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Army Reserve Restructuring

ArmyRick

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following thread. Interesting article but agreed with FJAG, its not a big issue exact size and manning per battalion.
 

GR66

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ArmyRick said:
following thread. Interesting article but agreed with FJAG, its not a big issue exact size and manning per battalion.

So if we stick with the current 70% manning of Reg Force Infantry Battalions, then what do our Reserves have to look like?

I think it's pretty fair to say that in the current financial situation we can't expect anything in the way of new APCs/IFVs in the near future, and assuming there's no interest in reducing the number of Reg Force Infantry Battalions, then what should our expectations be?

Let's say we re-group our existing Reg Force Battalions into two LAV Brigades and one Light Brigade with the individual Battalions cycling through readiness levels.

Let's assume that one LAV Brigade is responsible for supplying it's high readiness Battalion to man the Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia.

The 2nd LAV Brigade would presumably be training to be available to deploy their high readiness Battalion as the 2nd of the "sustained deployments of ~500-1500 personnel" outlined in Strong Secure Engaged. 

I'm thinking that the 3rd (Light) Brigade's high readiness Infantry Battalion, due to the comparative ease of deploying them and their light equipment more quickly by air, would be the "stand-by" Battalion available to rapidly respond to an evolving situation.

What does that make our Reserve augmentation requirements.

Latvia isn't a full Infantry Battalion deployment.  Is a 70% manned Regular Force Infantry Battalion enough to fulfill that deployment without any augmentation?

Presumably if the balloon goes up in Europe or somewhere else, then the high readiness Light Battalion I think would be the logical unit to deploy as a rapid response.  They could fill out the EFP Latvia Battalion, or make the initial deployment to another trouble spot.  Would we deploy an under-manned Battalion in this situation, or would we need a high readiness Reserve unit to quickly fill out the Reg Force Battalion?  Is a rapid response Reserve force even practical under our current model, or are we better off drawing the required troops from other Reg Force Battalions (which are themselves already under manned)?

In the case of a European conflict or a 2nd Battle Group sized deployment elsewhere, it would then fall to the 2nd high readiness LAV Battalion (possibly in relief of the Light Battalion's initial deployment).  How many Reserve Infantry units would be required to fill out this Battalion and how many other units would be required to cycle through readiness to support this as a sustained deployment?

All of this of course ignores the Armour, Artillery, Engineer and Logistics elements of supporting these deployments and completely sets aside the idea of being able to deploy a complete Brigade Group any time in the near future.  But should figuring out this part not be the first step in restructuring? 

 

FJAG

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GR66 said:
Latvia isn't a full Infantry Battalion deployment.  Is a 70% manned Regular Force Infantry Battalion enough to fulfill that deployment without any augmentation?

Yes and no. If we stay on a six month rotation then any given infantry company would go every eighteen months which is difficult to sustain. If we go to a one year deployment then every three years which is more doable but a bit tough on families although American line (not SOF) units in Iraq and Afghanistan generally stayed for more than a year. An additional problem is that we also furnish a battalion HQ which would mean it would have to stay there permanently. On the other hand if all of 1 CMBG is responsible for the rotations, then it's quite doable.

Presumably if the balloon goes up in Europe or somewhere else, then the high readiness Light Battalion I think would be the logical unit to deploy as a rapid response.  They could fill out the EFP Latvia Battalion, or make the initial deployment to another trouble spot.  Would we deploy an under-manned Battalion in this situation, or would we need a high readiness Reserve unit to quickly fill out the Reg Force Battalion?  Is a rapid response Reserve force even practical under our current model, or are we better off drawing the required troops from other Reg Force Battalions (which are themselves already under manned)?

The Latvia battalion doesn't need rounding out as the rest of the battalion is already filled by companies from each of  Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Poland and several other countries.

What additional rapid deployment force we would send needs to be well planned out ahead of time. Even a light battalion in a near-peer conflict needs equipment.

I'm a great fan of using fully formed reserve units (if our system of reserve service was changed to make that possible) but rapid response is not one of those.  My guess would be a reserve unit or formation during it's "ready" cycle could deploy onto prepositioned equipment if a minimum of seven days is available. Obviously significantly more if they are at any stage other than "ready".

In the case of a European conflict or a 2nd Battle Group sized deployment elsewhere, it would then fall to the 2nd high readiness LAV Battalion (possibly in relief of the Light Battalion's initial deployment).  How many Reserve Infantry units would be required to fill out this Battalion and how many other units would be required to cycle through readiness to support this as a sustained deployment?

That's a difficult question to answer under our current system. This is why I believe it is imperative to restructure the entire system from the ground up. Right now we think in the way of Reg F and Res F units. As long as we stay with the 70% solution we will always need to cobble together Reg F units in order to field a deployable high readiness force at 100% strength. If we change the system to filling the remaining 30% with designated reservists in a hybrid unit then we need a completely new paradigm for how those 30% are generated for a deployably ready, high readiness situation.

All of this of course ignores the Armour, Artillery, Engineer and Logistics elements of supporting these deployments and completely sets aside the idea of being able to deploy a complete Brigade Group any time in the near future.  But should figuring out this part not be the first step in restructuring?

It absolutely is and is a topic I address with my view of how we can get there in my little book. This is why I'm so critical of our leadership because, in the words of General Belzile from 2005:

Another way of putting this is that no planning is being done for a major war.
This is shortsighted in the extreme. A military that thinks in terms of turning itself into a great host in a crisis is very different from one that is small, thinks small, and plans for very little.
The Canadian Forces needs a plan.

Considering the fact that we have a Reg F Army of some 23,000 folks in three manoeuvre brigades and one support brigade and another 20,000 reservists, we should have plans that would allow us to efficiently deploy something much greater than a battle group. We have enough people to man two divisions even though we only have enough equipment for perhaps 3/4 to one division if we scrape it all together (with some very serious capability gaps) What we don't have is a plan to grow the force in an emergency and, even worse, we don't have a plan towards equipping and organizing the force over time so that in an emergency in the future we can be "a great host". We have set very low goals for ourselves by way of SSE (and seem to have troubles meeting those goals)

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
Considering the fact that we have a Reg F Army of some 23,000 folks in three manoeuvre brigades and one support brigade and another 20,000 reservists, we should have plans that would allow us to efficiently deploy something much greater than a battle group. We have enough people to man two divisions even though we only have enough equipment for perhaps 3/4 to one division if we scrape it all together (with some very serious capability gaps) What we don't have is a plan to grow the force in an emergency and, even worse, we don't have a plan towards equipping and organizing the force over time so that in an emergency in the future we can be "a great host". We have set very low goals for ourselves by way of SSE (and seem to have troubles meeting those goals)

:cheers:

Ironically, we send OMLTs to build the armies of other countries when we could use them here to build the Reserves to the point where they could seamlessly integrate with the Reg F, in large numbers, as required.

And I’m guessing that you wouldn’t even need to change the terms of service, assuming they receive high quality training and a ‘good go’ overseas every once in awhile.
 

GR66

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FJAG said:
...
Considering the fact that we have a Reg F Army of some 23,000 folks in three manoeuvre brigades and one support brigade and another 20,000 reservists, we should have plans that would allow us to efficiently deploy something much greater than a battle group. We have enough people to man two divisions even though we only have enough equipment for perhaps 3/4 to one division if we scrape it all together (with some very serious capability gaps) What we don't have is a plan to grow the force in an emergency and, even worse, we don't have a plan towards equipping and organizing the force over time so that in an emergency in the future we can be "a great host". We have set very low goals for ourselves by way of SSE (and seem to have troubles meeting those goals)

:cheers:

I guess this section is the crux of the problem.  We have quite a few expensive full-time troops without enough equipment to field and maintain them in any significant type of conflict.  We have a pool of less expensive part-time troops with no combat worthy equipment at all and an organizational structure that doesn't lend itself to anything other than individual augmentation of the Reg Force. 

We're completely missing, or seriously lacking in some key supporting capabilities.  By virtue of our geography we're by definition an expeditionary Army, but have virtually no capability to project our forces in anything like a timely manner.  There is no real political will to increase the size of the Army and there is minimal political will to expand the size of DND's budget in these difficult times.  On top of that much of any money that is/will be available will go the CSC and CF-188 replacement projects, not the Army. 

So I guess the question isn't really what we dream or wish the Army could look like, but rather given the current limitations, what is something achievable in the short term that would at least make the Army (Reg Force and Reserves) relevant, capable and deployable?  This could at least provide a solid base which it could grow from once the political and economic situation changes.

My assumptions would be:
- The size of the Reg Force Army will not grow.  It could be re-structured but I don't see any additional PY's being added.
- The Reserves could potentially grow, but I think any increase in size would be moderate and the cost of any increase in size would likely have to be offset by cost savings elsewhere.
- I don't believe there will be any increase in the size of our armoured vehicle fleet.  It may be possible that we could see some additional support vehicles/weapons (AT, Artillery, GBAD, etc.) which could potentially be LAV-based, but I don't see any IFV's/APC's to equip Reserve Battalions any time soon.  I think we should assume for the short-term at least that Reserve Battalions will be light, or will augment Reg Force units with Reg Force equipment.

Given this, what could realistically be done to restructure, or do we just throw up our hands and muddle along with what we have in place now and hope that nothing bad happens?

 

MilEME09

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GR66 said:
Given this, what could realistically be done to restructure, or do we just throw up our hands and muddle along with what we have in place now and hope that nothing bad happens?

First: Full reorg of the PRes, tactically group smaller units under one command team. They can retain any traditions at the company/platoom level.

Second: create a force similar to a OMLT the goes and mentors the command staff, and NCOs of the PRes.

Third: Give the OMLT a 5 year goal to prepare reserve units for deployment.

Fourth: Reserve units are required to deploy at minimum a platoon every deployment cycle after the 5 year build up. In theory each division except 5 Div would be able to field a small reserve battle group with two companies of infantry as the back bone and a full CSS element if everyone supplied a platoon.

Fifth: cut out mess dinners(except Christmas), paid hockey teams, and any non training events that take budget away from training.

Just my 2 cents but it may be doable but I don't address equipment issues, only the training aspect.
 

CBH99

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MilEME09 said:
First: Full reorg of the PRes, tactically group smaller units under one command team. They can retain any traditions at the company/platoom level.

Second: create a force similar to a OMLT the goes and mentors the command staff, and NCOs of the PRes.

Third: Give the OMLT a 5 year goal to prepare reserve units for deployment.

Fourth: Reserve units are required to deploy at minimum a platoon every deployment cycle after the 5 year build up. In theory each division except 5 Div would be able to field a small reserve battle group with two companies of infantry as the back bone and a full CSS element if everyone supplied a platoon.

Fifth: cut out mess dinners(except Christmas), paid hockey teams, and any non training events that take budget away from training.

Just my 2 cents but it may be doable but I don't address equipment issues, only the training aspect.



Would you mind expanding on your Point # 3, re: a 5 year goal of preparing a unit to deploy?

That just seems like an awfully long time to prepare a unit for deployment?
 

FJAG

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GR66 said:
I guess this section is the crux of the problem.  We have quite a few expensive full-time troops without enough equipment to field and maintain them in any significant type of conflict.  We have a pool of less expensive part-time troops with no combat worthy equipment at all and an organizational structure that doesn't lend itself to anything other than individual augmentation of the Reg Force. 

We're completely missing, or seriously lacking in some key supporting capabilities.  By virtue of our geography we're by definition an expeditionary Army, but have virtually no capability to project our forces in anything like a timely manner.  There is no real political will to increase the size of the Army and there is minimal political will to expand the size of DND's budget in these difficult times.  On top of that much of any money that is/will be available will go the CSC and CF-188 replacement projects, not the Army. 

So I guess the question isn't really what we dream or wish the Army could look like, but rather given the current limitations, what is something achievable in the short term that would at least make the Army (Reg Force and Reserves) relevant, capable and deployable?  This could at least provide a solid base which it could grow from once the political and economic situation changes.

My assumptions would be:
- The size of the Reg Force Army will not grow.  It could be re-structured but I don't see any additional PY's being added.
- The Reserves could potentially grow, but I think any increase in size would be moderate and the cost of any increase in size would likely have to be offset by cost savings elsewhere.
- I don't believe there will be any increase in the size of our armoured vehicle fleet.  It may be possible that we could see some additional support vehicles/weapons (AT, Artillery, GBAD, etc.) which could potentially be LAV-based, but I don't see any IFV's/APC's to equip Reserve Battalions any time soon.  I think we should assume for the short-term at least that Reserve Battalions will be light, or will augment Reg Force units with Reg Force equipment.

Given this, what could realistically be done to restructure, or do we just throw up our hands and muddle along with what we have in place now and hope that nothing bad happens?

Let me jump off my wish list (which essentially is cut 10,000 full time positions from NDHQ/CFHQ and take the annual $1 billion per year savings, reorg the army reserve system to two manoeuvre and three support brigades and equip the army reserve slowly) and take a look at what can be done realistically within the existing budget framework. Incidentally I agree with the highlited points above.

1. We should still cut headquarters positions to both save money to reallocate to equipment and O&M and improve efficiency within DNDHQ/CFHQ
- our current authorized CF establishment is for 61,250/47,300 (RegF/ResF). NDHQ has another 24,000 employees.
- the Army is established for 21,706/30,486 (although we are provided pay for only around 20,000 PRes); Navy at 8,125/5,720; Air Force at 12,723/3,416; CJOC at 2,061/215; CANSOFCOM at 1,135/288 which leaves 15,500/7,175 in other positions (including Health Svc and the MPs) (and once again there are actually about 10,000 less Army PRes folks then indicated here based on paid ceilings. And lets not forget that many of the PRes are on full time contracts and that there are also a herd of contractors filling basically full-time jobs (Note my figures were accurate as of 2017 and I don't have the charts to update them but they haven't changed that much)
- over half of our DND's budget goes to pay and benefits so roughly for every 10,000 full-time positions Canada spends roughly $1 billion.

2. Realistically we will not be able to cut the NDHQ/CFHQ sides by more than 10,000 full-time positions without impacting capabilities (I think all the unimportant functions will go with the first 10,000). So if we wish to reallocate even more pay and benefits to equip and O&M then we will have to start cutting into the Army, Navy and Air Force establishments (CJOC and CANSOFCOM look fairly lean for the capabilities they manage)

3. 1 part-time reservist costs us between 1/3 of a full-time position during the first few training years and around 1/6th of a full-time position in the later steady state period. So in theory, for every full-time brigade that we cut, we should be able to generate the personnel costs for three to six reserve brigades (but adjusting for O&M we are realistically probably looking at three to four) If we do cut a full-time brigade, it's equipment would still be in play for the new part-time brigades, however, if we wish to grow the force overall capability we would need to fund the equipment acquisition for the additional reserve brigades created. (I won't get into terms of service, RSS roles, etc at this time as the only way the whole thing becomes an effective force is if we change the basic ground rules)

4. Expeditionary is a key point. In essence that's a Navy and Air Force issue. Both need to change to build in that capability. Back in the early 1970s, I was the Unit Emplaning Officer for 2 RCHA. My job was to create and keep current the air and sea cargo manifests for moving my regiment to Europe (in part with the ACE Mobile Force and in part with the CAST Brigade Group) CAST deployment depended on leased air and sea transport and was only ever exercised once on Ex BRAVE LION which was pretty much a logistical disaster. You are absolutely right that we are "expeditionary" in every thing the Army does which means quite clearly that all three services MUST have a plan and the equipment for expeditionary operations (IMHO in up to brigade scale) and exercise them on a regular (IMHO annually) basis. If we preposition equipment in Europe, we need a transport element with the Air Force (including rapidly available charters) to fly us onto the equipment. In addition we need sea lift (and it's escorts) to reinforce and sustain any deployed force.

5. Note following statement in SSE at page 36:

THE BRIGADE GROUP
The Army trains to fight at the brigade group-level. This is the minimum level at which it is possible to execute joint campaigns while integrating various components, be they from another service, government department, non-governmental organization, or coalition partner. The brigade group consists of approximately 4,800 soldiers, organized in eight major units generally including Artillery, Armour, Infantry, Engineer, and Combat Service Support organizations. Combinations of these units operate together in “battle groups” to provide the joint force with the requisite firepower, mobility, protection, sustainment, and command and control functions to effectively coordinate their employment.
I defy you to show me anywhere in the SSE that requires DND/CAF to have the capability to project and sustain a brigade group expeditionary force.

6. Some random thoughts.
- The Air Force has 2,913/801 officers and 391 operational aircraft (there is roughly one RCAF LCol and above for every aircraft); The CF as a whole has 13,497/8,088 officers and 47,503/38,325 other ranks; there are 531/215 CWOs. Our rank pyramid looks more like a cylinder.

:cheers:
 

MilEME09

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CBH99 said:
Would you mind expanding on your Point # 3, re: a 5 year goal of preparing a unit to deploy?

That just seems like an awfully long time to prepare a unit for deployment?

I picked  5 years for two reasons, one given the max  90 days per year the PRes train per year (if lucky) and the fact that PRes has not deployed more then individual augmenting to the reg force since probably Korea. We lack the ability to properly manage company, Regiment,  and battle group level coordination, it will have to built from scratch properly.

I do not call what I see PRes units pass off as level 3 and 4 exercises as actially that.
 

MilEME09

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reveng said:
Are you sure about that?

41 CBG recently sent a motor platoon over, but even that took a lot of work, and two infantry Regiments to pull off a platoon. If you have an example of anything platoon or larger from a single unit, i am happy to be enlightened.
 

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The Calgary Highlanders deployed a platoon of roughly 50 personnel sub-unit to Afghanistan, I believe in 2 separate occasions.  (I'm not sure if it was 2 consecutive rotations.)

The sub-unit remained as a sub-unit on deployment.


18 AD also deployed I believe a 12 person sub-unit (for that unit's size, from a small city, it was actually really well done) to Afghanistan also.  Upon deployment, I believe half went to augment M777 dets, while the others were rolled as helicopter loadmasters.


(I know helicopter loadmaster isn't a trade.  However I am 100% certain this is what they were rolled as, as I had several friends in that unit who deployed as such.)
 

MilEME09

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CBH99 said:
The Calgary Highlanders deployed a platoon of roughly 50 personnel sub-unit to Afghanistan, I believe in 2 separate occasions.  (I'm not sure if it was 2 consecutive rotations.)

The sub-unit remained as a sub-unit on deployment.


18 AD also deployed I believe a 12 person sub-unit (for that unit's size, from a small city, it was actually really well done) to Afghanistan also.  Upon deployment, I believe half went to augment M777 dets, while the others were rolled as helicopter loadmasters.


(I know helicopter loadmaster isn't a trade.  However I am 100% certain this is what they were rolled as, as I had several friends in that unit who deployed as such.)

I'll consider my self educated, I knew the cak highs had multiple large deployments, didn't know they stayed togetherness.
 

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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).

 

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The line from SSE Para 36 about the importance of the brigade bears examining. On its face, its a motherhood statement saying the patently obvious -- you need to bring at least a brigade to a ground war if you want to have actual effect or influence. We knew that when we sent brigades to Korea and to West Germany. But we, as an Army, have mostly neglected the brigade level as "too hard, too expensive" since the end of the Cold War and the shut down of 4 Brigade in West Germany. We have been trying, and mostly failing, to make the Battle Group level work as a cheap substitute, but a full look at the structure of the Army, Regular and Reserve, needs an honest look at our brigades.

Regular brigades need to be symmetrical, so that they can replace each other in a sustained operation. We can't have a light brigade, a LAV brigade and a tank brigade and then expect them all to deploy in succession in a LAV role over three rotos. A LAV brigade that has the ability to also deploy in a lightish (truck mounted, not airborne/airmobile) role is probably a suitable compromise. The brigades need to be able to replace each other over the course of an extended war. Are we married to the 6 month deployment, or are we ready to commit to 12 months? Given that it's taking 12 months to train units, and probably 12 months for a unit to recover from war, 3 brigades would just barely be sustainable with 12 month deployment cycles. With 6 month tours, we need 5 brigades. So deployment length isn't just a whim of CJOC commander the day the Op Order is written -- it drives force structure.

Centralized control of scarce resources. The Combat Support Brigade is, in my opinion, long overdue. For too long, we've had a strange habit of concentrating national level resources, allocating them to low level regional or tactical headquarters, and then wondering why those HQs didn't have the ability or influence to manage them properly. I'm thinking Electronic Warfare, tanks and the short-lived TOW company. I do wonder about putting the Combat Support Brigade under one of the divisions though, I would have it as a direct report to Army HQ. And I don't think that the concept went far enough -- if we don't have enough to share, tanks belong in the Combat Support Brigade. That doesn't mean they don't belong in Edmonton and Gagetown -- it means that I think they need central stewardship. If we insist on having minimal indirect fire, there's a argument to pulling the M777 up under central control, too.

Role of the reserves? Throughout. I'd have the high readiness brigade at full strength, all units topped up with Class C reservists for the duration of road to high readiness and high readiness. Whether 6 or 12 month tours, maybe instead of Class C we have them enrol in the Regular Force or the Special Force for a 18-24 month engagement for the entire road to high readiness and the deployment/high readiness period. Could this augmentation go behind individuals, and include entire platoons or companies or even a battalion of reservists, giving reservists the ability to command on operations? Of course, but probably on a lesser rotation cycle than the regulars. If there are 3 regular brigades, we might need 6 or 9 reserve battalion equivalents, plus reserve augmentation for the Combat Support functions -- but certainly not a structure of 10 reserve brigades.

Anything on top of that is an extra bill. Making the Latvia battalion a permanent non-rotational posting adds a battalion to the force structure, but removes that task from the brigades. If it stays rotational, that's another brigade on the force structure. A standing light NEO battalion, that's probably another brigade. You can easily get to a 5 to 7 brigade structure. Which is what we might need to be a credible army with influence and effect -- but then we get back to where we started at the end of the Cold War: "too hard, too expensive". None of this would be easy and cheap -- if was, we would have done it by now.
 

MilEME09

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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).

If the army was serious about the StAR's initiative, then ever unit would be pushing to have platoon sized elements ready to deploy. Since the StARs tasks were announced, I have heard little on its execution, planning or if units are actually attempting to reach their assigned tasks.

If StARs is failing to produce deployable platoons, in my opinion its because leadership wanted it to fail, not because it was a bad plan.
 

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Ostrozac said:
The line from SSE Para 36 about the importance of the brigade bears examining. On its face, its a motherhood statement saying the patently obvious -- you need to bring at least a brigade to a ground war if you want to have actual effect or influence. We knew that when we sent brigades to Korea and to West Germany. But we, as an Army, have mostly neglected the brigade level as "too hard, too expensive" since the end of the Cold War and the shut down of 4 Brigade in West Germany. We have been trying, and mostly failing, to make the Battle Group level work as a cheap substitute, but a full look at the structure of the Army, Regular and Reserve, needs an honest look at our brigades.

You make some very good points in your post. Let me make a few comments to add to the discussion.

Regular brigades need to be symmetrical, so that they can replace each other in a sustained operation. We can't have a light brigade, a LAV brigade and a tank brigade and then expect them all to deploy in succession in a LAV role over three rotos. A LAV brigade that has the ability to also deploy in a lightish (truck mounted, not airborne/airmobile) role is probably a suitable compromise. The brigades need to be able to replace each other over the course of an extended war. Are we married to the 6 month deployment, or are we ready to commit to 12 months? Given that it's taking 12 months to train units, and probably 12 months for a unit to recover from war, 3 brigades would just barely be sustainable with 12 month deployment cycles. With 6 month tours, we need 5 brigades. So deployment length isn't just a whim of CJOC commander the day the Op Order is written -- it drives force structure.

I don't agree with this although your arguments are sound if we had a role to actually deploy a full brigade. On the other hand if the SSE roles remain limited to battlegroups or less than one can (and IMHO, should) have asynchronous brigades with each brigade having a specialty and the responsibility to generate battlegroups to specific missions e.g. 1 CMBG (armoured) constantly looks after only the Baltics eFP battlegroup; 2 CMBG (light) constantly looks after the Ukraine mission and a quick reaction force; 5 CMBG (mech) looks after UN missions and follow-on to the quick reaction force. - This develops expertise within the brigade for its prime mission. Personally I would go to a one year deployment. I'm also personally of the view that if a given brigade has a single mission focus then you would not need to train the "ready" component for a year predeployment anywhere near as long as we do now. The problem with being a Jack of all trades is that you are never a master of one and will constantly be training for something different.

Centralized control of scarce resources. The Combat Support Brigade is, in my opinion, long overdue. For too long, we've had a strange habit of concentrating national level resources, allocating them to low level regional or tactical headquarters, and then wondering why those HQs didn't have the ability or influence to manage them properly. I'm thinking Electronic Warfare, tanks and the short-lived TOW company. I do wonder about putting the Combat Support Brigade under one of the divisions though, I would have it as a direct report to Army HQ. And I don't think that the concept went far enough -- if we don't have enough to share, tanks belong in the Combat Support Brigade. That doesn't mean they don't belong in Edmonton and Gagetown -- it means that I think they need central stewardship. If we insist on having minimal indirect fire, there's a argument to pulling the M777 up under central control, too.

Completely agree. IMHO the weakness of the CCSB is that it's headquarters is not a deployable entity, just a force generating headquarters. More importantly, Canada also needs a sustainment brigade (CSB) which commands, controls and generates the forces necessary to form the NSEs that accompany our deployed contingents. Both the CCSB and the CSB should also have substantial ResF personnel and units. I don't agree that they need to be directly under Army headquarters. Our Divisions (except 1 Cdn Div) are simply non-deployable administrative headquarters that force generate (including everything that entails) and as such they remove much responsibility for training, direct supervision etc of the brigades and their units from the senior Army headquarters. Basically the CCSB and the CSB, under Div supervision, would generate the forces necessary to round out, support and sustain deployed maneouvre brigade elements as directed by CJOC and commanded by 1 Cdn Div. (Quite frankly I don't think that we need four force generating divisions; practically speaking - again looking at personnel numbers (both Reg F and Res F) two force generating Div HQs are sufficient.

Role of the reserves? Throughout. I'd have the high readiness brigade at full strength, all units topped up with Class C reservists for the duration of road to high readiness and high readiness. Whether 6 or 12 month tours, maybe instead of Class C we have them enrol in the Regular Force or the Special Force for a 18-24 month engagement for the entire road to high readiness and the deployment/high readiness period. Could this augmentation go behind individuals, and include entire platoons or companies or even a battalion of reservists, giving reservists the ability to command on operations? Of course, but probably on a lesser rotation cycle than the regulars. If there are 3 regular brigades, we might need 6 or 9 reserve battalion equivalents, plus reserve augmentation for the Combat Support functions -- but certainly not a structure of 10 reserve brigades.

I think if you have asymmetric brigades targeted on battlegroup or smaller missions then the entire brigade's resources could be used to top up the "deploying contingent" to full strength, whether by other Reg F personnel from within the brigade or by Class Cs. I also agree reservists could and should be used for such deployments but in order to do so we need to again get away from symmetry. Reservists cannot be agile, multi-purpose forces as the Army imagines itself to be. If specific reserve units in specific reserve brigades are also asynchronous and paired with a specific Reg F brigade then the training, organizational and mission specific skill focus is narrowed and much more achievable. I agree with you as to needing fewer reserve brigades. Based on the numbers of reservists we have (some 20,000) we can comfortably man five reserve brigades and their trg system. If we increase the size of the Army reserve (and are capable of generating and retaining such numbers) we could form an additional brigade or two.

Anything on top of that is an extra bill. Making the Latvia battalion a permanent non-rotational posting adds a battalion to the force structure, but removes that task from the brigades. If it stays rotational, that's another brigade on the force structure. A standing light NEO battalion, that's probably another brigade. You can easily get to a 5 to 7 brigade structure. Which is what we might need to be a credible army with influence and effect -- but then we get back to where we started at the end of the Cold War: "too hard, too expensive". None of this would be easy and cheap -- if was, we would have done it by now.

I thought about that but if that organization becomes non-rotational it will inevitably lead to requiring accommodation for families with all the complexity that comes with it.  As stated above, if we changed the rotation to one year then the four manoeuvre units in 1 CMBG (3 Inf bns, 1 armd regt) would rotate it's HQ and a support and rifle company there every 4th year. More importantly, the entire brigade would be experienced in that mission and be capable of rapidly reinforcing the ePF Latvia if required (and assuming we could get the equipment there). Same for the other brigades and their missions.

I agree fully that in order to be a credible deterrent we need to have a credible force. We have the numbers to justify an eight brigade force ( 5 manoeuvre and 3 support) We only have equipment for roughly 1 armoured brigade, 1 mechanised brigade, 1 light brigade and 1 combat support brigade (but with critical capability gaps) It's a long shopping list. The Canadian Army has seriously starved itself of mission essential equipment for far too many years.

:cheers:
 

Ostrozac

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FJAG said:
I don't agree with this although your arguments are sound if we had a role to actually deploy a full brigade.

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.

FJAG said:
On the other hand if the SSE roles remain limited to battlegroups or less than one can (and IMHO, should) have asynchronous brigades with each brigade having a specialty and the responsibility to generate battlegroups to specific missions e.g. 1 CMBG (armoured) constantly looks after only the Baltics eFP battlegroup; 2 CMBG (light) constantly looks after the Ukraine mission and a quick reaction force; 5 CMBG (mech) looks after UN missions and follow-on to the quick reaction force. - This develops expertise within the brigade for its prime mission.

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

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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.
 

daftandbarmy

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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.

Our extended commitment to Afghanistan showed the way forward AFAIC. There are alot of ways to make it better, but I'd rather build on that than re-create an unrealistic wheel.
 
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