Future Force 2020 is configured to "get away from the focus on mass" typical of the Cold War towards a "flexible, agile" force configured for "expeditionary warfare" and shaped around "carrier strike", according to Hammond.
It is a big point scored for the aircraft carriers, if it is a strategic direction and not just words.
Next few years will see big change "on the ground" due to the return of the Army from Germany and Afghanistan and due to the change in structure into "5 Multi Role Brigades". The MRB remains the plan, five remains the number, despite rumors suggesting otherwise.
Planning Round 2012 is being shaped, and mr. Hammond is "confident" that the MOD is about to close the budget gap and that, from next year, it will be able to plan on budget.
However, the rumor is that the MOD is trying to renegotiate contracts to achieve savings, 3000 more civilians will be cut from the MOD, and reductions/delays might hit FRES SV in order to achieve an (hopefully final) cut of 2 billions, as the MOD is currently overbudget and must re-enter. No further cuts in troop numbers are anticipated, and the Puma HC2, which was reported at risk, is now expected to be safe.
RAF Northolt airport could however be sold, entirely or in part, and become an alternative to the contested plan for an additional runway at Heatrow. The airport could be sold by the MOD for a lot of money, but i suspect that, even if it eventually gets sold, part of the airport will remain in use for the RAF.
The debate at the House of Commons unfortunately did not expand on any of this.