Unit History: Headquarters British Forces Cyprus
The present Headquarters of British Forces Cyprus was formed from an amalgamation of Headquarters Land Forces Cyprus and Air Headquarters Middle East in 1988. It is a Joint Headquarters which answers direct to the Chief of Joint Operations at the Permanent Joint Headquarters. The appointment of CBF alternates between the Army and the Royal Air Force. Command in Cyprus is exercised through 2 Garrison Headquarters, one at Dhekelia and the other at Episkopi, and through a RAF Station Headquarters at RAF Akrotiri. Although a preponderance of airmen are based at RAF Akrotiri, and soldiers at Episkopi and Dhekelia, at all locations there is a mix of Army, RN and RAF personnel. Indeed, British Forces in Cyprus have often been at the leading edge of forming Joint or Tri-service units. These include Joint Service Health, Port, Adventure Training, Logistics, Security, Police and Engineering Units, a Tri-service hospital and the Joint Services Signals Unit (Cyprus).
The main functions of the Command are to provide and protect vital strategic communications facilities; to provide and protect an important airhead at RAF Akrotiri; to provide a base from which to react in the event of a military crisis in theatre; and to provide Army and RAF training areas. In the past, Cyprus has accommodated over 30,000 servicemen and women but the Command now comprises just 3,186 servicemen and women (1,990 Army, 1,158 RAF and 38 RN). Additionally, 360 UK Based Civilians support the Service presence, making a total British population in the Bases of 7,388(including 7,028 dependants).