Chief of the British General Staff General Sir Carleton-Smith said the new British Ranger Regiment will be “matching brainpower with firepower, data, and software with hardware.” He added that the British Rangers would act as the interface between conventional and special forces.
“We’re going to build on the success of our specialized infantry battalions… and take it to the next step, which is to convert an infantry capability into a specialized whole-army capability.”
“As part of that trajectory, one will see a rebalancing of outputs between tier-one special forces and Army special forces, of which the Ranger Regiment is the prime,” he added during a visit to Ft. Bragg.
While meeting with U.S. Special Operations commanders, Sir Carleton-Smith said, “The world is becoming more complicated and one of the implications for the [British] Army is that there’s a greater demand for… not just special forces but specialist capabilities.”
“Our special forces community has been very stretched by the demands of the post-9/11 climate,” he added.
The British Ranger Regiment Will Work Closely With US Special Forces
The new Ranger Regiment will have a mission profile similar to the U.S. Special Forces.
U.S. Green Berets and members of the 4 Rifles, a unit of the new Ranger Regiment, recently conducted a short training exercise in the U.K. dubbed Bold Legion.
“The exercise was named as a nod to the British regimental motto of ‘Swift and Bold’ and the 5th Group’s title ‘The Legion’,” Tom Foulkes-Arnold, the commander of 4 Rifles said in an interview with DVIDS.
“It is the first step in an ever-growing relationship, and we hope that this exercise is the first of many exchanges and joint exercises because there is plenty that we can learn from each other,” he added.
The exercise allowed the teams to share tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) and build a familiarity so that future combined operations will be seamless.
The two units have already worked together in combat deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, so the groundwork has already been laid for the relationship to deepen.
“We, in Army Special Operations Force, learned and structured our special operations from the British, and so to me it is only fitting, that as they evolve and expand their SOF forces that we are there to help train with them and partner with them,” Col. Joe Wortham, commander of the 5th SFG (A) said.
“Because, we have been with them in every war and every fight since the inception of SOF, from World War II to present-day conflicts. It is important to us to be there alongside our strongest ally,” he added.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who also visited Ft. Bragg, said, “The best way to prevent conflict and deter our adversaries is to work alongside partners to strengthen their security and resilience. These Ranger battalions will be at the vanguard at a more active and engaged armed force.”
According to a Defense Command paper, the U.K.’s Ranger Regiment will be able to operate in complex, high-threat environments.
“This work will involve deterring adversaries and contributing to collective deterrence by training, advising and, if necessary, accompanying partners.”
Rangers, on to Africa!
The first deployment of the new British Ranger Regiment will likely be in East Africa to fight Islamists, Secretary Ben Wallace said during his visit to Ft. Bragg.
Warning of the danger from the Islamist al-Shabaab group, Ben Wallace added, “We have to help Somalia [and] we have to help Kenya be resistant.” The British Rangers will closely work alongside U.S. special operations forces.
The U.K. has committed to counter-insurgency missions in Mali as part of its presence in Africa. It has security agreements with both Kenya and Somalia.
Secretary Wallace told The Telegraph that the U.K. plans on expanding its defense attaché network to better identify missions for the new unit.
“We’re going to invest in our defense attaché network, improve their capabilities, improve their training, improve that quality, improve how they work with the Foreign Office, and other government departments in commercial [activity],” he said.
“They have to be our eyes and ears,” he added.
“Defence diplomacy matters. We never really put our heart and soul into it, and we should do.”