The JRRF is essentially the fighting force that PJHQ has immediately available. The JRRF provides a force for rapid deployment operations using a core operational group of the Army's 16th Air Assault Brigade and the Royal Navy's 3rd Commando Brigade, supported by a wide range of air and maritime assets including the Joint Force Harrier and the Joint Helicopter Command.
The force uses what the MoD has described as a 'golfbag' approach with a wide range of units available for specific operations. For example, if the operational situation demands assets such as heavy armour, long range artillery and attack helicopters, these assets can easily be assigned to the force. This approach means that the JRRF can be tailored for specific operations, ranging from support for a humanitarian crisis to missions including high intensity operations.
The 'reach' of the JRRF has been enhanced by the Royal Navy's new amphibious vessels HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, currently entering service. Both of these ships will be able to carry 650 troops plus a range of armoured vehicles including main battle tanks. A flight deck will allow ship-to-shore helicopter operations.
Responsibility for providing units to the JRRF remains with the single service commands who ensure that units assigned are at an extremely high state of readiness. JRRF units remain committed to NATO.
Under normal circumstances, the Army would ensure that the the following land forces were available to the JRRF: a brigade sized grouping held at High Readiness and two Strategic Reserves—the Spearhead Land Element (SLE) held at Extremely High Readiness and the Airborne Task Force (ABTF) held at Very High Readiness. To command the JRRF a Joint Task Force HQ (JTFHQ) is maintained at 48 hours notice to move.
Since Operation Telic (Iraq) commenced the High Readiness Brigade has been routinely deployed to Iraq, and has therefore been unavailable to the JRRF. However, the SLE and ABTF have been maintained throughout.