A Plea to the UK Defence Community

FFS, can we please stop using the word ‘warfighter

I have noticed an increasing aping of US terminology in UK defence matters, the last time we fell into that hole was was the revolution in military affairs, FRES/FSC network centric buzzwordtrickery and look where that got us.

Every time I hear or read it I cringe and want to kick the cat.

My favourite so far is

Validation through warfighter engagement

Can we get our our own bloody buzzwords please, we are beginning to look like the nerdy kids trying to copy the big boys at the other end of the playground.

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Peter Arundel
Peter Arundel
March 14, 2011 1:40 pm

LOL!

I’ve been thinking this for a long time but I have also been thinking that we could enhance stakeholder value if we reach for that low hanging fruit by leveraging our core competencies.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
March 14, 2011 1:52 pm

Do you think there is a hidden meaning in the term? Prehaps the US armed forces (or parts of them) have a serious aversion to peace-keeping and the term soldier just isn’t gung-ho enough?

Hugh
Hugh
March 14, 2011 2:10 pm

“Warfighter”? Terrible – don’t they know that the corect reference is to “a member of the warfighting community”?

Its almost as good as the BBC’s insistence on “warplane”.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 14, 2011 2:13 pm

Hi Gareth,

There is ” a hidden meaning in the term [?]” but it is not that one.

So many of the US requirements get started (or bundled into) as a joint requirement. Most of the time it does not work, one or two services drop out and then if you have specific terms in your glossies (soldier/ infantryman/ marine/ sailor) you have to rewrite and reprint them.

Of course, if you are a warfighter, it also implies that you are not sitting on your ass, in an office. Ever seen the same kind of rank inflation debate as we have here over on the other side of the pond?

Jed
Jed
March 14, 2011 2:44 pm

Oh come on boys, what looks best in an official document, “validated by warfighter engagement” or “well we even went to far as to ask a bunch of squaddies what they thought…..” ?? :-)

Don’t forget U.S. are less shy about using emotive language – hence “Wounded Warrior Battalions” – yep to them a ‘warrior’ is someone who has been in battle, not an armoured vehicle…..

IXION
IXION
March 14, 2011 2:50 pm

Cmon

It really does not matter does it?

We have ‘light infantry who haven’t been light since Napoleon.
When did the grenadier guards last grenade anything more than anyone else?
We have a parachute battary of Horse artillary (just how do you parachute a horse into battle)?
I think we are in the glass house and should not be throwing stones about silly names.

Richard Stockley
Richard Stockley
March 14, 2011 3:13 pm

If ‘warfighter’ means ‘soldier’, can we use the term ‘warmonger’ to describe a politician?

DominicJ
DominicJ
March 14, 2011 3:31 pm

I quite like it, its very “too the point”.
The USArmy is there to smack uppity foreigners unconcious, not serve hot soup and hand out pamphlets.

“Can we get our our buzzwords please, we are beginning to look like the nerdy kids trying to copy the big boys at the other end of the playground.”
Hannan has something on this right now, the internet is allowing the anglosphere to coagulate again, expect more.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
March 14, 2011 4:00 pm

RS,

A good one!

x
x
March 14, 2011 6:23 pm

Once I heard a read-admiral talking about the RN meeting the needs of 21st century defence market. I choked on my cup of tea…..

I think we find the word “war” offence. Many of us here we are kit freaks and causing maximum violence to some poor soul never enters our heads. We are too nice!!!

Phil Darley
March 14, 2011 7:34 pm

You know that the whole US economy is predicated on the frequent on ongoing need to supply weapons for war?

Just think about it. A never ending need to re-equip ur armed forces for the next war er sorry
Peace keeping operation.

DominicJ
March 14, 2011 7:35 pm

maybe someones just been reading the culture books?

Who can resist the thug class battleship, all through with this niceness and negociation stuff?

Solomon
Solomon
March 14, 2011 10:02 pm

you cheeky b*stard!

and what’s wrong with a little cross cultural pollination?

we accepted Posh and we bend it like Beckhem…so whats wrong with a little warfighter added to your lingo?

paul g
March 14, 2011 11:30 pm

We have a parachute battary of Horse artillary (just how do you parachute a horse into battle)?

“Hoof” it off the back ramp

my coat, why thank you!!

Brian Black
Brian Black
March 15, 2011 9:19 am

Maybe we should change the ‘Ministry of Defence’ to the ‘Ministry of War’ too, it’d be more honest – we’ve not had much involvement in purely defensive wars recently.

How about instead of ‘warfighter’, we begin using the term ‘jobseaker’.

a
a
March 15, 2011 10:10 am

Who can resist the thug class battleship, all through with this niceness and negociation stuff?

“Lay down your weapons and surrender, or we will commence orbital diplomacy.”

George
George
March 15, 2011 10:21 am

If you like the Thug class, read Surface Detail. The Abominator Class is something else. And “Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints” is such a great name…..

Mike
Mike
March 15, 2011 5:47 pm

I see this more of a dumbing down of the name really….
lol
As brian said, ‘Ministry of War’
Perhaps for the Typhoon should be renamed “Flying screaming machine”

Seriously though, I dont really like it either…I think its more to attracted foreign buyers than anything else.

Chuck Hill
March 17, 2011 10:22 pm

As an American I also hate it, warfighter and warrior. Soldiers and service members cooperate, they are a team. Warriors and “warfighters” are Achilles and Hector, fighting it out as individual while others watched.

x
x
March 17, 2011 11:02 pm

I remember the furore here over that letter from some senior rates to Navy News on ships’ names not being pugnacious enough.

I still think they had a point. With all due respect to the crew of HMS St Albans, I mean come on………

jackstaff
jackstaff
March 17, 2011 11:15 pm

Chuck Hill,

Good to hear transatlantic disapproval :) And my intense dislike of the term is yours. It’s not a word for modern, constitutional, representative, citizen-armies. It’s a word for Achilles and contractors, modern-day egomaniacs or modern-day landsknechts. If you want an example in the moment, “warriors” are Gaddafi’s loyal mercs. Soldiers are the Egyptian and Tunisian professional militaries who didn’t mass-slaughter their fellow, civilian, citizens.

x,

Well, at least St. Albans was for a historic dukedom. Although I don’t much like that either, part of the whole creeping-modern-feudalism thing. Why not name the 23s for one of the WWII letter-series destroyers (which is close to the role of modern GP “frigates” anyway?) Honestly given its famous battle I’d rather an HMS Glowworm than HMS St Albans. And when we finally push them into Batch 3 T45s, I absolutely want to see a Dagger and a Devastation.

jackstaff
jackstaff
March 17, 2011 11:17 pm

paul g, on the 14th,

“Hoof it” … He’ll be here all week, lads ….

DominicJ
DominicJ
March 18, 2011 10:45 am

“It’s not a word for modern, constitutional, representative, citizen-armies”

But we dont have that.
We have professional soldiers, admitadly not a caste of them, but we have professional soldiers. We dont have bakers who become soldiers when the Barbarians are spotted. (well, the T/A…)
We have a professional army, kept semi segregated from the populace, that lives under a different legal system.

Achilles was a Hero, in the true sense, rather than the modern anyone who steps on a mine.

“Soldiers are the Egyptian and Tunisian professional militaries who didn’t mass-slaughter their fellow, civilian, citizens.”
Russias Soldiers had a go when they shelled Grozney.
Chinas Soldiers have little compunction of doing so, Tianamen, Tibet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier#Etymology
Oddly, “Soldier”, comes from the same root as shilling, and could be translated as one who is paid.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=warrior
Whereas “Warrior” literaly means, “one who wars”.

IXION
IXION
March 18, 2011 11:47 am

Jackstaff

I was just making a point that,

Kingsman
Borderer
Forrester
Grenadier
Royal Horse artillery
Riffleman
Guardsman

Etc are meaningless terms in the modern battlefield (Some of them reinvented Faux ‘old’).

So I am not going to get excited over ‘warfighter’

Of course you could call them

‘Extreme executive action opperatives’

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
March 18, 2011 12:28 pm

I wonder what any of the trades in the Engineers (RE, REME?) would think about being a “warfighter” – after all repairing and building is more that they signed up for.

My vote is to return to British guided weapons abbreviations:

SAM=SAGW
SSM=SSGW
AAM=AAGW
ATGM=ATGW etc.

The following just popped into my head regarding confusing terms. The latter is a quote often heard in our house whenever an American war film is on :-)

“Ghaddafi has a lot of SAM’s”, “Sam’s what?”
“Oh, just fire at will!” “Which one’s Will?”

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
March 18, 2011 12:33 pm

There’s an interesting article on the WPR website about the danger to despots of having a professional military which is a separate focus of power and might put the “National Interest” first; Gaddafi might survive because he doesn’t have one and employs Mercs…. Unfortunately you have to subscribe to read it :(

http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/8201/over-the-horizon-military-organization-and-the-arab-spring

jackstaff
jackstaff
March 18, 2011 10:24 pm

Dom,

Fair comment on the broader situation (and, since in both the cases you site there is essentially a state that — like Frederick the Great and Louis XIV would understand — is largely independent of civic mechanisms for input and control) but it doesn’t quite address my own (and I think Chuck Hill’s point.) By itself “warfighter” is just one term among many. But it’s steadily developed, alongside politicians’ jock-strap-sniffing interest in super-technologies and the glorification of increasingly compartmentalized special forces who are no longer the gifted eccentrics of military culture but, from the pols’ point of view, a useful little praetorian guard that can be used instead of thinking through long-term strategic moves in any given crisis. Add to that the multiplication of mercenary organisations, and it looks like knocking down the pins on a four-hundred-year evolution of — yes, professional through and through — military officers and ORs who believe their duty is to serve and defend the interest of the society that provides their uniforms, rather than just their own egos (the classic Hero of old, one of whose essential qualities was that other people, including friends, kept getting killed around them) or whoever’s dishing out the shillings this week. (Put the words “Thirty Years War” in the question and ask Central Europe how well that worked out for them.) Indeed professionals who take that duty-to-country thing seriously can actually be a brake on the mob (or dictator) mentality, like the July Movement, little Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, the Spanish army’s behaviour when Juan Carlos asked them to put down the Falangist putsch by some Francoists in the Guardia Civil, etc. It’s not the word warfighter by itself, that’s just bullshit bingo, it’s the weasel concepts that get tied discreetly to its train.

IXION,

Also a fair thing to say, although frankly I miss the Worcestershire & Sherwood Foresters. Having a bunch of blokes with Bren guns and later SLRs/SA80s and such an antiquarian name was just best of English weirdness. Eccentricity we can be proud of. And as some folks in the balance threads have pointed out, in the land of ISTAR and long-rifleman ops against opponents who like to dissolve into terrain, there may actually be a place for specialist “light infantry” again, and we could say the modern “grenadiers” (specially selected shock infantry) hang from parachutes.

Jib Halyard
Jib Halyard
March 24, 2011 7:12 am

What’s wrong with using our own language and traditions?
Given the glorious heritage of the British military, you’d think we could show a little stubbornness in continuing to do things our way, absent compelling operational reasons to change.
The same goes double for the Canadians and the Australians too, btw.

a
a
March 24, 2011 12:15 pm

IXION: “rifleman” isn’t a meaningless term on the modern battlefield. There are lots of riflemen out there who really are men with rifles.
Nor is “light infantry” – they’re lighter than mechanised or armoured infantry.

DominicJ
DominicJ
March 24, 2011 1:14 pm

Jackstaff
Fair point, I may have defeated your detail and missed your point entirely…

Jib
“We” are doing things “Our” way. “You” are complaining we arent doing them “Your” way.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100079666/is-the-internet-americanising-or-americanizing-british-english/

A
I dont think any force that cant move more than a few miles without an 8t land rover on steroids for every section can claim the name “light”.
They are motorised infantry.

IXION
IXION
March 24, 2011 5:02 pm

a

No one carrying 56kg of kit is a light anything, in any event DLI have been roled int warriors etc on several times in their time.

Jib Halyard
Jib Halyard
March 28, 2011 4:50 am

DominicJ,
So “we” are the “Anglosphere” rather than Britain, now?

DominicJ
DominicJ
March 28, 2011 8:40 am

Jib
We are not a we in this respect, we are on opposite sides.

You are demanding the world accept your authority as the arbiter of military terminology, I am ignoring you.
Not that I use “warfighter”.

You asked what was wrong with using our language and traditions. I would answering nothing, I am doing. It just my language and traditions are not yours.