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Breaking the covenant : governance of the British Army in the twenty-first century.

Forster, A. (2006) 'Breaking the covenant : governance of the British Army in the twenty-first century.', International affairs., 82 (6). pp. 1043-1057.


This article argues that the military covenant between senior army commanders and soldiers is breaking down for two reasons: first, British forces are being engaged in new and controversial wars of choice, putting new and distinct pressures on the covenant; and second because senior military commanders have not fully appreciated the changes to their authority and power in governing the British army. It further suggests that military commanders, central staff and ministers need to acknowledge the scale of the internal challenges to the military covenant and develop appropriate responses. Drawing on examples from gender equality and sexual orientation, allegations of war crimes in Iraq, the military's duty of care and the proposed launch of a British Armed Forces Federation, this article argues that these challenges show that the military leadership has no choice but to rethink its outdated approach to governance of the British army, if it is to remain fi t for purpose. Without appropriate adaptation, army chiefs will have themselves contributed to the breaking of the military covenant, between the army and the individual soldier.

Item Type:Article
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Record Created:28 Jan 2008
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:27

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