The Best And The Brightest

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by Glad_its_all_over, Nov 17, 2016.

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  1. For years now, we've been circling around the plughole, violently agreeing with one another that the End is Nigh, that the Army desperately needs to hold on to its best and brightest, that intellect is scorned in the military and that iconoclasm and individual thinking are being chased out and isn't it all dreadful?

    I wonder whether, in the context of a 60,000-man Army (by 2020, you saw it here, folks), profoundly operations-resistant, except in terms of small and deniable SF missions and highly risk-averse training and diplomacy tasks, this is actually that important. There's no real prospect of an existential war on the horizon, wars of choice are likely to be out of fashion for at least a generation, thanks to the sterling efforts of the Rt Hon Anthony Charles Lynton Blair PC and any power projection we undertake is likely to be in the shape of grey-painted war canoes or a slack handful of ageing airframes.

    The task thus shifts from preserving a force to preserving a capability. Provided that we retain the skills and a baseline modicum of equipment to ensure that we could, given a fair wind and sufficient investment, build back up to a competent divisional-level force, do we really need a highly bright, motivated, keen and enthusiastic Army? Would we be better off looking for steady chaps who are perfectly happy with a predictable five-day week, based in romantic Catterick or exotic Salisbury Plain?

    If the occasional smart and aggressive cookie should slip through the net, simple enough to heave him off to SF to do brave things, or ensure he joins the Royal Marines to begin with, of course.
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  2. Make no assumptions. The RN now invites tenders and uses whatever colour of paint is cheapest. Started with the submarine service on the basis that nobody can see them anyway.

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  3. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    Is that the latest and very secret 'Pride' class of SSN?
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  4. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    Surely we need the thrusters/eccentrics to remain within 'core' in order to force generate the right sort of units when needed? As opposed to process men, that is. Winning and fighting are two different things. If we are all predictable and boring, sticking to process driven SOPs, doctrine etc, we can be out-thought easily I would aver.

    The trick is how to keep such people happy whilst battling process and keeping them 'on edge' for the release point, is it not?
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  5. How about reintroducing something like "half-pay" (in reality a small retainer for staying fit and available and moderately current) so that those who find the idea of spending ten years pushing paper horrifying can go and do something else for a while?
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  6. Provided there's a structure there for the Hostilities Only types to enter and subvert, probably not. The peacetime function of the Army is likely be keeping the machine running and the wheels turning.
  7. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Shouldn't that craft be yellow?
  8. PFI. It's the future. Milo Minderbender had the right idea.
  9. Purple_Flash

    Purple_Flash LE Moderator

    Yes, and this is where I have fears. Look at the film 'Tunes of Glory' with Alec Guinness as the prototypical hostilities only CO suborned as Senior Major to a paper pusher peacetime CO.

    Toms follow leaders in war, not paper pushers. Unfortunately, peacetime soldiering requires both strengths; you can be an inspirational leader and cock up the careers below you through lack of MS process or you can single out, through MS, process men who refelect you as a process form ticker and these people may well not be inspirational leaders.

    The OJAR system is iniquitous. Tell the truth and be damned. Tell what the CoC want and get your desired award.

    Integrity is a parrot-word; not necessarily a desired virtue. Unfortunately. :-(
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  10. Bear in mind that much of our national infrastructure, energy, water, comms, airports etc has been privatised and or sold off to assorted foreign countries and multi nationals.

    The MoD is reducing its property portfolio, the UK has little or no defence industry left, as discussed elsewhere we no longer manufacture our own small arms propellant let alone big stuff.

    The military is being reduced to something that will fit into Wembley Stadium.

    The brightest and the best will not be working for a military machine that doesn't exist in its current form. We might have an undermanned Gendarmerie subordinated to the police service with limited overseas capability. Not something to attract the thrusting young blades.

    This nation at least may well return to the 'No war for the next 10 years' which was poplar in the thirties as a cost cutting method.
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  11. Also in the late 1970s. Where is the Argentinian navy now that we need them so badly? (cue pictures of that Argie Type 42 that managed to sink while alongside in harbour)
  12. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    How many armies in the developed world have already adopted that model? Japan springs to mind as a possible exemplar, and I dunno if that's an inspiring thought.

    My belief is that the post-TELIC Army is a lost cause. Un-galvanised by 2 straight strategic fails, it has shown no appetite for change of any kind, or at any level. By default it has become a 9 to 5 with delusions of operational competence, and a fixation with its own mythology.

    Your logic is not unreasonable, I just don't see the body corporate swallowing anything more challenging than 'carry on normal jogging'
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  13. what we need is a crack team of passed over SO2s from the '80s to tell us where we are going wrong...
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  14. Or look at this from the other side, conscription of proven winners from industry; or a mixture of the two. Not very traditional though so no chance of getting past the Hon Cols.
  15. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    I've made a comfortable living outside the Army doing pretty much that, with a good track record, and a professional reputation I can feel good about.

    So there's clearly some merit in your thoughts

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