Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of coronavirus meeting 120320 CREDIT PA
UK

Military Chief Says 'Laddish Culture' Must Be Stamped Out Of Armed Forces

General Sir Nick Carter said the behaviour has "undoubtedly" pushed some women and ethnic minority personnel out of the military.

Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter arrives in Downing Street, London, ahead of coronavirus meeting 120320 CREDIT PA

Britain's most senior military officer has said the Armed Forces must stamp out the "laddish culture" responsible for driving out talented female and minority ethnic personnel. 

General Sir Nick Carter, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said it was "simply unacceptable" that the military had so far failed to "move the dial" on the issue.

It comes weeks after Gen Carter said the Armed Forces "must force the pace" it tackles racism and inappropriate behaviour. 

Giving evidence to the Commons Defence Committee on Tuesday, Gen Carter said he and his fellow service chiefs were preparing to sign up to a series of "really tough commitments" to deliver change to which they would be held accountable.

"The thing that I think is really worrying particularly is the culture," he said.

"What I am looking for is people being judged on their moral courage and their ability to look after the people they have the privilege to command and to lead.

"If they do that I think we have got a much better chance of stamping out the laddish and, often much worse than that, thoroughly unacceptable behaviour that means that we undoubtedly push some of the really talented female, but also black, Asian and minority ethnic people that we have in the Armed Forces, out after only a few years.

"It is simply unacceptable that we are not moving the dial on this thing."

His comments come after a review last year concluded the Armed Forces were led by a "pack of middle-aged white men", resulting in unacceptable levels of bullying, sexism and racism.

British troops in South Sudan
Gen Carter said the military has so far failed to "move the dial" on "laddish culture" (Picture: MOD).

Gen Carter, who held a three-hour meeting with the service chiefs earlier on Tuesday, said he expected to publish their new commitments to tackling the issue by the autumn.

Among the changes needed, he said, was a complete overhaul of the service complaints system so that people who make a complaint can be confident it will be dealt with effectively.

He also said there needed to be "positive action" to reform the military's career structure so that women who took time out to have a family were not "massively disadvantaged".

"It is simply unacceptable that in the top 150 or so of top general officers across the three services we only have three women," he said.

"That doesn’t provide enough role models," he said.

"We have a career structure that is still designed predominantly for men.

"The reality is that we have to change the career structure so that those with genuine long-term potential are able to satisfy their family needs as well as going on to realise their military potential."

Cover image: General Sir Nick Carter arriving at Downing Street in March (Picture: PA).

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