Defence Secretary announces Future Soldier for the British Army

Defence Secretary assertion to the House of Commons twenty fifth November 2021

With permission Mr Speaker, I wish to replace the home on the particulars and implementation of the Army’s future capabilities, buildings and basing. In March, I got here to the home to announce the final result of the Defence Command Paper, a part of our Integrated Review. I mentioned we should adapt to new threats, resist sentimentality and match our ambitions to our sources if we’re to discipline armed forces who stay related and credible for the challenges of the future. I additionally mentioned that we owed it to our service personnel to make sure we now flip that coverage into actuality, the work to take action had solely simply begun.

The military was tasked with enterprise the most vital modernisation in a technology and after an intense interval of planning which I’m particularly grateful to the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith and Brigadier Clark and the remainder of the staff, I can now announce to Parliament the particulars of its plans entitled Future Soldier.

Let me start by paying tribute to these troopers, the courageous women and men of the British Army. To me they’re the most interesting in the world. Yesterday we witnessed troopers alongside colleagues from different companies parade exterior Parliament. It was a possibility to not simply pay tribute to their extraordinary endeavours throughout Operation Pitting, serving to evacuate some 15,000 individuals in a matter of weeks or simply to thank them for their service and sacrifice all through the many years lengthy Afghan marketing campaign. But it was additionally a reminder that the Army that departed Afghanistan is a really totally different one from that of 2021. But the military of the future should adapt much more shortly whether it is to adapt to the threats of the future. Let us be clear, these threats are proliferating ones, from growing Humanitarian crises, to evermore succesful and violet extremism, and the use of proxy forces. And the evermore current spectre of nice energy competitors. To maintain tempo with the altering character of warfare, our military should be ahead wanting, adaptable and embracing of latest methods of working as a lot as new weapons and applied sciences. Not solely a lot it have the greatest power construction to counter an ever rising vary of threats to the UK, our individuals and pursuits nevertheless it should obtain our ambitions on schedule and in funds.

Thanks to the Prime Minister’s report settlement for defence introduced eventually yr’s spending assessment, we have now been given the time and sources to undertake the generational modernisation that defence wants. Far from being disadvantaged of funding, as some declare, we’re injecting £41.3 billion into military assist and gear this decade, £8.6 billion greater than had been deliberate previous to the built-in assessment. We are utilizing these funds to create a contemporary modern and digitised military. Our future military shall be leaner however extra productive, prioritising pace and readiness over mass and mobilisation. But nonetheless be over 100,000 robust, integrating regulars and reserves in addition to all the civil servants and companions from the non-public sector. As the Chief of the General Staff has mentioned it should be a military that locations a premium not simply on mass, however on crucial mass, related, networked and deployable. So the military will now be reorganised to function on a steady foundation, fielding all the related capabilities for this period of fixed competitors and persistently engaged round the globe, supporting our companions and deterring our adversaries. But crucially, it would even be a military designed for real warfighting credibility as an expeditionary preventing power that shall be each deployable and deadly when known as upon to battle and win.

Since the publication of the Defence Command paper, my officers have labored arduous to finalise a reform programme to ship our priorities at residence and overseas. Our future troopers will discover tomorrow’s military has six distinct parts. First, it is going to be globally engaged with extra personnel deployed for extra time, employed in a brand new community of regional hubs primarily based on present coaching places in locations similar to Oman and Kenya.

Next shall be a key contributor to NATO warfighting, able to fielding division all through the decade as we transition to the new capabilities for a completely modernised warfighting division by 2030.
Third, It shall be enhanced by state of the artwork gear, together with upgraded tanks and digital community armoured autos, in addition to lengthy vary precision strike, cyber and electromagnetic capabilities.

Fourth it would exploit innovation and experimentation to get forward of the evolving threats. Not solely will the military share the 6.6 billion kilos of defence, elevated R&D funding, however subsequent yr each the new British Army’s battle lab and a devoted unit the military trials and experimentation group shall be established to remain at the innovative.

Fifth, it would have integration at its coronary heart, bringing collectively regulars, reservists and civil servants to type a extra productive power with warfighting resilience at its coronary heart and cross authorities working in its DNA.

And lastly, Mr. Speaker, it is going to be a military that advantages the complete of our union with an elevated proportion of the military primarily based in every of the devolved nations and expenditure contributing to prosperity all through the United Kingdom beneath our upcoming land industrial technique. I’m happy report we already made substantial progress. When it involves international engagement we inform the new Army Special Operations brigade during which the new Ranger Regiments will sit. Also we’ve established a safety power help brigade and arrange a NATO holding space in Germany.

In phrases of warfighting we’ve bolstered NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction for core established new Brigade Combat Teams and reinforce the Army’s Global Response Force. Over the subsequent 5 years implementation will proceed a-pace. The finish of this yr our new Ranger Regiment will attain preliminary working functionality by mid-2022 our new deep Recce strike brigade fight staff shall be established by the autumn of subsequent yr two battalions of the Mercier regiment will merge to type a brand new boxer mounted battalion in one in every of our armoured fight groups.

The recapitalization of main gear is already underway. I’m decided to do every part inside our means to speed up the introduction of Challenger three tank with an ambition for the supply to unit beginning in 2025 onwards. Likewise, we’re transitioning to boxer armoured personnel carriers from the retiring warrior with items beginning to obtain their first autos from 2023. We are resolving growth points with the troubled and nonetheless technically succesful, nonetheless, Ajax armoured reconnaissance automobile and we’re upgrading the battle confirmed Apache assault helicopters whereas investing in every part from lengthy vary precision strike, Ground primarily based air defence, un-crewed aerial techniques, digital warfare and tactical cyber. These innovative capabilities shall be wielded by the newly restructured Brigade Combat Teams – self-sufficient tactical formations with their very own fight assist and logistics. They will embody 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and a brand new Aviation Brigade Combat Team, which collectively will type our Global Response Force offering defence’s fast response for disaster abroad. Let me now flip to our plans to streamlining the military construction. For too lengthy, historic infantry buildings have inhibited our military’s transformation. We can’t afford to be slave to sentiment when the risk has moved on. So immediately I can affirm a serious reorganisation beneath 4 new administrative divisions of infantry, the Queen’s division, the Union division, the Light division, and the Guards and Parachute division. These divisions are designed to replicate historic ties, whereas additionally balancing their variety of battalions and unit roles, providing larger flexibility and alternative for troopers of all ranks.

As introduced in March these plans don’t contain the deletion of any cap badges or additional main unit modifications or any army redundancies. While we’re considerably decreasing the complete variety of military personnel. We should not compromising our presence in and contribution to the devolved nations. Our numbers will cut back barely all over the place besides Wales the place we’re growing a portion of military primarily based in every nation and investing hundreds of thousands in the defence trade and property. Northern Ireland will maintain the similar variety of battalions however host a larger proportion of the Army’s workforce and acquire an extra reserve firm of the Royal Irish.

Scotland shall be residence to extra battalions going from six to seven items. And a larger proportion of the military than immediately. We shall be retaining Glencorse barracks and we’ll develop in Kinloss and Leuchars thanks for 355 million kilos funding in the military property. Wales will see the return of the Welsh Calvary Queen’s Dragoon Guards to Caerwent barracks and the new reserved firm of Third Battalion the Royal Welsh to be established in north Wales. The retention of Brecon barracks and the development of Wrexham are simply a part of a 320 million pound funding in the military property in Wales.

I do know colleagues shall be enthusiastic to be taught the basing implication for their very own constituencies and the full breakdown of the Army’s new construction will be capable of be discovered on the authorities web site. Or when you click on by means of the hyperlink in the Dear Colleague letter that shall be distributed. Our future military shall be as agile in the new domains of our on-line world as it’s on the floor. It will contribute to the most personnel of all the companies to these enhanced info age capabilities, similar to nationwide cyber power and Defence Intelligence, so crucial to our new built-in power. In sensible phrases, this quantities to an extra 500 common personnel from the 72,500 to 73,000. Together with greater than 10,000 military personnel who work in different components of defence, you’ll now as I say have a determine of 73,000. As I mentioned again in March, the dimension and functionality skills our military should be dictated by the risk. What we will present on paper and even muster on parade issues little if we will’t depend on these numbers when it counts, or ship the related capabilities required. Unlike the purely monetary and numerically pushed opinions of the previous, we’ve taken a constructive pragmatic strategy matching our dimension to the present safety atmosphere and the present ambition of the authorities. Mr. Speaker transformation on this scale, each single unit shall be affected not directly by this transformation.

It additionally requires a radical change at the high of the military. So by 2025, the Army’s headquarters shall be decreased by 40% Regular personnel and reserve integration shall be made extra productive throughout the complete power. Notably the COVID pandemic underlined the want for resilient buildings that may deal with crises is on the residence entrance. So a brand new reserve brigade primarily based in York will guarantee we will present forces at the level of want. Simultaneously we shall be strengthening our Army’s institutional basis throughout the United Kingdom by establishing regional factors of command. Our military has all the time been outlined by its individuals and their adaptive, resilient, decided and various qualities. So this assessment places funding in human capital first, the extra we use our individuals, the extra we should be sure that they’re correctly supported. That’s why we’ll be extra be modernising particular person’s careers, and Family Assistance, all of which shall be consolidated in a military individuals plan printed early in the new yr.

And lastly, Mr. Speaker, there’s extra aggressive age, we’ll be certain that equipping our individuals and the means to know, compete and battle throughout all domains is firmly at the forefront of defence policymaking. So Mr. Speaker, that is a military that we will stay pleased with, not simply for its historic achievements, or the Top Trumps comparisons of numbers, tanks and other people in its ranks. But as a result of it’s an sincere power, this can be a credible and related, relentlessly adapting power that can confront the risk to the nation and meet the challenges of the future. Changing the method it operates is as a lot as the gear with which it does it, and evolving culturally as extra as a lot as structurally to put our future soldier in the absolute best place to compete in all domains, each outdated and new, to form our world for the higher. Like their forbearers, I’m sure they are going to grasp these alternatives with each arms. It is actually a military that I might have preferred to have served in.

Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that this modernization programme will permit them to be simply that and guarantee the military stays each related and credible in assist of our Prime Minister’s imaginative and prescient for a Global Britain. That is a safer, stronger and extra affluent place. And I commend this assertion to the home.

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