Worth joining in the future?

Morning everybody,

Long time lurker, first time poster. I have been considering joining up as an army officer for quite a while now. I've figured that this year I've got the AOSB gauntlet to run (plus graduation) and so hopefully a Sandhurst entry of September 2010 or January 2011. Then a year at RMAS and a few months on PCBC or whatever YO course so it would realistically be the summer of 2012 before I join up with a regiment and be in a position to command. However, the increased negativity and pessimism surrounding Afghanistan has got me thinking about what the situation will be by the time I hypothetically commission, i.e. will the army still be active there? I appreciate that this may sound naive and gung ho, but I doubt many people join up, particularly those in the combat arms, without deep down wanting to see action. If nothing else I'm worried that I would be like the class of 1919 and I would have a career marked by a credibility gap as I would be surrounded by experienced officers and have to command experienced soldiers. This is not necessarily the deciding factor in whether I join up as I appreciate there are still plenty of other reasons to join the army, but I do want to feel that I would be getting a fulfilling and active career.

I've based this on the reasoning that Afghanistan is an expeditionary war and one of choice so its continuation is dependent on the political will to stick with it. I remember Iraq being a theatre where an extremely long engagement was once predicted, but saw a relatively quick withdrawal once it was no longer deemed worthwhile. Furthermore if use of the military is seen as an ineffective policy instrument I wonder if the government will become so risk averse as to make the chances of another deployment unlikely.
Answer is that none of us can know exactly what the Army will be doing in three years time. The question that follows is, even if the Army were to run out of kinetic operations in three years time, is there somewhere else that you'd rather be?

As financial advisers always say in the small print, past performance is no guide to future performance, but given that the British Army has kept fairly busy since the days of Marlborough I'd be very surprised if it can't find something interesting for you to do when you're in.

Every officer who has ever left Sandhurst initially had a credibility gap simply because they have no experience (commissions from the ranks excepted). Whether that experience they lack is fighting the Cold War in Germany, Taleban in Helmand or having done a Medman in Alberta is almost immaterial. I'm told that young Gurkhas fighting in the East during WW2 used to be put in their place by older pre-war Gurkhas who would say to them, 'Think you know what soldiering is about, just you wait until peacetime and we'll show you what real soldiering is like.' A good leader is a good leader and any young officer who is eager to learn and conscientious about the responsibility given him won't go too far wrong.
As history would show, there tends to be a fair old scrap every decade with recent years seeing slightly more. There was and has always been, until recent, N.I., the Falklands kicked off in the 80's, the 1st Gulf war in the very early 90's, the Yugoslavia wars in the first half of the 90's, Kosovo in the late 90's, Afghanistan came to light in the early naughties as well as the 2nd Gulf. I'd say that you are more than likely going to find yourself face down in the sand at some point with invisible lead hornets cracking over your head and thumping in a wall next to you at some point.

As an ex-infantry tom (last year of degree and Sandhurst Sept 2010) myself I can relate with your urge for a fight (I got mine in 2005), it's only normal. Who would want a Plt Commander reluctantly leading an advance to combat? The British Army still leads from the front so infantry and RAC YO's need flair and bollocks the size of water melons and have the ability to motivate the boys..... ideally. Otherwise who the hell is going to follow you bayonets fixes into a compound the enemy were using as a firing position only minutes before?

I'd say that these are very exciting times to be joining up and don't expect a quiet career.

Good luck with everything and I hope to see you in Sandhurst next year.
As Orwell explained, "the war is not meant to be won" so the British Army will always be needed. There will always be war.

Think about what's happening now and it will get your war hungry tastebuds dripping (mine are practically oozing) Korea and Irans nuclear ambitions, Somalian muslim uprisings and China's influence within the country, speaking of China; their operations out in the far east and how India are fearing encirclement and the fact that China might be trying to establish a dependency upon itself from the neighbouring countries, the Middle East will always be up for a scrap, Iraq and whether it can stand as a 'free' nation or whether we'll be needed to re-enter the country if/when things go belly up and rival factions erupt into violence again, Afghanistan will always be a mess too so we'll be needed there for years to come never mind months to come.

Get stuck in and jump aboard the good ship Britannia, there's work if you want it :)
All above points about future conflicts valid, but to answer your question, as mentioned above, it's expected that Afghanistan will last for a few years yet, if you pass out in two years from now I imagine it will still be going on. Note ''expected'', and ''imagine''.
MadeUpName said:
Excellent. Fingers crossed that the world remains messed up.
Oh there is no need to hope, as long as man exists so shall war. Also in a Times interview General Sir David Julian Richards said that we shall probably be in Afghanistan for at least 40 years, so no rush.
I'm just chuffed that I have some idea of where my summer holidays are going to be for the next few years; Afghanistan is going to make quite a change from Skegness
biscuitbrowns said:
I'm just chuffed that I have some idea of where my summer holidays are going to be for the next few years; Afghanistan is going to make quite a change from Skegness
Safer, too. :wink:

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