Op UNITY, the military support to the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, was the largest deployment of British troops on UK soil since Op OLYMPICS in 2012.
Planning of Op UNITY involved liaison with the Home Office, West Midlands Police (WMP), DCMS, with niche and specialist military capabilities and personnel through the Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) process.
Several MACAs resulted tasking Command, Control and Intelligence, Explosive Ordnance Disposal & High Assurance Search with Electronic Countermeasure (ECM), Imagery analysis, Counter-UAS (C-UAS) capability, Ceremonial Assets and security in the form of the Venue Assistance Force (VAF) and Contingent VAF.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that The RLC had a significant and diverse role in the planning and execution of the support to the CWG.
As Chief of Staff for Op UNITY, Maj Chris Scott RLC was the lead for planning the three pillars of Defence’s involvement in the games (Security, Ceremonial, Engagement).
His team planned and executed the training and deployment of over 1,500 tri-service personnel both Regular and Reserve. Once the games started he took his place in the Multi-Agency Command Centre (MACC) located in the Police C3 building as a Military LO to the Police Tactical Commander.
Maj Mike ‘Davo’ Davies RLC (SO2 Log JMC WM), with his team, was key in the RLS support for the deployed force. They enabled a complex transport plan (including the issuing of over 150 vehicles) to the deployed force for 21 venues, 18 FOB locations and five accommodation sites. His team also planned the accommodation for the deployed force, which not only included the aforementioned sites, but the addition of hotel bookings and inevitable fastball visits, plus a feeding and laundry plan for each site.
11 EOD & Search Regt RLC was key to the Police’s shaping plan with the Regt’s expertise required for the high assurance searches of all venues, athletes’ villages and on-call tasks.
162 Regt RLC assisted with the RSOI and MST package at NESSCLIFF camp with 159 Regt RLC planning and executing the inaugural engagement event held at Birmingham University celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee and Birmingham’s involvement in the Games. The Regt then expanded its support with extra drivers, training and AT instructor support for off-duty personnel. Finally, 1 Regt RLC was drafted in for driver support as the operation required over 50 D1 drivers and to top it off ,over 100 RLC soldiers from all regiments were deployed as part of the security plan.