As part of the first tranche of Army unit moves confirmed by the MOD today as part of the Defence Rebasing Programme, 1,800 troops based in Germany will from January 2012 be brought back to the UK.
In addition, Army units will move from Cyprus while others will move location within the UK earlier than planned. This includes troops moving into former RAF bases at Cottesmore and Kinloss.
This rebasing follows the Ministry of Defence announcement in October 2010, as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), of its aim to return half of its personnel currently based in Germany to the UK by 2015 and the remainder by 2020.
Today’s announcement also sets out how the Army is restructuring its regional divisions and brigades.
It is estimated that the rebasing of troops from Germany will save the MOD £250m a year - the additional cost of having the Army in Germany.
Bringing the forces currently based in Germany back to the UK will contribute around £650m per year to the UK economy, as wages are spent in the UK instead of in Germany.
These basing decisions followed on from the SDSR and were announced in July 2011 as part of the MOD’s transformation programme. The Army regiments moving location over the next few years are:
- 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (2 R ANGLIAN) to move from Cyprus to Cottesmore in Rutland in July 2012.
- 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) to move from Cyprus to Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, in July 2013.
- 7 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) will move from Bielefeld in Germany to Cottesmore by Summer 2013.
- 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) will move from Waterbeach near Cambridge to Kinloss in the summer of 2012, and HQ 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group will move from Waterbeach to RAF Wittering in the summer of 2013.
- 43 Close Support Squadron RLC will move from Gutersloh in Germany to Abingdon in Oxfordshire to colocate with its parent regiment (12 Logistic Support Regiment) by the end of January 2012.
These moves mean Waterbeach Barracks will be sold and Trenchard Barracks (Celle) and Munster Station will be handed back to the German authorities, enabling the closure of Rheindahlen Military Complex.
Troop numbers in Cyprus will remain unchanged as 2 R ANGLIAN and 2 YORKS are being replaced by other infantry battalions.
Further reductions will result from a full basing estimate presently being conducted by the Army into its future force structures.
The moves will see the Army take over Kinloss earlier than the intended date of 2014/15 and will see the number of Service personnel in Scotland maintained.
The Army has also confirmed today that it is restructuring its regional divisions and brigades. Under Project Avanti, the Army is replacing its three UK divisional headquarters in Edinburgh, Shrewsbury and Aldershot with a single Headquarters Support Command in Aldershot.
The decision was taken as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review announced in October 2010.
The new HQ Support Command in Aldershot will begin operation in January 2012 when HQ 4th Division in Aldershot will disband.
HQ 2nd Division in Edinburgh and HQ 5th Division in Shrewsbury will both disband by April 2012, although some tasks will continue until at least August 2012 when HQ Support Command should be fully operational.
Despite the closure of HQ 2nd Division in Edinburgh, the Army will retain a General Officer Commanding (GOC) Scotland with the minimum of staff, which maintains the level of senior representation in Scotland to oversee the rebasing changes.
In addition, the Army intends to relocate HQ 1 (UK) Armoured Division, currently based in Germany, to Scotland by 2020, which would take over the GOC Scotland role.
General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, said:
Following direction delivered in the 2010 SDSR and the three-month exercise, the Army is making significant progress in meeting its obligations.
The new basing arrangements being announced today allow the Army to reinforce vital links with local communities in the UK, as well as continuing to provide a high level of support to our soldiers and their families.
This will include working closely with our counterparts in the RAF to maintain the links they have established as we replace them in some locations.
The establishment of a UK Support Command via the restructuring of the Army’s regional footprint provides an excellent opportunity to deliver efficiencies whilst sustaining the Army’s support to the civil authorities, and maintaining current front line and operational commitments.
“This is but one step in a series of changes to modernise the Army, as there will be more announcements of this sort to come.”
Minister for the Armed Forces, Nick Harvey, said:
The Defence Transformation announcement in July 2011 identified a number of key objectives, including the long-term plan to bring the Army back from Germany, a basing laydown for the RAF and the Royal Navy, the sale of sites no longer required, and the plan to place Army units in Kinloss by 2014/15.
These announcements demonstrate the Government and Army is taking forward this programme for change.
This programme will ensure that fit-for-purpose infrastructure is in place to support both military operations and Service personnel and their families. These preliminary moves will also ensure any gap in occupation of the sites at Kinloss and Cottesmore is kept to a minimum.
The strategic objective remains to deliver a coherent and affordable Defence capacity in 2020 and beyond.
The Army basing moves in full are:
- 2 R ANGLIAN to move from Cyprus to Cottesmore in Rutland in July 2012, rather than moving to Trenchard Barracks, Celle, as originally planned. This allows the closure of Trenchard Barracks which will be handed back to the German authorities. It will see the move of some 620 Service personnel and their families into Cottesmore.
- 2 YORKS will move from Cyprus to Elizabeth Barracks, Pirbright, in July 2013, rather than moving to Munster Station in Germany. This allows for the closure of Munster Station. This move will see around 620 Service personnel and their families move into Pirbright.
- 7 Regiment RLC will move from Bielefeld in Germany to Cottesmore. This enables the move of HQ British Forces Germany from Rheindahlen to Bielefeld, and the closure of Rheindahlen Military Complex from 2014/15. This move will see some 450 Service personnel and their families in Cottesmore by Summer 2013.
39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) will move from Waterbeach near Cambridge to Kinloss in the summer of 2012, and HQ 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group will move from Waterbeach to RAF Wittering in the summer of 2013, enabling the closure of Waterbeach Barracks by December 2013. 25 Engineer Regiment, also based at Waterbeach, will be disbanded as a savings measure by no later than 31 May 2012. Two of its squadrons (34 Field Squadron and 53 Field Squadron) will become part of 39 Engineer Regiment and move to Kinloss. This sees the move of some 930 Service personnel and their families to Kinloss, and 44 Service personnel and their families to Wittering.
- 43 Close Support Squadron RLC will move from Gutersloh in Germany to Abingdon in Oxfordshire to colocate with its parent regiment (12 Logistic Support Regiment) by the end of January 2012. This will affect around 120 Service personnel and their families. This move enables the closure of Rheindahlen Military Complex.
The ten regional brigade headquarters and HQ London District will begin restructuring in January 2012 which will be completed by 31 March 2013. The Project Avanti restructuring proposals should save £19m in terms of military and civilian post reductions.
The Services are working with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation to develop the detailed plans needed to deliver these facilities and the MOD will be consulting with local planning authorities.