As far as paramilitary organisations in works of fiction go, Border in ‘World Trigger’, is among the most realistic. Despite that dedication to realism in some aspects, there are several elements of management that would never work long-term IRL.
Training in Border
Border has sectioned their combat units into 4 ranks. Like many in anime, these classes are: C, B, A, and S. S is considered a separate entity within Border, and as such is not influenced by the rest of the ranking system. In this case C is not only the lowest tier, it is technically only a training corps. Border prohibits C-Rank soldiers to use their equipment outside HQ under normal circumstances.
As you can see in this chart, the main body of Border’s forces are Rank C, numbering >400 people. Right off the bat, this is extremely wasteful. The most expensive thing on a soldier sent into battle is the soldier itself. The time, energy, resources and training that go into making a soldier, not to mention salary, cost more than all the equipment most soldiers will ever use in their career. This holds true even into the elite forces, even to those who are given the best possible equipment. And in the case of Border, having the bottom tier, totalling nearly 70% of their forces, blocked from active service, permanently in training, and each unit costing nearly as much to maintain as their elite units, is insanely wasteful.
Points in Border
The primary reason for this bottom heavy ranking system is the Points System. Border grades each soldier on their performance, in the form of points. A soldier can earn points slowly over time via training sessions, or can win them from other soldiers in ‘Rank Wars’. These simulated battles allow stronger units to gain ground quickly by defeating those of lesser skill.
In a vacuum, and with low-stakes, this system is almost quaint. I say almost because in-universe, the stakes are quite high, and the system does not exist in a vacuum. The points-based ranking system extends up into the peak of the pyramid. Even the elites are not immune, and can be de-throned by a lower team if the conditions are right. One would think that if a team were to come up to that level Border would simply add them to the A-rank roster. In fact Border held A-rank deliberately to around 30 soldiers until planning began for the large-scale incursion into the neighbourhood.
B-rank does add units to the roster as needed. But because of the system within C-rank, not many people ever escape, fated forever to be in training. This highlights a flaw in the training methodology, which if left uncorrected, will continue to waste an incredible amount of resources. Applicants to a paramilitary organization must go through ‘Basic training’. Basic training should either adequately prepare every recruit for duties and basic combat, or wash them out, within a reasonable amount of time. After this they begin to contribute actively to the organization while continuing their training. If the training cannot achieve this, then it’s not effective and needs to be overhauled. There is no excuse for keeping most of your workforce inactive and in training for an extended period of time.
Border could easily solve this problem by way of a shifting of duties, rather than barring C-rank from any participation. They would pass basic training and be assigned in groups to B-rank squads on patrol. This way they could keep training, but also get real world experience on a regular basis. They can also actively contribute to the organisation.
This system would see the best 300 of the lower tier assigned as active shadows to B-rank teams. Only the lowest 100, and the newest recruits, are forced to continue their inactive training. This would not only waste fewer resources, but would foster much greater skill development for the 300 included in the program.
Regarding the problem with the upper levels. Border wastes much by limiting the number A-rank agents at any given time. There should be a minimum bar of skill points, plus a series of tests against A-rank teams. Soldiers who pass these tests are added to the roster without bumping down anyone else.
The authors may have implemented some of this in the Manga by now. The Manga has continued like clockwork despite the anime being stopped dead. But I’m still holding a candle for someone to start the anime back up again, so I haven’t kept up.
Next I intend to tackle the Elitist Class system in Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e (Classroom of the Elite).
Thanks for reading!