December 7, 2001
British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon announced in a speech on 5 December that a defense review of the UK's armed forces following the 11 September attacks had shown the need for an urgent reorganization. While the SAS and the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) will remain virtually unchanged (for fear that their expertise would be diluted if they were enlarged), a new tier of special forces will be formed as part of a $150 million program.
This plan will bolster Britain's 2,000-strong rapid-reaction force (currently dominated by marines and paratroopers) by about 1,800 more elite infantry. Hoon wants entire infantry regiments retrained to create more elite units.
Since 1996, their Territorial Army (TA) units (equivalent to the US Army National Guard) have been sent to serve abroad as much as possible. Hoon will say this week that it should make "homeland defence" its priority. - Adam Geibel