An Officer's Primer


prologue line 58: non-existant variable “integrity”

I told the teacher that he was hearing things.


Thanks for pointing that out: it has now been fixed. If you have any other problems, please let me know. :grin:

Just to let everyone know, I’ve tied up any of the loose ends I’ve left as of yesterday evening, and hope to get more writing done this evening & will let you know whenever there is more for you to play around with.


I like to think modern armed forces are meritocratic in terms of officer appointment and “enlistments” are still not done on officer aspirants unless officer cadet is a quasi-enlisted rank. Distinction seems minor in terms of phraseology but it is long in meaning. Officers are appointed to their positions as representatives of the government they serve while enlisted enter into a contract for a term with the government. Appointments may be revoked at any time at the pleasure of the executive in charge of the armed force, while an enlistedperson would need to violate the terms of thier contract for it to be cancelled.

I’m any case it isn’t a matter I think would be entrusted to a desk sergeant and isn’t usually speaking irl. I would also think there would be some kind of screening even before officer candidates would be allowed to waste the government’s time at their service academy.


No, you’re quite right that a sergeant would not be responsible for the selection of officer cadets, and I’m working on adjusting accordingly. You’re also right on the second point regarding the modern military, although my knowledge really only extends to that of the British Army, and couldn’t speak on - for instance - the Danish Armed Forces, or indeed the Senegalese Armed Forces and their selection boards. :grin:

You’re also correct on the point of semantics, and that’s why you’ll see the distinction made between commissioned officers and the ‘enlisted’ ranks, so you’ll see that I made those amendments accordingly earlier today.

However, officers do enter into contracts - at least in Albion - and although they have the option of leaving during the commissioning course with no repercussions (for instance, if an officer cadet proves to be particularly ‘wet’ in character, or if he leaves voluntarily), an officer upon commissioning is bound to four years of service - and may receive extensions of four years up until the age of sixty. If an officer so chooses to receive extensions to his contract - that’s fine, although if the army decide they do not want or need him, then what the officer elects to do has no real bearing.

Anyway, it’s been interesting listening to what you have to say, and I want to thank you for making me take a second look at what I’ve already written and improve upon it. If you have any other questions or queries, don’t hesitate to ask. :wink:


What purpose does the officer contract serve?

Can the King or his appointed representative dismiss an officer at will? You kind of need that to ensure the political control of the officer corps.

If it is an “at will” contract relationship in modern parlance why make officers continually recontract with the government if they want to stay?

Just food for thought. It could certainly be internally consistent. I just don’t understand why myself.


While they may not select officers in the United States Marines Officer training is usually at least in part conducted by NCOs. Sgt and Staff Sgt.


The first four years certainly serve as some sort of ‘probationary period’ - and each four year term thereafter serves as an evaluation of the performance of an officer during that time span, and allows the government to re-assess whether they still require the services of an officer.

Making contract shorter in length, and making officers re-contract after their previous contract has expired, serves a particular purpose - not only in peace-time as I’ve explained - but also in war-time.

Naturally, the demands upon manpower greatly increase during a war, and as such the numbers of staff and field officers are massively inflated beyond what is necessary during peace-time. This four year contract therefore offers a period of a scale-down in manpower, rather than mass-redundancies all at once.

Furthermore, if all officers were bound to some kind of ‘life-long’ contract, you’d be left with lots of unhappy officers who have no desire to remain, plenty of sub-par officers, with the genuinely outstanding officers have their talents negated by the sub-standard ones.

You could make the argument that perhaps it would then make sense to have a long-service contract, whereby the officer is able to leave at any time - in which case you’re likely to have an army no-where near the manning requirements necessary.

The four year contract definitely serves a purpose for Albion, although many would still contend where it is best suited to the needs of the armed forces.


Good point – that’s definitely true for the Albonish Army - along with the Royal Navy - too.

You’ll see once I’ve got a draft of the next part of chapter one up that whilst the Royal Military Academy itself is run by the commandant - a staff officers - that the training itself is dealt with by a cadre of NCO training staff.