Future Army Structure

Read all the B.S. and propoganda... so does anyone really know exactly what it means for the infantry? Who is for the chop?

Who is changing?
And what does it mean for my chances when I try to get back in as an officer in one years time???
The end-state is 2 armoured brigades, 3 medium brigades and 2 light brigades.

General Sir Mike Jackon said:
The changes to the Infantry have been a highly emotive issue and they have been the subject, rightly, of rigorous debate. The reduction of 4 infantry battalions, as a result of the improvements in Northern Ireland, is a step that we must make if – within the Army manpower ceiling of around 102,000 - we are to structure the rest of the Army properly. Whilst the Infantry have been very heavily committed over the last few years, the level of routine commitment is now beginning to flatten. Operational tour intervals for the Infantry have now improved from around 15 months last year to about 21 months now and I expect them to continue to improve towards our ideal target of 24 months. Further progress in Northern Ireland will assist this.

The ending of the current Arms Plot system is a logical change that is broadly supported by the infantry, both serving and retired.

The inherent re-roling was inefficient and costly in terms of time, hard-won capability and money. It also adversely affected family stability – always a compromise in a mobile profession such as ours, but an area that we, for the sake of our soldiers and their families, have to improve. In simple terms, the Arms Plot rendered some 7 to 8 battalions unavailable at any one time: we did not have, therefore, 40 battalions in the effective Order of Battle, but rather some 32. In the future, the 36 battalions will all be available. By fixing infantry battalions by role and largely by location, we will have a new Infantry structure that will involve individual postings rather than unit moves – an approach that is already widely used across the Army to good effect and will provide challenge, variety and experience whilst improving continuity of role, operational capability and family stability.
The Army Board, and indeed the Army, is convinced of the need to develop a new regimental system for the challenges ahead. We want to get on with the job. The ending of the Arms Plot means that the current existence of single battalion regiments has run its course. The whole Infantry must now move to a large Regimental structure. It is significant that this was the intent of previous Army Boards in 1961/62, 1966/67 and to some extent in 1992. This Board has had the opportunity to grasp the nettle.

Before I cover the detail, we must not lose sight of the enhancements FAS makes to infantry capability:

 There will be an increase from 19 to 23 infantry battalions in All Arms Brigades; the 9th platoon in Armoured Infantry battalions will exist in fact and not just on paper; Reconnaissance platoons will be enhanced as will integral infantry firepower. All in all some 550 posts will be reinvested throughout the infantry.

The Regimental System is at the core of the British infantry. As a system, it has wisely and sensibly adapted as circumstances have changed – it has had many models. Circumstances are changing again, and the Infantry and the Regimental System are adapting again. The new Regiments and Battalions will continue to enshrine the history, traditions and ethos of their antecedents. This along with the leadership, training, esprit de corps and the values and standards that epitomise the Army will ensure that they and the Army continue to deliver operational success.

What of the detail. My message to the Army, which you have, explains some of the background and how decisions were reached. I will not go into all the detail just now, but I want to touch on the key criteria upon which the Army Board based its decisions.

The Board decided that the only truly objective criteria upon which to determine from where the Infantry would reduce 4 battalions were those which led to a judgement as to the sustainability of future recruitment balanced against the pragmatic factors of regional representation and future structural and regional coherence. The Board had before it the historic manning performance of every infantry battalion over the last 10 years, recruiting, retention, manning trends and regional demographic data. The Board:

- Considered the Brigade of Gurkhas and, noting their almost limitless recruiting ability and that the Brunei garrison commitment would continue, concluded that there should be no change;

- Exempted The Royal Irish Regiment from further consideration on the representational grounds of retaining a line infantry footprint in Northern Ireland;

- Whilst it was clear that no battalions of the Foot Guards or Parachute Regiment would be taken against the manning criteria, the Army Board also concluded that there were additional specific operational, organisational and state ceremonial reasons not to include these battalions.
On this basis the Army Board decided to make the reductions by taking one battalion from Scotland and 3 from England.

Let me highlight some of the most significant changes.

 The Scottish Division will reduce by one battalion. This will be achieved by the union of the Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers. The new battalion will be one of the five battalions of a new large, single-cap badge regiment provisionally called ‘The Royal Regiment of Scotland’. The battalions will retain their antecedent names.

The move to a single large regiment is a bold move by the Scottish Division, reflecting their determination to move forward grasping the opportunity that FAS offers and meeting tomorrow’s challenges.

 The Prince of Wales’s Division will reduce by one battalion and it will form two larger regiments. This will be achieved by:

+ The Royal Welch Fusiliers and The Royal Regiment of Wales will come together in a new 2 battalion regiment called The Royal Welsh.

+ The Cheshire Regiment, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters and The Staffordshire Regiment will come together in a new 3 battalion regiment called the Mercian Regiment.

+ The Gloster element of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment merging with the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment and the Light Infantry within the Light Division. It will be known as 1st Battalion the Light Infantry. The current battalions of the Light Infantry will renumber as the 2nd and 3rd battalions in accordance with seniority.

+ The remaining elements of the RGBW, previously the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment, will merge into the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment within the Queen’s Division.

 The King’s Divison will reduce by one battalion.

+ The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment, the King’s Regiment and the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment will amalgamate to form a new 2 battalion Regiment on the west of the Pennines called The King’s, Lancashire and Border Regiment.

+ On the east of the Pennines, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment and the Green Howards will come together to form the new 3 battalion Yorkshire Regiment.

+ The Foot Guards will continue to serve on Public Duties, a task that whilst prestigious can become somewhat repetitive over time and therefore demands greater movement between this and other roles to provide variety for our Guardsmen. The Army Board also decided that maintaining the national identities of the individual battalions was critical in representing the whole nation – this would therefore make a system of individual postings unworkable as, over time, the national makeup of the battalions would become blurred (for example the Scots Guards would not be largely manned by Scotsmen). We have therefore decided that any restructuring into a larger regiment serves no practical purpose and would be entirely cosmetic, The Foot Guards will therefore retain their current organisation and Regimental names and will commit 2 battalions to Public Duties and 2 battalions to the light role which will conduct some limited relocation between each other to provide variety. One battalion will be fixed in the Armoured role.

These battalions will retain their antecedent names.

- You will have heard the Secretary of State’s comments regarding the identification of the 4th battalion reduction. There is a clear operational requirement to establish a dedicated direct support battalion to our special forces, thereby making a very significant improvement to our prosecution of global counter terrorism amongst other important tasks. We need to do a little more work to completely define the construct and role of such a battalion and this will be done in the New Year. However, given this capability requires a unit of particular skills and experience the fourth reduction will now be found by the removal of the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment from the line Infantry, using its highly trained manpower and structure as the core of this new ‘ranger’ battalion. As the Secretary of State has said, this capability sits alongside the other much needed enhancements to specialist elements of the Army and will be developed over the coming few years.

- Within the TA we will reorganise into 14 battalions, each one will be more closely integrated with a regular regiment, with one TA battalion in each regiment of 2 or 3 regular battalions and 2 TA battalions for the 5-regular battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland. The only exception to this will be the TA battalion affiliated to the Guards Division. The details of this reorganisation will be confirmed in the New Year after further consultation with the reserves.

These decisions have not been taken lightly. They are, as I have said before, the result of significant work and they represent, emotions aside, the right answer for the Army.
It will take about 12 years for the vision of FAS to fully mature.

As to your chances of earning a commission - they are unchanged from present.

Pay - the Infantry recently secured Higher Band pay for NCOs.

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