Author Topic: Current Flag Officers  (Read 17772 times)

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Offline NavalMoose

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Current Flag Officers
« on: June 07, 2016, 06:52:00 »
Does anyone know how many Flag Officers the RCN has active at this time?

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 07:27:50 »
How many in the RCN, or in the CAF?
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 07:54:56 »

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2016, 08:58:22 »
Double what we actually need.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2016, 09:38:36 »
Double what we actually need.

And someone who hasn't a clue how to run a Navy would know that ... how exactly?

Offline Lumber

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2016, 09:44:52 »
And someone who hasn't a clue how to run a Navy would know that ... how exactly?

Over 6,000 posts and 832,555 mil points?
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 09:51:12 »
There are twelve major surface combatants in the RCN.  That should have some influence on the rank structure.

The Army is equally bad, if not worse - the Army has soldiers (perhaps) for a single division, and equipment for about 1/3 of that.  Again, potential outputs should influence rank structure.

Keeping up with the Americans is not a valid argument.  Any five year old who uses "but my friends have it" as justification for anything is dismissed; we need to apply (at least) the same standards to five year old argumentation we apply to military force structure decisions.
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2016, 10:13:17 »
There are twelve major surface combatants in the RCN.  That should have some influence on the rank structure.

We have thirteen major surface combatants, but you bring up a good point.

One time while serving with my USN brethren, they mentioned how "we almost have as many Admirals as we have ships!". At first that didn't seem like a big deal. With a Navy of over 400,000 full and part-time sailors, having over 300 Admirals didn't seem like a big deal.

But when you compare it to the Canadian Navy...

If military organizations are suppose to get leaner (narrower) the higher you go, and if the whole organization exists in order to put war fighting ships to sea, then doesn't it stand to reason that the number of Admirals would be less than the number of ships?

Also, you can use the DWAN to search by rank. I searched for the number of VAdm, RAdm and Cmdre, and we have a total of 2+9+14 = 25.

So, we have twice as many Flag Officers in naval uniforms as we have Major Surface Combatants (recall, not all of them are necessarily working in the Navy, i.e. RAdm Bennett).

If we add in the subs and MCDVs, we have something better than a 1:1 ratio.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2016, 10:22:06 »
We have thirteen major surface combatants, but you bring up a good point.

One time while serving with my USN brethren, they mentioned how "we almost have as many Admirals as we have ships!". At first that didn't seem like a big deal. With a Navy of over 400,000 full and part-time sailors, having over 300 Admirals didn't seem like a big deal.

But when you compare it to the Canadian Navy...

If military organizations are suppose to get leaner (narrower) the higher you go, and if the whole organization exists in order to put war fighting ships to sea, then doesn't it stand to reason that the number of Admirals would be less than the number of ships?

Also, you can use the DWAN to search by rank. I searched for the number of VAdm, RAdm and Cmdre, and we have a total of 2+9+14 = 25.

So, we have twice as many Flag Officers in naval uniforms as we have Major Surface Combatants (recall, not all of them are necessarily working in the Navy, i.e. RAdm Bennett).

If we add in the subs and MCDVs, we have something better than a 1:1 ratio.

Apologies; I thought that we were down to the twelve Halifax-class.  Although Athabaskan is in rough shape right now...

USN, by my quick math, is about 1:1300 in Admirals; Canada's ratio will be skewed higher, since some functions in the CAF are centralized and thus not reflected in the personnel count of the RCN. Still, with perhaps 15000 full and part-time sailors under the RCN, the Admirals ratio is about 1:600.  Again, not all Admirals serve in the RCN, and support functions (ADM(Mat), CMP etc) are not apportioned to the RCN, so that looks much worse.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2016, 10:31:49 »
Yes, no and maybe?

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here for a bit.

Ships are machines.  I know a little bit about using machines.  Machines should spent as much time doing what they were purchased to do as possible.  Ideally they will work all of the 8760 hours there are in a year.  Some machines are capable of approaching that level of operations.

All machines need maintenance and supervision which requires people.  Unfortunately people are nowhere near as efficient as machines.  The lazy buggers demand time off for non essentials like sleeping, eating, drinking and procreating.  The most you can squeeze out of a person is 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, or 2000 hours a year.

8760/2000 = 4.38 people for every machine hour. to man a machine for a year.  Call it five to cover the more intensive labour requirements associated with maintenance.  That means that for every position in the force you need 5 bodies in the rotation to man those positions.  The effect of industrialization and unionization on society.

Gone are the days when one captain owned a ship and a single crew and worked them as he saw fit.

Also, back on shore, all those HQs that have to be manned 24/7,  all of them require 5 bodies for every duty slot.

And then there is the requirement to recruit and train replacements as those 5 bodies rotate out due to promotion or retirement.

What I am saying is that, in effect, 13 ships need 65 shifts and 3 naval HQs require 15 duty rosters.  Now how many Admirals, Commodores and "captains" versus Captains are required is beyond my ken.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 10:34:46 by Chris Pook »
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2016, 11:01:21 »
I'll dispose of Lumber's first argument (posts and milpoints): That is irrelevant - a cook with 100,000 posts and a million milpoints all related to recipes would still not be qualified to comment on operational structure of the Air Force. So my question remain: what qualifies an Army communication specialist to comment on the proper number of Flag Officers in the Navy - unless his comment was meant tongue-in-cheek as a general comment on Flag/General officers in the CF, which would be something I can live with.

On the most recent post of Lumber, which I endorse, I'll add the following:

First, the reference to determine the number of Flag Officers required is not the number of major surface combatants, but what their actual responsibilities are. For instance The Admiral on the East Coast has eight major surface warships under his command, but also one submarine, six MCDV, the Fleet Diving Unit and its tender, the CFAV's that support the fleet, the responsibility for the largest base in Canada and responsibility for, by far, the largest industrial undertaking in the CAF (the dockyard and all the related fleet engineering resources. And that is a temporary thing, as the fleet is short of its usual extra destroyer and AOR as a result of unplanned early retirement. He also exercises operational command over the Maritime Air Group.

The West Coast has responsibility for 5 major surface combatant, but also three submarines, six MCDV, eight PCT, the fleet auxiliaries, running the Torpedo range vessels and range itself, running the fleet schools and training for the whole Navy, running the naval officer training, another one of the largest bases in Canada and the second largest industrial undertaking in the CAF. He also has operational command over his own Maritime Air Group. Finally, he is also currently short two destroyers and an AOR due to unplanned early retirements.

Commander RCN then has to oversee all those, plus all of the 24 Naval Reserve Divisions across Canada.

Finally, it is important to discount a certain number of these Flag Officer as they are not really RCN, but purple trades wearing the Naval DEU (padre, logistics, administration, TDO, JAG, etc.).

I think that once you shed the purple officers, you will find that of the three major command (Army, Navy, Air Force), the RCN is probably the chintziest where the number of Flag Officers is concerned.   

   

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2016, 11:07:32 »
Then there are the flag officers that staff DND/joint Canadian commands and in multi-national commands such as NORAD and NATO.Headquarters are a major reason that we have the numbers  of flag officers that we do.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 11:17:25 by tomahawk6 »

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 11:18:53 »
A navy of twelve combatants (plus one alongside) is a reasonable consideration in determining rank structure.  Many activities outlined by OBGD are support functions to that pointy end.  Indeed, functions like FMF and operating ranges should be primarily done by civilians, not military; military personnel are too expensive and too scarce a resource to waste.

As for the East coast admiral: the largest base in Canada is either Ottawa (by number of personnel) or Suffield (by area).

Interesting that that support is "not really RCN".  I guess cooks and pay writers are "not really RCN" as well?  (For the record: There's only one padre GOFO, presently in an Army uniform; the admin branch was merged with Log years ago; there are no TDO GOFOs; and the sole JAG GOFO wears an Army uniform right now)
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Offline PuckChaser

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 12:26:06 »
And someone who hasn't a clue how to run a Navy would know that ... how exactly?
It's not a dig at the Navy, the CAF overall has double what we need. Put your pitchforks away.

Offline Log Offr

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 22:07:42 »
You're asking the wrong question. There is a difference between how many flag officers the Navy has, versus how many flag officers wear the Navy uniform. Think that through, compare DND to the rest of the federal government departments' executive levels and what those departmental executives do, factor in a CAF requirement to produce new leadership at various levels every couple years, and you get an entirely different perspective on the numbers.

The Army, for example, has 10 Generals.

Comd CA. D Comd CA. COS Ops. COS Strat. Comd CADTC. COS CA Reserve. 4 x Div Comd.

Many other Generals wear the Army uniform. But only 10 are in the Army. The rest are corporate (or operational, but not many of them) and the corporate stuff needs to happen. Like it or not, mock it all you want, the corporate stuff needs to happen, or the troops lose the ability to do their work. You can have a General doing it, or a civilian.  If you think things in DND are wonky now, wait until you don't have EX's instead of Generals trying to run it.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2016, 22:22:55 »
You missed out on the four Div DComds, plus DComd CADTC, which takes the Army to fifteen.  For a Regular force field force that is less than a division in strength (and much less than that when equipment is considered).  The Army Reserve if fully mobilized would add perhaps a pair of Bdes (less equipment, of course).

There are many functions that can and should be civilianized within DND.  Unfortunately, the military's uniform fetish means even constructive efforts in that vein get derailed; in the 1970s, a CAF with a much larger national and international footprint managed to have Infra and Environment run by a single BGen.  Before today's consolidation, somehow that morphed into a civilian ADM, plus a MGen COS.

A ruthless culling of the CAF's senior officer corps is long overdue.  Today's CAF (Regular Force)  is 20,000 all ranks smaller than in the early 1990s, yet somehow the absolute number of lieutenant colonels and commanders has increased.

A lack of solid government oversight has permitted the bloat to grow, mostly unchecked.  And since government attention spans are short, even when the problem is seen it is quickly forgotten; the 1997 Report to the PM on the Leadership and Management of the CF gave clear direction that is largely ignored today, since it called for a small number of GOFOs, and a rebalanced rank structure.  No one would champion that direction.
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Offline Log Offr

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2016, 22:54:17 »
You missed out on the four Div DComds, plus DComd CADTC, which takes the Army to fifteen.  For a Regular force field force that is less than a division in strength (and much less than that when equipment is considered).  The Army Reserve if fully mobilized would add perhaps a pair of Bdes (less equipment, of course).

There are many functions that can and should be civilianized within DND.  Unfortunately, the military's uniform fetish means even constructive efforts in that vein get derailed; in the 1970s, a CAF with a much larger national and international footprint managed to have Infra and Environment run by a single BGen.  Before today's consolidation, somehow that morphed into a civilian ADM, plus a MGen COS.

A ruthless culling of the CAF's senior officer corps is long overdue.  Today's CAF (Regular Force)  is 20,000 all ranks smaller than in the early 1990s, yet somehow the absolute number of lieutenant colonels and commanders has increased.

A lack of solid government oversight has permitted the bloat to grow, mostly unchecked.  And since government attention spans are short, even when the problem is seen it is quickly forgotten; the 1997 Report to the PM on the Leadership and Management of the CF gave clear direction that is largely ignored today, since it called for a small number of GOFOs, and a rebalanced rank structure.  No one would champion that direction.

Hi. I counted the 4 x Div Comd and Comd CAD TC. I even listed them in the third para of my post. So, 10.

We wil have to disagree on whether 10 Generals is too much for our small Army. Functions need to happen whether we like them or not. We could down-rank some functions, but then you simply wind up with a less experienced, less screened Officer doing the job, and accept the risks that come with that. 10 senior leaders is not too many for a 20 000 member force. What do you cut? COS Strat? You'll still need a senior planner to synchronize the efforts of DLR, DLFD, et al. So now it's a Colonel, and we accept the risk that that Colonel may not be quite as smart as the BGen, or carry the same weight when he sits in front of a panel of EX 3's from our sister departments, to ask for money so we can buy the kit we need.

In any event, if you want to debate the number of Generals, Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels in DND, then we'd need to discuss the functions that take place in every other Government Department vis a vis the largest Department, the complexity, effect, span of control, and risk of each one, and discuss how long it takes to create a Contingent Commander or a Div Comd or an L1 Comptroller etc, why we need to swap them out every few years, what we're supposed to do with them in the meantime and afterwards, how comparable industries are set up, why our allies' Generals don't want to talk to people 2 ranks lower than them, etc ad nauseum. Yes, we can all cough up examples of General Officers we think are doing flopper jobs, but that proves nothing at all, other than that we think Col Blimp is in a flopper job.

There is likely loads of room to cull the herd at my rank and one above and one below. That's an entirely different discussion than the thread the OP started, and still isn't so black and white. You can get rid of a Major in the bowels of 101, but someone still wants the output that used to come from his desk.

I definitely disagree that civilianizing our senior leadership is the answer. You can't control what you get, and certainly not downstream, two or three moves later, and you wind up with grossly un-suitable leaders in key corporate jobs. Intelligent and hard-working EX's who have no military experience, no stake in the game, no internalized passion for doing the best for the troops. Seen it, at all rank levels, and it's rarely a good idea (in my experience and opinion, whatever that's worth, lol). That and $2... LOL.




Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2016, 23:17:33 »
No, Div DComds, not Div Comds.  And CADTC DComd, not Comd.  Five more, all Reserve Class A.  Like COS CA Res.

My concern (borne out by experience) is that our military is too small to produce that number of generals.  Too many never command (in any real sense; we designate positions as "having the powers of a CO" and claim it's the equivalent of having commanded, when it isn't); they cost a great deal to train; and end up like the civilians you disdain - creatures of the bureaucracy who just happen to be uniformed.  (I'd argue that trades with a majority of their strength in Ottawa need to be examined for civilianization - hello, most engineers, TDO, PSel, Log...)
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Offline Monsoon

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2016, 05:07:59 »
No, Div DComds, not Div Comds.  And CADTC DComd, not Comd.  Five more, all Reserve Class A.  Like COS CA Res.
Six BGens strikes you as too many for an organization of ~20K people? Hardcore, man.

I don't disagree with your general point about staff flags (necessarily - I could make a compelling devil's advocate case, though), but six PRes BGens definitely aren't the issue.

Offline dapaterson

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2016, 08:07:36 »
Each position, individually, isn't the issue.  It's the collection of them that is.  We have lacked institutional discipline, and taken the easy way out of inflating ranks, and increasing C2 overhead, rather than asking hard questions and making hard decisions to stop activities in order to start others.  We have created silos of excellence, rather than integrated systems to support and enable.


As for the Army Reserve: the highest command rank in the Army Reserve is Colonel.  Above those positions are only staff.  (There are a bunch of staff Army Reserve Colonels as well).   As well, the ability to develop all the necessary organizational competencies as a senior leader in the CAF within the constrained time available to a part-time Reservist is at best a challenge - there's more than enough difficulty doing it within the full-time force.
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Offline Underway

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2016, 09:56:45 »
My concern (borne out by experience) is that our military is too small to produce that number of generals. 

Don't you have that backwards.  The number of generals is to big for the military.  Thus we need to grown the military not reduce the number of generals.

That being said the number of higher rank staff has more to do with their responsibilities in the modern gov't than the combat control of troops, pay levels etc...

@OGBD are you missing the number of Commodore positions on each coast in your list?  Or are they not considered "flag" rank.

Offline Lightguns

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2016, 10:28:23 »
Not sure comparing fighting units size and number of is accurate.  If you have a four ship navy on two coasts, you will still need two fleet comds, two shore comds, and a naval comd.  Would it not be better to look at the size of the Admirals' staff in relation to the workload of the staff rather than the Admiral's rank?  Nothing wrong with 20 admirals, if staff is small and efficient, but 20 admirals with huge under employed staff is poor service to the fighting units.  The real monetary cost is not the admiral but the staff bling that goes with the position. 
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2016, 10:42:07 »
I'll dispose of Lumber's first argument (posts and milpoints): That is irrelevant - a cook with 100,000 posts and a million milpoints all related to recipes would still not be qualified to comment on operational structure of the Air Force. 

You wound me good Sir. My first argument (posts and milpoints) was sarcasm and a jab at Puck Chaser (for which I have put the pitch forks away...).


In any event, if you want to debate the number of Generals, Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels in DND, then we'd need to discuss the functions that take place in every other Government Department vis a vis the largest Department, the complexity, effect, span of control, and risk of each one, and discuss how long it takes to create a Contingent Commander or a Div Comd or an L1 Comptroller etc, why we need to swap them out every few years, what we're supposed to do with them in the meantime and afterwards, how comparable industries are set up, why our allies' Generals don't want to talk to people 2 ranks lower than them, etc ad nauseum. Yes, we can all cough up examples of General Officers we think are doing flopper jobs, but that proves nothing at all, other than that we think Col Blimp is in a flopper job.

How do you eliminate these functions once they've started? Is it even possible? My job, for example, has three general areas of responsibility (I'm the Navy equivalent of Adjutant btw): 1. Keep the day-to-day operation of the unit (specifically the OR) running smoothly, 2. Do whatever the hell the CO/DCO need of me, and 3. Take care of whatever projects I get tasted with by NDHQ/NSHQ/NAVRESHQ.

Of those 3, the last one probably takes up the majority of my time. We have a ton of official inspections and audits followed up by even more unofficial "here, fill out this spread sheet and send it back to me," reports. Every week there seems to be a new "appreciation" day or week, whether it be for a minority group, in remembrance of some important event, or other charitable campaign. There's coordinating sending dozens of my sailors to dozens of speaking events for Veterans Week, half a dozen CAF appreciation sporting and "Support Our Troops" events , etc etc...

I'm not saying these aren't all good things, but none of these have anything to do with doing the business of our business. How much red-tape and man-hours are we making for ourselves?
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Offline MJP

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2016, 11:17:21 »
Of those 3, the last one probably takes up the majority of my time. We have a ton of official inspections and audits followed up by even more unofficial "here, fill out this spread sheet and send it back to me," reports. Every week there seems to be a new "appreciation" day or week, whether it be for a minority group, in remembrance of some important event, or other charitable campaign. There's coordinating sending dozens of my sailors to dozens of speaking events for Veterans Week, half a dozen CAF appreciation sporting and "Support Our Troops" events , etc etc...

I'm not saying these aren't all good things, but none of these have anything to do with doing the business of our business. How much red-tape and man-hours are we making for ourselves?

Lots and as long as commanders allow their staffs to push useless junk down we will continue to waste time filling out spreadsheets. 
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Current Flag Officers
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2016, 08:41:46 »
To be fair to staff it has been my experience that staff is usually responding to requests from higher HQ. :camo: