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Is The US Military Following Russia's Lead In Its Race To The Bottom?

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Is The US Military Following Russia's Lead In Its Race To The Bottom?

Old 26th Dec 2022, 13:34
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SAS, Is it OK to violently agree with everything you wrote, less the last phrase re the younger set being wiser?
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 14:34
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I'm pretty sure that if the call comes then people will respond

My mother, who (along with Churchill, Field Marshall Montgomery & JV Stalin won WW2) always used to say how useless the post war generation were and that they would never fight. She had the grace to apologise after the Falklands War.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 19:50
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Originally Posted by Phil_R View Post
I'm coming at this from a UK perspective but I had a conversation with three people around the age of twenty a couple of weeks ago in which one of them said she'd considered joining the military, but rejected the idea after looking into it. We were astonished as she didn't really seem the type. Further discussion revealed the following reasons for this, which all three agreed on.

- They found military appeals to patriotism laughable and wondered how desperate anyone would have to be to rely on that sort of persuasion;
- They didn't believe recruiting commercials depicting military life as adventurous and fun, assuming that military service would mostly involve living in a mouldy house interrupted by brief periods of standing in the rain absorbing personal abuse for meagre wages. "Worse than prison" was one comment.
- They didn't like or trust politicians and did not want to work for them;
- They didn't want to be forced to participate in possibly-illegal, clearly-pointless wars (Blair following Bush for reasons of his own personal aggrandisement, etc).
- They simply didn't consider the UK cared about them enough to be worth defending, given the poor life prospects of people their age in 2022.

Every single one of them said they'd be more than happy to take any necessary risk to defend things they personally felt were worthwhile and I don't think modern youngsters are particularly more cowardly than those of the late 1930s. Still, whether you agree with these people or not, these are very hard things to change in the minds of potential signers-up, not least because some of them are pretty well true.

P
I'm 40 and I thought that 20 years ago after 5 years in the ATC and a 4 year degree. I'd seen what went on and how they lived and the type of people you'd have ot take orders from. The only thing that could have persuaded me to put up with that was the chance at a front seat, preferably in a helicopter or a.n.other aircraft. As it was UAS only recruited those with no need of glasses so off I went to design aircraft.

I still can't disagree with anything those young people said.
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 09:26
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
I'm pretty sure that if the call comes then people will respond

My mother, ÖÖ She had the grace to apologise after the Falklands War.
Your mother had nothing to apologise for. The Armed Forces of the UK at the time of the Falklands, weíre 100% volunteer. Trained well and ready to fight, even if some of the kit left something to be desired. There was no requirement to call up the wider population for a major war.

And that was 40 years ago.

The demography of the UK, has changed significantly since then.
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 10:00
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I think the general political malaise shows there is little political backing for the armed services - constant cuts sends a clear message as to how you are (not) valued
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 14:48
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War with China or Russia has been the bread and butter of US military planners since then end of WW2. This focus (or obsession?) has meant that the multitude of armed conflicts we have subsequently engaged in, have generally been poorly planned and poorly equipped. The US turns up for low intensity conflicts with high intensity kit (because we can only plan for full scale conflict with China or Russia) and any success depends on the moral fiber and determination of those fighting the battles, not the "skill and intellect" of those planning them back in the Pentagon. The Brits are just as bad at this, its called turning up equipped to fight the last war, not the current one.

The US generally prevails through sheer numbers and determination, no thanks to the piss-poor planning or lack of strategic thinking from the grown-ups. If budgets or socioeconomic factors ever reduce that ability to turn up with more kit (even the wrong kit) than everybody else, success might not be as guaranteed.

PS.
The current percentage of those serving in the US Armed Forces is less than 1% of the total population, so it's not really that much of an issue when "only 13% of 18 to 29-year-olds are highly willing to join the military".
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Old 28th Dec 2022, 13:13
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Whilst it it not true for a large number of the younger generation, a still sizeable number would rather stay at home and play video games (and be paid for the privilege...).

No need to put themselves in the way of danger or discomfort. Why would they even consider enlisting, as any conflict is likely to be overseas and doesn't directly affect them?

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Old 28th Dec 2022, 16:54
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Two....that 13% number ignores the over 70% number for those unfit for service so the spare numbers to draw from are quite small and probably in the single digits. That is the problem.

Any way you slice it the military across the board is failing to achieve its recruiting needs so something shall have to give....standards or capability...neither of which shall be good.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 17:10
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Originally Posted by unmanned_droid View Post
I'm 40 and I thought that 20 years ago after 5 years in the ATC and a 4 year degree. I'd seen what went on and how they lived and the type of people you'd have ot take orders from. The only thing that could have persuaded me to put up with that was the chance at a front seat, preferably in a helicopter or a.n.other aircraft. As it was UAS only recruited those with no need of glasses so off I went to design aircraft.

I still can't disagree with anything those young people said.
Though I'm from one of the former colonies at least 3 of my classmates entered the British Army. One became a Major and when I heard that I shuddered to think of the incredible risk of getting told what to do by such a person in any dangerous situation. He wasn't my enemy - I just got to work with him - he had fixed ideas, didn't listen, no insight and very keen on pressing the official school line on everything. He didn't think about the situation he was in very clearly or carefully and it was necessary to politely ignore his attempts to order one around and do what made sense.

While I'm interested in military matters the idea of putting my life in the hands of people who might randomly be like that is quite horrifying. We all work with people we think of as idiotic at some time or other but not usually ones who can tell you to go and get yourself killed.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 18:23
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Surely in todays military expertise at video games is more valuable than phyiscial fitness .

I do some mentoruing in a major industry and very few people I have talked to would ever consider joining the UK services because by and latrge they are not good job prospects, Often use outdated equipment ( thats not so much a criticism but just a reality that you cannot keep updating military gear every few years) . then you ahve the ratehr unhappy 'incidents that occur, untilr ecently I lived near Deepcut in Surrey where Brits reading this will know that a verys erious incident that cost lives was never investigated to the extent a great many people felt it should be, In that area, encompassing Aldershot , Sandhurst , and other major army locations there was by and large a supportive view of the army and that was damaged by Deepcut , recently damaged more by army housing scandals and no doubt even more just this week with allegations about sexual intimidation/assault at Sandhurst (UKs Westpoint) . All of those factors got huge national exposure and cannot help recruitment.
In Uk there is also the issue that a great many twenty somethings regard themselves as Europeans and think that patriotism , in terms of fighting for ones country when they dont know what their country is, becomes hard to overcome.. Could anyone seriously go to war for Boris Johnson for example or fight for Queen and Country Many being unsure what their country really is, Scots < N Irish and Welsh for example would be highly unlikely to fight for an English centric UK that treats them with disdain .
I have had the good fortune, and it has largely been tha, to have to interact with members of the UK and US forces and the great majority of people I dealt with I ahd a significant degree of admisration for and had no doubt at all that if things got nasty they would be both ready and willing .

Of course in a situation like this people do change their minds (WW2 quoted as an example) and as Ukraine has shown real belief in their country is perhaps the most important issue along with technical meritocracy and inginuity all of which count double in this conflct because until recently the Russians would have counted the Ukrainians on their side.

A real challnge for any government and on way way beyond the current vision , capbility or integrity of our current one.
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Old 30th Dec 2022, 18:23
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The nightmare scenario for a military planner is the so called 3 block war. The first block has offensive kinetic military operations are being carried out, the next block over the Military mission is support to host nations security forces and the next block over from that is a pure humanitarian support mission.
Any military and especially the US military, will be at its best when given a pure conventional offensive force mission. Gulf War 2 was arguably the most effective use of military force in the history of warfare. The assigned purely military mission was simple, defeat Sandam's forces and invade and occupy Iraq.

It all fell apart just like in Afghanistan, when the mission ceased to be a purely military one and morphed into a conflict shaped by amorphous, ever changing and inherently incompatible foreign policy objectives. This IMO reinforced senior military leadership belief that ultimately the only use of military force that really mattered was full on state on state warfare. Therefore it has always resisted involvement in "Nation Building" exercises and concentrated on building conventional forces that can win battles against a peer level adversary. This has been encouraged by the American military industrial complex because it incentivizes the development of advanced and expensive kit.

The fundamental problem is for almost 50 years, since the end of significant American involvement the Vietnam war, the western world has not experienced major sustained conflict. Almost all of the political leadership grew up in this period and they and the general population have lost any appreciation of what military forces actually are designed to do. This I think is ultimately the cause of the current recruiting challenges.

The Ukrainian Military doesn't have any problem recruiting new members. Those recruits aren't joining because they want to help fill sand bags when there is a flood or participate in feel good "peace stabilization operations" they are joining to kill Russians. In a perfect world the political leadership would have a frank and honest conversation to their population about why countries have a military and what it is supposed to do. The chance of that happening are less than zero but I think it would actually improve recruiting.

I think it is deliciously ironic that Putin has singlehandedly done more to reverse the decline in Western Military capability since Hitler, by reminding everyone why countries have military forces.
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 15:32
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I knew a young lady who wanted to join the army and went on a weekend recruiting course where they performed some exercises one of which was to get over an electric fence

They gave her team some equipment like old barrels and a couple of planks, so she said "let's lean the plank on the fence, climb up it and drop over the other side"

They did this but were disqualified so of course she asked why. The response was "You touched the fence and you can't do that because it's electric" to which she replied "Yes but I touched it with the plank and wood doesn't conduct electricity" Needless to say this fell on deaf ears and her recruitment prospects diminished

Someone later took her aside and pointed out that far from being sad, she should actually be pleased to no longer be considering a career in the army as she'd have to put up with a lifetime of this sort of nonsense. She ended up with a career in IT instead
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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 19:01
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Originally Posted by Sue VÍtements View Post
I knew a young lady who wanted to join the army and went on a weekend recruiting course where they performed some exercises one of which was to get over an electric fence

They gave her team some equipment like old barrels and a couple of planks, so she said "let's lean the plank on the fence, climb up it and drop over the other side"
They did this but were disqualified so of course she asked why. The response was "You touched the fence and you can't do that because it's electric" to which she replied "Yes but I touched it with the plank and wood doesn't conduct electricity" Needless to say this fell on deaf ears and her recruitment prospects diminished
Someone later took her aside and pointed out that far from being sad, she should actually be pleased to no longer be considering a career in the army as she'd have to put up with a lifetime of this sort of nonsense. She ended up with a career in IT instead
Anyone who has taken part in these exercises knows that the purpose is to see if candidates can demonstrate leadership, problem solving and teamwork. She demonstrated a willingness to ignore instructions and take dangerous shortcuts. I'd say the test worked well in weeding her out.

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Old 3rd Jan 2023, 19:57
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I did the RAF Aircrew Selection at Hornchurch in 1960. One of the exercises was to cross a bottomless gorge with an explosive which was about to detonate.
One of the chaps said that if it was 'bottomless' it would, if he dropped it, continue forever so he dropped it into the gorge.
He was chastised for this but his knowledge of physics was better than the supervisor so they accepted him.
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Old 4th Jan 2023, 00:21
  #35 (permalink)  
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SV......seems Video is confirming that young lady's evaluation of her testing.

What he appears to have over looked is that stuff called initiative, ingenuity, and improvisation all of which are considered subversive conduct by far too many in the Militaries around the world.

Fortunately we have moved on from that kind of thinking in our military despite some resistance by those who command rather than lead.

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