The UK has introduced what it calls the ‘Future Soldier’ program, terming it as the military’s most radical transformation drive in the past two decades.
Under this program, more army personnel will be stationed around the world on a regular basis. The increased advanced deployment will bolster the ability to forecast crises.
The UK has emphasized that the initiative will not only result in significant investments in personnel, infrastructure, emerging technologies, and cyber capabilities but also transform the British Army into a “globally engaged fighting force that benefits the entire Union”.
The program will prevent conflict by providing assurance to allies and partners while deterring adversaries. The UK Defense Ministry intends to invest an additional 8.6 billion pounds in military equipment over the next 10 years.
This takes the overall investment to 41.3 billion pounds during the same time period.
According to the announcement, the Regular Army would have 73,000 personnel by 2025, plus 30,000 reservists. The Future Soldier program, according to Foreign Secretary Ben Wallace, aims to “transform the Army into a more agile, cohesive, lethal, expeditionary force”.
The most important result of the new initiative is the formation of a new Ranger Regiment, which intends to provide the Army “a new expeditionary posture”. With the goal of combating extremism and hostile state threats, this will be done in cooperation with “partner forces”.
Globally, more soldiers will be deployed for longer periods of time, building a new network of Land Regional Hubs based on existing training sites in countries such as Oman and Kenya. The Ranger Regiment’s cap badge will be inspired by the Peregrine Falcon, and everyone, regardless of rank, will wear a metal badge.
Another important outcome of this declaration, according to British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace’s statement in the House of Commons, was the decision to maintain the British Army’s focus on NATO warfighting, for which the Army will create a “completely modernized warfighting division by 2030”.
New equipment, including the Ajax armored reconnaissance vehicles, Boxer infantry fighting vehicles, Challenger 3 battle tanks, AH-64E Apache helicopters, long-range precision munitions, and combat drones, will be employed, and a large portion of the fighting force will be assigned to new self-sufficient Brigade Combat Teams.
We are launching a new Experimentation Battlegroup to help drive innovation into the heart of our warfighting preparations.
— British Army (@BritishArmy) March 27, 2021
In 2022, a new Experimentation and Trials Group will be established to ensure ground forces react quickly to future threats. This group will be in charge of testing new technologies and incorporating them into how soldiers will fight and operate. A large portion of the £6.6 billion R&D investment will be allocated to the Army.
More units and a larger proportion of the Army’s workforce will be stationed in Scotland than it is now. Edinburgh’s Glencorse Barracks will be maintained, but Kinloss and Leuchars will begin to expand. Additionally, Scotland will gain almost £1 billion in economic benefits from the £355 million investment in the Army estate.
We're delivering the most radical transformation to our Army in 20 years – #FutureSoldier.
It involves thinking differently, how we deal with emerging threats, and the skills, capabilities, and equipment that we need.
— British Army (@BritishArmy) November 25, 2021
The number of soldiers in Wales is set to increase with the return of the ‘Welsh cavalry’, The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, and a new reserve company of The Royal Welsh established in North Wales.
Northern Ireland will have the same number of Army units as before but host a greater proportion of the Army’s workforce. Moreover, reservists will play a critical role, with primary responsibility for homeland protection and resilience missions.
Under the program, plans are also in the works to open a ‘Soldier Academy’ on the lines of Royal Military College, Sandhurst; a new career management system that is fit for the digital age is also being prepared.
Finally, In the Field Army, a Force Mental Health Team will be created to aid in the promotion of mental health and wellness and provide a deployable healthcare capability in support of regular interactions.
Last week’s announcement builds on the government’s 2030 vision for the country’s armed forces, which was first disclosed in March via the Defense Command Paper. The 2030 vision primarily aims to increase spending in the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains in order to improve the military’s readiness to counter new and emerging threats.
While many regiments have a cloth badge for officers and a metal badge for soldiers, everyone serving in the Ranger Regiment will wear a metal badge, irrespective of rank.
— British Army (@BritishArmy) November 25, 2021
This Defense Command Paper was released as part of the UK’s comprehensive review of its foreign and defense policies. The reforms to Britain’s defense policy, according to the 100-page paper, have been undertaken in response to China’s growing global influence.
Similarly, the report identified Russia as the “acute threat to our security”, claiming that Moscow remains to pose a broad spectrum of challenges.