77th Brigade (United Kingdom)

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77th Brigade
77th Brigade logo.jpg
Brigade emblem, the Chinthe
Active1 September 2014[1]
Country United Kingdom
Allegiance Queen Elizabeth II
Branch British Army
Size5 Groups
Part of6th UK Division.[2]
Garrison/HQDenison Barracks
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier Daniel Reeve[3]

The 77th Brigade is a British Army formation, created in January 2015 by renaming the Security Assistance Group which was created under the Army 2020 concept.[4][5][6] It is based at Denison Barracks in Hermitage, Berkshire and became operational in April 2015.[7][8]

The brigade was named the 77th in tribute to the 77th Indian Infantry Brigade, which was part of the Chindits, an Indian Army guerilla warfare force led by Orde Wingate who used unorthodox tactics against the Japanese in Burma in World War II. The formation badge of the revived 77th shows a mythical Burmese creature known as a Chinthe in reference to the Chindits.[7]

History[edit]

The first 77th Brigade was raised as part of the new army also known as Kitchener's Army and assigned to the 26th Division and served on the Western Front and the Macedonian Front during the First World War. Some of the past units include:[9]

Role and composition[edit]

The Security Assistance Group (SAG)'s mission was to work with cross-Whitehall agencies to achieve the goals of Defence Engagement and Building Stability Overseas Strategies.[10][11][12] 77th Brigade was created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare,[13][7] the unit's objectives will be similar to that of the SAG. Specifically, it is to:

Provide support to other government departments in the aim to achieve stability overseas; lead on special influence methods; build military capacity in all stages of conflict.[5]

The SAG aimed to have a full strength of 453 military and civilian personnel and occasionally, personnel from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and the Stabilisation Unit may be attached to the Brigade or work with it,[10][14] of this total there will be 440 military posts in the brigade[5] with up to 42% of these being reservists.[13] A recent freedom of information answer in December 2016 stated that the liability of the brigade was 182 regular and 266 reserve but current strength is only 153 regular and 123 reserve.[15]

Structure[edit]

Current structure[edit]

The current structure is as follows:[16]

  • Defence Cultural Specialist Unit - Planning support on behavioural analysis
  • Task Group - Provides highly deployable specialists to other parts of the Armed Forces and Government organisations
  • Outreach Group - Provides professional specialists in Security Capacity Building in Defence
    • Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU)[17] - this was set up in 2018 as part of the 77th Brigade. A Freedom of Information (FOI) answer stated the CPPU is under the Outreach Group.[18]
  • Digital Operations Group - Delivers influencing activity and products across a range of communication types and platforms
  • Operational Media and Communications Group - Media Operations and Civil Affairs
  • Staff Corps - A specialist Army Reserve unit providing strategic level consultancy to the MOD and wider government. The Staff Corps consists of two elements - the General Service Corps and the Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps.

Previous structure[edit]

Initially designated as the Security Assistance Group, the formation included the following units:[6]

In July 2015 and October 2015, these units were reshaped into six 'Columns'.[20]

  • No.1 Column - Planning support focusing on the behavioural analysis of actors, audiences and adversaries
  • No.2 Column - Provided reachback support to deployed operations
  • No.3 Column - Provided deployable specialists to other parts of the Armed Forces and other Government organisations
  • No.4 Column - Provided professional specialists in Security Capacity Building
  • No.5 Column - Media operations and Civil Affairs
  • No.7 Column - The Engineer and Logistic Staff Corps (Structure formed in October 2015)

There was no No.6 Column for historical reasons.[21][22]

Activities[edit]

The Brigade participated in a two-week disaster relief exercise in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It deployed to the Philippines in April 2015 to assist the Philippines Government in developing their contingency plans for natural disasters.[23] 77th Brigade has formed a formal partnership with the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, US Army Europe.[24]

The Brigade uses social media such as Twitter and Facebook as well as psyop techniques to influence populations and behaviour. David Miller said that it is "involved in manipulation of the media including using fake online profiles".[25][26][27]

In late September 2019 the Middle East Eye reported that Gordon MacMillan, a Twitter executive with editorial control over the Middle East and North Africa, is also a reservist officer in the 77th Brigade. Both Twitter and the British Army denied that they have a relationship or agreement. David Miller, a professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol who studies British government propaganda and public relations, said it was hypocritical of Twitter to close accounts alleged to be connected with non-Western governments while having links to the British Army.[28][29]

During the UK government's daily coronavirus briefing, 22 April 2020, Nick Carter confirmed that 77th Brigade are working with the Home Office Rapid Response Unit "helping to quash rumours from misinformation, but also to counter disinformation”.[30][31][32]

On 7 May 2020, The Economist interviewed General Sir Nick Carter on the role of 77 Brigade in fighting coronavirus disinformation.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Newsletter" (PDF). The Military Survey (Geographic) Association. Summer 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  2. ^ "6th UK Division". army.mod.uk. British Army. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Generals December 2018" (PDF). Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Army revives Chindits as 'Facebook warriors' for smart battle". Financial Times. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Information Warfare:Written question - 225283". UK Parliament. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Transforming the British Army" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. p. 13. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  7. ^ a b c MacAskill, Ewan (31 January 2015). "British army creates team of Facebook warriors". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  8. ^ "BBC News - Army sets up new brigade 'for information age'". BBC News. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  9. ^ "26th Division". The Long Long Trail. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Headquarters Force Troops Command". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  11. ^ "The British Army Journal 2014" (PDF). British Army. pp. 121–122. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Land Power in future conflict". British Army. Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  13. ^ a b "The British Army 2014" (PDF). pp. 120–122, 135–137. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 August 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Freedom of Information Request" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  15. ^ "FOIA 2016/0962/77961" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  16. ^ "77th Brigade Groups". mod.uk. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  17. ^ 07 January 2019 (7 January 2019). "Monuments Men-style military unit formed to stop raiders of the lost art". Royal Navy. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Cultural Property Protection Unit and 77th Brigade" (PDF). Whatdotheyknow.com. Whatdotheyknow. 23 June 2020. Retrieved 23 June 2020. I can advise that the Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU) is part of the Outreach Group.
  19. ^ "Military Stabilisation Support Group". gov.uk. Archived from the original on 27 December 2014. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  20. ^ "77th Brigade". mod.uk (via archive.org). Archived from the original on 18 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  21. ^ Fogden, Steve. "Rfm. Ramkrishna Limbu IDSM, including the story of Vivian Weatherall". Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  22. ^ Young, Frank. "Chindits 1st Expedition 1943 Operation Longcloth". Chindits Special Force Burma. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  23. ^ "77th Brigade: Natural Disasters Response Training". Forces TV. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  24. ^ Jones, Greg (12 November 2015). "21st Theater Sustainment Command forges UK partnership". United States Army. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  25. ^ Hutcheon, Paul (7 April 2019). "Scottish Labour candidate facing questions over links to 'secretive military propaganda unit'". The Herald Scotland. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Army sets up new brigade 'for information age'". BBC. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  27. ^ Miller, Carl (14 November 2018). "Inside the British Army's secret information warfare machine". Wired UK. Wired. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  28. ^ Haddad, Tareq (1 October 2019). "Twitter executive revealed to be 'psyops' soldier linked to spreading disinformation across social media: 'a threat to our democracy'". Newsweek. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Twitter boss Gordon MacMillan helping to wage army's online war | News". The Times. 2 October 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Live: Dominic Raab leads UK government's daily coronavirus briefing - 22 April | ITV News". YouTube. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Defence chief says 77th Brigade is countering Covid misinformation | The National". Thenational.scot. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  32. ^ "Armed Forces chief: Coronavirus greatest logistic challenge in 40 years' service". Express and Star. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  33. ^ "What can past wars teach us about conquering coronavirus?". The Economist. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.

External links[edit]