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Force Management in British Army

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Force Management in the British Army

As leaders in the United States Army, it is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of our strongest allies. As stated in the Quadrennial Defense Review, “Central to the security of the United States is a strong transatlantic partnership, which is underpinned by the bilateral relationships between the United States and the governments of Europe” (QDR, 2010). As the United States military undergoes sequestration, we will become increasingly more reliant on the support of our strongest allies to deter our enemies and, if necessary, project the international will to our collective enemies. In order to fully understand their system, it is important to understand their current force structure and the radical changes they are making under Army 2020, their current manpower reduction plans, their equipment capability development and material development systems, and the documentation methods.
British Military as our Strongest Ally
Over the last decade, the British has been our strongest ally in Afghanistan and Iraq. Currently, the United Kingdom is one of only three countries with a brigade deployed to Afghanistan (US, UK, and Germany) (NATO, 2013). They currently have 7900 personnel deployed to Afghanistan which is more than 9% of the coalition total. As Force Managers, it is important for us to have an understanding of the force structure, personnel, and equipping plans of our strongest ally in order to have an appreciation of what they will be able to bring to a future conflict. As President Obama stated in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance, “Europe is our principle partner in seeking global and economic security, and will remain so for the foreseeable future” (DSG, 2012).
Current Army Structure In order to understand the magnitude of the change that the British Army is making, it is critical to have a cursory understanding of the current force structure. Their basic structure of the 101,000 personnel in the Regulars (Active Army) is similar to the United States Army, with 7 Armoured Brigades, an Air Assault Brigade, and a Commando Brigade, along with the appropriate logistics, fires, and other support elements. They also have a small Territorial Army of 19,000, serving in a role similar to our National Guard, on a part-time basis (Alexandrou, Bartle, & Holmes, 2001). Currently, the British Army has 2 Divisions with the 1st (UK) Armoured Division responsible for the five Armoured Brigades stationed in the UK and the 3rd (UK) Armoured Division responsible for the two Armoured Brigades stationed in Germany. The 16th Air Assault Brigade, consisting of all Regular Airborne and Air Assault Regiments, and the 3rd Commando Brigade (Special Forces) are report to Ministry of Defence joint commands. Currently, the British Army has 2 Brigades deployed to Afghanistan, the 7th Armoured Brigade from the UK and the 1st Armoured Brigade from Germany (The British Army, 2013).
The design of the brigades are much different than the United States. Unlike the Brigade Combat Teams in the United States, each of the seven UK Brigades are of the same design, consisting of Recon Regiment, an Armoured Regiment, an Armoured Infantry Battalion, a Mechanized Infantry Battalion, a Light Infantry Battalion, an Artillery Regiment, an Engineer Regiment, and a Logistic Support Regiment. This design allows for the full range of combat with a single brigade, but brings some restrictions in that there are no tailored forces for different types of terrain.

Army 2020 Force Structure In July 2012, the British Army announced a complete restructuring of their force. This was the result of similar political and economic forces that are currently shaping the United States Army. The British Army made a series of difficult force reductions and other cuts due to austerity measures enacted by their parliament. Prior to the reorganization, the Army was over 120,000 troops, with 101,000 in the Regulars and 19,000 in the Territorial Army. By 2018, they will be 7% smaller with a end strength of 112,000, but with 82,000 Regulars (19% reduction) and 30,000 Regulars (58% increase) (Ministry of Defence, 2013). Additionally, the British government directed the removal of all forces from Germany and a closer integration of the Regular and Reserve (new name for Territorial Army). The redesign of the British Army starts with the realization that there is a cost to readiness, resulting in a structure with a division that is ready to rapidly deploy (Reaction Force) while the remainder of the force is more focused on homeland defense and planned deployments (Adaptable Force) and an element of support and logistics forces (Force Troops) (Ministry of Defence, 2013). Along with the radical redesign, the Regular and Reserve Army is consolidated into, what the U.S. would call multicompo units, with some Regular battalions and some Reserve battalions in each brigade (except Reaction Force).
The Reaction Force troops is commanded by the 3rd (UK) Armoured Division and consists of 3 Armoured Infantry Brigades, the 16th Air Assault Brigade (commanded by the Joint Helicopter Command) and the 3rd Commando Brigade. The mission of the Reaction Force is to “provide the high readiness force that will undertake short notice contingency tasks” (Ministry of Defence, 2012). The structure of the Armoured Infantry Brigades will change to be an Armoured Cavalry Regiment, an Armoured Battalion, two Armoured Infantry Battalions, a Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry Battalion, an Armoured Engineer Battalion, three Logistics Regiments (Close Support, Theatre, and Transport), and a Medical Regiment. The Reaction Force will be able to deploy as a Division, if necessary, but most likely will be the first three brigade size roulements (rotations) from the United Kingdom in stability operations. The Adaptable Force will be an agile force capable of combat operations, standing commitments (such as Cyprus and Falkland Islands), Defence Engagement with partner nations (similar to our National Guard State Partnership Program), and responding to internal natural disasters and defense requirements (Ministry of Defence, 2013). Under the command of the 1st Division, the seven brigades will be comprised of both Regular and Reserve units. Although each brigade will be made up of different quantities of Regiments based on their geographic responsibilities within the United Kingdom, they will all contain Light Cavalry Regiments, Light Protected Mobility Infantry Battalions, and Light Role Infantry Battalions. For every Regular Battalion in the brigade, there is a counterpart Reserve Battalion of the same type. The two battalions have a close relationship, will deploy together, and the Regular Battalion has a responsibility to ensure that the Reserve Battalion is trained and ready to deploy. It is notable that they intentionally placed only wheeled and light units in the Adaptable Force, as they are easier for the Reserves to train to a proficient level on than the complicated Armoured and Armoured Infantry units. The final major command for forces under Army 2020 is the troops in the Force Troops Command. The command will consist of eight “functional” brigades with the mission of providing Combat Support, Command Support, Combat Service Support and Specialist Support to the Reaction and Adaptable Forces, essentially all British Army units that are not part of either other divisions (Ministry of Defence, 2012). The vast majority of their artillery, engineers, signal, military police, and medical units will be located under this command. Like the Adaptable Force, the Force Troops Command units are both Regular and Reserve Battalions, and each Reserve Battalion is paired with a identical Regular Battalion that has the responsibility to ensure readiness for their wartime mission.While the brigades will not be deployable as a whole, they will deployable as either Battalions or individuals, based on the mission requirements.
Training (ARFORGEN) cycle Under the new Army 2020 force structure, the British Army will have a much more complicated training cycle than their current model. Although using different names for the phases and slightly different timeframe, their Training Cycle is very similar to the United States Army ARFORGEN cycles. The vast majority of the Reaction Force and Adaptable Force are on a three year cycle like the U.S. Active Army, however, in the British Army, this three year cycle also applies to the Reserve Forces. The 16th Air Assault Brigade and 3rd Commando Brigade split their units in half, with half of their units in the Training Year and the other half in the Contingency Year. The Training Year is the first year of the Training Cycle. During this year the units will progress from individual training through to battlegroup combined arms live fire exercises, similar to what the U.S. Army would conduct during the Train/Ready Force Pool. “Training will be a blend of live, virtual and constructive activity with increasing use of simulation” (Ministry of Defence, 2013). This increase of simulation training will result in more training at a lower cost to the government. This phase culminates with a rotation to either BATUS (Canada) or BATUK (Kenya), similar to our Combat Training Center rotations. They are also investigating other locations owned by their allies. The second year of their Training Cycle is the Contingency/Committed Year, which is comparable to the Available Force Pool in our ARFORGEN year. During this year, the Reaction Force Brigade will be ready for contingency operations, similar to our Global Response Force. The units in the Adaptable Force will be trained and ready for planned, world-wide deployments such as Afghanistan or the Falkland Islands.
British Army Training Model in Army 2020.
British Army Training Model in Army 2020. The final year of the Training Cycle, except the 16th Air Assault Brigade and 3rd Commandos, is the “Other Tasks Year” (Ministry of Defence, 2013), which is the same as the Reset Phase in the ARFORGEN cycle. This is the time that personnel move between units, attend professional schooling, and equipment undergoes major maintenance. One specified task that is unique to the British Army is they also serves the OPFOR for the units in their training year of the Training Cycle, due to the dedicated Land Warfare Centre units being disbanded due to budget cuts.

Personnel Reductions As part of the Army 2020, the Regular Army is required to make dramatic reductions as they cut 19,000 Soldiers between 2012 and 2014. In order to do this, they are conducted 4 reduction boards, which they call Redundencies. The rapid timeline is a result of the austerity (sequestration) measures dictated by their Parliament and the realization that budget savings will not be realized until the payroll is reduced. The Redundency Boards first ask for volunteers from across the Regular Army, but then select additional Soldiers, from units that are not currently deployed, that must be involuntarily separated. The first two Redundancy Tranches, in 2012, resulted in a 3,800 personnel reduction while the third Tranch announced in June 2013 resulted in an additional 4,500 personnel. The final Redundancy Tranch will likely occur in 2014. The Soldiers are then offered the opportunity to serve in the Reserve Army, resulting in the planned growth in the Reserves at a lower training cost.
Like the United States Army, the British Army has both a deliberate and a rapid acquisition system, but there are radical differences between to two countries. The biggest difference is that all acquisition activities are conducted at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) level, specifically the Defence Equipment and Support Activity (DE&S) (C. Mack, personal correspondence, November 21, 2013), as compared to the United States where the vast majority of acquisition is decentralized to the individual services with oversight at the Department of Defense (DoD). Smart Acquisition is the new British military acquisition for deliberate acquisitions. The Smart Acquisition process, led by the Minister of Defence, is intended to “acquire Defence capability faster, cheaper, better and more effectively integrated” (Smart Acquisition Program, 2013). Besides the core principles that are in our process, there is a major focus of “interoperability with international partners” and more of a reliance on industry to conduct research and development. Many of their major acquisitions since the implementation of Smart Acquisition are from either the United States or other major allies. In the last 9 years, they have adopted the Javelin, Cougar, RG-33 MRAP, MAXXPRO, Apache, C-130, C-17, HET, and LMTVs. By using similar equipment as their allies, they have found it is easier to get repair parts and additional ammunition during combat operations. They balance logistics simplicity with the ability to build necessary war equipment, such as the Challenger 2 main battle tank and the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle, in their homeland and develop and build their major combat systems in their homeland. The British military generally feels the SMART acquisition system is “a good system if we could use it better, but procurement still takes far too long and always runs over budget” (C. Mack, personal communication, November 21, 2013). Their rapid fielding system, the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR), also has many similarities to our system. The purpose is to rapidly fill gaps for the warfighter. The major difference between the British UOR and the U.S. Army ONS processes is the “ownership” of the property. In our army, the item is held on the property books and maintained, just as any other piece of equipment. In the British Army, items of equipment acquired under the UOR process is “owned” by the Treasury while in the theatre of operations. When the item return they must either be purchased by the Ministry of Defence, out of their budget, or be sold and the money returned to the Treasury.
Force Documentation The British Army Establishment Table (MTOE) is much more detailed than the documentation that USAFMSA produces for our Army. The most significant differences are the differentiation between combat and peacetime missions and the structure of the document.
The most noticeable difference is the differentiation between peacetime and wartime requirements in the UK Army Establishment Tables. U.S. Army documents mission essential wartime equipment, focused solely on what they need to accomplish their assigned combat mission. It does not matter if there is a lower manpower or equipment requirement during peacetime, all units are manned and equipped for their combat mission. In the UK Army, they have multiple columns throughout the document, one for their peacetime mission, one for the additional requirements for combat, and the total required to complete their wartime mission. This allows for the Army to man and equip to a lower level during peacetime, but increase their requirements for their combat mission within a single, flexible document.
The other major difference between the two countries is the structure they use to document their units. In the U.S. Army, the FMSWeb format has a list of personnel by platoon/section and a separate list of equipment by platoon/section. The new Global Force Management (GFM) format, the list of personnel is listed with their associated equipment. The British documentation takes the opposite approach of the GFM model, with vehicles listed with personnel, weapons, other equipment and communication equipment listed in different paragraphs. This model makes the structure much easier Army Establishment Table showing garrison, deployment augmentation, and deployment totals.
Army Establishment Table showing garrison, deployment augmentation, and deployment totals. to visualize than either of the U.S. Army documentation models.

Army Establishment Table showing vehicles with assigned personnel.
Army Establishment Table showing vehicles with assigned personnel.

As President Obama wrote in the 2010 National Security Strategy, “Our relationship with our European allies remains the cornerstone of U.S. engagement with the world, and a catalyst for international action” (National Security Strategy, 2010). In order to maximize these relationships with our strongest allies, it is essential for Force Managers and Army Leaders to understand their Force Management systems. Through a mutual understanding of each other’s systems, we can build stronger relationships between our countries.

Alexander, A., Bartle, B., Holmes, R. (Eds.). (2001). Human Resource Management in the British Armed Forces. Abingdon, Oxon, Great Britain: Frank Cass Publishers.
The British Army. (2013, December 1). Retrieved from
Department of Defense. (2012, January). Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century Defense. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office
Department of Defense. (2010). Quadrennial Defense Review. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Ministry of Defence. (2013, July). Transforming the British Army: An Update – July 2013. (Publication ADR002282). Andover, United Kingdom: Crown Design Studio
UK Ministry of Defence Procurement Agency. (2013). Smart Acquisition Program.
United Nations. (2013, October 1). International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): Key Facts and Figures Placemat. PDF Format. Retrieved from
The White House. (2010, May). National Security Strategy. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.…...

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...U.S. ARMY SERGEANTS MAJOR ACADEMY (FSC) P661 1 June 06 MONITOR UNIT AND INDIVIDUAL FITNESS TRAINING PROGRAMS PRERESIDENT TRAINING SUPPORT PACKAGE THIS PAGE LEFT BLANK INTENTIONALLY PRERESIDENT TRAINING SUPPORT PACKAGE (TSP) TSP Number / Title Effective Date Supersedes TSP(s) / Lesson(s) TSP Users Proponent Improvement Comments P661 / MONITOR UNIT AND INDIVIDUAL FITNESS TRAINING PROGRAMS 01 Jun 2006 P661, Monitor unit and individual fitness training programs, Jun 05 521-SQIM (DL), First Sergeant Course The proponent for this document is the Sergeants Major Academy. Users are invited to send comments and suggested improvements on DA Form 2028, Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms. Completed forms, or equivalent response, will be mailed or attached to electronic e-mail and transmitted to: COMDT USASMA ATTN ATSS DCF BLDG 11291 BIGGS FIELD FORT BLISS TX 79918-8002 Telephone (Comm) (915) 568-8875 Telephone (DSN) 978-8875 E-mail: Security Clearance / Access Foreign Disclosure Restrictions Unclassified FD5. This product/publication has been reviewed by the product developers in coordination with the USASMA foreign disclosure authority. This product is releasable to students from all requesting foreign countries without restrictions. 1 PREFACE Purpose This Training Support Package provides the student with a standardized lesson plan for presenting instruction for: Task Number Task......

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