Thursday, January 20, 2005

Changes to Gibraltar Regiment will provide firm foundation

Military planners seek “a more balanced and sustainable structure” - No civilian job losses envisaged

F Oliva reports

Gibraltar Regiment’s regular element will be increased by 30 with a compensating reduction in Territorial Army (TA) personnel of 50, as part of the reconfiguration of the local regiment announced yesterday.

In a statement to the media, Colonel Tom Camp said that the exercise was designed to create a new structure that will enable the regiment to fulfil its task with improved efficiency and balance out an existing mismatch between resources and assets.

Col Camp also declared the planned measures were necessary since the structure of the Gibraltar Regiment had been laid down in 1991 when the last UK resident regiment had departed and we were now living in a different world context which required adjustments to how they did things. However, the changes would “underline the Regiment’s enduring and pivotal role in the defence and security of Gibraltar.”

Col Camp stated that the study initiated in 2003 had been undertaken to address problems within the regiment of “unsustainable stretch, low morale and a net outflow of personnel.” He also confirmed that the changes will be funded from existing resources.

Among the main changes to be introduced will be the creation of a Gibraltar Regiment cadet force and a junior military band from within it. Meanwhile ceremonial commitments and timings will be reviewed “to maximise impact and make best use of resources,” although no significant change is expected.

Responding to Chronicle questions regarding low morale in the ranks, Regiment Commanding Officer Mark Randall said morale as a military concept was difficult to measure and that the enhanced security measures in force in Gibraltar had led to an increase in the duties carried out by soldiers and more overtime. However he was confident that with the substantial increase in regular personnel morale would be restored.

Col Camp added that the new structure will lay the basis of the regiment for the foreseeable future but said that defence reviews were a continuing process.

Gibraltar Regiment Postings Abroad

Gibraltar’s “home defence” will continue to be the prime task of the Gibraltar Regiment, while operational deployments “by mutual agreement” between the Command and the Regiment will be open to soldiers on a volunteer basis.

In reply to questions, RG Commanding Officer Mark Randall said there were currently 12 members of the regiment serving in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and a further 12 in Northern Ireland. The regiment has a waiting list of soldiers who have requested to serve abroad.

Statement by Acting CBF Colonel Tom Camp Commander RG

Col Tom Camp said:

As I depart as Commander RG, I wish to inform you of planned changes to the structure of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. The RG Study was initiated by HQBF Gibraltar in late 2003 to address problems within the Gibraltar Regiment of unsustainable stretch, low morale and a net outflow of personnel.

The aim of the study was to review the military and ceremonial tasks of RG, identify the appropriate levels of readiness, validate the Regular Cadre and TA structures and manpower levels and develop the training requirements in order to support the operational output.

The Chief of Joint Operations has now approved the recommendations of the Study and the following key changes will be implemented:

  • The Commanding Officer of the Gibraltar Regiment will be given the additional operational task of Gibraltar Land Component Commander during crisis and HQ Company will be structured to support this task.

  • Certain specialist personnel identified in HQ Coy will be transferred across the Command.

  • The Regular element of the RG will be enhanced to four platoons and the TA element reduced to four platoons.

  • RG will be re-configured to two Regular Companies each of two regular platoons and one TA platoon. They will be supported by one TA Company of two TA platoons.

  • TA training will be rationalised and focused to reflect normal practice in the UK.

  • The RG TA Band will be retained in Gibraltar whilst it is affordable, but potential income generation will be identified to offset the cost.

  • Ceremonial commitments and timings will be reviewed to maximise impact and make best use of resources.

  • The profile of the RG across the youth of Gibraltar will be enhanced by the creation of a RG Cadet Force and it is hoped to be able to establish a junior RG band from within it.

  • There will be little change in the overall numbers within the Regiment however the measures will result in an increase in Regular personnel of 30 and there will be a compensating reduction in TA personnel of 50. The increase in Regular personnel generates a net increase in costs but it is this measure that will have the most impact on sustainable quality of life for the unit and in turn addresses many of the problems currently faced by the Regiment.

    It is intended to implement the planned changes by 1 April 2006, although many will be achieved before then. The planned changes will result in a more balanced and sustainable structure for the unit, thus realising the full operational potential of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment for the first time since its inception in 1991.

    The changes will provide a firm foundation for the Regiment, based on operational imperatives and the new structure allows the unit to meet today’s predominantly unconventional threats. Thus the planned measures underline the Regiment’s enduring and pivotal role in the defence and security of Gibraltar. The Commanding Officer of the Gibraltar Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Randall, has been fully involved in the study and supports the planned changes.


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