WEEK 25: WILL WE EVER BE READY?

Week 25 of the commissioning course brings about Command, Leadership and Management (CLM) Module 3. In human terms, this is all about leadership within a moral and ethical framework. I won’t linger on the various definitions and rhetoric of morality or ethics – this week is aimed at how we should conduct ourselves in times of war and peace.

Contrary to what some people may believe, Sandhurst does not brainwash you. Yes, it will embed certain behaviours in you (maybe even give you minor OCD!). It will certainly instil a competitive drive that some might find unhealthy. But we’re always encouraged to think for ourselves. The simple reason for this is that no organisation can plan for every eventuality. Likewise, we can’t be taught how to act in every situation. The point of CLM Module 3 is to give us the tools we need to do the right thing in a tough situation. Some people would say that, for an officer, the toughest part of the job is planning and executing a battle knowing that their soldiers could die. However, I would disagree. In my view, the hardest job an officer has is making sure that every action carried out is done so justly. That’s why this module is so important.

It was really thought-provoking – a range of guest speakers came in, from priests and university lecturers to former platoon commanders. We looked at morals from every angle you can think of – and probably quite a few more. CLM 3 also overlapped with our Communication and Applied Behavioural Science (CABS) lectures. For example, we looked at why soldiers commit atrocities and at various psychological studies such as Milgram’s test of obedience, the Stanford Prison Experiment and Pavlov’s dogs.

It is a fact that in war bad things happen besides the actual conflict, and we would be foolish to say that the British Army has a golden record. But what is important is understanding what’s happened, why it happened and how it could have been prevented. Then, ultimately, we need to ensure that it never happens under our command. Next week, I have an exam on the Bloody Sunday incident so I’ll probably spend the weekend revising for that.

The rest of the week has been fairly Physical Training heavy – and that’s been led by us rather than by the PT Instructors. As a platoon, we’ve been able to get into the gym every day to try and start rebuilding our bodies from juniors. I’m also platoon commander for the log run team and we had to take the logs out for a walk around the local training areas. I say logs, but they’re absolutely massive! We also had the Inters NavEx towards the end of the week. It was surprising just how much our navigation skills have improved. For me, the key is just to remember your pacing when you’re running, and not to deviate from your bearing.

On a more hush-hush note, we managed to fit in a midweek night out. But still, I was at muster at 0655 in perfect uniform and I completed all of my daily tasks. I was dying by the end of the night though!