Future Army 2020 - Defence Committee Contents

4  Conclusion

143. Army 2020 represents a radical vision for the future role and structure of the British Army. It departs significantly from the announcements made in SDSR 2010 and we have considerable doubts about how the plan was developed and tested, and whether it will meet the needs of the UK's national security. The evidence presented to date has been far from convincing. Our principal concerns are twofold:

·  First, the MoD has failed to communicate the rationale and strategy behind the plan to the Army, the wider Armed Forces, Parliament or the public.

·  Second, we remain concerned that the financially driven reduction in the numbers of Regulars has the potential to leave the Army short of personnel particularly in key supporting capabilities until sufficient additional Reserves are recruited and trained.

144. The Government has said Army 2020 has to work and that there is no Plan B. The Government owe it to the Army to ensure it does work, but, crucially, if the situation changes, then the Government must be prepared to respond decisively by providing additional resources in order to guarantee the nation's security. Although we have concerns about the Army 2020 plan, we recognise that it also provides opportunities, for example in addressing the role of Reservists and developing the public defence engagement role of UK Armed Forces which will help to resolve the current disconnect between the Armed Forces and the public.

145. While we welcome the Government's commitment to publish more data on the Reserves and to put into statute a requirement on the Reserves Forces and Cadets Association to produce an annual report on the state of the Reserve Forces, we believe the Government should go further and give a commitment to provide regular updates to Parliament on progress on all aspects of the Army 2020 plan. Oral and written statements while helpful are not sufficient; a detailed annual report on the Army's Fighting Power should be laid before Parliament setting out progress and setbacks in implementing the Army 2020 plan. The first of these reports should be laid before Parliament in January 2015 to allow consideration and debate before the 2015 General Election and to inform the 2015 SDSR.

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Prepared 6 March 2014