The Defence Committee is today announcing a major new inquiry into the future of the Army as envisaged in the Ministry of Defence’s plans for Future Army 2020. The inquiry will examine the rationale behind the plans, the resources required and the achievability of Army 2020. It will not examine decisions on individual regiments and units or specific basing decisions.
The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) set out the Government’s initial plans for the Army element of Future Force 2020, including five multi-role brigades, a high-readiness force and a reduction of 7,000 Army personnel to leave a Force strength of 95,000 by 2015. However the SDSR also acknowledged that further work was required. It set out plans for a basing review, including the return of UK Armed Forces from Germany by 2020, and a study into the future role and structure of Reserve Forces by an Independent Commission which reported in July 2011.
Since the SDSR, these plans have been revised and developed. In July 2012, the Government published Modernising to face an unpredictable future—Transforming the British Army which set out plans “designed around an Adaptable Force capable of persistent engagement at home and overseas and a Reaction Force at readiness capable of warfighting to meet the next challenge”. The vision of Army 2020 is an integrated Army of 112,000 personnel of whom 30,000 will be Reservists. In November 2012, the Government launched a consultation on the future of Reserve Forces and their role in UK Armed Forces and the MoD is expected to announce its findings in Spring 2013. In March 2013, the Government announced the outcomes of its Regular Army basing review. Further announcements on basing plans, such as those for Reserve Forces and other Services, are expected during 2013.
The Committee is particularly interested in:
- the strategic rationale for Army 2020, the Army’s future role and how these were translated into the proposed structures
- how Army 2020 will be implemented, including how the process will be managed and how progress will 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 Armed Forces from Germany and the role of Reserves
- command arrangements for Army 2020
- personnel challenges, including recruitment, retention, and training (including combined training for Regular and Reserve Forces)
The Committee expects to take oral evidence during the Summer and Autumn of 2013. The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry which should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Monday 3 June 2013.