MINISTRY OF DEFENCE
200/2004 16 December 2004
FUTURE STRUCTURE OF THE ARMY
Details of radical modernisation plans to develop a more deployable,
agile and flexible Army were announced by Defence Secretary Geoff
The Future Army Structure (FAS) will ensure we have:
* an Army for the challenges of today and tomorrow - it is essential
that the Army changes to meet the demands of current and future
operations, is fit for the challenges of the 21st Century and remains
amongst the best in the world.
* an Army structured for warfighting - the changes will provide the
most powerful organisation and capability possible from the available
* a more effective Army overall - FAS enables the Army to re-invest
around 3000 people into high demand roles such as engineers,
logisticians and intelligence operators - the key enablers that allow
the Army to deliver a robust expeditionary warfighting capability.
* improved stability - the whole Army will be on a system of
individual postings. It will improve the career development and
effectiveness of our soldiers and their ability to balance their
professional commitments against those they have to their families.
* more battalions, available to use, not less - by ending the arms
plot, the out-of-date system of moving regiments around the country,
or the world, approximately every two years and the improved security
situation in Northern Ireland.
Changes to the infantry
Following the consultation into the future of the infantry announced
in July, there will the reduction of four battalions from 40 to 36,
one each from:
* the Scottish Division (the Royal Scots and The Kings Own Scottish
Borderers will merge. The resulting new battalion and the other four
will become part of a new large, single-cap badge regiment, to be
called the Royal Regiment of Scotland);
* the area west of the Pennines (The King's Own Royal Border
Regiment, the King's Regiment and the Queen's Lancashire Regiment
will amalgamate to form two new battalions within the new King's
Lancashire and Border Regiment); and
* the Prince of Wales's Division in the South of England (by merging
components of the Royal Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
with, in the case of the Glosters, the Devon and Dorsetshire Regiment
(which will then transfer to the Light Infantry) and, in the case of
the remainder, the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment)
* the Parachute Regiment.
The highly trained manpower released from the Parachute Regiment will
form the core of a new, joint dedicated tri-Service "Ranger" unit
which will be developed over the coming years. This will be
structured, trained and equipped to provide direct support for
The infantry will also be restructured into large multi-battalion
regiments. This reflects the decision to phase out the Arms Plot and
in future, battalions will be fixed by role and largely by location:
* The Royal Welch Fusiliers and the Royal Regiment of Wales will
combine as the Welsh Regiment. They will be known respectively as 1st
Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 2nd
Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales).
* The Staffordshire Regiment, Cheshire Regiment and Worcester and
Sherwood Foresters will combine as the Mercian Regiment, and be known
as 1st battalion the Mercian Regiment (Cheshires), 2nd Battalion the
Mercian Regiment (Worcesters and Foresters) and 3rd Battalion the
Mercian Regiment (Staffords) respectively.
* The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, The Prince of Wales' Own
Regiment and The Green Howards will come together to form The
Yorkshire Regiment and be known as 1st battalion The Yorkshire
Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own), 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire
Regiment (Green Howards) and Third Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment
(Duke of Wellington's).
The Guards Regiment and Royal Irish will continue to be organised on
their current basis.
The Parachute Regiment, Gurkhas, Royal Anglians, Royal Regiment of
Fusiliers, Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, Royal Green Jackets and
Light Infantry will continue as multi-battalion regiments.
Changes to the Army's future structure
FAS changes involve a shift from the current mix of light and heavy
forces to a more graduated and balanced structure of light, medium
and heavy forces. They will provide the most capable organisation
possible from within the available resources.
As part of the rebalancing 19 Mechanised Brigade will begin to
re-role to form the new 'light brigade' in January 2005. It will be
ready to be deployed, if required, in 2006 when it will serve as the
contingent NATO response force.
4 Armoured Brigade will begin to convert to a Mechanised Brigade in
2006. Other brigades will adopt their new structures around the same
time - taking forward our commitment to create a more balanced force
structure of light, medium and heavy forces.
The manpower freed up by the reduction in battalions will be
re-invested into key enabling capabilities, such as communications,
engineers, logisticians, intelligence experts, that allow the Army to
deliver a robust expeditionary warfighting capability.
The FAS has enabled plans to be put in place to create new
* an additional commando engineer regiment;
* a new port and maritime unit;
* an additional strategic communications unit;
* a new logistic support regiment for each deployable brigade; and
* a number of new sub-units including surveillance and target
acquisition, bomb disposal and vehicle maintenance capabilities.
The plans will further integrate the TA and Reserves with the Regular
Army - increasing the sense of identity, improving overall readiness
and meeting the concerns of TA personnel and their employers.
* The TA will remain the same size as it is today.
* The future TA structure will ensure a more relevant, capable and
* The Infantry TA will reduce from 15 to 14 battalions and will
integrate into the new infantry structure restoring a true sense of
identity at TA battalion level. They will complement the new regular
infantry structure, drawing them closer together to improve
operational and training affiliations, greater integration and
Mr Hoon said,
"These plans will make the Army more robust and resilient, able to
deploy, support and sustain the enduring expeditionary operations
that are essential for a more complex and uncertain world.
"The move to larger, multi-battalion regiments that these changes
bring about is the only sustainable way in which to structure the
infantry for the long term.
"We must consider these changes to the infantry in the wider context
of the need to rebalance the Army, and the opportunity it affords to
reallocate manpower to those areas that we need to develop.
"The Army has always evolved to meet current and future challenges. I
am convinced - and so is the Army - that this transformation is the
right course. The future Army structure will deliver an Army fit for
the challenges of the future."
Mr Hoon also announced a reduction in the Corps of Army Music (CAMUS)
by around 280 posts. This will result in the reduction of six Army
bands and reduce the size of a seventh.
Bands will continue to be identified primarily with regiments and
corps and, given the importance of military music to the maintenance
of esprit de corps and regimental spirit, will continue to be
organised on the basis of their primary role - the provision of Army
Work is in hand to ensure that individuals affected by all the
changes are provided with the chance to retrain and re-role to take
on new tasks. However the reductions in infantry and bandsmen will
require a limited redundancy programme.
The Army will continue around its current size. At around 102,000
strong it will continue to require over 11,000 new recruits every
year, and offer a wide range of high quality employment and training
General Sir Michael Jackson, Chief of General Staff, said:
"The planned Future Structure is good news for the Army. It is about
setting the Army on the right track to meet the challenges of the
"While the Army cherishes tradition, it cannot base future capability
on tradition alone. It has a proud history of embracing necessary
change. Now is one such time. That is why the British Army is, and
will remain amongst the best in the world.
"We have not stopped recruiting. In fact there has never been a more
exciting time to join. We will still need to recruit around 12,400
personnel this year and next year around 13,800."