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Army Reserve Restructuring

FJAG

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I've been giving some thought to next steps since publishing "Unsustainable at Any Price" (sales are doing fairly well, by the way. Thanks to anyone who's bought a copy) and particularly to a small debate Infanteer and I had last year about whether or not restructured reserve infantry battalions and armoured and artillery regiments should have full scale headquarters companies (i.e. the service support elements).

My previous position was that they should be established the same way as a regular force battalion with a complete headquarters coy/bty/sqn. (Remember that my basic premise is that we should have far fewer reserve brigades and units but that all of our current reservists should be organized into full sized, fully equipped and deployable units and formations)

Since then, I've become more tilted towards restructuring ourselves along the line of US Brigade Support Battalions (BSB) and their Forward Support Companies (FSC). Basically, in a US Brigade Combat Team (BCT), none of the manoeuvre, artillery or engineer battalions have what we would call a headquarters company. The BSB has a transport company, a supply company, a maintenance company, a medical company and one FSC for each inf, armor, arty or engr battalion in the BCT. Each FSC is configured specifically for the type of battalion it supports and is generally always assigned to the same battalion. Within the National Guard, the specific FSCs would be located in the same armory or very close to the battalion HQ that it supports.

There are some advantages to this system that I can see:

1. Since the FSCs are a subunit of the BSB, the BSB becomes responsible for the technical training and basic career management of the FSC specialist personnel;
2. During garrison (and even in combat) the BSB can temporarily shuffle resources (especially maintenance) around to where they are most needed;
3. There is a tighter chain of communication/coordination between the battalion's 1st and BCT's 2nd line support since it is within the same battalion;
4; It allows Bn/regt comds (especially reserve ones) to concentrate on the core functions of the bn/regt;

A possible disadvantage is that the FSC Coy Comd is generally a Log/RCEME officer rather than an inf/arty/armoured/engr officer as would be for a HQ Coy/bty/sqn. Is that really a disadvantage though?

Final question: should the Fd Ambulance come under command of the Service Bn (like in a BSB) and, more importantly, should the medical platoons/sections be part of the Fd Amb and forward deployed/attached with their respective bns/regts as per the FSC (i.e. the forward deployed med platoon would be a sub/sub unit of the FSC?

Have at it.

:stirpot:


 

MilEME09

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Where to start with this one, alright I'll break my response down to start from a RCEME perspective, the service battalion perspective, then maybe some of my own thoughts at the end.

First, Organization wise all the elements already exist in RCEME doctrine for the organization of maintenance of RCEME in levels higher then Coy, we just have never needed a maintenance battalion or Brigade on the modern battlefield. We would however have to rework how we do business, currently the service battalion is Second line maintenance, with the F Echelon (the user unit) Admin Coy acting as 1st line support, items are moved between lines of maintenance via BLP's and ECP's. To bring first and second line together would required a restructuring of RCEME,possibly back to being an independent field unit organized much like armoured units are (we used to be formed as technical squadrons until we were amalgamated into service battalions). With a dedicated First line support/close support squadron, a vehicle repair/recovery Squadron, and a Ancillary Squadron. Reserve units already semi operate like this as Pres units do not have full admin coys will maintenance, transport, etc... so the Service battalion provides both first and second line support. First line is usually a request from a unit for us to support them on specific exercises to which we detach the assets required if approved. Second line comes in the form of the full time RSS staff at a service battalion to do the larger tasks.

From a total CSS point of view, again our entire system for how we support units we need to be rewritten from the ground up, especially our supply system.  Given that the CO of a service battalion is in charge of rear area security in our doctrine, having medics, and MP's for example attached to us makes sense, they once were as well until about the 1960's as i recall.
 

daftandbarmy

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Without more full time support, like an embedded Reg F training team, we're doomed to recreate past mediocrity AFAIC.
 

MilEME09

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daftandbarmy said:
Without more full time support, like an embedded Reg F training team, we're doomed to recreate past mediocrity AFAIC.

Yes, and not just NCM'S, Officers too, our current system does not give reserve officers in CSS a lot of chances to be part of a large running support unit, and get practice on say running log ops, or a maintenance control office in the field.
 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09 said:
Yes, and not just NCM'S, Officers too, our current system does not give reserve officers in CSS a lot of chances to be part of a large running support unit, and get practice on say running log ops, or a maintenance control office in the field.

Amen.

IMHO each unit needs a Maj/Capt (Ops/Trg O), a Capt (Adjt/Admin) plus a couple of WO/Sgts, two or three MCpls and 4 or 5 Cpl/Ptes.

Right now we tend to get a Junior Captain who is broken/ a 'problem child' and/or on his way out, who is used mainly to handle the outrageous amount of administration, and does nothing to mentor/develop the Class A Officers because they just don't have time.

We also have a WO, who is usually heavily over stretched, trying to manage the myriad of Ops/ Trg requirements, sometimes in partnership with a good Class B RQ (which is rare). We might be lucky enough to snag a MCpl/Sgt/Cpl who is posted locally for some kind of compassionate issue, but that's not guaranteed

Meanwhile we continue to have Op taskings, and other fast ball type requirements piled on us from on high, which the Class A crowd just doesn't have the band width to manage effectively.
 

FJAG

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MilEME09 said:
Where to start with this one, alright I'll break my response down to start from a RCEME perspective, the service battalion perspective, then maybe some of my own thoughts at the end.

First, Organization wise all the elements already exist in RCEME doctrine for the organization of maintenance of RCEME in levels higher then Coy, we just have never needed a maintenance battalion or Brigade on the modern battlefield. We would however have to rework how we do business, currently the service battalion is Second line maintenance, with the F Echelon (the user unit) Admin Coy acting as 1st line support, items are moved between lines of maintenance via BLP's and ECP's. To bring first and second line together would required a restructuring of RCEME,possibly back to being an independent field unit organized much like armoured units are (we used to be formed as technical squadrons until we were amalgamated into service battalions). With a dedicated First line support/close support squadron, a vehicle repair/recovery Squadron, and a Ancillary Squadron. Reserve units already semi operate like this as Pres units do not have full admin coys will maintenance, transport, etc... so the Service battalion provides both first and second line support. First line is usually a request from a unit for us to support them on specific exercises to which we detach the assets required if approved. Second line comes in the form of the full time RSS staff at a service battalion to do the larger tasks.

From a total CSS point of view, again our entire system for how we support units we need to be rewritten from the ground up, especially our supply system.  Given that the CO of a service battalion is in charge of rear area security in our doctrine, having medics, and MP's for example attached to us makes sense, they once were as well until about the 1960's as i recall.

Thanks for the comment. I'm particularly interested in what the maintainers and logisticians think.

Essentially the US Brigade Support Battalion is very much like our Brigade Service Battalion except for the fact that the various headquarters companies, admin companies etc that now reside within our inf/arty/armour/engr battalions and regiments are concentrated into the BSB as Forward Support Companies and then doled out to the line battalions (there are roughly six FSCs in each BSB depending on the BCT's makeup). The manual for how that is structured is here: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/atp4_90.pdf

At the brigade level you are still just dealing with one maintenance, one supply and one distribution company in the BSB but in addition, there is a maintenance platoon, a supply platoon and a distribution (transportation) platoon within each FSC. So 1st line within the FSC and 2nd line within the BSB Maint Coy (in the parlance of what I learned under the old 4 lines of maintenance).

The US Army system for service support above the brigade level is quite modular and task organized. Generally (and I do mean generally) at the Divisional, corps or theatre level there is one (or possibly more) Sustainment Brigade which itself is quite modular as well. The key building blocks inside a Sustainment Brigade is one or more Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB) which will have several differing companies supplying whatever support services the CSSB and the brigade is targeted to provide to the division or corps or theatre. One of those companies can be a Support Maintenance Company which is structured to provide a further maintenance support above what is available within the BSB. (Note that the US Army now divides maintenance into what they call Two-Line Maintenance, i.e. "Field Maintenance" and "Sustainment Maintenance")

In the draft Canadian Army structure that I created in my CMJ article and my book I designated that two of the Reserve Force Brigades to be a Combat Sustainment Support Brigade and a Manoeuvre Enhancement Brigade so as to be able to provide the building blocks out of which National Support Elements could be tailored for various expeditionary operations. The draft Combat Sustainment Support Brigade has assigned to it a Combat Sustainment Support Battalion which has the equivalent of a Support Maintenance Company in it (as well as an MP Regiment, an engineer support regiment, a transportation battalion and a special troops battalion (for all the odds and sods)). The Manoeuvre Enhancement Brigade contains another engineer support regiment, a military intelligence regiment, a CBRN regiment, an EW regiment and an Influence Activities Company). Both brigades are hybrid brigades of reg (mostly from existing Canadian Combat Support Brigade) and res force personnel.

Se here for maintenance operations in the US Army: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN19571_ATP%204-33%20C1%20FINAL%20WEB.pdf

I thought that for the time being though I'd concentrate on the service support structure within the brigade and leave higher for some other day.

:cheers:

 

Colin Parkinson

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Having had the pleasure of being part of an Ops tasked unit in the 80's, I would say that is the level you want to bring all militia units to. We were able to conduct first line maintenance on vehicles and guns (Is rebuilding an engine for the 3 ton stake truck first line? ;) ). We had Civilian Doctor and Nurse driving our decently equipped ambulance. A proper kitchen trailer and kitchen in our armoury, making meals in the field and every saturday. A Line laying truck and enough radios (Lacking Nestor though), 2 full OP parties, 2 truck Ammunition party, dedicated QM vehicle, 6 guns and tractors and a primary and secondary CP (with vehicles for survey party.) We had 3 RSS (Captain, WO and M/Bdr) and 3 Class B.

This gave the ability to be self-sufficient in the field. One of the challenges that we didn't fully comprehend is the amount ammunition and stores required for extended operations, I saw that challenge when we did Black Bear support fire missions and working for 1 Service Battalion in Germany. We really needed to do a brigade level exercise just on logistics with real simulated cargo (weighted ammunition boxes/ fake but properly sized food/water/POL stores). There is a whole subset of skills in packing, loading, cross decking and storing of those stores that people need to experience.         
 

MilEME09

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Colin P said:
This gave the ability to be self-sufficient in the field. One of the challenges that we didn't fully comprehend is the amount ammunition and stores required for extended operations, I saw that challenge when we did Black Bear support fire missions and working for 1 Service Battalion in Germany. We really needed to do a brigade level exercise just on logistics with real simulated cargo (weighted ammunition boxes/ fake but properly sized food/water/POL stores). There is a whole subset of skills in packing, loading, cross decking and storing of those stores that people need to experience.       

There's an old saying, "Children study Tactics, men study logistics"
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
Without more full time support, like an embedded Reg F training team, we're doomed to recreate past mediocrity AFAIC.

When you run the existing numbers, and you take the 10 current reserve brigades and 138 units, with their existing 18,000 reserve force personnel (plus HSvcs and MPs) and their  current regular support staff and reduce that to two manoeuvre brigades groups, an artillery brigade, a sustainment brigade and a manoeuvre enhancement brigade (five full-sized brigades in total with roughly 34 battalion sized units (3 of which are re-rolled Reg F regts)) then you end up with around 17 RSS staff per battalion plus roughly double the RSS staff at each Bde HQ even before you start considering what to do with the RegF pers from 1 Sig Regt, 4 Gen Support Regt; and 4 Engr Sup Regt.

One area I do see a need for additional RegF (or even ResF Class B) personnel involved (assuming that ResF units receive full TO&E) is more maintainers of all types working full time within the brigade service battalions.

The key here is to get rid of the somewhat useless ... (sorry I previously posted this accidentally before I finished it.) The key here is to get rid of the useless overhead that we have to sustain a career path for LCols and CWOs in 138 fractional battalions. I sympathize with the cap badge loss involved but it makes little sense if the end result is an organization of 18,000 people incapable of fielding even one battalion on their own without massive reorganization and lengthy training. No business organization would allocate even a fraction of the resources to such a thing. We're never going to do mobilization from scratch again anyway and, IF it ever actually became necessary, it would be just as possible to resurrect units from the Supplemental Order of Battle and allocate cadres to them for training and leadership as it would be to bring one of our current reserve battalions up to strength.

While there are clearly equipment acquisition costs involved (and let's face it, if you don't have the equipment you can't go to fight anyway), US Congressional budget estimates make it clear that the annual operating expense of a given National Guard BCT is 1/3 of that of it's Active Army counterpart - anywhere between $162 million (IBCT) to $210 million (ABCT) v $542 million and $601 million.

:cheers:
 

Kilted

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This may be slightly off topic, however if we are looking at the reserve a as a whole. One area where I wonder if we can downsize would be the CIC. There are 7500 CIC Officers, which makes up about 20% of the total reserve force. Now, I'm sure the current requirements call for as many as we have. But can we not start amalgamating some Corps and Squadrons?  I understand what the aims of the Cadet program are, but does it need to be as large as it is? Does the CAF get its value back out of the program?  I think that these are some questions that should be asked if we were to start restructuring things.
 

MilEME09

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Kilted said:
This may be slightly off topic, however if we are looking at the reserve a as a whole. One area where I wonder if we can downsize would be the CIC. There are 7500 CIC Officers, which makes up about 20% of the total reserve force. Now, I'm sure the current requirements call for as many as we have. But can we not start amalgamating some Corps and Squadrons?  I understand what the aims of the Cadet program are, but does it need to be as large as it is? Does the CAF get its value back out of the program?  I think that these are some questions that should be asked if we were to start restructuring things.

CIC is technically a separate entity but at the HQ level reserves and cadets are run as one chunk of the pie. This needs to be separated in my opinion if we want to start to solve our issues.
 

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MilEME09 said:
From a total CSS point of view, again our entire system for how we support units we need to be rewritten from the ground up, especially our supply system.  Given that the CO of a service battalion is in charge of rear area security in our doctrine, having medics, and MP's for example attached to us makes sense, they once were as well until about the 1960's as i recall.

The ability to do 1st or and 2nd line and even limited 3rd line all within one org has plenty of real world examples (eFP for example has no separation for 1st/2nd line maint work) and practice that it can be done without issue.

I think you need to separate operational/tactical concepts from domestic organization and institutional tasks and needs as the two don't work the same. It is easier to conform to tactical needs IMHO that so any change at the PRes level should focus on the organization/institutional requirement day to day in a domestic setting.

MilEME09 said:
Given that the CO of a service battalion is in charge of rear area security in our doctrine, having medics, and MP's for example attached to us makes sense, they once were as well until about the 1960's as i recall.

I will post a few examinations of RAS and the arguments against continuing having RAS being solely a Svc Bn resp.  It might have worked in a different era but it is a dated concept. This isn't to say the the Svc Bn shouldn't do security, it just shouldn't be added onto the mix in addition to their core focus of ensuring a Bde is sustained.  That said like the above the focus shouldn't be on the tactical but rather the institutional.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Kilted said:
This may be slightly off topic, however if we are looking at the reserve a as a whole. One area where I wonder if we can downsize would be the CIC. There are 7500 CIC Officers, which makes up about 20% of the total reserve force. Now, I'm sure the current requirements call for as many as we have. But can we not start amalgamating some Corps and Squadrons?  I understand what the aims of the Cadet program are, but does it need to be as large as it is? Does the CAF get its value back out of the program?  I think that these are some questions that should be asked if we were to start restructuring things.

A quick google shows that for the UK about 25% of the new recruits into the army were cadets, that's not a bad return. I suspect somewhere there are numbers out there for Canadian Cadets. It would be interesting to see how a Cadets performance and record is judged by CF recruiters?

http://natoassociation.ca/cadets-vital-to-canadas-society-and-military/
 

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Until the Reserve system is "fixed" its really not worth embedding RCEME guys at a unit, there just isnt enough work. I am a Weapons Tech in a Reserve infantry unit, only because I have been there so long that they had positions when I got out of the Regs and went reserve. I work as a CQMS and fix wpns when needed which isnt to often (partly due to the fact that our MGs are all NS and cant get parts.....). Not keen on Reserve Svc Bns but right now I think it is the best option considering our manpower. It is not often that the Svc Bn ever supports our exercises which I think is a shame.

As to the cadets, I also work with them in my day job. It is a great system and helps out the kids a lot. I would estimate that roughly 20% I talk to want to go military. It also shows the military in a good light to a lot of parents who know nothing about us. There are some extremely dedicated CIC officers I know and they do a good, no make that a great, job. There are also a lot who are not. In my opinion I think that Cadets should be a semi separate entity with CICs being dressed like cadets and not like CAF. They are trained to be CIC and NOT reserve officers. They dont even have to do a FORCE test, but the CDS has mandated that everyone in uniform has to. The Cadets are a good system but should not be part of the Reserve.
 

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Gunplumber said:
Until the Reserve system is "fixed" its really not worth embedding RCEME guys at a unit, there just isnt enough work. I am a Weapons Tech in a Reserve infantry unit, only because I have been there so long that they had positions when I got out of the Regs and went reserve. I work as a CQMS and fix wpns when needed which isnt to often (partly due to the fact that our MGs are all NS and cant get parts.....). Not keen on Reserve Svc Bns but right now I think it is the best option considering our manpower. It is not often that the Svc Bn ever supports our exercises which I think is a shame.

As to the cadets, I also work with them in my day job. It is a great system and helps out the kids a lot. I would estimate that roughly 20% I talk to want to go military. It also shows the military in a good light to a lot of parents who know nothing about us. There are some extremely dedicated CIC officers I know and they do a good, no make that a great, job. There are also a lot who are not. In my opinion I think that Cadets should be a semi separate entity with CICs being dressed like cadets and not like CAF. They are trained to be CIC and NOT reserve officers. They dont even have to do a FORCE test, but the CDS has mandated that everyone in uniform has to. The Cadets are a good system but should not be part of the Reserve.
Great post.  Well said about cadets.


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FJAG

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Gunplumber said:
Until the Reserve system is "fixed" its really not worth embedding RCEME guys at a unit, there just isnt enough work. I am a Weapons Tech in a Reserve infantry unit, only because I have been there so long that they had positions when I got out of the Regs and went reserve. I work as a CQMS and fix wpns when needed which isnt to often (partly due to the fact that our MGs are all NS and cant get parts.....). Not keen on Reserve Svc Bns but right now I think it is the best option considering our manpower. It is not often that the Svc Bn ever supports our exercises which I think is a shame.

I agree with you. Until Reserve units are "fixed" and equipped and capable of getting collective training, there is little reason to embed full-time RCEME personnel at either the unit or service battalion (and incidentally the parts supply system fixed.

Gunplumber said:
As to the cadets, I also work with them in my day job. It is a great system and helps out the kids a lot. I would estimate that roughly 20% I talk to want to go military. It also shows the military in a good light to a lot of parents who know nothing about us. There are some extremely dedicated CIC officers I know and they do a good, no make that a great, job. There are also a lot who are not. In my opinion I think that Cadets should be a semi separate entity with CICs being dressed like cadets and not like CAF. They are trained to be CIC and NOT reserve officers. They dont even have to do a FORCE test, but the CDS has mandated that everyone in uniform has to. The Cadets are a good system but should not be part of the Reserve.

The Reserve Force component created under s 15(3) of the NDA is,  by virtue of a ministerial order at article 2.034 of Queen's Regulations and Orders, divided into subcomponents: a) the primary reserve; b) the supplementary reserve; c) the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service; and d) the Canadian Rangers. It could technically be changed by simply having the Minister make a new order. That said, however, the value of having the CIC remain reservists is that they remain subject to the Code of Service Discipline and to the military chain of command in general. What they wear, how they are trained and what administrative requirements that they are subject to (like the FORCE test) are all part of low level orders, directives and instructions and could be easily changed even while they remain as reservists. Being the cynic that I am I presume that they wear the uniform that they do so that we do not have to put one more uniform into the supply chain.

:cheers:
 

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Gunplumber said:
As to the cadets, I also work with them in my day job. It is a great system and helps out the kids a lot. I would estimate that roughly 20% I talk to want to go military. It also shows the military in a good light to a lot of parents who know nothing about us. There are some extremely dedicated CIC officers I know and they do a good, no make that a great, job. There are also a lot who are not. In my opinion I think that Cadets should be a semi separate entity with CICs being dressed like cadets and not like CAF. They are trained to be CIC and NOT reserve officers. They dont even have to do a FORCE test, but the CDS has mandated that everyone in uniform has to. The Cadets are a good system but should not be part of the Reserve.


It's good to hear that that many are interested, but how many actually join, and of this who join, how many of them become CIC? This number may be hard to find because many members are not too willing to admit that they were former cadets. I also know many members who were cadets for less then a year in the 12-14 age range, quit because they didn't like, but still decided to join the Forces later on.


As far as uniforms go, if the CIC were wearing the same uniform as the cadets, there would not be a need to add a new uniform, maybe a few sizes. I don't see why CIC officers need to be wearing CADPAT, or eventually the new combat uniform.

I know that the UK has created a separate commission for them. I'm not completely sure of the differences, but it isn't the same thing. They are however still saluted and have mess privileges.
 

dimsum

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Kilted said:
As far as uniforms go, if the CIC were wearing the same uniform as the cadets, there would not be a need to add a new uniform, maybe a few sizes. I don't see why CIC officers need to be wearing CADPAT, or eventually the new combat uniform.

I know that the UK has created a separate commission for them. I'm not completely sure of the differences, but it isn't the same thing. They are however still saluted and have mess privileges.

Australia has done the same thing, with their CIC instructors (they have officers and NCMs) having "Cadets" or something similar below their rank. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Defence_Force_Cadets
 

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FJAG, perhaps for clarity, this thread should be renamed “Army Reserve Restructure”?

:2c:

Regards
G2G
 

FJAG

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Good2Golf said:
FJAG, perhaps for clarity, this thread should be renamed “Army Reserve Restructure”?

:2c:

Regards
G2G

Good idea and done!

And incidentally for anyone wanting to look at a precis of my thought process see my article "The Canadian Army needs a Paradigm Shift" in the most recent CMJ here: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/page19-eng.asp

Just as an aside, in the article I left aside the question of how many "divisions" we actually needed. In my book I answered that question by saying three. 1 Cdn Div (to do the job it does now, i.e. a force employer by commanding deployed forces and forming a deployable headquarters if needed) and two force generating divisions. 3 Canadian Division in Edmonton would command 1, 3 and 4 Canadian Armoured Brigade Gps and the Canadian Sustainment Brigade focused on generating forces for deterrence/employment in Europe and encompassing all forces and facilities from the Ont/Que border west (excepting Petawawa). 2 Cdn Div in Montreal would command 2 Canadian Light Brigade Gp, 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Gp, the Artillery Brigade and the Canadian Manoeuvre Enhancement Brigade focused on generating forces for all operations other than Europe and encompassing all forces and facilities east of the Ont/Que border (and including Petawawa). That's four full brigades per division which is a normal scale of control. I do not see the wide geographic span as an issue considering today's communication capabilities. CANSOFCOM remains unchanged.

Okay. Let's get back to that Service Battalion, Forward Support Company question. And for anyone who wants to have a look at what  US Armored, Stryker and Infantry Brigade Combat Teams look like down to the personnel and vehicle level - look here: https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/114th-congress-2015-2016/reports/51535-fsprimerbreakoutchapter2.pdf

:cheers:
 
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