In answer to a question from Vernon Coaker MP, Mark Francois MP (Minister of State for the Armed Forces) has said that ” Army Headquarters in Andover will be streamlined“.
The question arose after the Labour MP for Gedling wrote asking “how much the Army Command Review will cost to produce?”
In his response to Written Question 222005, the Minister said that posts would be “transferred into one of two new subordinate commands” and that “the Army will look for opportunities during implementation of the review to reduce senior and middle management posts“.
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, Vernon Coaker MP, said “We support measures to improve the fighting effectiveness of UK Armed Forces, and that place the Services on a more sustainable footing.”
“Labour has long called on Ministers to challenge the top-heavy imbalance in the Armed Forces, but, under this Government, the lower ranks have shrunk at an even faster rate than senior ranks.”
“It is essential that the Ministers seriously examine all the implications of the Army Command Review for Andover and its local economy, and that appropriate measures are put in place.”
At the time of publication, no response had been received from Mark Francois MP.
Mark Francois MP Answer to Letter
The Army Command Review was initiated by the Chief of the General Staff with the knowledge of Ministers. There is no intention to change the principles of Army 2020, or to reduce the overall size of the Army.
The purpose of the review was to improve higher command culture and structures and create a clearer distinction between the development of strategy and the delivery of operational capability. To this end, the Army Headquarters in Andover will be streamlined, with posts transferred into one of two new subordinate commands: Field Army and a support command. There will be an amended board and staff structure in the Army Headquarters. A number of cultural improvements will also be made to make the Army more agile, responsive and efficient, and attractive to the widest range of talent.
There are no manpower or financial targets for this initiative, but the Army will look for opportunities during implementation of the review to reduce senior and middle management posts where that will contribute to greater simplicity and transparency and better align responsibility, authority and accountability. The aim is to re-invest any savings in the front line.
The review was conducted over four months by a team of four led by a brigadier. Although the team drew on information from a number of sources, as an internal review there was no formal consultation with other bodies. A slightly expanded team, led by a two-star civil servant, will conduct the more detailed implementation. No additional costs were incurred by conducting the review.
The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have undertaken Command Reviews both to ensure consistency with the principles of Lord Levene’s Defence Reform Report and to reflect the nature of command responsibilities for each Service and the contribution they make, like the Army, to Joint and Central Defence leadership.
Reserves were considered as an integral part of each review, reflecting the integrated nature of regulars and reserves in the ‘Whole Force’ concept.
The Army will report its detailed plans for implementation to the Secretary of State for Defence in May 2015.