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  1. #1
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    Half of 17-35 year-olds not fit enough to pass initial Army selection

    Half of the UK population are now so unhealthy they are unable to pass initial Army selection, the chief of defence staff has said.

    Giving evidence to MPs at the Commons Defence Committee, General Sir Nick Carter said Army recruiters are facing “a very difficult market” in recruiting people healthy enough to enlist.

    His comments come after the committee was told in October that the Army currently has 77,000 fully trained troops compared with a target of 82,500.

    Gen Carter, who took up the post of chief of the defence staff six months ago, told the committee that “50 per cent of 17-35 year olds are not healthy enough to get through the selection process.”

    He also admitted that the British Army shares a large part of the blame for its recruitment failings alongside outsourcing giant Capita and that some "appalling lessons" have been learned.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/201...rmy-selection/

  2. #2
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    It's good to see that someone so near the top has identified that they've royally fecked up, but I don't think that's their primary concern. There's certainly an argument for allowing entry to people who aren't physically fit or healthy enough and then training them up to the standard (like we used to before phys became such a high priority).

    But I think they also need to recognise that there just isn't enough drive in most 18-35 year olds to push them toward military service. They've not been exposed to major global conflict like previous generations, where WW2 and the Cold War were relatively fresh in our history. In context, their exposure has been to our conflicts in distant dusty places that seemed to fill no defensive purpose. The 'war on terror' is completely different, in that it's been brought home on more than one occasion, but there's a definitive disconnect between the military and home grown terrorism - we've not deployed to sort that out, it's the job of the police or MI5.

    Combine this with our current crop of oh-so-easily-offendable-snowflakes, and there's not many left who could be deemed as 'soldier material'. I think that (regardless of physical gender), soldiering has always required a certain element of masculinity - and we've managed to breed that out of our newest generations, in favour of a more metrosexual / hormone-neutral approach. I'm not trying to be sexist, I'm talking more of a psychological masculine / femenine rather than physical gender.

    the MOD has spent the last decade chopping off any perks associated to military service, and cutting manpower because it 'wasn't needed'. All of this has been clearly visible to the public, so what's the incentive to join (or more specifically, to join and stay)?

  3. Quote Originally Posted by Witty_Banter View Post
    It's good to see that someone so near the top has identified that they've royally fecked up, but I don't think that's their primary concern. There's certainly an argument for allowing entry to people who aren't physically fit or healthy enough and then training them up to the standard (like we used to before phys became such a high priority).

    But I think they also need to recognise that there just isn't enough drive in most 18-35 year olds to push them toward military service. They've not been exposed to major global conflict like previous generations, where WW2 and the Cold War were relatively fresh in our history. In context, their exposure has been to our conflicts in distant dusty places that seemed to fill no defensive purpose. The 'war on terror' is completely different, in that it's been brought home on more than one occasion, but there's a definitive disconnect between the military and home grown terrorism - we've not deployed to sort that out, it's the job of the police or MI5.

    Combine this with our current crop of oh-so-easily-offendable-snowflakes, and there's not many left who could be deemed as 'soldier material'. I think that (regardless of physical gender), soldiering has always required a certain element of masculinity - and we've managed to breed that out of our newest generations, in favour of a more metrosexual / hormone-neutral approach. I'm not trying to be sexist, I'm talking more of a psychological masculine / femenine rather than physical gender.

    the MOD has spent the last decade chopping off any perks associated to military service, and cutting manpower because it 'wasn't needed'. All of this has been clearly visible to the public, so what's the incentive to join (or more specifically, to join and stay)?
    I agree. From the quote mentioned it would mean that half of 17-35 year olds are fit enough to pass the tests. But why join nowadays when it's better money being an electrician and equal chance of travel in some cases.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highflyer View Post
    I agree. From the quote mentioned it would mean that half of 17-35 year olds are fit enough to pass the tests. But why join nowadays when it's better money being an electrician and equal chance of travel in some cases.
    A fair point. There's also been quite a drive in the last few years - in no small part thanks to uni fees etc - for kids to look for a trade qualification / apprenticeship rather than go down the degree and corresponding massive debt route. A big problem with the military service 'offer' is that it demands far more than it actually offers.

    If someone isn't too bright in school but manages to scrape 3 GSCEs at grade C (or whatever the numerical variant is now), then they could possibly get in to the RAF ground trades and maybe reach Cpl / Sgt within 10 years, with much slog and brown nosing. They'll have to put up with lord knows how much drivel from the Ruperts and Airships, deployments, accommodation issues, pay rises being ignored, and so on, and then if they leave at the 10 year point they'll get little or no pension.

    OR..

    With the same qualifications they could opt for an apprenticeship on leaving school, learn a trade and could land a well paid position in a company or even be running their own small business in 10 years, earning significantly more.

  5. #5
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    Why has such great emphasis been placed on physical fitness? I remember fitness testing being inflicted upon us from about the early 90s, how on earth did we cope before that? Many of my era had done the BBQ tours, Sharjah, Masirah, Salalah, etc, the only cold place we went to was Goose Bay. We all survived and worked in those extremes of temperature, doing the job to the satisfaction of our masters. Apart from the sports billys, that we all covered for, most folk just had a casual kickabout with a football, or if you were a fireman, lobbed a volleyball around. A few of the Rocks, mainly those seeking employment in a different coloured beret were fanatical with regard to fitness, however, that was a means to an end. The remainder of us cracked on with the task at hand.


    It was accepted that if you could do your job, which included guards and sentries, you were fit. The ability to run at speed is dictated by which end of the rifle you are stood at, and I am pretty confident that I could run quickly enough if I was stood at the wrong end. As I understand it, a fitness test fail, or any sort of downgrading, is a get out of jail free card when it comes to dets. Wherever I served overseas we had folk carrying injuries, some incurred in theatre, and most of them minor, which did not impede their ability to carry out their duties.


    So, why do the current crop of lords and masters feel the need to beat their gums regarding fitness standards?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkh51250 View Post
    Why has such great emphasis been placed on physical fitness? I remember fitness testing being inflicted upon us from about the early 90s, how on earth did we cope before that? Many of my era had done the BBQ tours, Sharjah, Masirah, Salalah, etc, the only cold place we went to was Goose Bay. We all survived and worked in those extremes of temperature, doing the job to the satisfaction of our masters. Apart from the sports billys, that we all covered for, most folk just had a casual kickabout with a football, or if you were a fireman, lobbed a volleyball around. A few of the Rocks, mainly those seeking employment in a different coloured beret were fanatical with regard to fitness, however, that was a means to an end. The remainder of us cracked on with the task at hand.


    It was accepted that if you could do your job, which included guards and sentries, you were fit. The ability to run at speed is dictated by which end of the rifle you are stood at, and I am pretty confident that I could run quickly enough if I was stood at the wrong end. As I understand it, a fitness test fail, or any sort of downgrading, is a get out of jail free card when it comes to dets. Wherever I served overseas we had folk carrying injuries, some incurred in theatre, and most of them minor, which did not impede their ability to carry out their duties.


    So, why do the current crop of lords and masters feel the need to beat their gums regarding fitness standards?
    Because when they invent something that is relevant to the task or not they get noticed and once they have been noticed they need to stay on the radar by getting ticks in the boxes and monthly reports highlighting the fact that all is well.

    All that with the aim of a big fat pension and possibly a knighthood.
    It's not the man in the fight - it's the fight in the man.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkh51250 View Post
    As I understand it, a fitness test fail, or any sort of downgrading, is a get out of jail free card when it comes to dets.
    Not so mate - well, not for all of us, by and large it depends on your trade and where your deployments are. I've been a permanent downgrade for several years (osteoarthritis), but I was on det in 2016 and I'll be going again in 2019. It does limit where I'm allowed to go (ie I can't go anywhere 'fun'), but I still go. Only those with a severely twisted sock have a GOJF card, and even then, there's a very small number of UK deployments they can be used for. Medically Non-Deployable (MND) pers can also, I believe, be deployed to other UK units to cover for someone who's on det somewhere warmer.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkh51250 View Post
    Why has such great emphasis been placed on physical fitness? I remember fitness testing being inflicted upon us from about the early 90s, how on earth did we cope before that? Many of my era had done the BBQ tours, Sharjah, Masirah, Salalah, etc, the only cold place we went to was Goose Bay. We all survived and worked in those extremes of temperature, doing the job to the satisfaction of our masters. Apart from the sports billys, that we all covered for, most folk just had a casual kickabout with a football, or if you were a fireman, lobbed a volleyball around. A few of the Rocks, mainly those seeking employment in a different coloured beret were fanatical with regard to fitness, however, that was a means to an end. The remainder of us cracked on with the task at hand.


    It was accepted that if you could do your job, which included guards and sentries, you were fit. The ability to run at speed is dictated by which end of the rifle you are stood at, and I am pretty confident that I could run quickly enough if I was stood at the wrong end. As I understand it, a fitness test fail, or any sort of downgrading, is a get out of jail free card when it comes to dets. Wherever I served overseas we had folk carrying injuries, some incurred in theatre, and most of them minor, which did not impede their ability to carry out their duties.


    So, why do the current crop of lords and masters feel the need to beat their gums regarding fitness standards?
    It was before the 90's; I can remember having to do a 1 1/2 mile run at Locking in the 80's. I could do it but there were some who couldn't and I recall hearing tales that one individual had had a heart attack (and died?) doing it.

    Those levels of fitness were probably unsustainable for an organisation that had seen the hard way the issues that a lack of fitness could produce during Op Corporate. The question really is, what levels of fitness are really required for some roles - does a TG1 FS on a fast jet squadron need the same levels as, say, a Cpl on a Puma Squadron? Should fitness levels be related to roles rather than just age?

  9. #9
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    Bit of a cop out if you ask me, I would have thought that at least half the people would always fail the test, not much point in having a test if nobody fails it.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by busby1971 View Post
    ...not much point in having a test if nobody fails it.
    True. Won't be long before that changes though. Not moving the goalposts as such, just making the goal area a bit bigger....won't be the first time that the rules have been changed in order to let more applicants get through the gates...

 

 
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