The 77th Brigade is responsible for “non-lethal warfare”. Both the Israeli and US army already engage heavily in these kind of operations.
The 77th will include regulars and reservists and recruitment will begin in the spring. Soldiers with journalism skills and familiarity with social media are among those being sought.
The Ministry of Defence said:
“77th Brigade is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare. It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent.”
The 2014 British Army Journal gives a detailed description on the 77th, which was was called the Security Assistance Group at thew time, “the unit will be be focal point for levers of soft power or persistent engagement”.
The 77th Brigade, despite media hype, is not a unit for psychological warfare. While several of the units are dedicated to psychological warfare, this is not their only goal nor the primary mission of 77th Brigade. The purpose unit is to aid in the mission of stabilisation.
Minister Mark Francois stated that:
“77th Brigade is the new name for the Security Assistance Group. Its continuing role includes:
Providing support, in conjunction with other Government agencies, to efforts to build stability overseas and to wider defence diplomacy and overseas engagement;
Leading on Special Influence Methods, including providing information on activities, key leader engagement, operations security and media engagement;
Military capacity-building at various stages in the cycle of conflict, through mentoring, support and training, including providing training support to Force Elements to enable delivery of security assistance tasks. There will be 440 military posts in 77th Brigade.”
According to Penny Morduant,
“Doctrine provides the philosophy and enduring principles by which military forces guide their actions. 77th Brigade uses a combination of NATO and UK doctrine including for Civil Military Cooperation, Security, Stabilisation, Information and Media Operations, as well as Peace Support and Humanitarian Assistance.
The doctrine applied by 77th Brigade has been developed through collaboration with NATO allies, within the UK military and with other Government Departments. It will also have called on the experience and expertise of other nations and academia. The doctrine is dynamic, being constantly tested against experience, and crafted for a contemporary environment, and will therefore continue to develop as new or anticipated challenges appear.”
Notably, 77th Brigade includes 10 members of the Naval Service (Royal Navy and Royal Marines) and 11 Royal Air Force personnel.
Since 77th Brigade was formed in April 2015, 116 personnel have deployed on 30 exercises, the vast majority of which have been UK based; 20 personnel have deployed on four separate operations; and a further 23 personnel have deployed non-operationally as part of Short Term Training Teams to five countries.
77th Brigade is planned to reach full operating capability in December 2019.