Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1098626 times)

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Offline Haggis

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I know the vote was pretty close, but...

I'm a dual citizen so I just went to l'ambassade.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Does the average Pres "Regiment" have the experience to deploy and command a Coy or equivalent size on deployed ops?

You've stated the avg Res member is only showing up 2 times a month; and the Cl A trg year is approx 10 months long.  Using those numbers, that's 60 hours of experience/year and all at an Armouries.

Yes. Given the right numbers, and enough of the right trained people, I have successfully run a Coy CP (usually dismounted) on field exercises. Usually, it was me with a radio on my back as I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to get some section attacks etc done, and were not stuck watching a radio all weekend. On patrolling focused exercises though we usually had a CP and briefing area set up in some MOD tentage somewhere.

As for your training time calculation, you forgot to subtract the hours required to deliver 'mandatory' training, and other fastballs. These are usually Army mandated briefings, that add nothing to the infantry skills of your average 18 year old Private, and usually have to be paid for out of our manday budget with no chance of recouping the loss.
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Offline FJAG

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Does the average Pres "Regiment" have the experience to deploy and command a Coy or equivalent size on deployed ops?

You've stated the avg Res member is only showing up 2 times a month; and the Cl A trg year is approx 10 months long.  Using those numbers, that's 60 hours of experience/year and all at an Armouries.

Just one more comment about the above. Most artillery weekend exercises (most Army ones for that matter) start on a Friday night and run through until Sunday afternoon with a bare minimum time for sleep. That's usually around 30 to 35 hours of training time on any given weekend alone.

It's the same for summer concentrations. Training days are not 9-5 but generally a 24 hour day with minimal sleep. The Almighty created the nighttime so that gunners could  practice night moves and fire illumination missions.  ;D

 :cheers:
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Online Colin P

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That's an interesting question and I'll answer as far as it relates to an artillery regiment where the sub-unit is a gun battery.

Essentially you can train a battery and conduct live fire exercises with as little as one gun, one CP, one FOO party and a battery commander with an FSCC. Artillery officers will learn the the essential skills for their jobs at their various DP level courses and as such one can say that a PRes artillery regiment can field a functioning battery (albeit that doesn't mean they have the numbers or equipment to field a full battery). In fact most units carry out some extent of live fire training several times per year.

What is missing from the equation is that PRes artillery regiments have none of the A or B echelon staff or equipment (veh, weapons and rad techs, medical or kitchen) required to actually be capable of deploying.

Equally important is that a number of the higher end functions of fire support coordination (such as air integration) is nowhere near as well learned or practiced as they need to be.

The short answer is that while a PRes artillery regiment has the fundamental ability to "deploy and command" a battery on "deployed ops" it has neither the equipment, personnel, or experience to do so successfully without major augmentation and predeployment training.

 :cheers:

Our ops tasking solved that with the addition of kitchen trailer, sigs truck, 2nd CP, REME truck and a ambulance, along with full FOO parties. Eventually all taken by brigade, mind you we also had 6 functioning guns and tractors back then.

Offline FJAG

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Our ops tasking solved that with the addition of kitchen trailer, sigs truck, 2nd CP, REME truck and a ambulance, along with full FOO parties. Eventually all taken by brigade, mind you we also had 6 functioning guns and tractors back then.

That raised a number of questions for me Colin.

1. What and when was the op tasking?

2. Did the tasking cease when brigade took the equipment?

3. What did the brigade do with the equipment?

Back in the day, 26th Fd had six guns, gun tractors, a CP, recce vehicles, FOO vehicles as well. On exercise the ambulance came from the District's med coy or 3rd Horse, the local Sig Sqn (in those days belonging to the Comms Gp) frequently provided extra rad op CP vehicles. Extra ammo 2 1/2s from the Service Bn. We never saw RCEME or kitchen vehicles. (IMPs or haybox only)

Just curious.

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Offline Rifleman62

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Op tasted 26 Fd Regt had two CP's (one not completely outfitted with radios I think but had the Milpac) an Amb, ammo 2 1/2 with winch, plus another. Can't remember about a kitchen truck. That was was possibly after your tenure there. As G4, did the planning/veh tasking for Prairie Mil Area Arty Conc, and once Prairie/Pacific as Man Mil Dist was tasked to run all the Arty Concs. Always got Wpn Techs from Shilo for the Concs to do safety pre-fire checks after the moves and during the FTX. We eventually low bedded all the guns to save wear and tear, but still did the SPF.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2019, 14:45:11 by Rifleman62 »
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Online Colin P

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I believe op tasking started around 1980 and ran for about 3-4 years, then it was dropped. As part of that tasking, they airlifted the entire unit to Shilo to support the German Black Bear exercise, heady times they were, we had kit, pay, bodies, radios, working howitzers and ammunition. We never got our full compliment of small arms though, i think we were supposed to get some .50cals or GPMG's as well. The politics at the end I have no real idea of though.

Offline AlDazz

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I bit of a wandering topic. I don't think any PRes unit is capable of generating a capable sub unit in the form of Sqn, Bty or Coy.  They don't posses the required stores and resources and would need considerable augmentation. The differences in equipment for the Armd Recce and Fd Arty units would present integration challenges as well. The Infantry would be able to generate Platoon Groups into Light Infantry Companies and any training deficit would be eliminated during work up training.  As the PRes is expected to provide individual augmentation to the Regular Army if there is no change to equipment scales of issue then there will be no change in capability.
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Offline MilEME09

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"Matt Gurney: Keep Canada safe by building out the Army Reserve"
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/matt-gurney-keep-canada-safe-by-building-out-the-army-reserve?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0hIw6nod3_4Gu3fAZH_fHmPZoWiFArG7O9zI9AhnBs6rK936wxsHAbr2w#Echobox=1562604573

Two take aways from this article: One sounds like the Cons may expand the reserves if they gain power in October.

Two: The author makes things way to simple of a money game, which is naive at best. Sure the reserves cost $300 million in 2015, at face value he suggests doubling the Reserves. Great idea if it was only so simple as to cost $300 million more. He fails to account for if you added say 20,000 bodies to the reserves, the cost to equip them, and the cost to expand infrastructure. While he claims many reserve units have lot's of space to grow, that is not the case from what I've seen, at least in major cities. If you told my unit our authorized effective strength was doubling, you would be crazy to say we had the space, or the equipment for 450 - 600 bodies. We would need huge investments in infrastructure, vehicles, weapons and other equipment. Which as pointed out on this thread, without a fundamental restructure of the Reserves is not worth the investment.
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Offline FJAG

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"Matt Gurney: Keep Canada safe by building out the Army Reserve"
https://nationalpost.com/opinion/matt-gurney-keep-canada-safe-by-building-out-the-army-reserve?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR0hIw6nod3_4Gu3fAZH_fHmPZoWiFArG7O9zI9AhnBs6rK936wxsHAbr2w#Echobox=1562604573

Two take aways from this article: One sounds like the Cons may expand the reserves if they gain power in October.

Two: The author makes things way to simple of a money game, which is naive at best. Sure the reserves cost $300 million in 2015, at face value he suggests doubling the Reserves. Great idea if it was only so simple as to cost $300 million more. He fails to account for if you added say 20,000 bodies to the reserves, the cost to equip them, and the cost to expand infrastructure. While he claims many reserve units have lot's of space to grow, that is not the case from what I've seen, at least in major cities. If you told my unit our authorized effective strength was doubling, you would be crazy to say we had the space, or the equipment for 450 - 600 bodies. We would need huge investments in infrastructure, vehicles, weapons and other equipment. Which as pointed out on this thread, without a fundamental restructure of the Reserves is not worth the investment.

I'm not sure where Gurney got the $300 million figure from. Para 5.82 of the Auditor General's Report says this:

Quote
National Defence reported to Parliament that it spent $1.2 billion to train and operate the Primary Reserve in the 2013–14 fiscal year. According to the Canadian Armed Forces, $724 million of this amount was to train and operate the Army Reserve. Of that amount, $166 million was attributed to the Army Reserve for the operation of Canadian Army bases. This amount was calculated based on a ratio of the number of Army Reserve soldiers to the number of Regular Army soldiers, not on the use of base facilities. The Canadian Armed Forces does not maintain information on the Army Reserve’s actual use of base facilities. In our opinion, the $166 million estimate is not well supported and may result in providing incorrect information to Parliament by overstating the reported expenses of the Primary Reserve.

I think that there's some creative math there but let's not quibble about numbers.

The problem isn't one of expanding the number of reservists but the need to change the structure, role and overall concept of the reserves within the overall CAF. Our system is broken. Adding more people is just reinforcing failure.

I've been doing some number crunching for an article on reforming the Army's primary reserves that I've written for the Canadian Forces Journal and quite simply, even at some 20,000 trained Army reservists, you can fully man 2 mechanized brigade groups (at 4,500 each), three support brigades (at 3,000 each) and training depot establishments (another 2,000). (Members who are undergoing their DP1 level training should be counted against a BTL rather than the establishments of the Reserve Force's units and formations)

Expanding the number of reservists is not a bad idea, but before one even considers that, one has to completely and utterly change the underlying system so that we have not merely more reservists but rather that we have an effective, equipped and deployable Reserve Force that will multiply rather than augment the combat power of our existing Regular Force. Anything else is a waste of money.

 :stirpot:
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Offline dapaterson

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I believe the $300M is the direct pay and O&M cost; imputed costs (base support, uniforms, ammunition, accruals of capital assets etc) make up the balance of the $1.2B.


Land Force Reserve Restructure was supposed to impose a rational C2 structure on the Army Reserve (among other things).  Imagine an Army Reserve that acknowledged and embraced geographically dispersed units, and, within the current 20K(ish) cap, provided 30 battalions of 500 trained soldiers each, organized into five brigades of 3200 each (giving six battalions each - two inf, one recce, one arty, one engr and one CSS, plus a Bde HQ and Sigs, plus a few other enablers), plus a training system of ~36500 - that's 80 trained pers to manage and train the BTL plus 650 on the BTL, for each Bde, plus 350 for Advanced training (year-long courses) and levels above Brigade.


But instead, we must preserve the status quo of LCols commanding 90 soldiers, all ranks, including 25 untrained...
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Offline Dimsum

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But instead, we must preserve the status quo of LCols commanding 90 soldiers, all ranks, including 25 untrained...

Well we can't abolish or combine Regiments now, can we... 
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 23:45:38 by Dimsum »
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Reply:  "If."

Offline FJAG

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...
But instead, we must preserve the status quo of LCols commanding 90 soldiers, all ranks, including 25 untrained...

I had to chuckle a bit when I read the commander of MILPERSGEN and the Defence Academy make this statement in his CMJ article back in 2016:

Quote
...
Permanent groupings should be formed of consistently understrength Reserve Units that can together form a single unit that can provide significant response capability. This would not involve closing or moving units, but simply admitting that a region can only produce a sub-unit or sub-sub-unit, not something larger. These smaller parts, in a fashion that maintains their rich histories, can be then combined to form a single unit under a commanding officer.

However, one could also ensure that senior Reserve positions are dedicated to those communities to maintain the historical continuity of senior CAF engagement within those areas. Building on this idea, experienced and capable senior Reservists who would currently be released due to a lack of Reserve positions at their rank level could be kept on strength in order to maintain the CAF connection to communities, as well as to establish and act as military liaison for public safety and security. This capability would need to be carefully managed to ensure that it does not become a sinecure.
...

http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vol16/no3/PDF/CMJ163Ep16.pdf page 25

I expect there were to be similar roles found for all the majors, CWOs and MWOs that would no longer be required. Not that I have anything against LCols or CWOs but I'd rather pay three privates or corporals that we need for every LCol that we don't need.

 :cheers:
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Offline Journeyman

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Just a pet peeve...
... if you added say 20,000 bodies to the reserves....
I really dislike soldiers being referred to as "bodies."


I have nothing substantive to contribute to the discussion, although I hope someone finds the magical solution.  :salute:

Offline Remius

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I expect there were to be similar roles found for all the majors, CWOs and MWOs that would no longer be required. Not that I have anything against LCols or CWOs but I'd rather pay three privates or corporals that we need for every LCol that we don't need.
 :cheers:

I think in theory that might work but not really in practice.  Some units have already created tactical groupings under one CO and RSM but the elimination of three or four LCol's/CWOs hasn't seemed to translate into more troops for those units that are under strength.

Taking away a LCol and replacing him with a major does not solve the issue some units have.  You'll just have the same issues only with a major in charge.

Capability and equipment.  Fix that.
Optio

Offline dapaterson

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If they can't recruit more troops, then they don't need the LCol and CWO to begin with.
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Offline Remius

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If they can't recruit more troops, then they don't need the LCol and CWO to begin with.

the point is that eliminating senior positions does not mean more troops.  People seem to think that LCol's and CWOs are the issue and that getting rid them will solve something when it won't unless you address the real issues.

Good training and equipment helps retain more pers.  Right now I can't even get mukluks for troops or C-6s let alone anything more complicated...
Optio

Offline Brad Sallows

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>Taking away a LCol and replacing him with a major does not solve the issue some units have.  You'll just have the same issues only with a major in charge.

The major should be younger, and removal of the pressure to retain enough people to form a candidate pool for promotion to LCol should increase average capability and competence among Res F senior officers.  It's not a one-for-one swap: in each unit it's potentially a swap of the LCol and all the superfluous Maj for one Maj.  (The difference would be noted in overborne units, not the ones struggling to retain enough people to fill each of the half-dozen or so key appointments.)
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Offline FJAG

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Just to emphasize a point here. My comment about converting the LCols pay to three privates or corporals was facetiously made in response to the quoted article where a Reg F Maj Gen suggested that if we consolidate units and thus have redundant LCols hanging around we can still find useful work for them rather than retiring them.

While we will save some money on such retirements (as well as the excess Majs, CWOs and MWOs) that's just a drop in the bucket.

Getting better training and equipment (just like more people) is a nice to have (and probably more important than more people) but doesn't cure the underlying problem with our reserve structure. At this point in time, you cannot generate any viable combat capable entities from within the reseres. That said, the Reg F also has tremendous capability gaps that prevent them from being a viable fighting force against a sophisticated enemy. If you think that our Reg F is a "near peer" to the Russians you are dreaming in technicolour. It took many months of pre-deployment training to just get our battle groups organized and ready for service against the Taliban and even there we had significant capability gaps that took years to work out.

If you've had a look at both Strong, Secure, Engaged and the verbage that makes up WayPoint 2018 you'll distill the fact that while we recognize Russia (and in part China) as our most significant potential enemies we are structuring ourselves as a medium weight combat force that will deploy in no more than battle group strength. The whole system is akin to not buying house insurance because you hope that your house will never catch fire and no one will ever slip and fall on your icy front step.

Reserves exist primarily for use in extreme situations that might never happen while Reg Forces exist to take care of the country's day-to-day defence needs. Reserves are cost effective forces for such extreme events but only if they are properly structured, trained and equipped. Quite frankly we are paying too much for for what appears to be a mildly effective day-to-day military which currently would be hard pressed to put one medium weight LAV brigade into the field. Concurrently our reserve structure is largely ineffective. We will undoubtedly never pay significantly more.

It's long past time to go back to the drawing board. The fine tuning of the system that we've been playing with for decades has not and will not lead us to to a more effective, more capable military. Over the last few decades we've had several reorganization studies that have all been evolutionary rather than revolutionary. As long as we stay in that mold we will never get anywhere.

 :2c:
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