Sandhurst shake-up 'to get right commanders'

#1
The Army is reviewing the way it recruits and trains officers following the Deepcut and Iraq abuse scandals, a senior general said yesterday.

The officer disclosed that there was concern at the highest level that when the training course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was cut from two years to one, key elements of officer training were lost.

There was no problem with the "soldiering command aspects" but the duty of care element "the administrative bit, looking after your men in a 24-hour situation" was not sufficiently covered.

His comments came as the Army braced itself for the publication of two reports into the way it carries out its duty of care for recruits.

Both are expected to be highly critical of the regime at the time of the deaths of several recruits at Deepcut barracks. There is also disquiet over the promotion of all the officers involved in the Iraqi abuse scandal while three junior NCOs were jailed.

"All of us asked the question: What were the officers doing?" the general said.

As a result of recent problems the Army was conducting "a safety check" to answer the question: "Are the right people coming to Sandhurst and is the syllabus right?"

"Were the people in charge as aware of their duties as they should have been?" the general wondered.

"We're not stupid. We don't sit about gaping at things. Where people are worried, we do something about it."

He said senior officers were "poring over" the transcript of the Iraqi abuse court martial to find improvements.

"We recognise that our pre-operational training in how to handle things in a difficult situation like Iraq wasn't there. But it is now there."

There were peculiar problems in the way soldiers coped with the rapid change from full-scale war to a relatively benign situation that rapidly deteriorated into something more dangerous.

"We were keeping peace in an environment where things were nothing like Northern Ireland," the general said. "People were finding themselves in a very dangerous situation but not at war. It got benign and then it got nasty."

The training review follows a series of scandals affecting the Army's reputation that began with the deaths of recruits at the Deepcut training base in Surrey.

Privates Geoff Gray, 17, of Hackney, East London; Cheryl James, 17, from Llangollen, North Wales; James Collinson, 17, of Perth; and Sean Benton, 20, of East Sussex, all died from gunshot wounds between 1995 and 2002.

The Commons select defence committee and the Adult Learning Inspectorate will announce on Monday the result of long-term investigations into the way the Army carries out its duty of care to its soldiers.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...ml&sSheet=/portal/2005/03/11/ixportaltop.html
 
#2
I doubt that Sandhurst is the right place to inculcate the necessary mindset. Students are beasted around the place by DS all the time so a freshly-polished subaltern thinks it pretty normal.
 
#3
I have it on good authority that the senior officer quoted has been misrepresented: he had tried to explain that all courses are under continual review and lessons learnt, be they Iraq/Afghanistan/Deepcut inform that review.

The officer disclosed that there was concern at the highest level that when the training course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst was cut from two years to one, key elements of officer training were lost.
I'm not even sure if the senior officer was in the Army when it was a two year course!

One of the critical elements was bicycle drill - what a loss!

The irony of the argument is that there were very few DE officers involved in the abuse scandals:

Abu Greahb - lawyers
Breadbasket - commanded by an LE

Cue abuse to barbs :roll:

Not trying to comment on those groups, just remarking on irony. :?

As for the in-barracks leadership/duty of care/pastoral care a new book has just been published:

Soldier Management - A Guide for Commanders . Army Code 64286. It comes with a CD Rom which includes a pdf version.

Its quite thick but is very good. If you can get your hands on one its worth the read.

Ex Para You may have something there!
 

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