British Army officership : paradigm evolution : 1960-2001
The British Army is a very mature organization, which has suffered no
discontinuity since becoming all professional in 1960. Much of the concept,
character, practice and quality of British Army Officership has been assumed, and
not studied as deeply and comprehensively as in other armies.
The analogue of paradigm change, whether evolutionary or revolutionary
(explained by Thomas Kuhn, 1970), has been chosen to bring discipline to an
assessment of the speed and depth of change in officership since 1960.
Officer entrants have been, and continued to be, expected voluntarily to accept the
paradigm of officership - much of which is implicit - and measure up to the
required standards of military compatibility, competence, motivation and good
faith. In view of the Army's undoubted operational success and confidence, it has
attracted a sufficient number of high quality entrants and from their ranks,
eventually selected its senior officers.
The pressures to modernize, including those induced by government, have
mounted since the end of the Cold War. Exogenous demands for rethinking
operational roles and embracing new technologies and military tasks, have been
met successfully. Corporately, however, the Army has been found wanting in
keeping abreast of social, educational, professional and judicial, changes in
Britain. The reason has been that insufficient thought and research has been put
into the human aspects of military service and officership for upward of twenty
years. A divergence between the Anny and society has been reflected in the
different attitudes between those who became 'career' officers and those who
leave after a period of 'short-term' service.
Evidence shows that in 2001, the concept and character of officership is currently
marked by a much deeper comprehension. The performance and quality of
officers is maintained, as befits a leading democratic nation. This has been
achieved by rapid evolution, not revolution.