Army Presentation Team – 11th October, 2005
An audience of less than 30 gathered to hear the last of the three Presentations from the British Armed Services organised by the RCEA. This was the Army Presentation Team, led by Col. Andy Bristow, supported by Maj. Jonathan Brooking and the Team. Prior to the Presentation, individual Team members spoke informally to the arriving audience.
Following an introduction from our President, Brian Buckroyd, the Presentation opened, with two Team members, either side of a central screen. The opening film explained the role of the British Army, as a force for good, assisting in world stability.
This was emphasised by the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson. Following this, the four-person Team introduced themselves, explained their specialities and summarised their experience.
Recent changes on a worldwide scale were summarised, including the collapse of communism, the emergence of terrorism, developments in Northern Ireland, and events in Afghanistan, Iraq, African countries and the Balkans. These caused further Strategic Defence Reviews and Parliamentary White Papers. This resulted in calls upon British Army resources in different ways. In addition to warfare, the Army serves as peacekeepers, suppliers of relief, and is responsible for the protection of ten million British people living in Protectorates abroad including the 13 Dependent Territories. At the national level, the Army again provided cover during the recent Firemen’s dispute. The Army also increasingly acts in co-operation with larger groups, NATO, the European Union and the United Nations, not forgetting co-operation with the sister services, the RAF and Royal Navy.
To meet these challenges, the Army has 160,000 personnel, of whom 100,000 are trained and ready, 13,500 are under training at home and abroad, and the Territorial Army Reserve. Note was taken of the 40,000 Army Cadet Force and the universities Officer Training Corps. 12,000 recruits are required each year. To compete with civilian life, the Army offers training for careers that will also serve when service personnel leave military life. Women are accepted equally for most duties and equal opportunities apply to all races. Initial training is rigorous, with emphasis on teamwork and leadership.
Latest equipment is available, from the automatic SA80A2 rifle to the Challenger 2 Tank. Also included are the Warrior Personnel Carrier, the Apache Helicopter and the latest Bowman Communications Systems.
The Presentation concluded with a lively question and discussion followed by a well-earned vote of thanks. The Presentation was possibly the most interesting of the three given to the RCEA, deserving of a larger audience.