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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.
Agree. And having kit in stock to donate also seems to be a valuable asset. Perhaps even more important than supplying a few more trigger pullers.
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.
I like keeping the Force In Being from the Just In Case Force separate. It clarifies things and makes sure that the Force In Being has what it needs and it is clear what it doesn't have and what it can't do. With the Total Force concept it is way too easy to say "oh sure, we can do that, just give us a minute while we do a quick round up of the reserves and see who is available".
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.
And we insist on thinking of mobilization as only being applicable for bang-bang shoot-em-ups! Mobilization has to mean being able to respond to any disruption to the economy and the society.
Question: Is dealing with a nuclear strike, whose effects broadly mimic a natural disaster, a civil emergency or a military one?
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.
I think the key phrase there was "speed it up".
There was something to the old MITCP programme. Most people could afford 2 weeks a year for a couple or three years. And the instructors, likewise, only had to commit 3 weeks a year to the course (assuming somebody else organizes the lesson plans). Effective training can occur on nights and weekends as well. It just doesn't look like Victorian square-bashing.
The effort won't create an augmentation force for the Regs but it will create a willing force base for mobilization when the world goes to hellinahandbasket.