Defence Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 576

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Defence Committee

on Wednesday 10 July 2013

Members present:

Mr James Arbuthnot (Chair)

Mr Julian Brazier

Thomas Docherty

Mr Adam Holloway

Penny Mordaunt

Sir Bob Russell

Bob Stewart

Ms Gisela Stuart

Derek Twigg


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, Commander Land Forces, Major General David Cullen, Assistant Chief of the General Staff, Major General Kevin Abraham, Director General Army Reform, and Major General Ranald Munro, Deputy Commander Land Forces (Reserves) gave evidence.

Chair: Welcome to this evidence session on our inquiry into Future Army 2020. I was trying to work out whether this was our first evidence session, but I am reminded that we had the Chief of the General Staff here in December last year, which seems an awfully long time ago now. Anyway, you are all most welcome to this session. Would you introduce yourselves and state your current position?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Lieutenant General Adrian Bradshaw, Commander Land Forces, based in Army headquarters in Andover.

Major General Munro: Major General Munro, Deputy Commander Land Forces. I am a reservist.

Major General Cullen: Major General David Cullen, Assistant Chief of the General Staff. I work in London and Andover for General Peter Wall.

Major General Abraham: Major General Kevin Abraham, Director General, Army Reform. I work for the Chief of the General Staff in London and Andover.

Q94 Chair: Now let us begin. What is the strategic rationale behind the plans for Future Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think I should hand that to ACGS, who was instrumental in the formulation of those plans.

Chair: Okay, ACGS.

Major General Cullen: It is the product of the security and defence review of 2010 and the detailed discussions that followed that on bringing the defence budget into balance and shaping defence for the future contingencies as we saw the world. So it is the product of the defence review, driven by operational requirements in the world and the evolving complexity of the world situation, but also of the very strategic requirement nationally to deal with the greatest threat, which was the economic situation.

Q95 Chair: To what extent were you able to start with a blank sheet of paper?

Major General Cullen: Through the defence review itself-it was not a blank sheet of paper.

Q96 Chair: So how were the parameters prescribed?

Major General Cullen: They were prescribed through the defence review in the initial agreement and the White Paper that followed, so in close consultation with the National Security Council and with Government, meeting the requirements as set. Of course, what happened at the back end of that defence review was that there was a requirement to bring the budget into balance and a further review was required. In the Army space, that meant that we needed to take a much more transformational view of the manner in which we delivered the outputs that were required of us. That was much more in the blank sheet of paper space, but not absolutely, because at that time we were engaged in operations around the world; we had forces committed in various roles. So it was not absolutely a blank sheet of paper, but it was an opportunity for the Army to go away, own a proposition itself and come back with recommendations to Ministers as to how we should meet the challenge.

Q97 Chair: The plans for the Regulars were announced comparatively early, but the plans for the Reservists were announced only recently. What was the cause of the delay?

Major General Cullen: I would say that there were two reasons. The first and most fundamental was that, following the production of the Future Reserve 2020 proposition, which was done separately, the Secretary of State agreed that there was a need for consultation and the production of the Green Paper to map a journey; that was inevitably going to take a certain amount of time longer than the Regular component’s proposition, which was easier in many ways to come to, not least because the manner of the generation of our Reserves over time is complex, so the detail required was very much greater to go through. All of which came together, as you well understand, with the White Paper announcement on the Reserves last week.

Q98 Chair: Will the plans make it easier for the Army to work jointly with the other services or less easy, and how?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Perhaps I can take that one. Firstly, the divisional headquarters will have an improved plug-in point for air representation, so we expect air-land integration to work more effectively. In terms of working with partners as well, you will be aware that the plan anticipates that the adaptable force will be quite heavily engaged in defence engagement overseas, so what we hope to do is build up a body of experience of working with overseas partners, which we can then play into operational contingencies if required. Therefore, in both in the joint and the coalition partners, there are elements built into the plan that make life easier. I would say also that, as an Army, we are on a path towards not only more joint activity-actually we are already there: Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade has thoroughly got us into that space-but more integrated activity with other Government Departments and Ministries. That is the requirement where we need to make more ground. Clearly, it is a cross-governmental activity.

Q99 Chair: Would you say that there would be a similar enhancement with the Royal Marines?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I could not comment on their precise plans, but we certainly anticipate working with them very closely on defence engagement. I have already been in communication with my opposite number in the Royal Marines on precisely that area. I see us working closely with them.

Q100 Thomas Docherty: What were the risks and threats to the United Kingdom that informed the plans you have drawn up?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Again, I will pass over to ACGS, who was in on the formulation, and perhaps General Abraham may have a comment. Foremost in my mind as we take the plan forward is the requirement to build a contingency capability that covers off against the range of threats and scenarios that were identified in the Future character of conflict work. I am sure that you are all aware of the work done by the Commander of Force Development and Training before the last SDSR. It was a very thorough, academically supported piece of work that was endorsed by the MOD. It paints a picture of future conflict in which we may be required to operate across the spectrum of conflict, dealing with combat situations, counter-insurgency, humanitarian support and peace support operations, all at the same time, all in the same theatre. Clearly, as we move to contingency, we are covering off against a wide spectrum of requirements.

Q101 Thomas Docherty: Before the other generals come in, has anything-for example, the Arab spring-developed since that academic work was produced that you think requires that work or, indeed, the Army Force Plan to be revisited?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think the instability that has come out of the Arab spring merely reinforces the fact that future contingencies are likely to be amongst populations and within populations of a different culture from ourselves. That just reinforces the requirement not only to cover off against that spectrum of operational scenarios, but to be ready to work within populations-in and amongst the people-and ready to work alongside other cultures; and within the 2020 plan, we do have measures specifically to cover off against that requirement.

Major General Abraham: In addition to that which General Bradshaw has mentioned, there was of course both the analysis given in the strategic defence and security review and that laid out in the national security strategy. Those of course provided the broad order parameters, the strategic calculus, of the problem. In terms of more military detail, as we finished off the work associated with the SDSR of 2010, the Army instituted a specific force development and experimentation programme called Agile Warrior, which did a lot of futures analysis against a range of scenarios and drew a number of conclusions from that, and those were duly reflected in the Army 2020 design.

Q102 Thomas Docherty: Looking back at the CGS’s December evidence session, which I am sure you have all had a chance to reflect on, he certainly gave us the impression that some of those risks and threats were uncertain or very uncertain. If you accept CGS’s assessment, how certain can you be that Army 2020 is going to be robust enough?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: What CGS may have been reflecting on is the lack of certainty about exactly what sort of situation we might be facing in any particular contingency, and therefore the requirement to be able to cover off against a number of requirements. What we have built into the plan is the adaptable force, which, in the time that the reaction force responds immediately to an emerging contingency, can adapt itself to meet the specific requirements of the contingency that we are facing. The reaction force has elements that are trained for immediate reaction against a standard training package and construct; the adaptable force can then be adapted to the specific requirements of that theatre as we learn more about it. We morph the force to tailor it specifically to the requirements.

Q103 Thomas Docherty: It sounds as though you have thought through quite a range of operational scenarios. How were these plans and scenarios tested in the preparation?

Major General Abraham: There is a range of activities in which you test these things. The Ministry of Defence, for the whole of defence, runs a strategic force development programme, which tests and runs evaluations against a range of scenarios and situations in different parts of the world, and draws conclusions from that. Our own work in the Agile Warrior programme, which is effectively a complement to that done at MOD level, with more focus on the land environment problem, again looked at a number of different sets of circumstances and tactical scenarios, different forms of threat, adversary, enemy and so on. Our conclusion was, essentially, absolutely that of the SDSR, which, as you well know, sets an adaptable posture as our strategic framework for defence and security. Below the strategic level, the ability to adapt to a range of circumstances-because we do not face a monolithic threat, as we did in the cold war days-and institutionalising your ability rapidly to adapt against a very broad range of circumstances, adversaries, threats or whatever, was a very important conclusion; hence the introduction by design of the adaptable force and Army 2020.

Q104 Thomas Docherty: Is that testing an ongoing process? If so, does that mean or suggest that these plans themselves are under revision?

Major General Abraham: Yes. Both the Ministry of Defence’s and the Army’s own force development processes are continuous. We do not seek to make major adjustments every six months or every year, but we continually review what we are postulating in the design of a force against what we learn or derive both from that sort of activity and of course lessons from operations, and lessons from operations that other nations have taken part in but perhaps we have not.

Major General Cullen: Indeed, even with our own plan, and accepting that the parameters within which it was designed have not necessarily changed today, we are constantly testing and evaluating. The design that we have made will inevitably with that process need to be fine-tuned and adjusted. So that is a very real and live process that is ongoing. The other thing that I should say, of course, is that as part of this adaptable posture, and a fundamental tenet of Army 2020 and indeed the way defence is looking at the world, is the need to be out there and engaged in the world in a different way-to try to understand better what is happening and evolving and head off the circumstances that might otherwise take us to a less attractive place in terms of commitment.

Q105 Thomas Docherty: I promised a club fine if I said TA and not Army Reserve, so does the 82,000 Regular and 30,000 Army Reserve represent the critical mass of the Army, or is that the maximum that could be afforded?

Major General Cullen: The CGS, I think, answered that question at the evidence session that was suggested. He feels that we are at critical mass for the circumstances and the tasks that have been set and proposed for us as of today. Change those circumstances, change those parameters, adjust the risks or any of those factors, then that critical mass can go up and down, dependent on the requirement. As set for today, against a range of tasks that we have been given today, his feeling is that we are at about critical mass.

Q106 Thomas Docherty: If Scotland became independent, would that fundamentally change any of the planning assumptions that you have made about the tasks and threats that you face?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We are not carrying out any contingency planning for an independent Scotland.

Q107 Thomas Docherty: That was not quite what I asked. Are the risks, threats and so on that you face-the objectives for the Army-affected by whether or not Scotland is independent?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As I suggested, we have not looked at whether those would be affected.

Q108 Thomas Docherty: If there were a yes vote in the referendum, would that impact on the implementation of Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We would have to look at how that would affect us.

Q109 Thomas Docherty: So you would cross that bridge on 19 September?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: indicated assent.

Q110 Thomas Docherty: What contingencies are in place if, for example, you cannot reach the 30,000 strength for Army Reserve?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We are not working on the basis that we are not going to achieve it. We have a robust plan in place-I can lay out some details of the plan, if you like-and the working assumption is that we will recruit what is required. Clearly, if other factors intervened to make that not possible, there is a defence review in 2015 when we will review progress against objectives and recommend any adjustments required, but as I say, we are confident that we will recruit the right numbers of people. It is, after all, less than half of the strength of the old TA during the cold war, and a very small proportion of the working population of the country, so it should be an achievable target. As I said, if you would like me to lay out some of the measures that we are putting in place to ensure we do recruit, I would be happy to expand on them.

Thomas Docherty: I think there are some reserve questions later.

Chair: I am sure we can get on to it, in one way or another.

Q111 Thomas Docherty: Finally from me, what was the role of our allies and the institution of NATO in forming and developing the plan?

Major General Abraham: I will talk Regular and Reserve in answering that, if I may, and I will deal with the latter first. The independent commission on Reserves did a very detailed evaluation of comparator nations with a Reserve, so we looked at what they had done. In the Army 2020 project, we did some additional work-largely against the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand-and what we did was informed by that. The heavy lifting in terms of that reviewing was done by the commissioners on the independent commission, including Mr Brazier.

In terms of the Regular component-this is not an answer only about the Regular component, but I will treat it as if it were-we have of course been, for over a decade, committed to multinational operations, and lessons from those operations were significant inputs and constituted important design principles in the Army 2020. We now have a deep habit of doing multinationality on arduous operations, and that consistently reflected through into the Army 2020 force design work.

Q112 Thomas Docherty: Because I am a politician, I am going to break my promise and ask another final question. You mentioned the multinationals. All the countries you mentioned are English language-speaking countries. I am surprised that we did not do any work with the French, in particular. What plans have you to increase our language skills as part of that multinational work?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Why don’t you have a go first, and then I will come in?

Major General Abraham: The ones I mentioned that we specifically looked at were indeed multinational. The independent commission looked more broadly, including, for example, at Singapore, if I remember rightly. In terms of the French, we talk-there are French officers in the room here-but their start point, as an army that ended conscription much later than we did and has a different tradition of reserve service, means that there are limited reference points on that. As for language training-General?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I was going to say, specifically in terms of getting alongside the French, that I am sure you are aware that we are working with them on a combined joint expeditionary force; we have done quite a bit of development work already, based on a force with a brigade headquarters and a battle group each from UK and French forces. That work is ongoing, and we are looking at stepping it up a level and exercising the deployment of two brigades under a divisional headquarters, so we are taking forward our working arrangements with the French.

On language training, you will be aware that we have had a pretty extensive language programme to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am aiming to expand upon that by setting hard targets for units and formations, depending on where they are oriented in the Army 2020 construct and depending on what activities they are engaged in. For example, in the training activity that we expect to be carrying out with the Libyans shortly, which was announced yesterday1, part of the programme for the trainers will be to gain language skills as they are training their Libyan counterparts. There will of course be language skills on the training force anyway, but that will expand the depth of our language capability.

Q113 Chair: General, what research capability does the Army possess, in terms of evaluating future threats?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Well, within the force development and training world, we have the capability to look at how our training works, look at the outcomes of training scenarios and then learn lessons from that to improve our tactical procedures and our organisation; during the past decade or so, we have grown the capability in that area quite markedly. One of my priorities as we transition from a permanent combat engagement in Afghanistan is to ensure that that lessons learned process and machinery stay intact and keep working, again focusing on training activity. Perhaps I could ask ACGS to expand on other areas of research capability?

Major General Abraham: The MOD’s own Strategic Force Development process uses the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which is set a range of tasks for modelling. I cannot tell you the numbers involved off the top of my head, but there is a strong link there. The Army, in its own force development and training role, has its own DSTL representatives. Some of the research capacity is in exploring ideas and evidence with other people-at things such as study groups at RUSI, Chatham House or the IISS, you exchange ideas, get new stimuli and then go away and think about them. In terms of those who are dedicated solely to doing that, the force development part of the Army headquarters is absolutely the core of that, and within the arms of the Army there are also people who do trials development and training development stuff as well. So it is quite a broad range. I cannot give you a figure for how many people in total are involved.

Q114 Chair: You referred to the core of that. Are you able to say how large that capability is?

Major General Abraham: I think the core of it is under an organisation called the Directorate General Capability, which sits in the Army headquarters. It has undergone a lot of reorganisation to do these things in the future. I cannot tell you the figure, but it is hundreds.

Major General Cullen: It is about 750.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The population involved in this sort of activity varies, because we allocate force elements to resource exercises. I will give you an example. I visited an exercise recently being done by 3 Division headquarters under a project known as Project Horrocks, where the divisional headquarters was researching different constructs for a new contingency headquarters. That was extensively supported by contractors; there was quite a lot of simulation involved in the work that they were doing, and the material derived from that exercise is then taken away by the contractors, worked up and then fed back to us with recommendations and observations. For that period, clearly, the entire exercise population was drafted into the effort. Similarly, when we carry out big formation exercises, we will almost always have some element of experimentation or research attached to that activity. We try to make best use of ongoing standard training activity to push the envelope and to research new options.

Q115 Chair: Do you do this multinationally?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We have multinational representation on a lot of these activities-certainly, at the higher level, I would say most of them.

Q116 Chair: Are you able to benchmark the research capability that you have against that possessed by other countries?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Well, we look with perhaps some jealousy at the research capability held by our American counterparts, which is very well resourced. Of course, we benefit from the products of a lot of their research, so that is very good for us. In terms of benchmarking our interoperability with partners, it is important to continue to benchmark against the Americans, who have been senior partners in the two major theatre operations of the last decade or so.

Q117 Penny Mordaunt: The SDSR said the armed forces should be able to conduct "an enduring stabilisation operation" of "up to 6,500 personnel", "one non-enduring complex intervention" of "up to 2,000 personnel", and "one non-enduring simple intervention" of "up to 1,000 personnel" at the same time. Is that still the case?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: That is still the case-indeed, the Army 2020 plan was built against precisely that requirement.

Q118 Penny Mordaunt: Thank you. Will this be revisited at the next SDSR?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I would imagine that, in the next SDSR, the assumptions will be revisited at the political level. Clearly, if they change, the force requirement changes. If they become more ambitious-for example, if it is determined that an ongoing stabilisation operation might require rather more than 6,000 people-that would have implications for the size of the force required.

Q119 Penny Mordaunt: Are you confident that you will be able to deliver against the current assumptions?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We are confident that we will be able to deliver against them, although right now we are in a period of flux. We are finishing very demanding operations in Afghanistan, and my focus and my first priority is correctly to resource those operations while they are still ongoing. We are going through a huge programme of change, which involves bringing a fifth of the Army back from Germany, reducing the size of the Army by a fifth, reorganising formations into new constructs and rebasing, so clearly our ability to respond to contingencies during all of that is to some degree compromised. However, we are confident that we will get back onto a contingency footing against the requirements laid on us by Defence.

Major General Cullen: If I may, the question also highlights all the challenges that were placed on us post the SDSR, where you may remember that the Army solution to the enduring operation part of the defence planning assumptions was the ability to put five MRB-type brigades into the field that could roll on a six and 24-month cycle to maintain that operation. Post that defence review and the three-month exercise within the building, we simply were not able to match that in resource terms. That was one of the aspects at the heart of the Army 2020 proposition: seeking to be more adaptable and agile in meeting it. So we have come up with a construct that in the reaction force gives us the first three of those capabilities, but in the adaptable force gives the range of capabilities that we would need to work to and adjust at readiness, at notice, to fill the fourth and fifth roles, if indeed we were required to do so.

Q120 Penny Mordaunt: Given that we are gearing up now for the next SDSR, if those planning assumptions were revised, what are the implications for Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As I say, if the planning assumptions are revised upwards, then the Army 2020 plan would not meet those new assumptions, and we would require an extension of capability to meet those new assumptions. We are already pretty taut. I think CGS has indicated that the plan does involve a little more risk than we were taking before. That is to be expected, but it makes much more efficient use of our Reserves, which I think is entirely the right thing to do.

Major General Cullen: And of course, the opposite is true. If you change those assumptions downwards, you would revisit assumptions made across defence in the defence review equally.

Q121 Chair: Now, rather controversially, we are using the Army Rumour Service to gain feedback on this enquiry, and we are gleaning a little bit of scepticism on that website about the prospects of actually achieving Future Army 2020. I wonder whether you could tell us what milestones you have in place to ensure that there is proper momentum and it is achieved on time?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: May I comment on the scepticism first? I think it is entirely healthy that we have a cohort of officers and soldiers who look at our plans and question them in a healthy manner. When I go around the Army and talk to audiences, I do not expect to be told what I might wish to hear; I expect to be told what people think, and I am happy to say that that is exactly what happens. Long may that be the atmosphere that pertains in our army.

Chair: And I am sure that that is exactly what we will get from you as well.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: You will indeed. I think that, given the changes we are going through, in particular the cuts to the Regular part of the Army, it is hardly surprising that one would encounter some scepticism from Regular soldiers and officers; but the fact is that we have a good plan, which we think will deliver. We have a clear logic behind it, and we are getting out and telling people along the chain of command how it is going to work, and persuading them that it will. I have to report to you that those audiences who are now more familiar with the pairing arrangements for Reserves and Regular units, which you will be familiar with, are now getting in behind the plan in precisely the way that I expected. The thing about the British Army is that we get huge energy from the bottom up-that is where many of the bright ideas are generated. You have a meeting of the big plan, with lots of initiatives from the bottom up, and particularly at the commanding officer and sub-unit commander level now, people are getting in behind the pairing arrangement and exercising their imagination.

As I say to people: in two years’ time, we will be surprised at the direction we find ourselves going, because there will be ideas that nobody has thought of now which will emerge from the bottom up and energise this whole process, plus a lot of other things that we are already delivering from the top down. So I am very confident that, over time, the scepticism will be replaced with enthusiasm to get behind the plan and make it work. I see the evidence of it happening already, but long may we have a questioning audience.

Q122 Chair: And milestones?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: In the 2020 plan, there is a whole series of milestones which are being actively monitored, in particular by ACGS, so I will get him to talk in a moment. We have the move of elements back from Germany on a rolling timeline, which is happening already; we have the standing up of new brigade headquarters under the new titles, the fusion of some headquarters, moving to new locations, and the two divisional headquarters stepping up in their new role with new responsibilities. We have a whole series of waypoints along the route and we are monitoring those very actively. Perhaps I should hand over to ACGS now.

Major General Cullen: It is self-evident that as the Assistant Chief I have direct responsibility to CGS for delivering this fundamental change, but I am also the senior responsible owner to the permanent under-secretary for the Army 2020 programme. As such, I have a project team and a programme office based in Andover that seeks to drive some 35 different projects to bring about this transformation-35 at their inception, but that number is changing. I have a programme board again tomorrow afternoon. The first half of those are very much in the structural adjustment and training space; the second half are much more in the transformational space in bringing about change in culture and in our engagement with society, in particular in the means by which we attract and sustain an improved proposition for the Reserve component of this integrated Army into the future. With that comes a very complex schematic of change across a number of lines of activity, which we will happily furnish you with, so that you can see.

The core activity in terms of structural change will be brought about in the course of the next 18 months; the transformational change, as you will well understand, will take a number of years. We are about growing capability in a new way-this is not just about 82,000 and 30,000; it is about true integration and true capability. It is as important to the equipment line of development and the infrastructure line of development as it is to simply recruiting a certain number of people.

Q123 Chair: I think if you were able to provide that very complicated schematic it would give us reassurance. Thank you.

Major General Cullen: Not at all.

Q124 Penny Mordaunt: Following on from that, could you give us some more detail of the key milestones for the development of the reaction and adaptable forces?

Major General Cullen: Do you have anything specific in mind?

Q125 Penny Mordaunt: Presumably a large chunk of the projects you mentioned deal with those two individual forces, so any detail that you provide to the Committee after this meeting would be helpful, but if you would talk us through-

Major General Cullen: Give you some headlines now?

Penny Mordaunt: Yes.

Major General Cullen: In terms of restructuring the Regular component, we anticipate achieving that by 2016, and for the Reserve component structures by 2018. The move and relocation of the units from Germany-the brigade and divisional headquarters coming back from Germany-will occur from now, to be complete by 2019. The initial operating capability of the reaction force and the adaptable force divisional headquarters is milestoned at January 2015, with the formation of initial operating capability established between March ‘14 and July ‘15. Elements of it will move more quickly. Inevitably it is the move out of Germany that constrains in particular the final disposition of the adaptable force.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think it is worth pointing out that the transition to the 2020 plan also involves rolling out a new training and commitment cycle-a three-year cycle. Key milestones will be achieved as each of the new formations comes through that cycle, gets through their training year and is available for either commitment or standing tasks. Therefore there will be a series of waypoints which are fairly clearly mapped out, and we can furnish you with the details of when those way points occur.

Q126 Bob Stewart: General, you have just answered the first bit: by 2016 we will be down to 82,000 Regulars. That is a two year gap, assuming that the Reserve Army will not be up to strength until 2018. I understand that-the Secretary of State has already outlined that there will be fits and starts, so I accept that; I am not going to ask that question. Can I ask whether you think that there has been a bit too much emphasis on going for targets for Reserves? Has that had an impact on the Regular Army, in so far as the Regular Army is saying, "We are really the boys, and actually you are concentrating all your efforts on the reserves. Don’t forget us"?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: First, I would like to point out that there is at times a little too much attention on the numbers, without relating that to the development of capabilities. As we grow the Reserves, of course numbers are vitally important, but it goes with capability, so the equipping needs to be right, and the training needs to be correct; and all of that needs to be properly resourced. I am as focused on those issues as I am on raw numbers.

On your main point, I do not think that our attention on transforming the Reserves-integrating the Reserves with the Regular Army-is distracting us from the normal requirements of overseeing the Regular cohort. All of that work continues. There are small adjustments in manpower against staffing priorities, as you would expect. We have reinforced certain areas in the recruiting and training domain to service the requirements of growing the Reserve, but I do not think that materially diverts attention from the Regular Army. So I do not get feedback that the Regular Army is feeling left out. What I do get, though, is feedback from the Reserves that they appreciate the attention they are getting.

Over the weekend we had a big meeting of a couple of hundred mainly commanding officer-level at Sandhurst, to launch the Reserves initiative. We got very positive feedback there from the Reserve commanding officers that they appreciate the direction we are going in. Incidentally, as one looked around the room, most of the Reserve commanding officers seemed to be sitting next to their Regular counterparts, already living the spirit of the pairing arrangement and talking between themselves on how they cooperate and make integration not just a buzzword but a reality.

Q127 Bob Stewart: Thank you for that answer. It is the last part that I was particularly interested in. Do you think the idea of Army 2020 will make it more attractive for young officers and soldiers?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think the prospects that we face in the post-Afghanistan world are just as exciting as they are now.

Bob Stewart: Oh Lord, are they? We have to pay for that.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: They present opportunities for potentially very interesting, demanding and relevant employment. The area that I see expanding to provide some of that is the whole defence engagement area, where we have the prospect now of a more orderly orchestration of our activity in regions around the world, particularly those where instability is rife. We can then draw together what is already quite a large programme of defence engagement activity into a more coherent structure against defence and national policy. For junior commanders, being a part of that will be very satisfying stuff.

Q128 Bob Stewart: How many people do you think you will need to recruit a year for 2020 in rough terms? Let us just take soldiers, forget officers.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I do not have the precise recruiting figures, but ACGS may be able to help on targets.

Major General Cullen: I will give you a feel for this year. For soldiers this year, we still need to recruit or get in through the door, over 10,000 regular and over 6,000 reserves to meet our targets.

Q129 Bob Stewart: That seems quite a lot actually. For an Army coming down to 82,000, you really need to recruit something like 12% or 13% of the strength of the Army each year.

Major General Cullen: That is absolutely correct. It is a vibrant and changing organisation, and the opportunity of restructuring and reconditioning is that you are able to maintain the youth aspect of that in a vibrant structure that is going forward. That is the message that is lost out there at the moment. One of the challenges that we face in our recruiting is persuading the population of young men and women in this country that that opportunity is still there. They have a sense of something quite different because of the messaging of decline and reduction.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: It is worth reinforcing that point. As we go through a programme of redundancy, there is a perception in some places that, with a reducing Army, we might not be recruiting. Nothing could be further from the truth. We need to keep new, fresh blood coming in at the lower level, if the structure of the Army is to remain healthy over the coming years. It is vitally important that, even as we make people redundant, we bring people in at the bottom end. Getting people to understand that is quite difficult. Clearly, we are advertising actively, but anything that members of your Committee can do to spread the word on that would be much appreciated.

Q130 Bob Stewart: It is a comment, not a question: I think the Committee totally understands that, but we probably feel-I speak, perhaps unbidden-that it is something that the Army will have to concentrate quite hard on to make sure that the message gets out into the public. Of course, we will do our very best in our constituencies and elsewhere, but it may well be something that we have to change-an attitude.

Major General Munro: Chair, may I go back to Mr Stewart’s penultimate question? Is the Army 2020 construct exciting to soldiers and officers? I can certainly tell you from a reserve perspective that they are hugely energised by Army 2020 and all that it has to offer. In my travels around the country visiting reserve units and, indeed, recruits, they too are energised by the new integrated Army. But we need to keep that message going in the face of the basic message out there, which seems to be that the Army seems to be getting smaller, and not recruiting. It is recruiting. It is changing shape, but the shape will be very exciting in the future for both the regular component and the reserve component.

Q131 Bob Stewart: I do not want to hold it up, General Munro, but I think that the Army reserve is a good idea. I may have criticised parts of it in the past. Particularly exciting for the Army reserve is some of the specialist roles that the Army reserve is going to do, which the regular Army is probably not very good at. Of course, we are thinking of cyber, particularly intelligence and other things like that. It was a comment. Thank you, Chairman.

Q132 Chair: You heard it here first.

Q133 Derek Twigg: What is your current assessment of the number of regulars fit to deploy?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I have some figures on that. Deployable at the moment from regulars is 84%.

Q134 Derek Twigg: 84% of the whole of the regular force?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Of the regular force. That is within the field Army.

Q135 Derek Twigg: Can you just be clear, in terms of the actual numbers of people in the Army, what percentage of them is currently deployable?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I am giving you figures for the deployable part of the Army-the 74,000 that are the deployable part of the Army; 84% of those are my latest figures. Some of them have some limitations against them-about 13%.

Q136 Derek Twigg: And the number of reservists that are deployable?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I do not have good figures for the reserves. The last figure that I had is 81% deployable, with some limitations, but I would have to do some more research against that because our figures are not so reliable in the reserve space. However, they will be as we go through the process of integration, and we will have a better ability to be able to measure off against that. So I would put a heavy caveat against that.

Q137 Derek Twigg: So we do not know the exact figure, but currently about 81% of all reserves, not a particular section.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: That is the best figure that I can give you at the moment. That would have to be subject to confirmation, but as I say, we fully expect to be able to deliver more accurate figures in the future, particularly because we will be doing better health assessments against the reserves as we integrate.

Q138 Derek Twigg: It will certainly be more important to have accurate figures in future, given the reliance on reserves.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: It will.

Major General Munro: I think that a facet of the reserve service right now is that, because we have never really had to understand the numbers, we have not had a system to collect that data.

Q139 Derek Twigg: Sorry, you never had to understand the numbers?

Major General Munro: We never really had to understand the deployability of the reserves because the pre-Army 2020 construct had them deploying in extremis only, pretty much, until the past 10 years when we have been deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, that process has forced us to understand the data much better than we did previously. Army 2020 and integration will take us further down the path to truly understanding the data so that it can be an integrated Army.

Q140 Derek Twigg: So since the start of the Iraq conflict, and obviously Afghanistan, you still don’t have a full understanding?

Major General Cullen: I think you have to understand the reason for that. That was because the need to draw on the reserve was limited, but also, the manner in which we drew and mobilised that reserve was very structured. One was given a period of time and grace to bring in, assess, change the deployability, assess medically, assess dental states-remember, their primary health is dependent on the nation’s national structure, whereas those in the regular programme are much more dependent on that which was embedded within. So there was not the fundamental need. The point for the future, which you made yourself, is in the integrated structure: where the routine use of the reserve in that integrated mechanism is much more dependent, that analysis and those figures need to be at hand.

Q141 Derek Twigg: So moving to the future, what is your assessment of the number of regulars and reservists that need to be fit for deployment in 2020.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The figure that we are currently working on is 83%. That is the figure we work to, so that would be the target that we set ourselves.

Q142 Derek Twigg: Can we just be clear: that is 83% of what?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: That is of the deployable part of the Army-the field Army-and it is fully or partially deployable.

Q143 Derek Twigg: And in 2020, in terms of the deployable part of reserves and regulars, that will total what?

Major General Cullen: 83% of 112,000.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: 83% of 74,000.

Major General Cullen: Sorry, of 74,000. That is the deployable element of the Army. And of course, it is dependent on the readiness of those particular elements of the Army. For those at very high readiness, the requirement is higher-greater than 83%-because they have to go at very short notice. For those at longer readiness-six months or whatever-the percentage can be lower.

Q144 Derek Twigg: So it will be 74,000 in 2020.

Major General Cullen: 74,000 is the deployable element of the Army from within the overall construct of 112,00, at any given time.

Q145 Chair: Are you suggesting that it should be 83% for the regulars and 83% for the reservists?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As we integrate the Army together, we are looking at one Army, so ideally we will be using the same figure. Of course, the difference with the reservists under Army 2020 is that they are employed collectively, in collective organisations, rather than as individuals. If you are employing a platoon, it is pretty important that the platoon as a whole is fit-you are not just relying on individuals.

Major General Cullen: I think this is really important. This is an integrated structure. The days of two separate parts of the Army are now history in our terms. These are properly interdependent and integrated organisations delivering to the outputs required of us. So the 83% figure absolutely applies to both of those elements.

Q146 Derek Twigg: Which means that it is all the more important that this figure, whether we talk about numbers or not, is actually going to be achieved in 2020.

Major General Cullen: Absolutely.

Q147 Derek Twigg: Because clearly, if it were not, that would have major implications for the deployment of our forces. Can I come on to the more basic issue-I want to test the logic of the position-of the capability and effectiveness of reserves, as opposed to the full-time regulars? Basically, how can the training for a part-time reservist be as good as the training for a full-time regular? The logic of that is if you have got a full-time regular who is doing it full time, surely their capability and effectiveness must be greater.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Absolutely.

Q148 Derek Twigg: And?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: And that limits the employability of the reservist. One would not expect a reservist platoon or company to be able, for example, to switch from one task to another with the ease with which you could switch a regular cohort. I will give you an example from the Balkans. We had armoured combat troops in the Balkans who were deploying on main battle tanks, which had a role in giving a certain profile to the NATO force and demonstrating capability. Those troops were switched, as Mr Holloway will remember well, to counter-coup operations in some instances, and to supporting peace support operations. They were engaged in all sorts of different activities, and they switched from one activity to another.

We will have to train the reservist cohort for a specific role, and there will be less flexibility in how we then employ them. That is part of the risk you take in moving to this structure. However, I would point out that we start to employ them collectively at the fourth or fifth term of an enduring operation, when we have some expectation that we will be able to identify how the operation is settling down, and can more clearly identify roles. There is flexibility to employ Regulars from elsewhere in the Army Order of Battle if that is not the case.

Major General Abraham: That is a deliberate design in the Army 2020 construct. The front end-the highest readiness end-is predominantly regular, plus some reserve specialists, because, as you say, it is easy to train and maintain high readiness with regular forces. The reserve was designed on the principle of generating more collectively later, and at the front end, largely on the basis of individual augmentation. The training bill for an individual augmentee is less than it is to provide a company or a regiment. Thus, in the design, the reserve collective bit comes later, as General Bradshaw said. It is largely at roules three and four of the enduring stabilisation. Of course, you have an additional opportunity after mobilisation, but before deployment, to tailor the training and specific top-up skills for the reservists, as you do for the regulars, in a period of mission-specific training, so they are trained to be fit for the particular role that they will fill on the operation.

Q149 Derek Twigg: Have you made a judgment analysis of the capability we will have in 2020, based on the fact that we all understand that the reservists will not be as capable and effective-early on, anyway-as the regulars? Have you got a way of putting that together and giving the Committee an idea of the difference in effectiveness of today’s Army and that of 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I would not characterise it as being not as capable. I would say that they are more specialised in their employability. Within that specialisation, we expect them to be very capable. Yes, we are aware that the new construct imposes certain limitations on us, in terms of how we will employ those forces.

Q150 Derek Twigg: Two quick questions. It is a year since the announcement, more or less. Could you let the Committee know what progress has been made on increasing the 30,000?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The announcement has only just happened, so we are only just embarking on the process of energising that recruiting effort. We are not in a position to map out exactly what the progress will be like. My own expectation is that recruiting figures will start to lift more gently in the early days and as people see the reality of the new integrated army, they will find the reserves a more attractive proposition and numbers will grow. I would expect something of a curve.

Q151 Derek Twigg: So in a year’s time, where would you expect to be?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think we are just going to have to see where we get to in a year’s time and then project from there. We have an expectation that recruiting will pick up from this time forward, as the new recruiting organisation gains effectiveness.

Q152 Derek Twigg: So you are not setting a yearly target then?

Major General Cullen: We know what we need to achieve. By way of example, this year, 6,000 reserves through the door; next year that rises to something like 11,000 through the door, which is a significant challenge. Are we achieving our target this year in either the regular or reserve space? It is looking tough, so that only exacerbates the challenge of next year. That is why, as General Adrian has said, we are increasing our resource to this, and as our messaging improves in this space-the point made by Mr Stewart-we anticipate that this will grow.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I am sorry to come back straight away, but I think that the important point to register is that until we have got this properly launched, on the back of the announcement where everybody understands how they are going to be employed, where they are going to be based, what their role is going to be, who they are going to be paired with, which has just been announced, and we move forward on that basis, we have not really fired the starting gun. Measuring progress from today is really not relevant to where we are going. We have set quite ambitious targets, and interestingly, the recruiting contractors have taken those targets and accepted them, and they know that they face financial penalties if they do not meet them. I think that is quite an indication of their confidence, but we will have to map our progress and see whether we need to accelerate or increase our uplift to the recruiting organisation on the basis of how things go from now.

Major General Munro: If I could just reinforce that point. We know that we cannot meet the challenge by doing what we currently do harder and faster; we need to do it very differently, hence the partnership with Capita as our partner in the recruiting space. Operation Fortify, which is the army planning and standing ready to support the recruiting and training surge that we hope will come now that the gun has been fired, i.e. the White Paper and the structures in the basic announcement. It is a challenge, but it is doable because we are doing things differently.

In terms of the numbers, you heard our estimate at this time just now from General Cullen, and the targets this year are looking pretty keen, but we think, and we anticipate, to better what we had done previously in the old system. Although we might still fall short of the 6,000, we are going to do better than we did last year in the older system.

If I may come back to a comment about standards because I think it is really important to get this point across. Of course, generally speaking, a reservist will not meet the standards of a regular in steady state. I say generally speaking because clearly there will be individuals, cohorts and units who might be, based on their operational experience, just as good as a regular unit.

Q153 Derek Twigg: Based on operational experience they may not have any for many years.

Major General Munro: Correct. Generally speaking in steady state they would not have the same standards, not least because they are balancing employers, families and so forth. The key is that during steady state they get the equipment and the training. We are doing a lot of work right now to modernise the training so that it is sufficient, with a top-up at readiness, to cross the line of departure-that is, on operations, whether it is in the UK, Cyprus or kinetic somewhere like Afghanistan-at the same standard as a regular so that whoever he or she is on the line of departure can look left and right and know that they are all trained to the same standard.

Q154 Derek Twigg: What evidence have you that closing TA centres’ barracks is going to help you to recruit more reservists in what you have already admitted is a very difficult situation anyway?

Major General Abraham: One of the recommendations of the independent commission on reserves was that we needed to look at rationalisation of the TA estate sensitive to local matters. It rightly laid out that we needed to improve the efficiency of force generation of reserves, and that rationalisation of the estate needed to be factored around that. We need the reserve that we need under Army 2020, and we have to make some change to do that. We need to have a basing system that allows them to train collectively and at appropriate readiness to be force generated. That means a degree of consolidation around fewer bases.

Q155 Derek Twigg: So it is not based on helping to recruit people; it is based on estate strategy.

Major General Abraham: The Secretary of State said in the House that this was not being driven by economics and money, and my words now are that it is significantly about changing the basing laydown to conform to the new structure of the Army reserve, which is different from the old structure of the Territorial Army, and, potentially, about increasing the efficiency of force training and force generation.

Q156 Derek Twigg: So there is no evidence that it will help increase the recruitment of reserves?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I rearticulate the point that the reserves will be used in collective groups. Having small detachments based separately from their company locations or their squadron locations is not an efficient way of force generating for the future. While the removal of some of the TA centres will make it less convenient for some people to be in the Army Reserve and may result in a small dip in numbers, the fact is that to deliver this new reserves experience, where people have more collective training and are more closely integrated with the regular cohort, has required a certain reorganisation.

We may see a small dip as some people leave because it is less convenient for them to be in the Territorial Army. I hope that we do not, because there is still a good spread of TA centres across the country. When we are under a new organisation, the fact that the reserves will be integrated into the regular force will make it a more attractive proposition. In the long term, it will aid recruiting, but I acknowledge that you may see some people leave in the short term.

Major General Munro: The other point is that we are reducing our infrastructure from 36,500 to 30,000, so we do not need as many sites as we had previously. A lot of work was undertaken with a number of stakeholders, including the reserve forces and cadets associations, the chain of command, regional forces and others-it was chaired by an independent chairman-to work out where was best to have sites, based on a number of criteria: recruitability, access to specialist skills, pairing with regular units and so on. We have come up with a pragmatic solution, which is not driven by dogma. Most of the changes are changes that the capability directors, the commanding officers and the regional commanders wanted to make to achieve a balance between those criteria that I mentioned. It looks messy sometimes on paper, but pragmatism does look a bit messy.

Q157 Mr Holloway: General Munro, are you going to have a limit on the number of days-obviously not when they are deployed on operations or whatever-that people are able to do as a reservist? Are you in danger, given that this is quite a big commitment for people and that this is a time of quite high and probably rising unemployment, of ending up with a cohort of full-time reservists who do not have much time to develop another career?

Major General Munro: We are very keen on and understand the benefits of having volunteers within the service. It is not only about full time and part time-part time in the legal sense. It is also about volunteers who have a dual career. That is my first point. It is important to maintain the volunteer ethos within the reserves and have reserves in there who are volunteers and not just part time.

The requirement is currently 27 days, although in actual fact a lot of soldiers and officers do way more than that and the average is 40 days. The White Paper refers to 40 days, and that is a judgment based on what is do-able, what is happening on the ground and what the capability directors are saying is required to get the standard of training to the level where it only needs a top-up for them to go into operations. There is a limit right now-that is 40 man training days on average for a soldier and an officer-and some will do more than that anyway. The limiting factor will be the reserve’s place in society, and employers and families in particular. That is why the White Paper was so critical. To start the narrative with the country that we are doing defence differently, we need everybody to buy into it-not just reservists, but families and employers.

In a sense, to answer your question, I do not think we are stretching it too far. We are formalising what we currently do in terms of 40 man training days including a two-week camp. We will be limited to go any further only by the position, the story and the narrative that we manage to construct with society.

Q158 Mr Holloway: But in 10 Para, presumably you had some people who did very many more days than the rest of you because they were not developing a career, perhaps, in the same way as you are. I ask again: is there a danger of you having lots of people who do not really have very much else going on career-wise filling your reserve?

Major General Munro: No, I do not think so. I think we will always have people in the reserves who are regular attenders beyond the 40 days or 60 days that you are talking about. Indeed, some of those whom we have now are on either full-time reserve service, as we call it, or additional duties commitment. I think I am an embodiment of a reservist who has got another career. I am a lawyer in the City and, other than an operational tour in Iraq, I have always been a reservist. I have not done full-time reserve service to the exclusion of my civilian job, so it can be done.

Q159 Mr Brazier: May I take you back, General Bradshaw, to the rather welcome remarks that you and some of the others made about the importance of formed bodies? The Secretary of State said in his statement in November about the deployment of formed bodies: "If we cannot support them to be able to deploy in formed sub-units and units, they will regard this as a pyrrhic victory"-strong words. I was a little surprised to see that the White Paper talks at some length about using formed bodies of combat support, combat service support and information systems and intelligence, and then has the following, rather strange, sentence: "Reserve combat units will continue to provide augmentation, resilience and depth to regular units." Are we committed to formed units and sub-units of the combat arms as well, or not?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Yes, we are, and I will give you an example of one of the combat arms that will very definitely be employing people in formed sub-units: the support squadrons for the Army Air Corps. That is just the example that I give of reserves being absolutely as reliable as regulars in a specialist field. They will refuel and re-arm helicopters in the combat zone, if necessary, at forward arming and refuelling points. It is a cracking role for reservists, many of whom are transferring into that role from infantry organisations at the moment. They will deploy and be employed collectively, and that is absolutely our intent.

The intent also is that within the combat arms, elements are employed collectively, but I think we must always allow, depending on the numbers required and the precise role in which people are being employed, for some judgment on precisely how they are employed. I would say that if you are flicking between roles unexpectedly, or if you are relying on a smaller number of reservists, I would not discount the idea that on some occasions you might employ reservists as you do now, in a proportion in each of the organisations. The desirable position is that they are employed collectively. This is new ground that we are breaking. We have a plan and we are confident that it will be delivered. Frankly, we have now got to get on and test it, and prove that it is deliverable.

Q160 Mr Brazier: Thank you for that answer. I have a quick double observation to put to you. It is not entirely new ground; a number of deployed infantry companies were used in Afghanistan. The Londons, a company that went over there, are supposed to have killed 45 Taliban, to take one example. For what it is worth, I did a quick ring round after reading the White Paper, and got rather positive responses from the yeomanry: "Yes, our cavalry counterparts do get this." Sadly, I did not get equally positive responses from some of my infantry contacts. Are you satisfied that the regular infantry are up to play with their TA infantry pairs?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We will work our way into this and I am very satisfied that, just as they appreciate exactly how Army 2020 works, they will understand the new construct. When I say "new ground," I mean not that we have not done it before in isolated instances, but that it will be the standard way of operating, which is new ground. A propos my comments about some scepticism, clearly there will be people in the regular cohort who need to see how the regulars perform in that context and satisfy themselves that it will work. I would expect them to be sceptical to a degree until they see that. We will soon see, because we will be into a training cycle where people will be training alongside each other, operating collectively, so it will soon be demonstrated one way or the other.

Major General Munro: That view does not corroborate the feedback that I am getting when I go on visits to both regular and reserve units. Far from it-it is exactly the opposite. They are feeling now that we are definitely moving from "having to do this" to "wanting to do this," because there are clearly benefits on both sides to adopting a new way of going about business. That view does not accord with the feedback that I am getting.

Q161 Mr Brazier: I am very pleased to hear it. As you say, a culture shift will clearly be needed. I have already heard some very positive reactions to Sandhurst.

I want to ask a final question that really goes to the heart of the matter. The biggest single difference between us and all our other English-speaking counterparts is that the vast majority of reserve units in America, Canada and Australia are commanded by reservists. They are also in brigades commanded by reservists. The last national guard brigade I visited was commanded by a banker, who was presumably sheltering from the recession. Are we going to see a higher proportion of unit commanders who are genuine part-time reservists, as abroad, in the future?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I would expect that we would see a higher proportion, but I still foresee some circumstances where regular officers are put in command of reserve units. I think that will continue. It will depend heavily on the quality of people in the field for promotion or appointment to that role. It is only right for the reservists employed in that organisation that they have the right quality of person, so where the right quality exists from within the reserve field, we would prefer to recruit a reservist into the position, but where there is a clear difference in quality, then, as I say, we have to do the right thing. Of course, there can be benefit in a flow of experience from the regular into the reserves, because of the spread of experience that a regular officer will have by dint of the fact that he has spent 20 years full-time getting to that point. We cannot be completely dogmatic about this, but I would expect to see an uplift and I do recognise that it is incredibly important for reserve officers to see career progression ahead of them.

Q162 Chair: We have heard of a report that the number of reservists resisting call-up for service is at an all-time high. Is that report accurate or not?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I also have seen that report. We have scratched our heads about that and our conclusion is that it refers to the period last year when we called up unexpectedly a large number of reservists to support the Olympics. Our assessment is that the number of appeals against call-up was proportionately about the same as it normally is, but clearly there was a larger number, because there were larger numbers being called up. That is what we think that refers to.

Major General Munro: General Bradshaw was also referring to the fact that we don’t know-this is what we were scratching our heads about with those numbers-whether that was caused by employer appeals or soldier appeals. We don’t know that answer, but there is a positive message there, which is that it is still possible to appeal, especially for employers, if it does not suit them to allow their reservists to deploy at that time.

Q163 Chair: I am scratching my head a bit about your answer, because I thought that last year’s Olympic call-up was based purely on volunteers.

Major General Munro: It was, but the employer still has a voice, even if the soldier says, "I want to go."

Q164 Chair: I am with you. Since the White Paper came out last week, what reaction has there been from families and employers, and across the piece?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I can give you the reaction from the soldiers themselves. As I said, the response we got last weekend at Sandhurst from the chain of command was very positive. It is a little early to get the feedback from employers and families, but we will be testing that response over the coming weeks, as the full impact of all the detail of what was in the White Paper is really taken on board.

I would say that we would expect that the initiative to get employers to buy in more positively to the whole reserves deal will have an impact.

Q165 Chair: But it is too soon to say?

Major General Abraham: By way of example, next week our Chief of General Staff and others are leading a day at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, where we have over 60-it may be 70, now-representatives of major employment companies coming. We are going to talk through the White Paper and some of the initiatives that the Army are running with, and so on. It is not just going to be us broadcasting at them; they will have the chance to give us their views on that. That is our first opportunity to get a reasonable cross-section.

Q166 Chair: A very good idea. What use will be made of the regular reserves? What use will they be put to-will it be exactly the same as the use of the other reserves?

Major General Abraham: In the future we are going to rely on the regular reserve in three broad cases. The first is the provision of specialists: we could have a shortfall in the regular Army, in specialisms that do not routinely come out of the TA or Army reserve, so things like high threat IED operators-improvised explosive device operators-or the driver of an AS90 gun or a tracked platform. It will be things like that. That is really just filling gaps in the structure.

The second is that we maintain a regular reserve for when the Army is required to act significantly beyond the scale or the readiness set out in the defence planning assumptions: we need to generate more mass than was envisaged before. Operation Granby in Iraq in the early 1990s was an example of that.

The third use to which they can be put is probably a transitional measure. This goes back to Mr Stewart’s question about the crossing lines of the reduction in the regular Army and the growth of the Army reserve: if a contingency comes our way soon, we would probably need to use the regular reserve to mitigate gaps in the structure against the nature of the operation. We need to do a bit more work to redefine the regular reserve in the context of Army 2020-how it operates, and so on. Our priority has been the volunteer reserve-the Army reserve. That is the broad answer.

Q167 Chair: Understood. How big is the regular reserve, or how big do you expect it to be? Is it about 4,000?

Major General Abraham: It goes up and down. I will have to come back to you, Chair. I do not want to give a wrong figure.

Chair: Give us a ballpark figure when you come back to us.

Q168 Mr Holloway: You mentioned employer appeals. Is there any special legislation at the moment, or is any needed, so that action could be taken against employers who discriminate against people in terms of recruiting them in the first place or promoting them because they are in the TA-sorry, the reserves?

Major General Abraham: This subject was widely trailed in the Green Paper. On the basis of the consultation we got an equivocal answer. So the approach laid out in the White Paper is that the MOD and the services will monitor this very carefully over the next few years but that at present there will not be the introduction of legislation. But if we think that there is a problem that can be dealt with by legislative means, then we would look to introduce legislative measures in the Armed Forces Act revision in ’15, ’16.

Major General Munro: I am sensitised to that issue. So on my visits I look and ask questions about that to try to get some feedback to build a picture that can inform the next steps. That is the stick, if you like. The carrot is changing that compact between society generally, and employers in particular, about the use of reserves and their place within the Army construct.

Q169 Sir Bob Russell: This has got to work, hasn’t it, because the Secretary of State in answer to my question last week said that there was no plan B? So I wish you well. The other observation I will make before I put a question is that we assume that the United Kingdom in 2020 will have the same composition in the four nations as today. Again, that is something we may need to return to, should the result of the referendum in Scotland next autumn be a yes vote for independence. Do you have the necessary funding to implement Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The straight answer to that is that we believe we have got the required funding, but it is taut. There is an element of risk there. In response to your point about there being no plan B, that is true. However, there is some flexibility within our responses. It has already been observed that the 2015 defence review gives an opportunity to review progress against the plan.

Q170 Sir Bob Russell: So there could be an A+, if not a plan B?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: There is the flexibility there.

Q171 Sir Bob Russell: Have Ministers been advised by you that the money is taut?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The Secretary of State is fully aware of the financial situation. It has been discussed between him and the CGS.

Q172 Sir Bob Russell: Is there anything the Defence Committee should be doing to help make sure that you have sufficient funding to implement Army 2020 or do you think everything at the moment is-

Chair: What we do doesn’t usually have that effect, I suspect.

Q173 Sir Bob Russell: I was just wondering. I am asking the generals. I am concerned, Chairman, as you know, that this may not work. That is where I am anxious.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The answer to your question is that there is sufficient risk in the programme for us to conclude that if the current resourcing were to reduce again we would be in the business of looking at whether these plans are achievable.

Q174 Sir Bob Russell: I am grateful for that as it leads me into my next question. What happens if you do not get a real-terms increase in your funding from 2015, in other words after the next general election?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I think the degree of risk then increases and we would have to look at that stage at whether the plan was deliverable.

Major General Cullen: That is then a matter for defence. That is not purely a matter for the Army and Army 2020 per se.

Q175 Sir Bob Russell: That would be the defence across all services?

Major General Cullen: Absolutely.

Q176 Sir Bob Russell: Finally, what cost savings do you expect, if any, from Army 2020? I assume that will be through the increased use of reservists. In other words, are reservists cheaper than regulars?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: They are cheaper to employ on a long-term basis. They are more expensive to employ for particular requirements. If we call them up, we end up paying for their man training days and for their employment. So, overall, the restructuring of the Army represents a considerable saving, but in order to realise that saving it is very important to understand that we must be prepared to resource the employment of reservists in circumstances where we would not normally have employed them in the past.

If I may labour this point slightly, because it is a hugely important one, if we are going to deliver the experience that we feel we must for the reservists in the future, they need to know that in every substantial activity that the Army does, they have a part to play, so when we go training, they are with us, and when we go on defence engagement tasks, they are with us. When we are training Libyans, you will find reservists in the training cohort, and that will represent an extra cost to that task, which would not have been there had we used regulars. If we do not do that, we will not deliver the experience and we will not succeed in our recruiting targets. We must be prepared for marginal extra costs from time to time when commitments come up, in order to give the reserves the experience that we are promising to deliver. Overall, of course, the reduction in the regular manpower represents a very significant saving for defence.

Chair: May I say that the answers you have been giving, particularly that last one, have been very illuminating and extremely helpful? We are now moving into a stage where we might worry about falling behind, so I ask for snappy questions, please, and snappy answers.

Q177 Mr Holloway: Adrian, have you worked out what percentage of the cost of a regular soldier a reservist is, in a similar role and at the same rank?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I have not done that precise calculation. We could get it to you very easily.

Q178 Mr Holloway: Is it in the order of 50% or 30%?

Major General Munro: As with all things in numbers, you can read them whichever way you like, but we were working on the numbers of a TA soldier-roughly, in a steady state and, currently, for the TA, which I use specifically-being about 24% or 25% of a regular. When mobilised for operation, as my colleague said, a TA soldier is more expensive, and you need to top up that 25% to somewhere like 84% or 94% of a regular deployed on operations. Clearly, the reserve of the future-not the TA, the reserve of the future-will cost more than 24% or 25%, because we will demand more of it: routine use, higher level of training and more training integrated with the regular component.

Q179 Mr Brazier: One of the concerns that has come up from reservists on the Army Rumour Service-though I think all of us support the strategic outline you have given us-is that there is a danger that, in the detail, we slide from integration of what are fundamentally two different ways of approaching defence, one full time and one by people with jobs, into simply assimilating part-timers into a structure designed for regulars. Clearly, that will not happen in the next year or two, while the political spotlight is on it and it is the high priority that it is, but what are we doing to make sure that long term this means, as it does abroad, integration of two groups of people who are coming at it from a different angle?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I do not see that as being such a danger. Again, I can well imagine that there are some questions out there, because it is a fairly fundamental change and it represents quite a significant change for the reserves’ anticipated experience, but they will still be reservists, the majority of them with other forms of employment. They will bring their culture and ethos into the regular space. There will be a trade of ethos there, and a fusion process, so I am fully expecting the arrival of reservists into the regular units to make a difference and to effect change in the overall ethos of that integrated organisation. It could hardly fail to be the case.

Quite how it works out remains to be seen, but if we look at the ways in which people are anticipating leveraging the pairing, it is not just a one-way flow; it is a two-way flow, and people are already looking at it that way. "We give you a bit of help with administration to sort out some of your backlog; you give us a bit of help on adventure training instructors, because you have some great people in your organisation. You come and train with us on this exercise; we will send a few people to train with you on that exercise." I think it will genuinely be a two-way flow.

Q180 Ms Stuart: In a sense, you have started to answer the question in your response to Sir Bob Russell, but I want to explore a little further how you will adapt, on the one hand, the current training structures, which were very much geared towards operations like Afghanistan, and a future, more flexible structure. How will you change that in terms of marrying the reservists and the permanent forces together? What changes will you have?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The training organisation at the moment, as you suggest, is very much orientated, as its strong priority, towards generating forces ready for operations in Afghanistan, and so it should be. But as we transition from combat operations in Afghanistan, we will be looking to contingency, and I have already indicated that that has us looking more widely at a wider spectrum of tasking. We will also see a renewed emphasis on a combined arms combat manoeuvre, which I think is very important as the sort of foundation for all that we do, and we will see reserves being integrated in that training in collective organisations, as implied by the commitment cycle to which we are moving.

In future, you could see regular organisations going on overseas training exercises to Kenya with a reserve company integrated within a battalion. That is quite different from their current experience.

Q181 Ms Stuart: Within that context, how do you think the change from the current average of 35 days requirement to 40 days will help you? Can you say a little about that?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Clearly, in order to get away on some of the longer exercises, reservists may have to be prepared to give a little more of their time. We are looking to be flexible on this. For example, for longer exercises, we are looking at windows where the reserves can come and do their piece for a shorter time in the context of a longer exercise, and then leave. We have to be more flexible in their employment.

Major General Munro: May I come back on that, Chairman? I know you are looking at snappy answers. I think what we recognise is that we have to do things differently, and that applies to the training establishment-how we do our training and how we modularise the training-but that change also has to come from the reserves. As has been said, they will be required to train perhaps at different times, not just at weekends, but sometimes during the week when they can. These are the changes. It is not about the regular Army assimilating the reserves; it is both parts coming to the middle and doing it differently from how we do it now. That is the work that is ongoing as we speak.

Q182 Bob Stewart: The rebasing plan is quite complicated, obviously, and it is quite risky. That is clear. It is not risky strategically, but quite a difficult task to achieve. Who is in overall charge of it and are you in full co-ordination, with some of the units coming back and going to a new location, with the local authorities for schools and medical services, for instance?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As the co-ordinator of Army business, I suggest ACGS answer.

Major General Cullen: The lead within the Army is General Nick Pope, Master General of the Ordnance, who will move to become DG Capability, and this will be contingently one of his portfolios come September. Of course, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation will actually help us deliver this. As we now move from a detailed and complex plan, as you alluded to, into its execution, there is no doubt that a number of the challenges are very much coming to the fore. But they are actively engaged with the local communities: everything from the build down in Larkhill-a significant build-and moving the armoured infantry brigades back into that area, but also the growth in some of our other conurbations where, as you rightly point out, this is much more-

Q183 Bob Stewart: By building schools, for example?

Major General Cullen: Absolutely, as part of that overall plan, and costed within the attribution of the £1.92 billion to achieve.3

Q184 Sir Bob Russell: As a supplementary to Bob Stewart’s question on the new school buildings, is the Ministry of Defence funding that capital work?

Major General Cullen: The discussion on that is ongoing between ourselves, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Department for Education as to the manner in which that will be funded. There will inevitably be adjustments in the two spaces.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We talked about sceptical questioning and I can assure you that I have been asking those questions of the people responsible, because one is acutely aware of the tight timelines and the amount of work that has to be done. I have received pretty good assurance that the plan is deliverable and that people do expect schools,4 medical facilities5 and suchlike to be in place in time.

Q185 Ms Stuart: Can you give us an update as to what extent you are within your time scale and budget and just a little background on the thinking behind why we were withdrawn?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The rationale behind it was, I think, mainly financial; over the longer term it represented a pretty substantial saving to defence by bringing our forces back to the UK. There was also resonance with a new employment model which looked to an Army that is, in the future, to be home based and more integrated into the community, with people rather more living in their own houses and educating their children in local schools-that sort of model. It all fits that.

As I say, the main rationale was financial. Of course, in order to realise those savings, we are having to spend £1.96 billion on infrastructure to allow for this move back. In doing so, we will be giving up some excellent training facilities, some really superb accommodation and some great brigade garrison locations where we have very cohesive brigades that are well and generously supported by the local population. That will be very sad, but, of course we come back to three combat brigades of the reaction force around their main training area on Salisbury Plain: a very cohesive arrangement in terms of command and control and much easier to administer than having a large part of the Army in Germany, so there will be very definite benefits.

It will stretch training real estate in the UK. For that reason, we are currently in the middle of studying the availability and suitability of some training areas in Germany that we might continue to use on a visiting basis. The results of our work on that will be available in the autumn.

Q186 Ms Stuart: So, because there are some facilities over in Germany that you really cannot replicate here, by this autumn you will know whether you will still be using them?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We have other options, of course; we have training estate available in Canada, Kenya and a number of different countries, but there is some very good training estate in Germany and it would be good to be able to keep a leg on the ground. As we make the break from Germany, it is also very important that we solidify our links with the German armed forces. I am very keen, for example, to make our arrangements on exchange of doctrine more solid, so that we do not lose the links that have been very easy for us, frankly, while we have been based there.

Q187 Ms Stuart: You mentioned the £1.97 billion, which is a lot of money. Currently, in terms of budgeting and keeping within the time scale of the withdrawal, are you within budget or are you facing any other unforeseen extra costs?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As far as I am aware, we are on budget and on time.

Major General Abraham: It is within the overall budget of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, which does the costing and the provision of money for the rebasing programme. It now does defence estate for each of the three services.

Q188 Chair: If you are talking of having some access to training areas in Germany, would that include leaving behind elements of our equipment that would be used there?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We still have to work through this, but it is not inconceivable that we might leave a small training fleet and a small number of permanent staff. But if that were the case, it would be very small numbers, and we are at a very early stage in determining whether it might be the case.

Q189 Chair: Would the small number of permanent staff include, say, the British Forces Liaison Organisation? As I understand it, just at the moment when we are breaking some of these links, we are also breaking up that organisation. Is that right?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I cannot give you the detail, because, as I said, we are at a very early stage in our planning on this particular front.

Q190 Chair: Is anybody able to say anything about the British Forces Liaison Organisation?

Major General Cullen: I think it will inevitably be adjusted, because the requirements will be very different in future. At the very least, it will downscale, but I cannot give you the detail. I can certainly do so following this meeting, if that is helpful.

Chair: Could you do that, please?

Major General Cullen: Yes.

Q191Thomas Docherty: General Cullen, when you referred to the Department for Education in talking about the engagement that you are having, I am assuming you also meant to refer to the three devolved Administrations. How is that going?

Major General Cullen: I am not able to say how it is going, because I simply do not know. Those discussions are ongoing, I am afraid.

Q192Thomas Docherty: What do you think are the main challenges and risks that you face in trying to implement Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: If I can step in there, I think that as we roll out 2020, one of the areas that we need to watch very carefully is how we respond to contingencies that might occur within the next two or three years as that huge amount of change is taking place. If there is a risk, it is that we are faced with a large contingency requirement right in the middle of a reorganisation. We will have to face that if it occurs, but we are confident that if we can get through the next couple of years and get on to the new training cycles with all the right pieces in the right place, we are well set to meet future requirements.

Major General Cullen: If I may, it is the sheer scale of the challenge of this change programme, alongside everything else General Adrian has just said, but there are three specific risks. We have discussed one of them: the execution of the basing plan. That is what it is at the moment: a plan. Just so we are clear, I am not sure whether the money allocated to that is £1.6 billion or £1.98 billion, so we would need to be absolutely clear for you, which we will do. Therein lies the first significant risk: the execution, to time, of a very complex basing plan.

The proposition which is absolutely at the heart of 2020 is an integrated structure. We are entirely positive, but we are not naive. It is a major challenge, and we have to prove the principle as we go.

The third area is in our equipment programme. We are bringing urgent operational requirements back into core as we speak that do not meet the full range of capability but most certainly meet the capabilities, as we perceive them today, on the scale required of us by defence today. Ensuring that we properly secure the £4.7 billion assured but not guaranteed to us in the equipment programme to bring some of our core provision to life would be the third most significant risk. They are not in priority order, but those are the three big ones.

Q193 Chair: Can I put to you another risk that you have not mentioned? When the SDSR came out in 2010, I think the Prime Minister was clear that it required a real-terms increase in defence spending from 2015 onwards. Yet in 2014 we will withdraw our combat troops from Afghanistan and it may well be that the armed forces fall out of the visibility of the British public and therefore perhaps out of the sympathy and support that they currently enjoy. Do you regard that as a risk to this process?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: We have already discussed the financial risk that we face and I have indicated that any reduction in resourcing this plan would require a relook. So we acknowledge the point that you make, that there is risk there.

Q194 Sir Bob Russell: Gentlemen, you have obviously some very demanding targets and challenges: the 2015 strategic defence and security review and Army 2020. Do your thoughts ever wander off to, "What happens after 2020?"

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: The answer is that we always need to be thinking ahead. There are people who are engaged in blue skies thinking about where the whole business of combat goes in future decades. However, there are so many unknowns there that we need to go forward on the basis of being able to morph flexibly into new approaches. The construct that we have, particularly with the adaptable force which we can tailor to the precise requirements, is the right way to go forward.

Major General Cullen: I was talking to the Chief of the General Staff on this only a couple of days ago. There is a danger that one becomes so consumed by this all-consuming change programme and its demands that you lower your sights from a horizon that is for ever moving. There is a determination on his part to ensure that that does not happen. So beyond 2020 is self-evidently 2030, 2040 and the evolution into that space-unquestionably so.

Q195 Sir Bob Russell: If everything goes according to plan in 2020-our successes and your successes-we will have an Army worthy of the name and one which arguably could be enlarged should there be a need then?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Yes. The very important thing to remember is that the 2020 construct allows for expansion. We have a construct which has part of the collective capability based on the reserves which could, with the right resourcing, be shifted back to rely on regular forces. So we have the command and control structure and the right neural network for expansion. Positive choice was made to go for an organisation with the right number of points of command to allow for expansion, rather than blobbing things up into larger collective organisations, which gives us less flexibility.

It is also part of the thinking that this shift, as we have stated, was driven for very real economic reasons. We all recognise that defence had to take a hit along with everybody else, in view of what the nation is facing. Equally, if we get into different territory economically when the next defence review comes along, there are areas where we have taken a bit of a capability holiday, and areas of risk and perhaps there will be a good case for a bit of add-back.

Chair: I realise now that I cut Thomas Docherty off in his prime.

Q196 Thomas Docherty: On basing, could you quickly say a little about Cyprus and what its role will be post 2014?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: As you know, the theatre reserve battalion for Afghanistan is based in Cyprus. That provides the ready reserve of trained forces to go in if there is some sort of dramatic change to the situation requiring a UK reinforcement. When we cease combat operations in Afghanistan, the question is: does that have a role specifically as a high-readiness reserve in the Middle East region? We are looking at its potential employability, but we anticipate the two battalions that are currently in Cyprus remaining there, and of course that does give us a very good platform for regional contingencies. We are actively looking at those options at the moment. Nothing has been presented to Ministers at this stage.

Q197 Thomas Docherty: When the Secretary of State was last before us-actually, the last time was in Scotland. When he was before us the time before last, he suggested that some serious thinking was being done about whether it was practical to hold in Cyprus the equipment that was being returned from Afghanistan. Can you update the Committee on how that thinking has developed?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: It is very important to understand that, when the equipment comes out of Afghanistan, it needs to be properly refurbished. Quite a lot of it will need modifying and updating. Some of the vehicles need to be modified to be driven legally on British roads, for example, and we need to bring a series of marks of some sort of vehicle up to a standard fleet specification. It is frankly more efficient to do that in the UK, at one location, or at least to process those vehicles through, but one of the options we are looking at is this: having processed those vehicles through, we might, for example, send some of them to Germany to use spare capacity at our workshops there. That is one of the options that could be quite an attractive and efficient way of doing refurbishment. It is just a possibility at this moment, but I think that leaving equipment in Cyprus would be possible only for equipment that is in a condition to be put straight into storage. We do not have the facilities there, at this stage, to carry out modifications.

Q198 Thomas Docherty: My final question, and perhaps the Committee’s final question, is: what can the Committee do to help to deliver Army 2020?

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: I am glad you asked this question, because we have made much of the large degree of change that we are going through. This is an ambitious plan. I happen to think that it is the right plan to meet the circumstances that we face; I am quite convinced of that. I think it is absolutely right that we are going full-out to get more utility and employability from the reserves; it is absolutely right to integrate them. Wherever we go with this plan-we talked about the flexibility that we need to have in terms of nudging it and the possibility that we might make modest adjustments at the next defence review-integrating the reserves and using them more effectively is the right thing to be doing.

I think we need you collectively to get behind the plan and sell it against a background where there will inevitably be people who have local concerns and more tactical considerations. People need to understand that there might be some pain, some uncertainty and, in some locations, a requirement for some flexibility, but the plan, in its entirety, takes us to a better place. We need to get behind that, and your support is most important.

On the recruiting of reserves, we could not afford to go to an entirely transactional relationship between employers, reservists and defence, or frankly we would not have delivered the efficiencies that we were aiming for. There needs to be, frankly, a little of the national spirit in this-the loyalty to nation-and a little public-spiritedness from employers to get behind the plan. Any encouragement would be gratefully received. We have seen very good take-up by, very good support from some employers, but as I said, any help that you could give would be gratefully received.

Chair: What an excellent point to end on. We will do all that we possibly can. To the extent that people listen to politicians, we will try to help.

Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Bradshaw: Thank you very much, Chair.

Chair: Thank you very much indeed, gentlemen-all of you-for an extremely useful and interesting session, which will help us with our report.

[1] Note by witness: FS W<S on 9 July 2013 (Column 8WS)

[2] Note by witness: £1.8 billion

[3] Note by witness: This is not the case. The MOD will not be funding the building of schools in Wiltshire. Rather, we have engaged with the Department for Education on the provision of local services and are actively engaging on this issue with local authorities and devolved administrations.

[4] Note by witness: Schools are the responsibility of the Department for Education.

[5] Note by witness: MOD will provide this for serving personnel, but for families this is the responsibility of the Department of Health.

[6] Note by witness: £1.8 billion.

[7] Note by witness: £1.8 billion.

[8] Note by witness: £1.8 billion.

Prepared 5th March 2014