RSMs - justify yourselves

Does the chief fire officer (aka RSM) need any addition responsibilities?

  • Yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
While in converstion with an ASM the other day i encountered an interesting point of view...

Other than chief fire officer, what is the role of an RSM and just what is he accountable for to justify his position?

He doesn't run the mess, the PMC does.
He doesn't assign SNCO/WO duties, and if he does it's not exactly taxing.
Discipline is mostly dealt with by the CSMs.
Security in many camps is either shared with other units or a MOD plod/MPGS responsibilty.
He commands nobody - the SSA and a typist don't count.
He doesn't sign for anything other than what's in his office.

Just what does he do? Or is it a case he exists because he alsways has existed.

Now before you RSMs start baying for blood and hunting me down, I don't have an anti-RSM agenda or a particular one that I want to annoy. Just take five minutes to look at your job (if you are an RSM) and compare it to to the jobs of many other WO1s and quite a lot of WO2s and then you can open fire...
I would say that when any ranker is complaining about an other equal rank, it is usually out of some kind of jealousy, i.e. ASM,RQMS's etc everyone has a role, some are more definative than others.

Another thought is would that ASM etc be a WO1 if they had not continued to stay in trade, and went on the RD role at SGT/SSGT maybe...

not a case of RSM's examining their role maybe the others should examine their own.

just a point of view on the subject

figurehead for the battalion

most experienced soldier, there to impart knowledge, both to officers and soldiers alike

somthing for soldiers to aspire to

I couldnt be further from being an RSM but the idea of a battalion without one is ludicrous!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
I think you will find that most RSMs, by the very nature of the career route that got them to the appointment of RSM, have absolutely no need to justify themselves to anyone.

p.s The closest I every got to RSM was getting extras from him(them).
The issue here I feel is that you are trying to compare the roles of an ASM with the RSM, I do not feel you can do that.

The way I look at it many companies have figurehead chairmen how have little on hands control but is a big hitter in general feel of the place.

CSM/BSM/SSM's control the men but without a point of contact above them they have no cohesion with the rest of the regt/bn

As a footnote I belive that all RSM's should be at least 6'6" and have a jock accent to fulfill the role
Sets the tone of the regiment
Trains young officers drill
Someone all can look to when things go pear shaped
Wait a bit - I'll get my discharge certifect and see what else................
for a WO1 to get to RSM, I really dont think that hey should have to justify themselves at all, the appointment says it all.


Book Reviewer
I never occurred to me that an RSM was anything other than a vital figure in a Regiment. Value quite clear etc. A major role, representing the views of the Mess to the CO and keeping the weaker sort of Adj up to scratch, as well as doing all the other stuff in the job description.

One thing that did strike me as a nause was the increasing trend for RSMs to pick up LE commissions - which tended to put a bit of a damper on their willingess to go head-to-head with idiot COs. Who can blame them for keeping one eye on their careers?

Perhaps RSMs should, by definition, not be commissionable - they could be paid a lot more money in compensation - and non-technical LEs could be selected from WO2s, thus leaving WO1 to technical and trade posts and a "super-WO1" to the various RSM/GSM etc appointments.


The RSM is the RSM, he comes from a long line of ba$tards and long should the tradition continue! (Until TCH puts a nother spanner in that works to!)
I think that it depends very much on each individual.

I have met many RSMs who were vital figure-heads, instilled discipline, looked out for the soldiers' interests and ensured that the regt looked (and ran) like a professional unit.

However, it has also been my misfortune to meet one or two who did none of the above and let the entire team down. In the case of these individuals, I would rather have done without - or seen them sacked!
Asking 'whats the point of an RSM' is akin to civy companies rationalizing various posts to streamline etc. As most have said above, the RSM's 'on paper' job spec is actually rather small. It's his position in the unit, the percieved power (he sets the example all should follow) his experience and his link from 'other ranks' to Officers that is the all important job spec. Can you quantify 'The Regimental Family' on an accounts sheet? I'd say no.

Agree with welly head. The perfect RSM would be Harry Andrews as portrayed in 'The Hill'!
Harry Andrews in the Hill ?? - covering up bullying etc. No thanks.

I'd go for Richard Attennborough in 'Guns at Batazi' - no kow-towing to foreign despots, nor to visiting UK politicians.
In my opinion a RSM should be big, scary and totally inmune to logic. They are the unmovable object that keeps the mess together, if you have a good RSM, it goes that you have a good Mess and if you've got a good Mess, then you'll have a good unit. It also goes vice verse.
whiffler said:
Harry Andrews in the Hill ?? - covering up bullying etc. No thanks.
whiff, the chap being 'disciplined' was a bum bandit. Problem being? :roll:
It was a nick too so it's ok then! :wink:
One doesnt have to compare an RSM to any other warrant rank. Every RSM has served his time in most of the lesser positions. He is now paid to look good, shout loud and maintain discipline and morale within the Regiment.
whiffler said:
I'd go for Richard Attennborough in 'Guns at Batazi' - no kow-towing to foreign despots, nor to visiting UK politicians.
I thought I was the only one of this opinion. Best bit is when he goes on about his knees being brown etc.
Having been on Arrse for nearly three years this is my first visit to the Seniors. I am quite amazed that anyone should ask the purpose of an RSM.

The RSM is there to set the tone of the Bn to the Bn. He maintains and promulgates the standards of the Bn to all ranks and all messes. After the Commanding Officer (and in some cases before the CO) he is the single most important individual in a unit. A strong Sgts mess makes a unit a good unit, and a strong RSM makes a Sgts mess strong.


doomsayer said:
However, it has also been my misfortune to meet one or two who did none of the above and let the entire team down. In the case of these individuals, I would rather have done without - or seen them sacked!
Did they commission into the RAMC by any chance?
Mushroom, glad_its_all_over and Flash: good calls all round! :D

This is also my first visit to this hallowed ground, and I have to say I'm astonished that anyone would ask for RSMs to either seek justification or purpose. Bizarre, but perhaps symptomatic of a larger problem...

I love the concept of RSMs being 'big, loud and scary'. They should be. They should serve as a role model for young, impressionable soldiers, something to aspire to. The phenomenon of RSMs who constantly have one eye on their LE commision is disturbing, what can you really expect otherwise?

I was once told this:

RSM: '...what the feck are you wearing on your feet?!?!?!?'
Me: 'Boots, Sir.' (Iowa boots before they became issue)
RSM: 'Boots! BOOTS! Do you know what happens when soldiers start to do their own thing?! People die, that's what! Civilisations have fallen because bloody squits like you do their own thing! Get those poncy bloody 'boots by Dior' off your feet or I'll chop 'em off!!!!!'
Me: Yessir!'

Great stuff!! :D
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