and start furiously backpedaling.

At the most basic level, it's a problem of hypocrisy, not comparison. You can't crow about leadership by example and holding yourself to a higher standard, while overtly failing to uphold that standard. That will breed more cynicism and discontent than never having the standard in the first place.

After nearly 15 years, I'm still amazed that this is not more clearly understood by ex- or serving officers as an immutable red line.
Given three 2*s and a few others (if you take a look at the CM lists) have been chopped very recently, it would seem the watchmen have been hard at work though.
 
Sure! I would have about 90% less problem with all of this if the Army's MS policy was:

"Look, the General, your CO or any legitimate winner of rank paper scissors know what's best for you, so they are just going to decide who goes where, and you can like it or leave".

At least then the unwary university graduate could see what they are buying. Perhaps that will be the outcome of CASTLE. It would at least have the virtue of honesty. But we all suspect that is unlikely to happen, on the grounds of it being recruitment suicide. So for as long as the above statement is not, in fact, the official MS policy, and there are actual rules around how appointments, jobs boards and so on operate, it does not seem like a huge ask for officers to demonstrate a bit of Integrity and ******* follow them.
There are no “rules” on appointments: fundamentally it’s up to the CM to decide where you go.

Personally I’d prefer every job was interviewed for, regardless of type. No CM involved at all.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Given three 2*s and a few others (if you take a look at the CM lists) have been chopped very recently, it would seem the watchmen have been hard at work though.
I've not been watching closely, but have not those all been basically sexual harassment / impropriety cases? I've seen one for corruption (claims fraud). Curious to see links or hear publicly available details. If so a couple of observations.

A. Good. There have been instances I saw of officers being career fouled or dismissed for sexual [whatever], which suggest that it's not just on the surface, but indicative of some real shift. This is a clear change over the Army I joined over a decade ago, and I hope it continues. Ditto bullying, which again I've seen some real action on.

B. I'm married to a female officer, so it seems pretty clear that these are being imposed by the fear of external exposure. MeToo and similar social movements have generated coordinated resistance from female officers for the first time. Change hasn't come from the inherent integrity and goodwill of the watchmen, the Army or those in charge: they recognized the change in the tide, and swam with it. Using the same stroke that most of them swam, in the opposite direction, with the previous tide. It's not exactly evidence that the watchmen have been doing their job.

C. What works for sexual impropriety should also work for other examples of widespread misbehaviour. Benefits fraud / corruption is about as close as you get on the ethical scale to nepotism. The kind of nepotism I'm describing is clearly held to be both socially unacceptable, and is against the Army's rules. So perhaps discussing it more openly will help prompt the kind of change that has happened with sexual harassment, and is enforced with the rigour that stealing benefits has been for some time.

I hope that in a number of years, responding that "everyone does it" will be just as morally and socially unacceptable as it is now for sexual harassment. CASTLE could do the Army a big favour by getting ahead of the issue, rather than again just swimming with the current, which I suspect impresses nobody.
 
Last edited:

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
There are no “rules” on appointments: fundamentally it’s up to the CM to decide where you go.

Personally I’d prefer every job was interviewed for, regardless of type. No CM involved at all.
You would then have hundreds of officers flying around the world for interviews. How many to be interviewed per job and more important who selects them for the post, or do you suggest advertising appointments - which is not that bad an idea.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
There are no “rules” on appointments: fundamentally it’s up to the CM to decide where you go.
Semantic confusion I think. There are a lot of rules on how MS is meant to operate, which are the ones I'm saying are subverted. Deliberately not expanding this to wider Defence or above a certain rank, because as you've previously pointed out, the systems differ.

With officers, I'm mostly talking regimental & staff level for individuals below full bird. But that is where 90% of the field is narrowed. Soldiers are a bit more complex, because there are definite problems of the same flavour, but exhibited in different ways and varying by arm. Many soldier career paths also have less choice, are more quantifiable (pass course A and do job B) and so are more predictable and less subject to gaming.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
PROGRAMME Castle... PROGRAMME, not 'Project'.

Wait, so are we programing the castle? It seems a bit analogue, no? Can you arrange bricks in ones and zeros? Projecting it seems to make sense, like projecting force, which helps if you have a castle to put the force in.

Confused.
 
You would then have hundreds of officers flying around the world for interviews. How many to be interviewed per job and more important who selects them for the post, or do you suggest advertising appointments - which is not that bad an idea.

Given most of the world seems to cope with zoom/telephone interviews after a paper sift, I’m sure could get around to it.

Selected by 1/2 RO.

Everything advertised with Job Specs made public (and potentially testable).

I’m well aware that a process like this in the CS has resulted in another sort of patronage (basically JS so bland the board can pick who they want, and typically a pre-agreed candidate), but I think it’s worth a try.
 
Slightly aside to Project CASTLE - purely out of interest, how many Sandhurst Platoon Commanders / Company Commanders are LE officers?
 

Latest Threads

Top