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Something Rotten: Land Command in the 21st Century

There seems to be something badly wrong with the command of western armed forces.  Headquarters are too big.  They produce orders which are too long.  They take too long to do so.  ‘Something Rotten’ looks at those problems by examining the command system as a whole. What is it for?  What does it do?  How does it do that? How is it structured and organised?  Most importantly, what about the people who work in it?  


‘Something Rotten’ points out logical and practical problems with organisations and processes. It challenges the reader as to why such problems exist and persist. It suggests abandoning much overt process; building up human expertise; relying on fewer but better-trained people; and deciding and acting much faster.   


‘Something Rotten’ focusses largely on the command of land forces.  Other uniformed (and not necessarily armed) services will, however, readily identify parallels and insights.  


‘When the Gods of War come next to examine it, the Army’s obese and possibly sclerotic headquarters will be found wanting. It will be no good claiming that war and battle is complex. It was ever so ...’

General Sir Rupert Smith KCB DSO* OBE QGM


‘Jim Storr provides a crisp, informed, vigorous, and uncomfortable analysis of what has gone wrong with command systems in the British Army.’

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman KCMG CBE


‘A scathing critique. Jim Storr is an original thinker who has never been afraid of asking the awkward question, never slow to challenge conventional wisdom, never shy of being deemed controversial or heretical. This book bears all those hallmarks. It is highly thought-provoking and stimulating.’

Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely KCB MC


‘Jim Storr has produced a clarion call for action which I hope will be listened to by the British Army. Ignoring the issues raised will lead to failure, and the future British Army is too small to get a second chance.’

Lieutenant General Robert Baxter CBE


‘Jim Storr is Britain’s most lucid military thinker. In ‘Something Rotten’ he savages the zombified command practices and structures of Western armed forces. More, though, he provides a compelling way forward. This book is chock full of insight and good judgment. It is by far the most useful book on the subject since Martin Van Creveld’s Command in War.’

Professor David Betz, King’s College, London


'We started reading the book wanting to like it.  We finished the book, loving it.... His insights into command must influence how we think....a must read for any serious officer or soldier.'

The Wavell Room


'This book is an important, convincing and compelling challenge to the status quo.  Read it.'

★★★★★ The Army Rumour Service Book Club


254 pages  I   Size: 234 x 156mm  

Publication date: 9th May 2022

ISBN: 978 1912440 573 pbk / 978 1912440566 hbk

Something Rotten: Land Command in the 21st Century

  • Foreword; Acknowledgements; List of Accepted Meanings; Introduction; 1. Purpose; 2. Products; 3. Processes; 4. Structures; 5. Systems; 6. People; 7. Mission Command; 8. Observations and Conclusions; Index.

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