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Defence contribution to resilience

All military operations within the UK fall under the generic title of UK Operations (UK Ops), which comprises the Armed Forces' response to a wide range of contingencies and emergencies during peace, periods of tension and crisis and war.


Defence contributes to UK resilience through the provision of a number of guaranteed niche capabilities (such as Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and a process of augmenting civil authorities and structures when civil capability and capacity are exceeded.

When Defence augments civil capacity it will be in response to specific requests for a planned response or to a crisis. Defence augmentation is not guaranteed.

There are many examples of the Armed Forces providing military aid; the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001, the National fire strike in 2002 and 2003, the flooding in Cumbria in 2005 and 2009, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in 2007, the ‘big freeze’ in 2010 and more recently the 2012 Olympic Games, the East Coast Tidal Surge 2013 and the flooding in the South of England in 2014.

7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East, then 49 (East) Brigade, coordinated or facilitated emergency military aid during the Easter floods in Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, the Suffolk firefighters’ strike in 2005, the Buncefield fire in 2005 and the East Coast floods in 2007 and 2013.

Criteria for Military Aid

The provision of military aid is guided by three criteria

  • Military aid should only be provided where the need for someone to act is clear and where other options have been discounted by the Civil Responder. The use of mutual aid, other agencies, and the private sector must be otherwise considered as insufficient or be unsuitable.
  • The Civil Authority making the request lacks the required level of capability to fulfil the task and it is unreasonable or prohibitively expensive to expect it to develop one.
  • The Civil Authority has a capability but the need to act is urgent and it lacks readily available resources.

Military Aid to Civil Authorities

Military aid can be sought to support the civil authorities when they have an urgent need for help to deal with an emergency arising from a natural disaster or a major incident. Aid is provided on an 'as available' basis and cannot be assumed.

7th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters East, the Army Regional Brigade Headquarters for the East of England and East Midlands, is likely to lead on command and control of military aid in these two regions and can provide advice at any time. The Joint Regional Liaison Officers are supported by and work closely with the Royal Navy Regional Liaison Officer and Royal Air Force Regional Liaison Officers.

The brigade oversees the provision of routine military assistance with social and military training value, such as minor construction tasks. Its liaison officers work closely with emergency services, local authorities and other responders in regional and local resilience forums to develop mutual understanding to facilitate the provision of military aid if authorised.

Contact us

Contact should be made through the Brigade's Joint Regional Liaison Officers, who are the primary focus for the integration of military UK operations with civil authorities.

East Midlands (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire)email: 7X-JRLO-EM@mod.uk

East of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire) email: 7X-JRLO-EE@mod.uk