Accession Number : AD1038891

Title :   Society and the British Army: Implications for Fighting Spirit

Descriptive Note : Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017


Personal Author(s) : Burwell,Oliver D

Full Text :

Report Date : 25 May 2017

Pagination or Media Count : 66

Abstract : Representing the British public, the British Army must balance a conceived need to be different from society with the imperative of maintaining recruiting levels, legitimacy, and funding. This relationship is further complicated by the evolution of societal culture, meaning the Army must concurrently change to maintain public support in these areas. Such change potentially threatens the Army's ability to embody fighting spirit, a doctrinal term necessitating soldiers display initiative, courage, resilience, determination, and toughness. This paper holds that, despite constant change and an enduring gap between society and the British Army, the Army's embodiment of fighting spirit has remained relatively constant since World War II, a trend that is likely to continue in the future. The Army's training and socialization effectively inculcate a fighting spirit in soldiers, although the context within which the Army fights alters its demonstrable characteristics. The main obstacle identified to fighting spirit is imposed externally, rather than internally, wherein societal change has generated public values misaligned with fighting spirit. This translates into risk aversion, increasingly constraining the Army's fighting spirit through political limitations. This phenomenon is largely context dependent, and it will be important for the Army to influence societal, political, and media opinion if it is to avoid inappropriate limitations on its freedom of action in the future.

Descriptors :   violence , training , sociology , employment , discrimination , minority groups , human population , education , warfare , societies , military organizations , culture (social sciences) , recreation , prejudice , Military personnel , operational effectiveness , cultural diversity

Subject Categories : Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
      Military Forces and Organizations
      Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE