ForcesWatch scrutinises the ethics of armed forces recruitment practices and challenges efforts to embed militarist values in civilian society.

ForcesWatch comment

14/02/2019

We look at the Lost Heroines campaign by specialist lawyers Bolt Burdon Kemp which highlights some of the issues facing women in the military, with a particular focus on sexual harassment.

11/02/2019

With the recent reporting about relaxed rules of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, we take a quick look at some of the key questions around the allegations of abuse and killing by UK troops.

01/02/2019

We welcome Liberty's Second Rate Justice report and the launch of their new Human Rights Helpline for the UK Armed Forces.

31/01/2019

The armed forces are engaging in 'war games', reservists will be mobilised and Brexit planners are reportedly looking at the possibility of martial law in the event of a no-deal. 

our projects

ForcesWatch raises concerns about military recruitment practices and how personnel are affected by serving in the armed forces.

February 2019: Selling the military: A critical analysis of contemporary recruitment marketing in the UK

This report, written by ForcesWatch and published with the public health charity Medact,  analyses the way the armed forces market their careers to adolescents and young people, creating powerful messages that which exploit developmental vulnerabilities and social inequality, risking the health and well-being of recruits. Narratives of camaraderie and self-development also serve to promote an uncontroversial and depoliticised idea of the military more widely.

The armed forces visit thousands of UK schools each year, offering careers presentations, curriculum resources and other activities. The Department for Education are integrating activities with a 'military ethos' into Britain's education system. Should the armed forces be given access to children within education? Is the military's agenda and the promotion of 'military ethos' appropriate within schools?

ForcesWatch monitor and challenge the promotion of the military as a normal part of everyday life. We believe that uncritical support for the armed forces stifles concerns about how young people are recruited and limits debate on alternatives to war.

Book: confronting a culture of militarism

At a comfortable distance from warfare, our culture easily passes over its horrific reality in favour of an appealing, even romantic, spectacle of war. Yet, over the last decade, most Britons have opposed Western military ventures abroad. This book takes a fresh look at a culture of militarism in Britain, public resistance to it, and the government's prodigious efforts to regain control of the story we tell ourselves about war.  See details & buy book

These presentations were recorded at the launch of the report Warrior Nation: War, Militarisation and British democracy by Paul Dixon (published by ForcesWatch) on 25 June 2018 in London:  

  • Warrior Nation: war, militarisation and British democracy, by Professor Paul Dixon   
  • Military Britain by Professor Joanna Bourke
  • Militarism in public life in the UK, Emma Sangster, Coordinator of ForcesWatch

Watch all the films

Selling the Military films

March 2019

At the launch event for our report with Medact on Selling the Military: A critical analysis of contemporary recruitment marketing in the UK, contributors and participants told us why they think this is an important issue.

This presentation summarises our Selling the Military report.

A new film about recent militarism and the battle for the hearts and minds of young people in the UK. The film follows the stories of Ben Griffin, former SAS soldier and founder of Veterans for Peace UK, and Quaker activist Sam Walton, and features the work of ForcesWatch and partner organisations. See here for screenings and how to organise one.

Take Action on Militarism: new website & resource pack

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latest news

27/02/2019  

A report published today (27 February 2019) critiques the armed forces’ marketing practice in selling their careers to vulnerable adolescents. This comes in the wake of the Army's controversial new 'Snowflake' recruiting campaign.

09/09/2018 The Guardian

Recruitment drive focuses on teenagers seeking adrenaline, says Child Soldiers International

08/09/2018 The Observer

Petition launched after members claim partnership with military runs counter to the Guides’ peace ethos

01/09/2018 The Observer

Defence groups sponsor lessons that promote building and sale of military hardware

29/07/2018 The Guardian

ICM survey was commissioned by campaigners against child soldiers

25/07/2018 ForcesWatch press release

The Defence Select Committee recommended that the Ministry of Defence ‘conducts or commissions further research into female personnel, early Service leavers and recruits under 18 to determine the extent to which they are at higher risk of developing mental health conditions.’

25/06/2018

A new report by a leading defence academic reveals how a 'militarisation offensive' – which began in 2006 to create support for the Afghan war - has increased the military's influence on British politics and society. (2)

08/06/2018 The Guardian

The British army has targeted recruitment material at “stressed and vulnerable” 16-year-olds via social media on and around GCSE results day, the Guardian can reveal.

04/06/2018

With the publication of the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee report on our petition on armed forces visits to schools, there has been substantial coverage in the news.

04/06/2018 ForcesWatch and Quakers in Scotland press release (1)

Quakers in Scotland and ForcesWatch welcome the recommendations made in a report from the Scottish Parliament about armed forces activities in schools.