77th Brigade Recruitment Issues
Is the British Army’s New Media Ops Unit Struggling to Find Recruits?
77 Brigade, the British Army’s online media ‘PsyOps’ unit, is struggling to attract trolls to its ranks despite a two-year recruitment drive, Ministry of Defense figures indicate.
The Sputnik news website has reported that the British Army’s newly formed 77th Brigade is failing to hit recruitment targets.
According to Sputnik, 77th Brigade has a target size of 448 personnel (182 regulars and 266 reservists), but by year end 2016 only had 276, a 40% shortfall. The greatest lag was in the number of reservists being recruited. Of the 276 currently serving in the Brigade, only 123 were reservists, leaving the unit short by 143 reservists compared to 29 regulars.
It was earlier reported in the media that 77th Brigade had a target size of full brigade strength of 1,500 to 2,000 personnel.[note] During 2016, there was a total intake of 125 into the Brigade.
Army 2020 Turns Security Assistance Group into 77th Brigade
Based at Denison Barracks, Hermitage, 77th Brigade was established in 2015 as part of Army 2020 by re-naming the Security Assistance Group, which was itself a newly created amalgamation of several existing British Army formations: the Media Operations Group, 15 Psychological Operations Group, Security Capacity Building Team, and the Military Stabilization and Support Group.
However, in response to a FOI last year, the Army Secretariat stated that 77th Brigade had no set recruitment targets:
Recruitment demand is created by turnover of military staff after a default posting period and the varying demand for specialist Knowledge Skills and Experience that is provided by reserve personnel. As a result there are no set recruiting targets for 77 Brigade.[note]
Army “Pleased” with 77th Brigade Recruitment
A MOD spokesman was also quoted as saying that the army was “pleased” with the rate of growth of the Brigade:
It is attracting trained personnel of the right knowledge, skill and experience required for its roles. The shortfall in the reserve numbers is partly due to the recent increase in liability, but is, in the main, due to the fact 77 Brigade is a new formation and it takes time for this capability to be built up.
The Sputnik article looks to have been a red herring.
Photo: Cyber Security by POA(Phot) Owen Cooban, MOD (Crown Copyright, 2015)