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3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines (Attachment of a Fourth Manoeuvre Unit)

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

I announce today the attachment of 1 Rifles to 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, from 1 April 2008, as a fourth manoeuvre unit. The battalion is due to form up in February 2007 following the merger of the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry (DDLI) and the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry (RGBWLI).

The addition of a fourth manoeuvre unit will give 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines more robust organisational and structural depth to enable it to contribute units simultaneously to current operations and to tasks that might arise in relation to other defence objectives. The permanent nature of the fourth manoeuvre unit grouping will enable the development of common doctrine and procedures, thus allowing it to participate more fully in amphibious operations as a secondary assault wave. This move will enhance the capability of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and achieve increased delivery of military capability. It also reflects the desire to deepen joint relationships between the Royal Navy and Army. The Army already provides combat support within 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines in the form of 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery and 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, and contributes to the combat service support provided by Commando Logistic Regiment. There are clearly wider defence benefits as we balance operational capability across defence. The fourth manoeuvre unit role will provide challenging and varied opportunities for an Army light role infantry battalion in 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.

1 Rifles will remain on the Army list under the full command of the Chief of the General Staff but serve under the operational command of the Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines. Regimental personnel will continue to wear the 1 Rifles cap badge.