Post New Topic  
my profile | register | search | faq | forum home
    next newest topic
»  The War Diary   » General Discussions   » Current Affairs   » Re-roling the army ... ?

UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Re-roling the army ... ?
Member # 107

Member Rated:

posted 28 November 2021 15:45     Profile for bossi   Email bossi     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here's an article from The Daily Telegraph (27 Nov) discussing a problem which isn't as foreign as we'd wish ...

Armies kill for their country - they don't run soup kitchens
By Alan Judd

'THE task of the infantry," wrote Field Marshal Montgomery, "is to find the enemy, and kill him." Could any general nowadays be so starkly truthful about his profession? And what, nowadays, do would-be infantrymen think they are joining the British Army for - to die for Brussels, or to dish out soup with copies of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights?

Since 1945, Old Labour has, in fact, looked after our Armed Forces pretty well. Perhaps it was partly because the party felt vulnerable and so made a particular effort, just as the Tories have always increased spending on health and welfare. Labour ministers were generally patriotic and got on well with the generals. True, Harold Wilson cancelled the TSR2, an aircraft way ahead of its time, but Labour kept faith with the nuclear deterrent, with Nato and with Tommy Atkins, to whom it gave the most generous pay rise since the Second World War.

Things have changed with New Labour. Not so much in ministerial attitudes to generals or particular military issues, but in the cultural revolution that New Labour seeks to impose on our Armed Forces.

To his credit, Tony Blair has been decisive in deploying British force in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, and seems to have left the commanders to get on with the job (apart from crassly assuring the Serbs that what they most feared - invading ground troops - would not be deployed, thus arguably prolonging the campaign and the suffering).

However, other aspects of New Labour's attitude towards the military were more accurately summed up by Peter Mandelson's sneering dismissal of the Household Division (who have lost their share of men defending the province for which he is responsible) as "chinless wonders".

Since May 1997, a significant proportion of news stories about the Armed Forces has not been primarily about military matters but has stemmed from New Labour's war against this country's institutions and practices, waged under the banner of that weasel word "modernisation". If that meant modernisation of obsolescent equipment, or command structure or tactics - anything that made the forces more effective - all would be well. But it's very far from anything to do with making our soldiers into better killers and much more to do with the culture of grievance and a spurious egalitarianism. It means large payments to girls who signed on knowing that if they got pregnant (an avoidable state) they got sacked; and who then got pregnant and claimed compensation. It means enforced acceptance of homosexuality. It means human rights and racial awareness courses, and women in the frontline, no matter what allowances have to be made in terms of, say, lugging kit or fast jet training. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, is reported to have demanded that the forces show him why women should not be in combat. It would be interesting to see whether this bloody enthusiasm for equality in suffering would survive the first few thousand body bags with bits of girls in them.

Any of these changes might be argued on the ground that they contribute to military effectiveness, but they are not. They are being imposed because of the view that our forces are supposed to be "representative" of society and that this is how New Labour thinks society should be. Similarly, Mr Blair has made speeches suggesting that he sees our armed services as internationally available peacekeepers (not warmakers, note) to be deployed worldwide in the service of all things good - mercenaries, almost, for good causes. Hence the recruiting message that sells the Army as a "force for good".

Nor is conforming with the idealised New Labour world view the only pressure on the forces. In Northern Ireland, they have had to dismantle their bandit-country watch towers and submit themselves to the Savile inquiry into Bloody Sunday, not because either will lead to a lasting peace or final truth, but in order to appease the violent republicanism they have helped to contain for more than 30 years. And now they find significant portions of themselves committed to the European Rapid Reaction Force - or nascent EU army, according to the Spanish defence minister and Romano Prodi. It is a force that will operate "within Europe and Europe's backyard", according to Robin Cook; but anywhere, according to the Germans. It will be independent of the EU Commission, according to Mr Blair, but co-ordinating with it, according to the French and the EU Commission. And it will involve 72 of Britain's combat aircraft, 18 warships and 12,500 troops without, according to Mr Blair, being "a conflict force". Shining through all this is one clear message for our Armed Forces: someone is playing politics with them.

It is not as if they need extra commitments in order to justify their existence. They are tiny - the Army about 106,000 strong, the RAF 52,000 and the Navy 42,000 - and the degree of over-stretch is already such that they are losing key personnel faster than they can recruit them. To provide a single properly equipped armoured division for the Gulf war, it was necessary to scour the rest of the Army for workable tanks and guns. The lack of an adequate battle communications system and even a decent infantry rifle are just the best-known recent examples of equipment problems, which, although inherited from the Tories, this Government has had more than half the length of the Second World War to sort out, and hasn't.

We keep telling ourselves that our forces are among the best in the world, and certainly we use them to good effect to justify our seat on the UN Security Council. But the decades since they had to confront a really serious enemy have been characterised by under-provision and under-manning. This Government's spending plans will not be enough to ensure that they stay among the best, while recent undermining of their values and traditions reflects a New Labour unwillingness to accept what armed forces are essentially for: killing for their country. That unpalatable fact was better understood by the likes of Major Healey and Chief Petty Officer Callaghan.

And this, surely, is the point: there is no room in the New Labour world view for the hard realities of fighting forces because there has been no hard fighting, and no one seriously anticipates any. Mr Blair can afford political gestures while no one actually threatens us, but once someone does, he will discover awkward truths, such as the fact that the esprit de corps so necessary to keep men fighting depends partly upon the exclusion of some of the values so beloved by New Labour. That, for instance, the fighting man fights best as part of a hard, cohesive, exclusive unit comprising others like himself, that a compensation culture is the antithesis of what you want in men you are sending to their deaths, and that the soldier regards himself as more expendable than his womankind, whom it is his instinct to protect. And that he is more prepared to die for his mates and his country than for the European Court of Human Rights.

Under the present government, however, it is unlikely that these lessons will be re-learnt until either we find our enemy, or he finds us.

Posts: 222 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000
Master Blaster
Veteran Member
Member # 60

Member Rated:

posted 29 November 2021 23:43     Profile for Master Blaster   Email Master Blaster     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I find it kind of humourous, on one hand, to see the our brother soldiers being treated in an equally awkward way by politicians as they are treated in this country. On the other hand, I find it appalling that the very same politicians that scream for help at the first sign of beligerence from any other nation should treat their soldiers in such a denigrating way.

Do all politicians have Professional Developement Training to ensure that they are as dumb as a bag of hammers when cutting defense budgets or 'compensating' soldiers that want the same thing as they would expect to receive on civvie street? The similarities to our own predicaments in this country is scary and should send a clear message to any but the most obtuse VERY careful what you want your Armed Forces to be because when the 'balloon' goes up and you send a batch of compensation minded soldiers into battle all you will receive in return is an empty hall. No Good, No Go, No Soldiers!

The lack of law enforcement dollars for operational budgets in the US has fallen to a new all time low such that a lot of the 'higher end' communities have purchased the use of private security agencies to protect them from the "Big, Bad World". Complete with their own vehicles, SWAT teams and Criminal Investigators these 'wanna be' cops are NOT the real thing and will (candidly) admit it when pressed to do so. As an analogy, what is our bail out if the Armed Forces are not effective in protecting our interests? Who do we turn to when the nasty folk want to take away our televised hockey, our bi-monthly insult (paycheck) or our right to say what we want to say, when we want to say it? Are we going to contract our national preservation out to another foreign army? After they do the job and are paid, how do we make them leave?

This is all hypothetical of course...isn't it?

Dileas Gu Brath

Posts: 45 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Aug 2000
Michael Dorosh
Veteran Member
Member # 63

Member Rated:

posted 30 November 2021 01:40     Profile for Michael Dorosh   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Dorosh     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
These problems will not go away because you in Ontario keep voting Liberal. I don't blame you - you just haven't been fucked by Chretien yet like we have in the west. The economy is good, everybody out there in the centre of the world is living in a feel-good fantasy world, and no one gives a shit about the rights of gun owners (bunch of wackos), the prestige (or necessity) of the armed forces (like there's ever going to be another war?), and maybe even national unity (What does Quebec want, anyway?)

And yes, I know damn well I sound like a western whiner. If I thought the liberals actually cared about this country, it would be a lot easier to swallow. Jane Stewart flushed a billion dollars down the crapper, and she gets re-elected? Tequila Sheila is back? It's just painful to see these idiots fuck up all the time and no one seemingly wants to do anything about it. And then the bastards laugh it all off and tell us they didn't do anything wrong!

It's unfortunate the right didn't really give you guys much choice. Clark will always be just a clown to a lot of people, and its unfortunate Day comes across as scary to you. Being an Albertan, I think he did terrific as treasurer of this province, and we really have our house in order. No provincial sales tax, the heritage fund (not his doing, mind you, but under him we also stopped deficit spending and began paying down our debt). And I just got 150 dollars from the government in the form of an energy rebate, to be spend any way I want, with 150 more dollars coming back in the spring.

Unfortunately, Ontarians don't know him, and from what they've seen, don't want to. I can't blame you guys for that either - like I said, it's unfortunate, is all. Cause now we're stuck with the Red in power and it is going to be more of the same. Oh well, at least you won't have two-tier health care. That should comfort you a lot during the next war.

We have gotten some nice kit over the past few years, but I'd gladly carry an FN and wear my threadbare combats if I would just have the security of knowing my regiment is not getting disbanded next week, and that we will always have at least 150 troops in the unit.

Posts: 135 | From: Calgary, Alberta | Registered: Aug 2000
Veteran Member
Member # 74

Member Rated:

posted 01 December 2021 11:23     Profile for RCA     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ah the days of humping the FN around, 1 pair of combats, useless webbing, - nostalga. duece and a halfs that didn't create there own smokescreens when starting on a cold morning giving your posn away, militia bullets.
But back on point, I'm a westerner also however Stockwell Day is not for me - to much of a hidden agenda. As for politicians in general. we love to demonize them but I think all in all most are decent people wanting to do the right thing. The Armed Forces is in the state it is in because we as a society want it that way. And no PM is going to improve our lot unless the public wants it. (look at healthcare as an example of want people want and politicians deliver.) As long as the higherups coverup or washover our eqpt woes or how streched we are the public has no idea. Only when it was revealed that soldiers were going to food banks did we get a big rasie without a public outcry. The public (and therefore the politians/gov't) don't give a shit because we don't even appear on their radar screen unless something like Somalia comes up (and we are still paying for that one.)

Posts: 140 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Aug 2000
Member # 18

Member Rated:

posted 02 December 2021 00:09     Profile for Brock   Email Brock     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Bringing politics into the debate is alway a difficult issue particularly when dealing with the military. I have lived in the Maritimes, Alberta (I actually know Stockwell Day's little brother), and Ontario. It is always easy to blame political parties for the mess, but the answer isn't that simple. Yes, it is partly the political parties, but it is also the fault of the people of Canada for not caring enough about their country and for the lifestyle that most have taken for granted, its the fault of the corporations always looking for a quick buck (part of Northern, ie. Western philosphy), and it is also the fault of the people in the military.

The military must learn to accept change and for our military it means a big change like it or not. I am not saying it will always be best for the soldiers, but the government and the public tell us what to do; we just need to get the best out of the public. One way to do that, would be to give up the belief that we are training to fight World War II, the North Korean's of the 1950's, or the "Russian Menace." None of those enemies exist and we will not have to fight those enemies. We are going to have to fight Sierre Leone or Rwandan guerillas, who don't have massive heavy armoured formations. Canada needs a military to fight in low intensity conflict. Yes, there will always be the possiblilty of Canada having to fight a high intensity conflict requiring heavily armoured forces, but it is extremely remote at best. If we spent more time getting involved in existing conflicts, it is that much less likely that situations will ever get bad enough to require Canadians to fight and die in one of those horrible wars, I've seen the graves in Europe and I almost broke into tears not, because I am a big baby, but becuase of the absolute horror of war.

Canada needs more troops if we want to keep deploying soldiers. Canada needs to modify the way our military is organized to better train and deploy our soldiers. We need to ask if there is better way in organizing our military to make it more effective. Might this mean giving up the current regimental systems, maybe. We need to have an officer corps that is commited to doing the best for Canada and not their carreers, we need soldiers, sailors, and aircrew to give up traditional beliefs in the military way of doing things in Canada that are merely kept, because thats the way we have always done things. We need to look at how other armies are changing and not to believe that we have the only "right" way of organizing. We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot in regards to our public image. We can't afford to continue to complain about Somalia. We need to say we help feed and save the lives of millions. We need to immediately accept responsibility for mistakes made and fix them. We need to accept that the military needs to present a positive to the public. We need to bring our capabilities and policies, both military doctrine and government in line with the way we actually operate instead of the way we want to fight. These are my thoughts tell me yours. I know I've rambled on for a while, but I couldn't help replying in this manner. If you want to know my ideas on how I suggest to improve the military, ask for it in a reply, thanks.

Posts: 19 | From: | Registered: Nov 2000
Veteran Member
Member # 74

Member Rated:

posted 17 December 2020 16:05     Profile for RCA     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
There is going to be a new re-org for Land Forces - I'll put them down as rumours for now beacsue I haven't seen anything on paper but I know its's out there - that there will be downsizing. 1 Bn per Inf Regt, and 1 Bty per Arty Regt (I presume the the Armd Regts will also lose a Sqdn) gone. The reasoning I hear is that it will preserve all 3 Bde Groups. (remember they can' disband 5 Bde).

1 RCHA will lose C Bty and the LG1s with the Bty broken up between A & B and ther rest moving to make up a reserve 10/90 Regt (thats back again). As for the rest I not sure of all the details.

As you can see we are not moving forward but backward. As we all know oversees deployments are staying the same or increasing, not winding down so someone must have a master plan somewhere about how all this is going to work because it sure in hell doesn't make sense to me. (as a side note Canada seems to be moving in the direction of the regular prcatice in most countries where reseves outnumbering regular forces. However in typical fashion instaed of increasing reserves they just cut the Reg F.)

In other posts, hot topics are all the new eqpt we should have to give us a war fighting capabiliy. My question is - what for - new eqpt is fast becoming a moot point. We are coming to point where a flu epenimic in the forces willl incapictate the entire defence of this nation. As it is you can put the Land Forces in a medium sized stadium as is now.

What really pisses me off is OUR leadership (NDHQ, LFC et al) lets this happen and on top of that no explaination to the troops. We get the 5-6 proganda sheets (Defence 2000, Maple Leaf etc) from the Puzzle Palace tell how biliualsim is coming, how the Alterntive Delivery System is comming, not what really matters to the troops. We constanly bombarded with ensureing SHARP has been carried out, how we have a kinder, gentler army. But when matter of sustance come up, particurarlly if the might create a backlash from the troops. WE GET SQUAT. What kind of leadership is that. (PS it's not its mangement that that is what we have today) I better stop now before burn out my keyboard.


Posts: 140 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Aug 2000
Michael Dorosh
Veteran Member
Member # 63

Member Rated:

posted 17 December 2020 21:20     Profile for Michael Dorosh   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Dorosh     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Wait for it, RCA - the clerks in 41 Bde have all been taken out of their regiments effective 15 March. I get the happy task of turning in the Highland kit I've worn for 14 years and joining - well, I guess they don't even have a name. Some centralized orderly room for all the reserve units. The Highlanders already lost their medics to service battalion.

Can the downsizing from battalion to company be far behind for infantry units in the reserves? Would seem to mesh with the rumoured Reg F downsizing.

So you are incorrect - they are not decreasing the Reg F so that the Reserves will finally outnumber them; I get the impression that they are downsizing both!

Posts: 135 | From: Calgary, Alberta | Registered: Aug 2000
Veteran Member
Member # 74

Member Rated:

posted 18 December 2020 10:24     Profile for RCA     Send New Private Message     Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Remember we are not downsizing, we re-organizing.

38 CBG has had a centrilized garrison system for the past 2-3 yrs. Suppose to be more efficent. The clerking, supply, transport etc functions are all held by the garrision. The only good thing i've seen come out of it is the Garrision Trg Co. Instead of each unit running its own crses (ie QL2) garrison does it with the units supplying the instructors and garrison doing all the trg coord and standards functions. However as far as I know Winnipeg garrison does not have it's own UIC (it is funded by 38 CBGHQ) therefore I have to assume that members still are attached to their own units. (therefore entitled to kilts, glengarries etc)

I belong to an outlying unit so we hold all the garrison functions at unit level. However with the new establishment (NRE) - which has a RHQ, a small HQ and Svcs Bty and one Gun Bty - the only service support trade left to us are RMS clks (the only Class B posns also by the way). So I don't understand why 41 CBG is taking all the clks from the units. However the problem we have is all our EMEs, Medics etc techniclly don't belong to us but to 17 Svc Bn and are attached posted to us. If you have been in long enough you can see the problems down the road. This NRE hasn' been implimented yet but is suppose to be down the road (However the version I've seen is #3 or #4 and rumour has it that Comd LFC (a gunner by the way) isn't happy with it and wants it reworked). So who knows. This is another example of us being left in the dark by our leadership. The NRE affects all reservists and all we hear is rumours ans a tid bits of imformation while the Reg F and afew high ranking Res officers decide our future.

If anyone has more info on the NRE or the new Reg F re-oerg pl pass it along. Its a drought out here.


Posts: 140 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Aug 2000

All times are ET  

Post New Topic   Close Topic    Move Topic      next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | | Privacy Statement

� 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
Ultimate Bulletin BoardTM 6.1.0.beta-0.1