Multi-role brigades

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by irlsgt, Apr 3, 2011.

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  1. irlsgt
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    irlsgt LE

    Is there any word yet on the composition/ORBAT of the 5 multi-role brigades?

    Also will 16 Air Aslt Bde and/or 3 Cdo Bde be 2 of these brigades or will there be 5 multi-role plus 2 specialist?
  2. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    Unfortunately, as soon as you write something on MRBs it is pretty much out of date. However at the moment, 3 and 16 look like remaining as specialist Bdes more or less in their existing configuration. The MRBs will each have the same peacetime configuration, but this is likely to be altered to suit the reality of an operation. The ORBAT will probably be something like: 1x BRR, 1x Armd Regt, 1x AI Bn, 1x Mech Bn, a number of Lt Bns (currently undetermined), then the usual host of CS. Exact numbers of Bns and sub-units will depend on the level of cuts in 2015.
  3. irlsgt
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    irlsgt LE

    So there will actually be 7 combat brigades then. Good!
  4. barbs
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    barbs LE

    I understand that there will be 5 multi-role Bdes and 16 Bde in the Army, as well as 3 Cdo Bde. I know that is pedantic but the Army will lose a Bde and when the "peace" comes the Infantry will be thanked for their hard work by being cut, whereas the regiments which have not been doing the heavy-lifting will remain. Seems fair enough doesn't it.
  5. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    I suspect that the axe will fall hard across the board and that the infantry will not be hit proportionally harder than any other arm or service. The logic being that you always need a teeth to tail ratio which works and within the teeth, the right range and balance of capability.

    The desire is to retain/create a balanced force at whatever tiny overall strength the government feel they can get away with. We must remember that the current deployed force structures are driven, in part by location/environment and in part by cost and political (external and internal) considerations leading to a very light deployed force with questionable operational (and strategic) logistic framework. This is definitely not the balanced force and logistic construct we would 'wish' to deploy on future operations.
  6. meridian
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    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Is the MRB concept still going to create the need to draw units from other brigades or have them not deployed as a unit. If the MRB has for example and Armoured Regiment and the operational need says, no thanks, we don't want CR2, as say Afghanistan, what happens to the Armoured Regiment.

    Would they stay at home, still deploy but without their armour or find some other role somewhere else

    What happens if the operation demands a heavier footprint but at roughly the same scale, would an armoured regiment be drawn from another brigade and then a lighter unit, for example, in the first brigade asked to sit this one out?

    If the whole concept of the MRB is to provide a bit more stability and a predictable tour interval won't this be thrown into disarray if the nature of the operation doesn't fit within the standard mix?
  7. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    What you are suggesting is broadly correct and comes back to taking risk against Defence Planning Assumptions. You are correct in saying that the next operation we deploy on is unlikely to require exactly the same mix of capability that we have deployed on Op HERRICK currently. The theory goes that if we needed a more traditional heavy Bde we would need to draw FEs from other MRBs and perhaps leave behind some of the lighter ones in the MRB (depending on the FP requirement, clearly).

    I think I miss your point about units not deploying together. Unless we move to some sort of combined arms Bn structure, effectively amalgamating the infantry, the RAC and possibly some others; then we will always need to battlegroup our sub-units.

    As to tour intervals, in theory Bdes which in barracks match more closely the construct of the deployed formation on an enduring operation, should have the effect of making force generation simpler and therefore tour intervals easier to predict and manage. The problem is that SDSR envisages a post Afghanistan period where the Army will not be deployed on any enduring operation. Given our recent history of enduring operations: Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leon, Iraq and Afghanistan; I think most will agreed that there are a few holes in the plan.

    Just to clarify, there is a clear requirement for tanks in Afghanistan. If there were not the US, the Danes and the Canadians would not have deployed them and the ANA would not be developing an armoured capability. The reason CR2 is not deployed is a combination of cost, force capping levels in theatre and the political message that deploying them this far through the campaign would send out. i.e. It would be seen as an indicator of failure, that we need to deploy them having started without them and especially now that we are supposed to be drawing down, because everything is getting much better in Helmand.
  8. meridian
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    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    thanks BC, perhaps I was being a monglish and not understanding the concept but the way I read it was that each brigade would deploy in sequence, as a formed unit, to an agreed rotation plan.

    So on an enduring basis there would be an order that would be maintained throughout, no matter how long the operation lasted, the same units deploying, post deploying, pre deploying, acting as the high readiness etc. Of course if we go for a short term operation of multiple brigade strength then everything gets jumbled up again but surely the MRB is predicated on the need to be able to support an enduring operation at brigade strength.

    I agree on the CR2 requirements for Afghanistan but that doesnt change the fact that some will need what an MRB can deliver, some won't need any and some will need more. Hence no matter what the objectives of the MRB concept, to generate a packaged self contained multi purpose brigade on an enduring basis, there is going to be a very good chance of any given MRB not deploying as it is established.

    For me, this defeats the whole objective of creating and maintaining stability and force generation.

    Perhaps I need to read about it more but it seems like a jack of all trades master of 'sometimes', that sometimes being when the operations needs the mix of armoured, mechanised and light plus whatever aviation, CS and CSS we can muster.

    On the subject, has anything been agreed yet on on aviation, CS and CSS
  9. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    Fair point, but you need to base force structures on some sort of assumptions as to likely operational requirements. The MRB model is as good a best guess as any, although as you rightly point out it does not cater for the "worst" eventualities (i.e. MCO) and in most cases deployed force structures will differ in some way from the basic MRB structure. However, its defence, if you accept that you need to plan (and therefore base non-deplyed force structures on something), the MRB structure and the hybrid BGs within are as good a building blocks as we can afford and should be able to morph into the exact formation shape you actually need to service the specific requirement.
  10. irlsgt
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    irlsgt LE

    On your last point quite possibly, if you are deploying 2 tank regiments it is going to effect rotations of brigades and unit.

    What you need is a brigades and units that are trained together and fully up to war fighting establishment, so that you don't need to bring in attachments. For example, X Bde could have Y TA infanty coy on its establishment as a FP coy.

    Or an enduring brigade level and an enduring battalion level (eg has Brunei and Cyprus etc been factored in?)




    Hence my question
  11. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    True, unfortunately we can't afford it nor can you predict the exact force make up you will need in the operation. Therefore we must make do with what we can afford based on what we are most likely to need, hence the MRB.

    Like all factors that influence force make up, the FP requirement will vary on the situation. Therefore a TA Coy might be the right answer in some circumstances but not others. In addition anyone who has served in Iraq or Afghanistan will recognise that FP runs a little deeper than just having a designated FP Coy per Bde.

    I don't believe that either the resident Bn in Cyprus nor the Gurkha Bn in Brunei fall into an MRB. Both have unique tasks but are able to contribute to the OCP on an ad hoc basis (as required), this is unlikely to change without some major changes in UK foreign (and in the case of the SBAs, domestic) policy.
  12. Glad_its_all_over
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    Glad_its_all_over LE Book Reviewer
    1. Arrse on 2 Wheels

    We should bear in mind that one of the key planning assumptions is that the current 'oozing sore' modus operandi, with an endless succession of scratch brigades deploying on roulement into an endless conflict is most definitely not on the radar as far as HMG is concerned. In and out quickly is the motto, one gathers. The Army has become conditioned to think of Telic/Herrick as the norm (which it has been for nearly ten years, of course); it will be reverting to a peacetime establishment and routine as soon as we get the hell out of Helmand. This will be a new experience for probably 50% of the officer corps and perhaps as many as 75% of the rank and file. I foresee some strained times ahead.
  13. brave-coward
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    brave-coward LE

    "In and out quickly" is a politician's fantasy. I think the speed at which this government became embroiled in Libya (of which I suspect we have only seen the comparatively easy start) demonstrates to me that in this era of compassionate interventionism, any likely UK government will find itself committing to something. This may be limited to an air ops only policy for a few years until we relearn the lesson that in order to have the required effect, we almost always need troops on the ground; and so the circle continues. Perhaps we should just blame the Blair/Clinton combination for kicking off the seemingly irreversible moral interventionist trend. Either way, Afghanistan will not be the last operation we are involved in either motivated by a desire to improve our own security (Iraq/Afghanistan) or for humanitarian reasons (the Balkans).
  14. Glad_its_all_over
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    Glad_its_all_over LE Book Reviewer
    1. Arrse on 2 Wheels

    I wouldn't disagree with brave-coward above, in that the reality will almost certainly differ dramatically from government planning - I could imagine circumstances where a full-on intervention somewhere horrid might well be politically necessary and the Army will be called upon to perform it. I seriously wonder at the sustainability, short of a major national mobilisation (with the accompanying popular and political support required), of more than a very limited (in terms of time and resource) brigade-scale operation.
  15. meridian
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    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    Sorry to drag up an old thread but wondered if any of the questions above have been answered, CS and CSS especially
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