Soldiers To Take On Special Forces Roles In New Army Unit

The British Army is establishing a new special operations brigade, where soldiers will be able to carry out roles usually handled by Special Forces personnel.

The new Ranger Regiment will feature four battalions and will be a major part of the new special operations brigade.

A share of £120m will be invested into the unit over the next four years, allowing it to undertake roles otherwise carried out by Special Forces.

It will see the unit become involved in collective deterrence, such as training, advising, enabling and accompanying partner forces.

The service hopes to be able to deploy the capability as early as 2022.

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, said the new Ranger Regiment will be "the vanguard of the Army's global footprint".

"The Army Special Operations Brigade is designed to operate alongside both regular and irregular partners and proxies in high-threat and hostile environments," he added.

"We're going to create a brand new Ranger Regiment, built around the nucleus of four specialised infantry battalions.

"But then, over time, grow that into an all-arms, all-Army capability, matching brainpower with firepower, data and software with hardware."

Alongside special operations, the Security Force Assistance Brigade will be established to provide guidance and training to allied nations, drawing on experience from across the Army.

British Army soldiers in training in 2020
The aim of the new regiment is to evolve the role of Army personnel (Library image: MOD).

Elements of each brigade will be routinely deployed across the globe to assist partner nations with defence and security.

"The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

"These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard of a more active and engaged Armed Forces."

The announcement of the new brigade comes after the publication of the Integrated Review -  billed as the most radical reassessment of the UK's place in the world since the Cold War.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a 'tilt' towards the Indo-Pacific region at the heart of the review.

The region, which covers some of the world's most important sea lanes, includes India, China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia.

As part of the Integrated Review, the Ministry of Defence says the Army will modernise to form a more agile force to work around the world.

More details on the future of the military are expected to be published in the Defence Command Paper, which is due on 22 March.

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