Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith (Picture: MOD).
Army

Army chief: 'Generals to think about personal actions' to drive cultural change

The Chief of the General Staff said he wants to "improve the experience for every single man and woman" who serves in the Army.

Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith
Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith (Picture: MOD).

The head of the British Army says he has asked generals "to think about their personal actions" to help drive change in the service's behaviour and culture. 

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith held a meeting with the Army's generals and senior civil servants on Wednesday to discuss behaviour, culture and leadership within the service and outlined how the Army's leaders will push change.

It follows concerns over culture in the Army, including worries surrounding bullying, sexual harrassment and discrimination. 

In a video posted on his official Twitter account, the Chief of the General Staff said the Army can make "significant improvement".

Gen Carleton-Smith said he wants to "change" the Army and "improve the experience for every single man and woman who serves in it".

"No great institution is beyond reform or improvement of its culture, its leadership and its behaviours. And the Army indisputably is a great institution, " he said in the video.

    "But I wanted today to have a really candid and honest conversation with the Army's generals about those aspects of our moral leadership, our culture and our behaviours that we're much less proud about. 

    "There's significant improvement that we can make, and I want to change the Army and to improve the experience for every single man and woman who serves in it."

    The Army last month announced it was to launch an independent audit of its culture after a "full and frank discussion" on a "range of issues".

    In a joint statement, Gen Carleton-Smith and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace agreed there are "important issues that require all our people to play their part in resolving".

    The Army chief vowed the audit will "weed out the worst" in the service.

    Gen Carleton-Smith said in the video shared on Thursday that the Army's new Future Soldier transformation plan will also involve "being much clearer" about the importance of "teamwork" and "moral courage", as well as "our common courtesies and decency".

    It will also include "what we expect by the way of behaviour".

    He added: "The Army senior leadership has got a vital role in setting that example.

    "And I've charged the generals to think about their personal actions that will characterise this improvement.

    Watch: 'Full and frank' discussion on Army's cultural issues.

    "And in the New Year, we will explain to the Army the implications and consequences for what this emphasis on the Army and teamwork is going to mean by way of our culture, our leadership and our behaviour."

    Concerns over culture and behaviour in the Army have come to the fore in recent months. 

    A report into the bullying and sexual harassment of women in the Armed Forces, led by Tory MP and former soldier Sarah Atherton, was published in July and found that almost two-thirds of women had experienced bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination while serving in the UK Armed Forces.

    Last month, a British soldier was jailed and kicked out of the military after forcing junior recruits to box each other in the nude during an initiation ceremony.

    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence says the UK "stands ready to support all requests" into the 2012 death of a Kenyan woman near the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) camp.

    Gen Carleton-Smith said he was "appalled" at claims that British troops were involved in the killing of 21-year-old Agnes Wanjiru.