3Cdo Brigade – New role new future

Tough times for the Commandos in the last decade. The SDR98 ambition built up 3Cdo into a force that could launch a brigade across a beach and then conduct combined-arms maneuvre warfare ashore. Afghanistan and Iraq fattened-up a lean ‘marine’ force into just another roulement brigade to be cycled through the War on Terror, and SDSR10/15 cut the ‘legs’ away from 3Cdo in shedding the RN and RFA ships that made them ‘amphibious’. The final nail is the proliferation of near-peer aversaries fielding anti-access area denial (A2AD) weapons that push traditional amphibious capabilies so far off-shore they no longer have any strategic effect on-shore. So things weren’t looking good…

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But perhaps the tide has turned.

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SDSR Part Deux – Further reductions to come.

The telegraph made headlines this week with an article claiming that the Army would be facing a cut of up to 20,000 troops after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving manpower cut to circa 80,000 in the period following 2015. This has come as a surprise to some quarters given the vagueness of the SDSR itself, not least because of the constant reference to the heavily quoted number of 94/95 thousand troops alongside repeated references to the ‘aspiration’ of the 2020 force structure. It should not have been a surprise.

Notwithstanding ambiguous quotes in the SDSR document there were plenty of caveats.

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