[align=center]Recruitment and Retention[/align] _____________________________________________________________ [align=center]Introduction:[/align] What's this all about? Well, the short version is that I'm on the verge of finishing at uni, where I've been studying to become a writer for the past three years. I currently have one novel on the go ("The High Cliff", about a former British soldier working as a private military contractor in Baghdad) which should be finished sometime in the next two or three months, and I'm starting to look into ideas for the next book. (For the benefit of anyone wondering, neither novel is anything to do with uni.) The basic premise for the next novel is that at an unspecified point in the not so distant future, a political party wins a general election with defence as their main platform. In an attempt to ensure his re-election later on, the new PM decides to appoint a military historian (for simplicity's sake I'll refer to him as "H" as I haven't got around to naming any characters yet) as the new Minister for Defence, rather than some life-long politician who knows SFA about the Armed Forces. H is offered the job and carte blanche, and after accepting is shown his office and told to get on with it. With this in mind, I thought it might be worthwhile asking some questions here, starting threads to cover various areas of the Armed Forces in order to discuss what could realistically be done to improve the current situation, what someone at the top of the pecking order would be able to do with regards to the procurement of equipment and weaponry, and the changing of various operational and organisational practices. "The Development of the Forces" is the name for a document that I've begun compiling to contain the various possible measures that could be implemented. I'm interested in any opinions, ideas, theories etc. if you're interested in discussing them. A bit about myself: I'm very pro-Forces, have taken a greater interest than my peers ever since I began reading a mix of Douglas Reeman, Bernard Cornwell and Captain W. E. Johns at the age of eight. I was later very fortunate to be taught by an excellent history teacher in secondary school. (Not many - if any - teachers would, when examining the Vietnam War, discuss the various tactics developed and the pros and cons of the strategies of both sides, then compare and contrast it with Britain's efforts and experiences in the Borneo War.) My health is permanently shot to hell: my muscle coordination is down the spout, the soles of my feet are flat as pancakes, and I have reduced effectiveness in all five senses. You might say that I have a few tiny little doubts that I would be suitable material for the Forces, hence my decision to pursue a rather different career. End intro. _____________________________________________________________ Many thanks to everyone who's gotten back to me so far. As Bravo_Bravo pointed out, recruitment and retention are a big problem for the Forces, so I decided to put this up earlier than planned. Let me run this little lot past you, see what you think. Might these measures be useful in improving the current recruitment and retention situation? - All other ranks to receive salary and allowances increases of forty percent of the current rates. - Officers of the rank of major or equivalent and below to receive salary and allowances increases of thirty percent of the current rates. - Re-enlistment bonuses to be increased by two hundred and fifty percent. - South Africans and foreign nationals from other countries prohibiting their citizens from being employed as âmercenariesâ (or nations considering introducing such measures), whether they are currently serving in the Armed Forces or seek to do so, to be given priority in the granting of British citizenship. (Theyâre more useful than all these illegal immigrants or bogus asylum seekers cluttering up the place after all.) - Reenlistment maximum age to be extended to thirty-six years of age for certain corps and trades for which this is practical. - All bonuses (parachute pay, flying pay, and so on) to be increased in size by forty percent. Such bonuses only to be issued to those actually undertaking the work in question related to the bonus. Those temporarily unable to undertake this work due to medical reasons (e.g. a hospitalised paratrooper, loadmaster or similar) may continue to receive such bonuses until they are discharged from their treatment centre, whereupon they will need to return to undertaking the work in question. (The intention would be here to prevent, for example, desk jockeys and staff officers from claiming flying pay.) - Linguistics training to be offered to all personnel, with priority over places on courses given to those receiving CQB pay. Personnel qualified in other languages to be given bonus pay of Â£20.50 per day per language qualification held. Linguistics courses to be relevant to current and likely future operating theatres â for example, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Pushta would be useful at present, Spanish would be useful if the Argentineans got shirty again in the future, whilst in all likelihood Scandinavian, Japanese, Latin, Gaelic or Dutch would not be especially useful. (Obviously, thereâd be the additional bonus for those leaving the Forces if theyâre fluent in other languages as that would make for a marketable job skill.) - Emergency services and the civil service to be given quotas for recruiting former members of the Armed Forces with nine years of honourable service: fifty percent of intake places to be offered first to those possessing such qualifications. - Intelligence services to be given recruitment quotas for thirty percent of intake places to be first offered to former members of the Armed Forces with nine yearsâ honourable service, and a further twenty percent of intake places to be first offered to former Special Forces personnel and military intelligence specialists with seven yearsâ honourable service in those particular fields and a total of nine yearsâ honourable service with the Armed Forces. If there are insufficient applicants for the latter group of places from former UKSF/military intelligence personnel, those places are to be first offered to other ex-service personnel without such specialised qualifications. Right... that's all I can come up with for now. Would any of these proposed schemes improve the current situation? Would any of them be practical to implement? My current estimates are that even if recruitment and retention increased to make the formation of infantry battalions, AAC regiments and suchlike that I'll discuss later, odds are the cost of these schemes probably wouldn't cost much more than a billion pounds (possibly less) - if a reasonable increase in the MOD annual budget could be secured (I'll get to that later on), odds are that would cover it. And last but not least, would any/all of these be enough to convince anyone to stay on/re-enlist if they proved to be possible and were implemented? _____________________________________________________________ Edited to add: - The intro. - Mr Happy: right, gotcha, sorry, I didn't know about hazard pay, so I've binned the bit about 'CQB pay'.