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."
I'm proven right on 104 Logistic Brigade surviving the cut, as i wrote yesterday, and the 5 Theatre Support Signals Regiments are also a pretty official reality.
My guess is that the other Signals brigade will get the "specials", so 10, 14(EW), 15, 22 and 30 Regiments.
The Artillery brigade also seems to be heading in the path i expected it to go: it will probably contain the 5 Fires regiments. However, this new release makes me think that Fire Support Teams will be removed from the single Fires regiments and centralized on their own, and assigned for deployment each time. For the non-initiated, the Fire Support Teams are 6-man squads capable to direct Mortar, Artillery and Air Attacks against the enemy, and they are the british answer to the ANGLICO squads of the US Marines, which so impressed the british army during operations in Iraq in 2003.
The Engineer Brigade will take over the EOD force (squadron...? Weird term, and rather scary, but EOD capabilities shoud be ringfenced, so no worries) and, i believe, will actually centralize the 5 Engineer Regiments, which will be pulled away from the frontline brigades and assigned for deployment/training exercises.
The news release does not really make clear what the Surveillance Brigade is. The non-deployable attribute bugs me, but i actually think that none of the 1-Star Force Troops HQs will be deployable. The units within each brigade will be.
I stand by my guess that the Surveillance and Intelligence brigade will bring together Royal Artillery UAVs and Intelligence Battalions.
Interesting bit of information on the Security Assistance Group, too, which will bring together the Military Stabilization Support Group with the PsycOps group and the Media Operations Group.
The MSSG was formed on 1st April 2009, following 8 months of successful training and operations. Soon after its formation the Group provided vital support to Operation PANTHERS CLAW in Afghanistan, for which it was awarded the Firmin Sword of Peace.
The MSSG current establishment consists of 65 Regular staff drawn from across the three services, up to 60 individual augmentees and 115 reserves predominately from the TA, but also from the RAF Reserves. The Group operates from Its Headquarters at Gibraltar Barracks, Camberley and delivers training and doctrinal responsibilities out of Corunna Barracks – Ludgershall, Tidworth.
The Group answers to the task of Military Assistance to Stabilisation and Development (MASD) to ensure that the Armed Forces have the capability to support stabilisation and reconstruction efforts after war operations.
The new task formally recognised that the Armed Forces should plan and conduct operations to help stabilise and reconstruct in those locations where the security situation is too difficult to allow civilian agencies to work alone. MASD has three defined requirements: Military Assistance to Civil Effects (MACE), Military Capacity Building (MCB) and Cultural understanding and specialisation. MACE is the working term used to describe the tactical level military capability which assists civilians in the delivery of Civil Effect (CE).
The MSSG mission is to prepare and deliver MACE Planning Teams and functional specialists capable of providing stabilisation support to all deployed Formation and Battlegroup HQs in order to contribute to Permanent Joint Head Quarters (PJHQ) and Joint Task Force (JTF) operational capability.
It does make sense to bring together the MSSG and the Psyops and media group, it should better enable the british forces to interact with foreign populations both during peacekeeping and stabilization operations and during "upstream engagement" efforts during peacetime.
Reading on ARRSE forums, it also seems that RAC personnel was briefed about the 4 Territorial Army regiments being all re-roled to Light Cavalry, as i expected.
I'm trying to get even more info, so stay tuned for further updates as they come!