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Defence in a Competitive Age: Implications for Land

William F Owen
RUSI Defence Systems, 4 May 2021
UK Defence Policy, Land Forces
The greatest alterations in direction announced in the government’s Defence Command Paper are in the Land domain.

The Defence Command Paper (DCP) outlines the formation of three new types of brigades, but not their role nor exact equipment capability. The number of brigades and exact organisation is not mentioned, but it seems that the UK intends to field two light and heavy brigades and one deep strike recce brigade in terms of core capability.

The paper states that these brigades will be Brigade Combat Teams. The Army intends to ‘reorganise…into more self-sufficient Brigade Combat Teams able to meet demand by drawing on their own dedicated logistics and combat support units’. The traditional view is that self-sufficient brigades run some risks as they are impeded by a disproportionate logistics tail. This probably has to be set against the requirement to sustain in a significantly more dispersed lay-down than was the case formerly, in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), for example. Based on current conditions, brigade frontages and depths will now have to increase significantly.

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