77th Brigade (United Kingdom)
Brigade emblem, the Chinthe
|Active||1 September 2014|
|Allegiance||Queen Elizabeth II|
|Part of||6th UK Division.|
|Brigadier Daniel Reeve|
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. It is based at Denison Barracks in Hermitage, Berkshire and became operational in April 2015.
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.
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:
- 8th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
- 11th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
- 10th Battalion, Black Watch
- 12th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- 77th Machine Gun Company
- 77th SAA Section Ammunition Column
- 77th Trench Mortar Battery
Role and composition
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. 77th Brigade was created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare, 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.
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, of this total there will be 440 military posts in the brigade with up to 42% of these being reservists. 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.
The current structure is as follows:
- 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
- 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.
Initially designated as the Security Assistance Group, the formation included the following units:
- Headquarters Element
- Media Operations Group (MOG) - Media Operations
- Security Capacity Building Team (SCBT) - Military Capacity Building
- 15 Psychological Operations Group (15 POG) - Psychological Warfare
- Military Stabilisation Support Group (MSSG) - Stabilisation and Conflict Prevention
In July 2015 and October 2015, these units were reshaped into six 'Columns'.
- 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)
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. 77th Brigade has formed a formal partnership with the 361st Civil Affairs Brigade, US Army Europe.
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".
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.
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”.
- Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group
- 1st Information Operations Command (Land)
- Internet manipulation
- State-sponsored Internet sockpuppetry
- Mass surveillance
- Psychological warfare
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I can advise that the Cultural Property Protection Unit (CPPU) is part of the Outreach Group.
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