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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

Good2Golf

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…maybe one day the Army, both the full-timers and the young part-timers trying to find excitement and the old part-timers trying to re-live their excitement, will figure out what it thinks it needs to be and how to look doing it, perhaps before Force 2030, or Force 2035, or Force 2040, or Force 2045, or…well…I’d be amazed if it even figures out light forces, let alone how many divisions it will be, or how many soldiers to a section, and how AT, AD, DF, CS, EW, etc. gets accomplished.

Interesting to see the slagging of others, as though the Army is the pinnacle of having its poop in a group. I just look at how the Army championed its funding responsibility for aviation in the late-80s/early-90s. CANSOF took Aviation seriously, played nice with the RCAF and it works well. I worked with them in a number of protects that were more than just rectal plucks with galleons filled with gold doubloons thrown at them. Lots of UORs perhaps in the early days, but experience and appropriate program discipline followed establishing a balanced capabilities-funding framework that fits within assigned constraints. Maybe the Army needs to have a somewhat revolutionary introspection, vice internally-thrashing evolution.

Good luck, Army.
 

FJAG

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Your attack on CANSOFCOM is without basis.
I think I might have used the wrong word with "inflated". I think you understood the point though. If you take a select group of people, give them solid budgets and continuous excellent training and keep them out of the worst of the turbulence that runs rampant through the CAF then you can't help but turn out a consistently higher product (even without the secrecy that keep whatever failings they have out of the general eye). I would think as well that if you saddled them with the burden of managing the rest of the organization and thus have to deal with everything the results would be no better - General Rouleau is a small example of that.

And yes, I was having a diatribe moment. 😉

Units are tasked to train their troops. With the Bde plan, they then plan their own training in accordance with the Bde plan.

Higher should let units know what dates they have in what training areas, and when they train with other units. Beyond that, it's the unit's mandate to draft their plan to meet the objectives as laid out by higher.
For a long time now we've had Reg F and Res F in a given region consolidated under a common headquarters. If nothing else the divisional system should have brought some coherence to the effort of integrated system.

🍻
 

Good2Golf

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If you take a select group of people, give them solid budgets and continuous excellent training and keep them out of the worst of the turbulence that runs rampant through the CAF then you can't help but turn out a consistently higher product (even without the secrecy that keep whatever failings they have out of the general eye). I would think as well that if you saddled them with the burden of managing the rest of the organization and thus have to deal with everything the results would be no better - General Rouleau is a small example of that.
The mark or a professional learning organization would probably be closer to assess long what worked for other organizations, and see what could be scaled applicably; vice seeing it as a win that a larger organization’s long-time disfunction would inert or demoralize some who had succeeded in other challenging, albeit reasonably supported organizations…it seems that some organizations actually revel, if not take pride in disfunction.
 

Kilted

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I mentioned this somewhere else, but it seems relevant here. We were told that the terms of service for the reserves were changing. We weren't given specifics, but were told that it was;t going to be one night a week and one weekend a month anymore, that the army was going to expect more of us. Does anyone know anything about this?
 

Kirkhill

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Units are tasked to train their troops. With the Bde plan, they then plan their own training in accordance with the Bde plan.

Higher should let units know what dates they have in what training areas, and when they train with other units. Beyond that, it's the unit's mandate to draft their plan to meet the objectives as laid out by higher.
Any validity in a standard curriculum to which all units can train? Might that not allow the unit to at least credibly identify its structural gaps (inadequate numbers with insufficient training)? They might not be the most effective unit but they would knoe what gaps they need to fill for next year's training plan.

Or is there already something like this in place?
 

Kirkhill

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Based on what I see now I would suggest the following:

Get rid of the notion of Force Generation and Force Employment
Put all the regular brigades on an operational basis and treat foreign exercises as operations
Separate the Reg Brigades from the Area Divisions and put all of them under an active, operational 1 Cdn Div, with CSSB, OSG and Sigs Regt, and with 1 Wing RCAF under operational control.
Have 1 Cdn Div (MGen) report to CJOC (VAdm)
And have 1 Cdn Div take lessons from CANSOFCOM (MGen)


Oh. And put everybody in a Khaki Beret.

C008374thumb.jpg




Leave the Areas to manage their militia and ranger units and liaise with provincial authorities.
 

daftandbarmy

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I mentioned this somewhere else, but it seems relevant here. We were told that the terms of service for the reserves were changing. We weren't given specifics, but were told that it was;t going to be one night a week and one weekend a month anymore, that the army was going to expect more of us. Does anyone know anything about this?

Based on the dozens of emails I received throughout the week from various micromanaging COs, hopefully this legislation will actually cut back on some of the stupidity :)

What if it were against the law for your boss to bug you after hours?​


 

CBH99

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…maybe one day the Army, both the full-timers and the young part-timers trying to find excitement and the old part-timers trying to re-live their excitement, will figure out what it thinks it needs to be and how to look doing it, perhaps before Force 2030, or Force 2035, or Force 2040, or Force 2045, or…well…I’d be amazed if it even figures out light forces, let alone how many divisions it will be, or how many soldiers to a section, and how AT, AD, DF, CS, EW, etc. gets accomplished.

Interesting to see the slagging of others, as though the Army is the pinnacle of having its poop in a group. I just look at how the Army championed its funding responsibility for aviation in the late-80s/early-90s. CANSOF took Aviation seriously, played nice with the RCAF and it works well. I worked with them in a number of protects that were more than just rectal plucks with galleons filled with gold doubloons thrown at them. Lots of UORs perhaps in the early days, but experience and appropriate program discipline followed establishing a balanced capabilities-funding framework that fits within assigned constraints. Maybe the Army needs to have a somewhat revolutionary introspection, vice internally-thrashing evolution.

Good luck, Army.
CANSOF enjoys many perks that the regular forces don’t, that’s no secret to any of us.

I agree with the notion that one should look at how CANSOF continuously puts out a high quality product, and manages it’s resources.

Plenty of UOR’s when CSOR was first being stood up. Which made perfect sense. They knew from their JTF2 brethren what kit worked, where to source it, why it would work (or not) given their mandate/tasks - and as a new unit, it made sense to buy what you wanted and needed without the headache.

Something we have done as a country (government) is we have created such a bureaucratic environment that it hinders us. The Government of Canada can’t even buy what the Government of Canada wants, because the GoC is too busy enforcing their own rules and telling themselves ‘no’.

CANSOF works because they have a clear set of tasks/missions, fund the capabilities, and keep themselves busy.

The Regular Army right now seems to be in flux because it doesn’t have a clear structure or mandate given to it — so it’s trying to be a little bit of everything just incase it’s called on to do this, or do that.

Are some capability gaps glaring and obvious? Yes. Easily fixable? Also yes.


I’ve said a few times now - and I don’t proclaim to be right - that if we gave the Army a clear set of expectations, talked with our allies about what capabilities we could bring to the fight that would be actually useful, and excelled at those…. We would simplify things for ourselves, and also be exceptionally good at what we do.

Morale. Training. Equipment procurement. Everything would improve once we have a more defined goal.


0.02
 

Good2Golf

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I’ve said a few times now - and I don’t proclaim to be right - that if we gave the Army a clear set of expectations, talked with our allies about what capabilities we could bring to the fight that would be actually useful, and excelled at those…. We would simplify things for ourselves, and also be exceptionally good at what we do.
CBH99, I’ll go half-way with you here…yes some higher guidance and direction, but the Army is also significantly part of its own destiny (as are the other elements/services) so it also has a professional, institutional responsibility to Government to have itself squared away, providing the most (or at least reasonably close to optimal) bang for the buck it does get. Personally, I think the other elements/services to a notably better job making a case to Government (and the people) for what and how they do things than the Army does. CANSOF is reasonably squared away and lifts the kimono enough (W5 special, opening hockey games by rappelling from the roof to be seen…just enough); the RCAF is fairly visible and deployed globally and flexibly when needed and really just had NORAD modernization, but otherwise sorted out, one big Div to conduct all FE and op FG and a smaller Div to conduct ab initio FE and PD; the Navy is structured reasonably well, just that it’s major capability lines (FFG, SSK, MCDV, AOR) are partway through elongating service live, but there’s a National plan to resolve FFG and AOR and we’ll see how the government’s take on SSK develops in the coming years)…so it comes back to the Army with how it want to shape itself for the future and make a compelling case for how it should look (orbat) and what capability composition it should have. I often use light forces as an example of the less-focused nature of the Army, but that alone represents the apparently never-ending challenge of the Army having a hard time even agreeing internally. I have lost track of how many LFWGs I sat on, or at the higher level ACDBs, and felt I was at a tennis match watching the back and forth of different factions that seemed focused on winning some type of argument, rather than walking away having found an agreed way ahead for that type of force. Scale that up, and it seems the Army is seized of…getting more Divisions and piece-mealing capabilities throughout, and the integral connectors we used to see in the field force, such as it was, the mortars, DF, CS, AD, pioneers, etc. are off elsewhere in a structure that still hasn’t settled to whatever it needs to be. I do hope the Army figures it all out, and as a non-Army guy who spent two full tours in institutional Army organizations as a trusted agent to help it fit in, I honestly mean that. My concern, also from having spent two full tours in the Army’s lines, is that it can be myopically parochial, to its own detriment.

$0.02
 

KevinB

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I often use light forces as an example of the less-focused nature of the Army, but that alone represents the apparently never-ending challenge of the Army having a hard time even agreeing internally. I have lost track of how many LFWGs I sat on, or at the higher level ACDBs, and felt I was at a tennis match watching the back and forth of different factions that seemed focused on winning some type of argument, rather than walking away having found an agreed way ahead for that type of force. Scale that up, and it seems the Army is seized of…getting more Divisions and piece-mealing capabilities throughout, and the integral connectors we used to see in the field force, such as it was, the mortars, DF, CS, AD, pioneers, etc. are off elsewhere in a structure that still hasn’t settled to whatever it needs to be. I do hope the Army figures it all out, and as a non-Army guy who spent two full tours in institutional Army organizations as a trusted agent to help it fit in, I honestly mean that. My concern, also from having spent two full tours in the Army’s lines, is that it can be myopically parochial, to its own detriment.

$0.02
One day the CA will grow up and decide what it wants to be...
Right now it acts like it is still in Kindergarten Recess and having internal temper tantrums.
 

CBH99

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I had hoped - sincerely - that a lot of junior officers and NCOs would be rising in the ranks after Afghanistan was over, and a new culture at the middle to top would quickly reveal itself.

From my own (limited) experience a lot of those people who would have been the backbone of that change got out instead. Police services scooped up a lot of them, or the members got out and did something else entirely.

It’s a shame.
 

FJAG

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I had hoped - sincerely - that a lot of junior officers and NCOs would be rising in the ranks after Afghanistan was over, and a new culture at the middle to top would quickly reveal itself.

From my own (limited) experience a lot of those people who would have been the backbone of that change got out instead. Police services scooped up a lot of them, or the members got out and did something else entirely.

It’s a shame.

I tend to think that Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are part of the Army's problem.

In having left behind the Cold War culture and doctrine that underlay its force structure for the second half of the 20th century, it went through an existential crisis in redefining itself. Yugoslavia taught one lesson that begat a transformation process that gave birth to Advancing with Purpose which then went through its formative years in Afghanistan. Having had a childhood and teenagerhood in that environment gave rise to all of its current senior leadership whose only experience with a more traditional peer conflict were those on exchange with foreign forces who were equally embroiled if not enamoured by OOTW.

Each of the US and UK Armies (basically our role models) are trying to reset (The Americans more so than the Brits). We're still lagging far behind for various reasons but I tend to think G2G has the best point. Canadians in government (including the Army) are ruled by committees rather than dynamic leaders. Committees are great at protecting the status quo and rice bowls but are a curse when the times call for paradigm shifts.

My concern isn't that just the Army's current leadership is moribund but that the whole chain, well past the second and third string are all cast in the same mould - after all the trend in promoting your juniors is to promote someone who fits your own image. I think that there are a few bright sparks out there but their ability to break out of the constraints that is our military bureaucracy will stifle them for years to come.

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CBH99

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I tend to think that Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are part of the Army's problem.

In having left behind the Cold War culture and doctrine that underlay its force structure for the second half of the 20th century, it went through an existential crisis in redefining itself. Yugoslavia taught one lesson that begat a transformation process that gave birth to Advancing with Purpose which then went through its formative years in Afghanistan. Having had a childhood and teenagerhood in that environment gave rise to all of its current senior leadership whose only experience with a more traditional peer conflict were those on exchange with foreign forces who were equally embroiled if not enamoured by OOTW.

Each of the US and UK Armies (basically our role models) are trying to reset (The Americans more so than the Brits). We're still lagging far behind for various reasons but I tend to think G2G has the best point. Canadians in government (including the Army) are ruled by committees rather than dynamic leaders. Committees are great at protecting the status quo and rice bowls but are a curse when the times call for paradigm shifts.

My concern isn't that just the Army's current leadership is moribund but that the whole chain, well past the second and third string are all cast in the same mould - after all the trend in promoting your juniors is to promote someone who fits your own image. I think that there are a few bright sparks out there but their ability to break out of the constraints that is our military bureaucracy will stifle them for years to come.

🍻
You aren’t wrong by any means. Not at all.

I don’t have any experience with the mentality or change in culture as a pertains to operations in Yugoslavia.

But when it comes to Afghanistan I saw a lot of focus on producing capabilities and results, with the operational requirements being put ahead of petty politics. (I mean this from the perspective of middle and senior leaders.)

For example, the Cpl - Sgt ranks (and some WO’s) who were in the fight, living in the FOBs, doing the fighting patrols, etc - saw and experienced first hand what was needed to fight an enemy like the Taliban.

The officer ranks when I was in theatre seemed to ‘get it’ also. (although I did see & experience officers who were well regarded micro-manage the hell out of combat operations to the point of being a serious detriment to effectiveness.)

The mindset that ‘we need basic capability A, B, C in order to win the tactical fight against an enemy ground force’ was very much present. Common sense and a results oriented mindset seemed to be a solid foundation for members who were ‘in the thick of it.’ A more combat oriented mindset, is perhaps what I’m trying to describe.

In 2011, and onwards - as combat operations ended and the transition to other operations commenced - A lot of those same people left the Army in droves.

We went from having a waiting list in recruiting, to being short of people, in a very short period of time.

But you know who didn’t leave? The folks who are already in when everything Afghanistan-related started. (Relatively speaking)


There are plenty of fantastic members throughout the CAF, including senior leaders we don’t hear about.

And I’m not suggesting that one theatre produces better leaders than another. But the intensity of one theatre seemed to drive a more capability/results mindset over what I find now to be a ‘cap badge/squabbling’ mindset.


0.02
 

McG

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I tend to think that Yugoslavia and Afghanistan are part of the Army's problem.
Probably better to see it more neutrally as part of our history than as good or bad for for where we are today. We learned and implement a lot of good things over those periods and will benefit from this into the future. We also set aside (an in some cases since forgotten) a lot of capabilities & doctrine that would serve us well had they still been in place today. Other things that were lost & forgotten fall into the category of we’re better without it.

For any army that likes to cling to things (organizations, doctrine, TTPs, equipment, etc) of tenuous relevance, maybe the cleaned slate will help us see better ways of moving forward against a peer threat than if we still had the Cold War this is how its always been done thing.

But, we would be well served by a few tactical historians who can support concept development phase by advising how our parents or grandparents would have managed an old tactical problem that has not been seen in a generation.
 

Kirkhill

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Based on what I see now I would suggest the following:

Get rid of the notion of Force Generation and Force Employment
Put all the regular brigades on an operational basis and treat foreign exercises as operations
Separate the Reg Brigades from the Area Divisions and put all of them under an active, operational 1 Cdn Div, with CSSB, OSG and Sigs Regt, and with 1 Wing RCAF under operational control.
Have 1 Cdn Div (MGen) report to CJOC (VAdm)
And have 1 Cdn Div take lessons from CANSOFCOM (MGen)


Oh. And put everybody in a Khaki Beret.

C008374thumb.jpg




Leave the Areas to manage their militia and ranger units and liaise with provincial authorities.


Or better yet - put the whole militia structure under the RCAF to integrate it into the NORAD-NorthCOM system.

Primary focus would be the 30 RCA armouries across the country. Have the RCA regiments focus on GBAD in the local context.

With that established equip the 24 Naval Reserve Divisions with Dual Function Ship-Shore AD systems in containers.

Form the Territorial Reaction Groups around Engineer Regiments with a Group HQ & Sigs Sqn and a Supply and Transport Battalion.

Infantry to form into 51 RAF Regiment type companies to supply local security for the AD units.
Cavalry to form into Squadrons for roving security patrols.

Rangers to continue to work unchanged with the Joint Task Forces.



That leaves the Army to figure out how to create an employable Expeditionary Force that could build on the activities of the CANSOF. And figure out how to expedite their expeditionary force.

Maybe, in return for the NORAD GBAD Militia the RCAF would consider more integration of 1, 2 and 8 Wings with the Expeditionary Force.


And the GBAD assets might be considered as a useful expeditionary asset by our allies.
 

CBH99

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Or better yet - put the whole militia structure under the RCAF to integrate it into the NORAD-NorthCOM system.

Primary focus would be the 30 RCA armouries across the country. Have the RCA regiments focus on GBAD in the local context.

With that established equip the 24 Naval Reserve Divisions with Dual Function Ship-Shore AD systems in containers.

Form the Territorial Reaction Groups around Engineer Regiments with a Group HQ & Sigs Sqn and a Supply and Transport Battalion.

Infantry to form into 51 RAF Regiment type companies to supply local security for the AD units.
Cavalry to form into Squadrons for roving security patrols.

Rangers to continue to work unchanged with the Joint Task Forces.



That leaves the Army to figure out how to create an employable Expeditionary Force that could build on the activities of the CANSOF. And figure out how to expedite their expeditionary force.

Maybe, in return for the NORAD GBAD Militia the RCAF would consider more integration of 1, 2 and 8 Wings with the Expeditionary Force.


And the GBAD assets might be considered as a useful expeditionary asset by our allies.
Let's remember this is Force 2025, not Force 2040 ;) jk jk

A GBAD capability I think will be a given, regardless of the deployment. Whoever rules the air, rules the war. While you may not be able to hold ground with aircraft, you can sure bomb the hell out of whoever is holding the ground & limit their ability to do anything. (Move, Communicate, Shoot? Nope.)

Just my own opinion here... but GBAD for low to medium level air threats is essential for any deploying forces, from any country. Everybody should be able to make sure the skies above them are clear of low flying threats.

Armed drones, loitering munitions/drones, helicopters, low flying aircraft, etc etc - can all be engaged pretty quickly, without having to coordinate a bunch of whiz-bang stuff. (Coordination is obviously necessary, but in this context I am talking about the tactical fight. I.e., enemy helicopter transporting enemy troops, seen by friendly forces, and directly shot down by friendly forces.)




Where we should coordinate with our allies is in regards to long-range precision fires, strategic level ISR assets, EW assets, etc. Why spend generous money on a decent EW system if, when we deploy, an advanced EW system is to be provided by someone else?

Why deploy 6 MLRS when the US has already deployed 60 in theatre, and has that base covered?

Why deploy 2 Heron-type UAV's when NATO/US/Allies are deploying armed UAV's with better cameras, higher operating altitudes, and a bunch of fancy EW gear?

Why buy 'the radar part' of Iron Dome when the alliance will already have the latest Iron Dome version, complete with the part that actually shoots down the incoming threat. Along with the latest Patriot systems, sea-cannister based SM-2, ESSM, perhaps SM-6, etc.



Do we need to be able to operate independently of a coalition? Yes.

Even in a coalition environment, are countries guaranteed to show up with what the coalition had agreed was their responsibility? No.

Will that leave us with some potential massive & deadly capability gaps, if Country X shows up without the burgers everybody thought they were responsible for bringing? Yes.

Is my 'random thought' of sorts perfect? No. Reasonable? Perhaps. Doable? Yes.



If we look to NORAD as an example of the kind of alliance planning I'm talking about, it is clearly stated that Canada must provide X-number of aircraft to the NORAD mission, with Y available at any given time in case of an emergency. We provide the capability we agreed to. Whatever other ambitions we have, we know that our NORAD commitment must be provided for first & foremost.

If NATO said 'Canada is required to contribute 1 squadron of utility helicopters, with X number of aircraft available in the case of an emergency'...or... 'Canada is required to contribute 20 MRLS-type vehicles and provide it's own GBAD cover' - it would give the Army a clear objective to plan for, which would guide our purchases, force structure, other capabilities we'd want, etc.




I agree with G2G that it is a matter of professionalism, that the Army be able to provide a wide range of capabilities to the government when the government is looking at options. However, given the size of the country and the size of the armed forces/population, we literally can't afford to be all things, all the time. (A modern ATGM, or GBAD capability, would be easy as hell to acquire if someone showed some leadership and pushed it through. It wouldn't break the bank. And should be acquired regardless.)

Capable of providing a wide range of capabilities? Yes. But we can't excel at everything. We should consult with our allies, find out what would be most useful or valued in a coalition fight, and strive to excel at that thing.



Again, just my 0.02 -- just in the context of what is doable by 2025.
 
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