19 June 2012

More info on the UK restructuring

Just how much will the Brits cut uniforms and swap in contractors?

Whole regiments could be axed or merged, and infantry battalions and armoured units disappear as the army faces its biggest shakeup since the end of the cold war, Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, will say on Thursday.

The army will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by the year 2020 and will have to rely more on reserves and private contractors, he is expected to say.

But it will continue to provide the "teeth" in future military operations as Britain's European allies provide the logistics backup, Hammond will say at a London conference on land warfare run by the Royal United Services Institute thinktank.

Defence officials emphasised that more functions of the army would be "outsourced" – potentially to include more training and logistics as well as backup security work.

Restructuring the British army will "rethink the way we deliver every aspect of military effect in order to maximise capability at the front line". In future, he will say, the army must be "thinking innovatively about how combat service support is provided. Using more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors. Working closely with partners to operate logistics more rationally through [Nato] alliance structures. Looking to others to provide the tail, where Britain is concentrating on providing the teeth".

Hammond will stress the importance of the regimental tradition – "maintaining the ethos, traditions and connections that are part of what makes the British army so effective – particularly, a regimental system and regionally focused recruiting", he will say. But he is expected to emphasise the point that a regular army of 82,000 will have a very different structure to one of 102,000. "Some units inevitably will be lost or will merge," the defence secretary will warn.

Hammond will say there is "no question of abandoning the regimental system... that does not mean that we can avoid difficult decisions as the army gets smaller." History and heritage deliver "tangible military benefits in the modern British army".

By: Brant

1 comment:

Brian said...

Quite a while ago Strategy & Tactics ran a long article by then-Major Donald Mack on the British Army's regimental system. In it he detailed the long and almost continuous process of regimental merges, disbandments, and reductions to zero strength (which is not the same as disbandment).

I came away thinking, "hm, The Incredible Shrinking Army". This appears to be just more of the same.