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Army Reserve Restructuring

FJAG

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Ostrozac said:
If we don't want to actually deploy a full brigade, then my arguments are completely unsound. But if we view the brigade as an administrative headquarters, not a tactical one that fights, then we need to say so instead of dancing around the subject. Revitalize the old Optimized Battle Group (the OBGYN project, for those that remember) and stop wasting time and money with half-assed brigade exercises and concentrate on the battalion level. But recognize that it will be symbolic -- a Canadian battalion will not be a credible contribution to fighting in the next Korean War.

Don't get me wrong. In my view we should be fully capable of deploying a brigade and in fact in my view we should plan for and have the ability to deploy a division. Right now, the Reg F does have three deployable brigade headquarters (and IMHO, the reserves should have several more) It's the SSE that limits our missions to forces of a size that equate to a battle group. My argument is that the SSE should require the Army to have a contingency to deploy more than that.

Ostrozac said:
I discussed my argument for symmetrical tactical brigades, but even if the brigades are purely administrative headquarters that only force generate battalions/battle groups, I'd still prefer them to be symmetrical. One disadvantage I see of asymmetrical administrative brigades is that you don't assign your risk evenly. In your above example, if we commit to 3 small missions -- Latvia for 1 CMBG, Ukraine for 2 CMBG and 5GBMC to a Mali-equivalent quagmire, then 1 and 2 Brigade are bored and 5 Brigade suffers disproportionate casualties.

Old Sweat said:
Let me play devil's advocate for a few minutes here. There is no way any Canadian government would commit a major formation drawn mainly from one region of the country to battle. Our force structure, especially our regular infantry regimental structure, combined with geography, and plain old political sensibilities rule against it. No matter how logically and how compelling is our argument, the reaction of the voting public and the politicians rule against it. I'm sorry, but that's how it has been for over a century, in fact since the Boer War, and that's how it is going to continue to work. During my time as an officer, covering the sixties and ending in the mid-nineties, I don't know how many times I have heard well researched and compelling logical presentations for just the sort of structure being debated here. I also don't know how many times they have been shot down in flames as being non-starters politically.

A battle group maybe, as long as the next battle group in line is from another region, with another cap badge, but a brigade group drawn purely from one of our existing formations would not fly. Maybe it is militarily dodgy, but ramp ceremonies and convoys of hearses on the Highway of Heroes has logic all of its own. Does that create really difficult, maybe insurmountable, challenges for the army? You bet your butt it does, but it is a fact of life in Canada.

Brian. I know that you are the historical expert amongst us and arguing with you will probably prove me to be wrong but there are several factors to take into consideration.

First, the rule is not hard and fast. For example in WW2 we had several brigades that were regionally homogeneous (for example 1st and 4th Inf Bde's battalions were all southern Ontario; the 7th Inf were western Canada; the 15th were from Quebec) But I take your point. I sometimes wonder whether or not the organization came from an overt plan to mix casualties or as a result of grouping units into new formations as they finished their training which would come in waves across the country;

Secondly, Our Reg F brigades may be stationed regionally, but their troops are willy-nilly from across the country without any special segregation (except perhaps by language). When we add reservists into deploying formations, they are similarly scattered about. I see absolutely nothing that would prevent us from deploying a given Reg F brigade with it's organic units.

As an example, in the suggest revised asymmetric structure that I have previously proposed, an armoured/mech force for Europe would have it's brigade's units come from central and western Canada while it's support components come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes. A UN peacekeeping force would it's manoeuvre units come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes with support elements from the Maritimes and central Canada. (at the same time, ResF infantry trained on LAVs from western and central Canada could volunteer as augmentees to 5 Bde.)

While I think that the burden of casualties could very well be an excuse to restrict any move to an asymmetrical force, the true and real reason is RegF Regimental hideboundness (I claim a copyright on that word). I honestly believe that it's not so much what the politicians think but what the military leadership thinks that the politicians are thinking or what they might want. When's the last time a military leader resigned when he disagreed with a stupid political thought (and Norman doesn't count for this)

The problem with our way of thinking is that we believe we'll have forever to cobble together and train an ad hoc force. We did it in South Africa, two world wars, Korea and Afghanistan. For 4 CMBG we just posted it there in total for several decades. Firstly we won't post any major elements outside the country for the foreseeable future and secondly we shouldn't be spending $23 billion per year maintaining a full-time force that's so fragile that it needs a year to train to deploy. Lord at that rate we could have a cadre of 75 trained people and recruit and train the rest of  the battalion off the streets when we need them. (I'm obviously exaggerating but not by much)

:cheers:
 

FJAG

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Old Sweat said:
I have been mulling over FJAG's plan, and think there are a number of very good points to it, but I think it may founder on the principle of forces in being that has been the backbone of our defence policy since about 1950. Being one known to have dabbled in military history, I can state with some confidence it is much easier to predict the past than it is to do the same for guess the future.

The CAF would have to convince the Federal bureaucracy that we had an achievable solution, after we had convinced ourselves, and then would have to do the same to our allies and to our Parliamentarians and academics, and, probably above all else, the HCols cabal. There are a number of aspects that would have to be addressed, and solved economically and effectively, or we will be bogged down like a Centurion in the Lawfield Corridor. (OK, a flash from the past, but a number of you will get my drift.)

Mods, I suggest this could be a stand along discussion separate from the C3 replacement.

Have moved my response to you here.

Brian I know full well that everything you say are real points of contention although I really hesitate to call them valid points.

The "forces in being" concept; the Reg F attitude towards the Class A reserve system; the honouraries and Reserves 2000 are all barriers to transforming the reserves. I seriously doubt that anything concrete will ever be done from within the system to move things forward. One only has to read "Relentless Struggle" once (I've now read it three times) to get a feel for where things have gone awry over the last half century or more.

The problem is that the "forces in being" concept is exactly what has gotten us into the fix of a very pricy full-time force that gobbles up our budget and leaves the force starved of equipment procurement and O&M funds. The "forces in being" concept needs major modification (i.e a significant reduction in full-timers to free up funds) if we ever want to develop our capabilities.

We can't reduce full-timers unless and until we have a credible reserve force (or at least a road to a credible reserve force) that can fill the bill for the "break glass in case of fire" scenarios. That means a serious compromise on the part of the "honouraries" as well as the Reg F to the creation of a whole new force structure that makes use of a reduced size high-capability full time element (It's utterly stupid to have 17,400 people working in Ottawa - that's almost 20% of all DND employees) and a better trained and fully equipped reserve force (which really does not need to expand in size, just reorganization into properly trained and equipped units capable of meeting major emergencies)

I'm not fooling myself, Brian. I know the cabal of honouraries and reserve leadership don't want to give up the current number of units and brigades (and their commensurate high profile positions) but insist on more funds for more people and gear. I know the full-time leadership resists change like the plague. It will need an outsider from the defence establishment (a strong prime minister or minister) with tremendous cohones to impose his/her will on the bureaucracy that infests Ottawa right now.  I know it won't be the current minster; he's the weakest I've seen and I've seen a few in my days (It's too bad actually. I had high hopes for him even with Trudeau in charge. He could have been the one but ... . I actually sent him a copy of my book over a month ago and haven't even gotten a letter back from some staff wienie saying "thanks for the book, dumbass, but we've got better things to do."

All that said. One has to keep pushing for reform. Otherwise we'll have another half century of missed opportunity and potential.

:brickwall:
 

Weinie

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FJAG said:
Have moved my response to you here.

Brian I know full well that everything you say are real points of contention although I really hesitate to call them valid points.

The "forces in being" concept; the Reg F attitude towards the Class A reserve system; the honouraries and Reserves 2000 are all barriers to transforming the reserves. I seriously doubt that anything concrete will ever be done from within the system to move things forward. One only has to read "Relentless Struggle" once (I've now read it three times) to get a feel for where things have gone awry over the last half century or more.

The problem is that the "forces in being" concept is exactly what has gotten us into the fix of a very pricy full-time force that gobbles up our budget and leaves the force starved of equipment procurement and O&M funds. The "forces in being" concept needs major modification (i.e a significant reduction in full-timers to free up funds) if we ever want to develop our capabilities.

We can't reduce full-timers unless and until we have a credible reserve force (or at least a road to a credible reserve force) that can fill the bill for the "break glass in case of fire" scenarios. That means a serious compromise on the part of the "honouraries" as well as the Reg F to the creation of a whole new force structure that makes use of a reduced size high-capability full time element (It's utterly stupid to have 17,400 people working in Ottawa - that's almost 20% of all DND employees) and a better trained and fully equipped reserve force (which really does not need to expand in size, just reorganization into properly trained and equipped units capable of meeting major emergencies)

I'm not fooling myself, Brian. I know the cabal of honouraries and reserve leadership don't want to give up the current number of units and brigades (and their commensurate high profile positions) but insist on more funds for more people and gear. I know the full-time leadership resists change like the plague. It will need an outsider from the defence establishment (a strong prime minister or minister) with tremendous cohones to impose his/her will on the bureaucracy that infests Ottawa right now.  I know it won't be the current minster; he's the weakest I've seen and I've seen a few in my days (It's too bad actually. I had high hopes for him even with Trudeau in charge. He could have been the one but ... . I actually sent him a copy of my book over a month ago and haven't even gotten a letter back from some staff wienie saying "thanks for the book, dumbass, but we've got better things to do."

All that said. One has to keep pushing for reform. Otherwise we'll have another half century of missed opportunity and potential.

:brickwall:

Wolf,

Your passion and aspirations for the Reserves are both laudable and commendable.....and likely unattainable/undesirable from a political perspective

To support what you have posited, we would need a major rebalance in the Reg F vs Res F structure. Though you see it positively, it would mean a major re-distribution of resources, including shutting down many bases where government spending is the key to the local economy, and votes. Any major reshuffle that resulted in a loss of support at the voting box would be anathema.

Although Defence is clearly (and constitutionally)  a federal responsibility, it is not a federal priority.

 

FJAG

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Weinie said:
Wolf,

Your passion and aspirations for the Reserves are both laudable and commendable.....and likely unattainable/undesirable from a political perspective

To support what you have posited, we would need a major rebalance in the Reg F vs Res F structure. Though you see it positively, it would mean a major re-distribution of resources, including shutting down many bases where government spending is the key to the local economy, and votes. Any major reshuffle that resulted in a loss of support at the voting box would be anathema.

Although Defence is clearly (and constitutionally)  a federal responsibility, it is not a federal priority.

Actually that's the beauty of my plan, Weinie. It requires virtually no shut down of any bases or local economy and if anything increases local economies because it redistributes a billion or two annually from Ottawa to regions and industries outside of Ottawa.

The re-distribution is relatively minor in that the cuts to the Reg F that I propose would be internal to NDHQ/CFHQ where I see major cuts. All Reg F brigades, SOF organizations, dockyards and air bases remain the same. All reserve force armouries remain the same. Besides the cuts within NDHQ/CFHQ I propose cutting two divisional headquarters and five of the reserve force brigade headquarters but redistribute their people to the remaining 2nd and 3rd Division and the five remaining reserve or hybrid brigades. All the divisional support bases and training establishments remain in place. All Res F personnel remain the same and remain at their local armouries although small units would become subunits integrated with other units. Yup that means roughly 6/10ths of the reserve LCols and RSMs are cut but roughly the same number of majors and MWOs and all other ranks remain in place. For all I care local companies/batteries/squadrons could keep their prior honouraries - they cost very little.

Most of the ResF budgeting is already in place albeit the Class B budgets being eaten up in Ottawa would go to the field units' Class A budgets and O&M.

My basic position is that Ottawa has become a cash sinkhole and can and should be forced to drastically reduce it's own consumption of defence funds so that they can be rediverted to a slow and gradual buildup of Res F equipment and capabilities. DND/CAF spends entirely too much administrating itself (note I consider administration at NDHQ/CFHQ separate and apart from the vital logistics/sustainment support). We need more, not less, field force and less office overhead. We could easily run this organization with half the GOFOs and EXs and their staffs if we put our minds to it. The problem is Ottawa keeps inventing more and more processes and creates more and more staff to deal with them. That's what needs to be reversed. It's not so much that my ideas ought to be politically objectionable  - they're really not if fully examined - because they're primarily targeted at reducing the bureaucracy in favour of expanding defence capabilities which ought to be a federal priority and because it ought to put more money into the local economies.

I get back to Leslie's study. The numbers re HQ bloat were clear; the organizational friction was clearly exposed; the savings were demonstrated and in the end, the bureaucracy protected itself and did very little to implement the recommendations (CJOC accepted). It's the bureaucracy that runs the organization that will scuttle any plan for reform which threatens the bureaucracy itself.

:'(
 

MilEME09

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FJAG said:
.

I get back to Leslie's study. The numbers re HQ bloat were clear; the organizational friction was clearly exposed; the savings were demonstrated and in the end, the bureaucracy protected itself and did very little to implement the recommendations (CJOC accepted). It's the bureaucracy that runs the organization that will scuttle any plan for reform which threatens the bureaucracy itself.

:'(

Kinda like how the bureaucracy scuttled then MND Jason Kenny's attempt to buy the French Mistrals before they were sold to Egypt? I more and more feel the ministers have as much power over their departments as the Governor general has over parliament and the military.
 

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MilEME09 said:
Kinda like how the bureaucracy scuttled then MND Jason Kenny's attempt to buy the French Mistrals before they were sold to Egypt? I more and more feel the ministers have as much power over their departments as the Governor general has over parliament and the military.

"Scuttled"?  Were you present?  Did you hear what was said?  What was written?  What direction was given / advice given?

"Ok, Mr Minister, if we spend $2B right now on the ships it means we will not be buying X, Y and Z until later unless government gives us additional funding.  Oh, and there will be costs of $XXXM to convert their systems to be compatible with those we have in service, and the Government of France insists that we do such work in their shipyards.  That additional cost means A, B and C will also be delayed."

I was not present for any of those discussions, but I imagine they unfolded per above.  First, impacts of ministerial considerations are brought forward so they are able to understand the impact.  Second, any purchase woudl not be an MND decision.  It would go to the full cabinet for consideration, through an instrument known as a Memorandum to Cabinet.  On major issues / major expenditures, cabinet decides, not the MND.

Ministers, senior commanders (Div and above) and senior execs in the PS are not day-to-day folks.  Their decisions and actions will generally take months to years to bear fruit. For example, a new armoury for the seventh Battalion, Royal Mukluk Regiment of Canada (Archduke Ferdinand's Own) in Mistatim SK announced today (after years of prioritization against other needs/wants) would see a year or two of detailed planning and approvals (What do you mean the municipal sewer system runs directly under the site we're planning to excavate to 20'?) followed by construction of 18 months or so.  Good senior leaders understand their roles as custodians of the institution and make plans for the long future.  Poor ones fixate on today.
 

MilEME09

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dapaterson said:
"Scuttled"?  Were you present?  Did you hear what was said?  What was written?  What direction was given / advice given?

"Ok, Mr Minister, if we spend $2B right now on the ships it means we will not be buying X, Y and Z until later unless government gives us additional funding.  Oh, and there will be costs of $XXXM to convert their systems to be compatible with those we have in service, and the Government of France insists that we do such work in their shipyards.  That additional cost means A, B and C will also be delayed."

I was not present for any of those discussions, but I imagine they unfolded per above.  First, impacts of ministerial considerations are brought forward so they are able to understand the impact.  Second, any purchase woudl not be an MND decision.  It would go to the full cabinet for consideration, through an instrument known as a Memorandum to Cabinet.  On major issues / major expenditures, cabinet decides, not the MND.

Ministers, senior commanders (Div and above) and senior execs in the PS are not day-to-day folks.  Their decisions and actions will generally take months to years to bear fruit. For example, a new armoury for the seventh Battalion, Royal Mukluk Regiment of Canada (Archduke Ferdinand's Own) in Mistatim SK announced today (after years of prioritization against other needs/wants) would see a year or two of detailed planning and approvals (What do you mean the municipal sewer system runs directly under the site we're planning to excavate to 20'?) followed by construction of 18 months or so.  Good senior leaders understand their roles as custodians of the institution and make plans for the long future.  Poor ones fixate on today.

I'll have to dig up the source but it was his statement during an interview after leaving federal politics.
 

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MilEME09 said:
I'll have to dig up the source but it was his statement during an interview after leaving federal politics.

The story is at: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/04/25/bureaucrats-blocked-former-tory-government-s-desire-to-buy-navy-landing-ships_n_9773532.html

If the then-MND was serious, he would have ordered a Memorandum to Cabinet be drafted.  If he never directed the necessary work be done, he has no right to complain that things never happened.
 

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dapaterson said:
A sub-unit is a company; fifty soldiers does not a company make.  In the late 90s or early 2000s there was a Composite Reserve Infantry Company (CRIC) deployed to the former Yugoslavia; its success (from selection through training through deployment) was never fully assessed (and and such assessment would be subjective, at best).
There were at least two of these beasts deployed in 2002-2004.  The first was a Composite Reserve Company (CRC, eventually C Coy, 2PPCLI BG) comprised of Cbt A soldiers from across Canada and had a Reg F Coy 2IC, CQMS and CSM. So, not a true "Reserve" sub-unit.  The second was a Composite Reserve Infantry Company (CRIC - eventually C Coy, RCD BG) drawn from across the three Reserve CBGs of 4XX, in which the entire command structure was P Res with some individual Reg F augmentation (Medics, Cooks and Maintainers in the camp).  One platoon was OPCON to MNB(NW) as D&S Pl for the MNB(NW) HQ, one was OPCON to A Sqn RCD BG and the remainder of the Coy conducted it's own ops in NW BiH until the drawdown and camp closures  began in early 2004.

The general opinion above the BG level was that this coy leadership was staffed with P Res "ringers", e.g. P Res soldiers with a Reg F background or an extraordinary amount of experience and training.

Notwithstanding that the CRIC leadership underwent a fairly arduous selection process at the Div level and the Coy declared OPREADY by Comd 2 CMBG, the Army wanted to replace the OC, 2IC ad CSM with Reg F members a week prior to deployment.  In the end, the entire P Res command team was deployed.

As this was the last Roto in the FRY to deploy a BG sized element, there was neither an objective or subjective assessment of the the success or failure of the CRC or CRIC.  In short, both were "one -off" P Res Army sub-unit deployments which were not attempted internationally again.
 

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They were not Army Res sub-unit deployments; they were composite sub-unit deployments.  A significant difference.


 

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Haggis said:
There were at least two of these beasts deployed in 2002-2004.  The first was a Composite Reserve Company (CRC, eventually C Coy, 2PPCLI BG) comprised of Cbt A soldiers from across Canada and had a Reg F Coy 2IC, CQMS and CSM. So, not a true "Reserve" sub-unit.  The second was a Composite Reserve Infantry Company (CRIC - eventually C Coy, RCD BG) drawn from across the three Reserve CBGs of 4XX, in which the entire command structure was P Res with some individual Reg F augmentation (Medics, Cooks and Maintainers in the camp).  One platoon was OPCON to MNB(NW) as D&S Pl for the MNB(NW) HQ, one was OPCON to A Sqn RCD BG and the remainder of the Coy conducted it's own ops in NW BiH until the drawdown and camp closures  began in early 2004.

The first was a "CRIC" that preceded the 2 PPCLI CRC.  It was formed as D Coy, 1 PPCLI for deployment to Bosnia in 2002.  It was composed of Infantry reservists from across LFWA (the precursor to 3 Div, for you young uns) and initially only featured a Reg Force WO as CQMS, although the Reserve CSM was replaced with a Reg Force MWO prior to deployment.

There was a selection process, with some reservists being sent to other parts of the battlegroup as individual augmentees and a portion being sent home due to "services not required."

The 2 PPCLI CRC was the second reserve sub-unit, and from my understanding was constructed as all-arms as the first CRIC had denuded LFWA of its infantry reservists available for an operational  deployment - this is my recollection on the reasoning, and I'm not sure if this is fact or not.  If it was true, the fact that an entire Land Force Area ("Division") composed of 11 Reserve infantry units from across Western Canada could not generate two-consecutive 120-soldier infantry sub-units for operations in a year is a sign of how inefficient the reserve system is functionally structured.

 

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MilEME09 said:
Kinda like how the bureaucracy scuttled then MND Jason Kenny's attempt to buy the French Mistrals before they were sold to Egypt? I more and more feel the ministers have as much power over their departments as the Governor general has over parliament and the military.

When you read of how government functioned in the 1940s and 50s, the executive decision making flowed through consultative processes in Cabinet.  The Official History of the Second World War makes frequent reference of PM King referring problems and decisions to Cabinet to resolve.

This is not how it works anymore.  Read Donald Savoie's Governing From the Centre, which is probably the authoritative textbook on how the machinery of government works.  Cabinet government, with ministers hold significant power within their department, has essentially withered away since Pierre Trudeau reformed "the centre" in the 1960s.  The PMO and PCO now set the agenda and dictate to cabinet how the agenda of government will unfold.  If I read Savoie's analysis right, Cabinet has almost become a bit of a rubber-stamp shorn of true executive function - a prestige and pay boost for those MPs who will be the face of the centre's agenda.
 

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It all comes down to the unpleasant truth that personnel costs consume lots of money that should go for operational equipment and training. After all, that is what drove Mister Hellyer and his 1964 White Paper that kicked off integration, unification, and everything that came later. I believe Hellyer wanted to be able to devote 30% of the defence budget to equipment, but in the long run, he ad his successors came nowhere close.

What are some ways to get a grip on personnel costs? Well, major force cuts, although the high priced help in Ottawa seem immune, and the results over the years did not live up to expectations; a rebalancing of regular and reserves could work, but it would require some logical and adult thought and compromise that seems far beyond us; and something else, I know not what. Gosh, I can only hope and pray that the next CDS can bring an open mind to the table, and has a strong resistance to being fed bs by the bureaucracy. Even then, his/her term is likely to be too short to accomplish any lasting effect.

In my lifetime - almost 81 years and counting - we fought a major war; then in peace planned for a six division army to fight in Europe, while defending Canada with an airborne brigade group; then under NATO promised a division, with a brigade group in Germany (and a brigade group in Korea for four years); then the CAST brigade for Norway and a smaller brigade group in Germany; then along with the force in Germany, we entered the peace keeping and total force era; and finally we deployied a series of battle groups (+) followed by a rotational commitment to the Baltic. In all this time, we never were able to maintain a full strength force, relying instead on flyover, augmentation, hole plugging, and the like. What now is the question?

I invite your criticism and comments.

 

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[quote author=Infanteer]If it was true, the fact that an entire Land Force Area ("Division") composed of 11 Reserve infantry units from across Western Canada could not generate two-consecutive 120-soldier infantry sub-units for operations in a year is a sign of how inefficient the reserve system is functionally structured.
[/quote]

Similar experience seeing armored reserves in all of LFCA not being able to put together a platoon for a deployment.

I think part of the CIRC's problems, at least in my experience, was the amount of time they wanted part time soldiers to devote to training.
6 months worth of pre-deployment before the 6 month tour but also pre-pre deployment training and pre-pre-pre deployment training as random weekends of must attend training. Which was must attend for some and waived for others. It felt like a 1.5 - 2 year commitment for a 6 month tour.
 

daftandbarmy

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Jarnhamar said:
Similar experience seeing armored reserves in all of LFCA not being able to put together a platoon for a deployment.

I think part of the CIRC's problems, at least in my experience, was the amount of time they wanted part time soldiers to devote to training.
6 months worth of pre-deployment before the 6 month tour but also pre-pre deployment training and pre-pre-pre deployment training as random weekends of must attend training. Which was must attend for some and waived for others. It felt like a 1.5 - 2 year commitment for a 6 month tour.

IMHO the other problem, of course, is that some senior reservists with career/ political ambitions are overselling what the Class A Army is actually capable of achieving on a consistent basis, and their Reg F counterparts aren't calling BS on that because 'hey, they're only reservists, if they want to stick their necks out....'

 

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daftandbarmy said:
IMHO the other problem, of course, is that some senior reservists with career/ political ambitions are overselling what the Class A Army is actually capable of achieving on a consistent basis, and their Reg F counterparts aren't calling BS on that because 'hey, they're only reservists, if they want to stick their necks out....'

And it is sometimes those same RegF bodies that say we arent allowed to do our jobs. Had a reg force Cpl trying to tell a Reserve Sgt (with 35+ years, and multiple tours) that his ET said she wasn't somehow qualified to do an annual inspection on a truck. Its situations like this that boil my blood, and prevent the PRes from becoming better.
 

FJAG

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Infanteer said:
... If it was true, the fact that an entire Land Force Area ("Division") composed of 11 Reserve infantry units from across Western Canada could not generate two-consecutive 120-soldier infantry sub-units for operations in a year is a sign of how inefficient the reserve system is functionally structured.

As must be clear from my missives over the years, I fully agree with the highlighted statement but not exactly as stated and not for the reason that you seem to be alluding to. More importantly I think that the proper statement should be "... how inefficient the whole system is functionally structured."

Systemically you cannot expect anything more from an organization that is allowed to run on a "come train when you feel like it and leave whenever you want" basis. The fault for that does not lie at the unit but at the feet of CAF's full-time leadership and it's constant retreat from the necessary reforms.

But let's look further than the reserves. At it's post Korea height the Canadian Army had four fully equipped and mostly fully manned full-time brigades and for a brief time an airborne regiment. At the time they were equipped to peer standards and perpetually kept one brigade operationally deployed to Europe and one battalion perpetually rotating through Cyprus. Today we still have three full-time brigades as well as a regimental sized special operations force but we seem to be hard pressed to keep the equivalent of one battle group operationally deployed. SSE doesn't even contemplate a requirement to deploy a full brigade group. Perhaps (and in my own mind, definitely) the problem is that the size of our national defence headquarters is larger than the Army's full-time deployable field force thus robbing the entire system of vital defence dollars. In addition there is an imbalance as to which defence capabilities need to be full-time and which can be relegated to less expensive part-time forces.

Further though, not only do we have reserve force personnel that need extensive pre-deployment training (in fact training so long as to make it nearly impossible for any reservist to volunteer to deploy unless they are unemployed or undergoing schooling that lets them take over a year off) but even regular force units go through a managed readiness program that literally requires two years of reconstitution and rebuilding before the unit or formation is considered ready to deploy. The result is that only one third of the full-time field force is ever considered "ready" for operational deployment. I don't doubt that in an extreme pinch we would be able to generate a second brigade but I also don't doubt that we'd be unable to efficiently project that force overseas and to sustain those two brigades in the field for anything beyond a very short interval. Even then it would probably require compulsory activation of reservists, something we haven't planned or practiced in many decades.

I won't even get into the dismal state of equipment maintenance and readiness and numerous capability gaps existing within the regular force organizations that create a high risk for the force if employment in combat unless such gaps are filled by our allies.

We've become a complacent-peace time force that, based on the priorities we put on our defence spending, is more concerned about administrating itself and sustaining its bureaucracy than creating and maintaining a credible, deployable field force on a day-to-day basis and than developing the ability to grow that force in times of a major emergency by way of a trained and equipped low-cost reserve.

We need to review the whole DND/CAF structure from the ground up. That review must include a ruthless review of the resources DBD/CAF has locked into administrative costs that contribute very little to the creation and maintenance of defence outputs. Those costs must be cut through reduction of full-time positions within Ottawa and the funds reassigned to concrete defence outputs.

Within the Army there needs to be a very clear review of 1) what capabilities are considered necessary on a day-to-day full-time basis during peace time to either react quickly to an event or because their skill set is of such complexity that it needs to be honed daily (special forces is a prime example) and 2) what capabilities are ones which can properly be maintained in an on-call part-time force that can be called into active service in less likely but more extreme circumstances where the full-time force is inadequate by itself. Obviously such a force requires a fundamental restructuring of all aspects of the defence portfolio from legislation, through terms of service, doctrine, equipping and training etc on up. We already have tens of thousands of good full and part-timers in the system. What they both need is a better structure that allows them to fully develop their potential.

The time to fine tune the system is long gone. The current structure is systemically, fundamentally flawed. It consumes tens of billions of dollars annually to provide lifetime careers to it's participants (both civilian and military, full-timers and Class Bs) while delivering very limited actual defence outputs. These costs will continue to rise every year simply to maintain the rising PY costs of the department's full-time personnel (especially the high ranking, high priced headquarters ones) while capabilities will continue to shrink because we can't afford the more complex, more efficient, yet more costly equipment required by a modern force.

It is no longer a question of can this be sold to the politicians. If the politicians truly understood the waste of money that DND/CAF has become and the spiral DND.CAF is on they would ask: why weren't we told years ago? This absolutely needs doing and it needs doing regardless of the bureaucratic friction that will undoubtedly erupt.

:cheers:
 

FormerHorseGuard

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I have been out many years. Biggest problem I see in the Reserves is the Reserves themselves.  A duty, a job, or a tasking comes up and no one is able to do it because of outside of the armouries life or no one wants to do it.  I will give examples from when I served and the taskings were super hard to fill. D Day  plus 50 parade in Europe.  Instead of picking a soldier who was earned the chance to attend and worked hard every parade night, and weekend, the powers to be picked a soldier who just so happened to wander in the doors to pick up her pay cheque. The CC asked if she was available, she was sent to D Day Parades. No chain of command, just tasking came in, soldier walked in at the same second , tasking filled.

Tasking for a driver to pick up orders and messages during the first gulf war at LFCA HQ, they had to call a unit from Hamilton because of none of the local units could find a soldier on short notice.  Job got done but it took longer to get the soldier to come in from Hamilton then it would of taken a Toronto unit to fill the Class A position for a few weeks. The driver did not know her way  around Toronto  but oh well it got done.

Units looking for drivers for a weekend,  Cpl, Pte positions, had to be filled by  Sgts and Mcpls, because no private wanted to drive VIPs around for a parade because the hosting Regiment wanted their soldiers on the parade.

Reserve unit in the Ottawa area, had a shift in taskings from Inf to Arty,  could not even manage to put a platoon in to CAC because no one was available to be boots on the ground, courses for the new trade took a lot of man power away, real jobs took away bodies.  CO and DCO were listed as Platoon officers because no JR officer was available or willing to come work as a soldier for those 2 weeks.  Pay  clerk was the platoon radio operator. CSM future RSM was the Platoon SGT, because the Sgt was the section commander, no Mcpls available.

Some units need to be folded and taken into other units to make a unit operational. Lack of equipment, lack of man power, lack of real training directions are all issues that  really need to be dealt with in real time and politics have to be forgotten.

Units should be training together,  I have always thought that 2 Inf type Reserve Regiments should train together, one operate as the enemy  force,  have a real force to do recces on,  use what  is actually seen as to plan the attack,  the defence etc. Pool the training staff so the troops get  real training, and learn from the mistakes of the enemy force, and the enemy  force learn for the other side how to defend, etc.
Change the forces every  training weekend so both Regiments get the required training. Instead of just having the attacks done HQ sections of the Regiments.

Armoured Regiments this is harder because of lack of equipment, but have them doing the recce of enemy  forces etc, there forces could be another Res Inf Regiment, doing field training, etc. Having the Armoured Recce actually looking and reporting back what  they  see and not being seen is good training.

Inter unit co operation has to be improved and some one in power has to decide what role the reserve units are going to take on and actually  give the power to make it happen. Job protection, like they have in the States, equal training on courses, and time of courses, if it has to be weekend, so be it, but make it so the Res soldier can fill in or be quickly trained to step and do the job within the Reg Force standard.  A gunner who cannot step up do the job in the real world is of little value. The 105mm in the CF stocks has very  little value on the battle field of today. Basic skills are there, but up train them to be able to do the job on the 155mm M777 guns.  Train the EME guys to be able to actually fix what  is broken, instead of  just tagging  it and ship off to be fixed. Not everything can be done in a weekend of training but some of the jobs could be done.

I hope those who read this get the idea of what I am trying to explain, or think,  hard for me to express in sentences here. Improvements are needed, and they are needed now.





 

Oldgateboatdriver

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But FHG, wouldn't what FJAG proposes fix that problem?

And just as a follow up: Is what FGH describes a generally valid reality or just an unusual circumstances?

I ask because I know that, for instance, in the Naval Rreserve we didn't seem to have that problem (at least generally). When the Army needed naval support for the Oka crisis, HMCS DONNACONA provided patrol boat and crews without any difficulty, and yes many of us (me included) took time off civilian work to do so without any problems. Same for the Winnipeg flood: Reserve units were asked to provide their Rhib's and Zodiacs and if possible crews. At DONNACONA, again, we had a total of four of those large boats and were able to put nine crews together for deployment in four hours of phone calls. I understand it was pretty representative of what was achieved at all reserve units.

Isn't the same happening at Armouries?
 

daftandbarmy

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Oldgateboatdriver said:
But FHG, wouldn't what FJAG proposes fix that problem?

And just as a follow up: Is what FGH describes a generally valid reality or just an unusual circumstances?

I ask because I know that, for instance, in the Naval Rreserve we didn't seem to have that problem (at least generally). When the Army needed naval support for the Oka crisis, HMCS DONNACONA provided patrol boat and crews without any difficulty, and yes many of us (me included) took time off civilian work to do so without any problems. Same for the Winnipeg flood: Reserve units were asked to provide their Rhib's and Zodiacs and if possible crews. At DONNACONA, again, we had a total of four of those large boats and were able to put nine crews together for deployment in four hours of phone calls. I understand it was pretty representative of what was achieved at all reserve units.

Isn't the same happening at Armouries?

No. Not at all.

What's happening at the armoury floor level, based on my understanding, is that the Army is paralyzed by COVID to the extent that conscientious COs and unit level Officers and SNCOs are dreaming up training to keep the troops interested and progressing while those many levels above their pay grade are still extracting their craniums to get their heads around what the regular training year should look like.

In the meantime, exercise wise, we're pretty much doing what we've always done: range ex for PWT 3, FTX to practise various field skils and drills, all within the context of some vague higher level plan that may, or may not, result in some kind of culminating exercise. All Mess Dinners and other collective social events are cancelled.

We're also still on 'OP LASER', officially, whatever that means to us right now. Glass half full, apparently we had quite alot of people deploy on courses during the summer and they got alot of good, longer term training/ employment experience while on Class B, which they would not have been able to do outside of the COVID experience.

'Slightly Adrift' might be an apt description of the whole experience right now.
 
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