UK & World News
Regiments Face Axe As 20,000 Soldiers Cut
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has signalled the most revolutionary change to the structure of the British Army in decades with a speech to the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi).
He told delegates gathered for the annual Land Warfare Conference that Britain's reserves and allies will provide more of the "tail" in terms of logistics and other support, while the regular British forces concentrate on being the "teeth".
The Army, which will soon be scaled back to 82,000 from 102,000, will "rethink the way we deliver every aspect of military effect in order to maximise capability at the front-line".
Mr Hammond told the generals and academics attending the conference that they will have to be "thinking innovatively".
That will include "using more systematically the skills available in the reserve and from our contractors".
It will also mean "working closely with partners to operate logistics more rationally through Alliance structures" and "looking to others to provide the tail, where Britain is concentrating on providing the teeth".
The speech comes a few weeks before the publication of the Army 2020 report by General Sir Nick Carter into the shape of the Army in the decades to come.
Britain's Army barely qualifies for the name. At 82,000 it is a large corps, three of which would normally make up a full-blown Army.
Changes expected from General Carter will mean that some regiments will face amalgamation or vanish.
Scottish regiments have been especially vulnerable as they are failing to meet recruitment targets in their native areas and rely heavily on soldiers from the Commonwealth to bulk up their ranks.
The Guards regiments are understood to have been spared the axe as it would have fallen in the Diamond Jubilee year when they were on parade in London, and in action in Helmand.
The Royal Marines, Parachute Regiment and Brigade of Gurkhas are also likely to avoid the cuts.
But line regiments like the Mercians, Yorkshire Regiment, The Royal Irish, Welsh and others may find they have to give up some cap badges in favour of what Mr Hammond sees as a more efficient Army.
Logistics units, intelligence specialists, mechanical engineering support and other "force enablers" are likely to be concentrated in the Army Reserves, or opened up to private contractors.
And he warned that some units "inevitably will be lost or will merge".
He added: "There is no question, of abandoning the regimental system. But that does not mean that we can avoid difficult decisions as the Army gets smaller.
"And in making those decisions, the military voice must prevail; ensuring that the Army remains the capable and agile force envisaged."
He also announced a £1.8bn spending package for the reserves spread over the next 10 years.
They will be expected to concentrate on cyber warfare, intelligence and medical support.
"The integrated Army concept means that light infantry battalions will be reinforced on deployment through a permanent partnership with reserve battalions."
His speech should be seen as part of the political road building that must be done to prepare for the inevitable backlash which will follow the Carter report's announcements of cuts to regiments.
Much of this will be generated by old guard traditionalists who cling to the tribal traditions of regiments which have carried men at war through vicious fighting over many hundreds of years.
But younger soldiers with combat experience of Iraq and Afghanistan are less sentimental.
As they face heavy cuts their priority is in maintaining units which are effective and making sure that they have the resources that they will need to operate in the future.
Some have even joined a small but growing number of analysts and military theorists who have argued that the army, navy and air force should be wrapped into one defence force, with one structure, modelled on the US Marine Corps.
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what do you think?
These morron's dont have a clue what there doing " yes lets cut the army to make it more efficiant and effective" what the heck have they been smoking? You do not cut an army to make it more effective or efficiant and all you acheave with cuts is a weak and clearly vulnarable country lets face it you could not defend a dog house from an army of cats with 82,000 never mind defend a country and fight what ever other war they may be involved in. If the goverment stoped sending billions of aid we cant aford or spending billions on loss making ventures ( olyimpics cough) and instead used those billions on the services that acualy need it we would not need these cuts even tho i do not buy there current excuse that they cant afford it because as they say its all relative in the past it cost less to run but equaly taxes were less now it costs more to run but also tax is higher than ever and thus would balence out so the money has to be there. Personaly i think there is more to this maby an outside effort to systimaticly weaken our armed forces to make us vulnarable and more reliant on or rather more compliant to our so called allies.
Not sure about your spelling mate but by Christ you're spot on with your comments
Disgraceful! Taking the cuts in manpower aside which itself is nonsensical in these times, they want more amalgamated Regiments? Some of these go back to the 1600s. What will happen to the Battle Honours? And these analysts who say younger soldiers won't care - have they ever worn the uniform? In my old regiment even the 2 battalions had a massive friendly rivalry with each other. It goes down through Company down to Section level. No no no!
I presume they would share battle honours so that a regiment that never saw action in one battle could say that it did because it had merged with one that had. The queens royal hussars were made up of two merged regiments( queens royal Irish and the queens own hussars) that were both made up of four older regiments who's battle honours list was stupidly long and their roots can be traced back to 1685 . Not bad for a cavalry regiment formed in the 1990's not that I'm knocking them for what they do or have done its the mod pen pushers that screw it all up.
Yes, Chris, they would share battle honours.
d and d Phillips
just another nail in the coffin of this once great country
is this idiot really expecting those hoofed out to join the TA and get the same mess around (censorship) has they did whilst serving, i think not and yes civilian contracts/contractors cost the MoD more than the personnel they are hoofing out. they also have the option to strike. headline reads "we are off to liberate/invade/peacekeep in (insert where ever), no wait all the contractors have got on strike - war/conflict/etc cancelled".
" Logistics units, intelligence specialists, mechanical engineering support and other "force enablers" are likely to be concentrated in the Army Reserves, or opened up to private contractors." private contractors eh? The RAC and the AA don't fix armoured vehicles and I doubt their road side assistance will cover helmand province. And I cant see Eddie stobart wanting to do logistic support! And whats to stop these private defense contractors going to the other side if the moneys better?
And do you really think they're going to go anywhere near the sharp end when it hits the fan? Course they will, a politician thinks it's a good idea so it must be OK
Well if it became as a small combined 'Marine Corps' will they be able to get the much loved Harriers back again?
Sadly not. Having the armed forces structured on the USMC is the dream of a badly-informed journalist on the DT who thinks that a British equivalent would do the job of all three armed forces - but he clearly isn't aware that the USMC is carted around the world by the USN and USAF.
People are losing their lives for a wage which is less than a traffic warden would get... So why on earth would these men and women do it for the T.A for even less money. Disgusting
This is terrible, and it comes from a man who has no idea what he is doing. He was a disaster at Transport and will be an even bigger disaster at Defence. The Royal Navy and the RAF have been ruined. You cannot segregate support roles from fighting units as formations need to train together so that they can fight together. The TA does a good job but too frequent interference with their careers will soon see the numbers drop. As for civilian contractors, in addition to the good points made below, flexibility is lost. Support troops are still soldiers and can fight - contractors cannot and need to be protected. As for our allies, Spain and the Netherlands have already left Afghanistan, France is next. We know hardly anyone else would follow us to the Falklands. We might as well surrender next time anything happens.
Stop wasting money on overseas aid and protect ourselves instead!
You got my vote
"The RAC and the AA don't fix armoured vehicles..." yet! Still, here is a golden opportunity for Green Flag and Britannia Rescue to pip their rivals and to diversify ...! I can just see the ad's now... "Use Virgin Strike Drones" with their controllers in smart red uniforms, tight skirts and THOSE red high heels! ; or "Use News Corp Intelligence and surveillance specialists" there is a lot of scope for private companies to expand their operations!
We could always paint ourselves blue, sharpen our spears, wear animal skins and scream at our invaders... though on seconed thoughts that didn't work with the disciplined Roman Legions did it?
all this just after that vulgar display at the weekend ................theres no money left !! ....not for the arny but obviously enough fo Liz the terrible .I hope and pray no more soldiers come home in a box . If they do it will be down to not only this crackpot government but everyone who supported the rotten thing at the weekend.Or just bring our boys home ....full stop.
Having the armed forces structured on the USMC is the dream of a badly-informed journalist on the Daily Telegraph who thinks that a British equivalent would do the job of all three armed forces - but he clearly isn't aware that the USMC is carted around the world by the USN and USAF. The USAF also provides airborne early warning and control, while the USN provides maritime-reconnaissance.
God help us David! More lethal interference from ill-informed or non-informed civvy politicians. These people know nothing of military ways or ethos yet they are going to put more guys in harms way not only with mediocre kit but now no backup. Heard of overstretch Cameron? The elastic just snapped. I would dearly love to see you and your cabinet and civil service in the middle of any of our ongoing commitments. I'd bet my left gonad you have a totally different perspectivee on the military. Sorry for the rant but these illegitimates (on orange's insistence) get right up my nose
what a load of t880sh, how can this individual who is supposed to be in charge of the forces, write such rubbish. avid Cameron, for goodness sake waken up, you waste too much money on aid, welfare, and not on defending our nation. I am very worried that we will have to rely on european forces to back us up, and the Americans will soon say we have had enough, and tell David just where to go, the europeans have just as much said this . Pull back defend our country, stop stupid wars, i suppose that if you had to fight you might just change your mind!, waken up
As long as they scale back all of the civil servants and people in procurment back in the uk along with the extended staff of the MOD then we will save millions more..... No this wont happen but we will go to war with bad and out dated equpment and fight more than one war at a time because squddies cannot complain and be heard or are told to get on with it.