THE FUTURE STRUCTURE OF PROVOST
A MESSAGE FROM THE PROVOST MARSHAL (ARMY)
With the announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence on the future structure of the Army, I can now share with you in outline how the “Provost” family will look in 2020. This has not been an easy task as the Regular Army must reduce by 20,000 soldiers from circa 102,000 to circa 82,000.
Over the last 8 months or so, there has been an enormous amount of detailed work undertaken to determine the future size and shape of Provost and there is still a great deal of work to be done to refine and implement the changes that have been developed by the Army 2020 process. However I am delighted to be able to tell you that we have emerged from a period of what has been the most intense and rigorous study in excellent order, with the robust and agile MilitaryPolice (RMP) and the Military Provost Staff (MPS) structures that are necessary to meet the needs of the future Army. We must continue to exploit this success.
Our aim, from the outset, has been to ensure that Provost continues to use their police and custody and detention operations, while remaining focussed on supporting soldiers at the front line, which is a tried and tested model where both the RMP the MSP are genuine “force multipliers”.
When I briefed the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) on the Provost Army 2020 proposition earlier this year, I outlined to him now how Provost contributes effectively to the core purpose of the Army, by policing and providing surety in the custody and detention arena across the battle space, in what is becoming increasingly complicated legal landscape. I am happy to report that CGS was content with what we proposed, while emphasizing the need to maximise Provost deployment capability. We have worked to this direction and, as a result, we have done very well in terms of structures.
However, this has not been without pain and there will be a 10% reduction in the Generated Force, which means a total of 166 posts will be taken from across the Army Liability. Additionally, there are likely to be further pan-Army reductions against existing liability as a result of two additional studies: one looking at Army support to the other Top Level Budget (TLB) areas across defence: and the second looking at the Non-Front Line, both of which may have a small impact on the limited Provost contribution. However, all this has to be seen in the context of a most welcome and much needed uplift of 80% to MPS (of 85 posts), which is transferred current Army Regimental Provost (RP) Staff liability found from across the Army. The net effect, is that the Provost family will only reduce overall by 81 posts and this is a very small number set against the pain taken by other branches of the Army.
In addition, Army 2020 has afforded Provost a once in a generation opportunity to optimise and restructure, including its specialist functions, to better insure against future challenges, meet its critical operational and Firm base outputs and best provide for its soldiers professional competence, developement and fulfilment. This opportunity has enabled us to remove some structural anomalies that have existed for so many years: Regiments of differing size, some of which are hybrid and some not; Company structures too weak given the need to despatch soldiers to operations and police the Firm Base concurrently; a number of independent units which lack the correct depth of Command and Control and two RMP Special Investigation Branch (SIB) units of different sizes and capabilities. In addition, under the current structure, neither the opportunity to sort this out.
For the RMP, Army 2020 will result in:
- the creation of the 1st Military Police Brigade (1 MP Bde) consisting of an optimised 1 star Headquarters, shaped from the existing HQ PM(A) allowing PM(A) to exercise command more effectively;
- three identically structured RMP Regiments (1st, 3rd and 4th Regiments) fully integrated to maximise the utility of the Provost Reserves with fewer, but larger and more capable Regular and Reserve Provost Companies and larger Regimental Head quarters;
- an integrated RMP SIB Regiment with a small RMP SIB Reserve element and with a new deployable capability to meet the requirement of contingency; and
- a new RMP Specialist Operations Unit, which groups existing, but disperate, specialised capablities (the Service Police Crime Bureau (SPCB), the C;ose Protection Unit (CPU) and the Operational Support UNIT (OSU), and allows for the appropriate depth of command so that the delivery of scarce and highly skilled niche specialist capabilities,such as the Cyber-Crime and covert policing, can be better manged while also interacting in the national policing landscape at home.
For the MPS, Army 2020 means:
- an increased Regular MPS capability to number 191 personnel (up from 106 personnel) together with an enduring Reserve component;
- in future Tier-1 Service Custody Facilities (SCF) in Garrisons will be manned by MPS along with the Tier-2 The Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC). The aim is to professionalise and optimise Firm Base custody thereby increasing surety; and
- an enlarged MPS better able to meet future contingency capability by drawing across the whole MPS structure to deploy personnel to an Tier-3 Operational Facilities.
I wish also to mention the Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS). While the MPGS was not included in the Army 2020 Process, much work continues in parallel at HQ(A) as a number of Military sites are closed, security levels are reviewed and new bases are opened. Inevitably this will lead to some re-complimenting of MPGS personnel. However the significant contribution made by the MPGS to the Armed Services is recognised and appreciated across Defence and I am certain that this capability will continue to grow.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who have been involved in developing the Provost proposition for Army 2020, particularly the Team Leader, Colonel Jeremy Green and his Deputy, Lieutenant Colonel Rob Morris whose detailed staff work and meticulous attention to detail have produced an outstanding result for the Provost family.
MOD Crown copyright – 2012 (Authorised by Regt HQ 10.7.2012)