Army Briefing Note on FAS

This should serve to quell some of the more uninformed garbage on this site about methodology regarding FAS.

Serial No: 0704 Source: D Army RP

Date: 16 Dec 04 Released by: Def Pub(A)



1. An update on progress towards the implementation of the Future Army Structure (FAS), an initiative that aims to re-balance the deployable Army better to meet its operational commitments.


2. The principal objectives of FAS are to:

a. Bring an overall transition from a heavy/light mix to a heavy/medium/light balance of forces, and from combat to combat support and combat service support, in order to make the Army more capable of conducting expeditionary operations.

b. Improve brigade capability by enhancing coherence and providing integral combat and combat service support.

c. Provide more robust establishments, particularly at brigade level and below, to facilitate deployment without the current degree of back-filling and task-organising.

d. Re-align the structure of the TA so that it can be integrated more effectively.


3. FAS Structural Changes. FAS affects the whole Army. Up to 3,000 posts will be reinvested across the Army. This allows us to make unit structures more robust – a core tenet of FAS – and to address some critical shortfalls in key enablers (in particular: logisticians, engineers and intelligence operators). Nearly 10,000 posts across the Army will change and 94% of deployable units will be affected. Some Arms and Services will increase in size; some will contract; and a few will remain broadly the same. It may seem that there are winners and losers. This is not the case. The whole Army will rebalance and the whole Army will gain from being better organised, more robust and better structured to meet the challenges that we face (for more detail on the structural changes, see Annex A).

4. Robust Establishments. To date, units have been made up to ‘War-Fighting Establishment’ for deployments by a method of regular-to-regular back-filling. More robust establishments will reduce the need for this practice which has, along with a shortage of key enablers, adversely affected the Army’s 24-month tour interval guideline and unit cohesion. In future, a unit will deploy with its Deployable Component (for the more likely routine operations) drawing on its Contingent Component (normally from the TA) for the most demanding operations. A unit will also have an Enabling Component (consisting of an established Rear Party and an Infrastructure Element for security and support).

5. Future Infantry Structure. The restructuring of the Infantry reflects the Secretary of State’s announcement in Jul 04 of a reduction of four regular infantry battalions, from 40 to 36, as part of the reduction of forces committed to Northern Ireland and the decision to end infantry battalion re-roling (the Arms Plot). The intention is to fix battalions by role (and largely by location) which will lead to individual ‘trickle’ posting rather than unit moves. This requires the infantry to adopt a new structure of large multi-battalion regiments (for details see Annex B). A limited redundancy programme will be required. Full details will be published in the New Year.

6. Support to Special Forces. Critical to our prosecution of the war against terror is our Special Forces capability. The MoD has been looking at the broader arrangements through which the Armed Forces could provide greater support to special forces operations. The Secretary of State has agreed to the creation of a ‘ranger’ type battalion dedicated to the direct support of Special Forces. The most appropriate way to meet this new task would be to allocate the fourth reduction to the 1st Bn The Parachute Regiment, removing it from the line infantry and using its highly trained manpower and structure as the core of this new battalion.

7. Collective Training. HQ LAND has been developing a new model (to replace the Formation Readiness Cycle) that will deliver a ‘core competence’ level of training across the whole Army (i.e. training for war) as well as the requirements of specific operations (i.e. training for a war). The development of a Force Delivery Mechanism will meet both of these requirements from the end of 2005, although BOWMAN conversion will constrain some of its effectiveness until Jan 08.

8. Re-Balancing the TA. The size and shape of the TA is being revised to reflect the requirement to augment the regular deployable units (adjusted under FAS) for the most demanding Deliberate Intervention operations. The Army Board has agreed the new indicative structure, which sees the TA remain at a size of about 42,000. However there will be some rebalancing between TA Arms and Services. HQ LAND is developing a detailed plan for implementation of these structural adjustments which will be announced in the summer of 2005 (for further detail see Annex C).

9. Corps of Army Music. The provision of Bands has been reviewed and the new structure of the Corps of Military Musicians will be designed primarily for musical activity whilst it will be capable of providing support to medical units on large scale operations if required. But the principal organisational driver will be the requirement to undertake their musical role. There will be a reduction in the number of bands including 4 infantry and 2 RAC bands. Another limited redundancy programme will be required and full details will be published in the New Year.


10. The current structure of the Army is based on the most demanding tasks it has to be able to conduct, namely large-scale war-fighting. Experience in the way that the Field Army has been structured in the last seven years has shown that this does not suit the pattern of concurrent medium and small-scale operations that it has been routinely exposed to, particularly for key enablers. FAS will ensure that the Army is structured for the most likely tasks with a true war-fighting capability at its core, whilst retaining the ability to generate for the most demanding tasks.

11. The requirement to mount expeditionary operations at medium and small scale more rapidly requires a re-balancing from heavy forces to a lighter, more deployable structure. The three mechanised brigades will take on a rapid intervention medium weight role, although it is recognised that they will not achieve the full level of deployability required until the introduction of new air-portable platforms, particularly the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES).

12. In addition to FRES, the Army’s contribution to effects-based warfare will be enhanced by the introduction of the APACHE attack helicopter as well as long range precision attack munitions from 155mm guns and rockets and improved Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities. These are in addition to digitised communications (BOWMAN and FALCON), under the umbrella of Networked Enabled Capability (NEC), which aim to link more closely sensors, decision-makers and weapons systems.

13. Greater emphasis on expeditionary capability will mean that combat service support units will form robust brigade logistic groups and ensure more force elements are closely matched in readiness and training terms to the combat elements that they are supporting.

14. Operations TELIC and VERITAS have marked the emergence of the TA as the reserve of first choice to support our land forces on operations. Greater integration into the restructured FAS Army will make the TA even more useable and deployable. TA personnel will continue to contribute to enduring commitments on a voluntary basis as they have been doing so effectively over the last few years.


15. FAS Implementation will not happen overnight. FAS has been in the planning stages for several months and a detailed implementation plan has been endorsed by the Army Board and its timetable is as follows:

a. Phase 1. Now until end of 2008. Structural changes. 4 Armoured Brigade will re-role to a mechanised brigade and 19 Mechanised Brigade will re-role to a light brigade via an interim structure.

b. Phase 2. 2008-2012. Infrastructure adjustments in place. FRES experimentation carried out.

c. Phase 3. Beyond 2012. FRES and full range of ISTAR, NEC, deep target attack and Air Manoeuvre capabilities delivered.


16. FAS aims to produce a war-fighting Army, geared for expeditionary operations, structured for the most likely tasks at brigade level but able to generate forces for less frequent but larger deployments. It will be balanced in combat capability, able to deploy, support and maintain forces on operations, with integrated reserves and more predictable tour intervals.

17. FAS will produce an agile, balanced, intervention capability consisting of medium and light forces underpinned by effective, capable heavy forces able to conduct operations across the full spectrum of conflict.


Book Reviewer
The_Sloping_Wire said:
This should serve to quell some of the more uninformed garbage on this site about methodology regarding FAS.
Coo...steady on there'll be suggesting next that this is an ECAB initiative, endorsed by the Chief of Defence staff and Army-driven....

rather than the ARRSE version : Treasury-inspired cuts being pushed through by shiny-arrsed Snivel Serpents and reluctantly implemented by an ever shrinking overstretched Service.....

steady that man....blood pressures across the land are involved here!

a merry Christmas and a Peaceful and prosperous New Year to all our readers, regardless of height,gender or preferred Deity ! 8)

Le Chevre Couchant
Well done Sloping Wire. This sort of detail is what is needed. I was listening to Radio Scotland phone-in with Ingram live today and they were discussing what was to happen to BW.
Nearly everyone who spoke against had no real idea of the issues. They seemed to be parroting the same old mantra pushed out by the red tops. Again and again they went on about it being tradition hat caused Jocks to enlist in 'Dad's old regiment'. Finally some one came on who asked why people enlisted in corps that had very little tradition. Also made point that when a soldier enlists he has very little idea of traditions and regimental family ethos but learns as he is taught. Same sort of thing will exist in the 'new' BW etc.
I cannot see PoD being pushed into what he thinks and says. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that the revised system is necessary and will have the benefits claimed.

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