A rebalanced COVID Support Force
162 Military Aid to Civil Authority requests have been answered since its establishment, including helping to build Nightingale hospitals
Just shy of two months since it was formed, the Covid Support Force is being rebalanced to meet the ever-evolving nature of the unique national situation.
CSF was established late March in anticipation of a sharp increase in requests for Military Assistance to the Civilian Authorities (MACA) as the Government stepped up its response to the global pandemic.
Ministry of Defence is rebalancing the structure of its Covid Support Force (CSF) to ensure our Armed Forces are used in the most effective way possible in the fight against Covid-19 and wider defence of the UK.
Military Aid to Civil Authorities: The COVID Support Force
Approximately 20,000 personnel with appropriate planning, logistical and medical expertise have been held at higher readiness since then, with around 4,000 personnel deployed on any given day.
162 MACA requests have been answered since the establishment of the CSF, including helping to build Nightingale hospitals, delivering PPE to hospitals and Local Resilience Forums, carrying out medical evacuations of patients from across the entire UK, from the Orkney Islands to the Channel Islands, and setting up Mobile Testing Units everywhere between.
Military planners and planning: What does this really mean, and what do they actually do?
Military personnel have also been supporting the response behind the scenes, with personnel deployed to other government departments to support national-level strategy formation, procurement and countering disinformation.
This week, the CSF will deliver testing kits to care homes using 20 specially designated vehicles, having already delivered more than 29,100 to 191 facilities. Defence medics will still provide direct medical assistance while other personnel will deliver PPE, maintain the national testing capacity and conduct a vast array of other duties.
Due to the public’s adherence to lockdown measures and the ability of other government departments to maintain essential services, demand for the CSF has stabilised and there is currently no need for so many troops — the largest number ever allocated to a domestic operation during peacetime — to be held at such high readiness.
The Reserve Forces: on call to protect the UK
The force will now undergo a conditions-based re-balancing, which has been planned in consultation with other government departments. It is currently determined that 7,500 personnel must remain at higher readiness, down from 20,000 to fulfil current CSF tasks and respond to all future requests. This will be kept under review as work to tackle the coronavirus pandemic continues and numbers will continue to reduce and increase as demand dictates.
The 12,500 being released will be returning to a range of normal duties, including preparations to deploy on future operations at home and overseas. Releasing personnel from such high readiness allows them to complete training exercises that ensure they have the right skills to operate safely and effectively, whether that be for scheduled rotations on ongoing operations or ensuring they are ready to respond to any unexpected threats.