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

Michael OLeary

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Yard Ape said:
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.

Actually , the MCSC is the Reserve equivalent to the Army Operations Course conducted at the Canadian Land Force Command and Staff College (CLFCSC) in Kingston.
 

Brad Sallows

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I continue to hold my view that reserve participation in ongoing peace operations should be limited to individual augmentation unless we choose to stand up a contingent as the Special Force.  Any crisis requiring a greater degree of mobilization of reserves should be something for which all go for the duration, and "rotation" is limited to pulling people out of the line after a tour and posting them (perhaps with a trade remuster) to a less stressful position.
 

MJP

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'Cause it's always easy to reduce and downsize, but very hard to increase and expand
So true.   The reserves strength is allowable up to 18, 500 IIRC as it stands right now (what   they are allowed not what they have).   Any reorganization would have to take that into account and ensure that the reorganized role has spots on the TO&E for all 18,500 potential soldiers.   As well plans would have to be in place to ensure that if the numbers were allowed to increase, there will be a place to put them.  

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.

Very true Michael but I think that situation is the exception not the rule as most reserve units have two or three units in an armories in most locations and therefore would have some sort of ASC(Armoury Support Center).   I could be wrong in my generalizations though as I'll be the first to admit I have no experience with reserve organizations in the East.   I base most of my thoughts on 38, 39, and 41 Brigades.    For the most part most administration is handle by ASCs which consists of several Reg force RSS clerks and quite a few Class B clerks doing most of the claims, releases as well as most other things mentioned in your quote.   My wife has worked at two units and for the most part never handled much in the way of claims, releases, recruiting except to point people in the right direction.   Now when she worked at an ASC, she handled everything that you would imagine a clerk to handle.  


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 opportunity (Sect Comd leading sections, Pl Comds leading platoons, OCs leading Coys, Bn staff with a Bn to look after, etc).  
I agree!


reserve participation in ongoing peace operations should be limited to individual augmentation unless we choose to stand up a contingent as the Special Force
While the troops(Reg F) hated the CRIC organizations as they saw militia soldiers taking their spots on a tour, I like the idea and wished it was around when I was in the reserves.   It was probably one of the fews times that the reserves leadership there at all levels got to lead a full complement of sects/pls/coy with its integral ech.   I hope they plan for more of this sort of augmentation if we stay in Afghanistan for any length of time(even if it's just a reserve sect in a Reg Pl).

 
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Yard Ape

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Brad Sallows said:
I continue to hold my view that reserve participation in ongoing peace operations should be limited to individual augmentation unless we choose to stand up a contingent as the Special Force.
Generally, I agree.  There should be no need to send a full reserve sub-unit, but at the same time I don't think there is harm in sending a reserve sub-unit as part of a regular unit.

Brad Sallows said:
Any crisis requiring a greater degree of mobilization of reserves should be something for which all go for the duration, and "rotation" is limited to pulling people out of the line after a tour and posting them (perhaps with a trade remuster) to a less stressful position.
I think there could be a scale of mobilization lesser than this.  Not everyone went for the duration of the Korean War.  We could have a senario where 75% of the regulars launch to fight a war.  25 % of the regular field force (the guys in ATOF reconstitution)  remains in Canada.  This 25% and the mobilized Special Force will train individual replacments for the deployed force & int will stand-up the second rotation force (they will have 6 - 9 months to do this).  This second rotation force may arrive when the fighting has been declared over, but an occupation force is still required.  Occupation demands may require the the Special Force remain active for a few years after the wars ends.
 

Brad Sallows

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That "lesser scale of mobilization" is what I envision as mobilization under Special Force.  Instead of overstretching our existing regular and reserve forces, I would prefer a policy wherein if the government wants to get "stuck in" to a situation for more than two rotos, it pays the price to recruit, train, and deploy additional contingents under the Special Force until the commitment ends.

Roto 0: Regular Force elements at "ready" state in ATOF cycle.
Roto 1: the next Regular Force elements at "ready", augmented by reservists (individuals, formed coy/pl groups - doesn't matter)
Roto 2+: Special Force elements - newly constituted, to be stood down at end of commitment

From Roto 2 on, Reg F elements in the "ready" state in excess of whatever we want to keep in hand for immediate reaction could certainly also be deployed.  The point is to generate temporary surges under the Special Force in order to never be in a state of having "no troops to send".
 

Infanteer

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I don't think building units from scratch is a good way to engender trust and cohesion within a unit.

This "Special Force" system seems like it would be plagued by the same problems that affected the US Army with its individual replacement system in Vietnam.

Or are you reffering to something akin to the US Army's COHORT system, which maintain a pool of officers which where given their allotment of recruits, whom they trained and then moved into an active unit ready to be deployed.  This had the benefit of ensuring a stable manpower situation (everyone was on the same cycle), a familiarity within the unit, and previously established vertical and horizontal command relationships.
 

Brad Sallows

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Trust and cohesion: units managed somehow during WWII and Korea.  I do not suggest everyone from the private soldiers to the CO be recruited off the street, trained, and deployed in 12 months under the colours of a unit which has never before been known to the order of battle.

I am suggesting that if we can reasonably foresee, for example, that we are going to commit two battle groups and a higher HQ ongoing for at least three and possibly more years, we should after the first year be sending elements which have been constituted above the normal strength of the CF, standing them down after their respective tours finish (regulars back to the regulars or working up for another tour, reservists back to the reserves, civilians back to the street).  The promising soldiers could certainly be offered another engagement.

COHORT: without universal conscription?
 
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Yard Ape

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Brad Sallows said:
That "lesser scale of mobilization" is what I envision as mobilization under Special Force.   Instead of overstretching our existing regular and reserve forces, I would prefer a policy wherein if the government wants to get "stuck in" to a situation for more than two rotos, it pays the price to recruit, train, and deploy additional contingents under the Special Force until the commitment ends.

Roto 0: Regular Force elements at "ready" state in ATOF cycle.
Roto 1: the next Regular Force elements at "ready", augmented by reservists (individuals, formed coy/pl groups - doesn't matter)
Roto 2+: Special Force elements - newly constituted, to be stood down at end of commitment

From Roto 2 on, Reg F elements in the "ready" state in excess of whatever we want to keep in hand for immediate reaction could certainly also be deployed.   The point is to generate temporary surges under the Special Force in order to never be in a state of having "no troops to send".
I think we are in agreement then.  However, depending on the size of the Roto 0, more than half of Roto 1 could be Special Force (and would have to have been drawn from the reserves).  In a situation like this full units would train and rotate into theater.  Individuals would be sent to replace casualties, but they would train with the unit before its deployment (they would have been MMO) and they would come home with the unit (even if only 1 month in theater).
 
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Yard Ape

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Infanteer,
What are your thoughts on the old 10:90 battalions.  Reviewing your ideas conjured up thoughts of returning to a simillar structure across the reserves (althought possibly at a 60:40 ratio).  It would be the most likely way to achieve the level of reserve readiness that you write about.
 

Danjanou

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Not to jump in for Infanteer here but I think I noticed on another post he's off enjoying the wilderness for a couple of days.   ::)

My limited experience with 10/90 was that is was a good idea. The major shortcoming I noticed in the Militia was time needed to keep up with the F/T admin and maintenance etc. with a P/T staff. Often one found themselves (especially at the Snr NCO/Officer level) spending too many hours on a training evening doing "necessary admin" instead of training the troops!

Having a reasonable sized F/T cadre, as opposed to the understrength/overworked RSS and Class B to deal with this meant I would have been in a position to actually do my bloody job. Not that the paperwork side of the house wasn't per say my job I know, but then again I wasn't "working" with the unit 40 hrs a week, but only 6-8.

That said a 60/40 split seems a bit excessive for reserve units. When not involved in training/ex/ops what would all these extra bodies be doing? Second point where would they come from? Stealing from already understrength regular units is not on for obvious rreasonsAlso add in admin details such as housing   in urban areas that would become another burden.

Class B reservists might be an option, but one ask to ask are they readily available? Outside of ececonomicallyepressed regions can we find enenoughqualified persons" to fill the slots. Taking reservists from economically depressed areas to fill gaps in say Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto unit may look good as a job creation project, but that's not the aim here. Besides the same admin problems of posting inin regs would exist.

Good idea Yardape, but methinks it needs to be fine tuned.

I was right I opened the proverbial can of worms with this thread, but a good debate all around.




 
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Yard Ape

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I suggested a larger ratio of regular force over reservists because this number would give the regulars enough mass to conduct their own training independent of the reserve component of the unit.

I think 10:90 was a mixed bag.  It was very beneficial to the reservists (who got better support staff, more experienced instructors, more full time leadership), but it came at to high a price to regular force capabilities.  I would prefer we not go back down that road, but I brought it up as it seemed like the way to make Infanteer's ideas work (maybe).
 

Infanteer

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I don't know how this rumor of me camping with some girl got around here.... :-*

Anyways, to your question on 10/90 Yard Ape.

I can't comment directly on our specific experiment with 10/90, as it was before my time.  All I heard from both Reg Force and Reservists who were part of 10/90 was "It sucked ass" or "It was really great" followed by a variety of reasons (they stole our kit, Reservists/Reg Force guys suck, etc)

However, for the concept of Reservist/Regular intergration (which we called 10/90) does have some merit.  The two proposals here are interesting to look at. 

A return to a "10/90" approach would contain a certain number of regular NCO's and Officers to help run the reserve regiment.  These experienced leaders bring the "quantitative" aspect of the delta to reserve units (ie: there full time status means more time spent in training).  I think that this system would work much better if the reserves and the reg force had a single "qualitative" training plan (ie: the requirements for Sergeant, Lietenant, etc. were the same; no half-assed "militia" courses) in order to ensure that the reserve and regular force leadership elements were coming from the same foundational structure.

A "40/60" approach would bring a cadre of regular soldiers of all ranks to each reserve regiment.  I don't think this is plausible.  Do you keep the cadre together so they can train throughout the week?  Obviously, this would render any advantage of bringing the cadre into the unit useless.  Do you break the cadre up amongst the reserve companies?  What does a regular force rifleman do when his platoon commander and section 2ic only parade on Thursday?  As well, will a four year regular force private with tons of qualifications appreciate watching a reservist with 2 years in total and no extra training making corporal and (legally and theoretically) be of higher rank and responsibility (the same applies to all other ranks)?

Both contain pros and cons, but neither would work if patched over our current system which provides for such a wide gulf between regulars and reservists.  Organizational changes to how the Reserves organize and train such as I propose are done to reduce this gulf.  If the gulf can be significantly reduced through change and support (both political and military) I don't think either should be necessary; the Militia could run its side of the house.

As an aside, I've seen that Australia incorporates both reserve and regular units at the formation (Brigade) level.  Do they intergrate at the unit level?  I remember the Australian reserve system was a key topic at a Reserve Symposium held at the University of Calgary, but I never heard or seen anything that came out of this, did anyone else?
 

McG

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Our force generation and force employment structures do not need to be an exact match.  What is important is that the force generation structures of the regular force and for the reserves are in harmony and able to produce the desired force employmet structure.

The new engineer force generation has three sections in each regular force troop.  However, we still plan on four sections in each troop deployed on operations.  The reserves will be expected to provide that fourth section for every mission in which suitable work-up time is available.  This same approach could be taken to send every infantry BG out the door with four rifle companies.  Having formed & rigid reserve battle groups maintained at a deployable level, only to employ them a section or a platoon at a time would seem inconsistent to me. 
 

pbi

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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

These parallel to an interesting degree the changes we have just initiated in 38 CBG now under LFRR Ph II:

-One Svc Bn from three; (approved for stage one: Grouping, order issued);

-One Arty Regt from three units; (approved for stage one: Grouping:, order issued); and

-creation of an Engineer Sqn inside the FGH Recce Regt (approved and should be underway now).

The first two represent very little saving in moneys: they were proposed after years of consideration because we simply cannot adequately sustain all the separate unit-level command appointments. The third was a compromise we reached with the Army after being told we could not raise an independent Sqn to replace 22Fd.(Flin Flon)

As to the problem of Reserve strengths being a recent one, I suggest that in fact most Reserve units are healthier now than they have been in years. I started my Reserve service in 1974 and I do not recall these supposed "golden days" of full strength units. I think that in fact these units were actually rare and their full strength a periodic thing. Understrength units were certainly the rule during my time in the Res.

Cheers.



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H

Hanna144

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Hi all,

I've read the previous debate with some interest as to how the training could be more efficient, but I was surprised that the recent experience here in 34 Brigade hasn't been mentioned.   Last year the infantry units all started training together in combined companies.   Last year, the Blackwatch, CGG, and de Maisonneuve formed one company - this year, its BW, FMR, and 6 R 22 R.   There are at least two other companies training in the brigade (the BW have a platoon in the other company).   The training plan builds up to company level exercises at the end of the year.   One unit supplies the company HQ for the year - last year it was the BW, for example.   I think this addresses some of the practical points brought up in the thread; I have to admit, its nice to have an exercise where the other platoons are not "notional".   I have the suspicion (not confirmed by anyone) that the long-term plan will be to combine the companies at some point for real "battalion" level exercises, ie. with the RCH, etc.   For now, we have at least 3 companies going out on exercise as companies. There is no formal regimental level amalgamation - all the regimental traditions, etc are still functioning - but the brigade is taking the operating units and deploying them in a more functional and efficient manner.

Just thought I'd pass that on...
 

pbi

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Hanna: In 38 CBG our Arty, Cavalry and Infantry have followed this system (more or less) for several years now. we apply it for all the reasons you give. Our Arty Change Proposal for LFRR PhII is based on making this practice the basis for Arty organization. Cheers.
 
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REZTEEN

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Question for all what, what role do you all think the role of Canada's reservists be in this new century be. Cause the reg force is becoming more and more stretched. So should the reservists play a more active role at home and abroad.
 
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NavyGrunt

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Im not sure if its feesible to extend the responsibilities of reserves. If reservists were so willing and able to go trapeezing around the globe why wouldnt they just join the reg force? ???

Let me have it guys.....
 

pbi

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I'd say that given all of our needs, and all of our realities, we've got the three Army Res roles just about right:

-Augment the Regular Force: This traditionally meant "individuals" but in the past few years has progressed to formed sub-units and it is not at all inconceivable that we could deploy formed units (composite, of course....) if hte operational situation permits. The USARNG does it and, as I have observed numerous times before, our average Res soldier is at least as checked out as the average ARNG soldier if not more. IMHO Our Regular Force will always need a surge growth capacity for specific missions, and our Res provides the best way to do it. We should NOT have solely a "niche" Reserve: we must protect and enhance the ability of the Army Res to augment/repl the Regular Army as much as possible given the limitations we face. If we put capabilities solely into the Res, we risk being unable to force generate them adequately (or rapidly) if there is a surge: the NDA does not allow us to draw on our Res as reliably as the US can. This might be acceptable for assets that will rarely be drawn on, such as heavy artillery or heavy engineering;

-Provide a Base for Mobilization: This is closely related to the above issue, although conceptually it envisions a more advanced state of emergency than "augmentation". IMHO there may be some confusion caused by the Army decision to use the terms Mobilization Levels "One" and "Two" to refer to activities we often tend to think of as just "augmentation". Under this role we can see tasks such as domestic ops (humanitarian ops as well as Homeland Defence if that ever gets sorted out...) and mobilization for a conflict larger or more prolonged than "augmentation" can handle; and

-Connecting With Canadians (Community Footprint): As bossi so ably pointed out, this is an important role. Millions of electrons have been expended on this website bemoaning the fact that Canadians are ignorant of their military: the widespread Army Reserve presence is an excellent way to counter this problem. Regular Army field units also do a very good job of Connecting with  Canadians, but they are only in a few locations. If this role is carried out successfully, it will make the other two easier.

As roles, I think these are fine. Under these roles we can easily fit the range of missions and tasks we ask of the Army Reserve on a constant basis. IMHO we must avoid an overly specialized Res: it needs to be as flexible and capable as we can make it. We also need to avoid undoing the very good healing process of the last few years by further separating the Res from the Regular Army in any significant way.  Cheers.
 
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