The Military Covenant

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by Acid_Tin, Feb 2, 2005.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I have placed this in the NAAFI because I want everyone to be able to comment in their own way about what is their covenant.

    I am interested to hear whether people believe that the covenant exists beyond words on paper; whether they feel they are being treated fairly; whether they feel their families do receive appropriate levels of care and sustainment. Do you feel that 'an unbreakable common bond of identity, loyalty and responsibility' exists between the state and ourselves?

    A small word of guidance (if I may). This is not a thread about 'how crap officers are' or anything similar. This is about ALL of us, sharing a common ethos, in the face of common foes.

  2. Good and relevant question. You might want to look at the concept of psychological contracts that civis talk about. There seems to be little difference between the two ideas, except that the army has actually expressed the Covenant formally in doctrine (ADP 5). The other issue, as I see it, is that the Military Covenant takes on a huge importance to us as soldiers because the official contract of employment doesn't exist in any form that civ's would recognise. Our Terms and Conditions of service are covered in a myriad of pulications - who has ever read them all? And if you did I bet you didn't before you signed on the line ! That means that not being totally sure of what of what the employment contract is leads to greater dependence on the unspoken/ unwritten contract = Covenant.

    As Joyce said soldiers "have no legally enforceable contract regarding conditions of service; these conditions can be changed at will by senior management... and unlike civilians they have no right to leave the service immediately if they are not happy with the unnegotiated changes in their conditions of service" I would say that this makes the military Covenant even more important and logically it must still exist to counter act the poor employment contracts that we suffer. Whether it makes up for our "unlimited liability" that gen Hackett mentioned is the real question. Has it become unbalanced, are we offering up more than we are offered in return for the potential sacrifice. How much should we expect?
  3. I was thinking of nuns and I bet Im not the only one! :wink:
    covenant [Show phonetics]
    noun [C]
    1 a formal agreement between two or more people; a promise:
    The contract contained a restrictive covenant against building on the land.

    2 UK SPECIALIZED a formal agreement to pay a fixed sum of money regularly, especially to a charity

    covenant [Show phonetics]
    verb [T]
    5% of our profits are covenanted to charity.
  4. S P U N K

  5. Is that a posh way of asking to go twos up?
  6. This is straying dangerously close to the sort of territory - emotional and moral - with which Brits tend to be pretty uncomfortable.

    I can't argue with any of that. Not really. It's interesting that one can hold all that in the hindbrain and still manage the healthy cynicism and general nastiness which is the main attraction of the Brit squaddie.

    I'm now "ex" and have missed out on all the unpleasantness since '99 or so, but can imagine just how stretching things are for my old mates, given the dramatic upsurge in op tours and the equally dramatic downturn in respect and real support given by HMG. Between them, healthy cynicism (overt) and this code (covert and however articulated) are probably the main glue keeping a ridiculously overcommitted organisation going.
  7. After a few moments of consideration (I have never seen this before) I see little evidence that this 'common bond' exists between the Army and anything that is currently known by the ethereal label 'nation'. After all, what exactly is meant by the nation? Is it the generally powerless population of this country who have the recollection, analysis and reasoning skills of an absent-minded goldfish? Or is it those who 'rule o'er us, in stately conclave met' who have already been found wanting in at least two of the key areas mentioned above?

    If you try to make sense of the above by replacing 'nation' with 'state' then it is demonstrably meaningless not least because the state has neither a soul nor a conscience which would be prerequisites of this 'bond' which places such emphasis on. This is why the pleas of people like the Far East Prisoners of War fall on deaf ears. Sorry guys, Government has no soul.

    Perhaps the test of the above statement lies in the first few lines -- we should
    Expecting it doesn't mean you're going to get it. Bit of a one-sided covenant if you ask me but a fair representation of the status quo.

    ...I'm also a little alarmed about the bit that says I 'will be called upon to make personal sacrifices - including the ultimate sacrifice'. I'd be happier with 'may' if its all the same to TCH. 8O
  8. SB

    I'm not alone in thinking this is a one way thing then. I have no doubt that the Govt gets far more from us than we get from it.
    The Military Covenant, is something I've always accepted (though I've never seen it written down until now) however I feel the "rewards" are sadly lacking these days.

    If it wasn't for my fellow's in the messes and the crews I work with I would be tempted to remove my "green skin" forever.
  9. My tenpence worth (and sorry MDN if such talk offends you) is that this 'covenant' exists purely as abstract words on paper. We (the military) have values and ideals that are far removed from anything we see in general practice in our society. We understand concepts like 'integrity' and 'honour', even if we, being human, sometimes fall foul of our own exacting standards. Just look at the number of people who made comments similar to 'just admit it' on the S62 thread.

    Whilst I don't find this lack of parity in any way unusual, I get slightly confused when we hear phrases like 'the Army is a reflection of the society it serves'. It is? God, I sincerely hope not. I hope that we inculcate our values and ideals into our new blood - values that will turn to outright cynicism over time - but at least we possess an understanding of them.

    I think a more apposite question would be, 'Do we have the government we deserve?' The answer, by any meaningful analysis, must be 'No!' Is Buff aware that this convenant exists with his fighting men and women - or does he use it as an extra bit of leverage to get what he wants, without having to feel guilty about the total mess he leaves behind.
  10. I'm going to take issue with this.

    Are you seriously asking me to believe that those in HM Forces have some kind of Holy Monopoly on values and ideals??!! Would that just apply to those in uniform - does it evaporate when you hand your kit in? Does the everyday uncommented and largely unrecognised sacrifices that ordinary people make not count? Are you telling me that "general practice in our society is so bad that it makes the "falling foul of your own exacting standards" just......pale into total insignificance?

    Shall we ignore the higher instances of wife and child battering, the common or garden fighting/whoring/adultery/lying/cheating that I'm SURE even those paragons of virtue have occasionally indulged in...?

    This thread is getting dangerously close to becoming one of those self-serving "God, we are such a superior quality human being to all those nasty, illiterate, sub-normal, amoral, vacuous civvies" diatribes.

    Keep going - and bring it on.
  11. I've always found the Military Covenant an interesting thing. I may well be wrong, but I think the idea is very old but its only relatively recently been committed to doctrine.

    The problem is that the qualities enshrined in the covenant - integrity, honour and above all, loyalty - all seem to be travelling on a one way street. I've used the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' in another, unrelated. thread, but this is where it really comes into its own. More than any other organisation, the army is run by, and therefore for, those in command. And they suffer the same from those they serve, and so on, even unto the CDS and the politicos.

    Ref the comment about the army reflecting the society it serves - well it does, but its a very distorted mirror, like the ones you used to get at fairgrounds.
  12. is that why Q.A's and the R.L.C. all look fat then rowley?
  13. I have no problem with the concept of a military covenant and think the piece of doctrine quoted was beautifully written - I can also see why you think it is a one way street - but wasn't it always that way? Has there EVER been a time when soldiers were respected by the whole of society, treated humanely and generously by the Government of the day, held up paragons of virtue, the Mount Olympus of Ideals that all should aspire to?!!.......

    eerrrrmmmm, that would be 'no' then......
  14. The State breaches the "Covenant " daily.cynically and effortlessly.It is maintained only by the efforts of Idealists/Enthusiasts within the hierarchy who may find themselves supported or discarded at the whim of the politician.As a piece of smug gibberish,It is matched only by the infamous"Standards and Discipline Paper" of 1993

    "When you put yourself on a pedestal-You put yourself in the dock"
  15. No, its because we eat immense portions of pie :wink: