FOREWORD - DEFENCE MANAGEMENT JOURNAL, Issue 28
General Sir Mike Jackson - Chief of the General Staff
The strategic environment has rarely been more challenging than it is today. Until the end of the Cold War, we had a clear understanding of our enemy: their intent, the direction of threat and the likely form of attack. Today, the threat of attack remains – but in a different form, and from an altogether less predictable enemy. This has required the Army to adapt and embrace a new organisational concept known as the Future Army Structure (FAS).
The underpinning rationale for restructuring was based on an operational need for a more agile, deployable and flexible force, and to build a medium weight capability to sit between our ‘heavy’ armoured and light forces. This re-balancing, and a greater emphasis on capability at the brigade level, will ensure that we are structured to provide the most powerful capability possible from the resources available.
The benefits offered by FAS are augmented by technical developments in the equipment programme. Projects such as the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES), the Army’s contribution to effects-based warfare, will be enhanced by the introduction of the APACHE attack helicopter, as well as land-based, long-range precision attack munitions and improved Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities. These are in addition to digitised communications (BOWMAN and FALCON), under the umbrella of Networked Enabled Capability (NEC), which aim to more closely link sensors, decision-makers and weapons systems.
Of course, whilst equipment and structures are important, an organisation’s success depends upon its workforce. I recognise the heavy demands that a career in the Armed Forces places on our people. For that reason, soldiers and their families are at the heart of the new structures. FAS will provide the variety, experience and career progression soldiers need, and will, in time and in conjunction with other projects, deliver a better standard of accommodation. In addition, the end of re-roling will provide greater stability to infantry soldiers and their families.
Change is sometimes an uncomfortable process, but one that all organisations must embrace if they are to meet the needs of the future. For the British Army, the requirement to restructure has undoubtedly meant a degree of upheaval and uncertainty. I am confident, however, that we have tackled the issue at the right time and in the right way to ensure that we are in the best position to meet and shape future conflicts.