More than 300 Regimental Sergeant Majors and international partners gathered at Sandhurst for the annual RSMs Convention, where the rapidly evolving role of the British Army and its soldiers was the main topic of the programme.
Army Sergeant Major Glenn Haughton hosted the event, which saw Junior NCOs talk about life in the Army, plus high-ranking soldiers and officers from the three services and foreign armies take to the stage to talk about their experiences as modern leaders.
Sergeant Major Haughton said: “It’s a chance for us to get together and better our professional network, so we can talk about key issues and events that are going on in the Army at the moment, and so that we can give the Regimental Sergeant Majors information to take back to their units and organisation to better the lives of our soldiers.”
Sgt Maj Haughton said feedback had been great with two thirds of the audience newly-in-post RSMs who never know quite what to expect from the two-day convention. “When they arrive and see the level of the guest speakers we have,” he said, “and when they see the context and the subjects you’re going to talk about they realise how important it is and the information they can take away from it.”
Current issues such as soldier education, personal development and physical training standards are debated. New leadership doctrine has been produced and is being launched soon. The RSMs take that information back to their units for discussion with their troops, some of whom took to the stage to talk about their own personal experiences of Army life.
“I was immensely proud to see them up on the stage speaking,” said Sgt Maj Haughton. “After travelling around the Army and seeing what they do, I asked them to come to the event to speak.
"I think it’s important to empower our NCOs and soldiers, and we put trust in them to do things such as that, to stand on a stage in front of 330 RSMs and international guests and talk about their experiences.
“And, they talked about what they don’t like about the Army and what they do like about it; and they gave us advice about how we can better their lives as soldiers.
“This event shows to me how important the RSMs are in the hierarchical structure of the British Army. They’re the backbone - an integral part of the chain of command. Without them the Army wouldn’t function the way that it does.
“To bring them here and to be able to pass on my experiences from the four-star space and working with the CGS and showing the effect of the Command Sergeant Majors over the last 18 months has been really positive. To have 330 people here hopefully to take those messages away to benefit our soldiers is a huge opportunity and something we should be doing annually.”