Integrated Review: The Future of the British Battle Doctrine

 Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment are about to undertake a compound clearance on the Combined Arms Live-Fire Exercise in Kenya. (Image: UK MOD)


The Integrated Review has seen the UK Military undergo intense reform to the integration of their conventional and cyber capabilities. Furthermore, there is also a considerable urge to integrate cyber capabilities on the battlefield. (source) One thing remains clear throughout – the UK is adapting their forces on a skill and technological level to fight on any battlefield.

Key Judgement 1:

It is highly likely that the UK will consolidate their active forces

  • As part of the Integrated Review, th UK plans to reduce their army numbers by about 12,000. This is scrapping an earlier goal set in 2015 of 82,000, and setting it to 72,500. (Source)

  • The review mainly points to this being for quality purposes and for agility. (Source) As warfare and battlefields shift at a growing rate day by day, it is important for the British army remain adaptable and fluid.

  • This also points to the growing automation of warfare. As the UK and other developed countries rely more heavily on technology and unmanned weapons, their troop number will most likely decline.

Key Judgment 2:

It is likely the UK military is adapting its tactics to work alongside other military forces

  • The UK outlined within its plan that it is focusing its military to a strong power projection stance, adopting the Global Persistent Presence doctrine. (source) It will work closely with global allies to ensure peace in unstable regions. (Source)

  • Also, the creation of the Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) indicates that the UK will only further relations with allied developing nations. The SFAB’s main goal is to train indigenous forces of other nations and provide other technological capabilities. (Source)

  • In following the Integrated Review, the UK can achieve more soft-power against its adversaries, as well as aiding its allies and strategic partners.

UK: Integrated Review
Outline of the UK’s Global Persistence Plan (Image via UK MoD )

Key Judgement 3:

It is highly likely that the UK’s plans to make its cyber warfare capabilities adaptable and more integrated.

  • The Integrated Review outlines the United Kingdom’s commitment to strengthen it’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities moving forward.

  • This has been observed in the creation of the National Cyber Force, which will operate as a central hub of the nation’s cyber capabilities. (source)

  • The adoption of BCT’s (Brigade Combat Teams) are likely to integrate ground, armored, aerial, reconnaissance, and cyber elements into comprehensive units. (Source)

  • Furthermore, Deep Recce Strike BCTs in particular will provide the United Kingdom with a cyber element on the battlefield, using artillery, cyber, and aerial reconnaissance units.
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