An Expeditionary Army Ready For The Next Challenge, Not The Last
Transforming the British Army
The British Army is changing the way it operates.
We are delivering the most radical transformation to our Army in 20 years, called Future Soldier.
It involves thinking differently about emerging threats, how we deal with them, and the skills, capabilities, and equipment that we need.
WHY WE NEED FUTURE SOLDIER
RAPID TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE
Technology is changing the way we operate and defend against threats.
State and non-state adversaries are increasingly evolving their methods with the latest technological capabilities, including powerful digital and cyber technologies. In the future, our enemies will attempt to bypass our strengths through increasingly diverse methods outside of conventional armed conflict, including sophisticated networked weapons, drones and social media bots.
Data and technology will be used more and more on the battlefield. More robotic and autonomous vehicles, such as drones, will be used by us and by our enemies. It will become increasingly hard to move and hide as enemy sensors and surveillance systems become more powerful and their weapons will have the ability to kill with greater range and accuracy.
GREY ZONE 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 using methods outside of traditional armed conflict, including using digital and cyber technologies. This means that the line between war or peace becomes more blurred.
The Army needs to be constantly adapting to counter ‘grey zone’ activities and respond to these evolving threats. Alongside this, it must continue to be ready to fight in battle when required, anywhere in the World.
HOW WILL THE ARMY OPERATE?
The Army will be more global in its perspective, its operations and its partnerships.
This will be achieved through persistent presence. This means having more troops positioned across the globe, who are ready to anticipate and respond to emerging threats at any time. Not only will this provide improved global access for our operations, but it also will prevent conflict by reassuring allies and deterring adversaries that we are always ready to fight. The Army has already established Land Regional Hubs in Germany, Kenya and Oman.
Three specialist units have been created to drive the Army’s global operations:
- Global Response Force (GRF) – is designed to respond to emerging global crises, from humanitarian relief through to warfighting. They measure their response time in hours and days.
- Army Special Operations Brigade – is routinely deployed alongside partner forces around the world to counter Violent Extremist Organisations and hostile state threats. It was established on 31 August 2021 and includes the new Ranger Regiment, which will reach Initial Operating Capability in December 2021.
- 11th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) – will be persistently engaged across the globe with the capabilities and skills to build the defence capacity of partner nations. It will commission, design, deliver and assess security force assistance activity and will operate with allies and partners.
The Army has reinforced the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps as NATO’s foremost deployable Headquarters. We will continue to lead within the alliance.
WHOLE FORCE INTEGRATION
Integration is at the heart of Future Soldier.
The Army will be a force of more than 100,000 people, drawing strength from Regular, Reserve and Civil Service personnel, as well as other services, government departments and nations.
Reservists will play a vital and pivotal role in delivering Future Soldier, taking principal responsibility for Homeland Protect and Resilience operations. Every part of the Army Reserve will also have a clear warfighting role and be ready to fight alongside the Regular Army in time of war and in operations.
The Army will be better able to work seamlessly with maritime, air, space and cyber as part of Ministry of Defence’s (known just as Defence) Integrated Force. The Land Operations Command will orchestrate the Army’s activities with the rest of Defence, other government departments and partners.
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.
READY TO FIGHT
The Army’s primary role is to fight war when it is at its most lethal: known as warfighting.
The ability to conduct high-end warfighting remains the core of the British Army, including being able to deploy a lethal warfighting Division that is fit for the modern battlefield.
Future Soldier will deliver a modernised warfighting division by 2030.
This modernisation is designed to meet the shift from Close to Deep Battle, meaning that more of the Army will be designed around capabilities that can find and attack at greater range and with greater accuracy. The Army will be able to destroy enemies at arms-length, using a combination of new equipment, including Ajax, Boxer, Challenger 3, AH-64E, long range precision fires and un-crewed aerial systems.
Deployable forces will be remodelled around Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs). BCTs integrate the full range of capabilities but at the lowest possible level including artillery, un-crewed aerial systems, cyber, air defence, engineers, signals and logistical support. They will be able to integrate with our allies and partners and create more self-sufficient tactical units to provide more options on the battlefield.
Amongst the announced BCTs is the Deep Recce Strike BCT, which is supported by major investment in world-class precision strike capabilities. This will include the ability to attack at ranges of up to 499Km from 2024, and improved electronic warfare, communications and cyber capabilities. It will be established in mid-2022.
CHANGES FOR OUR PEOPLE
Future Soldier will ensure the Army is equipped with the right culture and leadership to sustain our reputation and moral foundation, and to make the Army a great place to be, for everyone.
An independent audit of Army culture will identify where we will target change, and an extension of 180/360 degree reporting to include middle-ranking officers will drive transparency and showcase the best leaders in our ranks. But change must also be reflected at the highest level; a review of the selection, education, and training for commanders at Lieutenant Colonel and above will better prepare our leaders for the command challenges in our future Army.
Maximising the potential of every individual in the Army will be critical to our success in the digital age. Future Soldier is about providing more choice for our service personnel; the opportunity for a Private soldier to leave the Army as a General.
This is being delivered by Programme Castle, a radical and far-reaching overhaul of the way the Army manages our people and their careers.
Through a new Career Management Portal, Regulars and Reservists will be able to greater control over their careers. It will host digital transfers, meaning that personnel can apply to change their role, cap badge or trade online.
This will work alongside the Army Talent Framework, which will list the skills required for every role as well as those of everyone in the Army. This will allow people to understand the skills required for future roles so they can take steps to make sure they are fully qualified to develop their careers.
We will also transform the way that we train and develop our future soldiers through the new British Army Soldier Academy. We will create an internationally recognised institution that provide soldiers with lifelong learning and development.
ARMY MENTAL HEALTH FORCE
As part of the Health, Performance and Wellbeing section of the Army People Plan, we are committing to provide new mental health support to our service personnel at home and abroad.
A Force Mental Health Team will be established within the Field Army, who will be able to help support the promotion of mental health & wellbeing as well as providing a deployable healthcare capability in support of persistent engagement.
Future Soldier is committed to enhancing the estate for our serving personnel.
The Army is investing £3.35 billion to halt the managed decline of its estate. This will include closing some sites no longer required and enhancing its remaining sites.
As the Army restructures, around 20% of the major units of the Army will be required to rebase over the next decade. The strength of unity between the four nations of the United Kingdom is deeply important to the Army. New regional headquarters across the UK, called Regional Points of Command, will strengthen our presence across the union and the way the Army lives and operates.
A further £1.2 billion will be invested in improving our soldier's living accommodation and in meaningful refurbishment of some of our sites most in need of attention, as well as improving sustainability across the estate.
A modern Army needs modern infrastructure. The Army will deliver an estate-wide WiFi platform to 500+ sites, improving the lived experience for our people both inside and outside of working hours, and provide a digital backbone to keep our bases at the forefront of digital transformation.
HOW WE WILL MODERNISE
Innovation and experimentation form the bedrock of Future Soldier. This will be achieved through expanding our relationship with the Defence industry and driving experimentation from within the force.
A new Experimentation and Trials Group, based around the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment and specialist trials and development units, will lead on trialling new technologies and integrating them into the way that we will fight and operate. It will begin its work in 2022.
The British Army Battle Lab will open in 2022 and will, through investment and collaboration with our partners, industry, and allies, enable the early adoption of next generation capabilities. It is part of a joint environment innovation hub known as Defence BattleLab.
A new Land Industrial Strategy (LIS) will strengthen our relationship with the Defence industry and unlock the potential of innovation and development.
Digitalisation offers the Army significant opportunities to perform our role more efficiently, more effectively and with better integration with our partners. This is underpinned by an agenda known as Programme THEIA.
Programme THEIA will promote new digital ways of working, enable better decisions and catalyse organisational competitiveness. Its outcomes are to compete with our adversaries, improve our efficiencies and integrate with our partners.
From 2024, the Collective Training Transformation Programme will ensure the Army remains prepared for ever more complex threats, taking advantage of immersive training environments and data-led training.
Over the next 10 years, the entirely of the Army’s deployable digital system will be modernised, including a world-leading Army Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities capability. This will work alongside significant investment in the security of the Army’s data and digital capabilities.
Future Soldier will be a change in mindset; the Army needs to understand and account for the impact which environmental change has on our world, our operations, and our security.
We will seek to use technological solutions which contribute to the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, whilst also helping to reduce some drivers of conflict and resulting in a more effective and greener Army
Under a programme called Mercury, the Army is looking forward to the capabilities required in 2035 and beyond. This will be focused on using lower carbon technologies of the future to enhance our operational and strategic advantage. This includes a vision for an electrically powered force.