“Modern Brigade” preparations underway ahead of Ex Ukuthula


To make it a more responsive service, the landward component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is setting up a “modern brigade”. This, SA Soldier reports, will be a rapid reaction force as well as a preparation and training tool.

The decision to establish the brigade strength force comes in the wake of SA Army leadership planning sessions as year ago. Under discussion were, among others, “defining and refining command and leadership as critical success factors to restore the dignity of the army,” the official SANDF publication writes.

Major General Sean Stratford, Director: Force Preparation, told a “modern brigade” stable parade at the Combat Training Centre (CTC) the concept emanated from a leadership retreat a year ago with the aim of maintaining a conventional capability and satisfying course support requirements.

The SA Army currently has two standing brigades – 43 SA Brigade at Wallmannsthal and 46 in Johannesburg’s Kensington. Neither have standing personnel and equipment with resources assigned according to mission requirements.

Among challenges posed by this arrangement is an inability to meet the joint forces employment requirement – the basic tasking from Chief: Joint Operations. This, the publication has it, requires the Army to maintain a brigade strength rapid reaction force. As matters presently stand the Army does not have sufficient ability to react speedily when called on to deploy a conventional force.

The answer is the “modern brigade” that will see a combat ready operational capability in place.

This will be done by centralising prime mission equipment and vehicles at CTC in Northern Cape. Under the command of 43 SA Brigade headquarters, the “modern brigade” will have its own headquarters, combat and support units.

Planning for the new addition is advanced with soldier training on target with an opportunity to put learning into practice next month (November). That’s when the junior staff command course Exercise Ukuthula takes place at the Lohathla training area.

According to SA Soldier, the landward force’s force preparation director reported challenges, the major one being serviceability of prime mission equipment because of limited funds due to budget constraints.