CGS' FAS Newsletter

#1
Last one - unless anyone wants the accompanying PowerPoint slide pack! :)

The Army – Looking to the Future

Last July, following the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review (SR04), I announced the Army Board’s intent to develop the Future Army Structure (FAS). Since then work has been taken forward to identify how we will rebalance the Army to deliver more robust unit establishments; greater coherence and capability at Brigade level; and greater integration of the TA so that we can face the demands of future, expeditionary operations. I explained that the shift from a heavy/ light mix to heavy/medium/light forces and from combat to combat support and combat service support was integral to FAS and how our essential warfighting capability would be maintained. In short, FAS is where the Army needs and wants to go to ensure that it can meet tomorrow’s challenges and provide the right environment for soldiers and their families. FAS is a good result for the Army. I am aware that the changes inherent in FAS have generated debate and some concern. As I stated in July, putting FAS into effect will be a major activity for the Army over the next few years; in its fully developed form it will take time to implement. I am determined therefore that you are fully informed. This is the first issue of the FAS brief. It provides an overview of what FAS entails. The chain of command will brief you on the detail. Subsequent issues will update you as necessary. While I will not repeat what I said in July, I want to update you on 5 key areas:

- The new structure – more robust and more effective.

- Changes to the infantry – an issue that has tended to overshadow the benefits of FAS for the Army.

- The TA.

- The Corps of Army Music.

- Future challenges.

More Robust and More Effective Unit Establishments

The release of 4 battalions assigned to Northern Ireland (NI) and further anticipated reductions in permanently committed forces will enable us to reinvest some 3,000 posts to other parts of the Army. This allows us to make unit structures more robust – a key part of FAS – and to address some critical shortfalls in key enablers (in particular: logisticians, engineers and intelligence operators). Some 10,000 posts across the Army will change. Some Arms & Services will increase in size; some will contract; and a few will remain broadly the same. Some will say that there are winners and losers. I do not see it like that. 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.

The Infantry

Work to determine the Future Infantry Structure (FIS) was a significant element of FAS. The gradual cessation of the Infantry Arms Plot, with its inherent inefficiencies, is good news for everyone. However, the decision to reduce the infantry by the 4 battalions released under NI optimisation will be painful for those directly affected. FAS will see battalions fixed by role and largely by location. This, with the move to large multi-battalion regiments, will allow us to ‘trickle’ post individuals thus ensuring the breadth of experience, training and opportunities they require for their careers. This approach is not new. It is used successfully by a majority of the Army. Once implemented, more battalions will be regularly available for use on operations than is the case today. FIS will preserve what is good in the Regimental system – the ‘golden thread’ of the traditions and ethos of each battalion. We in the Army must work together to support and implement these changes in a positive, effective and determined manner.

The TA

Closer and better integration of the TA and Regular Reserves has been central to FAS. We will build on the demonstrable success of the integration of the TA and Reserves on operations and the primary force driver has remained the need to augment the Regular Army for Large Scale Deliberate Intervention (LSDI) operations – such as Op TELIC. This work has also recognised that the TA’s ongoing and key commitment to operations – providing specialist capabilities and supporting Regular units with individuals or formed sub-units on a voluntary basis – will remain an enduring feature. In broad terms, the TA will remain the same size as it is today at some 42,000. The future structure, involves rebalancing – involving growth in some areas and reductions in others – and will reflect the changes in the Regular Army’s structure and enhance the TA’s ability to provide specialist support (e.g. specialist logisticians, intelligence analysts, engineers and AH support teams). In addition, and for the first time, the TA’s structure will be robust enough to cater for unavailability and for untrained personnel. The final structure will be validated over the next 6 months but the changes will ensure that the TA is integrated more closely with the Regular Army. FAS will deliver a more relevant, capable and usable TA, a TA that is the Army’s reserve of first choice.

The Corps of Army Music – Regular Army Bands

The number of musicians in the Army is defined by their operational role. Under the new Defence Planning Assumptions there will be a reduction in this number. The total number of musicians has been justified on the grounds of the operational requirement to provide general duties and chemical decontamination support to deployed medical units. Whilst bands must train effectively for this role, the principal organisational driver in their restructuring has been the requirement to undertake their musical commitments. Their reorganisation will ensure that corps and regimental musical traditions, identities and ethos are maintained. In addition to ensuring that musical standards are maintained, HQ DCAMUS will now play a greater role in bandsmen’s career management and it will be responsible for ensuring that musical standards are maintained. There will be therefore a reduction of 6 bands – 2 from the RAC and 4 from the Infantry. Further minor reductions will be considered should Northern Ireland normalisation occur.

Future Challenges

People

Soldiers and their dependants are at the heart of FAS. Increasing the number of key enablers, who have had a particularly high call on operational tours, will ease the pressure. But FAS will also provide soldiers with the variety, experience, training and career progression that they need. In addition, FIS will provide greater stability in the infantry – always a compromise in a mobile profession – for soldiers and their families. This will enable families to put down roots; minimise the disruption to children’s education and help partners who wish to pursue their own careers. The move to FAS will involve a limited number of targeted redundancies (around 400 from the Infantry and Bands). This does not mean that the Army has stopped recruiting. On the contrary, it will continue to need thousands of quality young men and women to join the Army every year. We must all continue to support the recruiting effort. This aside, we will look after those who are involved in the redundancy programme.

Estate

The Army will need to rebalance the estate to accommodate the new structures. We have embarked on a strategic plan that will gradually achieve Brigade basing coherence, leading in the longer term to ‘Super Garrisons’. Whilst the estate cannot change overnight and, while I am frustrated that it cannot be improved faster, considerable work is ongoing to ensure that it is moving in the right direction. I am confident that this will deliver better accommodation for soldiers and their families. Current and planned estate projects (such as the single living accommodation project, called SLAM, ALLENBY & CONNAUGHT estate developments in Tidworth, Bulford and Aldershot and the Colchester Private Finance Initiative) will ensure that the estate is improved. These, along with work to achieve the longer term FAS basing plan will in time ensure that we establish the right environment to enable us to train and deploy as well as support our families.

Equipment

Equipment is a key component of delivering FAS. Some highlights are worth mentioning here. In the short- term, the introduction of BOWMAN will be the most obvious change and it will, together with ASTOR radar and the WATCHKEEPER unmanned air vehicle, will enable the Army to begin to exploit the benefits of Network Enabled Capability. With the introduction of capabilities such as the LIMAWS Gun and PANTHER (FCLV), we will start to develop the medium weight capability, with FRES at its core. FRES will replace equipment such as Saxon, CVR(T) and FV 432. Overall we will see greater emphasis given to equipment that supports medium/light forces. That said, our heavy capability cannot be ignored. TITAN and TROJAN, shortly to enter service, will enhance engineer mobility and investment in Challenger 2 and Warrior – battle winning equipments – will continue to attract a high priority. Finally, we must continue to take advantage of Whole Fleet Management, which will deliver significant benefits.

Doctrine

Doctrine to underpin FAS is being developed. It will continue to evolve. Trials and experimentation will be central to this and these require our active support – your input will ensure that the right tactics, techniques and procedures are developed quickly and effectively. We are forming 3 Interim Medium Armoured Squadrons in the Mechanised Brigades to act as the test bed for experimentation to support the fielding of Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), a family of new armoured vehicles.

Resources

FAS will result in the Army being better organised for the challenges ahead. However, full implementation will take time. The pace of change will be dependent on the provision of resources. Financial planning will continue to be very challenging. However the Army Board is determined to achieve FAS. We may have to accept some short term incoherence to achieve the strategic goal. So I would ask that you work through issues, rather than look for reasons to delay or change FAS.

Change

FAS implementation will not happen overnight. Indeed, although it will begin in early 2005 with 19 Brigade’s migration to a light Brigade, the full implementation plan will take a number of years. Working to deliver the plan is all our business. Change of this scale, however detailed the plan, is never simple. Its delivery and its success is all our business. We must grasp the nettle now to ensure that we use the opportunity that FAS offers to enable the Army to meet tomorrow’s challenges.
 
#2
Another great post from Slopes (AKA SO3 Paperclips and Staples, DStationeryA) :lol:
 
#3
Hey Slopes,
Being a SPAM (and I love the stuff too!) send me the PowerPoint! We think in PPT you know! Been following this with great interest as we went thru a similar experience in the early 90s. My regiment, the 41st, went from four battalions to 0 and now back to 1.
 
#4
Further minor reductions will be considered should Northern Ireland normalisation occur
Is the CGS off message here? I thought the whole driver behind the Infantry cuts was that 'normalisation' IS hapening in NI.

Smoke 'n' mirrors
 
#5
[quote="Hootch Is the CGS off message here? I thought the whole driver behind the Infantry cuts was that 'normalisation' IS hapening in NI.
[/quote]

Just the difference between military reality and political wishful thinking.
 
#6
woopert said:
Another great post from Slopes (AKA SO3 Paperclips and Staples, DStationeryA) :lol:
Cheers Woopert - but I usually get my SO3s to make me brews and post some of my more inflamatory comments and ideas on my behalf!
 
#7
A term, in daily use within the army I know - "BOLLOCKS".

1. Why are we spending a fortune converting only some of our 430 series with a new drive train instead of all of them (probably due to the contract DPA placed to supply parts for the old 430 series)?

2. Why are CVRT getting replaced at a time when they are becoming much more reliable and capable?

3. Why are RLC & REME so keen to cut posts - proper cuts, not just gapping- at a time when the FAS is freeing up logisticians and other support elements?

4. Why are we insisting it is down to CO's to take the risk when accepting vehs & eqpt issued by WFM that are far from up to date on modifications, including safety ones?

5. Why are we planning to use the TA more & more when APC is insisting it will only allow a TA soldier to do no more than 42 months FTRS service?

6. Why are we trying to sell the "people thing" when no increase in Infantry - after all that is the majority of what we deploy - means more RA, RAC, RLC, REME, etc will have to be deployed in the infantry role just to keep the numbers up, resulting in more non infantry people deployed away from there families?
 

Similar threads

Top