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Recent news & articles

29/06/2014 Herald Scotland THERE are hook the duck stalls, fairground rides and countless ice-cream vans. But these are not the most popular attractions with the thousands of small children who descended on Stirling yesterday for Armed Forces Day. They seemed to prefer handling the high-velocity sniper rifle, getting to grips with an 81mm mortar or staring down the sights of a Starstreak II missile launcher, with its operator on hand to boast of its "multi-target capability" and 7km range.
27/06/2014 The Guardian Giles Fraser asks if the commitment for 100 new cadet force units in state schools by 2015 the best way to mark the start of the first world war?
27/06/2014 British Forces News Earlier this week the Government pledged £1 million to expanding cadet forces in state secondary schools. But that Is being challenged by a new film called Engage. It has been commissioned by Forces Watch, a group which challenges the ethics of military recruitment.
27/06/2014 Ekklesia “The stirring music, smart uniforms and synchronised marching that characterise Armed Forces Day are a glossy front behind which sits a deliberate strategy to manipulate the public,”
24/06/2014 The Morning Star "Machine guns and other weapons were presented to the children as playthings"
23/06/2014 ForcesWatch press release A week after the government pledged a further £1 million for more cadet forces in state secondary schools, a new film is launched which shows that many young people are critical of the promotion of military activities in their schools.

latest resources

12 September 2014

This paper, published by ForcesWatch and Child Soldiers International, shows that the taxpayer would save approximately £50 million per annum if the minimum age of recruitment were raised to 18; it would also result in the army needing to find about 211 fewer new recruits annually, based on current numbers joining the trained strength.

The paper concludes that the case to cease recruiting from age 16 is now overwhelming and urges a full, independent review of the policy, with a view to phasing out the recruitment of minors as an unnecessary, cost-ineffective, and fundamentally unethical practice.

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2014

Quaker Peace and Social Witness has produced two new resources for peace education: Conscience (primary school-focused) and Conviction (secondary school-focused).

Conviction can supplement existing lesson materials in subjects such as History, Religious Education or Citizenship, and be used to support the delivery of Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) or Spiritual Moral Social Cultural (SMSC) education.

Through engaging with speaking and listening activities in pairs and groups, children can discuss and reflect on historical source materials including documents, letters, posters and images.

Printed copies are £5 each. Contact the Quaker Centre at quakercentre@quaker.org.uk or telephone: 020 7663 1030. For more information see here

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Forward Assist is a Veterans Support Charity helps those leaving the forces to re-invent themselves! Soldier to Citizen! It provides ‘needs led’ practical support,vocational skills training and social activities for veterans of all ages. The website also has interesting articles from a veteran's perspective.

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June 2014

A short film made by Headliners and ForcesWatch, 2014

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? ForcesWatch have been working with the charity Headliners and a group of young people in London to produce this short film which explores these questions and gives teenagers the opportunity to voice their reaction to the military’s interest in their lives.

The film focuses on military activities in schools, including presentations and other visits by the armed forces and the Department for Education's 'Military Ethos in Schools' policy - as well as community cadet forces. It looks at young people's experiences and views and ask questions about the agenda behind the 'youth engagement' policy and the reluctance of the Department for Education and Ministry of Defence to discuss it with young people themselves.

This film will encourage young people to reflect on and debate military-related activities aimed at them.

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April 2014

Public understanding of the military and recognition of their role will always determine the climate within which the Forces can recruit, and the willingness of the taxpayer to finance them adequately.”[i]

 

Militarism has existed in the Britain for a long time, but there is a new tide of militarisation that has developed over the last five years. This briefing examines government reports, and reveals the government strategy to increase public support for the military, in order to raise the willingness of the public to pay for the military, make recruitment easier, and stifle opposition to unpopular wars.

[i] National recognition of our armed forces report - Ministry of Defence policy paper, 2008.

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2014


A BBC resource. Includes a final section on 'could this happen today'?

At the outbreak of war in 1914, the British Army had 700,000 available men. Germany’s wartime army was over 3.7 million. When a campaign for volunteers was launched, thousands answered the call to fight. Among them were 250,000 boys and young men under the age of 19, the legal limit for armed service overseas.

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April 2014

"The army careers advisers who operate in schools are skilled salesmen." Head of Army recruitment strategy, quoted in New Statesman, 2007

The armed forces have a growing involvement in secondary schools, colleges and even primary schools. While the Army, Navy and RAF have long run activities in schools as part of the Ministry of Defence's Youth Engagement programme, the Department for Education have recently begun to promote a 'military ethos' within education.

This A4 leaflet (2014) outlines the issue and what the concerns are.

March 2014

ForcesWatch's submission to the Defence Select Committee inquiry on Military Casualties draws on our research published in The Last Ambush and concludes that:

  • The continued targeted recruitment of minors from disadvantaged backgrounds deserves to be re-appraised from the perspective of long-term mental health risks that this group faces. 
  • Where possible, we hope that the development of military health research will better specify personnel who face higher and lower risks.
  • Future research could also better account for personnel who show some symptoms of mental ill-health but are not counted as full ‘cases’ of a specific ‘disorder’. 
  • A large number of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are likely to need mental health support services for years to come.  It falls to the state to take prime responsibility for ensuring that the long-term welfare needs of injured veterans are met.  That is an expensive undertaking, which it behoves any government to appreciate and accept before deciding whether to send young men and women to war
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