British Special Forces Support To be Cut Back
The forces that support Britain's Special Forces are likely to be cut, it has been reported. Up to 600 of the various posts that enable United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) to carry out their operations are to be axed. (1) (2)
Most of the cut backs will affect those in non-combat roles that provide transport, logistical, signals and intelligence support to the SAS, SBS and SRR. The numbers providing such support were increased as UKSF involvement in Afghanistan increased. As Britain is set to withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, the thinking is that many of these supporting elements will no longer be needed. It is not yet clear if these forces will be redeployed to support regular units or if some / all will be cut completely.
It has also been reported that the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG) is to be reduced in strength by around 156. The SFSG provides specialist infantry support to SAS/SBS operations and is comprised of the 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (1 PARA SFSG), a company of Royal Marines and a smaller contingent from the RAF Regiment. It has not yet been revealed from where in the organization the 156 reduction will be made, although, as the Paras and Royal Marines have been exempted from defence cuts, it's likely that these troops will redeploy back into their parent organizations rather than face redundancy.
Some analysts have concerns that any reduction in the special forces's support may be premature, what with the likelihood of a sustained involvement by UKSF in African countries such as Mali.
more info / further reading:
- 1. Special forces face big cuts in support network
- 2. Special Forces: 600 Support Posts To Go
(sky news - includes video report)