APRIL 1 saw the launch of Force Troops Command (FTC), the first major implementation of Army 2020.

The new command, with its headquarters in Upavon, is designed to bring together specialists with the skills required to facilitate the preparation and delivery of operations at home and abroad.

Delivering combat, command and specialist support, the 36,000 troops of FTC comprise the largest of the army formations, essentially one third of the whole force.

Together, their purpose is to enable deployment on operations, support the fulfilment of standing military commitments and to ensure the effective delivery of training in the UK and overseas.

The new commander, Major General Tim Radford, said: “Force Troops Command is the enabler which brings everything together.

So the analogy would be a threelegged stool and we are one of the legs - if we were not there that stool would fall over.

“Bringing all the specialists together means that we can prioritise, and make it much more efficient by delivering packages of expertise into an operational area.”

Force Troops Command will be the largest two-star formation in the army, comprising one third of the whole force in terms of manpower and holding 45 per cent of all land forces equipment.

It will comprise 1st Artillery Brigade & HQ South West based at Tidworth; 8 Engineer Brigade; 1st Signal Brigade; 11th Signal Brigade & HQ West Midland; 1st Surveillance & Reconnaissance Brigade based at Upavon; 104 Logistic Support Brigade based at South Cerney; 2nd Medical Brigade; 1st Military Police Brigade & the Security Assistance Group (SAG), which will be based at Andover.

In addition, the command is responsible for co-ordination of the Engineer and Logistics Staff Corps and the army elements of Joint Ground Based Air Defence It will have 55 regular units, 41 reserve units and 19 hybrid units comprising 21,800 regular soldiers, 14,200 reservists and 1,250 civil servants.

FTC is the first fully integrated regular and reserve formation, with units nationwide.

The prevailing view is very positive about the advantages this newly integrated formation will have.

But Reserve Army soldiers have expressed concerns about the reliance on reserve troops and the slow rate of recruiting.

This is not a renaming of the old Theatre Troops, but a new, dynamic and well thought out organisation, commanded by an infantryman, which has the capacity to deliver.