| 05 July 2012
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and the head of the Army, Chief of the General Staff Sir Peter Wall today in London announced controversial plans to redesign the Army into an agile, capable, formidable force for the future.
The duo said the Army would become a fully integrated Regular and Reserve force of 120,000 by 2020 with its focus shifting from campaigns to contingency when it ended combat operations in Afghanistan.
A source at the MoD said Army 2020 restructures the Army into an integrated force that is trained and equipped for future challenges. Although the Regular Army will be smaller, the Army as a whole will have the agility required to enable it to respond to the challenges faced in an increasingly fluid global environment, adding the UK retains one of the largest Defence budgets in the world and the Army will remain well trained, well equipped and well funded.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “After inheriting a massive overspend from the last Government, we have had to make tough decisions to implement our vision of a formidable, adaptable and flexible Armed Forces; after a decade of enduring operations, we needed to transform the Army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force ready to face the future.
Secretary Hammond revealed: “Army 2020 will create a more flexible and agile Army. Unlike the past, it will be set on a firm foundation of men and materiel, well trained, well equipped, and fully funded. The Regimental system will remain the bedrock of the Army’s fighting future.”
Whilst Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said: “The Army envisaged under Army 2020 will see our forces become better integrated and fully adaptable. It will capitalise on the powerful merits of a modern regimental system to deliver formidable effect when and where it is needed, and will create the best structure for the Army to face the challenges of the future.
Sir Wall added: “The changes in Army 2020 will demand resilience, flexibility and genuine adaptability from our talented and committed officers and soldiers. It is inevitable that some units will be lost or will merge but we have done this in a way that I believe is fair across the whole Army.”
Under Army 2020 the Army will be structured on the basis of graduated readiness which means that units are held at different degrees of preparedness for operations.
High-readiness Reaction Forces will meet the Army’s contingency tasks. They will comprise an air assault brigade with two attack helicopter regiments and three armoured infantry brigades. They will be equipped with upgraded Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, Challenger tanks, and the new Scout vehicle. This will be the nation’s key force for decisive military action on land.
The Adaptable Forces will be based on a regional footprint and held at lower readiness. They will be made up of seven infantry brigades, comprised of paired Regular and Reserve units. They will provide further capacity when required and be able to generate additional brigade-sized forces for enduring operations.
More routinely, the Adaptable Forces will carry out wider engagement overseas to help to build capacity in friendly nations’ armies. They will also fulfil the UK’s standing garrison tasks in Brunei, Cyprus and the Falklands Islands, and be responsible for public duties and state ceremonial tasks.
Finally, Force Troops will provide the specialist support required by the Reaction and Adaptable Forces, including artillery, engineer, surveillance and intelligence, logistic, and medical brigades. The new Security Assistance Group will also engage overseas and work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.