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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

Kirkhill

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dapaterson said:
No.  All one entity, but defined roles for different parts in personnel production.  Reserve units are their own worst enemies, fighting to do everything when they should be concentrating on collective training (Section & platoon).

An effective reserve requires established standards for training and readiness, so we know what we have when we need to activate them as individuals or formed groups.  I don't think holding up the Reg F as the standard to achieve is necessarily the right measuring stick; we need to be able to compare to them to understand where the deltas are, but I will whisper the heresy that perhaps we provide too much training to the Reg F - and then don't provide enough opportunities to permit them to retain and develop those skills.  A Reserve force that focuses on a narrower skill set, but practices those skills regularly, is far ahead of one that tries to do everything, but nothing well.

Interesting comment.  A result of hiring people and then having nothing for them to do?  Once they are trained, and there is no immediate requirement for their services maybe they could be put into reserve?

Beyond that, I actually agree - FWIW - if the Reserve can manage to discipline itself to manage two or three roles concurrently. 

My preference for separation is that I don't see the Regs being able to manage their Reserve because they are focused on other things.  That doesn't give me much confidence that the Reserves could manage Individual Training (even when centralized at local brigade), Collective Training, maintenance of a trained ready force and maintenance of a supplementary force of trained augmentees.  That is a big ask, in my opinion, for a small group volunteers to administer, especially if there are 117 of them scattered around the country.

 

MilEME09

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dapaterson said:
No.  All one entity, but defined roles for different parts in personnel production.  Reserve units are their own worst enemies, fighting to do everything when they should be concentrating on collective training (Section & platoon).

An effective reserve requires established standards for training and readiness, so we know what we have when we need to activate them as individuals or formed groups.  I don't think holding up the Reg F as the standard to achieve is necessarily the right measuring stick; we need to be able to compare to them to understand where the deltas are, but I will whisper the heresy that perhaps we provide too much training to the Reg F - and then don't provide enough opportunities to permit them to retain and develop those skills.  A Reserve force that focuses on a narrower skill set, but practices those skills regularly, is far ahead of one that tries to do everything, but nothing well.

I would also argue we have the wrong skill sets in the Reserves, I keep hearing time and time again that the Reserves are to be DOMOPS heavy, so where are our PRes Firefighters, and Electricians?, perhaps even a PRes Light SAR trade specializing in urban search and rescue or mountain rescue.
 

dapaterson

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Hence my I call for a smaller number of units.  They can be geographically dispersed units - companies / platoons do not have to be co-located.  Thus we can maintain the current geographical coverage.  But a hundred plus units trying to do similar things in different ways, all performing the same admin and basic training functions - one would be hard pressed to deliberately concoct a more bound for failure model.
 

dapaterson

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DOMOPS is the great Army intellectual dishonesty.  If something happens, we need to be able to respond immediately.  That suggests the standing force will be the first to come in - that is, the Regular Force, with possible follow on from the locals.  Except if they're local, they're likely caught in the same problems and less able to get away to work with the military.  As well, there are a significant number of first responders in the military- folks who will already be out the door.

Overseas operations may have a short fuse immediate deployment, but then become reliant on regular rotations - a prime place to employ a force that may require longer lead times to get ready.

 

daftandbarmy

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dapaterson said:
DOMOPS is the great Army intellectual dishonesty.  If something happens, we need to be able to respond immediately.  That suggests the standing force will be the first to come in - that is, the Regular Force, with possible follow on from the locals.  Except if they're local, they're likely caught in the same problems and less able to get away to work with the military.  As well, there are a significant number of first responders in the military- folks who will already be out the door.

Overseas operations may have a short fuse immediate deployment, but then become reliant on regular rotations - a prime place to employ a force that may require longer lead times to get ready.

There are no Reg F units that will respond where I am, apart from the Navy who will all jump on their ships and sail away when trouble strikes, which is what they are supposed to do.

Meanwhile, I'm sure that a couple of hundred reservists will show up at our armoury within the first couple of days of an earthquake.

Sadly, we have no equipment or food for them apart from a ridiculously token store of digging tools, body bags and IMPs housed in a couple of sea containers in our parking lot.

 

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MilEME09 said:
I would also argue we have the wrong skill sets in the Reserves, I keep hearing time and time again that the Reserves are to be DOMOPS heavy, so where are our PRes Firefighters, and Electricians?, perhaps even a PRes Light SAR trade specializing in urban search and rescue or mountain rescue.

While we have a renewed focus on DOMOPS, I would offer that it should not be (nor is it) a primary task for the Army.  Instead, the Army is (as it should be) a force of last resort.  We also have to be careful about providing federally funded alternatives to capabilities that should be maintained by the provinces.  For the most part, the provinces already do a good job with those mandates.  That said, I could see us doing a bit of cross-training with some of the agencies we would be most likely to work with in various emergency scenarios.

The most useful thing we can do to prepare for DOMOPS is to maintain a high level of personnel readiness in our units, exercise our C2 capabilities to ensure we can respond to emergent tasks (which we should be doing as part of our warfighting BTS anyway), and stockpile some resources to ensure short term self-sufficiency in the event of disruptions of supplies and services. 
 

Bird_Gunner45

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RCPalmer said:
While we have a renewed focus on DOMOPS, I would offer that it should not be (nor is it) a primary task for the Army.  Instead, the Army is (as it should be) a force of last resort.  We also have to be careful about providing federally funded alternatives to capabilities that should be maintained by the provinces.  For the most part, the provinces already do a good job with those mandates.  That said, I could see us doing a bit of cross-training with some of the agencies we would be most likely to work with in various emergency scenarios.

The most useful thing we can do to prepare for DOMOPS is to maintain a high level of personnel readiness in our units, exercise our C2 capabilities to ensure we can respond to emergent tasks (which we should be doing as part of our warfighting BTS anyway), and stockpile some resources to ensure short term self-sufficiency in the event of disruptions of supplies and services.

I disagree in that if DOMOPS is to be the main priority of the reserves than maintaining high numbers of combat arms units is counter-intuitive. Combat arms would generally be used to provide semi-skilled labour ISO the public power. The maintenance of more CSS trades would provide real deployable capabilities to manage times of crisis in an DOMOP context (truckers, cooks, sup techs, health care, supply chain management, etc etc). If the main priority is one for one augmentation than the number of units of each trade should be rationalized and the training rationalized to ensure that the 1 for 1 task is completed.
 

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
I disagree in that if DOMOPS is to be the main priority of the reserves than maintaining high numbers of combat arms units is counter-intuitive. Combat arms would generally be used to provide semi-skilled labour ISO the public power. The maintenance of more CSS trades would provide real deployable capabilities to manage times of crisis in an DOMOP context (truckers, cooks, sup techs, health care, supply chain management, etc etc). If the main priority is one for one augmentation than the number of units of each trade should be rationalized and the training rationalized to ensure that the 1 for 1 task is completed.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that outside of Defence of Canada/sovereignty tasks, DOMOPS are not the reason why we have armed forces.  DOMOPS are simply something else we can do, and while they are important for a variety of reasons, they should not and do not drive our force structure or training system. 

All of the capabilities you have noted above are things that Provincial authorities and the private sector do much better than we could ever do.  The City of Calgary alone owns more trucks and heavy equipment (and associated drivers and mechanics) than the entire Canadian Army. Alberta Health Services has over 100,000 employees including over 3,000 paramedics, and 7,000 doctors.  Provincial and municipal level emergency management planning harnesses those significant capabilities; everything from transit buses to keep people warm and transport them to reception centers to social workers to attend to their emotional needs once they get there.  In all of that, there is definitely a place for the military, but it is in a supporting role.

Militaries are primarily (but not exclusively) about killing people and breaking things, and that is what should drive our structure and training. 

I am not sure I follow your argument with regards to 1 for 1 augmentation, but I think we are all in agreement here that an organizational structure realignment is long overdue.  With regards to rationalizing the trades, we seem to have the more trouble at the moment training CSS types than anyone else due to the long course lengths.  That said, some prioritization in the training system to shorten course lengths would be be beneficial to all trades, and would likely help the CSS trades the most. There are also the motivation aspects I have alluded to in prior posts.  A part time soldier is generally more interested in challenge and adventure, and not a low paying version of their day job.
 

Rick Goebel

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Not the same guy.  This one was Calg Highrs and 4RCR.  Never Regular.

Rifleman62 said:
If it is the same fellow I am thinking about, he was in the RWpgRif as a Lt, then went RCR. Promoted to LCol to be CO of the LSSR, retired, rejoined the PRes, then on, and on.
 

mariomike

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RCPalmer said:
The City of Calgary alone owns more trucks and heavy equipment (and associated drivers and mechanics) than the entire Canadian Army.

The City of Calgary also has CANADA TASK FORCE 2 ( CAN-TF2 ) Disaster Response Team:
http://www.cantf2.com/#about
"The team is composed of over 100 Rescue Specialists, Doctors, Paramedics, Structural Engineers, Communications Specialists, Canine & Technical Searchers, Logistics Specialists, and Command Staff..."



 

McG

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dapaterson said:
if we are to keep the Army as a formation (which is the  worst option, but is what we will do) ...
The new government has been accused of undoing everything from the previous government just for the sake of it.  They might be open to reverting the NDA to where the environmental commands are not entrenched in law.

daftandbarmy said:
There are no Reg F units that will respond where I am ...
Nonsense.  If there is an RFA anywhere in this country, the Reg F will be on the ground, organized and in a composition suitable to the ask long before "a couple of hundred reservists" leave their disaster stricken families and mobilize at the armoury.
 

MilEME09

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MCG said:
The new government has been accused of undoing everything from the previous government just for the sake of it.  They might be open to reverting the NDA to where the environmental commands are not entrenched in law.
Nonsense.  If there is an RFA anywhere in this country, the Reg F will be on the ground, organized and in a composition suitable to the ask long before "a couple of hundred reservists" leave their disaster stricken families and mobilize at the armoury.

I think you under estimate reservists, during the floods in 2013 in calgary we had guys who's homes were under 6 feet of water who still showed up. Not the case for everyone but to assume in a disaster no reservist is going to show up is a bit much.
 

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mariomike said:
The City of Calgary also has CANADA TASK FORCE 2 ( CAN-TF2 ) Disaster Response Team:
http://www.cantf2.com/#about
"The team is composed of over 100 Rescue Specialists, Doctors, Paramedics, Structural Engineers, Communications Specialists, Canine & Technical Searchers, Logistics Specialists, and Command Staff..."

Yep, another great example.  It is quite an interesting discipline, and a lot of skill sets to maintain:
https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/rbn-srch-rsc/index-eng.aspx

There also probably some great cross training opportunities which would allow us to back up the technical specialists as needed.  39 CBG seems to be doing that within the scope of the Light Urban Search and Rescue (LUSAR) capability:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lfwapao/sets/72157643715505913/

 

McG

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MilEME09 said:
I think you under estimate reservists, during the floods in 2013 in calgary we had guys who's homes were under 6 feet of water who still showed up. Not the case for everyone but to assume in a disaster no reservist is going to show up is a bit much.
Of course, I did not say that "no reservist is going to show."  Are you trying to say that "a couple of hundred reservists" will be first operationally ready on the ground?
 

Bird_Gunner45

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RCPalmer said:
The key thing to keep in mind here is that outside of Defence of Canada/sovereignty tasks, DOMOPS are not the reason why we have armed forces.  DOMOPS are simply something else we can do, and while they are important for a variety of reasons, they should not and do not drive our force structure or training system. 

All of the capabilities you have noted above are things that Provincial authorities and the private sector do much better than we could ever do.  The City of Calgary alone owns more trucks and heavy equipment (and associated drivers and mechanics) than the entire Canadian Army. Alberta Health Services has over 100,000 employees including over 3,000 paramedics, and 7,000 doctors.  Provincial and municipal level emergency management planning harnesses those significant capabilities; everything from transit buses to keep people warm and transport them to reception centers to social workers to attend to their emotional needs once they get there.  In all of that, there is definitely a place for the military, but it is in a supporting role.

Militaries are primarily (but not exclusively) about killing people and breaking things, and that is what should drive our structure and training. 

I am not sure I follow your argument with regards to 1 for 1 augmentation, but I think we are all in agreement here that an organizational structure realignment is long overdue.  With regards to rationalizing the trades, we seem to have the more trouble at the moment training CSS types than anyone else due to the long course lengths.  That said, some prioritization in the training system to shorten course lengths would be be beneficial to all trades, and would likely help the CSS trades the most. There are also the motivation aspects I have alluded to in prior posts.  A part time soldier is generally more interested in challenge and adventure, and not a low paying version of their day job.

I use DOMOPs as an "if" task in light of the arguments that had been brought forward about DOMOPs. The DOMOP task ought to be a BPT sort of task, thought I agree with earlier comments that the regular force is likely better situated to respond to crisis' than reserve forces due to the restrictions on the reserve units (the not being able to be called out". A regular force unit can get transport and move into an area quicker than a reserve unit can be piecemealed together, CFTPO created, trained, and shipped out.

1 for 1 augmentation. Without the ability to call out a reserve unit complete, the only valid task for that unit at a national level is to provide 1 for 1 augmentation of the regular force. If we have 9 x infantry battalions, 4 x artillery, and 3 x armour regiments in the reg force how many reserve units do we need to provide that 1 for 1?

Finally... I don't agree with your statement about the motivation of persons to join the reserves. CSS personnel can be recruited into jobs that use their skill sets by offering them the "army" aspect of that job.... truckers get to do CPs, DPs, fire machine guns, etc etc. Reserve doctors/nurses/dentists could be largely paper reserves who go out and confirm soldier skills on a semi-regular basis as their skills wont be improved through reserve service outside of major exercises. Finally, as I noted, many areas only offer 1 type of reserve option so your recruitment pool is already limited to whoever may want to do that trade. In this case, in a town with only infantry (say, Owen Sound, Ontario) than your recruitment pool is already limited to only those who want to be infantry, so what's the difference?

Edited to add:

CSS training costs, in the short term, may be higher but long term they will be lower as there is less need for refresher/work up training. They will develop critical skills (finance officers being accountants for example) in their primary jobs that can be applied to the military with no additional costs. An artilleryman, however, cannot develop primary skills in their civilian employment and would need constant refresher training, particularly if they miss Class A time.
 

RCPalmer

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dapaterson said:
DOMOPS is the great Army intellectual dishonesty.  If something happens, we need to be able to respond immediately.  That suggests the standing force will be the first to come in - that is, the Regular Force, with possible follow on from the locals.  Except if they're local, they're likely caught in the same problems and less able to get away to work with the military.  As well, there are a significant number of first responders in the military- folks who will already be out the door.

Overseas operations may have a short fuse immediate deployment, but then become reliant on regular rotations - a prime place to employ a force that may require longer lead times to get ready.

I would offer that the response times will vary widely depending on the circumstances.  I could imagine a local emergency so dire that only outside units could respond, but that risk could impact the RegF as much as PRes. 

During the 2013 AB floods, we had no trouble mobilizing pers, including some with flooded homes.  A major contributing factor was the fact that most businesses closed that week, meaning that getting time off was not required.  For those who worked for businesses still operating, getting the time off was an easy sell. 

In this way, we were able to form the bulk of the TBG within 4 hours of the fanout initiation (on a Friday afternoon), with the outside of Calgary elements arriving overnight, and we were complete (500 pers with the necessary troop lift and comms) and ready for operations by 9am the following morning. 

Having some PRes pers among the first responders worked quite well during this operation as they could be well employed in liaison roles. So, the competing commitments of  PRes members worked in our favour in that case. 

However, as you say, in most cases the RegF high readiness elements (primarily IRU) should provide the first response.  I don't think anyone in the Army CoC is marketing the TBG capability as the DOMOPS first line of defence.  Isn't that why the Navy has established some land-based elements to provide initial response within JTF(P)?  I realize they would be quite constrained in terms of their operations due to a lack of outdoor clothing, tentage, radios, SMP veh, etc., but they could likely respond a lot faster to a west coast emergency than an Edmonton or Shilo based IRU.


 

mariomike

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RCPalmer said:
Provincial and municipal level emergency management planning harnesses those significant capabilities; everything from transit buses to keep people warm and transport them to reception centers to social workers to attend to their emotional needs once they get there.

That would not surprise me, "In the wake of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, more than 9,000 counselors went to New York City to offer aid to rescue workers, families, and direct victims of the violence of September 11, 2001."
http://psi.sagepub.com/content/4/2/45.abstract
 

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MCG said:
If there is an RFA anywhere in this country, the Reg F will be on the ground, organized and in a composition suitable to the ask long before "a couple of hundred reservists" leave their disaster stricken families and mobilize at the armoury.

"Anywhere"? I can think of three places where PRes would be possibly faster getting to than Reg F, simply due to location location location, if the call were to be made, and it's a real DOMOPs scenario. Cape Breton NS; PEI; and NFLD. We all live in the communities where we train. We know the areas, we know who to call and what to call to get something done.

And let's say it is a perfect DOMOP scenario. PEI is cut off from the Mainland in the middle of winter. How long will it take for 4 AR (GS) to mobilize and get here from Gagetown should an RFA be submitted, when the bridge is out, the Northumberland Straight is frozen solid, and the airports are closed? Same for Cape Breton, with a closed causeway, etc.

But $hit, what do I know, I've only lived here for 20 plus years, and not been able to get off the Island mid-winter for days straight...or have fresh food delivered...or fuel...

Alas, as someone else has pointed out in regards to their own situation: a laughable supply of IMPs, no storage capacity for food stuff, and no CAF-held equipment for DOMOPs on PEI... There's a DOMOPs kit sea container in Sydney Cape Breton and another in NFLD somewhere...yet someone, when looking at "isolated areas" (isolatable?) didn't think PEI could be isolated and, ergo, was unworthy of a DOMOPs sea container...

So I do bristle somewhat at the comment. As well, if and when the call is made, Reservists will show up, regardless, as noted above, of their own situation, flooded basement, etc.. It's our community, and if it needs help, we'll be a part of it.
 

daftandbarmy

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blackberet17 said:
"Anywhere"? I can think of three places where PRes would be possibly faster getting to than Reg F, simply due to location location location, if the call were to be made, and it's a real DOMOPs scenario. Cape Breton NS; PEI; and NFLD. We all live in the communities where we train. We know the areas, we know who to call and what to call to get something done.

And let's say it is a perfect DOMOP scenario. PEI is cut off from the Mainland in the middle of winter. How long will it take for 4 AR (GS) to mobilize and get here from Gagetown should an RFA be submitted, when the bridge is out, the Northumberland Straight is frozen solid, and the airports are closed? Same for Cape Breton, with a closed causeway, etc.

But $hit, what do I know, I've only lived here for 20 plus years, and not been able to get off the Island mid-winter for days straight...or have fresh food delivered...or fuel...

Alas, as someone else has pointed out in regards to their own situation: a laughable supply of IMPs, no storage capacity for food stuff, and no CAF-held equipment for DOMOPs on PEI... There's a DOMOPs kit sea container in Sydney Cape Breton and another in NFLD somewhere...yet someone, when looking at "isolated areas" (isolatable?) didn't think PEI could be isolated and, ergo, was unworthy of a DOMOPs sea container...

So I do bristle somewhat at the comment. As well, if and when the call is made, Reservists will show up, regardless, as noted above, of their own situation, flooded basement, etc.. It's our community, and if it needs help, we'll be a part of it.

During the famous 'Snowmageddon of 1996' we had at least 200 troops turn up at various armouries in Victoria.

Admittedly this was not a disastrous earthquake, but we were full on for a few days, and had zero Reg F augmentation except for a couple of guys who were home on leave and decided to join us to help out.

In addition to rescuing various shut ins, assisting the ambulances do their thing and ferrying hospital workers to and fro, this included shoveling snow off the CFB Esquimalt CANEX building, so it wouldn't cave in, while interested (Reg F) sailors looked on from the comfort of their accommodation blocks.
 

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daftandbarmy said:
During the famous 'Snowmageddon of 1996' we had at least 200 troops turn up at various armouries in Victoria.

Admittedly this was not a disastrous earthquake, but we were full on for a few days, and had zero Reg F augmentation except for a couple of guys who were home on leave and decided to join us to help out.

In addition to rescuing various shut ins, assisting the ambulances do their thing and ferrying hospital workers to and fro, this included shoveling snow off the CFB Esquimalt CANEX building, so it wouldn't cave in, while interested (Reg F) sailors looked on from the comfort of their accommodation blocks.

We had similar experiences in the 2013 floods.  We had a few travelling pers (RegF and PRes) join in with us to help out, but the two RegF organizations in the city  stayed out of the operation altogether.  One organization stayed home because their building was in the evacuation zone, and the other maintained their 9-5 routine.
 
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