The Exodus of the [US] Captains

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by msr, Dec 22, 2007.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

  2. diplomat

    diplomat War Hero Book Reviewer

    For West Point Insert Sandhurst

    For Yale insert Cambridge, Bristol, Oxford, Durham, Henley Business School

    Then tragically we have the same story!
  3. It would be interesting to see what the equivalent UK stats are - but no, everything is peachy (the colour amber warning lights are when seen through MOD rose-tinted specs) - we are just losing Regimental COs.
  4. A mass exodus of talented officers can't be a good thing. However, the US, in my opinion, has too many company grade officers anyways. I think the officer to enlisted ratio in the US Army is something like 1:5, whereas in the British army it's 1:10. I always thought the British had it right on that one.
  5. In the German Army it is about 1:25 I think.
  6. There's an old adage that "many of the best potential generals leave as captains", and given the pressures that US & British Armies are currently under, I'd be surprised if it wasn't still applicable to some degree. Certainly, in the late '70s/ early '80s significant numbers of captains (Regular Commissions not SSC), esp if graduates, "checked out" at the 8-10 year point; another key point was when young majors qualified for the basic pension after 16 years, but were still young enough to try their hand at something new. Only really changed when the Thatcher Govt introduced substantial pay increases, esp for "middle management" ranks, commissioned & non-commissioned.

    Think the Americans have a particular problem due to the geographical isolation of many major bases from the larger urban conurbations; as the article notes, this is impacting very negatively on (female) spouses of captains - unlike in days of yore, they tend to be graduates, are often professionally qualified etc, and have perfectly reasonable expectations of developing careers of their own: not feasible for most if stuck on some post in the middle of Kansas! Similar problems are evident in the UK, but due to the smaller scale of the country few bases are anywhere near as isolated as in the US, so the problem is relatively less acute. Would be interesting to know whether the US Navy & Maine Corps are having similar problems, or does the location of most major bases on the Western & Eastern seaboards near to large population centres ameliorate things in this regard?
  7. It would be interesting, wouldn't it?

    But we can't, because of something called JPA.


    So all we have is rumour, tittle-tattle and chinese whispers!

  8. It has long benn understood that the only Army capable of managing a transition from war to peace by preventing insurgency is the British Army.
    The US Army based its transitional phase plans on the "de-nazification" of Germany.
    There are many bright young men who joined the US Army and served as officers during the Iraq war.
    The problem: "Bright young men" are just that. They have ideas, judgement, energies which have been tested not only in Military colleges (Westpoint) but also in leading troops under combat conditions. These qualities are not tapped into.
    The priorities mentioned in particular one Officer kept up late at night to improve a PPT presentation slide are hardly utilising the talents of these Officers to manage and introduce improvements in their various situations.
    The British to an extent had the same with the buffonary of many Officers in the 70s during the NI troubles. They had the good sense to pass the jobs down to Cpl commanded "bricks" and this paid off. What in real terms would a septic brick commander be?
  9. Aah, Mission Command; we talk the talk but do we walk the walk? How many of our officers are actually empowered with the confidence to take the risk associated with effective delegation; not enough? We may have a published doctrine that supports an approach that allows us to operate closer to the edge of chaos than at least the majority of other armies but to what extent do we actually believe in that published doctrine? Note that despite what our published doctrine itself says (ie 'doctrine is that which is taught'), a true 'doctrine is [in fact] that which is believed'.*

    *With apologies to Prof Richard Holmes.
  10. The gunners have had so many captains sign off that there will not be enough majors to fill their all their sub-unit command posts in 2009/10. TA TFRS Bty comds anyone (R Sigs have already done this)
  11. The Gunners don't need a 'black hole' moving up from Captain level for that, they are busy creating a post-ICSC(L) black hole anyway. I know of a significant number (including '1st quartile' chaps) who have signed off/left.
  12. Just to reinforce this
    From a rather pompous officer "if you can see a gunman then you may shoot him" :lol:
  13. "In the German Army it is about 1:25 I think."

    I don't doubt it. Considering it takes a masters degree and well over 5 years of training, German officers don't come cheap, or in any kind of quantity.
  14. Does Britain consider a Major to be a company grade officer or a field-grade? Given that most US companies are commanded by Captains, and most battalion and many Brigade staff positions are also Captains, there's a hell of a lot of slots to fill up.

  15. California Tanker, I'm not sure. I'm American. It's a good question though.