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Canadian Special Operations Force Command (CANSOFCOM)

Humphrey Bogart

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Lightguns said:
My concern would be repeating the mistake that the Israelis made. They decided in the 50s that all infantry should be paratroopers, those that couldn't or wouldn't were sent to the mechanized infantry which was under funded to fund the paratroopers.  The result was that their infantry corps valued paratroopers travelling light to mechanized infantry and thus the mechanized infantry became a ******* that was transferred to the Armoured Corps who underfunded it and let it's training go because of the lessons of 67 when infantry rarely dismounted.  In 73 when the Arabs got ATGMs the armoured paid the price of not having a trained mechanized infantry.  The quick fix was to give the paratroopers half tracks from reserve infantry units whose troops were turned into labour for the engineers.  Thus wasting the vertical insertion capacity of a majority of the paratroopers.

Lightguns,

I think this is exactly what the Army is scared of.  It's part of the reason (not the only one) the Airborne was killed off.

I've said this before:

The Canadian Army's entire history is "mechanized warfare in Europe" we're comfortable with it.  The Army as an institutional is uncomfortable with commando forces because they take away from what the institution believes is its core raison d'être. 

A commando regiment would require giving it primacy as far as funding and picks of the litter go.  The Regiments and other Corps would never stand for it.

Any Commander that pushed for this would end up spending his entire command fighting institutional and regimental inertia. 

The Americans suffer the same problem.  I worked with a US Green Beret on exchange here, he noted that they have the exact same things happen down South, "want to attempt 75th Ranger or Special Forces?  Better hope you pass because the knives will be out if you don't".  He also noted that the Regimental component of our Army adds an additional complication that they don't suffer from.

There's a reason they've been slowly clawing back responsibility for everything SOF career related.  They've had to in order to advance the yard stick.

 
L

LightFighter

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Humphrey Bogart said:
The problem with CSOR is they've gone beyond the initial training scope of the unit.  When CSOR was created, they took the bulk of 3 RCR Para Company, ran them through a crash course and said, you're now CSOR.  So what you're saying is factually incorrect, it's perfectly possible to take a normal Infantry Company, weed out a few laggards and build a Commando unit

I understand how CSOR was created initially, however my above post was more in reference to the CSOR(including their selection and SFC) of today, not 2006.


Humphrey Bogart said:
You could have a short selection focused on physical fitness followed by a short commando course, voila unit created.

I don't disagree with this, however CSOR as it stands right now is more than this.


Humphrey Bogart said:
What the CAF probably needs is a dedicated light infantry Battlegroup that's got a larger emphasis on physical fitness, field craft and individual soldier skills than your standard infantry battalion.  Think Recce Platoon but way bigger.

So essentially, something in line with what the CAR/SSF were?
 

Humphrey Bogart

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LightFighter said:
I understand how CSOR was created initially, however my above post was more in reference to the CSOR(including their selection and SFC) of today, not 2006.


I don't disagree with this, however CSOR as it stands right now is more than this.


So essentially, something in line with what the CAR/SSF were?

Pretty much, sorry for coming across as condescending, I just don't like the political narrative the institution has created with respect to SOF/Army Missions and Tasks. 



 

Kirkhill

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Humphrey Bogart said:
....I just don't like the political narrative the institution has created ....

And thus it is with any institution.  It becomes institutionalised and exists to serve its members.  And if those members can separate themselves from the herd, ensuring jobs for life in the Corps of Tree Climbers*, so much the better.

* pace Field Marshall Slim.



I continue to believe that the problem should be addressed by separating the infantry from their vehicles at the battalion level.  That the vehicles be held by battalion, either in a separate company and/or as platoons attached to companies and that the training of the crews and the training of the infantry be handled separately.

Then you have 27 rifle coys available to work in a variety of environments and you have a basis for attaching signallers, FOOs, engineers and log types when the vehicles are not available - and there seems to be more occasions when the vehicles are not available than when they are.

You could also have 52 to 127 rifle coys available from the reserve force (assumes that all of the militia units are trained first and foremost in local defence skills).

 

Lightguns

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Chris Pook said:
And thus it is with any institution.  It becomes institutionalised and exists to serve its members.  And if those members can separate themselves from the herd, ensuring jobs for life in the Corps of Tree Climbers*, so much the better.

* pace Field Marshall Slim.



I continue to believe that the problem should be addressed by separating the infantry from their vehicles at the battalion level.  That the vehicles be held by battalion, either in a separate company and/or as platoons attached to companies and that the training of the crews and the training of the infantry be handled separately.

Then you have 27 rifle coys available to work in a variety of environments and you have a basis for attaching signallers, FOOs, engineers and log types when the vehicles are not available - and there seems to be more occasions when the vehicles are not available than when they are.

You could also have 52 to 127 rifle coys available from the reserve force (assumes that all of the militia units are trained first and foremost in local defence skills).

Damn good manageable idea.  The only worry is a govt that says "you only need vehicles to train 3 coys at a time, we will buy the rest when we go to war......."
 

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Lightguns said:
Damn good manageable idea.  The only worry is a govt that says "you only need vehicles to train 3 coys at a time, we will buy the rest when we go to war......."

I agree that that is a possibility.

I also agree that the armoured corps could screw up by not adequately training the groundpounders assigned to it, as in Israel.

Or that the infantry corps could screw up by not adequately managing their vehicles and simultaneously neglecting both physical fitness and how to manage dismounted combat loads.

Or that the whole army could screw up by failing to adequately enforce existing rules and regulations and employ "elite" forces as dumping grounds for expendables.

All of those things are possible.

But all of those things are command failures that result from a lack of focus on the priority task - creating a force that can engage any and all foes, at any time and place, by day or by night, regardless of season and terrain, and regardless of political environment, and kill them - in accordance with Her Majesty's wishes.

Not just on a German plain that even the Germans won't defend any more.
 

Ostrozac

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Humphrey Bogart said:
The Canadian Army's entire history is "mechanized warfare in Europe" we're comfortable with it.

I would argue that we are actually schizophrenic as an institution -- in addition to the heavy metal, force-on-force advocates that clearly designed my training at the Tactics School and write our doctrine,  there are also advocates of a constabulary Canadian Army that is not intended to fight large groups of uniformed modern enemies. This second group seems to heavily influence our equipment choice -- the TAPV, the choice of M777 with a soft skinned tractor instead of self propelled artillery, the divestment/cancellation of CCV and TUA, large battle group and brigade headquarters with no ability to manoeuvre.

That our doctrine and equipment don't match makes the Canadian Army an inherently nonsensical organization. It doesn't actually do what it says on the label, so whatever we do is inherently improvised. We're pretty good at improvisation, but it's still improvisation. Our Army isn't fit for purpose, because we can't actually articulate a purpose.
 

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More seriously, the big attacks that have taken place around Raqqa, one in particular, a surprise landing by helicopter, I was told by the top US commanders, would not have taken place if it hadn’t been for President Trump’s decision to delegate military authorities down to the level of command. I mean, under Obama that would have taken a couple weeks of White House meetings and then they still wouldn’t have made up their mind.

In this case there was not one meeting. They just said, General Townsend, the commander in Baghdad, you decide. And three days later, these Kurds who’d never seen an airplane or helicopter had been helicoptered across a lake for a surprise attack that is probably the most daring and decisive of the war.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/07/03/wps_david_ignatius_returns_from_syria_kurdish_fighters_cheer_at_mention_of_president_trumps_name.html

"In the battalion Command Post the radio remained on, but silent.  Suddenly HMS Intrepid, the LPD that carried the landing-craft that would take the men ashore, called and her operations officer asked to speak to the CO.  He was summoned from his cabin.

'Are you aware that in three hours time the Brigade is due to go ashore?' he was asked?  'Has the battalion broken out its first-line scales of ammunition yet?'  More importantly, 'Could the battalion make the deadline?'.....

....At 0200 hours on the 21st, the first landing-craft parties assembled in the Continental Lounge, weighed down with bergens, belt order and weapons.  In many respects the scene was like any battalion parachute training exercise....

...In one of the leading craft the men of B Company prepared to disembark, shouldering their bergens with difficulty.  Their boat stopped.  Though in fact C Company was now due ashore first, it took so long to beach their craft that B Company was first in

'Off troops!' called the coxswain.  Silence. No one moved. Again he called. A small figure scurried back along the railings to the stern. - 'There's still two to three feet of water.'

'I don't give a damn! They'll just have to get wet.  Get off!' the coxswain shouted again. Someone more attuned to a Para's mentality simply shouted 'Go!'  They went.

From: 2 Para Falklands: The Battalion at War.  Maj-Gen John Frost. Birk and Enright 1983. Chapter 3 - Preparing for Action.

Local infantry in an expedient helicopter assault.

Paras in an expedient amphibious assault.

And with never more than a sprinkling of Tree Climbers to organize affairs.
 

daftandbarmy

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Ostrozac said:
I would argue that we are actually schizophrenic as an institution -- in addition to the heavy metal, force-on-force advocates that clearly designed my training at the Tactics School and write our doctrine,  there are also advocates of a constabulary Canadian Army that is not intended to fight large groups of uniformed modern enemies. This second group seems to heavily influence our equipment choice -- the TAPV, the choice of M777 with a soft skinned tractor instead of self propelled artillery, the divestment/cancellation of CCV and TUA, large battle group and brigade headquarters with no ability to manoeuvre.

That our doctrine and equipment don't match makes the Canadian Army an inherently nonsensical organization. It doesn't actually do what it says on the label, so whatever we do is inherently improvised. We're pretty good at improvisation, but it's still improvisation. Our Army isn't fit for purpose, because we can't actually articulate a purpose.

Our OMLTs in Afghanistan conducted operations that were formerly the province of Special Forces, and did very well.

Good militaries, led by skilled senior leaders and staffs, can do just about anything. To keep these skills alive we should practice re-roling from time to time to keep those 'flexibility' muscles alive. It's as much a mistake to designate 3 of our battalions as 'light battalions forever' as it is to designate the rest as 'mech battalions forever'.

Re-role to SOF battalions? Why not; depending on the task it should be relatively easy. If not, we aren't getting good value for our infantry $ investments.

 

Kirkhill

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daftandbarmy said:
Our OMLTs in Afghanistan conducted operations that were formerly the province of Special Forces, and did very well.

Good militaries, led by skilled senior leaders and staffs, can do just about anything. To keep these skills alive we should practice re-roling from time to time to keep those 'flexibility' muscles alive. It's as much a mistake to designate 3 of our battalions as 'light battalions forever' as it is to designate the rest as 'mech battalions forever'.

Re-role to SOF battalions? Why not; depending on the task it should be relatively easy. If not, we aren't getting good value for our infantry $ investments.

Perhaps the OMLT/Trainer Type SOFs could hone their craft bringing Reserve Companies up to speed.
 

Jarnhamar

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Chris Pook said:
Perhaps the OMLT/Trainer Type SOFs could hone their craft bringing Reserve Companies up to speed.

Not until you can force reservists to train more regularly.
 

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Jarnhamar said:
Not until you can force reservists to train more regularly.

Not until you can make the training in the time available more effective.....
 

McG

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Humphrey Bogart said:
So if we were to compare the CAF to a potluck?

Is CANSOFCOM the dude that brings pulled pork but only enough for like two people to have

Is the Army the jackass that shows up with 10 rotten veggie plates from the roadside truck stop
If you want to make a potluck analogy, then imagine you are the host and you are reimbursing the cost of what anybody brings.  You ask "who can bring pulled pork for seven guys" to which Army replies "I'll bring pulled pork for 35 guys because I don't know how to reduce my recipe, and it goes best with my potato salad so you'll need to take a batch of that too" and CANSOF says "pulled pork for seven guys - I can do that."  You could then explain to Army that it would do the product to your standards and not its own, or save yourself the hassle and pick CANSOF.

Lightguns said:
...  Thus wasting the vertical insertion capacity of a majority of the paratroopers.
I suppose that is one conclusion you could reach.  But, given the other details of your story, would a more plausible conclusion have been that they had been wasting the majority of their infantry resources on parachuting when they really needed mechanized infantry for the wars they were going to fight?

 

Swingline1984

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MCG said:
If you want to make a potluck analogy, then imagine you are the host and you are reimbursing the cost of what anybody brings.  You ask "who can bring pulled pork for seven guys" to which Army replies "I'll bring pulled pork for 35 guys because I don't know how to reduce my recipe, and it goes best with my potato salad so you'll need to take a batch of that too" and CANSOF says "pulled pork for seven guys - I can do that."  You could then explain to Army that it would do the product to your standards and not its own, or save yourself the hassle and pick CANSOF.

To further the analogy the Army would bring 12 chefs to prepare the pork, 6 chefs to make the salad, 2 redundant chefs to serve it and 5 visits by the Command chefs to ensure they can add their name to the medal roster, while CANSOF would pick their best chef, actually trust him to do the job and send him to the party alone (with maybe some overwatch across the street).
 

Kat Stevens

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Chris Pook said:
Perhaps the OMLT/Trainer Type SOFs could hone their craft bringing Reserve Companies up to speed.

We can give them the code name Sisyphus!  I crack me up sometimes.
 

Kirkhill

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Kat Stevens said:
We can give them the code name Sisyphus!  I crack me up sometimes.

Sounds perfect!  Process, process, process.  ;D
 

CEDE NULLIS

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/07/05/death-of-u-s-soldier-in-afghanistan-highlights-the-evolving-role-of-conventional-combat-troops-there/?utm_term=.05ac5f192d9c

Death of U.S. soldier in Afghanistan highlights the evolving role of conventional combat troops there
By Dan Lamothe July 5 at 3:11 PM

The death of a 19-year-old U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan on Monday highlights the U.S. military’s evolving role in the war there under President Trump’s administration, after years of President Barack Obama restricting the use of conventional combat troops on the battlefield.

Army Pfc. Hansen B. Kirkpatrick, a mortarman with the 1st Armored Division’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, was killed by indirect fire while outside his base on a partnered operation with Afghan troops, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The attack, presumably by Taliban fighters, occurred in Helmand province’s Nawa district, and also caused injuries to two other U.S. soldiers who are expected to survive, Davis added.

Pfc. Hansen Bradee Kirkpatrick, 19, was killed July 3 in Afghanistan’s Helmand province by indirect fire during a partner operation alongside Afghan troops. (U.S. Army)
Kirkpatrick’s death is the fourth combat fatality this year of a conventional U.S. soldier in an operation outside a base. Obama relied nearly exclusively on Special Operations troops to advise Afghan troops outside bases in Afghanistan after tens of thousands of U.S. troops were withdrawn in 2014, but U.S. military officials have said that is unsustainable and that conventional forces are needed to carry out more missions.

Kirkpatrick, of Wasilla, Alaska, was described by his executive officer, Maj. James C. Bithorn, in a statement as a “caring, disciplined, and intelligent young soldier” who daily lived by his unit’s motto: “Deeds Not Words.” He had been in the unit about a year, Bithorn said.

“At a time when we remember the patriots who founded our nation in freedom, we are saddened by the loss of one of our comrades who was here protecting our freedom at home,” said Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. “We will keep his family in our thoughts and prayers as we reflect on the sacrifice he and others have made to secure our freedoms and help make Afghanistan a better place.”

The death comes as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis prepares a strategy in Afghanistan that is expected to call for the U.S. military to return to a war footing with the Taliban and lift Obama-era restrictions that limited the mobility of U.S. military advisers on the battlefield. The Pentagon could add 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. troops to the 8,400 currently deployed and allow them to be closer to combat operations.

In Helmand province, considered the birthplace of the Taliban and the center of Afghanistan’s opium trade, nearly all U.S. forces were withdrawn in fall 2014 after years of fierce fighting led by U.S. Marines. The rapid deterioration of security in Helmand prompted U.S. commanders in February 2015 to rush a small, “expeditionary advising package” including U.S. troops to stop the downward spiral, and it has since expanded to include hundreds of conventional U.S. soldiers and Marines.

The previous U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan this year included three conventional U.S. soldiers — Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25; Sgt. William M. Bays, 29; and Cpl. Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 — who were members of the 101st Airborne Division. They were ambushed June 10 by an Afghan soldier that they were advising in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangahar district.

Two soldiers with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment, a Special Operations unit, were killed in a raid April 26. They were Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, 23.

The other U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan this year was Army Staff Sgt. Mark R. De Alencar, 37, a member of the 7th Special Forces Group. He died April 8 after his unit engaged in a firefight during an operation to counter the Islamic State’s faction based in Nangahar, U.S. military officials have said.

 

PuckChaser

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I'm not sure what your point is by posting that article.
 

CEDE NULLIS

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PuckChaser said:
I'm not sure what your point is by posting that article.

I meant to add that it is related to the discussion above:

"Death of U.S. soldier in Afghanistan highlights the evolving role of conventional combat troops there"
 

PuckChaser

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What does it add? A bunch of conventional guys doing an OMLT task in Afghanistan were killed, so what. It also notes SOF had casualties doing similar, yet likely in higher risk/higher value missions. It doesn't prove either way what force is appropriate for that specific theatre, unless you've got some deeper analysis?
 
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