Junior soldiers must repeat 'mantras' on diversity and inclusion

Junior soldiers risk punishment if they don’t repeat ‘mantras’ on diversity and inclusion in annual assessment forms

  • Soldiers have been told to pledge what their main objective is for the next year
  • Told to say it will be to contribute towards an ‘inclusive culture’ within regiment
  • Intended to help troops of different ethnic, religious or sexual backgrounds work better together

Junior soldiers are being ordered to repeat ‘mantras’ on diversity and inclusion on their annual assessment forms – or risk punishment.

They have been told to pledge that their main objective for the next year will be to contribute towards an ‘inclusive culture’ within their regiments.

Under new rules intended to help troops of different ethnic, religious or sexual backgrounds work better together, squaddies must state word for word that their primary aim is to work to ‘increase understanding’ of minority groups.

They are also expected to vow to increase their engagement with soldiers from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) groups.

Junior soldiers are being ordered to repeat ‘mantras’ on diversity and inclusion on their annual assessment forms – or risk punishment. Pictured: What soldiers must pledge on annual assessments

Military law has even been amended to ensure a commitment to diversity and inclusion is demonstrated at every level of the Army’s chain of command from privates up to generals.

Some soldiers are irritated by the implication that they are racist or homophobic. ‘My problem with these sorts of initiatives is they assume we are so riddled with prejudices that we cannot work with anyone from a different background,’ said one.

‘But being in a regiment means we all train together and, if required, fight together. We care about what makes us the same, not what makes us different.

‘Ordering soldiers to write woke mantras on their SJARS [service persons joint appraisal reports] smacks of brainwashing.

‘It isn’t necessarily our fault that people from these communities are not banging down the recruitment officer’s door to enlist.’

The new diktat comes as Army top brass seek to hire a Director of Diversity and Inclusion. The post comes with a salary of £110,000-a-year – the same as that earned by an Army brigadier who has served for around 20 years and commands 5,000 troops.

Both the new post and the so-called Compulsory Objectives Scheme for appraisals have been approved by General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the UK’s Armed Forces.

A sample SJAR document seen by The Mail on Sunday sets out exactly what soldiers are expected to write on the form.

Under new rules intended to help troops of different ethnic, religious or sexual backgrounds work better together, squaddies must state word for word that their primary aim is to work to ‘increase understanding’ of minority groups (file image)

On the first line of the objectives page, a soldier wrote: ‘To work and promote in an inclusive culture within area of responsibility, working to increase understanding and engagement through education and initiative.’

The Ministry of Defence is desperate to improve its record on recruiting from minority groups. Only 8.8 per cent of regular troops come from the BAME community and just 10.9 per cent of full-time personnel are female.

Last night an Army spokesman said: ‘Defence is at its best when it is diverse and we ask all personnel to commit to our core diversity and inclusion values when setting their objectives.

‘These high standards and expectations make clear, that whatever your rank or role, diversity and inclusion are a priority.’

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