SAS at risk of recruitment crisis as Army is stretched to the limit

Ravage

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...crisis-as-Army-is-stretched-to-the-limit.html

The SAS is facing a shortage of recruits because ordinary soldiers are too over-stretched to apply for the elite regiment, a leaked letter from the head of infantry has warned.



The high “operational tempo” of the Armed Forces and the “unrelentingly demanding” operations in Afghanistan are combining to “mitigate against Special Forces recruitment”, Brig Richard Dennis warned. The SAS was also losing its unique position in the military as “interesting operations are no longer seen as the preserve of Special Forces”.

The disclosure is a major blow as the SAS is regarded as the world’s pre-eminent Special Forces unit. The regiment has played a leading role in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and is thought to be responsible for seizing key terrorists.

However, the head of the infantry said in the letter to Gen Sir Peter Wall, the head of the Army, that he now had deep concerns over the “challenge of fully manning the SAS”.

In the letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, he warned that immediate action was needed to increase the “depth and quality” of potential recruits.

The letter also quoted the commanding officer of 22 Special Air Service Regiment who expressed the need for “more youthful, quality volunteers”.

Brig Dennis listed a number of areas of concern, including the lack of opportunity to train for selection as a result of operations in Afghanistan and a perceived “fear of failure” among soldiers.
Although official figures are never released, The Daily Telegraph understands that the SAS has a staffing crisis with a shortage of one-third of its total front-line strength. The letter also indicated serious manning issues within the wider Army, which is about to be reduced by 5,000, saying there was a shortfall of 700 corporals and the equivalent of at least one captain for every rifle company that was hindering recruitment.
The letter quoted the commanding officer of 22 SAS speaking at the annual infantry conference.
“He emphasised the understandable need for more youthful, quality volunteers, whilst accepting that opportunities for exacting service existed within most aspects of current RD [regimental duty] operational deployments.” Brig Dennis then wrote: “I am content, notwithstanding the need to avoid any complacency, that the infantry community delivers sufficient officer and soldier volunteers to Selection. I am less confident about how we guarantee better depth of quality to increase selection pass rates.
“Indeed, for any measure to be successful you might consider that Army action is essential if we are to increase selection success and the enduring quality of our SF [Special Forces] community.”
The letter is one of the most serious indications that the Government’s draconian defence cuts are undermining the Armed Forces at a time when the Libyan conflict is intensifying and 10,000 troops are deployed in Afghanistan.
It is understood that, contrary to some reports, SAS units are not currently operating undercover in Libya.
The staffing crisis that has gripped the SAS is said to have led to urgent discussions between the Director of Special Forces and senior Army commanders.
“Manning levels are at an all-time low and we can’t get away from it,” said a Special Forces source. “It used to be that we could operate well enough with 10 per cent down but with a third of the guys either leaving for security jobs, coming to the end of their careers or getting injured it is getting serious.”
SAS officers, both serving and retired, have made it clear that the manpower situation could become “irretrievable” if the Army is reduced to a predicted 82,000 men in the 2015 defence review, further shrinking the pool of troops available.
There are also strategic issues, since the SAS is seen as the biggest asset that Britain has to offer in the alliance with America alongside the nuclear deterrent.
While SAS fatalities are reported, statistics for wounded remain secret. However, it has now become apparent that the unit has suffered a high casualty rate similar to infantry units on the front line.
There are reported to be a number of amputees on light duty at their base in Hereford and in one incident in Afghanistan last year, eight Special Forces soldiers were badly injured in a single attack.
“You cannot be in this type of environment deploying loads with lots of lead going down without people getting hurt,” said a serving Special Forces soldier. “There is also a bow wave of guys who have come to end of their time. They are desperately trying to make up shortfall.”
A large number of SAS troops have left for the more lucrative private security market, although some have been tempted back with large financial inducements.
SAS selection is regarded as the most arduous military course in the world. Candidates spend a month running over the Welsh mountains with 50lb loads, which culminates in the 40-mile endurance march. They then spend weeks in the jungle, suffering dehydration and deprivation, followed by a course in escape and evasion, culminating in the resistance to interrogation. On average one in 10 makes it through to earn the sandy-coloured SAS beret.
The letter warned that the amount of deployments the infantry are doing abroad “does not allow best preparation for selection” and said commanding officers’ views differed about allowing soldiers time off for training.
Many soldiers also remain apprehensive about SAS selection because the “fear of failure remains acute”.
“How do we encourage more towards Selection without pushing too hard?” the letter, which was written in February, asked. It also suggested that commanders should “talent spot and nurture” potential SAS men. Brig Dennis concluded that the shortages meant the Army had to “take a more active role in encouraging Selection” as troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan.
In last October’s defence review the MoD announced a significant increase in spending on Special Forces equipment and capacity. However, this appears yet to yield further recruits.
A MoD spokesman said: “We do not normally comment on SF matters and we can see no reason to change that policy on this occasion.”
The Daily Telegraph has been asked to not publish certain sensitive information contained in the letter at the request of the Defence Advisory Notice Committee.
 

pbkenne

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Serious issue. Met a captain from G sqdn who was leaving the Army because odd the defense cuts. Who wants to serve in an Army with a total strength of 82K? What are the possibilities of promotion in such an environment?
 

Marauder06

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Who needs a big Army when Russia is not a threat at the moment, and you're BFFs with America? :thumbsdown:
 

Marauder06

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LOL guess what's our military is doing right now...

I hope it's getting bigger, because with the US "rebalancing" away from Europe, some relationships, like the US/Poland and the US/Georgia ones, might take a bit of a hit. And the Russian bear is always hungry...
 

SpitfireV

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Who needs a big Army when Russia is not a threat at the moment, and you're BFFs with America? :thumbsdown:

In fairness you guys have been buddying up to people- if they like it or not :p - for decades now so it's no real wonder they expect it.
 

QC

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We can keep our SAS going with 7 Battalions, why they are sooking when they have 28 is a bit of a worry.

They're wingeing Poms digger, they're never been happy with warm beer and cold pies either.
 

dknob

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WHAT-THE-FUCK ?!

I'm gonna step on some serious fucking toes with this rant but the British SAS needs to stop bitching. The world considers the UK SAS to be the brightest beacon of all SOF units throughout the world. I don't know when that might have been true, but it must have been decades ago. I always hear or read about them bitching about something, whether it's too much deployment, or they are annoyed with the SBS, or they don't like their chow hall at Hereford.

I feel like the modern day portrayal of these dudes is nothing short of hooligans with great training.
A large number of SAS troops have left for the more lucrative private security market
Is this a joke? This is the best that the UK has to offer? One of the world's most elite unit has many of its guys leaving the service to be contractors?

I tell you this right now, you couldn't count on one hand the dudes from Delta who left the service pre-maturely to go work for a PMC since 9/11. Our fucking guys have more patriotism and love for country then that. The guys in our SMUs retire, die, or are medically discharged. They don't ETS to go work with Blackwater. The immense sense of patriotism, duty, and sacrifice is what differentiates Delta from units like the Rangers/SF/SEALs. They are true believers in every sense of the word and they don't go to a place like that just because "it's cool".


Idk what the hell the SAS has evolved into. But it's not the unit that I grew up reading about. The UK needs to square it's shit away.
 

Marauder06

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WHAT-THE-FUCK ?!

I'm gonna step on some serious fucking toes with this rant but the British SAS needs to stop bitching. The world considers the UK SAS to be the brightest beacon of all SOF units throughout the world. I don't know when that might have been true, but it must have been decades ago. I always hear or read about them bitching about something, whether it's too much deployment, or they are annoyed with the SBS, or they don't like their chow hall at Hereford.

I feel like the modern day portrayal of these dudes is nothing short of hooligans with great training.

Is this a joke? This is the best that the UK has to offer? One of the world's most elite unit has many of its guys leaving the service to be contractors? ...

Well, we kind of had the same thing for a while, that is the reason re-enlistment bonuses for some SOF MOSs were so astronomical
 

AWP

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As an outsider with zero interaction with the SAS, McNab's books paint a pretty poor picture of the SAS IMO an I'm not referring to his fictious series, but the experiences he lists in his various books. His descriptions and reactions concerning range time/ training would be comical if they weren't from an elite SOF unit. He decribed room clearinig with his new team: no briefing, no discussion oof tactics, just stack up and go in. He recounted how one memeber of the team saw his confusion and gave him a very brief rundown on the team's TTPs. This went on over the course of his career: fragmented, unplanned range time/ training and not once did he say it that they did it like that to replicate confusion or even gave a reason. He joined his team in Malaya during jungle training and it was the same thing: minimal guidance or welcoming, he was left to figure things out on his own, to include participation in live fires.

Is McNab the best source? While I question that, the fact remains that one of the most prolific authors about the SAS, and a former member, doesn't paint the organization in a favorable light.
 

dknob

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As an outsider with zero interaction with the SAS, McNab's books paint a pretty poor picture of the SAS IMO an I'm not referring to his fictious series, but the experiences he lists in his various books. His descriptions and reactions concerning range time/ training would be comical if they weren't from an elite SOF unit. He decribed room clearinig with his new team: no briefing, no discussion oof tactics, just stack up and go in. He recounted how one memeber of the team saw his confusion and gave him a very brief rundown on the team's TTPs. This went on over the course of his career: fragmented, unplanned range time/ training and not once did he say it that they did it like that to replicate confusion or even gave a reason. He joined his team in Malaya during jungle training and it was the same thing: minimal guidance or welcoming, he was left to figure things out on his own, to include participation in live fires.

Is McNab the best source? While I question that, the fact remains that one of the most prolific authors about the SAS, and a former member, doesn't paint the organization in a favorable light.
thats the kind of shit you will find in many sources on the SAS, at least from what I've read. Lot's of lack of professionalism and I've heard about discipline issues - prima donnas? They couldn't hold the jock strap to our SMUs.
 

Ravage

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Some of you probably read "Task Force Black", it paints a pretty interesting picture about the 22nd Regiment in the Iraq era.
Kinda left me wondering on a few issues.
 

QC

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Ken Connors book for mine draws out some interesting observations, it's worth a look. Funnily enough, it's a criticism of G Squadron.
 
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