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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

TangoTwoBravo

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I think our Army has a number of psyches or Jungian archetypes. We have the Germany-era CMBG. Much of our structure and way of thought is derived from that. Its our received "good place." We have the rotational Battegroup in the Balkans, which morphed somewhat in the early Afghan days. One deployed Battlegroup that gets replaced every six months. One or maybe two battlegroups worth of "real gear." Then we have the hybrid TFK model with a rotational Bde HQ and a rotational BG plus enablers.

If we want a CMBG to fight conventionally in the Germany construct we have the structure (more or less) but not the equipment. I think the assumption here is that it would be a single pulse and not a rotation. I think we have the structure and equipment for a rotational BG in a UN peacekeeping or even COIN role. For the TFK model we have our muscle memory and some equipment from Kandahar, now ten years since real use.

Perhaps for the conventional fight we need to think along the lines of a well-enabled BG instead of a CMBG.
 

MilEME09

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I think our Army has a number of psyches or Jungian archetypes. We have the Germany-era CMBG. Much of our structure and way of thought is derived from that. Its our received "good place." We have the rotational Battegroup in the Balkans, which morphed somewhat in the early Afghan days. One deployed Battlegroup that gets replaced every six months. One or maybe two battlegroups worth of "real gear." Then we have the hybrid TFK model with a rotational Bde HQ and a rotational BG plus enablers.

If we want a CMBG to fight conventionally in the Germany construct we have the structure (more or less) but not the equipment. I think the assumption here is that it would be a single pulse and not a rotation. I think we have the structure and equipment for a rotational BG in a UN peacekeeping or even COIN role. For the TFK model we have our muscle memory and some equipment from Kandahar, now ten years since real use.

Perhaps for the conventional fight we need to think along the lines of a well-enabled BG instead of a CMBG.
Part of our problem too is we have five divisions with regular forces elements sprinkled across then all. It would be more effective for command and control if all reg force elements were under 1 Div, then have a 2nd Div for all reserve CBGs to report to.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Turning back to Force 2025, what capabilities are we willing to divest or allow to become dormant?
 

markppcli

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Turning back to Force 2025, what capabilities are we willing to divest or allow to become dormant?
I'll renter and pick up my teddy bear for this one.

Force 2025, to me, seems to placing emphasis back on our conventional warfighting capability. To be able to do that we need Air Defence, and probably more artillery in general. We probably don't need boutique light infantry companies, I would suggest that the Mountain Warfare role can be assigned to literally any other infantry unit, who can simply park the LAVs for that task. The theatre entry role is probably the domain of CSOR with a follow on force arriving by air. So in short I would say the majority of our Light Bns can be divested.
 

quadrapiper

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I'll renter and pick up my teddy bear for this one.

Force 2025, to me, seems to placing emphasis back on our conventional warfighting capability. To be able to do that we need Air Defence, and probably more artillery in general. We probably don't need boutique light infantry companies, I would suggest that the Mountain Warfare role can be assigned to literally any other infantry unit, who can simply park the LAVs for that task. The theatre entry role is probably the domain of CSOR with a follow on force arriving by air. So in short I would say the majority of our Light Bns can be divested.
Outsider question: are the jump companies less valuable now that CSOR exists?
 

Kirkhill

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Howsabout.....

Two times LAV based Combined Arms Brigades built on something like the Swedish model
An arty brigade based around replicating the capabilities of the RCN on shore with a dedicated Fire Control Regiment.
Beefing up CANSOF by adding an additional light battalion.


For Reference -

The Swedish model is based on two "smaller" "LAV" companies per battalion paired with two organic "smaller" "Leo2" squadrons per battalion. In practice it is 22 MBTs and 22 LAVs (IIRC) together with 2x Mor Pl, 1x AD Pl, 1x AT Pl and a raft of AT weapons carried aboard the LAVs for use by the dismounts (at ranges out to 4 km)
 

Kirkhill

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Of course we are going to need to get some bigger boats and planes if we focus on the LAV. The Army may have to buy them for the Air Force and the Navy.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Of course we are going to need to get some bigger boats and planes if we focus on the LAV. The Army may have to buy them for the Air Force and the Navy.
"The requirement to win in close combat precedes all other requirements, today and into the future. With specific light and heavy capabilities, the Canadian Army is predominantly a medium-weight force equipped with the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) 6 family of vehicles that will serve as its core manoeuvre platform beyond Build 2 - Force 2030." This is from the Army Modernization Strategy.

Why do we need to buy bigger ships and planes? What is your readiness concept that requires fully-loaded LAV battalions afloat on RCN-flagged ships? We have several decades of experience moving BGs across the world. Not to say that it is easy - it isn't. But we can do it.
 

FJAG

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of all of the above quotes, these two interest me the most:

...
If we want a CMBG to fight conventionally in the Germany construct we have the structure (more or less) but not the equipment. I think the assumption here is that it would be a single pulse and not a rotation. I think we have the structure and equipment for a rotational BG in a UN peacekeeping or even COIN role. For the TFK model we have our muscle memory and some equipment from Kandahar, now ten years since real use.

Perhaps for the conventional fight we need to think along the lines of a well-enabled BG instead of a CMBG.

Turning back to Force 2025, what capabilities are we willing to divest or allow to become dormant?
We have an Army where the website says we consist of:

  • 23,000 members serve as full-time soldiers in the Regular Force
  • 19,000 are part-time, volunteer soldiers in the Reserve Force
    • including 5,300 Rangers who serve in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada
  • 3,300 civilian employees who support the Army
  • 63 Regular Force and 123 Reserve Force Units in 127 Communities
  • 185 Ranger Patrols in 414 Communities
That's 36,700 who are potentially deployable. (do we really only have 13,700 primary reservists or is the Army's own web page out of whack?) In any event that well over a division and a half of folks. We have enough equipment for an armoured regiment, six LAV battalions and a proper 18 gun artillery regiment plus a good number of equipped engineers and support trades yet we wonder about whether we should be thinking of deploying nothing more than a "well-enabled BG"? We're seriously discussing divesting or making dormant even more capabilities?

As a Canadian taxpayer I want to take back ten billion per year because it's obviously being utterly wasted as an insurance policy for our national defence. I don't know what it's being spent on but a defence capability ain't one of them.

The government gives the Army funding to permit the manning for almost two divisions (Reg and Res combined). It behooves us to create a doctrine commensurate with that manning (albeit in a perfect world we should work out the doctrine first and build the manning afterwards but ... Canada). That doctrine should be the roadmap for everything else that makes up the Army as a whole - from cognitive, to procedural, to organizational, to material, and to moral components of how to make an army fight (yup and somewhere way down the line that doctrine should determine if we have 2 or 3 guys crewing a LAV [or even if it should be a LAV] and how many guys are needed for dismounts).

Instead of being a doctrine-based army we have become a capabilities-based army which in short means trying to figure out what we can do with the shit we've got. That's wrong on so many levels. And for full disclosure that's not a new thought I've had - it comes from Ian Hope's article "Misunderstanding Mars and Minerva: The Canadian Army's Failure to Define an Operational Doctrine" that was published in the Army and Training Bulletin in 2001/2. It was true then and its even more true today.

Folks. We're desperately in need of figuring out what the Army's role in Canada's defence is (and I believe a forward presence and an ability to deploy much more than 1/2 of a BG is involved as just one part of that, and should include special forces, quick reaction, medium weight peacekeepers and a whole herd of enabling systems from EW, UAV, loitering munitions etc) and then build and sell that doctrine with all of its consequences. And it needs to be a doctrine that can rapidly change as threats and capabilities change. We need to add capabilities. I can't think of a single one to divest - maybe change some from active to reserve status yes, but divest, no. And the reality is that we will be locked into some systems that we have now for some time to come but that doesn't mean we stay frozen in time and don't think outside the box and plan for the things that are needed to be successful in high intensity conflict

We simply cannot afford to have another 20 year Army Transformation plan like the one that led us to where we are now.

End of rant.

Returning to writing about history

🍻
 

markppcli

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Howsabout.....

Two times LAV based Combined Arms Brigades built on something like the Swedish model
An arty brigade based around replicating the capabilities of the RCN on shore with a dedicated Fire Control Regiment.
Beefing up CANSOF by adding an additional light battalion.


For Reference -

The Swedish model is based on two "smaller" "LAV" companies per battalion paired with two organic "smaller" "Leo2" squadrons per battalion. In practice it is 22 MBTs and 22 LAVs (IIRC) together with 2x Mor Pl, 1x AD Pl, 1x AT Pl and a raft of AT weapons carried aboard the LAVs for use by the dismounts (at ranges out to 4 km)
Why attach it to CANSOFCOM? A single, airmobile, light BN held at Divisional level for a high readiness conventional force should be more than adequate, the Aussies do that with their Amphib Bn.
 

Kirkhill

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"The requirement to win in close combat precedes all other requirements, today and into the future. With specific light and heavy capabilities, the Canadian Army is predominantly a medium-weight force equipped with the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) 6 family of vehicles that will serve as its core manoeuvre platform beyond Build 2 - Force 2030." This is from the Army Modernization Strategy.

Why do we need to buy bigger ships and planes? What is your readiness concept that requires fully-loaded LAV battalions afloat on RCN-flagged ships? We have several decades of experience moving BGs across the world. Not to say that it is easy - it isn't. But we can do it.

I don't see the need to keep a Battle Group afloat. I do wonder how we get a Battlegroup from Edmonton to "unknown point on the globe" in a timely fashion that allows it to influence events for the government of Canada.

I just kind of thought that some means of transporting 40 tonne LAVs and 60 tonne tanks in useful numbers might require more transport than we currently have available to us.

And it would be good if the transport could move fast.
 

IRepoCans

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Outsider question: are the jump companies less valuable now that CSOR exists?
Considering neither have touched on theatre entry in quite some time (jumping with the 82nd or the 173rd onto an airfield once every few years doesn't count), you could argue both are inappropriate for the role. The joint theatre entry experts (the Ranger Battalions) conduct an annual 8-week (per manoeuvre bn) package on all the skill sets required in addition to conducting Coy to Bn level seizures of airfields; ports; and, establishing TLZs to actually allow for a follow-on force to flow through (all under the conditions of fighting a near peer adversary). That's not even considering all other agencies and entities that would have to partake as well to maintain proficiency, so I'm at a loss of why we still think we can do theatre entry.

If we just want a light infantry force just to fight dismounted to dominate complex terrain, nothing stops a mechanized bn from re-rolling to do so; the reverse as I understand it, is not as simple. So what is the kind of light force we require, and what is it actually going to actually be proficient at? Because as it stands, light forces are basically lav bns in waiting (or backfill for dismounts with how the reserves are).

Why attach it to CANSOFCOM? A single, airmobile, light BN held at Divisional level for a high readiness conventional force should be more than adequate, the Aussies do that with their Amphib Bn.
Maybe not attach it to CANSOF, but definitely heavily integrated to support some of their missions, which in turn support the Div / theatre.
 

Kirkhill

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So, per T2B, we have the structure. We just don't have the kit.
Per FJAG, we have a useful amount of kit but our structure and, dare I say it, doctrine fails us.

I kind of lean towards FJAG's estimate.

Although I would offer that

enough equipment for an armoured regiment, six LAV battalions and a proper 18 gun artillery regiment plus a good number of equipped engineers and support trades

could be reconfigured as two brigades each with a Combined Arms "Pansar" type regiment, a pair of LAV battalions and an 18 gun regiment, plus engineers, support et al.

Why attach it to CANSOFCOM? A single, airmobile, light BN held at Divisional level for a high readiness conventional force should be more than adequate, the Aussies do that with their Amphib Bn.

And in response to that. No reason at all. A separate and distinct infantry regiment of an indeterminate size and organization capable of performing tasks not covered by the primary ORBAT but capable of working with them.

A heliportable CAR with ULCVs perhaps?
 

markppcli

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I think the truth is somewhere between the two assessments there and I'll use a micro close to my heart as an example of the macro, CA wide issue. We have a TOW system, in probably sufficient numbers to equip some kind of ATGM capability across our BNs. We also have doctrine to lay out how we use this weapon system to it's best effect. The problem is those two things aren't synched. The TOW platoon pam clearly lays our the requirement for mobile tow platoons, and that dismounted systems are a last resort. What we have are dismounted stands, and we employ them as such. They're supposed to be held in a platoon, but instead are employed at Coy level in ad hoc systems because the numbers don't exist to meet our doctrine.

As a summery of what I'm trying to say is that we have equipment, likely close to sufficient minus a few glaring omissions, and we have doctrinal structures that make sense and work. The problem is those two things are seemingly totally out of synch. This is probably out of the scope of FORCE 2025 though.
 

Kirkhill

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Considering neither have touched on theatre entry in quite some time (jumping with the 82nd or the 173rd onto an airfield once every few years doesn't count), you could argue both are inappropriate for the role. The joint theatre entry experts (the Ranger Battalions) conduct an annual 8-week (per manoeuvre bn) package on all the skill sets required in addition to conducting Coy to Bn level seizures of airfields; ports; and, establishing TLZs to actually allow for a follow-on force to flow through (all under the conditions of fighting a near peer adversary). That's not even considering all other agencies and entities that would have to partake as well to maintain proficiency, so I'm at a loss of why we still think we can do theatre entry.

If we just want a light infantry force just to fight dismounted to dominate complex terrain, nothing stops a mechanized bn from re-rolling to do so; the reverse as I understand it, is not as simple. So what is the kind of light force we require, and what is it actually going to actually be proficient at? Because as it stands, light forces are basically lav bns in waiting (or backfill for dismounts with how the reserves are).


Maybe not attach it to CANSOF, but definitely heavily integrated to support some of their missions, which in turn support the Div / theatre.


How about, when the Bde deploys, is there a use for Defence and Security troops? How about a heliborne QRF? Would a couple or three company sized elements come in handy in those roles?

Our game plan, so far as I can gather, does allow for three deployable brigades, each with its own helicopter squadron (Mix of Griffons and Chinooks?) Don't they have utility regardless of whether or not the Brigade is LAV mounted on asphalt or operating with ULCVs in complex terrain, in the arctic or in the forests?

Each brigade has an Infantry Regiment. Perhaps, if we are going to leave the GIBs and the LAVs attached like Siamese twins, and we can't stuff all the extra GIBs into the allocated LAVs, perhaps we accept that the 3rd battalion is not so much an alternate LAV Bn in waiting as a battalion of independently deployable rifle coys. It could train with CANSOFCOM and it could also be the point of contact between the Infantry Regiment and the local Militia units.

For the RCAC - stick all the tanks in all their variants into one Regiment in one Brigade and apply all the necessary PYs to fully equip the regiment (to include the necessary number of tank transporters necessary to keep up with the LAVs in theater).

The remaining PYs to be split equally between the other two regiments to provide the two remaining brigades with a Recce Sqn and a DF/AT Sqn.
 

Kirkhill

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I think the truth is somewhere between the two assessments there and I'll use a micro close to my heart as an example of the macro, CA wide issue. We have a TOW system, in probably sufficient numbers to equip some kind of ATGM capability across our BNs. We also have doctrine to lay out how we use this weapon system to it's best effect. The problem is those two things aren't synched. The TOW platoon pam clearly lays our the requirement for mobile tow platoons, and that dismounted systems are a last resort. What we have are dismounted stands, and we employ them as such. They're supposed to be held in a platoon, but instead are employed at Coy level in ad hoc systems because the numbers don't exist to meet our doctrine.

As a summery of what I'm trying to say is that we have equipment, likely close to sufficient minus a few glaring omissions, and we have doctrinal structures that make sense and work. The problem is those two things are seemingly totally out of synch. This is probably out of the scope of FORCE 2025 though.

A good number of us on this site can remember when the "dismounted" TOW was "mounted" on top of an M113 or a Jeep (replacing 106 mm recoilless rifles) so that they could fire and retire in a hurry. Circa 1970s

Those same TOW systems were mounted in pairs on M113s in Norwegian built turrets. Circa 1980s.

Discussions ensued on moving the turrets to the AVGPs/Bisons/LAVs/LAV6s.
Discussions ensued on replacing the turrets with new ones.
Discussions ensued about strapping TOWs onto LAV turrets.
Discussions ensued about replacing the TOWs with new ATGMs/LRAAWs/MRAAW(H)s/ALAWs
The TOWs were upgraded to RF standard
The TOWs were withdrawn from service
Discussions continued about replacing the TOWs with new Carl Gustaf rounds and 40 km NLOS rounds.

And you got reissued the 1970s systems, dismounted, and no suitable vehicles (like the M113s and Jeeps) to mount them on.

Good news. They are still useful against T72s, BMPs, BTRs, BMDs and MTLBs. What's your blast signature like and time to target?

Canadian Army development.
 

daftandbarmy

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Considering neither have touched on theatre entry in quite some time (jumping with the 82nd or the 173rd onto an airfield once every few years doesn't count), you could argue both are inappropriate for the role. The joint theatre entry experts (the Ranger Battalions) conduct an annual 8-week (per manoeuvre bn) package on all the skill sets required in addition to conducting Coy to Bn level seizures of airfields; ports; and, establishing TLZs to actually allow for a follow-on force to flow through (all under the conditions of fighting a near peer adversary). That's not even considering all other agencies and entities that would have to partake as well to maintain proficiency, so I'm at a loss of why we still think we can do theatre entry.

If we just want a light infantry force just to fight dismounted to dominate complex terrain, nothing stops a mechanized bn from re-rolling to do so; the reverse as I understand it, is not as simple. So what is the kind of light force we require, and what is it actually going to actually be proficient at? Because as it stands, light forces are basically lav bns in waiting (or backfill for dismounts with how the reserves are).


Maybe not attach it to CANSOF, but definitely heavily integrated to support some of their missions, which in turn support the Div / theatre.

We did similar prearaiton with 5 AB Bde in the UK ...

.... Except that the only 'theatres' we could enter were in the developing world i.e., 3rd world countries, without a viable air defence capability, containing our nationals who might have to be evacuated through forced entry.

Even though we were formed and continuously trained as an Airborne Brigade, with all the bells and whistles, there is no way we could have successfully pulled off a theatre entry airborne operation against a peer/ near peer enemy; except, perhaps, as part of a spectacular 'forlorn hope' I suppose.

The same would apply to other air delivered troops. No air superiority, no airborne/airlanding/airmobile operation.
 

markppcli

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A good number of us on this site can remember when the "dismounted" TOW was "mounted" on top of an M113 or a Jeep (replacing 106 mm recoilless rifles) so that they could fire and retire in a hurry. Circa 1970s

Those same TOW systems were mounted in pairs on M113s in Norwegian built turrets. Circa 1980s.

Discussions ensued on moving the turrets to the AVGPs/Bisons/LAVs/LAV6s.
Discussions ensued on replacing the turrets with new ones.
Discussions ensued about strapping TOWs onto LAV turrets.
Discussions ensued about replacing the TOWs with new ATGMs/LRAAWs/MRAAW(H)s/ALAWs
The TOWs were upgraded to RF standard
The TOWs were withdrawn from service
Discussions continued about replacing the TOWs with new Carl Gustaf rounds and 40 km NLOS rounds.

And you got reissued the 1970s systems, dismounted, and no suitable vehicles (like the M113s and Jeeps) to mount them on.

Good news. They are still useful against T72s, BMPs, BTRs, BMDs and MTLBs. What's your blast signature like and time to target?

Canadian Army development.
Yeah I didn't mean the specifics just that doctrine not lining up to the equipment, so we ignore doctrine often to the detriment, but we still pretend on TEWTs that we have doctrinal structures. I stare in jealous at the m113 TUA monument on base.
 

Kirkhill

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I'm saying that the doctrine, such as it was, evolved along with the availability of the weapons and lessons learned. By the time you started receiving LAVs to replace Grizzlies the Berlin Wall had fallen, history had ended and the UN didn't want heavy weapons in Yugslavia.

TOWs and all other ATGM type thingies were surplus to requirement. Apparently a good number of people think they still are.

Frighteningly offensive donchano.
 
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