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Military Capabilities

Details emerge of major British Army re-organisation

17 March 2017

Key Points

  • A major re-organisation of the British Army is under way
  • 'Army 2020 Refine' will involve the transfer of more than 4,500 soldiers to new units

More than 4,500 soldiers are to be transferred to new units and nearly 40 major units moved as part of the British Army's re-organisation plans to set up a 'warfighting' division and form two new strike brigades.

Coldstream Guards on exercise in Romania in 2015. The British Army is currently undergoing a major re-organisation. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)Coldstream Guards on exercise in Romania in 2015. The British Army is currently undergoing a major re-organisation. (IHS Markit/Patrick Allen)

Some outline details of the exercise, dubbed 'Army 2020 Refine', were released last December, but a full list of unit changes involved has been released to Jane's under the UK's Freedom of Information Act.

Under the plans, some 97 battalion-sized units will see changes to their role or brigade assignment, troop strength, home base, and the major equipment they operate. The aim is for all the changes to be complete by 2025, when the second strike brigade is intended to be fully operational.

The plans involve 39 battalion-sized regular units moving their home bases to enable the establishment of the two strike brigades at Catterick in North Yorkshire, to group new specialised advisory/training battalions at Aldershot in Hampshire, and to free up land for sale as part of the UK government's initiative to build more civilian housing.

According to the documents released to Jane's this also involves a major exercise to move personnel between units to reinforce understrength units, as well as increasing the strength of several infantry battalions and building up specialist units. In December 2016 UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced that nine logistics, engineer, military police, medical and repair units, as well as one artillery regiment, would be disbanded under Army 2020 Refine to free up personnel, but it has now emerged that the strength of several other units is being reduced as well. Analysis of the recently released documents suggests that this exercise involves some 4,648 posts being re-assigned to new units.

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