Transforming the British Army

Future Soldier


A modern expeditionary Army for a modern Global Britain

APOSW-2018-027-General Mark Carleton-Smith CBE 005.jpg

Transforming the British Army

"Under ‘Future Soldier’ we will become a modern, world-class Army that is more agile, more integrated and more expeditionary - ready for the next challenge, not the last."

General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith
Chief of the General Staff

Watch more on YouTube

Why does the Army need to adapt?

Changing Character of Warfare

The world is changing fast. As well as the threat of conventional warfare, the British Army must also be ready to respond to new and evolving threats.

As the world changes, so does the character of conflict. Our adversaries are increasingly operating in the ‘grey zone’. This is where state and non-state actors operate against the UK without a full declaration of war, and so the line between war or peace becomes more blurred.

Changing Threats

The Army needs to be constantly adapting to counter ‘grey zone’ activities and respond to these evolving threats, as well as being ready to fight in battle when required. How we prevent, and ultimately fight, wars will change against the backdrop of geopolitical and technological change.

We will work closely with other Government departments, and with other partners and allies across the world, to meet these complex threats.

Rapid Technological Change

State and non-state adversaries are increasingly evolving their methods. This includes using digital and cyber, with powerful disruptive technologies such as sophisticated networked weapons, drones and social media bots.

Data and technology will be used more and more in conflict. More robotic and autonomous vehicles – such as drones – will be used by us and by our enemies. On the battlefield, weapons will be able to strike from much further away, there will be more human-machine teaming, and more use of digital networks and other technology to keep our soldiers safer and make them more effective. We will need to work with industry to make sure we have the latest technology quickly.

How will the Army operate?

Always Ready to Fight

We will always need the ability to move quickly to a war footing, with a credible warfighting capability.  

The Army will not just train in case of war but will be continuously working to keep the country safe. Having more regularly deployed troops– known as ‘persistent presence’ – gives us the ability to anticipate and react quicker to emerging crises.  It will deter enemies and make sure we are ready to move quickly to a warfighting position. Specialist units, such as Air Manoeuvre Forces, Security Force Assistance battalions, and Army Special Operations Forces, will help the UK to spot developing issues or identify or respond to unpredictable activity. 

More Global

The Army will be more global in its perspective, its operations and its partnerships.

More of the Army will be deployed across the globe more of the time, with the capabilities to operate alongside partners, and compete with adversaries. We will be present in the places which matter most to the UK, meaning we can better anticipate events and reassure our allies.

The Army will exploit defence’s global network, capitalising on our existing overseas operating bases in Oman, Kenya, Brunei and Belize, and Germany. These will be digitally connected and will provide a framework for the Army’s persistent presence. They will provide a globally connected system and act as a deterrent and early warning system for instability abroad; delivering information, anticipating a crisis and building trust with host nations.

Our troops will deploy on exercises across the world, and will deliver training, advice, assistance or accompanying troops to partner nations. Our global work will also support UK industry through the demonstration of equipment, and will contribute to UK prosperity.

Operating as a Whole Force

The Army will be designed to incorporate Regulars, Reserves and Civil Servants, to maximise efficiencies and coherence.

We will be more integrated in every sense, both with our sister Services, allies and partners and with the new domains of Cyber, Space and the electro-magnetic spectrum.

Having the edge in conflicts now means responding fast, and with a bold approach. The Army will be trained and equipped to operate globally below the threshold of conflict, but always ready to fight.  If deterrence fails, we will be ready to move to a war footing.

How will the Army be structured?

Army Special Operations Brigade

To include a new Ranger Regiment, initially based on four Infantry Battalions but selecting personnel from across the Army. It will be designed to support and conduct special operations discreetly in high-risk environments.

Security Force Assistance Brigade

Comprised of four Infantry Battalions with the capabilities and skills to build the capacity of partner nations. When necessary they will operate alongside local forces, supporting them and providing access to capabilities they may lack.

New Global Response Force

To be centred around an Air Manoeuvre Brigade Combat Team (BCT) and a newly established Combat Aviation BCT. They will be equipped with upgraded Apache and Chinook helicopters and integrated with strategic air transport from the RAF.

This force will measure its global response time in hours and days, with the versatility to deliver humanitarian to warfighting crisis response.

Re-organising into Brigade Combat Teams

To be structured to integrate capabilities at the lowest appropriate level, with supporting capabilities routinely assigned, including artillery, un-crewed aerial systems, cyber, air defence, engineers, signals and logistic support. This will create more self-sufficient tactical units with the capacity to work with partners across government, or with allies and industry. BCTs include:

  • A new Deep Recce Strike BCT will give the Army a formidable find and strike capability, connecting longer-range artillery, electronic attack and attack helicopters with the reconnaissance capabilities of AJAX and uncrewed aerial systems.
  • Two Heavy BCTs formed from the modernisation of two Armoured Infantry Brigades. Over the next decade these will be equipped with Ajax armoured reconnaissance, Challenger 3 Main Battle Tanks and Boxer mechanised infantry.

  • One Light BCT consisting of light cavalry in Jackal and light mechanised infantry in Foxhound.

  • One Light BCT consisting of light cavalry and light infantry.

Transforming the Reserve

The Reserve will have a modernised and fully integrated warfighting role, and will be empowered to take a leading role in delivering the Army contribution to national resilience.

The role of the Army Reserve will be expanded and will work even more closely with the rest of the Army. This means that there will be more opportunities for people who want to enjoy the challenges that come with being a Reservist.

For more information, visit our pages on the Army Reserve 

What Equipment will the Army use?


In this rapidly-changing digital world, we need to be innovative.

We need to be innovative in technology and in ways of working; being open to new ideas from the commercial sector, the Defence industry, and from our own people.

The Army will be supercharged by an experimentation programme led by a dedicated unit to rigorously test the force.

Land Industrial Strategy

The British Army’s Land Industrial Strategy will reset our relationship with industry.

We will foster collaboration in cutting-edge technologies, targeting £2billion investment in Research & Development where the UK’s world-leading status has the broadest commercial potential. This includes protective armour, sensors, hybrid electric drives and mission systems.

It will be a catalyst for a lower carbon footprint, pioneering the development of ‘green’ technologies, to significantly reduce carbon emissions from Land capabilities and contribute to the Army achieving ‘net carbon zero 50’. This approach will deliver the competitive advantage our front-line forces need, by providing access to cutting-edge capabilities on a more continuous and enduring basis.

Contributing to UK Prosperity

By enabling industry investment in military capability and diversifying it across national regions, the  Land Industrial Strategy will sustain 10,000 jobs across the UK and promote prosperity, targeting £6billion in export sales.

In addition to our relationship with industry, we will continue to contribute to UK society by providing social mobility through education, skills training, and by providing employment across bases and infrastructure.

We will continue to help build soft power through exercises and presence in different countries, building and reinforcing partnerships with other nations. Our work will continue to help partners and allies build their own skills and training.


A more specialised workforce

Diversity & Inclusion

An inclusive culture where all individuals are valued remains a fundamental and non-negotiable part of the Army offer.

The Army of the future will go even further in ensuring that it provides opportunity for all, fosters a sense of belonging, develops teamwork, and truly represents the society it serves.

This will be delivered through TEAMWORK, the Army’s Diversity and Inclusivity Strategy and will be supported by behaviours training and a programme of cultural change.

Programme Castle

Programme Castle is a radical and far-reaching overhaul of the way the Army manages its people and their careers to ensure that our workforce has the knowledge, skills and experience to meet future threats.

The changes are driven by matching people’s diverse and valuable talent to the Army’s needs. We will be able to get the right talent, in the right place, at the right time, while offering individuals greater opportunity, choice and flexibility to our people, while also supporting their families.

By doing this, Programme Castle will deliver attractive, competitive and sustainable career pathways and it will use technology to offer our people choices and the ability to manage their own careers, including:

  • Accelerated promotion for the best
  • Allowing those with specialist skills to serve longer
  • A simple, accessible and clear Army Career Policy for all
  • A review of the Length of Service engagements to retain the best and offer greater flexibility
  • Merging of Late Entry and Direct Entry officer Terms of Service and roles
  • New professions, which will be exciting and meet the new threats we face
  • The Army Talent Framework - easier movement between jobs and organisations, helping people better match their skills with jobs.

Upskilling our People

There will be a step change in Army education and professional upskilling – investing in our people to give the Army the ‘intellectual edge’ it needs.

This will see a greater emphasis on professional training, while recognising the skills and education gained before joining the Army, as well as developing technical skills. Initiatives already in place include the Army Apprenticeship schemes - with 15,500 soldiers enrolled in over 50 programmes - the Army Higher Education Pathway and the Army Leadership and Development Programme. The Army will also provide the opportunity for advanced cultural and language training, and will commit to our people’s life-long learning, enabling them to gain accreditation for their skills.

All of this underpins an Army workforce that is highly effective and is focused on deployed operations in support of the UK’s global influence.

When our people finish their careers, they will have the skills and character to be highly employable, and are supported back into civilian life with a first-class transition scheme.

Supporting our People

The Army will continue to invest in and support our people.

Pay and allowances, such as for overseas service, will remain competitive during a time of economic uncertainty. We will transform our welfare support service and enhance our relationship with Armed Forces charities to maximise the benefit they offer our people.

We already provide state-of-the art physical training and rehabilitation facilities alongside free through-career healthcare provision. This is now complemented by OPSMART (Optimising Performance Through Stress Management and Resilience Training), a through-life learning programme to enhance mental health awareness and resilience.

Improvements will also be seen in subsidised single and family accommodation, with higher standards, greater eligibility and wider choice.

Reflecting the Union

The strength of unity between the four nations of the United Kingdom is deeply important to the Army.

We will maintain resilience through a regional hub presence in all UK regions and nations, drawing our people from all sections of society and acting as an agent for social mobility and levelling up.

Supporting our Civil Servants

Our Civil Servants fulfil a vast range of roles; from teachers, clerks, psychologists and logisticians, to financiers, commercial officers, project managers and policy staff, who all contribute to the delivery of Army outputs. To make best use of our people, the Army’s Whole Force workforce planning activities are being developed to make sure the Army has the skills and experience it needs in the right place and at the right time.

Further Information

Screenshot 2021-03-21 at 12.14.26.png

Future Soldier

The Army will adapt to confront the new threats we face while delivering our core purpose - to defend the Nation, protect our people, project influence and promote prosperity.

Future Soldier Pamphlet