The Ministry of Defence wastes up to £94 million every year training minors for army roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adult recruits, according to a new report launched today by human rights groups Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch.
Published by Child Soldiers International and ForcesWatch
This report details how the Ministry of Defence wastes up to £94 million every year training under-18s for army roles which could be filled more cost-effectively by adult recruits.
It costs the MoD twice as much to train a recruit at age 16 as it does at 18 due to the longer training for minors and their higher drop-out rate. Using MoD figures, One Step Forward: The case for ending recruitment of minors by the British armed forces found that, in 2010-11:
It cost an estimated minimum of £88,985 to recruit and train each new soldier aged 16-17½, compared with £42,818 for each adult recruit (includes salary costs).
The taxpayer would have saved an estimated £81.5 million - £94 million had only adults been recruited.
37% of minors dropped out during training, compared with 28% of adult recruits.
ForcesWatch are working with the charity Headliners, who work with 8-18 year olds, to make the film about young people's encounters with the military (i.e. the UK Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defence), and what they think of them.
The film will give young people a voice on how they feel about the involvement of the military in their lives - from advertising campaigns, the entertainment and gaming industries to visits by the armed forces to schools and colleges and public events such as Armed Forces Day, and much more. The military spend many millions each year attracting young people in order to recruit them or to give them a positive view of the armed forces. This film is a chance for young people to tell them what they think about this. It will encourage them to reflect on and debate why the military is so keen to engage with them. As far as we are aware nothing like this has ever been made in the UK.
A society has to be militarised for a government to justify the development and maintenance of nuclear weapons to its citizens; militarisation creates a culture of acceptance. It popularises military euphemisms such as ‘Defence’, ‘Security’, and – particularly relevant to nuclear weapons – ‘deterrent’, and makes it hard to for those challenging these to be seen as credible.
Our education campaigner looks at the MoD's assertion that the armed forces do not go into schools for recruitment purposes. This is based on a definition of 'recruitment' that limits it to 'signing up' there and then. We argue that the armed forces are indeed recruiting in schools and that 'recruitment' is a broader activity that involves interesting young people in the idea of enlisting by engaging in the range of activities from careers talks to visits to bases.
The organisation ForcesWatch (1), which monitors the way young people are recruited into the military, have expressed concern about the announcement made by Education Secretary Michael Gove of four projects which promote 'military ethos' in order to improve achievement among pupils disengaged with education
Earlier this month the Department for Education published a statement on their website outlining their ambition to promote a military ethos in schools across the country. Through developing projects such as Troops to Teachers and expanding schemes such as the cadets and other alternative military provision in schools (such as Challenger Troop), the government is now actively encouraging schools, especially newer Academies and Free Schools, which tend to exist in more disadvantaged areas, to foster a military ethos.
The incursion of the military into the British education system will mean that alternatives to war and peaceful ways of resolving conflict will be more difficult for young people to explore. In the long term we will all pay a heavy price.
Each of the episodes from both series of Our War focuses on a different platoon or company, with varying missions during their tours in Helmand Province (which dated from between 2006 and 2012). Common themes to each of them include the youth of those involved, and the gravity of what is being asked of them.
This week the Ministry of Defence released news that the City of London Academy Islington (formerly Islington Green School) is to host a cadet unit. ForcesWatch urge parents, governors, teachers and students of the school not to accept this development until after a public consultation on the matter.
Figures obtained under Freedom of Information reveal that the armed forces are visiting nearly all secondary maintained schools and academies in Norfolk and some schools have activities run by the military many times a year.
There are two plays on in London's West End currently that depict life in the UK military, and they do so critically. Our Boys', by Jonathan Lewis, at the Duchess Theatre is a revival, having first been performed in 1993. Sandi Toksvig's Bully Boy is at the St James Theatre. There is considerable similarity in the themes of the two plays: why young men join the armed forces, how they are often neglected when injured, and the horror of contemporary war in general.