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

daftandbarmy

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You are absolutely correct but geography cuts both ways. Our biggest source of reservists comes from urban areas where ranges are not easily accessible. Its obviously to impossible to move the population closer to the ranges, or vice versa, and your solution is a workable one but I think we need to look at more options, including restructuring reserves around skill sets that are not range intensive; more and better simulators; creating a RegF model that facilitates long term (perhaps a whole career) postings to urban areas; up front, intensive training of students with time for it; airlift of urban troops to equipment caches at bases - just as examples.

🍻

Realistically, if we can guarantee a regular deployment on some kind of live firing collective training for a week or 10 days just before everyone takes off for the Summer training period - probably late April/Early May after college classes finish up - this would add about 200% to the focus and effectiveness for the September-April training cycle, and about 500% to the satisfaction levels for most reservists.

If you want 'train to excite' a live fire attack launched through breaches blown by a series of bangalores - covered by live 81mm and C6 SF, would probably qualify.

For BC units, for example, that means deploying to Wainwright or JBLM. Which we used to do on a regular basis as I recall.

It seems that, since the 90s, this training pattern has gone by the wayside to the point that there is seldom any key focus for the militia training year.
 

markppcli

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Realistically, if we can guarantee a regular deployment on some kind of live firing collective training for a week or 10 days just before everyone takes off for the Summer training period - probably late April/Early May after college classes finish up - this would add about 200% to the focus and effectiveness for the September-April training cycle, and about 500% to the satisfaction levels for most reservists.

If you want 'train to excite' a live fire attack launched through breaches blown by a series of bangalores - covered by live 81mm and C6 SF, would probably qualify.

For BC units, for example, that means deploying to Wainwright or JBLM. Which we used to do on a regular basis as I recall.

It seems that, since the 90s, this training pattern has gone by the wayside to the point that there is seldom any key focus for the militia training year.
You can also do most of that in the Chilcotin. I’ve shot 84mm and done fire and movement live, with frag, there. As I recall RMRang used it for IPSWQ back in 2010?
 

daftandbarmy

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You can also do most of that in the Chilcotin. I’ve shot 84mm and done fire and movement live, with frag, there. As I recall RMRang used it for IPSWQ back in 2010?

I think I remember that. It might have been becasue OP PODIUM freed up some resources, and will power, to get that done in BC.

Since then there's been no attempt to run ranges like like - on a regular basis - up there AFAIK...
 

MilEME09

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Realistically, if we can guarantee a regular deployment on some kind of live firing collective training for a week or 10 days just before everyone takes off for the Summer training period - probably late April/Early May after college classes finish up - this would add about 200% to the focus and effectiveness for the September-April training cycle, and about 500% to the satisfaction levels for most reservists.

If you want 'train to excite' a live fire attack launched through breaches blown by a series of bangalores - covered by live 81mm and C6 SF, would probably qualify.

For BC units, for example, that means deploying to Wainwright or JBLM. Which we used to do on a regular basis as I recall.

It seems that, since the 90s, this training pattern has gone by the wayside to the point that there is seldom any key focus for the militia training year.
Wouldn't you want it the opposite? Have it near the end of summer to give them experience at what they just learned?
 

daftandbarmy

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Wouldn't you want it the opposite? Have it near the end of summer to give them experience at what they just learned?

Either is fine and, in the past, it's been done both ways. If you're going to do it at the end of the summer, then courses and summer employment contracts need to be aligned appropriately.

The biggest issue is that there is no regular annual training 'pattern' to align with, and rarely have there been opportunities to deploy sections/platoons on field firing activities, which is the 'bread and butter' stuff that our troops join for.
 

FJAG

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Realistically, if we can guarantee a regular deployment on some kind of live firing collective training for a week or 10 days just before everyone takes off for the Summer training period - probably late April/Early May after college classes finish up - this would add about 200% to the focus and effectiveness for the September-April training cycle, and about 500% to the satisfaction levels for most reservists.
I've mulled this over and found the big problem is the start and stop time of summer holidays for students.

Most provinces have high school students in school until the end of June while university students are open from end April. Both return late August early September.

That gives a two month break for high schoolers and almost four months for university students which is plenty of time for summer courses and a summer exercise. I tend to favour the last two weeks of summer (varying slightly for regions) so that both high schoolers and university students can attend and there is still time to fit in uninterrupted training from the end of school to the start of exercises.

My preferred model would go something like this:

1. High school student joins some time during the later part of the school year with an enrollment date of 1 Jul;

2. Assigned to a depot battalion working out of local armoury and/or local training camp. Takes a mandatory eight week modified BMQ/SC from 1 Jul until 31 Aug and then attends mandatory 10 x 2.5 day weekends at local armouries/distance learning during the winter while attending university or community college;

3. Immediately at end of 1st year university starts mandatory 3.5 month DP1 course on 1 May until mid August at which point he/she is transferred to his/her unit in time to join the unit for its mandatory two-week annual exercise;

4. From this point forward the only mandatory training is the 10 x 2.5 day monthly refresher training as well as the two-week annual exercise. All other training is strictly voluntary and it is assumed that while still attending schools individuals will take maximum advantage of DP2 and other individual training available during the summers. The intent is to create a very set pattern of repeated training that people can easily tune themselves to, leaves them plenty of time with the family on weekends and in the summer and still achieve a high level of individual skills; and

5. Officers have a longer mandatory DP1 training arc stretching over a four summers.

If I were king ...

🍻
 

MilEME09

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Either is fine and, in the past, it's been done both ways. If you're going to do it at the end of the summer, then courses and summer employment contracts need to be aligned appropriately.

The biggest issue is that there is no regular annual training 'pattern' to align with, and rarely have there been opportunities to deploy sections/platoons on field firing activities, which is the 'bread and butter' stuff that our troops join for.
I agree,schools do everything their own way, the infantry School, RCEMES, etc... they do not coordinate the reserve summer training season. On top of that courses at each school are scheduled to make no sense, like running a vehicle tech DP1.3 in may, but a 1.1 and 1.2 in July. Meaning those 1.1/1.2 students how wait till next year for 1.3.
 

daftandbarmy

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I've mulled this over and found the big problem is the start and stop time of summer holidays for students.

Most provinces have high school students in school until the end of June while university students are open from end April. Both return late August early September.

That gives a two month break for high schoolers and almost four months for university students which is plenty of time for summer courses and a summer exercise. I tend to favour the last two weeks of summer (varying slightly for regions) so that both high schoolers and university students can attend and there is still time to fit in uninterrupted training from the end of school to the start of exercises.

My preferred model would go something like this:

1. High school student joins some time during the later part of the school year with an enrollment date of 1 Jul;

2. Assigned to a depot battalion working out of local armoury and/or local training camp. Takes a mandatory eight week modified BMQ/SC from 1 Jul until 31 Aug and then attends mandatory 10 x 2.5 day weekends at local armouries/distance learning during the winter while attending university or community college;

3. Immediately at end of 1st year university starts mandatory 3.5 month DP1 course on 1 May until mid August at which point he/she is transferred to his/her unit in time to join the unit for its mandatory two-week annual exercise;

4. From this point forward the only mandatory training is the 10 x 2.5 day monthly refresher training as well as the two-week annual exercise. All other training is strictly voluntary and it is assumed that while still attending schools individuals will take maximum advantage of DP2 and other individual training available during the summers. The intent is to create a very set pattern of repeated training that people can easily tune themselves to, leaves them plenty of time with the family on weekends and in the summer and still achieve a high level of individual skills; and

5. Officers have a longer mandatory DP1 training arc stretching over a four summers.

If I were king ...

🍻

We already kind of do that, with CITY courses during the training year, I think.
 

MilEME09

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We already kind of do that, with CITY courses during the training year, I think.
Sorta, and brigade usually mandates each unit provide 1x instructor. Some give excuses and no fil, leading to some units having to shoulder more burden then others.
 

markppcli

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And inevitably supported by reg force augmentation so our average days away from home can be topped up to 180 plus, where upon we can be talked down to about how we “just sit around sweeping the lines.” Sorry tangent.
 

CBH99

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I agree,schools do everything their own way, the infantry School, RCEMES, etc... they do not coordinate the reserve summer training season. On top of that courses at each school are scheduled to make no sense, like running a vehicle tech DP1.3 in may, but a 1.1 and 1.2 in July. Meaning those 1.1/1.2 students how wait till next year for 1.3.
That has to be the dumbest thing I will hear all week, and it’s only 7:46am on a Monday…

So DP 1.3 is run first, for those who have completed 1.1 and 1.2…. And troops who didn’t get qualified the year prior then have to wait until after?


I know ‘Big Army’ doesn’t operate efficiently on the admin level, anywhere. If there is one common thing that binds together troops worldwide, it is the phrase “this doesn’t make sense…”

But could we at least try to have some synergy? Like FFS…. 🤦🏼‍♂️


One of the things we could and should do to help fix retention, is just to have some coordinated synergy at getting people qualified & doing what they signed on for, as quickly as possible.

More folks will stay. We save money. We have more qualified people to share deployments & such with, etc
 

daftandbarmy

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That has to be the dumbest thing I will hear all week, and it’s only 7:46am on a Monday…

So DP 1.3 is run first, for those who have completed 1.1 and 1.2…. And troops who didn’t get qualified the year prior then have to wait until after?


I know ‘Big Army’ doesn’t operate efficiently on the admin level, anywhere. If there is one common thing that binds together troops worldwide, it is the phrase “this doesn’t make sense…”

But could we at least try to have some synergy? Like FFS…. 🤦🏼‍♂️


One of the things we could and should do to help fix retention, is just to have some coordinated synergy at getting people qualified & doing what they signed on for, as quickly as possible.

More folks will stay. We save money. We have more qualified people to share deployments & such with, etc

Welcome to the last 20 years of my military service... dealing with the soldier level fall out from a Balkanized training system 'supply chain' at the parade square level.
 

McG

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I agree, schools do everything their own way, the infantry School, RCEMES, etc... they do not coordinate the reserve summer training season. On top of that courses at each school are scheduled to make no sense, like running a vehicle tech DP1.3 in may, but a 1.1 and 1.2 in July. Meaning those 1.1/1.2 students how wait till next year for 1.3.
There are lots of things constraining the schools that the average student and even incremental staff do not get to see.
Both schools that you have listed are responsible to run their officer training programs Jun through August. If a limited training resource cannot simultaneously support PRes NCM and ROTP/RESO training steams, then the schools are stuck placing that block in May for the PRes NCM (even if that block should happen last in the order of training).
 

RangerRay

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Back in the 90’s in BC, they would have the main concentration Cougar Salvo during high school spring break in March or April. Those of us in college or uni had Reading Week in February and mid-terms during Cougar Salvo so couldn’t participate. I was told the reason it was scheduled then was because all the officers at District HQ (or whatever 39 Brigade was called back then) in Vancouver were high school teachers. 🤷‍♂️
 

daftandbarmy

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Back in the 90’s in BC, they would have the main concentration Cougar Salvo during high school spring break in March or April. Those of us in college or uni had Reading Week in February and mid-terms during Cougar Salvo so couldn’t participate. I was told the reason it was scheduled then was because all the officers at District HQ (or whatever 39 Brigade was called back then) in Vancouver were high school teachers. 🤷‍♂️

As I recall, the main reason for running it in March related primarily to the availability of $ for ammo, and 'blowing the wad' at the end of the Fiscal Year was always easier than trying to scrape together cash earlier in the training year.

Thinking back on it I don't think there were that many people in 39 CBG who were teachers, which is a great shame of course ;)
 

Kirkhill

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So much about Ukraine - this article about the role of volunteers in the defence of Kyiv.

This should be considered together with the Brits training 10,000 troops in 120 days with battalion sets getting 3 weeks of instruction and batteries of artillery getting similar abbreviated programmes in the UK, Germany, the US and Canada.

“Everything was happening pretty fast. On the morning of 24 February, our battalion [of the 112th brigade of territorial defense] gathered during the first three hours. There were no more than thirty people. On the morning of 25 February, there were almost a hundred people. And the same day, by noon, the first Russian incursion had begun. For us, this operation was a surprise. We learned about it from the battalion of the National Guard who came from Novi Petrivtsi where the Russians had already been crushed, and they joined us too.

Then, only the incredibly quick military decisions by the commander of the battalion, the commander of the 112th Brigade [Oleksandr] Pavliy, and the Ministry of Defense saved the situation. We received a very large number of weapons in a few hours and turned a battalion with less than 100 people into one with 650 people. By the evening there were already 800. The next day [February 26] there were 1200 people. We immediately formed groups of 50-100 people and sent them to positions, and at the same time mining was carried out on the Hostomel highway.

It all moved very fast because in the first hours we needed to stop the first Russian groups and show that there were many troops in Kyiv. But we weren’t even creating an illusion: because indeed a huge number of people took up arms. For me, 24, 25, and 26 February were like one day, and only two weeks later from the logs of hostilities did I realize that then we didn’t sleep, didn’t eat, and indeed lived through it as if it was one day.

An incredible number of people came. On the afternoon of February 25, 700 people came to enroll, the crowd was huge, and it took me 20 minutes of aggressive persuasion for people to disperse. The fact that we, battalion officers [Myronenko joined the defense three years ago – Ed], knew each other and understood who was responsible for what helped us to quickly get down to work. And this is what allowed some units to grow tenfold. It is best when there are such groups of 10-15-20 people with an organizational core, as was also the case in other battalions.

We could do whatever we wanted without orders. We understood how many Russians were coming and we decided where to strengthen [our positions]. This is the first time we met so many people [joining the territorial defense]. It was crazy and such feelings are impossible to forget. Some of the units were in Moshchun, where it got quite scary. Every day we waited for the Russians to attack – everything was on a knife’s edge. We had this feeling for about four days, and everyone said goodbye to life, so overall it was quite easy. Only then, when it’s over, do you realize that it was complete madness, everyone has children, and so on. But then we were in a state of mind that a single person could not enter in principle. Everyone united and kept a rather cool head.

 

FJAG

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So much about Ukraine - this article about the role of volunteers in the defence of Kyiv.

This should be considered together with the Brits training 10,000 troops in 120 days with battalion sets getting 3 weeks of instruction and batteries of artillery getting similar abbreviated programmes in the UK, Germany, the US and Canada.

An awesome story. I won't try to argue about the fact that in a Canadian context such a situation and such a need is most probably unnecessary but I will take the following lesson:

You cannot rapidly expand a military force, regardless as to whether or not you have an enthusiastic core to build on, unless you have the weapons to give them rapidly. Our stocks of even the most basic of systems - the rifle - are very limited. Our crew served weapons even more so and heavy equipment close to non-existent. Just as importantly we lack any plan to expand the force. We're stuck in a "forces-in-being" rut. Much of this comes from our policy to use our equipment until its clapped out, then divest it while we acquire less than what we're replacing. Can you imagine where Ukraine would be now if they didn't have massive stocks of Soviet era equipment to fall onto and had to do a UOR for basic gear in those first few hours. Even the kindness of a few strangers providing them with key advanced weapons on an urgent basis would have been too little and too late.

I'm not saying that we need a home guard such as Ukraine and several other European countries have but, at the very least, we need a reserve force that is capable of doing more than providing individual augmentees to RegF units. The fact that even now, with Force 2025, we are once again targeting some form of nebulous Total Force founded in augmentation shows that we continue to fail in our thinking.

What is particulalry galling is that we have spent years in Ukraine (and the Baltics) teaching the western way of command and control but have utterly failed to learn from them about how to properly structure a defence force and a mobilization concept. We continue to treat the word "mobilization" as a dirty one while we continue to live under the false lessons of reserve service from Afghanistan with its concepts of augmentation and six month predeployment cycles and managed readiness and whole fleet management. We're over a decade away from Afghanistan and once again focussed on Europe and yet we continue to dither.

The accelerated training for the Ukrainians is also interesting but nothing new. We did something similar as part of TF Phoenix with the US in Afghanistan where for years we looked after the collective training phase of the ANA. It's one thing, however, to run such a program in times of emergency and another to do it as a steady-state program for the Canadian Army. Crash training and using every waking hour is usually quite doable for the course students, but burns out instructor cadres at an alarming rate. That said, we need to reprogram our training, at least at the DP1 level, to speed it up - especially to take advantage of ResF student availability in the summers - and to create a common standard for both RegF and ResF, while ensuring that individual instructors have a separate and sustainable work pace while the trainees are worked to the limit.

😖
 
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