Future Army 2020 - Defence Committee Contents

1  Introduction


1. The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) set out the Government's initial plans for the Army element of Future Force 2020—the planned size, shape and structure of UK Armed Forces by 2020—including a proposed force structure, a reduction in Regular personnel and changes to the Army's equipment.[1] However, the SDSR was just the start of the development of the Government's future plans and vision for the Army.[2] The MoD undertook further work on the structure of the Army, including the future role and use of Reservists, a redundancy programme for Regular Army personnel and a Regular and Reserves basing review. The main Army 2020 decisions were announced in July 2012 and were immediately controversial.[3] Further announcements, including those on the role and greater use of Reserve Forces and Regular and Reserve basing decisions were made in 2013.[4]


2. A timeline of the announcements on, and development of, Army 2020 is set out below:
19 October 2010Strategic Defence and Security Review published
18 July 2011Report of the Independent Commission to Review the Future of the United Kingdom's Reserve Forces, Future Reserves 2020, published.

Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, then Secretary of State for Defence, announced the outcome of the MoD internal three-month exercise which included a further reduction in the size of the regular Army and some initial basing decisions.

1 September 2011920 personnel notified of their selection for redundancy in tranche 1
February 2012Latest date for applicants in redundancy tranche 1 to leave[5]
12 June 20122,880 personnel notified of their selection for redundancy in tranche 2
5 July 2012Army 2020 announcement
September 2012Those selected for compulsory redundancy in tranche 1 to leave[6]
November 2012Future Reserves 2020 consultation published
11 December 2012Latest date for applicants in tranche 2 to leave
22 January 2013Redundancy tranche 3 announced
5 March 2013Outcome of Regular Army basing review announced (including decisions on the locations of forces withdrawing from Germany)
June 2013Latest date for those selected for compulsory redundancy in tranche 2 to leave
18 June 20134,550 individuals notified of their selection for redundancy in tranche 3
July 2013Reserves in the Future Force 2020 White Paper and Reserves basing plan published

Defence Reform Bill introduced in House of Commons

Transforming the British Army: an update published which incorporated the Reserves announcements which had not been included in the original publication in July 2012

17 December 2013Latest date for applicants in redundancy tranche 3 to leave
23 January 2014Redundancy tranche 4 announced with up to 1,422 Army personnel expected to be affected
12 June 2014Army personnel to be notified of their selection for redundancy in tranche 4
June 2014Latest date for those selected for compulsory redundancy in tranche 3 to leave
December 2014Latest date for applicants in redundancy tranche 4 to leave
June 2015Latest date for those selected for compulsory redundancy in tranche 4 to leave

Our inquiry

3. In December 2012, we held a preliminary evidence session with General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, about the Army 2020 plan. In March 2013, the Government announced the outcome of its Regular Army basing review. On 25 April 2013, we announced an inquiry into the rationale behind the plans, the resources required and the achievability of Army 2020. We were particularly interested in:

·  The strategic rationale for Army 2020, the Army's future role and how these had been translated into the proposed structures;

·  How Army 2020 would be implemented, including how the process would be managed and how progress would be measured and costs calculated;

·  The possible impact of future National Security Strategies, Strategic Defence and Security Reviews and Comprehensive Spending Reviews;

·  The key challenges in achieving Army 2020, including the outcomes of the Regular Army basing review, the withdrawal of UK Armed Forces from Germany and the role of Reserves;

·  Command arrangements for Army 2020; and

·  Personnel challenges, including recruitment, retention, and training (including combined training for Regular and Reserve Forces).

4. At the beginning of our inquiry we decided not to examine decisions on individual regiments and units or specific basing decisions. We had already questioned the Secretary of State for Defence and the then Chief of the Defence Staff on the criteria, and figures, used for the Regular Army decisions in Army 2020 when we took evidence from them in July 2012 and we have published this evidence.[7] Although these are matters which provoke strong feelings, we wanted our inquiry to focus more strategically on the Government's plans for the future of the Army and their implementation.

5. We held four evidence sessions in which we took evidence from the Secretary of State for Defence, the Chief of the General Staff, senior Army officers responsible for implementing Army 2020 and independent external commentators. We received 13 pieces of written evidence. We are grateful to all our witnesses for the evidence they have provided and to those who submitted written evidence. As part of our inquiry, we also visited the Army Recruiting and Training Division at Upavon in Wiltshire where we met the Army Recruiting Group and representatives of Capita, the private contractor managing the Army's recruitment process. We wish to thank all those who facilitated this useful visit. During the course of our inquiry, the Army Rumour Service hosted a web forum to enable us to hear the views of interested parties on the Army 2020 plan which we used to inform our questioning of witnesses. The forum received 494 comments from 171 contributors. We are grateful to the Army Rumour Service for hosting this forum for us and to all those who contributed. We are also grateful to our Specialist Advisers[8] and our staff.

6. At the beginning of our Report, we wish to pay tribute to Army personnel, including those who have left the Services, for their bravery, dedication to duty and their contribution to the nation's security. This has been an uncertain and worrying time for the Armed Forces as they undergo major changes to their structure and role while continuing to undertake operations in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. We also recognise the valuable role that their families play in supporting them as they carry out their duties.

1   HM Government, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, October 2010, pp 19-20 and pp 24-25 Back

2   Ibid, pp 27-28 and pp 32-33 Back

3   HC Deb, 5 July 2012, cols 1085-1110; see also British Army, Modernising to face an unpredictable future: Transforming the British Army, July 2012 Back

4   Regular Army Basing Plan: HC Deb, 5 March 2013, cols 845-848; Role of Reserves and Reserves basing: HC Deb, 3 July 2013, cols 922-925, HC Deb, 3 July 2013, cols 49-53WS and HC Deb, 4 July 2013, cols 61-62WS, see also Ministry of Defence, Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued, Cm 8655 July 2013 Back

5   Applicants for redundancy would serve up to six months notice and non-applicants facing compulsory redundancy, 12 months Back

6   Ibid Back

7   Defence Committee, The work of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces, Oral and written evidence, 12 July 2012, HC 525-i, Qq 24-26 and Ev 15-16 and Ev 22-24 Back

8   The Committee's Specialist Advisers are: Rear Admiral (retired) Chris Snow, Major General (retired) Mungo Melvin, Air Marshal (retired) Philip Sturley, Professor Michael Clarke, Dr John Louth, Mr Paul Beaver and Mr Chris Donnelly. Their declarations of interests can be found in the Committee's Formal Minutes which are available on the Committee's website. Back

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