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.