In the UK promotion within the commissioned ranks has recently been
standardised across all 3 Services. Each individual, fully-qualified officer is
reported on annually in an Officer's Joint Appraisal Form (OJAR). This covers
several areas, in particular Professional Qualities, Management, Leadership,
Officer Qualities, Operational Experience and Motivation. The officer's direct
line manager is his 1st Reporting Officer (1RO), with his boss's boss as his RO2
and his boss's boss's boss as RO3. The report consists of a narrative by the
subject officer, narratives by all 3 ROs, and his point sheet.
In the Royal Navy and the Army, promotion to Lieutenant Commander and
Major is automatic, based on time served. In the Royal Air Force automatic
promotion goes as far as Flight Lieutenant. At these ranks, the officer must
be in rank for 4 years before becoming eligible for promotion. His scores are
then considered. Scores reach a maximum of 25, and most branches will only
promote officers with at least 20 points. Officers are then placed on one of 2
lists (A or B). The Promotions Board only considers candidates on the A list.
People move up the list as others are promoted, and based upon their scores,
length of service, and their branch's requirement for senior officers.
This system tends to avoid the problems imposed by the quota, the insane
idea that by identifying differences discrimination is eliminated. Actually, by
highlighting who is black, asian, white, caribbean, or whatever, the Military is
instantly suggesting that everyone is NOT the same. Positive discrimination is
a terrible problem, and the OJAR was designed specifically so that positive
discrimination could not have an effect.
As regards the gay issue, the most senior openly gay officer in HM Armed
Forces is a Lt Cdr in the Royal Navy, and he was promoted before coming out.
Homosexuality would have earned him a discharge prior to 2001, it remains to be
seen whether it will cause problems now. I am a gay Royal Air Force Officer,
and it hasn't caused me any problems whatsoever. The traditional stereotype of a
British Officer as a married, churchgoing, right-wing golfer has, thankfully,
been dispelled (I am all of the above apart from married), thanks largely to
revamping the officer promotion system.
As for non-commissioned ranks, there has been no standardisation across the
forces yet, although it is planned. In the RAF, all airmen, corporals, SNCOs and
Warrant Officers are reported on annually in an F6000. Only their flight
commander and line manager comment on this form, which includes the same
elements as the OJAR but with different weighting. Additional qualities are also
added, such as the willingness for self-improvement. Airmen must attend Trade
Training 1 and a leadership course at the Airmen's Command School, RAF Halton,
for promotion to Corporal. Cpls must attend TT2 and TT3 and more courses at
ACS to get to Sgt, and so on. Warrant Officers are appointed by the Secretary
of State for Defence, acting on behalf of the Queen.