Letter: The modern army

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a serving NCO with the Parachute Regiment I am writing to express the increasing concern of the most experienced members of the Parachute Regiment and the army in general over the current trend for outside bodies to try and bring the armed forces into line with civilian corporations. The current obsession with racial and sexual equality and the possible relaxation of restrictions on homosexuality at the expense of all other issues is causing dismay and morale problems which could decrease the effectiveness of front-line troops. The civilianisation of the armed forces is likely to result in the most professional army in the world becoming the most politically correct but laughable army in the world.

Many people, including senior officers who care more about their next promotion than the continuing ability of the forces, seem unable to accept that we are not like any civilian corporation or indeed any other public service such as the police or fire service. We are accountable but also unique. No other section of the British nation is required to kill people as part of its job description or to accept its continuing existence as subordinate to the good of the state.

If the British people wish us to come into line with civilian organisations, they will have to accept that we will then expect the same privileges, such as trade unions and overtime, replicating the Dutch forces which, although undoubtedly politically correct, are also militarily inept. But if the British people wish to retain an army which is both professional and effective, they will allow us to train realistically, emphasising the rigours and brutality of warfare without distracting us with political correctness.


1st Battalion Parachute Regiment

Aldershot, Hampshire