Army 2020 – The Morning After Edition #Army2020

So, the morning after the leaks and briefing had been concluded we will have the results later.

OBSERVATIONS

A few of observations before getting into the details…

ONE – Did we Actually Need to Make Any Cuts At All?

There is absolutely no question in my mind that without economic security there can be no other security so the need to address the deficit as the overriding strategy of the coalition government was a sound one. However, that does not mean that it should automatically follow that defence should be subject to any budget reductions whatsoever.

There is equally a need to address the profligate MoD that have wasted money on a biblical scale but successive Governments have written cheques the emaciated and inefficient MoD and Armed Forces were unable to cash. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have been failures of resourcing as much as one might argue they were failures of anything else.

The current SDSR argues that significant reductions, and they are significant, can be achieved without strategic shrinkage.

That is clearly nonsense of the worst kind and the equivalent of putting ones fingers in your ears and shouting la la la la.

Setting the armed forces up for failure in the future by pretending all in the garden is rosy is fundamentally dishonest and it needs to be said.

TWO – Backbone; or Complete Lack of It

One of our commenters made the very valid point that the armed forces are political and should always be, so it is inevitable that politics would play a large part of the decision making. Instead of looking at the Household Division, Gurkhas or other untouchables the government has tied the hands of those trying to deliver the reductions.

Timing is always an interesting point but I also wonder if these announcements could have been made earlier, avoiding keeping people in uncertainty.

Getting the Jubilee and Armed Forces Day out of the way seems like a bit of cynical PR to me, should we be suprised?

THREE – Leaking, Spinning and Vested Interests

When is the leaking culture going to stop?

The MoD and political leadership in Government needs to get a grip of this, it is wholly unhealthy and breeds a culture of mistrust. No matter what the justification there is no excuse and it is pretty saddening to be honest that those in positions of trust feel they are justified in undermining the process.

When I read about either cap badge or service special pleading and corrosive politicking by the higher echelons of the forces I despair. All of them seem to be guilty of it and this is yet another failure of political leadership.

FOUR – Speculation

Having looked at this for a while now I came to the conclusion that hanging on to every leaked report and breathlessly pronouncing on the future of individual units really was unhelpful to those that might be looking at a very uncertain future.

I also have a bad taste in my mouth when I read people being critical of those making these incredibly difficult and detailed decisions from a position of zero experience or access to anything beyond a leaked report, Wikipedia and copy of the Soldier magazine.

If anyone thinks those that will be affected by this already know and therefore it doesn’t matter clearly have no clue whatsoever of how these things work and little regard for the indviduals involved.

So, in general terms, I have stayed away from that, apologise if you were expecting different.

FIVE – A Sudden Interest in ‘Homeland Resilience and Security’

When the Conservative Party released its pre-election defence strategy I covered in some depth its focus on using the Armed Forces to deliver against an increased obligation for homeland security and resilience.

Oh, stop there a minute…

Anyone who uses the term homeland in relation to the UK should be taken outside and debagged, it’s a pathetic and demeaning display of a slavish devotion to US military and security fashion, like warfighting, it needs expunging from any British defence language.

Rant over

For several years the Armed Forces had seen civil contingency support as something they should do as a last resort and rightly so. The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and subsequent guidance shifted the relevant responders away from any form of reliance of the Armed Forces but as the end to operations in Afghanistan is in sight it seems that they are now all over the ‘mission’

Like the ‘security theatre’ and anti-aircraft missiles on rooftops for the expensive summer sports day that are part of the new found interest we need to have a very long think about this, not sure we are travelling the correct road.

SIX – The Reserves

There is an almost religious belief that the reserves can make up the short fall in regular force numbers and whilst it should be obvious to all that there exists a tremendous reserve component across all three services without any change in primary employment legislation are we just hoping for the best?

SEVEN – Its Not Just About The Infantry

Most of the press has focussed on the infantry but the cuts in the combat support and combat service support (if rumours are true) seem more disproportionate, perhaps the strategy is to rely on the reserves and contractors for some of these functions, if so, that is equally worthy of debate.

PREPARING THE GROUND

Writing in The Times newspaper, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall has outlined the thinking behind the changes to be made to the Army in today’s Army 2020 announcement.

General Wall writes:

Today the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond will set out what the Army is for.

After the experiences of the past ten years there is unlikely to be much of a national appetite for protracted war. Yes, the United Kingdom faces new threats from terrorism and cyber attack. But in an era where there has been no threat of conventional invasion since the end of the Cold War, some might ask why we can’t shrink our Army by even more than the significant numbers already announced.

Fighting wars through precision attacks from air and sea has obvious political as well as military attractions. And if that won’t work then why not rely on our allies to do the hard yards? Or support a local proxy force to deliver ‘boots on the ground’?

The answer lies in the level of assurance that we as a nation require when our interests are being threatened and we are vulnerable. The world is not going to be any less confrontational just because of its economic plight; in all probability it will be more so.

Some threats we face will come from well outside the military sphere: challenges to our economic interest, to our values and beliefs, to the conditions that underpin stability around the world. Diplomacy and negotiation will always be our first resort. But the credibility of these approaches often depends on the implicit understanding that military options exist – and that, when the preferred means aren’t working, we may need to turn to them.

And that when we do, they must work.

Increasingly that means forming coalitions that include regional partners as well as our traditional allies. They are becoming ever more important in political and military terms, but also to confer international legitimacy on our actions. We should only commit forces when we have a clear understanding of the nuances of the situation at all levels – including the human terrain. Understanding that is critical as both Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated. Such a level of clarity is hard to come by.

We have designed Army 2020 against this backdrop. Our future force will be structured around three core purposes. The first is intervention and conventional deterrence; the second is overseas operations in multinational alliances to prevent conflict at source; the third purpose is activity within the UK – partly to make us more responsive to domestic operations such as flood relief and the Olympics and to improve homeland resilience, but primarily to ensure that we can sustain the reformed Army Reserve that will be a key element of our new forces.

The Army Reserve will include armoured forces and light forces, intelligence and surveillance. It will work with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force as well as government departments and NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. It can be adapted to handle smaller operations, or configured as a full-scale brigade for a sustained period, as we currently operate in Afghanistan. Given warning it will field a division for even larger challenges.

Despite a reduction of 20 per cent in our regular manpower, our future capacity will not be far short of its current level. We have managed this by building a high dependence on the new Army Reserve, and a support network of specialist contractors. This is a groundbreaking change. But I am confident that with imagination and the help of employers and industry – supported by changes to legislation – this will work.

Relocating the Army from Germany calls for some focused spending on new bases – and the sooner we can do this the better. We will have important new equipment, including the excellent capabilities returning from Afghanistan.

But what of our officers and soldiers who are so critical to this venture? They are to be found in the warrior generation that has fought courageously in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need them to soldier on into the new era, and we need people of comparable courage, talent and commitment to join them.

After our departure from Afghanistan in 2014 life in this new Army is going to be different for sure; but it will be just as challenging. So we will look after them and their families. The ongoing redundancy programme is unavoidable. We must do everything possible to support those soldiers making the transition into civilian life. Equally we need to ensure the military continues to attract the best.

Change is always difficult, and for an organisation as mindful of its history as the British Army this is especially so. I am confident that Army 2020 is imaginatively configured and properly resourced to meet the future demands of this uncertain world, manned by soldiers of the highest quality.

THE DETAILS

Apart from the sacred cows I think we might be surprised by how well thought out this will be given the poison chalice the Army had been handed and political meddling that s only too obvious, we might only get the general announcements later with details following.

Watch live here

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11031

Bullet points from Phil Hammonds statement to the House of Commons and associated releases

Army 2020 announcement confirms Army to be reduced by 23 units

The Army is to be reduced by 23 Regular units since the Strategic Defence and Security Review as part of Army 2020. The changes are due to be implemented by 2015, with the overall mandate to reach the capacity of 82,000 for the Regular Army and 30,000 for the Reserves by 2018.

The announcement came today in the House of Commons by Secretary of State for Defence the Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP after months of work by the Army to create a modern force for the challenges of 2020 and beyond.

The changes to the Order of Battle (ORBAT) will include:

Household Cavalry and Royal Armoured Corps

The Queens Royal Lancers will amalgamate with 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s) upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before October 2014.

[TD: The new unit will be called The Royal Lancers (RL)]

The 1st Royal Tank Regiment and the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment will merge upon completion of scheduled operational commitments and not before April 2014.

Royal Regiment of Artillery

39 Regiment Royal Artillery and 40 Regiment Royal Artillery will both be removed from the ORBAT by October 2015.

Corps of the Royal Engineer

24 Commando Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2013.

[TD: Reverts to 59 Independant Commando Squadron RE and 131 Independant Commando Squadron RE (V)]

25 Engineer Regiment and 28 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.

[TD: 25 squadrons moved to 39 a while ago]

38 Engineer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT.

[TD: Already disbanded when 19 Lt Bde disbanded]

67 Works Group will also be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.

Royal Corps of Signals

7th Signal Regiment (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) is to be removed from the ORBAT.

Infantry

5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders,) will be reduced to form a Public Duties Incremental Company on completion of current task and not before August 2013.

2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers upon completion of scheduled operational commitments in the autumn of 2014.

The 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howard’s) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Yorkshire Regiment on completion of their Cyprus tour and not before the Autumn of 2013.

[TD Edit

Message from the Colonel of the Regiment –

We have been directed to form two regular battalions in Autumn 2013. We shall therefore merge the current 2nd Battalion into the current 1st and 3rd Battalions. The 3rd Battalion will become the 2nd Battalion. The 4th Battalion will remain as a TA Battalion. We shall not retain the names of our antecedent regiments in our battalion titles.

This is a change that affects the whole Regiment, not merely one battalion of The Yorkshire Regiment. This is a merger, not a takeover or disbandment. The priority is to ensure that our people are managed properly. All directly affected individuals will be consulted and kept informed. The chain of command will work closely with the Army Personnel Centre to manage careers. The Executive Committee of The Yorkshire Regiment chaired by a senior member of the Board will oversee the merger.

We do not like losing a Battalion from the Regiment’s Order of Battle. But for this change to work, we must accept and embrace it. Resistance to the merger will be an unnecessary and destructive distraction – the Regiment will not engage in special pleading or lobbying. We will make this merger work

After the merger, we will have two fully manned regular battalions of The Yorkshire Regiment supported by a reserve battalion. These battalions will not be PWO, Dukes or Green Howards. They will be YORKS. Hence the removal of the antecedents from our regular battalion titles. The Executive Committee, having consulted widely, will recommend how we are to retain the ‘golden thread’ connecting us to our antecedent regiments for endorsement by me and approval by our Colonel in Chief.
]

The 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment (Staffordshire) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Mercian Regiment on completion of Op HERRICK 19 and not before October 2014.

2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) will be removed from the ORBAT and absorbed into the rest of The Royal Welsh Regiment not before Autumn 2013.

1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment will join the Prince of Wales’ Division.

Army Air Corps

1 Regiment Army Air Corps will merge with 9 Regiment Army Air Corps, bringing the Wildcat force under a single HQ based at Yeovilton not before October 2015.

Royal Logistic Corps (RLC)

1 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before April 2015.

2 Logistic Support Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2014.

23 Pioneer Regiment will be removed from the ORBAT not before October 2015.

8 Regiment, 19 Combat Service Support Battalion and 24 Regiment RLC will be removed from the ORBAT.

Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer

101 Force Support Battalion will be removed from the Regular Army ORBAT not before Autumn 2015, and will transfer to the Reserve.

Royal Military Police unit

5 Regiment Royal Military Police is to be removed from the ORBAT as part of the drawdown from Germany. The three remaining Regiments will be re-organised.

All SIB capabilities will be reorganised under one headquarters, while the Military Provost Service will be increased, and a specialist Support Operations group will be created.

The Royal Gurkha Rifles are to remain with two Battalions to sustain their capability and meet their unique operational requirement in Brunei.

The current Regular and Reserve structure for the Army Medical Services will remain largely unchanged with three Regular and ten Reserve field hospitals.

The Intelligence Corps will retain three Regular military intelligence battalions.

Sustaining cap badges

Addressing questions about specific unit reductions, Chief of the General Staff (CGS) General Sir Peter Wall KCB CBE ADC Gen, said the units to be lost from the Royal Armoured Corps were selected on the basis of armoured corps principles and to sustain as many cap badges as possible.

“We will still have three heavy armoured regiments equipped with an upgrade of Challenger 2, which will satisfy our requirements for the future. This is based on analysis that sees tanks being used less in a mass armoured role but still playing a very important role in terms of supporting the infantry.”

The five Infantry Battalions were selected based on a number of factors including their ability to recruit over the last ten years, and the demographic projections about the population in their recruitment areas over the next ten years.

The six RLC units to be disbanded were selected based on future projections for logistic requirements, and were also those that provided a role that could be fulfilled by the Army Reserves and contractors.

“The RLC will still remain a critical part of the Army and one of considerable size. But we needed to find places where we can employ Reserves and contractors to alleviate some of the high costs of military manpower, and the RLC is an area where that works well,” he said.

Fair distribution of resources

On the subject of the Reserves, CGS confirmed there were very few adjustments being made but until the laydown of the Regular Army is confirmed there would be no further announcements on how the Reserves would be recast to partner and complement Regular units in their areas.

“I appreciate that it is a difficult day for those people who have heard that the Regiments they have fought in are going to be amalgamated or disbanded, but in the round it is a good day for the Army as it gives us the clarity and springboard to shape the Army to confront the challenges of the future.

“This is fair to the country as it delivers the very best capabilities that we can with the resources that we have been given. It rebalances the Army to the demands of the future with a fair distribution of resources and manpower across all of the cap badges. And it it is fair at the soldier level where we shall we doing our utmost to make sure that everybody gets the best chance of being re-employed in the Army.

Re-employment possibilities

CGS was keen to stress to soldiers serving with the units to be disbanded or merged that they were no more or less likely to be selected for redundancy that others with similar skills and service record.

“Your prospects of redundancy are no greater by dint of being in a Regiment that has been selected to be removed from the order of battle,” he said.

When units are withdrawn, their personnel will be reassigned to other units – where possible, within the same regiment or corps.

Although the majority of the changes are due to be made between 2014 and 2016, there may be some unit reductions before 2014, dependent on force levels in Afghanistan.

Optimistic for the future

“Overall I am optimistic that this will work well and has used the best of the resources that have been afforded to us by the country.

“Army 2020 is an ambitious vision for unprecedented times. It will demand resilience, flexibility and genuine adaptability from talented and committed officers and soldiers. In return it will provide challenge and opportunity in abundance. Soldiering in this Army will continue to be an exacting and rewarding vocation,” CGS concluded.

 

QUICK THOUGHTS

  • Given the crap hand it was dealt, I think we need to show some humility and congratulate the Army on coming up with a sensible proposal
  • Hammond needs a good shoeing for using the term warfighting in his speech
  • I don’t for one second think the Army’s hand wasn’t forced on Gurkhas, ceremonial, Guards and Scottish units which made the outcome less coherant than it might have been. craven political cowardice on the part of the Government
  • Concentrating on cap badges and regiments, listening to vested interests but lacerating those units with one cap badge i.e. the CS/CSS shows a distinct lack of moral courage on the part of the Government
  • Lots of work to do in the future, especially with the Reserves and contractors, the outcome of which is uncertain in the extreme i.e., this is a calculated gamble

 

UPDATE

More information from the MoD

Army 2020 sets out plans for transformation of the Force

The Army of 2020 will be an adaptable and integrated structure that is broken into two forces: a Reaction Force and an Adaptive Force that are both supported by Force Troops.

The Reaction Force will provide the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group and the lead Airborne or Air Assault Force to provide a rapid reaction war fighting/deterrent capability.

It will consist of three Armoured Infantry Brigades and 16 Air Assault Brigade under the command of a divisional headquarters. Each Armoured Infantry Brigade will have three manoeuvre units: a type 56 tank regiment and two armoured infantry battalions. They will also have a heavily protected mobility infantry battalion, and an armoured cavalry regiment which will be able to task organise with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Reaction Forces will also have 101 Logistic Brigade under their command for logistic support.

The Adaptable Force will be a pool of Regular and Reserve forces held at lower readiness. They will provide further capacity when required and be able to generate additional brigade-sized forces for enduring operations. However, more routinely these soldiers will carry out wider engagement overseas to help to build capacity in friendly nations’ armies, and fulfil the UK’s standing garrison tasks in Brunei, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. In addition, these troops will be responsible for public duties and state ceremonial tasks.

Adaptable Forces will encompass seven Regular infantry brigades, paired with a Reserve unit, reporting to a divisional headquarters. How these paired forces will be deployed will depend on the operational requirement, but the Reserves could make up as much as 30 per cent of a deployed unit in an enduring operation, whereas simple operations could have the Reserves deployed as a complete battalion.

Like the Reaction Force, the Adaptable Force will have its own logistic support provided by 102 Logistic Brigade, which will be predominantly made up of Reserve troops.

Force Troops will support both of these forces. They will consist of an Artillery brigade with supplementary Fire Support Teams, and an Engineer Brigade that will integrate the Explosive Ordinance Disposal squadron in response to the improvised explosive device threat of the modern battlefield. It will also include the Medical Brigade, and 104 Logistic Support Brigade, which might take on the Joint Force Logistic Support role.

In addition, there will be two Signals brigades, one of which will include five multi-role signals regiments providing Information Communication Support, together with a newly created non-deployable Surveillance Brigade under a 1-star headquarters. Furthermore, there will be a newly created Security Assistance Group pulling together the soft effect capabilities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group and potentially Media Operations Group.

“This is not something that will be delivered overnight, and indeed it is going to take till 2020 for it to be fully implemented,” said Lieutenant General Nick Carter, “but the capabilities of the structure we have created is one that we have measured against the hardest threat we could have to fight in the future.”

About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
twecky
July 5, 2012 8:12 am

Interesting post:

When is the leaking culture going to stop? It’s not. it’s part of the new politics. get used to it.

Apart from the sacred cows I think we might be surprised by how well thought out this will be …. I am standing by to be surprised !

Any thoughts about the CS and CSS cuts ? Apart from the usual wishful thinking on reserves….

NB anyone seen the grauniad today – nice advert for a new Comms Director for the MOD … 120k pa cant be bad ! http://jobs.guardian.co.uk/job/4475784/director-of-media-communications/

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
July 5, 2012 8:21 am

Given the huge number of non-jobs that riddle the public sector, we should have sacked many of those rather than cut the army below 100,000. Or cut the RN below 30 escorts. Or this slow motion cut of over half our helicopters.
Need to save more money? Then cut DfID, EU contributions & stop paying fines to ECHR. Then jail for life anyone who missuses a public sector credit card.

Phil
July 5, 2012 8:31 am

Trouble is old boy the non jobs hang on like rabid dogs and even worse a lot of them aren’t recognised as non jobs but vital posts which only by the grace of God humanity has done without before.

Desk Jockey
Desk Jockey
July 5, 2012 8:53 am

Someone reads the Daily Fail! There are not that many non jobs in the MOD. They learnt a long time ago that putting the military in charge of the contracts was a bad idea, they get fleeced all over the shop. Now the move is to just hand it over to the private sector, something that great bastion of socialism, the USA, is now moving back from due to the horrendous waste and corruption that results! The RN now has 19 escorts (13 frigates, 6 destroyers) so it is already well below 30 (pay attention here otherwise the TD community will flog you!). Not going to bother discussing the EU with you, but in regards to the government credit cards, read the excellent post by Thethinpinstriped line on this issue. Credit card abuse in the public sector really isn’t endemic.

TD is fully right, our strategic aspirations have to match our resources. They don’t and so everything is a fudge. Trying to organise the armed forces as if we are still an empire is not practical and so the goal has to be to focus on keeping and enhancing the things we are good at.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 9:02 am

Phil said “Trouble is old boy the non jobs hang on like rabid dogs and even worse a lot of them aren’t recognised as non jobs but vital posts which only by the grace of God humanity has done without before.”

You used that g word with a capital G. Could you rewrite it to be a bit more inclusive of atheists and those from other faiths please?

At least you said humanity and not mankind.

Peace out.

PS: Old boy? You are being ageist and too gender specific….. sorry….peace out again.

Simon
July 5, 2012 9:10 am

TD,

What so wrong with the term “homeland”? I didn’t realise it was American – I actually thought it was more German or Russian?

What phrase should I use to indicate defence of the British Isle and its overseas territories rather than defending the sea lanes and projecting foreign policy to unstable states.

I’m not ranting, I just want something shorter than the above.

Cheers.

Phil
July 5, 2012 9:59 am

Our strategic aspirations have never met our means since the Hundred Years War. People think this is something new. Alliances exist for this reason. There’s one nation on this planet that has the mass to go it alone and even then it probably doesn’t if too many things kick off at once. Really the aim is to have autonomy at the lower end of the operational spectrum and have influence in an alliance at the higher end. We will never do anything alone except fight bush wars if we had any colonies left or do lower level battlegroup operations. The peat bog islands are a vague exception but even last time our alliances assisted us and we didn’t really go if alone completely.

Nothing has changed!

paul g
July 5, 2012 9:59 am

to be fair to john he stated non-jobs in the public sector, i know a council (no names no pack drill) that employs a lot of people with good wages, that quite frankly do the minimum. How many of us get the quartly “info magazines” that are full of non important shite that are written by public sector staff, and printed in glossy colour.

i’m not even going to go down the diversity route, it’s been well documented, i would say out all the public sector departments the MOD get quite good value out of theirs.

Maybe just maybe and i’m clutching at the rim of the half full glass here, it will be easier to increase the size of logistics regiments in the future if the reservists experiment goes tits up. Has anyone seen screaming headlines about a REME battalion being disbanded? No didn’t think so.

As a footnote bob stewart has summed the cuts up in one sentence, “an army of less than 100,000 should be classed as a home defence force not an army”

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 10:10 am

I prefer home islands…….

Simon
July 5, 2012 10:13 am

If the 175,000 members of the police force carried guns I’d be a little happier.

80,000 is only about 1 for every 800 people in the UK.

This must be one of the lowest in the western world?

Simon
July 5, 2012 10:15 am

x,

“Home Islands” sounds pretty good.

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 10:20 am

Home Islands – you mean Great Britain. We don’t defend the whole British Isles of course. That large blob to the left have been responsible for their own defence for the last ninety years.

July 5, 2012 10:35 am

“When is the leaking culture going to stop? It’s not. it’s part of the new politics”

Not new either, back in 1887 The sinking of the Victoria with the causes and blame game that followed led to deliberate leaks to the Media by certain personell to promote change in policy; sorta kicked off the whole game.

We’ll never see it end, and it can be a double edged sword.

These cuts/changes, I understand, are to occur in a 5-10 year period…so at least it wont be as swift acting as the junior and senior services experienced. Still, I aint happy :c

Simon
July 5, 2012 11:14 am

Jim,

My error. I meant Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Perhaps Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the British Overseas Territories should be called “Greater Britain” – it worked for London ;-)

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 5, 2012 11:19 am

Simon @ 09:10

Thou shalt use the term “defence of the realm”, not “homeland security and resilience”.

Simon
July 5, 2012 11:32 am

BB,

Okay, “realm” – whilst we still have a monarchy ;-)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 11:34 am

There are tens of thousands of non-jobs still in existence in the MoD, and if that is the case, a million or more across the national public sector.

Those MoD non-jobs:

About 50% of Abbey Wood, allowing for those remaining to work twice as hard and therefore put in a proper day’s work, and 75% to be sacked or whatever the correct HR term is.

RAF Regiment

RAF Movers

Anyone involved in public duties

90% of Retired Officer (RO) posts

MoD Plod

About 50% of the staff of the “Directorates” in the Army (i.e. DRAC, DRA, D Inf, etc). Pretty sure the Andrew and the Kevins are equally guilty of hosting similar parasite organisations.

About 95% of the Joint Doctrine community. Honestly, how many high priced staff officers do you need to churn out bullshit that on one reads?

About 75% of the civvy clerical staff of any single HQ.

After that, there are some fundamental questions about the harmony guidelines and why 3:1 tour intervals is not some law written in stone but appears to be regarded as such, and why on earth we always need to buy 3 ships or even 4 submarines to guarantee one being available.

Gareth Jones
July 5, 2012 11:35 am

No cap badges or regiment names to go – battalions to go from multi-battalion regiments; one Scots battslion to be reduced to a company

Alan
Alan
July 5, 2012 11:56 am

@ Simon; how about “territorial defence”?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 12:04 pm

There’s some missing info and puzzlement here.

Unless I’m completely out of date, there are currently 5 armoured Regiments, which are to reduce to 3. The current 5 are SCOTS DG, RDG, QRH, KRH and 2 RTR. 2 RTR disappears, leaving 4, so presumably one of the four re-roles to something else.

There are currently 5 recce Regiments (HCR, QDG, 9/12L, LD and QRL). 9/12L and QRL to amalgamate, leaving 4. This is the first time in history (I think) that the light cavalry have outnumbered the heavies. No comment on that – it’s the way of the world. ISTAR over punch.

I see the Brigade of Guards got away with it, yet again.

Wibble
Wibble
July 5, 2012 12:19 pm

Red Trousers,

Your list of non-jobs is a complete load of tosh and shows a complete lack of understanding of the military in general let alone the areas you highlight as non-jobs. Are you in the service? If so which one and at what level? MPGS?

martin
July 5, 2012 12:26 pm

No cap badges or regiment names to go – battalions to go from multi-battalion regiments; one Scots battslion to be reduced to a company

Could some one just get rid of the Argyle & Souther Highlander’s. My TA company was attatched to them. It is a great old regiment that in battalion size was fair enough but reducing it to a company is just adding insult to injury. Just get rid of it. I recon in force 2040 we will be having the Royal Scots platoon part of the Guards company with an attached section know as the Argyle and Southern Highlander’s all inside the POW regiment.

Maybe we should just give all the colours to the OTC and let the students polish them.

Am I right in thinking they have reduced the Gurkhas by one battalion?

Phil
July 5, 2012 12:27 pm

Like every other eagerly anticipated army announcement it’s half a story and lacking in detail. Does my head in. And the fact that the reserve integration is saved for another announcement farther down the line. Bah!! Nobody said TA. I guess Army Reserve is its new name. Good.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 12:30 pm

Bugger off Wibble.

I spent 21 years serving at a variety of levels from Trooper to running the C4ISTAR Branch at HQ LAND, including 4 years in total working alongside the DPA in Abbey Wood, 18 months at DRAC, having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron, working alongside Retired Officers, as the Field Army’s interface to the Joint Doctrine community, and a year on JSCSC 3. I’m pretty sure of my ground.

And you?

paul g
July 5, 2012 12:43 pm

now, this could be interesting, time to pull up chair. Over to you red trousers, sir (the sir bit is a hint to wibble)

Desk Jockey
Desk Jockey
July 5, 2012 12:49 pm

Don’t feed the troll Wibble!

@ Red Trousers: Some of us know how the MOD works (not perfectly, no one knows that) and I personally have seen a wider breadth of the organisation than you, including a large number of teams in MOD centre, various Army stations, Navy Command and Abbey Wood. (not going into details for good reasons) You might personally think senior management a waste of space (don’t we all sometimes), but your pro-green everything else is crap prejudicies are showing! Only someone who knows nothing about what a political mess defence is or the stupidly complicated complexities of defence business would suggest the cuts that you have suggested.

The smart people on this site front up ideas on how to fix things, not make sweaping generalisations that would cause a shedload of other problems. Of course, if you say trim the MOD by 50% and accept that the UK should become a puny self defence force, go right ahead. Just don’t pretend a 200,000+ Armed Forces is going to achieve much without suited movers and shakers backing them up.

Jed
July 5, 2012 12:50 pm

So James our resident Cavalryman is now using the handle Red Trousers ???? Confused, CV sounds the same ! James, is it you……

Colin
Colin
July 5, 2012 1:20 pm

“I spent 21 years serving at a variety of levels from Trooper to running the C4ISTAR Branch at HQ LAND, including 4 years in total working alongside the DPA in Abbey Wood, 18 months at DRAC, having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron, working alongside Retired Officers, as the Field Army’s interface to the Joint Doctrine community, and a year on JSCSC 3. I’m pretty sure of my ground.”

If MOD let you anywhere near that lot, no wonder they’re fucked…

East_Anglian
East_Anglian
July 5, 2012 1:21 pm

Have also hated the term “Homland Defence”. We had a perfect name for it back in the Cold War -“Home Defence”

July 5, 2012 1:34 pm

“The smart people on this site front up ideas on how to fix things, not make sweaping generalisations that would cause a shedload of other problems”

Amen.

Not sure about the changes, no-one screaming blue murder yet?
With the TA/AR(?) integration being delayed for another announcement…kinda sounds like that part hasn’t yet been thought out.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 1:34 pm

Hmm, not sure the Royal Welsh are gonna be too pleased. Part of the last shuffle that saw them become the “small” regiment to the Mercian’s “large” was the tacit understanding that in the event of future cuts all the “large” regiments would take a hit and the small would generally be left alone, but the Guards and the Rifles get away without being touched? Must be a recruitment issue.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 1:36 pm

Why 24 Commando RE? Why? WHY? How do 9 Para escape?

Forget the Guards what about the 2300 RAF Reg bods? Why? WHY?

I thought 2RRF was up to strength and nearly all UK nationals?

Crackers.

Brown Trousers
Brown Trousers
July 5, 2012 1:38 pm

Of course Red Trousers is no doubt aware that the “Directorates” as he calls them, Arms and Service Directors (A&SDs) to everyone else, have already been amalgamated and replaced by Capability Directors.

Gareth Jones
July 5, 2012 1:43 pm

@ Martin – I believe the two Gurkha battalions have been retained due to the Brunei commitment.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 1:46 pm

“@ Martin – I believe the two Gurkha battalions have been retained due to the Brunei commitment”

Yeah, they both escaped.

Gareth Jones
July 5, 2012 1:53 pm

@ red trousers? Brown trousers? Can I be yellow trousers? ;p

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 5, 2012 1:59 pm

My take, over and above leaks & speculation ahead of time:
1. Clear signal that the three Armoured formations would have new/ refurbed wagons (the speculated contracted numbers for them are not far off, so this has been in the works for at least the last two years?)
2. On a 6 month rota, called up reserves might be 10% to begin with, rising to 30% of the fielded force in round 4 or 5
– interesting difference in delivering this message:
–to the politicians and the population at large, a division level commitment would be best effort (implying not for long)
— if a force is still in the field after 24-30 months and reserves make up a third of it, even a formed brigade is hinted at, that is not very short term (and different from an enduring brigade-level commitment)

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 2:01 pm

@ TD

Thank you for that small crumb of comfort.

Still I want to know why my county regiment and 2RRF are for the chop and the RAF Reg remains in tact. One supposes they are sacrificial lambs next time HMG wants to trim something from the RAF proper.

@ Gareth J

You are too young, you can be Short Trousers.

I think that makes TD, Cargo Pants……

martin
July 5, 2012 2:09 pm

Red Trouser is obviously James with all his talk of the Andrew and the floatty boats. Its that or some one has cloned James, scary thought. Seriously though we all know you have a massive amount of experience in the Army but it does not mean you are right in your opinion’s. If the people in charge of the Army knew what they were doing we would not have had all the cluster f**ks we have had in the past several hundred year’s. We can blame politicians however even with today’s weak assed breed I suspect it’s the brass that are more concerned with the cap badges and sacred cows. Dose Dave the rave even know what a Mercian is.

On the face of it there seems to be a decent amount of thought put in to Force 2020 but as with everything from this government we are light on detail. None of it means s**t until we are given an understanding of the Reserve role and exactly how civilian contractors will be brought in. Much of it seems to echo many of the comments from this site so maybe Whitehall do read Think Defence. Maybe TD could take over the role of the Telegraph in determining British defence policy from now on ;-)

Phil
July 5, 2012 2:10 pm

And as predicted the seven brigades are nothing more than the regional brigades from which forces will be plucked, hopefully there will be some logic to it all. I hate it when they don’t just say how the Army will be organised they just give you selected snippets. It will be months before we know how they plan this to all be organised.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 5, 2012 2:11 pm

TD, sure is (as you say), but one phrase keeps repeating: “given time”

Do you think the Ready Force can be supported by the “tail” that remains with the regulars?

RE “Lots of work to do in the future, especially with the Reserves and contractors, the outcome of which is uncertain in the extreme i.e., this is a calculated gamble”

Gareth Jones
July 5, 2012 2:14 pm

Short trousers? Hmmm… I can go with that…

jim30
jim30
July 5, 2012 2:18 pm

My own thoughts are that I agree with much of what TD has said.

I think the move back to ‘homeland resilience’ will immediately undo much of the good work done by CCA2004 in encouraging local authorities to take charge of their crisis planning. While ‘call in the Army’ always remained an option, at least stepping back from being the 4th emergency service helped get realism in their planning. It remains to be seen what will occur next.

Secondly, I see the emergence of a two tier army, and much like the civil service Faststream has specific ‘plum posts’ I predict the movers & thrusters of each Corps / Regt will be posted to ‘chunky’ Response force jobs. We’ve essentially turned a large chunk of the Army into a bigger version of the Regional Force HQ.

Finally, I think there is a very dangerous planning assumption that we can hit 30K TA, and that they will be at the right rank, with the right training and willing to deploy in the right timeframe. My instinct tells me that we’ll do brilliantly at getting Privates in, and not generating WOs in due course.

I’ll do a blog update on this later today or tomorrow.

IXION
July 5, 2012 2:33 pm

Well everyone else is getting leg ware fixated thought I would Join in!

Interestingly the Scottish reg’s seem to be going down to 450 man battalions- does that not make the weak viz current doctrine? how will they fit in with everyone else?

IXION

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 2:47 pm

Could be worse soon the government of Nepal, are making noises about stopping its nationals joining foreign army’s. So take away another two battalions in the immediate future.

If the RAC are going down to nine regiments, three will be in the Armoured Infantry Brigades on CH2. One other CH2 regiment spare and five Recce regiments and do they still do the NBC Regiment role ?

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 2:49 pm

@ Phil,

“… hopefully there will be some logic to it all. I hate it when they don’t just say how the Army will be organised they just give you selected snippets. It will be months before we know how they plan this to all be organised.”

Seconded.

Given that we’ll have armoured infantry regiments attached to the armoured “reaction” brigades, what size are these 7 adaptable brigades going to be and just where are they going to derive their man power from?

What happens to 16 Air Assault now that the A&S Highlanders (really just 5th Scots) are gone and the Irish are being moved to the PoW division? Will they still serve in 16AA along with the Gurkha’s?

Details!!

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 2:52 pm

Just noticed 39 RA being deleted does that mean MRLS is now a TA only weapon?

Fedaykin
July 5, 2012 3:01 pm

Frankly I have little sympathy for the boys in green with this rapidly developing cap badge bun fight! As far as I am concerned it is their turn to suck it up and take a turn with cuts!!!

I didn’t see many complaints from the Generals when another frigate was retired or a fighter squadron disbanded! The RAF and RN have been through crushing equipment and personnel cuts already…its the turn of the Army now. Many perfectly good ships and historic squadrons have been retired and not a peep of complaint came out of the army…now some sacred cap badges of the army are under threat and its civil war for which survives.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 3:10 pm

@ All,

good grief, I make a post and clear off for a meeting, and seem to have stirred up all sorts of stuff.

1. Sorry all, not trying to be ridiculous with chopping the Army down to ridiculous levels, merely an observation made in my over-sarcastic style (apologies), that actually, being serious (this is difficult for me, but please bear with me), there are still lots of not really very defensible roles in the MoD, if you take a proper and grown up look at it. In my personal experience, individuals and whole elements of the organisations I mention really do not contribute to defence capability or outputs, and if it is savings that are desired, best to start by looking at them. Of course, I am aware that the MoD Civil Service is also facing big cuts, so the MoD already know what I’ve said, but they don’t get their 4 hour debate in Parliament.

2. There was a published change of call sign from James to Red Trousers a week or so ago, because another James came onto the site and made a very sensible post about something to do with the Andrew, and it was just too confusing for both myself and the other James, whoever he may be, to post under the same name. Plus, reputationally damaging for me to be seen writing sensible stuff about the Andrew and floaty little boats.

3. Anyone who really wants to track me down can probably pretty easily find my Linked In profile and CV. It’s not really a secret. If you can’t find it, you are not trying very hard. Like everyone, I’ll keep my proper name off the public domain because then I’ll appear on all sorts of Google searches, and I’ll be tapping the boards in front of the boss worrying about company reputation, etc. Best not to.

4. I only speak seriously about UAVs, Recce, Airships and sex. Anything else is probably best to be interpreted as me letting prejudices unwind or just blowing off steam. Carriers are still however a shite idea.

5. Any post with floaty little boats, the Andrew or Kevins referenced is pretty likely to be me, unless I attract my own personal sock puppet which I suppose would be flattering, if irritating.

6. @ Colin, at 1320. Yes, they did, Yes, they are.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 3:12 pm

These civilian contractors. The US DoD has Blackwater, I bet the MoD ends up with Thames Water…..

Yours,

X

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 3:14 pm

Red Trousers “having operational control within 1st Armd Div of an RAF Regiment Squadron”

What the hell was an RAF Regt Squadron doing in 1st Armd Div?

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 3:18 pm

@ Fedaykin,

Over the last 20 years the army has suffered some pretty bloody hefty cuts mate. If memory serves more than the other two services.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 3:39 pm

TBH I have had trouble reaching this site. The firewall must be working at last….

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 3:46 pm

Jim,

Bosnia, MND(SW), summer / autumn 1996. 1 Div needed an infantry company for local defence of the Metal Factory plus a small AO surrounding. RAF wanted a role for the RAF Regiment, so 2 and 2 were put together, and we got No 1 Squadron from Honington. They were – for the RAF Regt – very good, but let’s not anyone try to pretend the were a replacement in competence for an infantry company. They did however come tooled up with every piece of Goretex and weapon system known to man.

I gave them their daily, weekly and mission tasking, and then spent a lot of time trying to stop the GOC and COS from looking too closely into what on earth they did from day to day, because both of them had short tempers and used to ring me up from their offices, normally starting with “Ops! What the F*** is going on with….” – this normally being after flying back in to the Metal Factory in a Lynx from some visit elsewhere, and looking down and seen some gross affront such as bunching or patrolling in a slack and ill-disciplined manner somewhere just outside the wire.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 5, 2012 3:52 pm

‘No cap badges to go.’ Well, one actually. The QRL and 9/12 amalgamation means that someone loses out. Lying gits.

Jim
Jim
July 5, 2012 3:59 pm

The 9th/12th Lancers have been on borrowed time since the early 80s, remember visiting them in Germany and they could only provide two recce squadrons being unable to recruit.

Phil
July 5, 2012 4:03 pm

Reading about the reserves. I cannot tell if language is being used (a) lazily (b) to pull wool over our eyes (c) very specifically or what. The bit on reserves on the MoD page says this:

“Reservists will be expected to commit to specific amounts of training time”

So – does this mean compulsory training? Or does it mean they are expected to commit to 28 days a year as and when they see fit or what? Or considering the next bit says:

“for the Army in most cases, to accept a liability for up to six months’ deployed service, plus pre-deployment training, in a five-year period, dependent on operational demand.”

Do they mean that there might be graduated commitment levels.

If so I would like to smugly direct people to my TA post some months ago that predicted 1 in 5 year TA deployment and a graduated commitment level depending on position in the readiness cycle.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 4:04 pm

@ Ed Zeppelin,

technically you are probably right, because who the hell is going to get rid of the best known cap badge in the Army, possibly even the world? Would be stupid. However, there’ll probably be some fudge. We old Scarlet Lancers (16/5L) want to keep the bicycle wheels collar dogs, but that still leaves buttons, belt badges or something similar for 9/12L if they’ve got something special they want to keep, plus if I recall correctly they all prance about in a unique green sweater which neither 16/5L or the Boneheads ever did.

Phil
July 5, 2012 4:06 pm

&alt=Territorial%20soldiers

Christ, the Army is doomed if we get more of these fierce, Goretex glad warfighters. Only suitable for Homeland Defence.

The front warfighter has clearly padded out his ammunition pouches with no ammo, there is barely a bigger sin in the Army. At least the Goretex chap on the left realises the absurdity of it all.

Perhaps one of them spotted a spider in their harbour area.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 5, 2012 4:18 pm

@Red Trousers

Correct, but the point remains that the government failed to deliver on its one promise relating to these cuts. Or perhaps they were being clever: No cap badges lost, but mottos can go!

paul g
July 5, 2012 4:20 pm

i reckon the guy back right is having a shovel recce and a compo one at that judging by the anquished look of pain on his face!!!

(plus fours = paul g)

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 4:20 pm

Is that Lofty at the back from “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum”?

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 4:23 pm

“Anyone checked if there is a link between those being disbanded and those in BFG?”

According to the ever relaible wiki (stop laughing) 9th/12th were part of 7th armoured, as were 3rd Mercians and 2nd Fusiliers, 2nd Logistic Support Regiment. 1st Logistic was attached to 1st(UK) Armoured. 5 regiment RMP was there mixed about. It is Wikipedia though so treat with caution.

Worthy of note that you added to the article is the message from the Colonel of the Yorkshire Regiment, specifically this section;

“After the merger, we will have two fully manned regular battalions of The Yorkshire Regiment supported by a reserve battalion. These battalions will not be PWO, Dukes or Green Howards. They will be YORKS”

This was what was supposed to happen with the Scots when they became the Royal Regiment of Scotland. The Regiment subsumes the titles and the battalions become merely part of the wider Scots, as one, to forge a new identity for themselves, as the Colonel above sees his sub units as being all “Yorks”.

Allowing the Scots to retain names, pipes and drums for the individual battalions has only led to more pain and political machinations down the road.

Fedaykin
July 5, 2012 4:27 pm

Chris.B

My memory serves differently, the RAF and RN have been through huge pain. The fleet is a fraction of its size and the RAF is below what we regarded as a safe minimum in prior defence reviews. The personnel axe in the last decade has hit the light and dark blue before the green. 2010 SSDR mandated cuts hit the RAF and RN first. I didn’t see many complaints from the green when whole aircraft types or frigates with many years of service life on them were scrapped. Yet when a sacred cap badge in the army is under threat its a full on melt down and calls of “get rid of the Gurkhas” or “save our badge in over some other”.

We need versatile, deployable units like the Para’s or Gurkhas not the prima donnas of certain older parts of the army. Why should the army be excepted the real pain the other services have gone through just to keep various cap badges happy.

It is the turn of the army as far as I am concerned.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 4:30 pm

@ Ed Z,

mottoes, schmottoes. I’d actually forgotten about how sensitive the Boneheads were about that distinction and it not being a cap badge. It’s a badge, it’s on your sodding cap, so why is it not a cap badge? It’s like the Grenadiers who refer to their “capstar”. But they are quite precious about it, so best leave them be.

Phil
July 5, 2012 4:35 pm

“It is the turn of the army as far as I am concerned.”

I love how you berate the Army for cap badge bun fights but a service bun fight, which you clearly advocate, is fine? You don’t think its a petty, narrow minded, myopic or anthropomorphic thing to do?

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 4:37 pm

Also of note was the Fusiliers bosses letter to the CDS. In it he mentioned having had discussions and even agreed in principle by the sound of it, a merging of units in the Queens Division to form a large regiment? Wonder what they’d come up with.

@ Fedaykin,
The Army has suffered a 31% cut in manpower since options for change. Now that’s less than the RAF (51%) and Navy (50%), but two things are of importance; the first is that the armies main tool is its manpower, boots on the ground as it were. Secondly, both the RAF and Navy have taken steps forward in the efficient manning of their systems, as demonstrated by RN vessels that will now take less men to operate a similar type of vessel.

Relatively speaking they’ve all taken some significant punishment, the Army no really less so than the others.

Fedaykin
July 5, 2012 4:46 pm

No I don’t advocate an inter service bun and I don’t see how you think that is my opinion.

I despise inter service rivalry and the damage it has done. I am simply observing that the RAF and RN have been through significant pain and it is the turn of the army. I am also observing that there are elements within the army (and the same argument can be levelled at the other services) that seem to think that their element is somehow a sacred cow.

Fedaykin
July 5, 2012 4:52 pm

@ Chris.B

“The Army has suffered a 31% cut in manpower since options for change. Now that’s less than the RAF (51%) and Navy (50%), but two things are of importance; the first is that the armies main tool is its manpower, boots on the ground as it were. Secondly, both the RAF and Navy have taken steps forward in the efficient manning of their systems, as demonstrated by RN vessels that will now take less men to operate a similar type of vessel.”

So you agree that the RAF and RN have suffered far heavier cuts in personnel then the Army.

Efficient manning is fantastic but that doesn’t make up for the cut in platforms. The fact is the fleet and squadrons have been cut to the bone. The RAF have barely enough Typhoon to man UK and Falklands QRA whilst meeting the types OSD and the Navy have been using RFA vessels in patrol tasking. A frigate can’t be in two places at once however lean manned it is.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 5, 2012 4:56 pm

The normal refresh does not go through, RE
“TBH I have had trouble reaching this site.”
– have to take the link in the (Chrome) failure not, and get in by using that (so two rounds, every time today)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 5:37 pm

@ Fedaykin,

surely the correct way of thinking is that whichever of the 3 services is least valuable going forward should take a bigger proportion of the cuts? I’m in no position to know whether that is the Kevins, the Andrew or the Army, but I do know that historic cuts in the last 20 years should not influence what goes on in the future. You’d have to hope that the MoD has in fact been looking at this.

Pro rata cuts and trying to even things out based on historic sentiment are hardly the way forward. And I say this as someone whose beloved Scarlet Lancers are today facing their second amalgamation in 20 years, and whose equally beloved SCOTS DG may have avoided the selector’s eye, but only because the Tories know they can throw the whole problem at Alec Salmond if he gains Scottish independence, or if not, salami slice them into a TA unit equipped with Landrovers. Believe me, this is not a happy day.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to be grown up, turn to the right, salute, and get on with it. (Actually, no one is asking me personally to do that, being old bold and retired. But the boys will, because that’s the ethos).

Gareth Jones
July 5, 2012 5:45 pm

Fmr Admiral West was just on BBC 24 news – he did say he personaly thought the defence budget should be more but essentially this was the army’s share of the 2010
SDSR; Also had a go at Dannat, who apparently has been going around the news studios saying these cuts to the army were to pay for Navy projects…

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 5:56 pm

@ Fedaykin,

“So you agree that the RAF and RN have suffered far heavier cuts in personnel then the Army”

If you really want to be pedantic then yes. But we’re not comparing apples to apples are we.

If you cut the manpower of an Infantry battalion in half then you’re left with a rifle company and a manoeuvre support company. Conversely if you convert an RAF squadron from Tornado to Typhoon then you effectively halve the number of flying officers, yet retain a similar capability (eventually it should be superior). We’re talking about replacing specialised fighters and ground attack aircraft with multi-role platforms that can do both.

Similar with the navy. You can reduce the number of personnel on a destroyer, but thanks to the wonders of modern gizmos you can achieve a comparable and in many regards superior capability.

Every service has taken heavy hits to its capability. The army just as much as the RAF and Navy. Welcome the peace dividend followed up the arse by the financial crisis.

P.S. What’s wrong with a RFA vessel doing something like counter-drug operations and disaster respone in the Carribean? Arguably it’s a more suitable vessel for that role than a Type 45 Air Defence Destroyer.

Fedaykin
July 5, 2012 5:58 pm

@ Red Trousers

That is entirely my sentiment they need to get on with it and suck it up. This is as Short Trousers points out the army’s share of 2010 SDSR.

Cuts should be made as you point out on whichever is least valuable in each service but my sentiment is that no service should be excused the pain. All three services have elements that our vital to our defence.

SomewhatInvolved
July 5, 2012 6:05 pm

From a dark blue perspective and knowing little of the land side, these cuts, against the background of the last twenty years of operations, do not seem overly outrageous. In that period the last, truly worthwhile commitment undertaken by the Army, IMHO, were operations in Bosnia and the Former Yugoslavia, Gulf War 1, and Northern Ireland. Iraq and Afghanistan are huge, expensive and bloody aberrations that cost too many lives and should not have happened at all, but the end of these operations are in sight, thank God.

Even to an uneducated matelot like me, it seems clear that many elements of the Army were not involved in the Afghan campaign. The focus should now be on maximising the gains made in training and operational experience from these theatres, but reducing in accordance with the strategic direction and changing the posture of the Service to shed the Cold War legacy structures that still remain. The loss of regiments is of course saddening, but by Christ we have lost far too many ship’s tallies and that is an equivalent pain for us.

The other Services have been cut hard as well, but I can assure all of you that the RN can cut no more. The Service is in a dangerous position and can suffer no more cuts without major commitments collapsing and ships breaking badly. I have no wish to inflict pain on the others for the sake of it, but we must change to meet the strategic objective and, if there is no money, make reductions accordingly.

Some have said the Army has made a pretty decent effort to shrink within the limitations imposed upon it. If so, then BZ. It’s a pain, but remains necessary.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 6:26 pm

“but I can assure all of you that the RN can cut no more,”

No offence, but all three services have used that line repeatedly for the last 60 odd years. Yet they all get cut further regardless and all continue to function without collapsing.

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 6:44 pm

Wow, I shouldn’t really been surprised by the amount of comments this has already got.

I’m still working my way through today’s decisions, making sense of things and forming opinion’s.

The two things that have struck me so far are 1. the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made, and 2. a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.

Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable! The Gurkha’s are being retained at the expense of British personnel, and yes the fifth Scot’s are being reduced to a company, but I still think it’s disproportionate suffering when one considers their problems with recruitment and the bloated size of the regiment to begin with.

This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. It may seem extreme, but this could have been the best chance on offer for a very long time to actually tackle cap badges head on, id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.

I think remembering the past is an important thing, but the best place for it is in a museum and the mess hall, it shouldn’t effect front-line, here and now decisions.

Once again the government has salami sliced it way through a treasury driven, cost cutting exercise. I know they had difficult choices to make, but I’m still quite disappointed by the outcome.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 5, 2012 6:45 pm

Firstly my heart goes out to those affected by today’s announcement. The Army seem to have handled it well and cut their cloth in line with some clear objectives. Some staying power may have been lost but the sharp end has never been pointier.
Hopefully we will not see any Govt stupid enough to commit us to simultaneous Iraq and Afghanistan style Ops not without a genuine threat to UK national security.
In peacetime the Army have relatively few operational commitments and things such as the Cyprus Battalions whilst being Operational in theory simply allow a Battalion with families to live in the sun for a few years.
The platforms the RAF and RN have now are far more capable than the ones we had in 1990 but the cull in numbers is frightening and bears little resemblance to any cuts in commitments.
The Rn has 65% less FF/DD/SSN/SSK as a group than it did in 1990. yes that is right, 2 thirds of Frigates, destroyers and Attack submarines have been cut.
Given that lots of commitments require a 24/7 presence and we cannot simply deploy a Battalion to live there for a couple of years the hulls inability to be in 2 places at once(no matter how capable they be) begins to bite.
Hence the reason why Argus is replacing another RFA as APT(N) and Fort Victoria has spent time doing counter piracy.
The army looks at using 30k reserves to make up numbers on ops, the RN is currently having to utilse the RFA simply to meet day to day commitments.
I sincerely hope that we do not see more cuts (to any service) in 2015 or it could well blow up in our faces, quite literally.

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 7:31 pm

I should point out that my previous views at 18:44 were rather negative, but that their are some elements I should praise to give a fair and balanced opinion.

As APATS pointed out the sharp end of the Army is staying that way, 4 Battalions isn’t too much of a painful reduction, especially when at 1 point figures of around 11 were being rumoured!

They will have less staying power, but I think it was right to protect front line infantry at the expense of some of the support elements.

I also quite like the proposal of grouping artillery, engineers, signals etc into brigade structures. I can accept the idea of these support units becoming more homogeneous and coordinated, detaching squadrons and regiments to other formations as and when it’s required.

So on the whole I don’t have that many problems with the amounts that are to be cut, I just feel a little exasperated by where these savings are to be found and the lack of comprehensive reorganisation that could have been achieved.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 7:45 pm

Can anybody clarify if 2RRF was up to strength and its personnel were nearly all UK nationals?

Phil
July 5, 2012 8:29 pm

“the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made”

It’s not unbalanced though. The “Army Reserve” will take on a lot of the slots missing in the regular ORBAT. Let’s not forget that the TA has been an entirely separate organisation for its entire existence. It got marginally more integrated in the 1960s but most of its strength was used to field entirely separate formations. Even now a lot of its units are based on fleshing out the ARRC as a traditional Corps operational grouping and a Cold War style Home Defence. This realignment should have been done in 1994 and it is a model the US Army follows and has followed since at least the 1970s – in fact as we know the US integration of reservists was a very deliberate policy choice.

“a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.”

We expect our politicians to be decisive and onjective, yet know they can never be, and yet they pretend they can be, and so we despise them.

“Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable!”

That’s because Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas. The Guards ARE the establishment and the establishment makes the rules! I think that they realise even they have pushed their luck this time. It would not have been such a crying shame to have formed a Regiment of Foot Guards – the identity is there in embryonic form.

“This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. ”

Really? MRBs were a very conservative, very traditional, very safe idea. This is far more radical and far more interesting frankly and it finally represents the end of the Cold War Army.

“id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.”

Well that’s because you’re not in a position to do so. If you were, you’d have had exactly the same forces to content with.

Phil
July 5, 2012 8:31 pm

@x

April 2012

2 Royal Regiment of Fusiliers

532 (est)
523 (strength)
65 (Commonwealth soldiers)

JohnHartley
JohnHartley
July 5, 2012 8:34 pm

To clarify
I said it was a mistake to cut the RN escort force below 30. I am painfully aware we only have 13 T23 & 6 T45.
Non jobs. If we did not need them before 1997, then we do not need them now. We could sack ten times more than we have to cut from the army. If not more.
Public sector credit cards. The High St is dying, but John Lewis, darling of the public sector classes, is bucking the trend. Coincidence?
I keep going on that the 1998 SDR is the minimum the UK needs. My back of envelope calculation points to an extra £11 billion for RAF & another £11 billion for RN. Not got round to the army yet. £22 billion over ten years is £2.2 billion a year. Cannot afford it you say, but we are finding an extra £4 billion a year for DfID, even though most of that money is wasted/stolen.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 8:35 pm

“Can anybody clarify if 2RRF was up to strength and its personnel were nearly all UK nationals?”

Their Colonel, in his letter to CDS, seemed to think so. He sounded bloody unconvinced by the arguments given him. Somehow the Telegraph got a copy of it;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9371255/In-full-Brigadier-David-Patersons-letter-to-the-Chief-of-Defence-Staff.html

He mentioned in it about proposals for a large regiment involving the Queens division and there was something on the local news as well about a proposed “East of England” Regiment. Wonder what that might (may still?) have looked like?

Justbeef Trousers
Justbeef Trousers
July 5, 2012 8:54 pm

Glad to see the details out last, but still want to see the breakdown into brigades/battalions/companies.

The honourable regiment of mcguiggens arbusqiers really does mean nothing to my civvy brain.

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 9:15 pm

@ Chris B

Speechless. :(

steve taylor
July 5, 2012 9:19 pm

@ Phil

65? So when the Scottish regiments reduce to 450 per battalion will Commonwealth soldiers make a higher percentage?

Sir Humphrey
July 5, 2012 9:21 pm

Dont forget that in the 2004 cuts, the RAF lost Jaguar and a lot of personnel, and the RN sacrificed 6 frigates (down to 25, but essentially 23) to ensure the Army would be kept at strength for TELIC and HERRICK.
Its not unreasonable to say that as the wars draw to an end, it is time for the Army to take its fair share of cuts which the RAF and RN have borne on its behalf since SDR1998.

Opinion3
Opinion3
July 5, 2012 9:27 pm

Is the TA able to expand and function well enough to make up for the loss of regulars?

In the States there is often an expectation that you are a reservist, here it is the opposite. It good to try but appears to be a fairly short period to change employers perceptions.

Phil
July 5, 2012 9:28 pm

@x

I suppose so. I’m really not very bothered about the battalions being cut. It is a pity to see a battalion of the Royal Welsh go though I must admit. Maybe they will get a TA battalion extra!

The Hansard answer those figures come from also says that some establishments for some units were lowered because they just could never reach their normal establishment, I wonder if 2 RRF originally had a much higher establishment.

Anyway, war is a young mans game and the young men won’t mind too much really, they never really do. It’s the old men and civilians who tend to lament the passing of regiments.

I myself still cannot get over the disbandment of the 9th Legion.

Phil
July 5, 2012 9:31 pm

“Is the TA able to expand and function well enough to make up for the loss of regulars?”

The question of reserves is completely central to this re-organisation.

Which is why there’s next to no information on them whatsoever. I am wondering if they don’t want to pre-empt the consultation on new TA terms of service and piss off employers before they get a chance to have a look (not that any of them will) because it seems that they are going to take a step I didn’t think they had the guts to take and introduce a new regime in the reserves.

Phil
July 5, 2012 9:34 pm

“RAF lost Jaguar”

Dumb decision, should have binned Harrier.

Yeah, I said it, binned Harrier.

The Jaguar would have taken to Afghan like a pig in shit. Perfect airframe for it. And better looking than the pointless Harrier.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 9:39 pm

The whole reservists and the employment law issue seems to be unclear (never a good start in politics, as things tend to obscurity as they go on when politics is concerned). It’s really not my area of knowledge at all. I’ve been the regular Adjutant of a TA Regiment and am myself a reservist so all I know is that there is some law in existence, but in practice it doesn’t seem to work very well.

Pulling up a level, in the States they’ve got 200 odd years of the concept of some form of state militia or Guard, plus a whole concept of citizen service and more importantly community support for volunteering or voluntary temporary service that appears to be completely missing in the UK. This allows a National Guardsman to volunteer or be drafted for one year in Afghanistan, and what happens is that his (or her) community shoves up the yellow ribbons, bunting and flags, closes off the street, has a barbie and his employer guarantees that his job is safe while he’s away. We don’t really do that in the UK (even though there is some law about not being made redundant while on active service).

So, if this 30,000 man reserve / TA element is going to be made to work, we need both properly enforceable employment law from the Tories, and a whole mindset change from the communities. I confess, I am deeply sceptical on both.

Phil
July 5, 2012 9:49 pm

Yeah somehow even though we have a very long and deep tradition of the militia and yeomanry the civilian world on the whole, gives only the thinnest shit about reservists and employers thinner still. I basically have a four year blackhole in my ‘career’ as far as most employers are concerned. I was placed in suspended animation in March 2007 and defrosted in July 2011.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 5, 2012 9:55 pm

Phil,

similar recollections of a group of NCOs in DLOY post GW1 – most of them ex-14/20H who’d volunteered to go over to Kuwait to help out with the first post-war roulement which I think from memory included 14/20H (might be remiss on that – memory getting faint). I got posted in as the new regular Adjt and half of the in-tray was full of correspondence between the NCOs, employers, North West TAVRA and some spectacularly useless part of the MoD who wanted to have nothing at all to do with employers making employees redundant while they were doing a six month tour. Worst thing was there was bugger all any of us could do about it – it needed either new law set out in Westminster, or employers to man up, neither of which was going to happen.

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 10:00 pm

@Phil 20.29

“the unbalanced nature of where cuts are to be made”

I have no problem with a new ratio of regular and reserve along American lines, and as part of this having territorial’s slot more effectively in-to deployments and planning, I think it’s a great idea! My comments about lack of balance were more about the protection of some regiments (Guards especially, Scot’s to a point) whilst others are sacrificed.

“a lack of courage and decisiveness that seems prevalent with the powers that be.”

“Once again the Guards have been spared any pain, they seem untouchable!”

Your’e correct on those points. I don’t really expect anything different to be honest, it’s all been fairly predictable, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be disappointed/angry at the results.

“This review was a chance to implement some really dynamic, sweeping change. I liked the MRB idea before that went down the drain. ”

Perhaps I am still struggling to get my head round the new set-up. Whether the MRB concept was conservative or not I liked the idea of maximising the use of assets and bringing some standardisation to the force structure, but hey we can agree to disagree!

“id have completely renamed and reshaped the regimental structure in order to make a decisive break from the past and end this frustrating squabbling over legacy, lineage and history.”

Yeah I am sure it would be near impossible for a person to instigate that kind of radical change, but it would be good to see someone of strength at least give it a go. Once again I can lament and be angry at the results, even if I’m well aware it won’t change anything. I just needed to vent!

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 10:01 pm

@Phil

‘The Jaguar would have taken to Afghan like a pig in shit. Perfect airframe for it. And better looking than the pointless Harrier’

Wasn’t the Jaguar binned because of it’s age and a lack of investment in life extension/upgrades?

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 10:06 pm

@Sir Humphrey

I agree with you on the Army cuts being a long time coming. I’m sure most of us don’t want to see any of the forces shrink but yes, with Telic over and Herrick winding down it is time they took their share of the pain.

The RAF and RN have been cut to the bone, you want to make more savings it has to be the Army.

Phil
July 5, 2012 10:26 pm

I thought, and I admit my techno knowledge is thin, that Jaguar went through a couple of upgrade programmes in the late nineties. I suspect Jaguar went because Tornado was never going to and we were still pretending we had a carrier strike ability so Harrier stayed. Shame as Jaguar could have been our A10, simple reliable bomb truck capable of massive amounts of sorties and already proven in a hot environment in 1991.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
July 5, 2012 11:00 pm

@ Phil,

“I was placed in suspended animation in March 2007 and defrosted in July 2011.”

— I knew there was something odd about you…

Yeah, the Jaguars were updated with quite a nifty package. Then the treasury decided it wanted more money from the Defence budget to spend of PFI hospitals, so Jaguar was offered up as a sacrifice, essentially on the thinking that Typhoon would slot into that role.

Oh dear.

You would never have been able to can the Harrier without Naval approval. Jesus, just look what happened when they finally did can it. Can you imagine trying to do that with Jaguar hanging around as well as Tornado?

Jed
July 5, 2012 11:31 pm

All in all it don’t look to bad to me to be honest.

Now all we need to do is rob enough money of DfID to replace the two existing LPH with a Maersk Afloat Forward Support Base (AFSB) S class conversion, which could carry 16 AAB’s high readiness battle group, plus it’s Apaches, plus Crab Air Chinook……….. :-)

Apologies for always dragging it back to kit, but the Adaptable Force has, in “the Brochure” some of it’s Infantry Battalions labelled as “protected mobility” and slated as being equipped with Foxhound.

So what do we think of that ? Do we really think it means enough Foxhounds to carry a whole battalion ? (Say 500 / 6 = 84 Foxhounds!) Or just that the battalion will have some number of Foxhouns available to it? A 6 x 6 APC version perhaps?

Challenger
Challenger
July 5, 2012 11:58 pm

@Phil

I am not expert either, perhaps the Jaguar did have some upgrades. You’re right that it could have been a real asset in Afghanistan, as you say a simple and reliable workhorse already proven in hot environments.

However if I think back to 2003-2004 I can see the logic behind the decision. Jaguar was the oldest airframe still in service. Tornado was just finishing up the GR4 programme, even if Jaguar did get some upgrades in the 90s I doubt it was anywhere near as comprehensive. Plus the Sea Harrier had just been given the axe which meant that the GR7/9 was probably resolutely defended as being the last vestige of carrier capability remaining.

Combine those factors with a really tight budget and an overwhelming desire to drop down to 3 fast jet airframes and what do you get?

It was a shame, but bye bye Jag!

martin
July 6, 2012 1:51 am

@ Red Trouser –
“surely the correct way of thinking is that whichever of the 3 services is least valuable going forward should take a bigger proportion of the cuts? I’m in no position to know whether that is the Kevins, the Andrew or the Army”
In an uncertain world we cannot forsee which of the three services we will require in the future. Surely this means we need to keep as much as possible of all three to provide the most flexible force possible.
There can be justification for salami slicing some time’s
This review really is just SDSR part 2 with the cuts that would have been announced in the Army held back to detract from more negative news at the time.

martin
July 6, 2012 2:02 am

@ Jed -“Now all we need to do is rob enough money of DfID to replace the two existing LPH with a Maersk Afloat Forward Support Base (AFSB) S class conversion, which could carry 16 AAB’s high readiness battle group, plus it’s Apaches,”

Is that really you or have you been replaced by Fat Bloke on Tour?

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 6, 2012 2:08 am

Fedaykin. ‘they need to get on with it and and suck it up’. These are people’s lives you are talking about…people deploying on tour on H17 in 2 months whose only thanks is amalgamation. You are the worst kind of human being. How you sleep at night is beyond me. Civvies who know the square root of F All and are unaffected by this should pipe down.

michael
michael
July 6, 2012 2:43 am

Well the English Infantry take he brunt of the cuts again there is too much tip toeing around these scottish battalions due to the independance question why is it the RSDG are always spared the amalgamations and cuts I suffered amalgamation in 1992 when we (14th/20th Kings Hussars) mereged with the Royal Hussars and its like part of the fabric of the regiment is torn away so I have sympathy for the 4 regiments involved good luck lads.
Then there is the case of 39 regiment RA who are being taken out of the ORBAT well if this is the case who will be the MLRS regiment or are the TA getting that too ?
A sad day for the British Army we are reducing our capabilities while N. African and Middle Eastern countries are buying surplus Leopard Tanks by the hundreds are we just ignoring the fact that the rest of the globe bar the EU are upgrading there military due to reduction of surplus equipement by EU countries we need to wake up before we become an irrelevant continent

Jim
Jim
July 6, 2012 4:18 am

The North East didn’t do to well, lost 2 RRF, the Green Howards (2nd YORKS) and 39 Royal Artillery based just outside Newcastle.

martin
July 6, 2012 5:48 am

@ Michael
“while N. African and Middle Eastern countries are buying surplus Leopard Tanks by the hundreds are we just ignoring the fact that the rest of the globe bar the EU are upgrading there military due to reduction of surplus equipement by EU countries we need to wake up before we become an irrelevant continent”

I suppose that the point they are all relatively far away from the EU and un likely to drive over the boarder. Given it sheer size and spending power I just don’t for see a military threat to us or the EU, Its difficult in a democracy to justify spending when there is no threat. We can talk about failing nation’s and blah blah blah but there has alway’s been failing nations and it was never used in the past as a justification for army number’s. If we have learned anything from the stan its that an Army is not going to fix a failing nation and just ends up costing $trillion’s

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 6, 2012 6:53 am

There’s been a couple of comments towards cutting the RAF Regiment, but putting aside the two CBRN squadrons and the Aldergrove squadron leaves only about two regular battalions (wings?) worth of soldiers (security guards?) readily available for deployment – is that excessive? Could they manage with six regular squadrons, including the CBRN and NI squadrons, and lose a battalion to the reserves themselves? I’m not sure if they’ve deployed more than one squadron at a time to Afghanistan, and that would seem about as large an operation as they could expect to see.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 7:18 am

I quite agree with the angle Sir H is taking to this:

“to ensure the Army would be kept at strength for TELIC and HERRICK.
Its not unreasonable to say that as the wars draw to an end, it is time for the Army to take its fair share of cuts”
– leaving the Treasury contingency fund aside for covering “operations”
-it would not be unfair (?) to characterise the announced cuts as “two brigades worth”
+ planning assumption:no more Iraqs or Stans

– whether you take the peak year 2008 for campaign concurrency or the campaign averages calculated backwards for Iraq and forward for A-stan, you get around 8.000 deployed for the former (post-invasion) and about a thousand more for the latter
– in my books that sort of number is a brigade when deployed at a distance that provides support challenges

Now we get back to the transparency of the famous Black Hole
+ further, the investments in new kit were seen as essential (even if quantities were to be cut, the forever-delaying tactic has been eliminated by NAO scrutiny)
– going back to Parliamentary answers [assuming the Defence Budget remained flat in real terms, Dr Fox explained that] “of the £38 billion gap, roughly £20.5 billion of overspending was due to equipment/procurement with a further £17.7 billion funding gap on other resources, including personnel.”
– 2 brigades, a bn a year (this has never been validated as an estimate) taken over ten years secures the above procurement, Whether the earlier cuts cover the rest, only Hammond knows (but he told us so)

twecky
twecky
July 6, 2012 7:59 am

Interesting which sacred cows continue to soldier/sailor/airperson on…

Obviously Rifles, Paras, Foot Guards (Household Div), Scots Div

Less obviously Ghurkas (including loggies !!) RAF Regt, 12 Arty regiments (plus Kings Tp) , Bootnecks

Good to see mexeflotes survive !

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 6, 2012 8:01 am

@ Brian Black,

my own view is that the RAF Regt should take on full time the SBA (Cyprus) and MPA (FI) guard duties full time. They are airfields, they need guarding, the RAF Regt exists to guard airfields. Perhaps I am guilty of being too simplistic, but I don’t see the point in a force existing if other forces then do their job. The roulement plan should not be too complex to work out, and no one is going to pretend Cyprus is a hardship posting.

However, that would not be to argue for the Army to withdraw from Cyprus or the FI. One of the aspects missing from this 2020 study / reductions is climate. We as a nation are not too sure as to where we are going to be fighting next. Might be desert, or urban, or arctic, or rolling temperate zone, or the jungle. It would be useful to have a battalion trained up in each environment. I don’t keep tabs on the details of ongoing training and exercises, but I think we’ve got them mostly covered, except perhaps for arctic. We ought to be thinking more broadly than we currently are. What would be wrong with asking the Norwegians if we can permanently base a battalion – or more likely a Commando – in north Norway? Full basing, as in barracks, families, service school for the kids? Pay the Norwegians properly, put lots of money into the local economy, etc. Even include the Commando in the Norwegian Brigade for training purposes, and it gives our Amphibious Andrew people all sorts of training opportunities with fjords and so on. After a couple of years, you’ve then got a serious arctic capability that is vastly better than an annual 3 week exercise. I’ll bet it would also be a pretty popular posting for Royal – everyone likes being abroad, and there’s all sorts of fringe benefits – skiing holidays and so on, as well as integrating yourself into a pretty Norwegian girl if unmarried.

(Yes, fully aware we did all of this minus the full time barracks, with AMF(L) and the other Cold War exercises. But we don’t now, not seriously anyway).

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 8:11 am

Hi Martin, I quite agree with “This review really is just SDSR part 2 with the cuts that would have been announced in the Army held back to detract from more negative news at the time.”
– as I pointed out earlier (forget now on which thread, these move so quickly), the quantities of AFVs negotiated (whether first – and last! – batch of new, or to be refurbed)over the last two+ years were inconsistent with the force structure then held as the target to get to… but what a surprise, fit in perfectly with the one now announced
– though I am still wondering, like Jed, about troop carriers with four infantrymen in the back of each

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 8:29 am

James, yeah “The roulement plan should not be too complex to work out”
– when you swap, you can get two summers in a row!

martin
July 6, 2012 8:52 am

@ Red Trousers
“my own view is that the RAF Regt should take on full time the SBA (Cyprus) and MPA (FI) guard duties full time”.
I agree about Cyprus, I never understood why we still have Army force there it being an EU nation and all. I understand the need for the air field it can be very useful but if it needs guarded then it is a job for the RAF.
If we were going to base a artic training battalion somewhere would FI not be better, kill two birds with one stone so to speak. I would imagine S Georgia and the FI between them could provide an incredible opportunity for training in the harshest conditions.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 6, 2012 9:29 am

@ ACC and Martin,

The roulement plan should be easy enough – a couple of RAF Ragt Sqns in Cyprus on 2 year tours, with the families etc soaking up the sun and doing the skiing in the Troodos in the morning, sailing the Hobie Cats off the beach in the afternoon routine. That’s the whole point of Cyprus. There’s still the need for a forward deployed proper infantry battalion also in Cyprus to act as Theatre Reserve (or in future years being acclimatised to hot and sandy conditions, and probably exercising frequently in Oman or similar – that covers off the desert training need).

Then the FI. Of the 5 remaining RAF Regt Sqns living in the UK, send one unaccompanied to the FI to guard MPA on 3-6 month rotations (Kevins don’t like doing 6 month tours which everyone else does, never understood why). Let the Spearhead battalion do wet ‘n windy shite weather training as part of their workup for Spearhead, with 2-3 forward deployed 4 week exercises a year, and using MPA as an admin base. Also keeps Carlos Fandango a bit puzzled as force levels go up and down, and he also knows that we can get a battalion into MPA in 24 hours if the RAF Movers behave themselves.

A permanent battalion on the FI is not going to impress the Wives Club, shopping opportunities in Stanley being limited, and these days most of the girls have proper jobs anyway which I don’t think the FI could replicate. For the boys, there’s only sheep to look at, so that’s going to be pretty glum for a full 4 year tour.

Jim
Jim
July 6, 2012 9:44 am

Would the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group fit in the Albion/Bay class ships.
About three Warrier company’s, a CH2 squadron and and AS90 battery?

JustBeef Trousers
JustBeef Trousers
July 6, 2012 9:45 am

@ Admin – “Each Armoured Infantry Brigade will have three manoeuvre units: a type 56 tank regiment and two armoured infantry battalions. They will also have a heavily protected mobility infantry battalion, and an armoured cavalry regiment which will be able to task organise with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”

technical question from a military illiterate – why isn’t the armoured cavalry regiment considered a manoeuvre unit?

“Furthermore, there will be a newly created Security Assistance Group pulling together the soft effect capabilities of the Military Stabilisation Support Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group and potentially Media Operations Group.”

What exactly does the Military Stabilisation Support Group consist of?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 9:46 am

Is this the pointer to the max envisaged fielded force?
“two Signals brigades, one of which will include five multi-role signals regiments providing Information Communication Support”
– 4 of the ready force
+ 1 out of the adaptable force
+ the RM have their own
= 6 bde-equivalents can be supported with this capability (and 1 in 8 mobilised out of 30.000 would be 30% of a fielded bde and 30% of another, preparing and training)

twecky
twecky
July 6, 2012 10:51 am

Would the lead Armoured Infantry Battle Group fit in the Albion/Bay class ships.
About three Warrier company’s, a CH2 squadron and and AS90 battery?

from elsewhere on this Blog – Bay class approx 1200 lane metres or 24 x CR2 or 150 light trucks. My rough estimate would therefore be that 1 x Bay would fall well short of the LAIBG lift requirement (at least 50 x APC plus 12-14 CR2 plus guns)

Challenger
Challenger
July 6, 2012 10:54 am

A battalion on a short tour of the FI to do some winter training sounds like a good idea. Keeping one at Cyprus to do some summer/sand training is also a bit of a given. These territories need a manpower presence anyway, so yeah might as well kill two birds with one stone. Add a jungle training battalion in Brunei and you have a nice mix of skills being retained.

I do have a couple of questions though. First why do we need to keep a second jungle school in Belize? Seems like a bit of a doubling up of resources. Second is the training school in Kenya still used? Haven’t heard much about it in a while.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 6, 2012 10:58 am

Twecky, Luckily we have 3 bays and 2 LPDs then.

Fedaykin
July 6, 2012 11:28 am

@ Ed Zeppelin

I have an opinion that you don’t agree with and that makes me the worse kind of person.

I know fully well that the people being cut have served our country in the toughest of circumstances. I could be insulted by your bone headed assumption that somehow I have no problem with that…then again you are clearly an armchair army bore who is happy to leap to the attack when somebody dares say anything critical of the boys in green.

If you had bothered to carefully read what I was saying my ire is particularly directed on those who seem to think that their cap is some form of sacred cow. Here is some news buddy: SDSR 2010 has happened and the army portion is now being acted out! The army was spared the initial tranche due to Iraq and A-Stan, with draw down from those commitments the army now has to go through the same pain that the RAF and RN have been through. I don’t think any service personnel who have served our country should suffer enforced redundancy but that is the reality we are in now and when I see high ups in various regiments arguing over which cap should survive rather then take it with a bit of dignity I think I have every right to say they should suck it up.

Finally you rather make my point when you say this:

“people deploying on tour on H17 in 2 months whose only thanks is amalgamation.”

You are bothered about them suffering the indignity of AMALGAMATION! If you are amalgamated into another regiment you might have a good chance of keeping your job…so for you sacred cap badge politics is the priority is it?! Suck it up!

Oh P.S. don’t presume my background or knowledge for all you know I could of served our nation and for all I know you could be some reserve WALT officer in the Army Cadets.

twecky
twecky
July 6, 2012 11:49 am

sorry. We have 3 bays, agreed. But at readiness to meet LAIBG timelines. otheriwse what is the point ?

Maybe 1 x LPD plus 1 x Bay plus a Point class Ro-Ro

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 6, 2012 12:08 pm

What is the LAIBG timeline? Also what is the make up of an LAIBG? Is it expected to have a true Amphibous entry capability? I severely doubt it is in which case the Point Class is ideal. It is hard to support something without detail.

Phil
July 6, 2012 12:26 pm

The LAIBG is at Very High Readiness. Can’t remember what level of notice that is and it’s likely to have sub units at even higher readiness.

The Lead Commando Group will be the sea delivered force. I guess the battlegroup can be moved in the same manner they have been depending on the mission

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 6, 2012 12:33 pm

Phil, they hit their readiness targets when they leave their barracks though and are we talking less than 24 hours for mech or armour?

Simon
July 6, 2012 12:48 pm

Wouldn’t we have 1 LPD and a couple of Bay available at short notice? Also isn’t there already 4 (of the 6) Point Class currently “active” with the MoD – they were supposed to be “on call” rather than continually “active”? I’d guess two of these could be ready at short notice too?

Isn’t this enough for a few armoured battlegroups (four or five) – depending their actual makeup of course???

twecky
twecky
July 6, 2012 12:51 pm

sorry again. the Q was whether LAIBG could “fit” in Bay class. I tried to answer that. ( I think NO). Yes in theory if all three Bays are parked up ready and waiting it might be possible etc etc

It’s the usual bootneck rowlocks to assume that the Lead Cdo BG will be “the sea delivered force” Of course LAIBG is not intended to have a true amphib capability. But at the end of the day 50+ APCs and 14 CR2s are not all going to fly into theatre. They will be the “sea delivered force” Last time I looked the Bay ships didn’t belong to the Cdo bde and are quite capable of delivering 1st loamshires or elements of LAIBG as required.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
July 6, 2012 1:18 pm

Twecky, Of course the Bay vessels are capable of delivering anyone and the actual shipping used would be that most suitable and available to meet the requirement within the time scale required.
It would obviously be preferable to use the point class to do a port offload and keep the Albions and Bays in case of requiring an Amphibous landing at some point. Or even an Amphib faint or distraction.
The fact we are deploying an LAIBG in the first place means that a situation is developing.
My point is that without specifics on the LAIBG, how many lane metres do they require, what notice are they at. Where would they want to embark and what is the preferred means of disembarkation then it becomes very difficult for planners to look at readiness cycles, maintenance and even deployment patterns. This may change as the on call force cycles.
For instance if a certain LAIBG requires X lane metres but the next one only Y then maybe we could use a Bay as APT(N) next year and keep the 23 as Duty TAPS. Could the LAIBG be tailored so that it fits A or B ships profiles rather than requiring a third hull for the 6 or 7 vehicles that dont fit in the first two.
It is a big and complicated jig saw.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 1:20 pm

twecky,

Just looking at the stats, two Bays would take the AIBG
– very slow ship to shore process, no facilities other than to land and refuel helicopters

If not sailing to a port, your Albion could take the amphibious element (about 2 Coy +vehicles, even hovercraft)to go in first, rather more quickly and secure the rest of the process

That would be in the spirit of BGS = a core formation, enhanced with other units as the task at hand dictates

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 6, 2012 1:36 pm

Bay readiness is linked to moving the high readiness Commando group as part of RFTG.

One Bay is kept near the UK for RFTG, usually Mounts Bay. One is permanently in the Persian Gulf on the MCM support task. The remaining one is refit/relief/other tasking/RFTG.

Without significant notice, only 1 or 2 Bays can be counted on to be available. With sufficient notice other arrangements could be made for MCM support. Diligence used to do it, but a Bay is better, and there are other calls on Diligence.

Simon
July 6, 2012 1:46 pm

ArmChairCivvy,

Wouldn’t 2 x Bay do it with slow ship-t-shore and Albion + Bay do it about three times faster? I think there’s enough space on the two of them.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 1:52 pm

RE “Without significant notice, only 1 or 2 Bays can be counted on to be available”
– I wonder how long would it be to get the other Albion going?

It is cost effective to keep a Bay in readiness, but with sufficient notice I guess it would be the Ocean taking the first unit (offers more support after the landing)
– that would then leave 1-2 Albions and 3 Bays, before using the Points and apportioning in resupply

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 6, 2012 1:57 pm

RE “I think there’s enough space on the two of them” by Simon

Going back to the original, just the Challies (24) would use up one.
50 IFVs plus some AS90s will hardly fit in (though troop lift as such would be sufficient)?
– how many days supplies on the same ships?

Simon
July 6, 2012 1:59 pm

ACC,

There aren’t usually 24 MBT in a battlegroup. I think 14 is the normal number? So assuming Bay can fit 24 I’d guess that could be 14 MBT + 10 AS90 before putting all the other assets in Albion (some more can be carried in the LCUs too).

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 6, 2012 1:59 pm

Albion/Bay/Ocean are not interchangeable, they perform different tasks. Bays have a much smaller personnel lift capability than LPD/LPH but a much greater vehicle capacity. Remember, they are intended as second line logistics ships, not first line assault ships. Any amphibious action can be expected to be LPD AND/OR LPH AND LSD, not LSD on their own. Cardigan’s adventures off Somalia being rather atypical.

LPD/LPH readiness is also linked to RFTG amongst other things, as are other units. See APATS planning and readiness post.

Simon
July 6, 2012 2:02 pm

Anixtu,

Agreed. Albion + Ocean do horiz + vert assault respectively with a couple of Bays offloaded when the beachhead has been secured.

Doesn’t mean you can’t halve the force if necessary and do the assault with Albion and use a single Bay for the “big guns”.

Anixtu
Anixtu
July 6, 2012 2:06 pm

ACC,

“1) Going back to the original, just the Challies (24) would use up one.
2) 50 IFVs plus some AS90s will hardly fit in (though troop lift as such would be sufficient)?
3) – how many days supplies on the same ships?”

1) Not entirely. Might fill the vehicle deck, but there is space and (probably) weight for light vehicles and trailers on the upper deck (light <12t).
2) How many bodies in LAIBG and how far are you taking them? Bay: 356 EMF normal or 500 EMF overload. Overload is not nice and only meant for days, not weeks.
3) Provisions, fuel, etc. for sustainment come from other RFAs which are also allotted to RFTG.

Just a thought, can Army vehicles run on F-76 or F-44?

wpDiscuz
↓