Sandhurst chief says army needs character not university degrees

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Chimp, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I couldn't agree more. I think we're looking at wholesale change to the career structure if we want to get the right people into the right jobs.
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  2. H
    hence the desire for lateral recruitment.
  3. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Have I mentioned the RN's Wet and Dry lists? It may be very old hat (it is) and I don't know how transferable the idea is, but way back when the RN realised there were not enough ships to give every new Seaman Commander a drive, promotions were split with those destined for higher command going 'Wet' and being eligible for Command at sea and XO jobs in big ships. Others - the RN still needed Cdrs and above for staff duties, MoD etc - were promoted 'Dry' which meant their actual seagoing days were effectively over, but they could still dig out and make Captain, perhaps. Don't know how it works now with so few seagoing command opportunities with, I believe, only one at 2* level.
  4. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I think we should look at that for senior specialists, but I think we need to be very careful about how we do it. I'm yet to hear a convincing argument for recruiting people directly into the army at a senior level rather than employ them in the roles we need as MOD CS on better terms of service.

    I think the issue that really needs to be addressed is how to better manage internal talent. I think the peter-principle-compliant system that we use to select higher commanders doesn't deliver the most appropriate talent to high rank.
  5. There's a good point here, but it's more about spotting the potential for moving sideways those people who are already in, aren't going up the command chain, are content with specialist employment and who aren't "industrious and stupid". That's quite a small patch in the middle of the Venn diagram, perhaps. It's how the Army recruited permanent presidents of courts martial, for example. It's like the RN 'dry' stream (as @seaweed says). The question is, how much can it actually be replicated? Or is it only a niche solution?

    And what it explicitly isn't, is lateral recruitment. Lateral recruitment might work but it's something else. That's about bringing people in, later

    And both of these risk alienating staff from operational experience, ala Darling of Blackadder. I think it's a niche solution. As is filling tp comd slots with SNCOs. It's not that seniors can't do the job, of course they can, but I'd hate to see future officer ranks coming in straight at Sqn/Coy/Bty 2iC Level without having first got their fingernails dirty, just as a way of narrowing the base of the pyramid to match recruiting demographics.

    In the end, it's about market forces.

    When spending 3 years in the Grenadier Guards was seen as a pre-requisite to joining daddy's merchant bank and/or inheriting his estate (as per one member of my platoon at RMAS), it was understood that the salary wasn't going to cover the mess bills. If the upper classes aren't going to fill that niche any more (for whatever reason) and the army is recruiting 'professional' officers (in the sense of people who are doing it for a living) you have to compete. And is there such an interest amongst the millennials for such a job?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. T
    That is quite blinkered a view. Some of the talent the Army requires will not get out of bed for less than a Brigadier's salary. On top of that they do not give a stuff about status or hierarchy. How does the Army deal with people who require senior officer housing and a JNCO social life?
  7. Honourable Artillery Company - British Army Website ;-)
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  8. There was at least one 2* "Dry" Officer.
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  9. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I'm not interested in another pissing match, but I don't think my view is especially blinkered. I acknowledge that people won't want to join for low pay which is why I suggested employing them as MOD CS on better terms of service. Those better terms will almost certainly have to include higher pay than is routine for MOD CS at current grades.
  10. I used the word thoughtfully and not to wind you up. This matter has already been addressed by the CGS:

    Army to break with tradition and recruit civilians into senior ranks

    Army leaders will be recruited direct from the civilian world rather than rising up through the ranks, under a proposed overhaul to bring in specialist skills for 21st century warfare.

    The plan to hire straight into the regular Army’s middle and possibly even higher ranks will overturn generations of tradition and a career structure that has seen leaders work their way up from the bottom.

    The British Army is considering hiring direct from industry and the boardroom to get civilians who have already had established careers in areas like cyber technology, aviation technology and logistics.

    The scheme for so-called lateral entry is being drawn up by Gen Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the General Staff, with the first hires still "a year or two away”.

    Such recruitment is designed to make up for shortfalls in high-tech skills, but may clash with the military’s tradition of growing its own leaders.

    Sir Nick stressed his scheme would not apply to the Army’s frontline fighting combat arms.

    Reservists are already being recruited in a similar way, and the military insists the strategy is paying off, with high calibre recruits being attracted from the worlds of industry, government, academia and the public sector.

    But the latest plan is believed to be the first time since the Second World War that non-soldiers have been boosted up the ranks in the regular Army.

    He said: “As an institution we are bottom fed. In other words we recruit people who are youngsters and then grow them through a career. I think that the modern way of working suggests that as we embrace a lot of the specialisms that we have got to embrace, we are going to have to offer different career structures.

    “I suspect that nearly as much as 30 per cent of the Army will be specialists in the future.

    “How we supply those specialist career streams, often probably with lateral entry and maybe sharing people with industry because all of us are struggling with the so-called science, technology, engineering and maths skills, is something we will have to think about in the future.”

    Army sources suggested the first recruitment was likely to be to ranks such as captain, major or non-commissioned officers, but in future it could extend to positions as senior as brigadier.

    A similar proposal in the US Army already suggests direct hire as high up as colonel.

    The positions would skip basic training and weapons drills and not be held accountable to basic fitness standards.

    Sir Nick said the Army was “probably a year or two away” from the the move, which would need profound changes to careers structures and the way the Army recognises status. The Army may need to bring in new senior non-commissioned officer ranks he suggested.

    He said: “We may need to adopt a more American-style approach. They have these people called chief warrant officers. A chief warrant officer is typically a pilot or avionics officer who moves up through this different system of status and I think that the British Army is going to have to think about doing that sort of thing as well.”

    But he predicted the Army’s combat arms would remain unchanged in his lifetime.

    He said: “I think we will still deliver that effect through a bottom-fed delivery system in the way that we understand it, but I think that the cursor will move in other areas.”

    The move would mirror changes in the police. Three years ago the police announced a break with 180 years of tradition by allowing officers to enter at senior rank rather than working their way up from constable.
  11. Please no. The defence intranet is already full of whinging E2s who think they should be paid like SCS just for turning up at work. This kind of thing would blow their minds.
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  12. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Tell them that Colonels earn more than FCO 2*s and have a significantly more generous benefits package when in the UK. That'll get them nicely agitated.

    Edited for wrong CS grade. It's 2* not 1*.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  13. Not half as agitated as the Colonel who realises the spotty unkept lateral entry Captain is earning more than him. ;)
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  14. Rather than having lateral entry you would be better off setting up an executive agency under the MOD which would allow you to set different terms of service (pay, promotion, career management, career expectations) than MOD CS. There are already 45 other executive agencies so it isn't really a new concept. You could call it the Defence Staff Office.

    You would then be free to employ people on permanent or temporary contracts at rates commensurate with their experience, and in line with the needs of the Army at that specific time without locking yourself into the CS/Army pay bands.

    I don't think you'd want to have them in uniform or give them a military rank as it would be a waste of time and create confusion when they were exposed to the field army. If you give someone a uniform then they would be expected to know how to march, who to salute etc., and generally look "professional" in uniform. If they deploy to an overseas HQ then they can cut around in civvies, much like many other people at large HQs. In the industry I work in currently you have very senior technical specialists and SMEs who don't have permanent VP, SVP titles, but everyone knows who they are and how important they are through project specific titles. If you have someone in civvies in a deployed HQ whose temporary title is "Director, X Div logistics" for example then it's pretty self-explanatory what they do.

    These positions would normally be static, based out of a single location, so you wouldn't need to concern yourself with accommodation, boarding school allowance and the other elements of the (unnecessarily) generous package that senior officers get, and you could have a glorious cull of full colonels and 1*s.

    On the flip side this means you would need far fewer staff officers, so the officer career triangle would be very brutal. Once your time at sub-unit command was done (following one staff job) that would generally be the end of your time, unless you had excelled in both performance at RD (weighted towards command), your single staff appointment and some kind of stringent exam at the 12 year point in your career.
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