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Fallon reveals a third of officer
© Chatham House

Fallon reveals a third of officers progress


Addressing a group of aspiring officers yesterday (15 March), UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon revealed that nearly a third of serving officers have progressed from the lower ranks.

Fallon has revealed figures highlighting that almost 30% of officers in the Armed Forces progressed from the lower military ranks, as he met aspiring officers at the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) London HQ.

Across the Armed Forces, nearly a third of serving officers – a third of Army officers, a fifth of Royal Navy officers, and a quarter of RAF officers – commissioned having not joined at that level. Instead, over 1,800 serving officers over a five year period have taken the development opportunities available to them in the military to reach their full potential at that rank later in their career.

Fallon spoke with students in week nine of the Potential Officer Development Programme (PODP), a 12-week intensive course which runs three times a year, aimed at catapulting soldiers from diverse backgrounds into the officer ranks.

He said: “The Armed Forces offer opportunities for everyone to reach their full potential, whatever their background. We are encouraging people to aim higher and teaching them valuable skills to become tomorrow’s officers.”

The PODP is designed to develop communications skills, knowledge of international affairs and cultural horizons, with the ultimate goal of getting students to qualify through the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as officers in the Army.

PODP graduate Kidane Cousland, now a Second Lieutenant serving with the Royal Artillery, said: “The PODP gave me confidence in my ability and was crucial to my success. Without a high level of performance in the academic aspects at Sandhurst I would not have been a contender for the Sword of Honour. It’s an achievement that I thought would be impossible before the PODP.”

Pan European Networks Ltd