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

FJAG

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Reserve Manoeuvre Brigade? That's impossible, of course.

CAF Reserve Reinforcement Unit? Maybe....
Only if one insists on keeping the glass at the status quo of one eight full.

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." Tommy Lasorda.

The key is to define the objective and then chart a course to it. I see a reserve manoeuvre brigade. The course to it is actually less difficult than most people think. Just look south.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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Only if one insists on keeping the glass at the status quo of one eight full.

"The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination." Tommy Lasorda.

The key is to define the objective and then chart a course to it. I see a reserve manoeuvre brigade. The course to it is actually less difficult than most people think. Just look south.

🍻

Yes, well, I just assumed the 'B' in Brigade stood for $1 Billion :)
 

MilEME09

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A regular force one does in annual pay and O&M. A reserve one comes in at 1/3 to 1/6th salary and a lower O&M as well.

🙂
Though with your own plan, reserve service wouldn't be such a revolving door of soldier of convenience. Thus that ratio may bump up a little higher.
 

FJAG

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Though with your own plan, reserve service wouldn't be such a revolving door of soldier of convenience. Thus that ratio may bump up a little higher.
Yeah. I'm much more of a Class A reserve fan with Class C deployments as second to gain experience within the unit. I'm very much against Class Bs which I consider as a way to inflate government set PY levels and/or a way of allowing the RegF to compensate for poor recruiting/training/retention performance. (and I say that having spent three years on Class B [ and 13 years RegF and 28 years Class A])

I think every time a Class B gets hired it should be where there is a RegF position vacancy and that the salary should come from the RegF pay envelope (that would need some changing of the system.)

🙂
 

MilEME09

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Yeah. I'm much more of a Class A reserve fan with Class C deployments as second to gain experience within the unit. I'm very much against Class Bs which I consider as a way to inflate government set PY levels and/or a way of allowing the RegF to compensate for poor recruiting/training/retention performance. (and I say that having spent three years on Class B [ and 13 years RegF and 28 years Class A])

I think every time a Class B gets hired it should be where there is a RegF position vacancy and that the salary should come from the RegF pay envelope (that would need some changing of the system.)

🙂
I agree, in some cases class Bs are reg force members who pulled bin because they didn't get the posting they wanted. Class B should be temporary, 180 max, meant as a stop gap until someone can be posted in. It's abused too much these days.
 

quadrapiper

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I don't see how wedding light battalions to PRes brigades will improve the readiness of what should be the most quickly deployable battalions in the army.
Would there be utility to having what're presumably the cheapest sort of Regular soldier on tap to support Reserve training, whether as actual instructors or through using their own readiness process as a frame off which to hang Reserve training? Also, is a light battalion the desired deployable force, or a given number of light companies?
I think every time a Class B gets hired it should be where there is a RegF position vacancy and that the salary should come from the RegF pay envelope (that would need some changing of the system.)

🙂
Why there isn't a single pay budget, managed based on desired end effects, is beyond me. Discourages silly games.

Swerving somewhat, on the other end of the spectrum, some of the hand-wringing over Class A peanuts in my corner of the CAF really gets in the way of actually delivering the effects the CoC desires, by not adequately compensating members for work done: the automatic paid slate for cadet corps is 1 x 35 days/year, 4 x 25 days/year, but there's no provision for redistributing that in permanently understaffed corps, though, following the logic of the pay allocation, it takes a minimum of 135 days/year of paid time to operate a corps.
 

daftandbarmy

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Would there be utility to having what're presumably the cheapest sort of Regular soldier on tap to support Reserve training, whether as actual instructors or through using their own readiness process as a frame off which to hang Reserve training? Also, is a light battalion the desired deployable force, or a given number of light companies?

Right now there are no Reg F trainers in a Reserve Force unit. None of the ones I've been part of for the past umpteen years at any rate.

Reg F staff are largely employed as either administrators (e.g., Adjt, Chief Clerk) or Ops Planners/Coord (Ops WO). Very few of them ever go out on weekend exercises. Some of the keeners do, of course, and they stand out as amongst the better ones.

I can't recall a time when a Reg F staff member ever delivered any training on anything. Oh, tell a lie, once we had a very keen Ops WO (PPCLI) who had a ton of combat experience and put the troops through a really good PWT 4 package, which they loved.

In contrast, in the UK, every TA Battalion has (or used to have at any rate) a Reg F training team of about 8-10 NCMs and a few driver/admin types, commanded by a Reg F 'Training Major', who plan and deliver alot of the training. Reservists deliver training too, of course, but there is always a strong core of regulars there to make sure everyone (including the Officers and NCOs) get good training. Unit COs are Reg F as well.

If there's one way to add value fast in order to increase readiness and retention, it would probably be to implement training teams like this in reserve units. (And not like the 10/90 scam, where they trained up a bunch of our troops then CT'd them all over to the Reg F when they were done :) ).
 

quadrapiper

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Right now there are no Reg F trainers in a Reserve Force unit. None of the ones I've been part of for the past umpteen years at any rate.

Reg F staff are largely employed as either administrators (e.g., Adjt, Chief Clerk) or Ops Planners/Coord (Ops WO). Very few of them ever go out on weekend exercises. Some of the keeners do, of course, and they stand out as amongst the better ones.

I can't recall a time when a Reg F staff member ever delivered any training on anything. Oh, tell a lie, once we had a very keen Ops WO (PPCLI) who had a ton of combat experience and put the troops through a really good PWT 4 package, which they loved.

In contrast, in the UK, every TA Battalion has (or used to have at any rate) a Reg F training team of about 8-10 NCMs and a few driver/admin types, commanded by a Reg F 'Training Major', who plan and deliver alot of the training. Reservists deliver training too, of course, but there is always a strong core of regulars there to make sure everyone (including the Officers and NCOs) get good training. Unit COs are Reg F as well.

If there's one way to add value fast in order to increase readiness and retention, it would probably be to implement training teams like this in reserve units. (And not like the 10/90 scam, where they trained up a bunch of our troops then CT'd them all over to the Reg F when they were done :) ).
That was what I was circling around: using the light battalions as a ready source of training teams who'd (at a completely outsider guess) be able to support common (e.g. Basic, PLQ, etc.), infantry, and whatever infantry-lite/shared soldier skills evolutions the non-infantry militia units need to maintain.
 

daftandbarmy

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That was what I was circling around: using the light battalions as a ready source of training teams who'd (at a completely outsider guess) be able to support common (e.g. Basic, PLQ, etc.), infantry, and whatever infantry-lite/shared soldier skills evolutions the non-infantry militia units need to maintain.

Or even, as a start, convert all the FTEs at the Bde HQs into training positions and assign them to the units....
 

MilEME09

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Right now there are no Reg F trainers in a Reserve Force unit. None of the ones I've been part of for the past umpteen years at any rate.

Reg F staff are largely employed as either administrators (e.g., Adjt, Chief Clerk) or Ops Planners/Coord (Ops WO). Very few of them ever go out on weekend exercises. Some of the keeners do, of course, and they stand out as amongst the better ones.

I can't recall a time when a Reg F staff member ever delivered any training on anything. Oh, tell a lie, once we had a very keen Ops WO (PPCLI) who had a ton of combat experience and put the troops through a really good PWT 4 package, which they loved.

In contrast, in the UK, every TA Battalion has (or used to have at any rate) a Reg F training team of about 8-10 NCMs and a few driver/admin types, commanded by a Reg F 'Training Major', who plan and deliver alot of the training. Reservists deliver training too, of course, but there is always a strong core of regulars there to make sure everyone (including the Officers and NCOs) get good training. Unit COs are Reg F as well.

If there's one way to add value fast in order to increase readiness and retention, it would probably be to implement training teams like this in reserve units. (And not like the 10/90 scam, where they trained up a bunch of our troops then CT'd them all over to the Reg F when they were done :) ).
I tend to agree especially about the CO, the reserve officer Corp is relatively self taught. As a result many are at best bad at their jobs, and worst have no idea what their job is unless they have time over seas or working with the reg force for any significant amount of time. Officers need experienced trainers just as much as the NCOs do. Training teams who actually created meaningful training would go a long way.
 

daftandbarmy

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I tend to agree especially about the CO, the reserve officer Corp is relatively self taught. As a result many are at best bad at their jobs, and worst have no idea what their job is unless they have time over seas or working with the reg force for any significant amount of time. Officers need experienced trainers just as much as the NCOs do. Training teams who actually created meaningful training would go a long way.

Outside of a couple of career courses I can pretty much guarantee there was zero training for me planned as a part of my service over the years.

And I don't count the TEWTs which, in the 20-teens, were largely indistinguishable from the TEWTs in the 1980s.

I always tried to set up some kind of training for my Junior Officers, even if it was largely experiential learning during exercises where we had them leading recce and fighting patrols, and other platoon tasks.
 

GR66

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With regard to having three symmetrical Medium Brigades vs a Light, Medium and Heavy Brigade in all reality we only have the capability of producing Light Brigades, Medium Brigades and Medium Brigades with tanks. Our mechanized infantry will be LAV-based for the foreseeable future and the likelihood of our getting any type of tracked APC/IFV for an actual Heavy Brigade is somewhere between zero and none.

So if the only difference between a Canadian Medium Brigade and a Canadian Heavy Brigade is our single Regiment worth of tanks (and according to "Advancing with Purpose" there is no plans to increase the number of tanks we have) the question then is how do you group these tanks. You can either spread the tank squadrons between the Armoured Regiments (basically making them an infantry support weapon) or you can group them together in a single Armoured Regiment where they have the opportunity to act as a maneuver unit.

In my proposed model I made the Tank Regiment a Reserve unit. Maintains a capability for the CF that we need to have available but don't necessarily require for all deployments/missions. I dropped it into the Combat Support Brigade, but you could make it a Divisional level asset or put it somewhere else if that's important.

This would allow the Reg Force 2nd Division to have three symmetrical Medium maneuver Brigades (each with 2 x Mechanized Battalions and 1 x Armoured Recce Regiment). These three Brigades could rotate readiness and be equally capable for the majority of the missions the Army is likely to face. If required, the Reserve Tank Regiment can be mobilized and any one of the Medium Brigades can become a "Heavy" Brigade.

To me this model sounds more flexible and easier to manage rotating readiness than having three asymmetrical Light, Medium and Heavy Brigades.

That then leaves you with the question of our three Light Battalions. As mentioned by a few people, these are the most readily deployable elements of the Army. They could either be grouped together into a single Light Brigade and rotate readiness between them in order to have one Battalion ready for deployment at any given time. Alternately, they could be separated such that each can act as an "anchor" unit to a Light Brigade filled out by Reserve units.

Readiness could then rotate among the Brigades which would still allow one Reg Force Light Battalion to be available for deployment at any given time. The advantage of this in my mind is that it both gives the Reserve elements of the Brigade a clearer role for deployment in case of the need to mobilize, but also a clearer collective training path as they would rotate readiness along with their "parent" Battalion.

I think the Reg Force Battalion would also benefit by having a full Brigade going through the readiness cycle allowing for larger training exercises both within the Brigade and even with the Mechanized Brigades. By having a clearer deployment schedule for their parent Battalion the members of the Reserve elements of the Brigade could better plan for both individual Class-C deployments as well as formed sub-unit deployments within each 3-year cycle.

As for the 4th all-Reserve Light Brigade I will certainly defer to those with much more knowledge than I as to whether there is the depth within the Reserves to man an additional Brigade. Those units could certainly be split up to provide 4th companies to the other Brigade's Reserve infantry Battalions, or fill specialist roles within the Battalions like Combat Support platoons (Pioneers, mortars, AT, etc.), or some could be re-roled to provide additional support units for the other Brigades.

Some have also mentioned that there is no point in making these structural changes to the Army Reserve because there isn't the legislation and other enabling factors in place currently to allow the Reserves to actually fulfill these envisioned roles. To that I would say that they are correct and both changes need to take place. One change (the structure) however is within the power of the CF to do itself. Why not do that and have the Reserves ready to take on the task for when the Government is ready to finish the job by changing the legislation?
 

MilEME09

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Really we need to stop being delusional about our forces. With our tank numbers, we would barely field a Squadron if they all worked, let alone a Regiment. We need to either A, accept reality and put all our tanks to one unit, and re-role the other two, or B procure either more Leo 2s, or perhaps CV90120's to outfit all three regiments properly.
 

FJAG

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Right now there are no Reg F trainers in a Reserve Force unit. None of the ones I've been part of for the past umpteen years at any rate.

Reg F staff are largely employed as either administrators (e.g., Adjt, Chief Clerk) or Ops Planners/Coord (Ops WO). Very few of them ever go out on weekend exercises. Some of the keeners do, of course, and they stand out as amongst the better ones.

I can't recall a time when a Reg F staff member ever delivered any training on anything. Oh, tell a lie, once we had a very keen Ops WO (PPCLI) who had a ton of combat experience and put the troops through a really good PWT 4 package, which they loved.

In contrast, in the UK, every TA Battalion has (or used to have at any rate) a Reg F training team of about 8-10 NCMs and a few driver/admin types, commanded by a Reg F 'Training Major', who plan and deliver alot of the training. Reservists deliver training too, of course, but there is always a strong core of regulars there to make sure everyone (including the Officers and NCOs) get good training. Unit COs are Reg F as well.

If there's one way to add value fast in order to increase readiness and retention, it would probably be to implement training teams like this in reserve units. (And not like the 10/90 scam, where they trained up a bunch of our troops then CT'd them all over to the Reg F when they were done :) ).
Interesting. I did RSSO in 76-8 and my terms of ref (and those of my team) were to support the unit with whatever they needed. The clerk sgt was a simple situation because he couldn't do anything but clerk and did it full time. I had a WO and a Sgt who, like me did it all but heavily weighed to organizing and supervising training where reservists were able to deliver it or actually provide trg where they couldn't. We were out on all exercises as DS and supervisors. (the CO rarely showed up - which was generally considered a good thing). Ops planning/coordinating? We didn't do no steenking ops planning. It was all about training.

If folks aren't doing this now and everywhere then we've lost the bubble about what it is all about.

🍻
 

FJAG

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With regard to having three symmetrical Medium Brigades vs a Light, Medium and Heavy Brigade in all reality we only have the capability of producing Light Brigades, Medium Brigades and Medium Brigades with tanks. Our mechanized infantry will be LAV-based for the foreseeable future and the likelihood of our getting any type of tracked APC/IFV for an actual Heavy Brigade is somewhere between zero and none.

So if the only difference between a Canadian Medium Brigade and a Canadian Heavy Brigade is our single Regiment worth of tanks (and according to "Advancing with Purpose" there is no plans to increase the number of tanks we have) the question then is how do you group these tanks. You can either spread the tank squadrons between the Armoured Regiments (basically making them an infantry support weapon) or you can group them together in a single Armoured Regiment where they have the opportunity to act as a maneuver unit.
...
Just to address this issue. We currently have enough tanks for a regiment plus a few and six mech battalions.

To make a medium brigade takes three LAV battalions and a recce regiment plus the usual arty engrs service bn etc.

A heavy brigade requires just two mech bns and you're quite right, they'll need to be LAVs if for no other purpose than commonality of equip. The LAV is not a bad piece of kit in it's own right. I'd say mass all the tanks in the brigade's armored regiment and make the RHQ and one squadron reg f to remain a centre of excellence in all things tank and two affiliated reserve squadrons to round out the regiment if it ever needs to deploy as an entity. That also leaves approximately two squadrons worth of armoured personnel to create the core of a recce regiment. (while the tanks constitute the brigade's third manoeuvre unit, there is still a need for a full recce regiment albeit a part of that could be reserve as well)

Grouping the tanks in one regiment significantly decreases the maintenance load across the country by virtue of the fact that some are only used part-time and that all the heavy maintainers are concentrated in one place. It also simplifies the heavy engineer capabilities by concentrating them in one brigade.

Just as an aside, forming a mech brigade and a heavy brigade requires some form of SP arty capability much of which (especially in the heavy brigade) can be reserve.

The above, incidentally, leaves a battalion worth of LAVs unallocated - some of which could go to the heavy recce regiment and/or be distributed to resf training centres for each of the heavy and mech brigades.

(Maybe while Eyre is acting CDS he can fix some of the Forces-wide problems so that the Army gets back on its feet. If he cancels just one frigate we can buy all the SP arty and GBAD and anti-armour that we need and then some 🙂)

Okay. Problem solved. It's Miller time.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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Interesting. I did RSSO in 76-8 and my terms of ref (and those of my team) were to support the unit with whatever they needed. The clerk sgt was a simple situation because he couldn't do anything but clerk and did it full time. I had a WO and a Sgt who, like me did it all but heavily weighed to organizing and supervising training where reservists were able to deliver it or actually provide trg where they couldn't. We were out on all exercises as DS and supervisors. (the CO rarely showed up - which was generally considered a good thing). Ops planning/coordinating? We didn't do no steenking ops planning. It was all about training.

If folks aren't doing this now and everywhere then we've lost the bubble about what it is all about.

🍻

Believe me, the Reg F resources are deployed to the greatest areas of risk for the CO: avoiding criticism from higher that your returns have not been submitted on time, etc. Oh, and getting clearance so the Class A chattel can go out and sleep in the mud, shoot on ranges, do parades up and down the main streets etc.

I've never seen a Reg F RSS staff member deliver any training/ lectures, except on a rare few occasions. They sometimes joined us on the ranges, managing ammo and rations etc. They might have run a relay as RCO, but I can't remember the last time I ever saw that. Once, I saw the RSS run a grenade range, which was nice of him.

They never joined us on weekend FTXs. One or two might have come out on occasion, but I only remember two or three (in over 20 years) who actually put on cam cream and wandered around in the rain with us. More often than not they claimed deep and mysterious medical issues, or pressing family or work commitments (Class A have no family or work commitments, right?) that kept them from spending 2 days in the field once per month. There was no accountability related to this, of course.

To be fair, most of the (Class A) COs I've had were about as rarely seen out of the armoury and in the field. On occasion they might turn up with the RSM for a quick cameo - and to point out we were improperly dressed or something - before going home to catch the big game on TV, so I assume the Regs were only following their example.

I know that experiences differ but based on my experience, in general, the 'outside apartheid' policy was pretty stark: Rifle company troops from Major on down - outside on the weekends and run your own training. Everyone else, except for a few 'sustainers' gawd blesss 'em, take it easy at home. RSS, take a day off in lieu for all the hard work they notionally put in on the weekend.
 

Remius

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Believe me, the Reg F resources are deployed to the greatest areas of risk for the CO: avoiding criticism from higher that your returns have not been submitted on time, etc. Oh, and getting clearance so the Class A chattel can go out and sleep in the mud, shoot on ranges, do parades up and down the main streets etc.

I've never seen a Reg F RSS staff member deliver any training/ lectures, except on a rare few occasions. They sometimes joined us on the ranges, managing ammo and rations etc. They might have run a relay as RCO, but I can't remember the last time I ever saw that. Once, I saw the RSS run a grenade range, which was nice of him.

They never joined us on weekend FTXs. One or two might have come out on occasion, but I only remember two or three (in over 20 years) who actually put on cam cream and wandered around in the rain with us. More often than not they claimed deep and mysterious medical issues, or pressing family or work commitments (Class A have no family or work commitments, right?) that kept them from spending 2 days in the field once per month. There was no accountability related to this, of course.

To be fair, most of the (Class A) COs I've had were about as rarely seen out of the armoury and in the field. On occasion they might turn up with the RSM for a quick cameo - and to point out we were improperly dressed or something - before going home to catch the big game on TV, so I assume the Regs were only following their example.

I know that experiences differ but based on my experience, in general, the 'outside apartheid' policy was pretty stark: Rifle company troops from Major on down - outside on the weekends and run your own training. Everyone else, except for a few 'sustainers' gawd blesss 'em, take it easy at home. RSS, take a day off in lieu for all the hard work they notionally put in on the weekend.
You just described exactly what I saw at my unit over the last few decades. And what has been seen at other units I know.
 

daftandbarmy

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You just described exactly what I saw at my unit over the last few decades. And what has been seen at other units I know.

Terrible, isn't it?

The other sad thing I observed over the years was that, occasionally, you'd get a really keen RSS WO (less so the RSS Captain, for some reason) who wanted to do more for the troops, and were very capable of doing so, but 'they' eventually ground the poor buggers down and put them back in the office 'where they belonged'.

This didn't mean that we were leaderless, or couldn't deliver the goods when we had to. On the contrary, I was always impressed by the leadership and skill of our Class A NCMs and Officers.

What tended to happen was, over time, the really good reservists burned out and just couldn't keep delivering all the training and leading all the exercises/ courses anymore because they had jobs, school, and families, and being away every weekend (which is entirely possible what with training, courses and other things going on) was just too much.

PAssivly poor RSS weren't the biggest issue. If you had 'actively obstructive' RSS, this would magnify the difficulties for the Class A leaders to the point where the red tape, and often open derision/hostility, would strangle the passion out of them and then that was it. No more 'sticking my neck out' anymore.
 
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