Just found this on the BBC, no existing thread as far as I could see in the search results.
Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Ben Wallace, MP, has outlined major changes to the way the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force trains its future officers in a major speech to senior officers of all three services. The full text of the speech is below:
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The MOD has long grappled with how to rationalise officer training; the three primary establishments at Dartmouth (Britannia Royal Naval College), Sandhurst (Royal Military Academy) and Cranwell (Royal Air Force College) have performed sterling service over their histories. However, there are wide gaps between the output of the three services, and increasing tri-service co-operation (so called “Purple”) has led to demand for a centralized, common-core syllabus. We believe that this is best delivered by a greenfield (actually brownfield) approach.
As an MOD-centre organisation, the Defence Operations Group was formed as a “Tiger Team” to analyse this and similar issues, and were tasked in 2020 to address this work strand. The key question was “could officers of all three services be produced from a common training establishment?” Extensive staff work produced a result of “yes”. Taking the positive recommendation of the Group, the next question was “where?”. Given the impending closure of RAF Halton, and the intent to train RAF airmen and women at Cranwell, that site was ruled out. BRNC is in a remote location with little to recommend it other than a somewhat nostalgic notion. RMA Sandhurst was by far the most favoured location, but its intrinsic land value far outweighs any similar nostalgic value.
The decision was therefore taken to identify a new location for a new location in which to found a truly world-class officer training facility. MOD is the largest land owner in the UK, and so there was never any question of using land other than that which was already in the Estate. Existing built estates such as RAF Cosford, Catterick Garrison and Devonport were considered, but the overall consensus was that a “new” location was preferred. A search of the MOD land bank revealed the former ROF Swynnerton as a large site with minimal current usage that could be readily redeveloped. As ROF Swynnerton, this site formerly employed up to 18,000 people, with its own railway station, thus is easily capable of the task from a location perspective. The historical connection with the military cannot be over-stated, Swynnerton proudly took its place as the largest munitions factory in the world in WW2.
The intention is therefore to concentrate officer training of all three services at the future Royal Military Academy, Swynnerton (RMAS). Land clearance is expected to take 18 months, with a 6-9 month construction period of the SLAM-type buildings, with initial occupancy expected in 2025. Closure and sale of BRNC and Sandhurst will return to the Exchequer some £500M, thus offsetting the expected construction costs of £75m and returning a handsome financial dividend. While Sandhurst and its location will offer the best return as a redevelopment site, it is hoped that BRNC may well become a hotel or other tourist attraction.
Turning to the training regime, it is recognised that the common core offers an opportunity to trim the syllabus to 16 weeks of high intensity training, with add-ons for the specific services, and branches and arms within those services. With a core of high intensity common training, and specific-to-arm training add-ons, the typical officer will be at his unit within 6 months of joining. There will be additional courses for Royal Marines, Parachute Regiment and RAF Regiment officers, which will vary in length according to ability.
We believe this new Defence Operations Group led initiative, coupled with the future Swynnerton High Intensity Training core will lead to the next generation of tri-service officer, trained from the outset together with their brothers and sisters in the parallel services, will be a war-fighting advantage. RMAS will have as its motto “Server to Lead”, reflecting the increasing role of digitisation in modern Defence, with a respectful nod to the past.
Swynnerton will once more take its place in the annals of world history as the crucible of the weapons of war as we deliver the means to train the next century of officers.
Notes to editors: Royal Ordnance Factory Swynnerton was constructed at the outset of WW2 and covers approximately 1,200 acres, comparable to Sandhurst’s training areas. Located in Staffordshire, the new Academy will have a central location. Current usage of the site is limited to being a training camp and area; it is assessed that these functions can be absorbed by other facilities, eg Nesscliffe and Leek are both approximately 30 miles.
MOD will radically change officers' training