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New changes to the Army: 'Army 2020 Refine'

The Secretary of State has released details of proposed 'refinements' to the shape of the Army, to take effect during the life of the present parliament.

UPDATE:

There is an interesting unofficial blog about A2020R here: Army 2020 Refine: even worse than expected - UPDATES

A modernised division will be centred on the 3rd (UK) Division, organised as a "square" division with four brigades of two Armoured infantry and two Strike, rather than three Armoured infantry as now.

In 2017 the Army will also create the first two new Specialised Infantry battalions to pioneer the new Strike capability.

The MOD has issued the summary below of the proposed changes under Army 2020 Refine. Under the heading 'Support', the term 'rationalised' means "removed from the orbat", with all personnel in the units affected being redeployed.

Strike Brigade

The first Strike Brigade will operate from Catterick and Salisbury Plain and will be composed of the Household Cavalry Regiment, The King’s Royal Hussars, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. A number of Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (REME) units will be allocated to provide close support logistic support, beginning with 1 Regiment RLC and 1 Close Support Battalion REME.

Specialised Infantry Battalions

In 2017 the Army will also create the first two new Specialised Infantry battalions to pioneer this new capability. These units will be The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and 4th Battalion The Rifles, the former relocating to Aldershot from Belfast by 2019. A new Group headquarters for the units will be established, initially based in York alongside the 1st (UK) Division of which the Group will be part, before moving to Aldershot by 2020. To reinforce this capability the Army plans to create two further Specialised Infantry battalions by 2019. These units will be the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment both joining the group in Aldershot by 2020.

Renaming of administrative structures

The introduction of the Specialised Infantry capability will mean some reorganisation of the infantry divisional structure, within which infantry regiments are administered, from seven to six divisions.

The Scottish and The Prince of Wales’s Administrative Divisions of Infantry will merge, incorporating The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Royal Welsh Regiment and The Royal Irish Regiment. This administrative division will be called The Scottish, Welsh and Irish Division. The Mercian Regiment from the Prince of Wales’s Division will join with the King’s Division. Army administrative divisions of infantry are the groupings within which the Army manages its infantry soldiers and officers to give them the necessary broad spread of relevant career experience from across a number of different units and activities. They have no operational role. There will be no changes to the names or regimental construct of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Mercian Regiment, The Royal Welsh Regiment, or The Royal Irish Regiment as a result of these administrative changes.

Support

The changes announced will require adjustments in some supporting and enabling elements of the Army. HQ 102 Logistic Brigade, 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery, 35 Engineer Regiment, Headquarters 64 Works Group Royal Engineers, 2 Medical Regiment, Headquarters 4th Regiment Royal Military Police, 33 Field Hospital and 104,105 and 106 Battalions of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers reserve will be rationalised, with all manpower in those units being redeployed to other areas of the Army in its refined structure.

Army Reserves

As part of our continued investment in the Army Reserve we will build on the success of the Future Reserves 2020 plan. We will optimise reserve structures to better support the modernised division, embed the successful pairing of regular and reserve units and increase the number of reserve combat units supporting the division. As a result, two new reserve infantry battalions will be created from 2017. These are 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and 8th Battalion The Rifles. A new reserve Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) regiment will also be created.

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