News story


Plans to redesign the Army into an agile, capable, formidable force for the future have been announced today by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and the head of the Army, Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Army will become a fully integrated Regular and Reserve force of 120,000 by 2020 with its focus shifting from campaigns to contingency when it ends combat operations in Afghanistan.

Army 2020 restructures the Army into an integrated force that is trained and equipped for future challenges. Although the Regular Army will be smaller, the Army as a whole will have the agility required to enable it to respond to the challenges faced in an increasingly fluid global environment.

The UK retains one of the largest Defence budgets in the world and the Army will remain well trained, well equipped and well funded.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

After inheriting a massive overspend from the last Government, we have had to make tough decisions to implement our vision of a formidable, adaptable and flexible Armed Forces.

After a decade of enduring operations, we needed to transform the Army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force ready to face the future.

Army 2020 will create a more flexible and agile Army. Unlike the past, it will be set on a firm foundation of men and materiel, well trained, well equipped, and fully funded.

The Regimental system will remain the bedrock of the Army’s fighting future.

Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said:

The Army envisaged under Army 2020 will see our forces become better integrated and fully adaptable. It will capitalise on the powerful merits of a modern regimental system to deliver formidable effect when and where it is needed, and will create the best structure for the Army to face the challenges of the future.

The changes in Army 2020 will demand resilience, flexibility and genuine adaptability from our talented and committed officers and soldiers. It is inevitable that some units will be lost or will merge but we have done this in a way that I believe is fair across the whole Army.

Under Army 2020 the Army will be structured on the basis of graduated readiness which means that units are held at different degrees of preparedness for operations.

High-readiness Reaction Forces will meet the Army’s contingency tasks. They will comprise an air assault brigade with two attack helicopter regiments and three armoured infantry brigades. They will be equipped with upgraded Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, Challenger tanks, and the new Scout vehicle. This will be the nation’s key force for decisive military action on land.

The Adaptable Forces will be based on a regional footprint and held at lower readiness. They will be made up of seven infantry brigades, comprised of paired Regular and Reserve units. They will provide further capacity when required and be able to generate additional brigade-sized forces for enduring operations.

More routinely, the Adaptable Forces will carry out wider engagement overseas to help to build capacity in friendly nations’ armies. They will also fulfil the UK’s standing garrison tasks in Brunei, Cyprus and the Falklands Islands, and be responsible for public duties and state ceremonial tasks.

Finally, Force Troops will provide the specialist support required by the Reaction and Adaptable Forces, including artillery, engineer, surveillance and intelligence, logistic, and medical brigades. The new Security Assistance Group will also engage overseas and work closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

Notes to editors

  1. The changes to structure of the Army under Army 2020 are attached at Annexe A. The structure can be found online at

The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and subsequent work determined the need to reduce the Regular Army from its current strength of 102,000 to 82,000. The SDSR can be found at the below web address: For further information call Tom Bennett in the MOD Press Office on 0207 218 7931.



There will be 17 fewer major units as a result of Army 2020. These reductions will fall across the various arms and corps of the army.

Force Troops[1] – units reduced by 10 units

The number of Royal Artillery units will be reduced by one from 13 to 12 by the withdrawal of 39th Regiment Royal Artillery.

The number of Royal Engineers units will reduce by three from 14 to 11 with the withdrawal of 24 and 28 Engineer Regiments and 67 Works Group.

The Army Air Corps will reduce by one from 5 to 4 units as 1 Regiment AAC merges with 9 Regiment AAC in preparation for equipping with Wildcat.

There will be a reduction by three in the number of regular Royal Logistic Corps units, from 15 to 12 with 1 and 2 Logistic Support Regiments withdrawn from the Order of Battle and 23 Pioneer Regiment disbanded, with its functions assumed by other units.

In the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, 101 Force Support Battalion will be withdrawn, reducing the Corps to 7 units.

5 Regiment Royal Military Police will be removed.

Armoured Corps – reduced by 2 units

The Queen’s Royal Lancers to amalgamate with 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s).

Merger of 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.

Infantry – reduced by 5 battalions from the multi-battalion Regiments[2]

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland will be reduced to form a Public Duties Incremental Company (Balaclava Company) after Aug 2013. (Antecedent Regiment is The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders whose historic base is Stirling)

2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will be removed from the Order of Battle and absorbed into the rest of the Regiment upon completion of scheduled operational commitments in the autumn of 2014. (RRF formed in 1968 whose Regimental HQ is in the Tower of London)

2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) will be removed from the Order of Battle and absorbed into the rest of the Regiment after autumn 2013. (Antecedent Regiment is The Green Howards whose Regimental HQ is in Richmond North Yorkshire)

3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords) will be removed from the Order of Battle and absorbed into the rest of the Regiment after Oct 2014. (Antecedent Regiment is The Staffordshire Regiment whose Regimental HQ is in Lichfield)

2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales) will be removed from the Order of Battle and absorbed into the rest of the Regiment after autumn 2013.

[1] The Combat Support and Combat Service Support units that provide direct support to the Combat Arms and broadly comprise of the Royal Artillery, AAC, Royal Signals, Royal Engineers, Royal Logistic Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Military Police and Intelligence Corps.

[2] In 2006 under the re-organisation of the Infantry a number of Regiments were grouped together under larger Regimental names, such as the Mercian Regiment, Rifles, Yorkshire Regiment, Royal Welsh, Duke of Lancaster’s and the Royal Regiment of Scotland. In this grouping together the antecedent names were largely removed from the day to day titles of units.

Published 5 July 2012