Plan Beersheba

Plan Beersheba was a significant restructure of the Australian Army, announced in 2011.[1] The process of implementing the organisational changes began in 2014, and was completed in 2017.[2][3]

The Australian Army's structure from 2019

Changes to the regular ArmyEdit

Under Plan Beersheba, the Army's three regular force combat brigades (the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades) were restructured into multi-role formations with a similar structure;[1] before this time the brigades were structured as mechanised, light infantry and motorised infantry formations respectively.

Following the reorganisation, each of the multi-role brigades comprises:[2]

  • Brigade headquarters
  • One armoured cavalry regiment (each equipped with M1A1 tanks, ASLAV light armoured vehicles, and M113 armoured personnel carriers).[4]
  • Two light infantry battalions
  • One artillery regiment
  • One combat engineer regiment
  • One combat signals regiment
  • One combat service support battalion

The three brigades rotate through a 36-month-long readiness cycle, comprising three 12-month phases. These comprise a 'reset' phase during which the brigade's soldiers conduct individual training, a 'readying' phase in which the brigade's units will prepare for combat operations, and a 'ready' phase in which the brigade is available to deploy.[5]

The 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment specialises in amphibious warfare.[5]

The three combat brigades are supported by the specialist 6th, 16th and 17th Brigades.[6]

Changes to the Army ReserveEdit

 
An 8th Brigade soldier during an exercise in 2016 in which the brigade formed Battle Group Warratah to operate alongside the regular 7th Brigade; such a pairing is a key feature of the Plan Beersheba reforms

Australian Army Reserve units were significantly restructured. As part of the changes, the Army stated that the reserves' role will become "to deliver specified capability and support and sustain Australian Defence Force (ADF) preparedness and operations".[7]

The six reserve brigades in the Army's 2nd Division have also been assigned a new role. Two army reserve brigades have been paired with each of the regular brigades.[7] The 4th and 9th Brigades have partnered with the 1st Brigade, the 5th and 8th Brigades with the 7th Brigade, and the 11th and 13th Brigades with the 3rd Brigade.[8] The pairs of brigades are expected to be able to provide a battalion-sized force upon mobilisation during the regular brigade's 12 month 'ready' phase.[7]

The structure of the reserve brigades has also been changed. The reserve artillery regiments have been re-equipped with mortars; the reserve Royal Australian Armoured Corps units converted from light cavalry to producing crews for Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles, and a brigade operational supply company was established within each of the combat services support battalions.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Defence announces major Army restructure". ABC News. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Multi-role Combat Brigades". Australian Army. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Army Delivers Final Component of Plan Beersheba". Australian Army. 28 October 2017. Retrieved 22 December 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Bickell, Craig (2013). "Plan Beersheba: The Combined Arms Imperative Behind the Reorganisation of the Army" (PDF). Australian Army Journal. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Land Warfare Studies Centre. X (4): 39. ISSN 1448-2843.
  5. ^ a b "Plan BEERSHEBA". Australian Army. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016.
  6. ^ Prime Minister and Minister for Defence (3 May 2013). "2013 Defence White Paper: 'Plan BEERSHEBA' – Restructuring the Australian Army". Department of Defence Ministers (Press release). Archived from the original on 14 June 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d "Reserves". Australian Army. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015.
  8. ^ Clay, Peter (June 2014). "The Australian Army's 2nd Division: An Update" (PDF). United Service. Royal United Services Institute of New South Wales. 65 (2): 29.