As part of changes brought about by the Future Land Combat System document, Brigade Combat Teams will be formed as self-sufficient tactical combat units.
In a now deleted section of their website (perhaps the details were revealed a bit too early as the defence white paper accompanying the Integrated Review isn’t released untiul the 22nd of March), the British Army discussed the changes that will soon be implemented as part of the Integrated Review.
The Future Land Combat System is a document which sets out how the Army will fight in more details.
Future Land Combat System has six priority areas according to the British Army website:
1. The Army must be able to work – and fight – across all domains, including space and cyber, and with allies and partners. The Army must anticipate a crisis and respond quickly, using Land Regional Hubs and a range of different forces such as Intelligence, for information on a rapidly changing situation, or Logistics, to deliver supplies to British or partner troops.
2. The Army will prevent war where possible by acting as a deterrent or by working in ‘below the threshold’ operations.
3. Smaller units and their commanders will be able to operate more self-sufficiently, in order to adapt and respond quickly.
4. The Army will reduce the risk associated with mass troops, by physically dispersing, by using electronic deception to effectively ’hide’ their electronic footprint from the enemy or keeping troops further away from the enemy by using precision strikes.
5. The Army must be well-trained for urban operations, which are set to become more of a focus in the future.
Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) will be formed as self-sufficient tactical combat units.
“In order to be able to operate and fight in the way described in the Future Land Combat System document, the Army will be organised differently. Brigade Combat teams will be self-sufficient tactical units with the ability to work across the Army, partners across government, allies and industry.”
The website also adds:
“When it does go to war, the future British Army must be more lethal and more agile than ever before, in order to fight and win, and to reduce the risk to frontline troops. Combat forces will be made up of armoured troops – using modern armoured vehicles. Mechanised and infantry soldiers will be tasked with seizing and holding complex or urban terrain. Air assault operations and raids will be able to help us win the battle in difficult terrain.
Our close combat forces will be supported at a distance with a range of lethal and non-lethal capabilities such as, artillery strikes, attack helicopters and Uncrewed Aerial Systems (UAS). Increasingly automated logistics will support troops closer to the front line, and counter-UAS, counter-missile and chemical biological radioactive and nuclear (CBRN) capabilities will provide a protective system which can identify and react to different kinds of attacks: from conventional, cyber or chemical weapons.”
A series of Land Regional Hubs will be established where a ‘persistent presence’ of units will occur.
“Developing a series of Land Regional Hubs is a critical step to deliver an Army that is more engaged globally. Land Regional Hubs are part of Defence’s Global Hubs concept; they are a network of physical bases across the world with forward-deployed troops. The Hubs will often be in areas where the British Army already has an established physical base or presence. At the heart of Land Regional Hubs is the idea of ‘persistent presence’.
Land Regional Hubs will provide a platform for regional projection and will ensure that the Army supports the Government’s global ambition; increasing regional understanding, enhancing UK engagement and regional partnerships, strengthening alliances, constraining adversaries and generating prosperity. Land Regional Hubs will be supported by a digital network. This network will provide a globally connected system and act as a deterrent and early warning system for instability abroad. This might mean using cyber or intelligence gathering from the UK to provide information and analysis – such identifying potential terrorist activity, or mapping conflict hotspots using data analysis – that means we are ready to support or fight using the troops on the ground at the different Land Regional Hubs.”
Security Force Assistance Units will be formed to deliver training and logistics to partner nations, and will be routinely deployed across the world.
“Relationships and trust cannot be surged in a crisis but must be built and strengthened by continuous and meaningful engagement over time. This is not only an organisational change but a cultural change too, with the Army adopting a campaigning approach to all activity overseas.
The Army will no longer simply deploy on an isolated exercise and immediately return home. Instead, enabled by these Land Regional Hubs, soldiers will be able to deploy for several months to a region to exercise and conduct additional regional activity.
For example, delivering capacity building with partners and proxies as part of constant competition or perhaps supporting UK industry through the demonstration of equipment. Training or logistics and infrastructure support will be delivered by Security Force Assistance units. These units will be routinely deployed across the world, working with allies and other partner nations to help stabilise nations or fight extremism. By working to improve like-minded Armed Forces through training, advising and building relationships, we seek to help tackle the sources of instability at earliest stages, and deter people who seek to threaten that stability.”
A Global Response Force will be formed to react to a range of crises at a moment’s notice.
“A more global Army will be supported by a very high readiness Global Response Force which will be ready to respond to the full range of crises from humanitarian relief through to combat operations.”
Army Special Operations Forces shall be created to support UK Special Forces with cyber, electronic warfare and information operations capabilities.
“Added to this, we will develop Army Special Operations forces, which are specially trained units with the skills to deal with high-risk environments. They will support UK Special Forces with cyber, electronic warfare and information operations capabilities, through special reconnaissance and human analysis.”
The Army Reserve will take the lead in delivering the Army’s contribution to national resilience.
“The British Army is a part of the fabric of the nation. Although soldiers are deployed on operations and exercised worldwide, the Army supports local communities at home, including flooding response, London 2012 Olympics and recently as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response. The Army’s ceremonial duties, like those on Horse Guards Parade in London, or at Edinburgh Castle, are a valued part of our culture, heritage, and tourist industry.
We are actively involved in the community, from Cadets (the economic value of wellbeing through being in the Cadets has been measured at £83m per year), to Reservists and Regular soldiers. Our bases and Reserve Units are dotted around the country; they provide a network of local knowledge and support to the community and to other organisations, like the emergency services. As the Reserves are transformed to fulfil a modernised and fully integrated warfighting role, they will also take a leading role in delivering the Army contribution to national resilience.”
The Army will reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“The Army owns and maintains around 1.8% of the land in the UK. We have a responsibility to look after the land, wildlife and buildings we own. This includes our responsibility and commitment to sustainability and the environment. We have committed to reaching net zero Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050, minimising our emissions while maintaining our military capability.
This will be achieved through ambitious projects such as Project Prometheus, and through working with local partner organisations on projects to protect local peatland and heathland across the UK. Prometheus is a pilot scheme exploring the use of solar electricity generation. It will see the installation of solar farms on up to 4 Army sites: Baker Bks – Thorney Island, Duke of Gloucester Barracks – South Cerney, Rock Barracks, Woodbridge and Defence School of Transport, Leconfield and will begin generating energy by later this year, along with ongoing work on a mixed energy supply. The plan is to roll Prometheus pilot out to a further 72+ sites in the future.”
An Army Industrial Strategy will be created and set out the Army’s relationship with industry.
“The new Army Industrial Strategy will set out how the Army will work more effectively with industry. It will allow more of a focus on innovation and on digital systems. This is the first time the Army has formally set out its relationship with industry. The Army will work more openly and with greater collaboration with cutting-edge technologies. It will invest in research and development, where the UK’s world-leading status has most commercial potential, for example in protective armour, sensors, hybrid electrics and mission systems.
The Army Warfighting Experiment, and new projects like the Army Battle Lab, bring soldiers together with military experts, scientists and industry. The Army Warfighting Experiment is the Army’s series of flagship trials of emerging, experimental or conceptual technology, which will determine which technologies are adopted. Investing in cutting-edge technologies will drive the Army’s commitment to sustainability and will be a catalyst for lowering its lower carbon footprint. Through pioneering the development of ‘green’ technologies, the Army will achieve zero petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035. This investment will help to sustain up to 10,000 jobs across the four nations of the United Kingdom, putting money into local economies, and retaining and developing skills. It is also seeking to promote prosperity by increasing exports and providing a boost the UK economy.”
The website adds that the Army will be more global in its perspective, its operations and its partnerships.
“We can help protect the UK by working more abroad; we will be deployed across the world to the places which matter most to the UK. We will maintain an ongoing presence across the world – known as ‘persistent presence’ – which will help prevent conflict and humanitarian crises. Through persistent presence, we will be better able to anticipate and respond to events across the world; it will help us act quickly if we need to fight and act as a deterrent to our adversaries.”
The Army will improve its ability to operate below the threshold of conflict, through activities that are designed to deter and engage on the global stage without escalating to declaration of war.
“This might mean operating in cyberspace or providing a show of physical strength on land and air. A new Land Special Operations capability – which over time will be selected from across the Army – will blend physical presence with remote digital information activities to add to the capability of our partners and check the advance of hostile states and violent extremists. Our operations will promote our prosperity and demonstrate new technology to strengthen alliances. It will provide expertise and reassurance to partners and allies, and will allow us to build better and stronger international relationships. To do this we must be agile; acting quickly and decisively, with the right equipment and people, in order to de-escalate a crisis, or to move to war footing if required.”