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

Infanteer

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Since this thread seems to be leaving the realm of Military History, I'm moving it to the general discussion section.

-To provide the framework for mobilization
I have argued that this role is out of date.

-To augment and sustain the regular force
This is what the militia really needs to focus on.   It is only being done half-assed.   What is the point of training a reservist up to a MCpl, only to see him lose all of his qualifications and be reduced to a private?   There needs to be one type of soldier, the amount of TI should matter only in the training, not the abilities of either.

-To serve as a link between military and civilian communities
This seems to be something thrown up for the hell of it.   The entire military is responsible for this, not strictly the reserves.

In the Land Forces there are 132 reserve units situated throughout Canada.   You can not tell me honestly they all parade at their full strength or rather train at full strength all the time(or part of the time for that matter).   The truth is the both the reserves and the Regs have way to many upper echelon for the amount of people contain within.   We can start a new subject on where the Regs could be improved but for now we are looking at reserves.

Quite true.   Most reserve regiments on paper have company+ strength (about 200).   For training, you often see platoon+ showing up.

If we ever went to full mobilization we should/would have enough warning to significantly ramp up reserve units or form new units.   Besides the numbers contains within each unit are so low right now that if full formed units were needed right away, they would probably algamate several reserve units together to meet any emergency.

I think by allowing reserve training to become more consistent, and allowing the leadership the ability and the opportunity to actually lead they can become a much better force overall and maybe we won't see such a huge training difference between reserve and reg force soldiers at all levels.

I believe the reserves should be structured to meet the demands required of it in the shortest amount of time possible.   Soldiers should be qualified to do their job at the level of their reg force counterparts following an intensive work up training.   Units should be built around deployable lines rather than some community or regimental one.  

Take BC for instance.   Why not forge all units into one battalion.   The four infantry units can provide a company each, the two armour units a mounted recce/direct fire support capability.   Give mortars to the arty units and have the engineers fill in a assault pioneer role, while the service battalion and the medics can form the admin company.   The battalion will have a colonel and a RSM (as opposed to the Brigade Commander/BRSM and the 14 CO's and RSM's that the Brigade has now).   All the regional armouries will be given sub-unit status and fill that TO&E (which seems to be what they are cabable of).  The fact that this battalion would be overstrength is a bonus providing that many reservists are not able to commit to 100% if the training.   I think the British Columbia Regiment would be a suitable designation for this battalion, giving everyone in the province the same capbrass and colours to support regimental pride; however I think all the other units would balk at adopting the regimental affiliation of one of the armoured units.  This battalion would receive a single training budget and would do its utmost to train as a full unit when possible.   Although efficiency is a target here, the single most important aspect of this is unity of command and effort, that tried and true concept that ensures everyone is working towards supporting the main effort.   Right now we have Reserve units training willy-nilly around the country, pissing away dollars on individual units that could be combined for something better.

Two ideas in how to incorporate this battalion into LFWA.   Make the three reserve battalions (What were 38, 39, and 41 CBG) part of 1 CMBG.   I could see advantages by being in the Brigade training loop and can lead to increased levels of reserve/reg interoperability.   However, this one sounds less plausible for a realistic fear that the reserves will be viewed as a burden to the Brigade commander and much of the reserve portion of a Brigade budget will be appropriated for the regular force units.

The other possibility is to have 2 Brigades within LFWA, 1 CMBG and 3CBG.   A reserve Brigade staff to control the units of Western Canada will be directly responsible to the LFWA commander.   If things were done right, 3 CBG could be called upon to supplement 1 CMBG during the ATOF cycle.   Take Afghanistan; 1 CMBG will be tasked to provide a battlegroup based around an infantry battalion.   The next incoming Battlegroup can be a 50/50 mix of 1 CMBG and 3 CBG.   Finally, a full 1 CBG battle group can be inserted, perhaps with certain elements of the 50/50 group remaining on to help with C2 efforts.

This may sound a bit dreamy, but I hope you can see I'm trying to work towards making the reserves a fully functioning force to augment the regular force in short order.   If the military's idea of effective augmentation is to keep the reserve units on the backburner until the Soviets cross the Elbe river, then the Militia just may as well pack it up and join the military when that time comes.   Why should 20,000 regulars handle the majority of the load during wartime (we are at war, if you all remember) when there are about 15,000 reservists, most who are willing to contribute.   But to do so effectively, they must be properly trained (one standard in qualifications), properly led (get rid of this MITCIP crap), and properly supported by the government (funding and job protection).   It may seem like a tall order, but like I said before, that's what the leadership (civilian and uniformed) is for.
 

MJP

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-To provide the framework for mobilization
I have argued that this role is out of date.

Very out of date, but there will always be a "higher HQs" for reserves.  Even under your LFWA proposal, the framework is still there, and should be, should it ever be needed.  I just happen to think, like you that the fat needs to be trimmed away.

Why not forge all units into one battalion.  The four infantry units can provide a company each, the two armour units a mounted recce/direct fire support capability.  Give mortars to the arty units and have the engineers fill in a assault pioneer role, while the service battalion and the medics can form the admin company.

I was waiting for someone to jump in with but what do you do with the armoured/medics/service Bns.  I was thinking along the same lines too Infanteer.  Can you imagine an exercise where there is actually a recce screen, an actual advancing element, arty support, service support and even medical support?  The ability for the reserves to train as a collective whole with all cbt and supporting arms is something that is vital if augmentation is to be as seamless as possible.  I have only seen one reserve exercise, where all of these have come together and even then it was a special MILCON type exercise that took a ton of planning.  Now with that being said, I've been out of the reserves since early 01 and they may have had some success in having these sorts of exercises on a regular basis since then.  But I think its the exception not the rule. 

viewed as a burden to the Brigade commander and much of the reserve portion of a Brigade budget will be appropriated for the regular force units.

I would hope that Reserves would be recognized for what they could potentially be, which is effective augmentees to any mission the CF undertakes.  If trained properly there really should be no reason why sub units couldn't join a Reg BG as augmentees, only needing the same sort of workup that their regular counterparts endure.  Were unit members kept together for the CRIC Coy on ROTO 11 or was everyone pretty much thrown into a spot?  I ask because I think the way the CRIC coys were heading was step in the right direction, but the value of the any Coy like that would be lost initially if members that trained together, weren't kept together. 

  But to do so effectively, they must be properly trained (one standard in qualifications), properly led (get rid of this MITCIP crap), and properly supported by the government (funding and job protection).  It may seem like a tall order, but like I said before, that's what the leadership (civilian and uniformed) is for.

I think one of the major obstacles to any sort of reserve restructuring is the reserves itself.  Way to many people like their kingdoms they have built and view change as an attack on themselves.  I don't want to see the loss of regiments anymore than anyone else but the reality is that the number of troops doesn't justify the framework right now.  Danjanou's comment "Just how many Militia Lt Col's does it take to "oversee" a weekend training exercise of two rifle platoons anyway?", keeps rolling across my mind when I think of this subject. 
 

Danjanou

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Whoa, do I get the feeling I've opened a can of worms here.

Infanteer and MJP have both put more clearly some of the ideas I was trying to get at, and the inherent advantages and benefits that I saw resulting form such an amalgamation. Also thanks Infanteer for moving this.

Yes it would take a lot of work and there would be several bruised egos along the way. As noted a lot of people have built up little fiefdoms and would be most unwilling to part with them. Now I've been out of the loop for a bit, but from what I remember those same senior individuals for the most part are the ones who are part of the problem, the â Å“social club soldiers.â ?

I remember taking over as CSM of a rifle coy in Toronto (ok we hard pressed to put a platoon in the field when I took over) and having to explain to a couple of my Sergeants that no Tuesday Night Parade was not an excuse to say â Å“carry on Cplâ ? at 1930 and head for the Sgt's Mess. Some resented that and eventually found new homes, a few came around to my way of "work is work and play is play" and eventually we built a new company over a 4-5 year period that was at full or close to it strength when I left  (and I mean taking 100-140 bodies, 3xPls an HQ and an A-Ech into the field apart from the rest of the regiment), and when they got there knew what they were doing.

We can bring Reservists up to the standard that they can with minimal work up take their place on the wall beside their Regular counterparts. There are members on the board who are examples of that. We need however to make the decision to do so and part of that is realising that our present organization is unwieldy, top heavy and just bloody not working and go from there.

Amalgamation is not something new to the Militia. Just about every unit now on the Order of battle is a result of some sot of amalgamation or conversion in the past. Especially in the Infantry.

How we go about it though as Infanteers example show will require a little thought and give and take to minimize the hurt. Do we just group the units by geographic region (the BC Regiment, The Winnipeg Regiment, The Toronto Regiment etc)? Or do we try and lump all the â Å“Highlandersâ ?, â Å“Riflesâ ? â Å“Hussarsâ ? etc into new units? Perhaps a combination of this would be best.

Then how far do we take it Will the new â Å“Toronto Highlandersâ ? three component rifle companies wear the insignia and accoutrements of the 48th Highlanders, Toronto Scottish and Lorne Scots respectively or after a while will they sport some â Å“newâ ? cap badge and tartan?

The first step just is to determine just how many Bns, Bdes etc we need. I think based on what we have now we could probably end up with 6 fairly full strength Brigades spread across the country each with 3 Inf Bns ( light and/or LAV),an armoured Regt., and attached Artillery Engineer and Svc Support units.

I think that the various CSS and support arms Arty & Engineer may be easier to do than the Infantry and the Black hats. They may find it more palatable for the present Arty units to become batteries or even troops as part of a new full strength Unit. Same for the thumpers Mind they've always been a practical lot.

Well that's more than my two cent's worth for today.
 
Y

Yard Ape

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A few thoughts on structuring the reserves for mobilization & doing away with superflous battalion HQs:

1)  Most of the LCol that are reserve COs would disapear into staff jobs or carry on as the CO whatever elements of the regiment contiue to parade & train in the local armouries here in Canada.  In an army that has no divisions, reserve officers will be the most likely source to stand-up the headquarters of any formation above brigade.  In this regard, are we any worse off if we have only a quarter as many LCol, but twice as many MCSC qualified Maj & Capt?  The staff experience of these officers would also be greater.  Instead of filling the job of Ops O in a regiment with two rifle sections, a Pl HQ, and a Coy HQ, officers would have the experience of Ops O for 3 to 5 companies. 

2)  The linear chain of command in a reserve unit may breed a lack of appreciation for its necessity.  I have come across many reserve units where it is okay for anyone to visit the Ops O or the BOR to resove issuse that they should push through the Chain of Command.  In a full-up battalion structure, people will quickly learn that these people/offices do not have the time for them.  It will also ensure that leaders at more junior levels learn to deal with more of the personnel administration sooner. 

3)  Mobilization is not possible without the equipment.  We don't have enough for the regular force, so equiping the reserves is not likely.  But our allies will give us equipment you say?  Only after they have met thier own needs and if there is not enough, we will be the ones to do with out.  Recall the Ross Rifle?  The Brits would have replaced it before allowing us to go to France, but they did not have enough Lee Enfield to make this happen & Canada when to war with a rifle that is responsible for the deaths of many Canadians (but they died in good Brit boots that had replaced Canadian boots).  What about the Second World War?  Well, according to Desmond Morton "our utter lack of madern equipment kept us out of serious fighting until 1942."  Industry will not come to our rescue either, because it would take years to manufacture everyything for a modern brigade.

4)  Any future war most likely will be fought by standing forces, however the need for a military force does not end just becuase the politicians said fighting was over (look to Iraq).  The ability to mobilize follow-on forces for stability Ops would be an esential reserve capability. 

5)
MJP said:
I think by allowing reserve training to become more consistent, and allowing the leadership the ability and the opportunity to actually lead they can become a much better force overall and maybe we won't see such a huge training difference between reserve and reg force soldiers at all levels. 
I Agree

6) If the reserves only operate at the battle group level, then they will not be suitable to augment higher level formations.  This is more of an issue for Arty, Engineers, and CSS who may be called upon to fill thier roll in a brigade context.  They will not be able to if they have never done this.

So, I recomend:

A)  Keep the current brigades & restructure the Infantry & Recce regiments into multi-regimental battalions.  These battalions will have full-up Admin Coy & Bn HQ.

B)  Each brigade will have one service battalion.  Multiple battalions will be reduced to one Bn HQ & various companies spread around the brigade.  There will be one maintenance company & there can be multiple S&T Coys.

C) Each brigade will have one Arty regiment.  Multiple regiments will be reduced to one RHQ & various batteries spread around the brigade.  Independant batteries will be absorbed into the regiment.  Some batteries may be mortar tasked.

D) Each brigade will have one Engineer regiment.  Multiple regiments will be reduced to one, and independant squadrons will be absorbed into the regiment.
 

Infanteer

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Yard Ape, you state that "Any future war most likely will be fought by standing forces, however the need for a military force does not end just because the politicians said fighting was over (look to Iraq).   The ability to mobilize follow-on forces for stability Ops would be an essential reserve capability."

I agree fully, but I still can't see justifying a brigade with 500 to 1,000 soldiers meets the above requirement.   In the battalion-level structure I proposed, a reserve "Battalion Group" can train to fight as a battalion and be prepared for the "come as you are" conflicts that the Army must structure itself to fight.   If the balloon goes up and we get involved in a conflict that requires more then the regulars can commit, a reserve battalion which has trained together can be mobilized and deployed together.   I cannot see us doing so with the number contained in a reserve Brigade.

As an addition to my proposal, the hypothetical "reserve Brigade" should also have reserve units fulfilling its brigade level tasking in order to ensure that a Brigade can deploy as a whole if the situation requires.

Lets look at LFWA to flesh this out.   As it stands, LFWA contains 1 Regular Brigade, 1 CMBG, and three Reserve brigades, 39 CBG, 41 CBG, and 38 CBG, which are composed of a hodgepodge of understrength companies representing historical regiments.

My idea would organize LFWA into two Brigades.   1 CMBG would be the Regular Brigade, while 3 CBG (or whatever, I just picked the first unused number) would be the Reserve Brigade.

Here would be the breakdown.

BC (Formerly 39 CBG):
-   Provides the British Columbia Regiment (or Rifles, or Fusiliers; whatever floats your boat) consisting of 4x Rifle Companies, 1x DFS Coy, 1x Mortar Coy, 1 x Pioneer Squadron, 1 x   HQ and Admin Coy.
-   As well, provides 3 CBG Brigade Field Engineer Squadron. (44 FES in Trail)

Alberta (Formerly 41 CBG):
-   Provides the Alberta Regiment (or Rifles, or Mounted Crossbowman, or Jedi Knights; whatever floats your boat).   Same as BC Battalion.
- As well, provides 3 CBG Headquarters and Service Battalion (Edmonton).

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Lakes Region (Formerly 38 CBG):
-   Provides the Prairie Regiment (or the RCMP Musical Ride, or the Saskatchstanis; whatever floats your boat).   Same as other two Battalions.
-   Provides Brigade Artillery Regiment.

You could do the same with the other reserve Brigade groups throughout Canada (10) forming 3 to 4 (fully manned) Reserve Brigades.   Here is an organizational force that accommodates the manpower, equipment, and resources accorded to the Militia.   If BC saw fit to recruit and maintain 5,000 reservists, then I'd organize it as a Brigade.   But until then, we are playing with paper tigers.   Why not build an organization as you would have it fight, making it capable of deploying to the "come-as-you-are" wars that we will no doubt be required to fight in the future.
 

MJP

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I like both plans proposed but I see some things that might have to be fleshed out better.   Yard Ape brought up things I hadn't thought about and I lean more towards his line with the retention of higher HQ units to retain "the ability to augment higher level formations".   However I think that there should only be one for each supporting arm and from there in the actual organization of the force I like Infanteer's ideas overall.

On the subject of Arty yard ape has;
Each brigade will have one Arty regiment.   Multiple regiments will be reduced to one RHQ & various batteries spread around the brigade.   Independent batteries will be absorbed into the regiment.   Some batteries may be mortar tasked.
while Infanteer has
1x Mortar Coy (within each Bn) and Provides Brigade Artillery Regiment.(formerly 38 CBG)
This is again taken with LFWA as the example.

What if the Arty was all one regiment with individual batteries given to each Provincial Bn?   It would retain a higher HQ for the maintenance of the ability "augment higher level formations".   I thinkit would be mixture of mortar and 105 is needed, but not necessarily in the same "Provincial Bn".   These batteries would be integral within each Provincial Bn and could integrate with other batteries and the regimental HQ if needed.   I think we would be hard pressed to get mortar Coys on top of an Artillery Regiment as it is under Infanteer's plan, unless I read it wrong and the Coys are part of the regiment?

I think the same type of model would be undertaken for the rest of the arms; Engineer, Service Support.   I think it allows for flexibility to either train as part of the BN, train as a individual sub-unit or train to support an entire brigade.   This way reserve officers would retain the staff skills that are vital for any sort of operation and wouldn't be at a disadvantage for learning higher level staff functions as their reg F counterparts.


My apologies if I misinterpreted either one of your plans, long day much reading late at night..... ;)

Quick question to end this Yard ape what is MCSC? in regards to Capt and Majors for staff positions?   I'm assuming Militia something staff college but the acronym threw me for a loop.  Never mind answered my own question Militia command and staff course or college.

 

Brad Sallows

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Send our reserves "come as you are" to fight?  Maybe we should plan to just, oh, I don't know, train up a sizeable intake of recruits while we re-invent how to equip and fight formations again.  I await anyone's explanation why they believe our reserve would be prepared to warfight in formations (brigades and/or divisions) in anything less than six months to a year.  If our response to crisis is to deploy the reserve in composite battalions as-is, we will be ridden down like the proverbial grass and have nothing but registered letters and offers from the International Red Cross to deliver packages to PoWs.

Every time we have the "amalgamation" discussion I hope to see someone explain the "cheaper by the dozen" assumption.  I am still waiting.  Is there a secret time-and-motion study that was done proving that two-thirds to three-quarters of the reserve leadership and staff at the unit and brigade level is unrequired?

I have an idea.  Strip a unit completely down to a proper company establishment, with a full-time 2I/C, clerk, and CQMS for one year.  Let's see whether it collapses under the weight of administration or not.
 

Infanteer

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Send our reserves "come as you are" to fight?   Maybe we should plan to just, oh, I don't know, train up a sizeable intake of recruits while we re-invent how to equip and fight formations again.
  I think doing those is part of the neccessary steps needed to ensure we can deploy a reserve formation into a modern conflict.   That is why I've advocated the organizational and command structures to better streamline the reserve system to train as they would fight.

My ideas come from a combination of research and due to my own personal experiences on the ROTO 11 Composite Reserve Infantry Company, which was all reservist (expect for a reg CSM and CQ) sub unit that deployed as D coy, 1 PPCLI.   The unit was organized roughly with a platoon from each of the reserve brigades from LFWA, with 41 Brigade also supplying a Command element.   It was a success for the most part, and showed that with the proper work up, squared away reservists are just as capable of holding the line.   Unfortunatly, at the end of the ROTO the company was broken up with the soldiers being sent back to their home units.   Any level of cohesivness and teamwork that was built up was lost.   What I am advocating is building reserve companies at the unit level, rather then planning them as some sort of Regiment, ready to unfold the colours and march to Vimy.   This way, we don't have to start from scratch when we want to build a reserve subunit to take the place of the regular force one on a deployment.

I await anyone's explanation why they believe our reserve would be prepared to warfight in formations (brigades and/or divisions) in anything less than six months to a year.

I don't advocate trying to train reserves at the division or brigade level.   The regular force can barely accomplish that.   Unfortunately, our system is organized so we have to do so.   I say that reserve units train as a company and the former CBG runs their training as a battalion, as that is the de facto level of organizaton.   The problem is that these units think they are independent, when they shouldn't be.   This way, reserves can effectivly deliver company and possibly battalion level forces to LFWA for deployment.

If our response to crisis is to deploy the reserve in composite battalions as-is, we will be ridden down like the proverbial grass and have nothing but registered letters and offers from the International Red Cross to deliver packages to PoWs.

Well, to quote my Platoon Warrant from my platoon overseas, who spent 25 years in the Regs, did the Airborne thing and all that; "I'd put you maggots up with any of the Regular platoons I've been with...."

I thought that was probably the best complement of the tour.   Sir, if your not willing to give credit to reservists who can and have soldiered on, how are we to get anywhere?

Every time we have the "amalgamation" discussion I hope to see someone explain the "cheaper by the dozen" assumption.   I am still waiting.   Is there a secret time-and-motion study that was done proving that two-thirds to three-quarters of the reserve leadership and staff at the unit and brigade level is unrequired?

I have an idea.   Strip a unit completely down to a proper company establishment, with a full-time 2I/C, clerk, and CQMS for one year.   Let's see whether it collapses under the weight of administration or not.

Regular force Companies seem to do OK.   I know what position you are in, so perhaps you can help better explain the additional difficulties that reserve units face so our "wild theories" can take them into account.   If you think my idea is right out to lunch, please give me a better solution, because I've taken the time and effort to put forth something for everyone to digest.
 

MJP

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Brad Sallows said:
Send our reserves "come as you are" to fight?  Maybe we should plan to just, oh, I don't know, train up a sizeable intake of recruits while we re-invent how to equip and fight formations again.  I await anyone's explanation why they believe our reserve would be prepared to warfight in formations (brigades and/or divisions) in anything less than six months to a year.  If our response to crisis is to deploy the reserve in composite battalions as-is, we will be ridden down like the proverbial grass and have nothing but registered letters and offers from the International Red Cross to deliver packages to PoWs.

We've said before we would need full wartime establishment(Stage four National mobilization), the need for it would be apparent and the establishment of new units or the expansion of existing ones would be already ramped up or in the works.  Heaven help everyone if the balloon up so fast that it wasn't as "surprise the Regs wouldn't be ready either".


I have an idea.  Strip a unit completely down to a proper company establishment, with a full-time 2I/C, clerk, and CQMS for one year.  Let's see whether it collapses under the weight of administration or not.

I like the idea already....  ;) But all kidding aside. So I imagine every Reg Force Bn will collaspe any day now?  No I didn't think so, because the support beyond unit level is still there, as it would be under any sort of restructuring of the reserves that we are discussing.  I'm not advocating getting rid of all support wether it be administrative or staff.  In fact the same number of administrative staff would probably still be utilized if not more.  

Well the unit would be in "company establishment" they still would have all the support they had as they would still have a battalion HQ to plans Ops/ and assist in any administration(BOR/ASU/Whatever you want to call it) that the COY clerk cannot handle.  My clerk has no problems with supporting 125+ pers with BOR support. It just this Bn HQ would have a larger complement of soldiers under it, something reserve Bns aren't use too I'll admit.

As for your staffing comment I haven't seen too many people write reports or conduct studies that take them out of a job lately have you?
I bet you there are studies out there that prove the staffing system works and from my rudimentry level of understanding of it, I think it works to.  I just happen to think we are kidding ourselves if we think any reserve brigade is an actual brigade in sense of numbers.  Why have ten weak reserve bridgades when we can have 3 or 4 strong ones?  

As for needing more staff to ramp up additional brigades/division level HQs in case of emergency...I can think of a few unfunded project offices in NDHQ we can close.

 

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Why would a Reg F unit collapse?  Everyone is full-time.

I have heard over the past two decades, repeatedly, two contradictory themes:

1) "It would be as easy for one full-time person to fill this appointment for three or four units, as for one unit."
2) "You part-timers don't realize how busy we full-timers are."

My point is this: there is enough _required_ work - apparently - at the unit level to keep somewhere between 5 and 8 full-time staff busy, and 5 or more part-timers in senior staff and command positions busy for more part-time than is typically budgeted.  I certainly believe there is some duplication and unnecessary busywork which can be eliminated.  I am also aware that there are certain constraints that add to administrative burdens - recruiting, and messes and institutes are two examples.  We'd better have a clear idea of what must be done and who will do it before merging three or four units into one.  I would have welcomed a very stiff broom to sweep aside much of the routine humdrum, but that promise - it has been made by more than one person - has never become reality.

I have heard no full-time staff at brigade level complain of or admit to being underworked.

There is a certain amount of situation of the estimate in each person's mind.  I realize reservists have deployed effectively.  I wonder how a battalion with, say, 40% reservists in the line slots would fare two weeks into deployment while facing down an attacking regular Pakistani armoured brigade in some sort of imaginary crisis.  Obviously that's a different expectation than having a company at whatever constitutes "reserve readiness" state to train for deployment on the next peacekeeping / peace enforcement mission.

We don't gain much from organizing and training as we intend to fight if we don't deploy as we organize and train.  It doesn't require reorganization for the existing units to train collectively, just the will and funding to do so.

All of that amounts to secondary concerns in my view.  Forget battalion...

>What I am advocating is building reserve companies at the unit level

How many company-sized reserve units have achieved this and are ready to be amalgamated into battalions for battalion collective training?  Reorganization isn't going to wash away the need for pre-deployment (or mobilization) workups if we don't even believe the reservists should be routinely using the same equipment as the regulars.

If the role of the reserve is to be dumbed down to occasional backfill of shorthanded low intensity foreign adventures and shovel monkeys for domestic operations*, then as a taxpayer I say just pack it in and fund the regulars.

*Let them be paid as civilians, or show up as volunteers
 

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A Reg F Bn would probably collapse because bringing them up to wartime strength when some Battalions are down to as little as half strength would be a HUGE undertaking. If, in 6 months to a year the CF were somehow able to recruit the thousands of people necessary to fill up all the Reg F Inf Battalions to full, wartime strength, that would mean that between a quarter and half of your entire battalion will be either untrained, or brand new. It's doubtful that there would be enough leadership (Junior, Senior, Officer or otherwise) to sustain that kind of Bn. Unless you're doing field promotions hand over fist, it's a whole lot of untrained privates to be dealing with.
 

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My clerk has no problems with supporting 125+ pers with BOR support.

But remember that your clerk isn't manning the potentially only "open/public access" military desk in the community, dealing with walk-in or file preparation recruiting inquiries, releases, pay, possibly day-to-day budget monitoring as the FMAS point of contact, probably backfilling the Trg WO on monitoring tasks in the CFTPO, as well all as dealing with unit-level and pers admin in support of unit activities and out of unit training, courses and tasks.

In the Reg Force, clerks at the company level are very focused in their range of duties, and it's primarily pers support for the troops, often covering a limited number of trades and ranks. A full-time clerk with a Reserve unit, even though the number of supported personnel may be the same as the Reg Force Coy Clerk, is much more of a jack-of-all-trades, performing many functions that are transparent to the average soldier when they are being done right.

 

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That's why my old reserve unit (Coy size) has six clerks (1 reg RSS, two reserves).   If the reserve units can justify a requirement for extra administrative support, we can allow for that in a TO&E.

I think we are getting sidetracked.   Why are we letting issues of a clerk or two and some paperwork alter the doctrine and force structure for the Militia?
 

Michael OLeary

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Infanteer said:
I think we are getting sidetracked.   Why are we letting issues of a clerk or two and some paperwork alter the doctrine and force structure for the Militia?

Because when you start to generalize remodelling collective Reserve units against a Regular Force unit model, you have to keep in mind that the workloads and responsibilities of apparently similar positions are not necessarily equal. And any new proposal still has to meet the status quo responsibilities of the existing unit(s). For example, a composite Reserve unit with sub-units in six locations has six recruiting points of contact to maintain, not one at the unit level (which is still one more than a Reg F unit).

 

Infanteer

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Of course my ideas are elementary, attempting to devise the best framework from which to work from.

Perhaps we should start a thread on how to approach reserve recruiting then?   I've posted multiple threads on my thoughts on recruiting, and CFRC members have been good enough to offer their first hand knowledge in turn.  Is there anything else to contribute?

My experience with reserve recruiting is that it lies in the hands of the CFRC.   Reserve units of about 100-200 members can sustain efforts to get local interest, recruits through the door, etc, etc.   They go to CFRC for all their processing, merely needing a signature from the reserve unit that says "Yes, we want this guy/gal for our unit."   Am I mistaken in this perception?

This is something reserve units do now and can continue to do as a sub-unit.   I can think of many different ways of ensuring the responsibility for recruitng gets picked up at the "Armoury" level (I've seen 'em done before).

Do you see any other problems?

(PS: Does anyone know how the British TA runs their recruiting?   I believe their "Armoury" level units are company strength.)
 

MJP

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Excellent finally got some people interested in the thread, that didn't agree.   Kinda hard to debate when the three main people all agree  ;).  Look forward to reading and replying when my new son(and wife) gives me the chance...back to the hospital I go. 
 

Infanteer

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Hey, congrats MJP.  If I had a big stinky cigar, I'd give it to you.

Is he going to be able to make the summer BMQ?  :)
 

Scott

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Infanteer,
In the Recruiting section of the forum there was a post from a young fellow who said that his local PRes Unit offered Co-Op programs for High School students, I am sorry that I do not know the accuracy of this. I think that this is one way to approach Recruiting for the Reserves. The PRes fits well with a student's schedule, from what I remember there were alot of long weekends used for ex's, spring break, summer vacation and part of x-mas break. I think that if the PRes were to get together with the respective Dep'ts of Education and work on this that we could have some fantastic results.  This doesn't solve the problem of keeping good NCO's, but I do think it could be a starting point. Perhaps this has already been discussed elsewhere....

Or what about offering young offenders a second chance. I realize that some may not want a young criminal around them with a loaded C7 but it is worth mention is it not?

Just a thought
 

Rfn

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MJP: Congratulations! and give your wife our best!

scott1nsh: In Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, there is a Co-op program, worked out with the school boards. It is a good recruiting policy. The only problem is the slow pace of the recruiting process is excluding many students...

Infanteer & MJP, and others: To go back to the reorganization and rationalization argument, I cant argue with your logic, you have put much thought into reorganization of the militia cbgs into battle groups, and maybe this will result in a more realistically trained and more deployable and effective force.

But consider this: Imagine: 10 years from when this plan is implemented, say in British Columbia, to "improve training, cut costs, and increase efficiency" someone looks at improving on Infanteer's plan, which has been implemented, and says:

"My goodness, 39 Battle Group (or The British Columbia Regiment to use Infanteer's suggestion for a name) has four Infantry companies (the former "bn" size infantry regiments) plus squadron/troop size supporting arms. And none of them are quite parading up to full strength these days, so I propose:

"reducing all those understrength companies to platoons, and get rid of those useless coy HQs! Most of them are at platoon strength anyway, who needs all those overpriced Majors and Sergeants-Major, and those fat old CQMS's! What a waste of money, we only need pretty much one Coy HQ, for all of the reserves in BC.

"Which would mean of course, we could get rid of 39 Battle Group HQ. No use for a LCol to command a formation of so few troops....

...And we will call the new formation...."39 Combat Team!! (or the British Columbia Cbt Tm)"

...and when that new organization has some size problems 10 -15 yrs down the road, they will start looking at the plans for ..."39 Platoon Group!!...."

Anyway, my point is, maybe we need reform, but we should think long term. Changes and reorganizations based on the sick situation of the Militia today could result in the Militia being rationalized right out of existence.

'Cause it's always easy to reduce and downsize, but very hard to increase and expand. If you think the scenario above is a bit far-fetched dont forget, and I think Mike Dorosh can confirm, each PROVINCE in the West made up it's OWN brigade group (or Militia District, to use the old term), just over 10 years ago.
 
Y

Yard Ape

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MJP said:
Quick question to end this Yard ape what is MCSC? in regards to Capt and Majors for staff positions?   I'm assuming Militia something staff college but the acronym threw me for a loop.   Never mind answered my own question Militia command and staff course or college.
Militia Command & Staff Course.   It is like the Toronto staff college for the army reserve.

Brad Sallows said:
Every time we have the "amalgamation" discussion I hope to see someone explain the "cheaper by the dozen" assumption.   I am still waiting.  
For me, this is about a greater training opportuity (Sect Comd leading sections, Pl Comds leading platoons, OCs leading Coys, Bn staff with a Bn to look after, etc).   We could take all the PYs & class B dollars saved & put them into the new regional Bn HQs (at least as far as I care).

Brad Sallows said:
I have an idea.   Strip a unit completely down to a proper company establishment, with a full-time 2I/C, clerk, and CQMS for one year.   Let's see whether it collapses under the weight of administration or not.
There are several reserve units that sucessfuly run off-site sub-units.   There are also several succesfull independant sub-units (though there were more before the medical branch became its own command).   Why can't this success be repeated in other Coy sized units?   Don't forget that a company can have an Ops O/BC, Admin O, Liaison O, and Trg NCO.   I would recoment the Trg NCO be added to the full time staff.

The proposal I have given my support to still keeps much more headquarters in place by retaining the existing brigades and reducing the number of battalion HQs.   In the same move Coy HQs would grow and the central battalion HQ would be larger than any of the previous regimental HQs.   One of my concernce with Infanteers proposal is that I envision independantly located platoons.   I do not think that these would have the staff resources to sustain themselves.  

Infanteer said:
I await anyone's explanation why they believe our reserve would be prepared to warfight in formations (brigades and/or divisions) in anything less than six months to a year.

I don't advocate trying to train reserves at the division or brigade level.  
The regular force should be capable of dealing with any mission that requires anything upto & including a brigade (or two).   If the reserves are required to mobilize, I would expect we need divisions or a follow-on force to relieve the already comitted regular force.   In our Op Tempo over the last decade, there should have been no need for the regulars to rely on the reserves (the fact that that need did exist is due to fualt of the regular establishment & manning).   There is nothing wrong with raising reserve companies (or even units) for PSOs, but we have time to do this throughoully & using only volunteers.   So, our mobilization plans must make room for divisions & possibly even a Corps.

Infanteer said:
What I am advocating is building reserve companies at the unit level, rather then planning them as some sort of Regiment, ready to unfold the colours and march to Vimy.   This way, we don't have to start from scratch when we want to build a reserve subunit to take the place of the regular force one on a deployment.
Most of our new reservists are highschool students.   You would need a new primary recruiting demographic before it will be come easy to deploy a company from a Bn spread over a province.

Rfn said:
'Cause it's always easy to reduce and downsize, but very hard to increase and expand. If you think the scenario above is a bit far-fetched dont forget, and I think Mike Dorosh can confirm, each PROVINCE in the West made up it's OWN brigade group (or Militia District, to use the old term), just over 10 years ago.
I think any restructure should have a growth/decay formula.   If a Coy could sustain a given strength for a given period, it would be authorised to raise an addditional platoon.   If a Coy were to reach authorisation for (lets say) 6 platoons it would split to two Coys.   If a company fell belwo a given strength for too long, it would loose a platoon.   Battalions would split or merge based on the growth of thier companies, and brigades would split or merge based on growth the the battalions.

 
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