British Army considers downsizing CBRN role

#1
link

Senior British Army commanders are looking to downsize the service's role in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) operations to divert personnel to support the war in Afghanistan.

The British Army's contribution to the Joint CBRN (JCBRN) Regiment, which provides specialist reconnaissance, containment and decontamination support to the UK armed forces on operations overseas and government agencies in the UK, is under scrutiny in a major review of roles and missions.

Dubbed the Future Army Structures (Next Steps) (FAS(NS)), the study has proposed that the armoured unit 1 Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR), which provides the core of the JCBRN Regiment along with 27 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Regiment, be re-roled as a new formation reconnaissance regiment. It would then be able to support an ongoing rotation of British Army brigades to Afghanistan, a senior army source said. "The army only has five formation reconnaissance brigades and six deployable brigades so the rotation cycle is out of sync and means the reconnaissance troops have to spend longer than is bearable on operations to cover the gap in the roulement plan."
 
#2
Before anyone else says it, this is not being done because of a change in requirement or any reassessment of requirement in the CBRN threat.

This is because we can't afford the role

No money to do it.

Budget won't allow it

Hard choices etc etc

Now I wonder who has signed off the risk assessment to say we don't this capability to the size we have it currently.

Anyone going to own up to signing it off? It had better be a Minister.
 
#4
It'll be fine as long as we keep it a secret and don't tell anyone who may wish to use any form of CBRN attack against us.
As long as a big international defence publishers like Jane's don't get hold of the id...............
 
#5
"The army only has five formation reconnaissance brigades (...)" ?

Surely it has 5 regiments/battalions for 6 formations (brigades)?

Pardon me if I am the only confused one here.
 
#7
From tanks to Fuchs to ???????

Correct me if I wrong....where's the supporting evidence/linky?

This Regt has very valid roles both at home and abroad and are very busy don't forget they are a mix or the capability of all three services. One of the Sub units already rotates permanently through Helmand anyway on other jobs.

RTR = Royal Tank Regiment - Maybe time for a name change!!!
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
There is a broader issue:
Given ever-limited budgets and resources, does Whitehall prioritize current, active-service operations or attempt to cover all potential future threat scenarios? The latter case, of course, gives certain parts of the services (esp RN and RAF) all kinds of leverage to demand all kinds of equipment and taskings.

To me the answer is obvious: We must face the here and now, not the "might happens."

Still....what is the betting that within weeks of the unit being disbanded, we suffer a Tokyo-subway style chemical strike?
 
#9
Ooops just read the link to Janes.

Does still seem to intimate that there will still be about a Sqn size committed to CBRN (RAF) so there would still be some capability left for UK or abroad but, probably not both.

Maybe the trick is to create a larger organisation with alot of gaps that could be filled if the threat changes.

Need to bear in mind that one CBRN Regt was never enough to cover the UK on its own against a sustained series of attacks. (No Secret). Merely knee jerk to Sept 11. There are other such units that face a similar axe.

Could we not re-role some TA Sqns/Companies to do the UK role? They seem to be a little wanting for work.
 
#10
Underworld_Guitar_Hero said:
Ooops just read the link to Janes.

Does still seem to intimate that there will still be about a Sqn size committed to CBRN (RAF) so there would still be some capability left for UK or abroad but, probably not both.

Maybe the trick is to create a larger organisation with alot of gaps that could be filled if the threat changes.

Need to bear in mind that one CBRN Regt was never enough to cover the UK on its own against a sustained series of attacks. (No Secret). Merely knee jerk to Sept 11. There are other such units that face a similar axe.

Could we not re-role some TA Sqns/Companies to do the UK role? They seem to be a little wanting for work.
Jt CBRN Regt has NEVER been mandated for the home-game, only supporting deployed UK forces on ops, not in a CT mainland UK sense, that is the job of CivPol, some Engr EOD chaps, etc. (although clearly if it happened JCBRNR would probably get crashed out)

As far as maintaining the coverage for boys abroad goes it could be kept without a problem - 27 Sqn RAF Regt to continue doing the static detection stuff for bases, Engrs to take on the light role teams and combine with an EOD regt (which would actually make a lot of sense) and 1RTR to maintain their 4th sabre sqn (most FR have 2 or 3) as a Fuchs sqn.

Anyway, there's been chat about this for ages (seem to remember reading something about it in the RAC forum about 3 years ago) and I'll believe it when I see it...

(edited for grammar)
 
#16
The Joint CBRN Regiment no longer exists. 27 Sqn RAF Regiment has gone back to "rock ape" duties and 1 RTR are once again " 1 RTR " although they remain in the CBRN role. 1 RTR is due to replace 2 RTR crewing Vikings in Afghanistan very soon.
 
#17
We gave up being serious about CBRN in the 90s, IMHO, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Warsaw Pact.

The mess that was NBC on TELIC had to be seen to be believed, especially when you consider that we were solely there because of the threat of WMD. I'd even seen a top politician on the telly telling me that we were going to die because of WMD.

Except he hadn't allowed the MOD to buy any detectors/chemicals/shelters/filters/sensors/papers/ etc etc for use on the very same operation!

Litotes
 
#18
A mate who worked part-time on the staff of 16th Air Assault told me that when they crossed the start line (I'm too old for this new-fangled "line of departure" flapdoodle) in Telic 1, there was not a single functioning NBC detector in the brigade.

As far as I can see, the principal reason for creating the NBC regiment -- apart from the perpetual necessity for everyone to be purple, as the crabs keep telling us -- was as a token that the gummint was taking seriously their scaremongering drivel about the sky falling in 45 minutes.

In the absence of any NBC threat more serious than one of my juicier farts, we need boots (or wheels, or tracks) on the ground for bread-and-butter maneouvre jobs far more than we need some ludicrously over-specialised regiment to deal with a non-threat.

Also, it doesn't greatly matter that NBC BISA has been munged up for another year.

The sky is, in fact, falling, but it is treasury parsimony that is dropping its weight onto the shoulders of the army of mercenaries[*], not hordes of mujahideen fanatics wielding VX and mustard.

All the best,

John

[*] A E Houseman reference.
 
#19
John_D said:
Also, it doesn't greatly matter that NBC BISA has been munged up for another year.

All the best,

John

[*] A E Houseman reference.
And how much has the BISA debacle cost to date? not to mention the £m spent on GSR, which has yet to see the light of day?
 
#20
The planned change is a proposal only and has not been agreed outside of DRAC.

In addition to the regular component there are now 5 in role CBRN Sqns in the TA ( The RY).

Even if the plan becomes reality there will still be a significant number of Regular CBRN soldiers in both the RTR and the RAF Regt.

The plan is about matching what has been happening for years, the percieved threat and the finacial reality we all find our selves in.
 

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