The need for a Federation or National Defence Association?

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
Just kicking tyres here, you understand...

Given that there cannot be a trade union or other professional association for serving soldiers, airmen, sailors and officers various and given, also, that the RBL is not an organisation which would benefit from being involved in any sort of confrontation with the government of the day - and nor should it, frankly - there seems to be a gap in the market for a body which could lobby on behalf of the serviceman/woman - and address some of the more dimwitted ideas our lords and masters come up with.

Ex-members of the armed forces tend to be articulate and, um, forthright and to know people. Provided that the ex-members and the potential organisation make a point of not soliciting classified information - and refusing to accept it when offered - there is considerable potential for bringing issues to the attention of the public - yeah, all right, I mean the media - and attempting to ensure that this information is both accurate and germane. Half the issue we have with the media is when the blunts misunderstand stuff we take for granted, after all.
 
#2
Not perhaps a great idea although i do understand your sentiment.

Leftie tree hugging politics has already cost dearly in the discipline standards..Imagine an all out strike......We may not like the job at times but surely trades unionism will be a bad idea.

I have left the services now and I HAVE joined a union, before any wayward accusations get thrown these are MY PERSONAL OPINIONS lodged in an open public forum. Please do not have a direct attack at me.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
#3
I'm certainly not suggesting any sort of strike action or other undertaking by serving members. My gripe is that there is no mechanism for serving troops to surface an issue without hitting either political resistance or a level of senior officer unwilling or unable to pursue the issue.

I'm sure some of our resident high-speed and low drag field and senior officers will now let me know that there is no reason not to have full confidence in the Army Board and its moral courage. That'll be good to hear.
 
#4
Point of a federation is that it would NOT be a union, but an independent body to represent the wider needs of the Army and Defence. It would not be an alternative to the Chain of Command, and would not get involved in redresses or G1 disciplinary issues. However, it could raise issues such as money drying up for accommodation refurbishment, the need for the UK judiciary to understand the uniqueness of the job that we do and the need to retain the right to investigate and discipline our own, while being held to account for the highest standards of probity and accountablilty (in other words, to tell Lord Goldsmith to fuc4 himself, the spineless little toerag. Having bent over for Blair and Campbell over the war's legality, he's tryiing to salve his conscience by beasting the armed forces).
We wouldn't need a federation if our political masters understood or valued Defence and its people, or if the Defence Management Board did its job and coherently ensured we spent our limited resources on the right things (Infantry, collective training, our people) instead of legacy rubbish, to keep the govt out of hot water politically (T45, Eurofighter etc). But this isn't happening, and something needs to be done to prevent the last truly great Brirish institution from losing public trust and core capability.
The Association of the US Army (www.ausa.com) is a good example of what might be of use to us.
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#5
have said it b4 and will continue saying it until bloo in the face-a federation would be ideal. The Ausies have one-1 days pay per year. they also have an ombudsman who is quoted as saying that the fact he is there means few problems reach him. I would improve representation for grievances and protection of service personnel accused of crimes etc-see Police Fed as model.

Won't happen though, 'cos top brass and politicos would loose face and we can't have that can we?
 
#6
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
Point of a federation is that it would NOT be a union, but an independent body to represent the wider needs of the Army and Defence. It would not be an alternative to the Chain of Command...
Well said. A properly run Federation will be no threat to the CoC.

Incidentally, our representations about service voting ("Silence in the Ranks") stressed the importance of the Chain of Command.

GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
The Association of the US Army (www.ausa.com) is a good example of what might be of use to us.
The link is www.ausa.org . Well worth a look. And didnt someone have something interesting the other day about the Irish Army?
 
#7
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
Point of a federation is that it would NOT be a union, but an independent body to represent the wider needs of the Army and Defence. It would not be an alternative to the Chain of Command, and would not get involved in redresses or G1 disciplinary issues. However, it could raise issues such as money drying up for accommodation refurbishment, the need for the UK judiciary to understand the uniqueness of the job that we do and the need to retain the right to investigate and discipline our own, while being held to account for the highest standards of probity and accountablilty (in other words, to tell Lord Goldsmith to fuc4 himself, the spineless little toerag. Having bent over for Blair and Campbell over the war's legality, he's tryiing to salve his conscience by beasting the armed forces).
We wouldn't need a federation if our political masters understood or valued Defence and its people, or if the Defence Management Board did its job and coherently ensured we spent our limited resources on the right things (Infantry, collective training, our people) instead of legacy rubbish, to keep the govt out of hot water politically (T45, Eurofighter etc). But this isn't happening, and something needs to be done to prevent the last truly great Brirish institution from losing public trust and core capability.
The Association of the US Army (www.ausa.com) is a good example of what might be of use to us.
Just where would we find this paragon of virtue? Anyone care to contribute a person description to start off a job description. Anyone suitable is likely to have to come from the very background that appears to fail us at this time. And, even if public attention is drawn, where would that get us when civil opinion seems to be "can't take a joke? Shouldn't have joined"
Politicos reaction most likely "X million to implement that.We could build ten hospitals for that money"
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
#8
I echo G-B's sentiments. The chain of command is, notionally, structured and funded to ensure welfare, administration, etc. are provided for sefvice personnel and dependants. Unfortunately, the truth is often far from the published fiction. I would personally join a federation, knowing that it was designed to look after our needs first - in contrast to the military system which places us a "close second". It would be nice to know that I had access to a strong lobbying organisation, with tried and trusted legal and financial advice and representation and a media voice; one which I was a paid up member of and and in which I had rights to speak and vote.
 
#9
A Federation would help me in my battle. I have been Pissing in the Wind,trying to get Homelessness legislation changed. My local MP is trying her best to get it on the next forum stats in the House,however I believe a Federation would be a better way forward. I have spoken to many other organisations that are there to support and speak up for military personnel and their families,only for them to say "keep us upto date with your campaign". No other help was given. At least with a federation we would be given support and objective advice. Please view the details on the charities and welfare,Social Housing Discrimination forum.

Regards
Hitback
 
#10
This is the second time someone's bounced this idea around.

First off I think we need to figure out what this Federation should do. A mission statement, if you will. This is important so that no one gets the wrong idea anout what it can and can't do
We should also have a document detailing the rules of the Group, such as how to settle internal differances, how to chose our leadership etc.
Then decide is it going to be a charity, open to ALL service personel? or just for those who pay up?
Next how are it's discisions going to be reached, avoiding biass.
Finaly what Laws, rules and regulations need to be forfilled to create this formation.
 
#11
Listy said:
This is the second time someone's bounced this idea around.

First off I think we need to figure out what this Federation should do. A mission statement, if you will. This is important so that no one gets the wrong idea anout what it can and can't do
We should also have a document detailing the rules of the Group, such as how to settle internal differances, how to chose our leadership etc.
Then decide is it going to be a charity, open to ALL service personel? or just for those who pay up?
Next how are it's discisions going to be reached, avoiding biass.
Finaly what Laws, rules and regulations need to be forfilled to create this formation.
Sure, all the administrative detail is important - but, as you say - and note that I'm still just kicking tyres, here - the mission statement is the single most important thing. If anyone can summarise in a sentence what a "Federation" should be about...

As a starter for 10:

"The Federation exists in order to represent the personal and professional interests of Servicemen and -women, both Regular and mobilised Reserves and to bring to the attention of the public and the government matters which affect those interests and which are not being addressed satisfactorily by the Ministry of Defence and other responsible agencies."

Get hacking, chaps/
 
#12
We could also ask the US and Australian organisations for advice, seeing as they've done it and we haven't. Although that would be something for the future.
 
#13
No no no...can't start off at odds with MOD. Let us assume (!) they do thelr best with limited resources and tight political arcs! The message must be positive, and only confront govt when we're clearly being shafted.

Additionally, no taxpayers funding - we'd have to pay for it ourselves and with donations from fundraising.

The Federation would also look to bring coherence to existing bodies who do wonders on a shoestring,m but have little uity of effort: Royal British Legion, BLESMA, Combat Stress, Homeless Service charities etc.

The whole thing would probably end up being Joint...but not necc a bad thing....

ORC - Senior mentorship...I know of a few good old boys who would be ideal:

Charlie Guthrie
Peter Inge
Rambo Rambsbotham
Edwin Bramall
Rupert Smith
Arfur Denaro
Patrick Cordingly
etc etc etc....

How about this (blatant crib) for a draft charter:

PURPOSE
To support all aspects of national security while advancing the interests of Britain's Army and the men and women who serve.

ARMY FEDERATION is a private, non-profit educational organisation that supports Britain's Army - Active, Territorial Army, Civilians, Retirees and family members. ARMY FEDERATION provides numerous Professional Development Opportunities at a variety of events both local and national.

OUR MISSION
ARMY FEDERATION represents every British Soldier by:
- Being the voice for all components of Britain's Army
- Fostering public support of the Army's role in national security
- Providing professional education and information programs

OUR VISION
As the premier voice for Britain's Soldiers, we are a dedicated team committed to building the best professional and representative association for the world's best Army.

OUR VALUES
- Excellence
- Innovation
- Professionalism
- Inclusiveness
- Integrity
- Responsiveness

ADVOCACY
ARMY FEDERATION speaks out for the men and women of the British Army who proudly serve our country.

LOCAL COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
ARMY FEDERATION local branches worldwide. Made up entirely of volunteers, they provide recreational and educational opportunities to Soldiers and their families. Most importantly, they support our deployed Soldiers and their families left behind.

EDUCATION
Grassroots support for Britain's Army can only come when people know and understand the value of the Army to the nation. ARMY FEDERATION accomplishes this through its various branches.
PROFESSIONAL BENEFITS
ARMY FEDERATION wants to become your professional association. As an Army professional, you need to keep current on issues that affect you in the work place. ARMY FEDERATION is the only organization in existence that offers educational material and events designed specifically to educate you about these issues.

WHO CAN JOIN?
ARMY FEDERATION is open to all Army ranks and all components -- including Active, Territorial Army and Department of the Army civilians, retirees, concerned citizens and family members. Indeed, ARMY FEDERATION welcomes anyone who subscribes to the philosophy of a strong national defense with special concern for the Army. Community businesses and defense industry companies are also represented by ARMY FEDERATION.

The point being this organisation should be a GOOD thing for the army and Defence, and not hijacked as a vehicle for disillusioned wasters to whinge about being sacked or not extended! (Apologies to all barrack room lawyers and oxygen thieves!)

GB
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#14
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
ORC - Senior mentorship...I know of a few good old boys who would be ideal:

Charlie Guthrie
Peter Inge
Rambo Rambsbotham
Edwin Bramall
Rupert Smith
Arfur Denaro
Patrick Cordingly
etc etc etc....
Might I respectfully add - Lord Ashdown, Martin Bell and the Duke of Westminster
 
#15
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
(lots of good stuff snipped)

The point being this organisation should be a GOOD thing for the army and Defence, and not hijacked as a vehicle for disillusioned wasters to whinge about being sacked or not extended! (Apologies to all barrack room lawyers and oxygen thieves!)

GB
GB - this would be a lovely vehicle for retired Generals to earn a few quid and no bad thing at that, given how parsimonious their pensions are and how difficult the average 2-, 3- or 4-star finds securing employment post retirement. As an effective lobbying organisation, however, aimed at promoting the interests and welfare of the service person....

I'd be all in favour of the organisation serendipitously being good for the MoD, but could imagine many circumstances where it would need to take on the Ministry, which would be difficult if it was already as snuggled up as you suggest.

I imagine if there were greater faith in general officers, this conversation probably would not have begun.
 
#16
I think a move such as this would have a great deal of support across all ranks. The lack of military experience amongst todays politicians (of all hues) aligned to the way our senior officers have been neutered means that we can no longer rely on the CoC to fully represent our interests. John Keegan, as usual, hit the nail on the head in the article quoted here.

I like Grownups_beware blatent crib of the AUSA aims and strongly support his suggestion that any federation must be seen in a positive light. The AFF may be a useful model to examine. I believe for instance they have direct access to CGS?

As an aside, I know a website that may be willing to help get this off the ground!
 
#17
CO's, maybe this would be better under it's own tempory forum, instead of hashing this all out in current afairs, Having had a little previosu experince in this, I know how sprawling these things can become...
 
#18
Bad CO said:
I think a move such as this would have a great deal of support across all ranks. The lack of military experience amongst todays politicians (of all hues) aligned to the way our senior officers have been neutered means that we can no longer rely on the CoC to fully represent our interests. John Keegan, as usual, hit the nail on the head in the article quoted here.

I like Grownups_beware blatent crib of the AUSA aims and strongly support his suggestion that any federation must be seen in a positive light. The AFF may be a useful model to examine. I believe for instance they have direct access to CGS?

As an aside, I know a website that may be willing to help get this off the ground!
One should beware of creating a poodle for the politicos and the "wee red-faced Generals". To the extent that there is an enemy in this case, it is the government itself - hence my contention that the putative organisation have no stake in HMG or its affairs and that serving officers and soldiers not be members - the CoC must not be subverted from within. It must, however, be challengable (if that's a word) from the outside, by an independent voice, preferably a bit better at the media than the Army tends to be.
 
#19
Glad_its_all_over said:
I'd be all in favour of the organisation serendipitously being good for the MoD, but could imagine many circumstances where it would need to take on the Ministry, which would be difficult if it was already as snuggled up as you suggest.
I believe that there is a great deal of merit in the Army/Armed Forces having a Federation. Whenever this issue is discussed there is always a great deal of shouting and knee-jerk arguments - because it is 'just not how we operate'......

A couple of ideas:

1. This would be a federation to improve the lot of everyone in the Armed Forces, not a Union.

2. The Armed Forces would continue to be legally barred from going on strike (as per the Police).

3. It is sometimes argued that the only/most suitable people would be retired members of the Armed Forces, who would then feel some obligation to the MOD not to fight too hard. I do not believe that this is necessarily true - as an example the Armed Forces Pension Society have no problems in argueing with the MOD until they believe the issue has been resolved.

4. The federation could/should be mandated not to interfer with the CoC.

5. The age-old argument of "you don't need a federation the CoC will look after you..." has been proven repeatedly not to be valid, particularly post-TELIC. It can also be argued that if the CoC are doing a good job then the federation would be either redundant or lacking in members - either case should therefore not worry the CoC?
 
#20
Glad_its_all_over said:
GROWNUPS_BEWARE said:
(lots of good stuff snipped)

The point being this organisation should be a GOOD thing for the army and Defence, and not hijacked as a vehicle for disillusioned wasters to whinge about being sacked or not extended! (Apologies to all barrack room lawyers and oxygen thieves!)

GB
GB - this would be a lovely vehicle for retired Generals to earn a few quid and no bad thing at that, given how parsimonious their pensions are and how difficult the average 2-, 3- or 4-star finds securing employment post retirement. As an effective lobbying organisation, however, aimed at promoting the interests and welfare of the service person....

I'd be all in favour of the organisation serendipitously being good for the MoD, but could imagine many circumstances where it would need to take on the Ministry, which would be difficult if it was already as snuggled up as you suggest.

I imagine if there were greater faith in general officers, this conversation probably would not have begun.
More good points above. I agree that the organisation should (ultimately) be prepared to "take on the Ministry" eg be prepared to criticise publicly, which organisations like British Legion and SSAFA are understandably not usually prepared to do.

I have never envisaged a Federation being actively managed by retired senior officers.

It could, however, benefit greatly from their advice, support and encouragement. Some retd senior officers might be horrified at the idea of a Services Federation, but I have a feeling that others could be persuaded to welcome and support it.
 

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