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British Armed Forces Federation launched

Hammockhead is doing a splendid job flying the BAFF flag here, but as one of the original conspirators (whose cover has been well and truly blown int he Press), I thought it worth just reinforcing a couple of his points (note that these are personal opinions):

a. The BAFF Executive Council does look a touch green at the moment. This is almost certainly a function of the organisation's having acquired traction on Arrse. This will - actually it must - change; we're all in this together, soldiers, sailors, airmen and officers of all three Services.

b. Serving members of the Exec are understandably a touch resistant to the idea of putting their heads too far above the parapet just now. It's hugely to the credit of those who have broken cover that they have. The intent was always that the retired element would be the ones saying the unsayable (at least to MoD) - but, importantly, saying what they are hearing from the serving element, whether Regular or Reserve.

c. This in no way competes with the RBL. The focus of BAFF is on those currently serving; the focus of the RBL is on the retired/discharged.

d. BAFF is entirely independent of MoD and is not dependent upon anyone but its membership for funding. We will stand or fall on our membership; the equation is simple - if we do things people want and they join, we will achieve our aim, if we don't, we won't.

e. While welfare is undoubtedly an issue, it's not the main point of effort. I would agree, having seen all three systems, that the RN has a superb way of looking after its people in the Divisional System. Lord alone knows how you guys managed to keep that intact and away from MoD; that said, however, there are strategic people issues across all three Services which MoD consistently gets wrong and gets away with. BAFF is there to surface those issues.

f. While BAFF isn't a union, it's no-one's poodle. We hope to be viewed constructively by the chain of command (to whom we could be a huge asset in repairing the broken Covenant) and have made a point of keeping the people who matter in that chain sighted on our intentions to date. Note, we haven't been asking for either approval or endorsement. We have always made it very clear that we would welcome a conversation with MoD or anyone, really.

g. I think we all regret the necessity for this, but also agree that it is something whose time has come. No-one would be happier than I if, in a few years' time, we are no longer needed.

That's the summary of responses to most of the posts on this thread to date, I think. Feel free to PM me either here or over on Arrse if you want detailed detail, or just post in this thread.


War Hero
I was a member of the Armed Forces Federation of Australia almost from its beginnings in the mid 1980s until about three years ago when I felt that it was no longer relevant to my civilian life. From its inception ARFFA attracted hostility from both the defence hierarchy and especially from other organisations such as the RSL, who saw themselves as the only organisation enttled to speak for the military and ex- military community.

As time went on opposition from defence lessened and ARFFA became a recognised servicemens organisation and was consulted on matters like pay, welfare etc. While their input was not always heeded they did have some success in bringing certain issues to notice.

It was always fairly egalitarian and had support from a wide cross section of ranks from all three services - The president has at various times been an RAAF Sergeant, a Colonel and a RAN Leutenant.

If your BAFF operates the same way it can only be a good thing for all the people, no matter what their rank or service.


War Hero
To all involved with setting up BAFF
Apologies for confusing your aims with the RBL. As you rightly pointed out, the RBL deals with veterans not serving personnel
Best wishes for the future
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