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What would your army look like - 15 years from now?

Lance Wiebe

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Using the last White Paper as my guide, I have tried to come up with a â Å“newâ ? army, in other words, if I was given, say, 5 billion dollars a year, for say, fifteen years, what would my army look like?  Of course, this is assuming that we do not go to war, the world doesn't drastically change, and so on.

Also, not being experienced in Naval or Air Force capabilities, I am restricting myself to the land, with a few exceptions.

First of all, my army would have four brigades.  Two would be identical, and would be based on the present wheeled brigades we have now. 

Let's say these two Brigades are 2 and 5 Brigade.  Each Brigade would have one Armour Regiment, equipped with Coyote, MGS, and Coyote modified with TOW.  There would also be two Infantry Battalions, equipped with LAVIII, and a 120mm breech loaded mortar variant of the LAV.  Yes, I would give the mortars back to the Infantry!  The Artillery Regiment would have some form of wheeled 105, and possibly 155mm guns, preferably mounted in a LAV chassis.  The Engineer Regiment would also have equipment based on the LAV.  These two Brigades would be moved to any trouble spots by our navy, in their â Å“ro-roâ ? ships.

Next, I would take our so-called â Å“lightâ ? Infantry Battalions, and form them in to a separate Brigade.  Let's call it 1 Brigade.  This Brigade would be our â Å“air mobileâ ? brigade, and would be not airborne, but air mobile.  That's not to say that they would not have airborne elements, because they probably would.  This would most likely be the most expensive brigade, because we would have to purchase medium lift helicopters, as well as attack helicopters.  The Infantry would use the helicopters and their boots for their mobility, the Artillery would keep their present 105's, and recce and anti-tank units would use something like the Weasel, 20mm version for recce, and TOW version for the anti-tank troops.

Finally, our fourth brigade would be our â Å“mediumâ ? brigade, as opposed to the â Å“Lightâ ? and â Å“air mobileâ ? brigades.  This Brigade would be tracked, with Armour, Infantry, Artillery and Engineer vehicles all using a common chassis.  Ideally, armour packages would be modular, so vehicles could be moved light in C-17's if necessary, then additional armour added as required.  I am envisioning a vehicle of about 25 or so tons in its basic form, and weighing 40 or so tons with its highest grade of armour package added.  This would give the Infantry one of the best-protected APC's available, and some much needed commonality of parts.  The CV 90 family would be the model for the new vehicle.

A couple of random thoughts; each brigade has two battalions except for the â Å“Air mobileâ ? brigade, which has three battalions, one from each current regular force Regiment.  Also, new Units would have to be added to the regular force to form the fourth â Å“mediumâ ? brigade.  This will undoubtedly cause many arguments over which units would be resurrected.

I also did not get into a huge amount of detail over equipment types and unit structure.  I wanted to keep this relatively short, and to provide food for thought.

So, what's your thoughts?
 
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R031button

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I'd just like to adjust what you had suggested.

I would see 4 Bde(one per each area command) all identically equipped and armed. Each of these brigades would be further broken down into two battle groups. The battle groups would be comprised of: an infantry battalion in LAV 3's (the same as now only with a mortar platoon in the support company); a squadron of armour, preferably in a light tank, the before mentioned CV-90 would be ideal, also, in the armoured unit would be a troop of recon helicopters equipped with hell-fire missile systems(replacing the current recce detachments); a battery of 120mm LAV 3 mortars, supported by a smaller(demi-batter???) of 105 or 155mm artillery; an engineering field squadron in LAV 3 engineering variants, supported by a troop in heavier (CV-90?) based engineering vehicles; also there would be a support unit consiting of medics, mps, cooks, clerks, firefighters, etc(half of a new kind of support battalion ideally); finishing out the battle group would be a platoon of G-Wagon(recce variant or equivalent) mounted recce soldiers who would be both airmobile and airborne. Therefore a full CMBG would include 2 infantry battalions, an armoured regt of two tank and one Helli squadron(two troops), an artillery regiment with two LAV 3 120mm batteries and a battery of heavier artillery, an engineering regiment with two squadrons and a heavy squadron(two troops), a support battalion, and a recce company.

At any given time two battle groups would be considered operation(this would rotate) and would be grouped with a naval and airforce task group capable of supporting and transporting them, these would form a Canadian Joint Expeditionary Force(CJEF), one would be responsible reacting to nations around the Pacific, and the other for the Atlantic. If necessary, both could be called on to react to the same event. If such a formation proved in sufficient, units next on the rotation could be called up as well.
 

RNW

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At the very least I would like to see the three understrength light bns broken up and reorganized. A few coys should be used to boost the numbers of the 1st and 2nd bns and the remaining coys (including all the jump coys) should be grouped into a full strength, rapid reaction bn with an airborne/airmobile/"commando" focus. Recruit from civvy street, and if bringing back the CAR is bad optics then simply come up with some other sexy title for the unit. Drop any airborne reference if thats the way it must be. Realistically, creating this unit would not be difficult to achieve. We need full strength units, not a collection of undermanned ones like we have now.
 

Mortar guy

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Lance,

Great topic and I have thought alot about this one myself. My suggestion is amazingly similar to yours:

4 Regular Brigade Groups as follows:

2 Mech Brigades - 1 CMBG in the West as there are much larger and better training areas out there for such a force.   4 CMBG in Gagetown where there is also a large training area. They would be organized with:

    1 Command Support Bn (ISTAR Sqn with Coyote, LUVW, UAV and CB Radar; Sigs Sqn; HQ Staff Sqn)
    3 x Mech Inf Bns (2 x Rifle Coys; 1 CS Coy (Recce, Mortars, Direct Fire Platoons)) [only 2 Bns in 4 CMBG]
    1 Armd Regt (3 x Armd Sqns(-) with Leo C2 and its eventual replacement; 1 Anti-Armour Sqn with LAV TUA; 1 Recce Tp with Coyote) [only 2 Armd Sqns in 4 CMBG]
    1 Arty Regt (3 x DS Arty Btys(-) with M109 and eventually its replacement; 1 GS Bty(-) with HIMARS) [only 2 DS Btys in 4 CMBG]
    1 CER (3 x Fd Sqns(-) with MTVE/LAV Engr; 1 Engr Sp Sqn) [only 2 Fd Engr Sqns in 4 CMBG]
    1 AD Bty (2 ADATS Tps)
    1 Svc Bn
    1 Fd Amb
    1 MP Pl
    1 Tac Hel Sqn (4 Griffon with ERSTA, 8 Griffon 'slick' and eventually 8 armed helicopters (i.e. Tiger))

The reason for only two companies per Mech Inf Bn and for the (-) with the other sub units is that the Mech Bdes will be at a lower state of readiness and will therefore be manned to only about 65-70%. The number of infantry battalions in each of the mech bde gps corresponds with the number of reserve bde gps in the respective areas. Therefore each battle group would be affiliated with a certain reserve brigade group. This means, for example, that when 2 RCR in 4 CMBG is tasked to provide a battle group, it will call on its affiliated reserve brigade (say 36) to bring it up to strength. One mech BG will always be at strength in accordance with ATOF and another will be training for the higher readiness task. The remaining three BGs will be at lower readiness and will only conduct company level training. I will not get into the changes needed to the reserves, but I can elaborate on that if you wish.

2 Light Brigades - 2 CBG in Petawawa and 5 GBC in Valcartier. Both of these training areas are too small for mech brigades and both are well sighted for light brigades. Each would be organized as fols:

    1 Command Support Bn (ISTAR Sqn with LUVW, Coyote, UAV and CB Radar; Sigs Sqn; HQ Staff Sqn)
    2 x Light Infantry Bns (3 x Rifle Coys; 1 CS Coy (Recce, Mortar, Direct Fire Pls))
    1 Parachute Infantry Bn (3 x Para Coys; 1 CS Coy (Recce, Pathfinder, Mortar, DF Pls)) [2 CBG only]
    1 Lt Armd Regt (2 x MGS Sqns; 1 Anti-Armour Sqn with LAV TUA; 1 LAVIII Sqn; 1 Recce Tp with Coyote)
    1 Lt Arty Regt (3 x DS Btys with C3; 1 GS Bty with HIMARS)
    1 Lt CER (3 x Fd Sqns with MLVW SEV; 1 Engr Sp Sqn)
    1 AD Bty (2 ADATS Tps)
    1 Svc Bn
    1 Fd Amb
    1 MP Pl
    1 Tac Hel Sqn (as per Mech Bde)
    1 Tpt Hel Sqn (8 tpt hel like CH-47, Merlin or CH-53)

As with the Mech Bdes, the units in the light bdes would be affiliated with a res bde. The light units would be at about 90-95% strength and would therefore require less augmentation. I would see these units at a higher level of readiness and able to respond in 7-14 days (vice 30-90 days for the Mech Bdes' units)

I have crunched the numbers for the vehicles and personnel and am convinced we could make this work. Some things (HIMARS, armed helicopters, tpt helicopters) would require an increase, but the rest of this stuff we could do with minimal changes to our budget.

My plan goes into alot more detail that this (I guess I have too much spare time on my hands). I would be happy to elaborate and/or discuss it with anyone!

Pro Patria

Alex
 

Kirkhill

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Just one point Mortar Guy

If we seriously get into the "peace-keeping" business then we are talking about not rapid intervention forces but longstay garrisons. Either troops that join and don't come back for 3 or more years (think CMBG 4 in Germany mit keinen Brauhausen and with bullets) or troops that will be rotated through on 6 month  to one year stints.

How well would your two company battalions handle that situation?  Could they maintain a steady supply of reservists to fill the trained billets?
 

Lance Wiebe

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Mortar Guy;

Well done!  I knew I couldn't have been the only one dreaming up a new and improved army!

I dind't flesh out my thoughts as much as you did (you must have more time on your hands!), but I see that one basic concept is obviously in the back of both of our minds.  At least, I see it, and I think you do.

Any UN missions that we go on in the future would be for a fixed period of time, not to exceed 12 months.  We go in, enforce/establish peace, then hand over to another country.  No more twenty year missions draining the forces!

When I get a bit more time, I will flesh out my concept some more.

Next!
 

Kirkhill

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Any UN missions that we go on in the future would be for a fixed period of time, not to exceed 12 months.  We go in, enforce/establish peace, then hand over to another country.  No more twenty year missions draining the forces

Lance, I know that is what the politicians keep telling the Brass, and I know that is what the Brass wants to hear but how long do you think forces are going to be in Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti, not to mention Kosovo.

If not Canadian forces then EU or the US Third World Foreign Legion Force. Some force.  And other governments will continue to put the pressure on and demand that our government do its bit.

Our government, more inclined to be seen feeding kids, training police and supervising elections will opt for more Kosovo, Afghanistan (and dare I say it Cyprus) interventions so that it doesn't have to do the Iraqs and the East Timors.

In a short term operation we might enforce peace while we are there but it won't last after we are gone.  And if we get a reputation amongst the Citizenry of these countries of dropping in and dropping out I don't think you  will see even the level of co-operation the troops are finding in Afghanistan.

I think the forces need to be organized to provide at least one Battle Group (Light/Mixed) that will be permanently lost to the battle order.  Something for the politicians to work with.

That is the reason that I prefer your original proposal. 

The Two Light Brigades effectively supply 4 Garrison/Peacekeeping Battlegroups, one of which will be out of the country at any one time.  The Medium Brigade would be a force in being, constantly training for a "high" intensity scenario to work with the Americans, the Brits, Aussies, Euros whoever.  The "airmobile" brigade, which could be deployed overseas, in whole or in part, on rapid reaction missions and interventions, would be primarily tasked to the defence of North America.

Of course your "airmobile" brigade needs airlift if airborne or sealift if heliborne.

Cheers
 
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R031button

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When you really get down to it, does Canada even need Brigade sized formations anymore? I'm not suggesting a down sizeing, but it seems to me that the battle group is our most commonly used force, and I think that any army of the future needs to be built with the idea of it being split into battle groups in mind. While Brigades do provide an important function of support and logistics, not to mention leadership, those responsiblities could be taken over by area commanders. Just a thought.
 

Mortar guy

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Kirkhill,

  I agree with you about the length of missions and, in fact, the Liberals have said that we will be in the Stan for a long time. However, a possible solution to this would be to allow the reserves to take on a greater role as the mission becomes more established. Most western armies that I encountered in Kosovo were or are manned to a large degree by reservists. The Finns, Swedes, Danes were almost all reservists when I was there and since then the US has rotated a large number of NG units through both Bosnia and Kosovo. So, for example, reg force BGs could handle rotos 0-3 and then reserve heavy BGs could handle from 4 on. Of course I realize this would mean we would have to change the way our reserves work. We would need a larger militia (I would say 45,000), job protection legislation, better equipment and better training for the militia. I spent two years with the militia and I am convinced they can do any job we give them the resources and training to accomplish.

R031 Button,

  In my army 15 years from now we will need Brigade Groups. That is because we will actually be able to deploy Bde Gps when required (what a concept!). Also, Bde Gps would act as a training and force generation element for BGs going over seas.

Alex
 

Kirkhill

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Point taken Mortar Guy. 

I can agree with you, especially if the militia is reconfigured as a garrison/civil support force with a strong backbone of regular personnel to handle administrative tasks.  They would be useful first and foremost for domestic security and crisis management tasks, and when surplus to Canadian requirements could be tasked out overseas.  Agreed.

But as you say that will require a very significant shift in mindset amongst regs, reservists and politicians, and maybe even the Canadian people.
 

Mortar guy

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Exactly, which is why we will never see it. This kind of thing would require some pretty enlightened and courageous leadership at all levels. I agree with you re. domestic operations. The militia (and navres and airres) can and should handle the vast majority of domestic operations. The forest fires in BC, the floods in Manitoba and ground SAR are all examples of tasks the mo could do with only a little extra support. They could also be primarily responsible for VP security, sovereignty operations, recovery after attack and aid to the civil power (ie Oka) tasks. In my mind this would require only a small amount of training and equipment in addition to what already exists.

Alex
 

Kirkhill

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Never is an awfully long time Alex.  But you might be right in that we won't see it.  Maybe my kids.

You know maybe the model we are choosing to emulate is wrong.  Maybe rather than comparing the Militia to the British or American Reserves, maybe we should take a completely different path.

Maybe Canadians would be more comfortable with the Militia as a paramilitary police force.  Modelled on the Carabinieri, or the Gendarmerie or even the Dutch Marechausse.  For Canadian models we could reach back to original Northwest Mounted Police, Yukon Field Force or even the British South African Constabulary established by Sam Steele. 

The Mounties served in frontier posts, similar environments to Afghanistan and Kosovo, enforcing the peace robustly (rifles and cannons), suppressed rebellions, served overseas in peace and war............

Maybe that is the route.  It probably wouldn't be popular amongst the Honoraries and those that remember the Civil Response Teams of the 1960's but it might reasonate better with the modern Canadian public.

And they wear scarlet and a crown ;)

 

McG

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R031button said:
When you really get down to it, does Canada even need Brigade sized formations anymore? I'm not suggesting a down sizeing, but it seems to me that the battle group is our most commonly used force, and I think that any army of the future needs to be built with the idea of it being split into battle groups in mind.
We just had two brigade headquarters operationally deployed during the past year.

The problem with having more smaller brigades is that they would be less effecient for manpower.  The size of the headquarters would not get smaller.  Each brigade would still require the same Svc Bn, CER, Sig Sqn, etc at the same size as they exist in our current three brigade structure.
 

Long in the tooth

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In 5 July's National Post, a journalist reports that "the Army plans to stockpile gear at ports as the move would cut response times for overseas missions."  He also says "the Canadian army will reduce the amount of equipment at its bases and instead stockpile gear and armoured vehicles for up to 2,000 soldiers at ports on the East and possibly West coasts."

The other main stockpile will be held at Wainwright (of course!).

I'm not happy to throw water on your 15 year plan, but it seems as if the military is more and more following some of the tenets of business management.  These include 'Just in time delivery' with pooled equipment.  And if anyone is noticing, the overseas tours are NOT named after units (such as LdSH or 3 RCR) but are more and more based on ad hoc formations.  Not such a bad thing, but instead if being an integral part of a 'Regiment', soldiers are members of a battlegroup or ROTO.

Not to be alarmist either, but the natural extension is to denude all units of the 'high end' equipment, pool the equipment and fill overseas vacancies from a central pool.  This is not far from what has been going on for years (all units have had sub units from other units for the last 12 years). 
 

Lance Wiebe

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I have also just finished reading the stockpiling article.

How sad.

All of our equipment will be either stockpiled, overseas, or in Wainwright.  No armoured vehicles at the units, as the article says, commercial vehicles can be used to move troops in Canada.

So now, we can entice troops to join, and then sit around playing pepper or euchre, because they'll have no equipment to work on or train on.

As to your second point, I had been arguing for years that Combat Teams and Battle Groups should be deployed as opposed to units.  It is finally happening.
 

McG

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Worn Out Grunt said:
In 5 July's National Post, a journalist reports that "the Army plans to stockpile gear at ports as the move would cut response times for overseas missions."  He also says "the Canadian army will reduce the amount of equipment at its bases and instead stockpile gear and armoured vehicles for up to 2,000 soldiers at ports on the East and possibly West coasts."
Sadly, this is not new information.  It is being called "fleet managment."  A battalion can expect to keep enough equipment for a Coy and everyone will have to share it.  Annually, the brigade going into high readiness will go to Wainwright and exercise at the battalion and brigade levels. 
 
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