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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

NATO state recruiting nuclear submarine chief on social media

London is scrambling to replace Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, the navy’s director of submarines

The UK Royal Navy has been forced to post job ads on LinkedIn as it seeks to hire a new rear admiral to preside over the country’s submarine fleet, a move dubbed “unprecedented” and “shameful” by British military sources.

The advertisement was spotted by UK media outlets on Friday, after first appearing on the professional networking site late last month. While senior officers typically rise through the ranks, the Times reported that “there is currently no one serving who is suitable” to replace outgoing submarine director Rear Admiral Simon Asquith, or who is willing to do so.

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“The Royal Navy is recruiting for a director of submarines, responsible for highly classified stealth, elite operations and trident, our nuclear deterrent,” the Royal Navy recruitment ad said, noting that “Candidates must be a member of the reserves forces or have served with the regular forces.”

A separate page on the military’s website states the two-star position would require a commitment of at least two years. It would reportedly pay a yearly salary of £150,000.

In comments to the Times, an unnamed former senior submariner slammed the online recruitment drive as “utterly shameful,” claiming that “the only person who applied was a weapons engineer commodore, who was not properly qualified,” soon after the ad went live.

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Another military source described the decision as “unprecedented,” suggesting it highlighted a recruitment crisis in the British armed services, chief among them the Royal Navy.

Earlier this week, the Telegraph noted that the navy was so strapped for personnel that it would be forced to decommission two warships to properly man a new class of frigates. The vessels facing the cut are the HMS Argyll and the HMS Westminster – the latter of which recently completed costly renovations.

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has also floated plans to retire a pair of amphibious assault ships due to a lack of manpower, according to the Times, while recent figures published by the Defense Ministry show a nearly 4% decline across the armed forces in 2023.

Some observers were less critical of the ongoing ad campaign, however, with former navy commander Tom Sharpe saying the approach made sense. “In an ideal world, the Royal Navy would select from within – but we’re not in one, so throwing the net a little wider for this role makes some sense to me,” Sharpe told the Telegraph.

A Royal Navy spokesperson declined to elaborate on the LinkedIn ad, saying it would be “inappropriate to comment ahead of any appointment being made,” but stressed that the military “is committed to ensuring that the navy has the capabilities it needs to meet current and future operational requirements.”