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New unit to help Britain 'fight in the information age'

A new Army unit which will use psychology and social media to help Britain "fight in the information age" will be created.

The 77th Brigade will start life in April in Hermitage in Berkshire and comprise more than 40% of reserves as well as regulars from all three services to help defence forces "operate smarter", the Ministry of Defence said.

Modelled on the Chindits, a specialist unit which fought in Burma during the Second World War, the new unit's focus will be on "unconventional" non-lethal, non-military methods such as "shaping behaviours through the use of dynamic narratives", an Army spokesman said.

The development is part of a major restructuring of the military under the Army 2020 plan, which will see the military scale down to around 82,000 regular troops in the next five years.

The spokesman said: the brigade "is being created to draw together a host of existing and developing capabilities essential to meet the challenges of modern conflict and warfare".

"It recognises that the actions of others in a modern battlefield can be affected in ways that are not necessarily violent and it draws heavily on important lessons from our commitments to operations in Afghanistan amongst others."

The brigade will be based at Hermitage, Berkshire, with detachments at other MoD sites, and will operate across the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, as well as training and working with other nations and across UK government departments.

It will build on "the spirit of innovation and offensive spirit of the men and women" who served in the Chindits between 1942 and 1945.<

In 1943 the elite guerilla unit deployed deep behind enemy lines to fight in Japanese-occupied Burma with a mission to disrupt communications and supply routes fuelling the Japanese war effort.<

The Chindits were named after the Chinthe - fierce lion-like creatures that stood guard at every Burmese temple - and the 77th Brigade's cap badge will feature the mythical animal, according to reports.

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