Commander Field Army
of the British Armed Forces
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Commander Field Army is a senior British Army officer who has responsibility for generating and preparing forces for current and contingency operations. He reports to the Chief of the General Staff who has executive responsibility for the higher command of the British Army. The Royal Navy equivalent is the Fleet Commander. The RAF's Deputy Commander (Operations) is the close equivalent of the two positions.
The responsibilities of the postholder were exercised through HQ Land Command from 1 April 1995 to 1 April 2008. From 1 April 2008, HQ Land Command, with elements of HQ Adjutant-General, became HQ Land Forces. From 1 November 2011, HQ Land Forces was subsumed within the new formation known as Army Headquarters.
On 23 November 2015, it was announced that the post of Commander Land Forces would be renamed as Commander Field Army (CFA) as part of the Army Command Review. CFA has a major-general as Chief of Staff, and four brigadiers working under him: Assistant Chief of Staff Commitments, Assistant Chief of Staff Support, Assistant Chief of Staff Warfare and Assistant Chief of Staff Training.
HQ Land Forces
On 1 April 2008, HQ Land Command amalgamated with HQ Adjutant General under 'Project Hyperion' and became HQ Land Forces. It moved from Erskine Barracks to the former RAF Andover site now known as Marlborough Lines on 23 June 2010.
HQ Northern Ireland was reduced in status to 38th (Irish) Brigade on 1 January 2009.
Commander-in-Chief Land Forces (CINCLAND) also became the Standing Joint Commander (UK) or SJC(UK), responsible for overall command to Ministry of Defence contributions to national crisis response activities within the United Kingdom (excluding Northern Ireland).
Under a major army command reorganisation effective 1 November 2011 the Chief of the General Staff took direct command of the Army through a new structure, based at Andover and known as "Army Headquarters". Within this new organisation, the rank of Commander, Land Forces was shifted to that of a three-star instead of the former four-star rank. The post of Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces ceased to exist.
Following the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010, the government announced significant changes to the structure of the formations under Land Forces that would be implemented in the years up to 2020:
- Field Army: By 2020, the total withdrawal of British forces stationed in Germany will be complete, and the Army's operational structure will be formed around a total of five multi-role brigades (MRB); these will be taken from the two brigades currently stationed in Germany under 1st Armoured Division, and three of the four in the UK under 3rd Mechanised Division. To ensure costs are kept down, the MOD's proposal will be to station units as close as possible to training areas. In this process, 19 Light Brigade in Northern Ireland was disbanded.
- Regional Forces: While the regional forces elements have been retained at brigade level, with all ten regional brigades remaining as they are, the regional divisional HQs (2nd Division, 4th Division and 5th Division) were replaced with a single 2-star regional headquarters at Aldershot known as Support Command from Spring 2012.
This has been updated in the future plan commonly known as Army 2020. On 23 November 2015, it was announced that the post of Commander Land Forces would be renamed as Commander Field Army as part of the Army Command Review. CFA will have four brigadiers under his command, namely: Assistant Chief of Staff Commitments, Assistant Chief of Staff Support, Assistant Chief of Staff Warfare and Assistant Chief of Staff Training.
Subordinate formations circa 2018
- Commander Field Army: Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders
- 1st (United Kingdom) Division: Major General Colin Weir
- 3rd (United Kingdom) Division: Major-General James Swift
- Force Troops Command: Major General Thomas Copinger-Symes
- Joint Helicopter Command: Rear-Admiral Jonathan Pentreath
- 16 Air Assault Brigade: Brigadier Nick Perry
- British Forces Germany: Brigadier Richard Clements
Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces (Prior to November 2011)
- See Article Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces
Commander Land Forces (November 2011 to November 2015)
- November 2011 - December 2012 General Sir Nick Parker
- January 2013 - November 2013 Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Bradshaw
- November 2013 - Lieutenant-General Sir Nick Carter
- September 2014 - Lieutenant General Sir James Everard
Commander Field Army (Since November 2015)
- November 2015 - Lieutenant General Sir James Everard
- December 2016 - Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders
- Described as having the following role in April 2017: "Responsible for the production and advocacy of relevant Tactical Doctrine, the systematic utilisation of experience, driving pan-capability learning, individual and collective training and the provision of a reach-back focus for deployed/deploying formations and units." Transparency Data, Army Command Senior, April 2017.
- HQ Land Forces on the move Archived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Drumbeat, June 2008
- Andover becomes HQ Land Forces on 23 June Andover Advertiser, 29 April 2010
- Interim Joint Doctrine Publication 2
- Correspondence from Army Secretariat
- Army Command reorganization Archived 12 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Defence Marketing Intelligence, 10 November 2011
- Higher Command Archived 5 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
- Higher Command Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Ministry of Defence
- Defence equipment budget rises as Future Force takes shape - MOD, 18/07/11
- "Flag raised to signal new HQ Field Army". 23 November 2015. Archived from the original on 24 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Letter from Army Headquarters" (PDF). Army Headquarters. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "British Army Who we are: How the Army is structured". Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Defence Viewpoints, Up and Out: Promotions, leavers, new jobs May 2012
- "No. 61793". The London Gazette (Supplement). 19 December 2016. p. 26901.