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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE 172/98 July 8, 1998 ROBERTSON'S REVIEW: MODERN FORCES FOR THE MODERN WORLD Announcing the conclusions of the Strategic Defence Review to the House of Commons today Defence Secretary George Robertson said: "The Strategic Defence Review has delivered on this Government s promise to provide strong defence for the future. This radical review will modernise and re-shape our Armed Forces to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and give them the firm foundation which they need to plan for the long term. "The Review has been grounded in foreign policy and sound military experience: it builds on the strengths of our people as well as Britain s long and distinguished military history. It is a mixture of radical change and solid planning fused together through a process of unprecedented open and wide consultation both within and outside the Ministry of Defence. It has the wholehearted support of the Chiefs of Staff. "We will transform the way in which the Armed Forces do business. New tri-service organisations will take the best from each of the Services and maximise their collective punch. We shall be taking major initiatives to ensure that we recruit the best people from all walks of life, that we get the best from them, and that they benefit from the best of modern employers. We shall ensure that they have the right equipment and training to enable them to do the difficult and dangerous jobs that the country requires of them. And all this while making every pound count. "The Strategic Defence Review will result in a reduction in the size of our nuclear arsenal together with a re-affirmation of the importance of the nuclear deterrent to the country s security. Our Trident submarines will remain on a continuous patrolling pattern but the number of warheads on each boat will be reduced to 48 from the maximum of 96 announced by the previous Government. "The Strategic Defence Review will give the country the defence it needs, the Armed Forces the people they need, and our Service and civilian people the tools they need to do the job. "This Government is committed to strong defence: and strong defence is sound foreign policy. The Strategic Defence Review will deliver the modern forces for the modern world that will enable Britain to be a force for good in the 21st century. NOTES TO EDITORS The major elements of the package are listed below and brief details are behind: Enhancements in Joint capabilities Joint Rapid Reaction Forces Joint RN/RAF fixed wing Force (Joint Force 2000) Joint Battlefield Helicopter Command Joint Army/RAF Ground Based Air Defence organisation Deployable Joint Force Headquarters and greater powers for Chief of Joint Operations. Joint Defence Centre New Strategic Lift assets Plugging the gaps Improving the capability of the Defence Medical Services Logistic enhancements Improved NBC defences Modernising the Services Plans to buy two new aircraft carriers Strengthening amphibious forces Extending attack submarine TLAM capability 350 additional Royal Naval Reservists Increasing the number of deployable armoured and mechanised Army Brigades from 5 to 6 Converting 5 Airborne Brigade to a Mechanised Brigade Converting 24 Airmobile Brigade into a new air manoeuvre brigade Adding 3,300 troops to Regular Army Larger, but fewer, tank regiments Improving TA deployability and usablility Forming a TA Army Mobilisation Centre Reducing the number of TA held for defence of UK Confirming the order for Eurofighter New Missiles for Eurofighter and Tornado Improvements to Tornado GR4 Improvements to Nimrod R Modernising the air transport fleet 270 new Air Force Reservists Making the world a safer place Defence Diplomacy Declaring additional forces as potentially available to UN Further steps on international arms control Reducing our nuclear deterrent capability to the minimum necessary Increased openness about our nuclear holdings Caring for our people and society Correcting undermanning "Learning Forces" initiative Improving operational welfare provision A new Task Force for Families Veterans Advice Cell Increasing the resources for the Cadet Forces Making every Pound count Introducing Smart Procurement New 4 star Chief of Defence Logisitics A single Defence Transport and Movements Organisation A new joint Defence Storage and Distribution Agency Bringing together explosive storage processing and distribution More active measures to dispose of excess holdings in the defence estate ENHANCEMENTS IN JOINT CAPABILITIES Central to enhancing our fighting force will be to harness the skills and capabilities of the Royal Navy, Army and Air Force. A large number of measures are being introduced to allow us to put together, at very short notice, a powerful joint force capable of immediate and, if necessary, simultaneous operations. This means pooling the expertise of the three Services more closely to produce a integrated fighting force, maximising their punch. Key initiatives include: * The creation of Joint Rapid Reaction Forces to spearhead our modernised, rapidly deployable and better supported front line. These forces - with real punch and protection - will have properly deployable command and control, strategic lift, medical and logistic support, and better arrangements for joint training. We will now be able to mount operations around the size of our largest Bosnia commitment (some 15,000 personnel) at short notice. We will for the first time be able to undertake two of this size of operation at once. The JRRF will be able to conduct operations ranging from evacuation of British citizens, to high intensity conflict. * In an historic agreement between the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff, a joint RN/RAF fixed wing force, "Joint Force 2000", will operate from both land and our aircraft carriers. This will initially bring together the Sea Harrier FA2 and RAF Harrier GR7 into joint operating packages, but in future the RN and RAF both plan to operate a single, common aircraft from land and sea - the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft. No decision has been taken on the aircraft type, but the US Joint Strike Fighter will be a strong contender. * A joint helicopter command under a 2-star officer (initially RAF) to bring together all battlefield helicopters, including Navy commando helicopters, Army attack helicopters and RAF support helicopters. This will provide a potent unified force of some 400 helicopters. It will increase flexibility and utility, with the introduction of best practice, and co-ordinated tasking, engineering support, spares, stores and training. * A joint Army/RAF ground based air defence organisation bringing together the RAF Regiment and Army Rapier surface to air missile units. This new force will enhance the rapid deployability of our forces, making best use of equipment and manpower through full interoperability. No longer will the Army need to wait to be protected by Army Rapier, and the RAF - by RAF Rapier units. The new force will have a joint headquarters and a joint training school building on best Army/RAF practice, with all forces in time using standard equipment and thereby operating as a fully integrated command, sharing air defence tasks in support of all Arms of the Services. * Significantly enhanced in-theatre command and control of operations by rapidly deployable joint force headquarters; and greater authority and powers for the Chief of Joint Operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters, to ensure our forces are fully prepared to fight, and win. * A new Joint Defence Centre to improve the military effectiveness of our forces by providing a proper focus for the development of doctrine for joint training and operations. This centre of excellence on how forces should deploy and operate to best effect will be available to advise on doctrine for peacekeeping and multinational operations: we hope in time it will provide an international focus for such vital work. It will also bring together effort to look strategically at our future requirements, provide a long-term equipment framework, and better interoperability between the Services. * Strategic lift to allow a rapid response capability will be enhanced by acquiring 4 more RORO container ships (probably through a PFI deal), giving us 6 in total. This will allow us to deploy our Joint Rapid Reaction Forces, including their heavy armour and protection, at very short notice. In the short term we will also acquire 4 C17 large aircraft or their equivalent. In the longer term we need to consider a suitable replacement for our remaining elderly transport aircraft, for which the proposed FLA is a contender. PLUGGING THE GAPS The SDR will also fix the deep problems inherited from the previous Government in the support area, which is the lifeblood of the Forces and without which they cannot fight properly. It will fill in the holes which left our forces dangerously hollowed out, and thereby maximise their prospects for success on operations. * The capability of our Defence Medical Services will be enhanced. Personnel and equipment shortfalls will be rectified as a matter of urgency, a 200-bed primary casualty receiving ship will be procured (with a second on longer notice), 800 field beds across 4 field hospitals will be brought to higher readiness, the Army s Regular ambulance evacuation capability will be enhanced, and an additional Regular RAF aeromedical evacuation flight and 18 Air Escort Flights (paramedics who care for people in transit to UK and their equipment) will be established. A number of other enhancements will be targeted at the Defence Secondary Care Agency, probably including the recruitment of additional staff, enhancing some of our psychiatric services and speeding patient referrals. Spending will need some time to build up, but is expected to reach around #40M a year by 2000/01, and more thereafter. * To remedy the weaknesses in logistics left by the last Government and ease overstretch, we plan a package of logistic enhancements extending over several years, with spending peaking at over #100M a year. This will provide additional combat services support taking account of the demanding environments in which we are likely to operate, and the creation of two Joint Force Logistic Component Headquarters to support simultaneous operations. Some 2000 new posts will be created in this area. * To enhance the ability of our forces to operate in circumstances where they may be threatened by the use of terrifying weapons of mass destruction, we will improve our NBC defences to provide our forces on operations with modern and effective nuclear, biological and chemical defences. These will include an additional buy of integrated biological detection systems and remote sensors; nuclear/chemical reconnaissance systems; building up vaccines and antibiotic packs and decontamination equipment packs. A 400 strong, mainly Regular joint Army/RAF NBC unit will be established to operate these capabilities, able therefore to be able to deploy sufficiently quickly to meet the range of possible operational requirements. We will be enhancing cooperation with allies such as the United States, to ensure we collectively exploit to maximum effect new research and medical breakthroughs. MODERNISING THE SERVICES In the post Cold-War world we must be prepared to go to the crisis, rather than having the crisis come to us. Capabilities and equipment will be modernised to provide highly flexible, well-equipped forces able to project power very rapidly to potential troublespots and crises. This means: FOR THE RN The emphasis will move from large scale open-ocean warfare to force projection and littoral operations in conjunction with the other two Services, with a premium on versatility and deployability. We will match the front line more closely to today's requirements so that manpower can be used to maximum effect where it is really needed. To that end, we are: * Planning to procure two large aircraft carriers, capable of operating up to 50 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters from all three services at one time (compared with a maximum of 24 aircraft now), which will give us a new, potent and flexible maritime capability to project power. This will give us a fully independent ability to deploy a powerful combat force to potential troublespots without waiting for basing agreements on other countries territory. We will be able to be poised in international waters and most effectively back up diplomacy with the threat of force. * Strengthening support to our brigade-sized amphibious force (5,000 troops), by acquiring an additional 4 RoRo container ships to add to the existing two (Sea Chieftain and Sea Crusader). This is in addition to our new helicopter carrier (HMS Ocean), the two replacement Landing Platforms Dock (Albion and Bulwark) and two replacement Landing Ships Logistic. * Making all Trafalgar class submarines capable of firing our 1,000 mile range Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, thereby extending our ability to apply pressure, for example to coerce rogue regimes to comply with international and UN requirements. We have confirmed existing plans to modernise our attack submarine force by purchasing five Astute class; two more will be ordered early in the new century to join the three already on order. * Maintaining plans to modernise the destroyer and frigate force with a new class of Common New Generation Frigates. * Increasing numbers in the Royal Naval Reserve by 350, to 3,850, to provide an expanded pool of personnel to provide additional reinforcements for the Fleet, to enhance operational flexibility. The number of training days in the RN Reserves will be increased from 25 to 35 and for RM Reserve trainees - from 35 to 65. * Reflecting changed requirements by making small reductions in the size of our attack submarine (12 to 10), surface escort (35 to 32) and mine countermeasure forces (18 to 22 instead of 25). Most of the manpower will be re-deployed to ease overstretch in the front line. FOR THE ARMY We will continue to need a full range of capabilities to guard against the spectrum of scenarios we might face. We will modernise the Army for the challenges of the future by focusing on mobility, precision firepower, and protection for our forces. We will: * Restructure the front line to provide six, not five deployable armoured or mechanised brigades to help reduce overstretch, provide greater flexibility and, together with the formation of the JRRF, the ability to undertake two brigade size operations (one of which could be sustained indefinitely) simultaneously at short notice. * To achieve this, convert 5 Airborne Brigade - a light brigade which has been shown not to have sufficient hitting power - into a mechanised brigade (12 Mechanised Brigade), by transferring in an armoured infantry and two mechanised infantry Battalions, and the AS90 self-propelled gun, whose awesome firepower has been demonstrated in Bosnia as essential in subduing the warring factions. * Create a new, powerful air manoeuvre brigade by bringing together, in 24 Airmobile Brigade, the potent attack helicopter and the unique skills of the Parachute Brigade. One parachute battalion will continue to provide an airdrop capability. Three Army Air Corps regiments will be equipped with the formidable Apache attack helicopter from the year 2000. * Create an additional armoured reconnaissance regiment by re- roling one of the existing Armoured Regiments brought back from Germany. Information gathering is vital on the battlefield and in peacekeeping operations. To do this better we are examining new technologies for future sensors, reconnaissance land vehicles and unmanned air vehicles. As part of this, we will collaborate with the US in the TRACER/Future Scout and Cavalry System programme. * Add 3,300 Regular troops to the Army s numbers, particularly to enhance those trades, such as signals, engineer, medical and logistic troops, which are most heavily committed on operations. This will improve our ability to conduct operations simultaneously, as well as improving quality of life for our most hard-pressed personnel. * Make our armoured capability more deployable and effective as a fighting force, by restructuring into 6 larger tank regiments rather than the 8 smaller regiments, with more manpower and tanks in each regiment (58 tanks and 600 personnel by comparison with figures of 38 and 470). * Make better use of the tank fleet by keeping only those tanks in the front line that the regiments can use on a day to day basis - 30 out of the 58. As a result our soldiers will spend more time training and less on routine vehicle maintenance. * Modernise and enhance the TA to make it more readily deployable and usable - by increasing readiness for operations, including through creating an Army Mobilisation Centre. The TA will be brought to the standard required to undertake demanding and operationally vital tasks at short notice, by enhancing its training and equipment. We will make it more usable through greater use of the powers available under the 1996 Reserve Forces Act: for example to meet a divisional sized warfighting deployment (eg an operation the size of our contribution to the Gulf War) we would plan compulsorily to call out a significant proportion of the TA. The TA will as a result be able to stand proud in the contribution it can make as a force for good in the world. But, because of the vastly reduced threat to the UK, numbers of lightly equipped infantry and yeomanry will be reduced. The size of the TA will reduce from some 57,000 to around 40,000. The implications for TA centres have yet to be determined, and will be done very carefully, in consultation, to ensure that we do not damage, but as far as possible build on existing strong links with society and the community across the country. We are very aware, for example, of the importance that many attach to the historic traditions and ethos of our regiments. We will need to consider very carefully how to ensure that necessary evolution to meet the challenges of the future does not mean that the benefits of tradition are lost to future generations of soldiers. We also want to take into account the availability of training facilities; and the need for close working between Territorial units and the Regular Armed Forces. FOR THE RAF Air power will be an ever more crucial ingredient in both warfighting and peace support operations. We shall adjust the emphasis of the Royal Air Force further from defence of the UK airspace against a largely redundant threat, to deploying our aircraft to crises - whether it be for warfighting or a coercive instrument to support political aims. We will also match the size of our front line more closely to today's requirements so that the manpower can be used to maximum effect where it is really needed. We are: * Confirming Eurofighter - a world beating aircraft - to provide a step change in the RAF s ability to achieve air superiority and provide air defence for the joint battlefield. * Procuring a range of new missiles for the Tornado and Eurofighter to enhance capabilities, such as the BVRAAM (Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile), more AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile), the Brimstone advanced anti armour missile, and the Storm Shadow stand off air to surface long range cruise missile. * Improving the Tornado GR4 bomber and its deployability - deployment packs to assist rapid deployment on operations, additional support manpower, engine and avionics spares packages; portable engineering and hangar accommodation; and a collision warning system to improve safety for man and machine. * Improving the Nimrod-R with the fitting of the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, to enhance the RAF s reconnaissance capability so vital to both peacekeeping (such as searching out refugees in Eastern Africa) and warfighting operations. * Developing the successor to the Tornado GR4: studies continue into a Future Offensive Air System to replace the Tornado GR4 in about 20 years time, looking at cruise missiles and remotely piloted/unmanned air vehicles as well as manned aircraft. * Modernising the air transport fleet. In the short term, by acquiring 4 C17 large aircraft or their equivalent. We will continue to look for a suitable replacement for our remaining elderly transport aircraft in the longer term - for which the proposed FLA is a contender. * Creating 270 new reservists posts in logistics and other supporting roles so vital to deployments and operations. This will result in an increase in the Reserve Air Forces from 2,650 to 2,920. Readiness profiles will be adjusted to reflect operational requirements, and make the Reserves more usable. * Reflecting changed requirements by reducing front line strength by 36 fast jet combat aircraft and disbanding two squadrons. Most of the personnel will be redeployed to ease overstretch in the front line. MAKING THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE This Government is determined to be a force for good - to do all it can to help make the world a safer place, through deterring and preventing conflict and crisis: * Defence Diplomacy - preventing the conditions which lead to conflict - has been a key theme of the SDR. In recognition of its importance we have made Defence Diplomacy one of the 8 defence missions. * Defence Diplomacy will include: An enhanced arms control programme incorporating an improved "Open Skies" capability to monitor arms control agreements and additional training in arms control inspection techniques; An expansion of the Outreach programme of advice and assistance to countries of central and Eastern Europe, including greater use of attachments and additional training courses. In particular we shall be emphasising the importance of accountability and the role and value of civilians in defence management; More education and training initiatives, including the establishment of a Defence Diplomacy scholarship scheme at the Joint Services Command and Staff College and providing extra manpower for short term in country tasks; We expect to create a number of new Defence Attache posts after we have completed a review into our worldwide requirement, which will look in particular to their key role in defence diplomacy Other ways of building trust and helping other countries to pull their weight in the international community, such as conducting exercises with and visits to other countries. * This is a step change in the time and effort we devote to Defence Diplomacy and means that in due course we shall be spending around an additional #15M per annum on these activities. * We will declare as potentially available to the UN a much larger proportion of our readily available forces (from the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces pool), in recognition of the important role that the UN plays in conflict prevention, to help enhance its capability and clout. * We will continue to press hard for international progress on arms control. We intend, for example, to develop our capability to verify reductions in nuclear weapons, using AWE expertise. * For our own part we will maintain only the minimum nuclear deterrence required to deter threats to our vital interests. We have decided: * to have only one submarine on patrol at any time carrying a reduced load of 48 warheads; half the previous Government's announced ceiling of 96. * the submarine on patrol will be at a reduced alert state and will carry out a range of secondary tasks. Its missiles will be detargeted and at several days 'notice to fire', rather than minutes as during the Cold War. * we will maintain fewer than 200 operationally available warheads; a one third reduction from the previous Government's plans. * we do not need any more than the 58 Trident missile bodies already purchased or ordered. The Royal Navy will not have the final seven missiles planned by the previous Government. * As a result: * the total explosive power of our operationally available weapons will have reduced by over 70% since the end of the Cold War. * the explosive power of each Trident submarine will be one third less than that of our Polaris submarines [armed with Chevaline] in recent years. * our nuclear holdings will be considerably lower than any other member of the Permanent Five; * we are reducing defence holdings of fissile material available for use in nuclear weapons. * We will be as open as possible about nuclear issues, including our holdings of nuclear materials. We are the first Nuclear Weapons State to declare the size of our defence fissile material stocks: * 7.6 tonnes of plutonium, 21.9 tonnes of highly enriched uranium, and * 15,000 tonnes of other forms of uranium, of which just over 9,000 tonnes is no longer required for defence purposes and will be placed under EURATOM safeguards and liable to IAEA inspections, as will 4.4 tonnes of plutonium (including 0.3 tonnes of weapons grade material). CARING FOR OUR PEOPLE AND SOCIETY People are of crucial importance to effective modern defence. We must recruit and retain the best people, train and equip them properly for their tasks, and ensure that the demands from them and their families do not become unreasonable. Our policy for people will: * Reduce overstretch; by increasing the size of the forces in those skills which are in greatest demand on operations; changing the pattern of deployments such as ships and submarines, so as to reduce routine peacetime tasks and the burden of separation from families; managing Army operational tours better through the restructuring of deployable brigades; and bringing units up to full strength through vigorous recruiting and using the manpower released from the minor reductions in the front line (attack submarines, surface escorts and combat aircraft) to fill existing gaps in other units. * Make service careers more attractive; through a major Learning Forces initiative - tied into the Government s Lifelong Learning programme. This will help attract young people, provide incentives for them to stay in the forces longer, and - for when they do leave - give them highly transferable skills in demand in the civilian employment market. The initiative will provide Learning Credits which may be claimed both in service and for some time afterwards. * Improve operational welfare provision such as telephone calls home, a common leave entitlement (bringing junior Army and RAF personnel onto a par with their RN colleagues), and giving higher priority to improving the standard of single living accommodation. * Establish a dedicated task force for families to address the special problems arising from a mobile lifestyle - such as access to healthcare and school places. * Create a special Veterans advice cell and helpline. In society at large, recognising the vital link between the services and society, by the injection of an additional #1M per year to support the activities of the Cadets, our nationwide youth movement. Great care will be taken to minimise the impact of changes to the Territorial Army on the Cadets: where a TA Centre is affected by the review, alternative arrangements will be made to provide for the Cadets. MAKING EVERY POUND COUNT Every pound spent on defence must count, and be spent wisely and well. In order to free up resources for operational enhancements and to make good inherited weaknesses, the SDR has included a rigorous examination of all our activities and assets, to ensure they are relevant for the future and carried out as efficiently as possible for the taxpayer. This has resulted in: * Reductions in those aspects of our capabilities which were needed for the challenges of the Cold War, but which are now less relevant, such as anti-submarine warfare and the direct air and ground defence of the UK. There will accordingly be a reduction of 2 in the number of attack submarines (from 12); of 3 in the number of surface escort ships (from 35); and the planned increase in the number of mine countermeasures vessels will be limited to 22 rather than 25. We need fewer combat aircraft to meet our commitments and we can therefore reduce the front line. The personnel freed up will be redeployed to fill gaps elsewhere. * Our Smart Procurement initiative, to eliminate overruns in cost and time, and get equipment faster, cheaper, better. The radical overhaul of our procurement processes will include the introduction of integrated project teams, jointly with industry, to run throughout the life of a project. We will buy equipment on an incremental basis: getting a basic capability quickly into the field and then upgrading as technology moves on. * A 4-star Chief of Defence Logistics responsible for organising defence logistics so as to best provide for our front line forces as they operate together on joint operations. For example, there will no longer be different supply lines to RAF and RN Harrier aircraft operating as a joint force from our Carriers. The Chief of Defence Logistics (CDL) will spur efficiency and drive through best business practice throughout a unified logistics organisation and in particular strengthen through-life support for equipment. * A single Defence Transport and Movements organisation with responsibility for all land, sea and air movements. This will streamline and bring together the work now done in three organisations: the Defence Transport and Movements Executive, the Air Movements Executive, and the Joint Transport and Movements organisation, with consequent increase in effectiveness and financial efficiencies. * A joint Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (Non-Explosive) will be formed by April 1999, to be responsible across the board for 3rd and 4th line storage. It will be owned by the Quartermaster General, and will come under the Chief of Defence Logistics. * Explosive storage, processing and distribution, currently split between the Royal Navy and Army, will be brought together as a joint division of the Naval Base Support Agency by April 1999. * We will harness the opportunities offered by a Public Private Partnership to strengthen the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency s ability to continue to provide world class scientific research well into the next century. * We have looked long and hard at the Defence Estate, focusing particularly on high value sites, especially those in London, to ensure that we keep no more than essential. Our hard scrutiny of our estate has resulted in more than a doubling of anticipated receipts, to around #700M over the next four years. Specific measures include:- - dispose of the Duke of York s Headquarters in Chelsea (re- accommodating TA units elsewhere or in the Duke of York s as tenants) and Millbank Barracks; - continue with PPI to re-provide Chelsea Barracks, not necessarily on its present site; - dispose of a number of other sites, either fully or partially, around the country, for example parts of the Army sites at Chilwell and Woolwich; storage and support sites at Didcot, Malvern, Old Dalby, Thatcham and RAF Cardington. - set up a better and tighter central control mechanism for the defence estate which we will use to search actively for disposal opportunities, including through a strategic development plan for London. * We are determined to make every pound spent on defence count. We instituted a fundamental review of activities and assets as part of the Defence Review. This has proved so successful that we have been able not only to provide for the enhancements necessary to modernise the Armed Forces, but also to make a contribution towards wider Government priorities. The Defence settlement will mean a reduction, in real terms, of #500M in the first year, rising to nearly #700M in the third year, as the efficiencies begin to take greater effect. In sum, a fall of 3% in real terms in the Defence budget by the end of this Parliament. The precise figures are as follows: 1998/99 1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 1998/99 less 2001/02 CASH(#M) 22240 22295 22830 22987 *CONSTANT 98/99 PRICES 22240 21730 21709 21555 -685 YEAR ON YEAR% -2.3 -0.1 -0.7 -3.1 *ASSUMING ASSET SALES OF #230M IN 2001/02 # = pounds sterling