I was in JHQ at the weekend, and it just made me what a real anachronism the place is. I really got the feeling that the place is just waiting to close.
Still gutted the NAAFI of baccy and perfume though.
I was forecasting this about 5 years ago - just to wind people up: I'm a bit surprised now.
Since you seem to be in the know, any offers as to what is driving it? Money, as ever I suppose, or are there pressing 'operational' reasons for wanting this mighty meaty multi-national HQ to be in the UK?
Hmmmm! Sources hint it's a variety of reasons all gelling together. As always, money is the driver. But other political and operational reasons also have relevance.
ARRC HQ was (and is) a UK corps-level command with international participation. The benefit to the UK is that HMG doesn't have to fully fund and fully man the HQ. The down-side is, it ties up a sizeable chunk of our C3 and they can only be used them with permission from other NATO members. In the 90s it seemed a good idea, now it's just a drain of our resources. Remember, if any ARRC HQ unit deploys on a UK only mission (Telic), the UK has to reassign some equivalent unit to stand-up for ARRC duties!
By bringing ARRC HQ back into the UK, it can be reconfigured as a UK only HQ - thus making it more useful to the UK only orbat. Expect ARRC HQ to rebadged as 1 (BR) Corps (or similar) once more.
Another advantage is that it will free up some sigs assets that will form the basis of the 9th deployable brigade.
Personnally, I think they've got the emphasis wrong, but that's just senior officers maintaining jobs at the very highest level rather than creating posts and formations where they're most needed.
Some years ago they were talking about moving to Andover the organisation (Provisioning?) at Telford that bought stuff like washers and engine spares etc for DGES(A).
But the local Andover economy is very buoyant, and the locals simply will not sign up for CS rates: fortunately, as far as I know, the move never happened. I say fortunate, because the senior military simply would not acknowledge the problem that they would be unable to recruit the civis they needed locally, and the ones already doing the job were almost all 2nd income earners, who were not about to relocate.
If LAND to Andover creates a need for an increased number of civil servants at Andover, there will be a problem, unless every civi at Wilton is prepared to commute.
(Similar problem at Upavon: it's miles from anywhere and eff-all public transport. SO - big surprise after the Army moved in - can never get enough civi staff. (I'm told the RAF did warn us)
I'm sure other examples abound.
On the basis of just those 2 examples, I'm betting that wherever they put it, they're going to have some kind of a a problem - esp. if they pick any former RAF airbase, because they're almost always built where nobody lives.