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The Ministry of Defence announced a major re-structuring of the British Army in July 2012. It comes nearly two years after the publication of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) which outlined a vision of Future Force 2020.

Army 2020 is the Army’s response to the SDSR’s expectations of its capabilities; the need to reduce the regular army by 20,000 and accommodate cuts to the defence budget. The Army says the change “is as significant as any seen over the last fifty years.” It envisages an Army of two elements: a Reaction Force and an Adaptable Force, supported by Force Troops; the integration of the Reserves into the Army Structure and a trained Reserves of 30,000, to be achieved by 2020.

To accommodate the reductions in the Regular army, 23 units are to be disbanded or amalgamated resulting in 17 fewer units overall. A redundancy scheme is already in place to manage the initial reductions announced in the SDSR. The Ministry of Defence says individuals in units to be cut are no more or less likely to be selected for redundancy.

The greater use and integration of the Reserves and the disbandment of a number of units and infantry battalions has drawn the most attention and criticism. The Army says this change is “as significant as any seen over the last fifty years.”

The Government will publish a consultation document in autumn 2012 to discuss the relationship between the Reserves, the Government and employers. A Basing Review is also expected towards the end of the year.


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