I am not convinced that a Canadian battle group would be useful, or even wanted, on a high-intensity battlefield. It's my understanding that the Optimized Battle Group project (the OBGYN, for all you old 2RCR types) made it pretty clear that a battle group, on its own, tended to get it's ass kicked in a fight, and that the brigade is the minimum size to provide some depth, combat power, and enablers.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.
If we go to war, let's say for planning purposes into the next Korean War, what role does a Canadian battle group fill? Our American allies think in terms of brigade combat teams -- if we show up with a battalion, what are we going to be doing besides guarding POWs? Form part of a composite brigade? Those don't seem very impressive, either. The multinational polyglot brigades that NATO is cobbling together in the Baltics are going to be effective as tripwires, but if I were a Russian and I had the choice between fighting against a Polish brigade or a composite brigade composed of soldiers from 15 different countries, all with different languages and equipment, I know who I'd rather kick off against.
As I see it, as an army, we have a choice. If we want to be able to fight, we need to organize and equip our brigades as fighting formations. If we want to be a constabulary force, then being organized around rotational battle groups is fine, and indeed, probably ideal. But if we can't make up our minds, the chances are, at some point in the future, that we will over promise to cabinet and under deliver on the battlefield.