Army 2020 Refine was the name given to the restructuring of the British Army in the mid-to-late 2010s, in light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015. As its name suggests, it was a "refinement" of Army 2020, an early 2010s reorganisation of the Army to be completed by 2020, originally conducted in light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010.


Structure of the British Army after the "Army 2020 Refine" reform (click to enlarge)

The Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 announced that the structure of the Reaction and Adaptable Forces would further change, in an evolution of the previous Army 2020 plan. The main changes of Army 2020 Refine were:

  • The creation of two new "strike brigades", to be formed by converting an Armoured Infantry brigade and an Infantry brigade. These will be formed by 2025, comprising 5,000 personnel each, equipped with Ajax vehicles.
  • The UK's 3rd division will, by 2025, comprise two armoured infantry brigades, a strike brigade, and a strike experimentation group (which would later convert to a second Strike brigade).[1]
  • Creation of a Specialised Infantry Group, to be formed by converting four infantry battalions and creation of a new battalion and training cell.
  • Two innovative brigades were to be established, comprising a mix of regulars and specialist capabilities from the reserves, that were able to contribute to strategic communications, tackle hybrid warfare and deliver better battlefield intelligence.[2]

Strike brigades & Armoured Infantry brigadesEdit

The armoured infantry brigades were reduced from three to two, as one was converted to a Strike Brigade. In a Defence Committee hearing, Chief of the General Staff Sir Nicholas Carter stated that "each of these [Strike] brigades will have two AJAX regiments and probably two Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) battalions as well". There was to be around 50 to 60 Ajax vehicles per Strike Brigade.[3]

A December 2016 written statement[4] stated that the first Strike Brigade to form would consist of:

Other units such as 1 Regiment RLC, 1 Close Support Battalion REME, 3 Medical Regiment and 21 Engineer Regiment would provide close support to this Strike Brigade.[5] 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery, and 4th Regiment, Royal Artillery were to provide artillery support to the Strike Brigades.

Specialised Infantry GroupEdit

A total of five Specialised Infantry battalions, around 300 personnel strong:[6][7]

Other changesEdit

Several units were initially meant to be rationalised, with all manpower in those units being redeployed to other areas of the Army in its refined structure. These were originally:

However, 35 Engineer Regiment was retained and reformed as an explosive ordnance and search regiment.[9] 32nd Regiment, Royal Artillery, was also retained in October 2019.[10][11]

The Scottish and Prince of Wales' Divisions of infantry merged, incorporating the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Royal Welsh and Royal Irish Regiment. This administrative division was called the Scottish, Welsh and Irish Division. The Mercian Regiment transferred from the Prince of Wales’ Division to the King's Division.

Field Army restructuring 2019Edit

The Field Army was restructured in July/August 2019 as set out below.[12][13][14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Daily Hansard". HM Government. 23 November 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  2. ^ "National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015" (PDF). HM Government. November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Oral evidence - SDSR 2015 and the Army - 14 Jun 2016". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Strategic Defence and Security Review - Army: Written statement - HCWS367". Hansard. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Soldier Jan 2017".
  6. ^ "Oral evidence: SDSR 2015 and the Army, HC 108". Hansard. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Specialised Infantry Group". British Army. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Strategic Defence and Security Review - Army:Written statement - HCWS367". www. UK Hansard. 15 December 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  9. ^ UK Ministry of Defence (31 January 2017). "Further supplementary evidence submitted by the Ministry of Defence". Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ "32 Regiment Royal Artillery - Wessex Gunners". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Soldier Magazine October 2020". Soldier Magazine. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  12. ^ "Army restructures to confront evolving threats". British Army. Upavon. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  13. ^ Burgess, Sally (1 August 2019). "British Army to train cyber spies to combat hackers and digital propaganda". Sky News. London. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  14. ^ Nicholls, Dominic (1 August 2019). "British Army to engage in social media warfare as new cyber division unveiled". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 August 2019.

External linksEdit