Casting aside centuries of rigid, martial tradition in favor of a US-style approach to rank and structure would benefit the British military, according to the UK’s most senior army officer.
General Nick Carter told the Telegraph that a serious shakeup of rank structure along US lines was due, with other changes to allow late career experts in a range of subjects to join as civilians.
“We may need to adopt a more American-style approach. They have these people called chief warrant officers,” Carter said.
“A chief warrant officer is typically a pilot or avionics officer who moves up through this different system of status and I think that the British Army is going to have to think about doing that sort of thing as well.”
Other changes will allow experts in fields like cyber technology and aviation to join but remain civilians.
Carter said that as much as 30 percent of the army would be experts in the near future, but that the introduction of civilians would not be extended to combat arms, like the cavalry and infantry.
“As an institution we are bottom fed. In other words we recruit people who are youngsters and then grow them through a career,” Carter said.
“I think that the modern way of working suggests that as we embrace a lot of the specialisms that we have got to embrace, we are going to have to offer different career structures.”
It is likely that the new recruits, while remaining civilians, will hold the equivalent of commissioned ranks up to that of colonel with the possibility that some will join as brigadiers – the most junior form of general – in the longer term.
Carter that said the changes were unlikely to be implemented within the next two years.