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Philip Hammond: army will lose regiments and rely more on reserves

#1
Defence secretary reveals wide-ranging shakeup that will cut number of troops by 20,000 in next eight years

Whole regiments could be axed or merged, and infantry battalions and armoured units disappear as the army faces its biggest shakeup since the end of the cold war, Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, will say on Thursday.

The army will be cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by the year 2020 and will have to rely more on reserves and private contractors, he is expected to say.

But it will continue to provide the "teeth" in future military operations as Britain's European allies provide the logistics backup, Hammond will say at a London conference on land warfare run by the Royal United Services Institute thinktank.

Defence officials emphasised that more functions of the army would be "outsourced" – potentially to include more training and logistics as well as backup security work.

Restructuring the British army will "rethink the way we deliver every aspect of military effect in order to maximise capability at the front line". In future, he will say, the army must be "thinking innovatively about how combat service support is provided. Using more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors. Working closely with partners to operate logistics more rationally through [Nato] alliance structures. Looking to others to provide the tail, where Britain is concentrating on providing the teeth".

Hammond will stress the importance of the regimental tradition – "maintaining the ethos, traditions and connections that are part of what makes the British army so effective – particularly, a regimental system and regionally focused recruiting", he will say. But he is expected to emphasise the point that a regular army of 82,000 will have a very different structure to one of 102,000. "Some units inevitably will be lost or will merge," the defence secretary will warn.

Hammond will say there is "no question of abandoning the regimental system... that does not mean that we can avoid difficult decisions as the army gets smaller." History and heritage deliver "tangible military benefits in the modern British army".

The speech comes at a difficult time for the army as it tries to work out a role for land forces after most UK soldiers leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The likelihood is that future conflicts will rely more on drones, precision missiles and small groups of special forces on the ground, rather than large numbers of ground troops.
No final decision has been taken on what regiments and other army units may go, defence officials maintain.
There has been speculation that Scottish regiments, including the Black Watch, are being targeted because fewer recruits are coming from the local population.

Commonwealth recruits, now accounting for about one in 10 recruits in some regiments. Armoured and artillery units will also be hit as the number of heavy guns and battle tanks are reduced to make way for more agile and lighter brigades.

Reserves will take on a greater role. Hammond is expected to refer to plans to transform the role of reserve forces in frontline military operations. The Ministry of Defence plans to invest an additional £1.8bn in the reserves over 10 years.

"The future reserves must be structured to provide, as they do today, some niche specialists capabilities that aren't cost-effective to maintain on a full time basis – for example in areas of cyber, medical, or intelligence", Hammond is expected to tell Thursday's conference.

"The integrated army concept means that light infantry battalions will be reinforced on deployment through a permanent partnership with reserve battalions", he is due to say.

However, there are fears that plans to increase the number of reserves, and their roles, by so much are far too optimistic.

His reference to UK's allies providing the "tail", while the British supply the "teeth" reflects increasing frustration in London with the failure of many European countries to adapt or modernise their forces against the background of budget cuts and conflicts — actual and potential — very different from anything imagined during the cold war.


Philip Hammond: army will lose regiments and rely more on reserves | UK news | guardian.co.uk
Like the way its been sneaked out at midnight
 
#6
Heard bits and bobs of this before, sadly seeing it all together makes it all the more real. What i want to know is, why the **** are the army, marines, RAF, well just about everyone really constantly running all these telly ads to draw fresh faces in, when they're just about to sack 20,000!? Maybe if they put more of the money spent on swanky telly ads and a flashy website towards wages, there wouldent be this problem in the first place.
 
#7
Heard bits and bobs of this before, sadly seeing it all together makes it all the more real. What i want to know is, why the **** are the army, marines, RAF, well just about everyone really constantly running all these telly ads to draw fresh faces in, when they're just about to sack 20,000!? Maybe if they put more of the money spent on swanky telly ads and a flashy website towards wages, there wouldent be this problem in the first place.
The answer is probably that the ads were outsourced and the private contractors want paying regardless of whether the ads are screened.
 
#8
They still would have had to have asked for them to be made and signed contracts ect. There's no doubt anyone with the seniority to commission the ads would have known about the cuts long before this went public... and even then they still went and spent loads getting them aired, you're looking at millions if you want those ads put on during 'prime time' as it were.
 
#10
Heard bits and bobs of this before, sadly seeing it all together makes it all the more real. What i want to know is, why the **** are the army, marines, RAF, well just about everyone really constantly running all these telly ads to draw fresh faces in, when they're just about to sack 20,000!? Maybe if they put more of the money spent on swanky telly ads and a flashy website towards wages, there wouldent be this problem in the first place.
So in your world, all promotion stops and no one leaves when their time is up?
 
#13
Will our commitments or intent mirror this downsizing of our numbers? I doubt it.
After all, at our current standing we lacked sufficient numbers to get the job done properly in both Basra and Helmand.
So what exactly is the British Army scaled to do? It seems the solution to 2 failures is to slash further.

I could understand if demolishing the Army coincided with a more defensive minded shift in defence policy . I would even grudgingly accept the cuts if it was to finance the expansion of the RN that I believe is needed, but all I can see is massive cuts in manpower and capability yet no downsizing in expectation or commitment.
 
#14
I've said it before and I'll say it again, most of the site wanted a Tory govt. this is what it means to have one.
Sorry Mate, I cant let this one go, what your post should have said is: "most of the site wanted a Tory govt. and as a result of the last Labour governments profligacy, the current government now has no choice but to make savings, some of which must come from cutting defence. Of course greater savings could be made by cutting unnecessary expenditure on social welfare and national health, but the majority of the population are unwilling to give up any of the bribes given to them by the last government to keep themselves in power.

In fact the bribe factor is so strong that unions are prepared to engage in disruptive action in a "**** you jack" effort to retain pensions that cant be afforded, outdated practices that stifle productivity and poor efficiency and levels of waste that simply cannot be supported.

In reality, if we still had a Labour government, it is likely that we would be in a similar position to Greece right now.

Not that we are that far off.
 
#16
I've said it before and I'll say it again, most of the site wanted a Tory govt. this is what it means to have one.
The 'reality' is irrespective who came into office significant cuts were inevitable.

As it was debated on here already, the Tories clear up labour incompetent, mismanaged housekeeping mess leaving hard & unpopular choices which labour are happy to keep mum on.

The Coalition will be hated so much come the next election Labour will win almost effortless & were back to square one.

I just hope the Country remembers how they ruined our economics, but voters are fickle & short sighted so I'll not hold my breath.
 
#17
The answer is probably that the ads were outsourced and the private contractors want paying regardless of whether the ads are screened.
That can't be right, outsourcing is more efficient and responsive.
You only pay for what you need!
You wouldn't be running services you need just to keep the contractor happy....
(is a smiley required?)
 
#19
I have a nasty feeling that this is only the start of it, where will we be in 20 years time? 50,000 regular army, 30,000 perhaps, who knows?
 
#20
They still would have had to have asked for them to be made and signed contracts ect. There's no doubt anyone with the seniority to commission the ads would have known about the cuts long before this went public... and even then they still went and spent loads getting them aired, you're looking at millions if you want those ads put on during 'prime time' as it were.
Perhaps it's to stop what happened when we went through Options in the mid 90s. Recruiting and training were cut right back at the same time as the drawdown and budgets not restored afterwards. This caused a black hole in the rank structures for some Arms and Services which is only now being worked out of the system. Recruiting and training must continue at the right level to balance outflow and maintain structures at the new levels.

Regards

88
 

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