ForcesWatch scrutinises the ethics of armed forces recruitment practices and challenges efforts to embed militarist values in civilian society.
A short film about our work
our new book on militarism
At a comfortable distance from warfare, our culture easily passes over its horrific reality in favour of an appealing, even romantic, spectacle of war. Yet, over the last decade, most Britons have opposed Western military ventures abroad. This book takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, public resistance to it, and the government's prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war. See details & buy book
The report outlines concerns about the existing model, and offer a different vision for the future. Read more
Scottish Parliament Petition
ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament to:
- scrutinise armed forces visits to schools in Scotland
- provide guidance on how such visits should be conducted
- ensure that parents are always consulted.
The petition is now closed but see more info.
- 'Playing Soldiers': a verbatim school theatre production exploring the armed forces' recruitment of young people, in Edinburgh from 21-29 August
- The Creeping Militarisation of our Society: a one day conference organised by Movement for the Abolition of War Youth. Saturday 8 October at SOAS, University of London
Watch our film - Engage: the military and young people
Why does the military have a 'youth engagement' policy and why is the government promoting 'military ethos' within education? What is the impact of military activities taking place in schools? This short film explores these questions and gives teenagers the opportunity to voice their reaction to the military’s interest in their lives.
Watch the film trailer below:
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A funny short film by a young boy on The Militarization of Boys
Raise the age to join the army to 18
By William and Noah
A 4 part investigation of 'the soldier myth' - talking to soldiers about recruitment, training, fighting and coming home
The Last Ambush? Aspects of mental health in the British armed forces
This ForcesWatch report, shows that young soldiers recruited from disadvantaged backgrounds are substantially more likely than other troops to return from war experiencing problems with their mental health, and calls for the policy of recruiting from age 16 to be reviewed. October 2013
ForcesWatch is raising ‘serious concerns’ about aspects of the Farnborough International Air Show designed to engage children and young people in careers and ‘exciting’ activities. The‘air show’ is taking place this coming weekend. Associated events this week include a major arms fair, civil aerospace exhibition and hosting of military delegations from some of the world’s most repressive regimes.
A third of a £6 million funding pot aimed at building character in school pupils will be targeted at military-style projects, prompting criticism from campaigners.
The impact of a £50 million grant to boost school cadet forces cannot be scrutinised because the government will not release details – although there are few signs of the 100 units a year needed to meet the ambitious target and new figures show a decline in number of school cadets. ForcesWatch are quoted: “This huge amount of money could have been allocated towards educational resources that do not have a military framework and would have far wider appeal.”
With the new inquest verdict into the death of Cheryl James at Deepcut, ForcesWatch is calling on Ministers to implement important recommendations for young recruits made in 2005.
Figures show that more 16 year olds were recruited in the last year than 17 year olds as the government admits that is intends to increase the number of children it recruits into the armed forces.
An open letter to the Ministry of Defence from national children’s organisations and rights groups calls on them to stop recruiting 16 and 17 year olds into the armed forces. The letter has been made public on the same day that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child begins its periodic examination of the UK’s record on child rights. In 2008, the UN urged the UK to raise the enlistment age to 18.
The army's venerable tradition no longer makes financial sense.