Civilians could apply for the military's secretive Strategic Command

Civilians could be fast tracked into roles in military’s secretive Strategic Command without joining the Army, Navy or RAF first

  • Ministers are considering letting civilians apply straight for Strategic Command
  • This is so they do not have to enlist in one of Britain’s three armed services first
  • Minister Leo Docherty said UK needed to evolve quickly to catch up with others
  • He said people may be able to apply for intelligence roles without having served

The military could fast-track civilians into a secretive group that manages joint ventures between the British Army, RAF and Royal Navy.

Ministers are considering letting people go straight into Strategic Command so they do not have to enlist in one of the three armed forces first.

Minister for defence personnel and veterans Leo Docherty said Britain needed to evolve quickly to catch up with foreign nations.

The 44-year-old, who got the role last month, said there could be scope for civilians to apply for cyber, space and military intelligence without having served.

The move would mean applicants do not have to pass the rigorous fitness tests the Armed Forces require or learn to fight on a battlefield.

Minister for defence personnel and veterans Leo Docherty (pictured) said Britain needed to evolve quickly to catch up with foreign nations

Mr Docherty, who served with the Scots Guards in Iraq and Afghanistan, also said recruits could be older than 55 when they apply.

They could also enlist as senior officers without putting in the yards lower down the ranks.

He told the Times: ‘While we’ve been caught up in counter-insurgency operations for the last 20 years, the rest of the world’s militaries have evolved at a blistering pace.

‘We are catching up on that. We need to be creative in terms of our workforce solutions.’

The move would mean applicants do not have to pass the rigorous fitness tests the Armed Forces require or learn to fight on a battlefield (file photo)

He added: ‘What we are looking at is lateral entry. So, for example, with the cyberforce, we need to quickly populate what is a very bespoke, high-tech, highly skilled capability.

‘Should we look at giving people an incentive to come in from the civilian world in a lateral sense so they can be fast-tracked to achieve higher rank and higher pay, I’m very sympathetic to that. We’ve got to be agile and totally open minded.’

General Sir Patrick Sanders called Strategic Command a ‘more discreet organisation’ that is central to the modernising of the forces.

General Sir Patrick Sanders (right) called Strategic Command a ‘more discreet organisation’ that is central to the modernising of the forces

He said it would be key in the ‘grey zone’ when enemy countries fight in different ways to traditional warfare.

Currently the RAF accepts medical officers up to the age of 55, with the Army letting in specialists of the same age and the Navy restricting recruits to 54.

Mr Docherty replaced Johnny Mercer after the former soldier quit last month over the government’s duty to military veterans.

Mr Mercer has been quick to slam ministers over the protecting of troops facing prosecution over the Northern Ireland conflict.

Mr Docherty replaced Johnny Mercer (pictured in Belfast earlier this month) after the former soldier quit last month over the government’s duty to military veterans

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