Author Topic: Army Reserve Restructuring  (Read 19841 times)

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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #175 on: September 06, 2020, 21:20:18 »
A sub-unit is a company; fifty soldiers does not a company make.  In the late 90s or early 2000s there was a Composite Reserve Infantry Company (CRIC) deployed to the former Yugoslavia; its success (from selection through training through deployment) was never fully assessed (and and such assessment would be subjective, at best).

If the army was serious about the StAR's initiative, then ever unit would be pushing to have platoon sized elements ready to deploy. Since the StARs tasks were announced, I have heard little on its execution, planning or if units are actually attempting to reach their assigned tasks.

If StARs is failing to produce deployable platoons, in my opinion its because leadership wanted it to fail, not because it was a bad plan.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #176 on: September 07, 2020, 00:01:11 »
The line from SSE Para 36 about the importance of the brigade bears examining. On its face, its a motherhood statement saying the patently obvious -- you need to bring at least a brigade to a ground war if you want to have actual effect or influence. We knew that when we sent brigades to Korea and to West Germany. But we, as an Army, have mostly neglected the brigade level as "too hard, too expensive" since the end of the Cold War and the shut down of 4 Brigade in West Germany. We have been trying, and mostly failing, to make the Battle Group level work as a cheap substitute, but a full look at the structure of the Army, Regular and Reserve, needs an honest look at our brigades.

You make some very good points in your post. Let me make a few comments to add to the discussion.

Quote
Regular brigades need to be symmetrical, so that they can replace each other in a sustained operation. We can't have a light brigade, a LAV brigade and a tank brigade and then expect them all to deploy in succession in a LAV role over three rotos. A LAV brigade that has the ability to also deploy in a lightish (truck mounted, not airborne/airmobile) role is probably a suitable compromise. The brigades need to be able to replace each other over the course of an extended war. Are we married to the 6 month deployment, or are we ready to commit to 12 months? Given that it's taking 12 months to train units, and probably 12 months for a unit to recover from war, 3 brigades would just barely be sustainable with 12 month deployment cycles. With 6 month tours, we need 5 brigades. So deployment length isn't just a whim of CJOC commander the day the Op Order is written -- it drives force structure.

I don't agree with this although your arguments are sound if we had a role to actually deploy a full brigade. On the other hand if the SSE roles remain limited to battlegroups or less than one can (and IMHO, should) have asynchronous brigades with each brigade having a specialty and the responsibility to generate battlegroups to specific missions e.g. 1 CMBG (armoured) constantly looks after only the Baltics eFP battlegroup; 2 CMBG (light) constantly looks after the Ukraine mission and a quick reaction force; 5 CMBG (mech) looks after UN missions and follow-on to the quick reaction force. - This develops expertise within the brigade for its prime mission. Personally I would go to a one year deployment. I'm also personally of the view that if a given brigade has a single mission focus then you would not need to train the "ready" component for a year predeployment anywhere near as long as we do now. The problem with being a Jack of all trades is that you are never a master of one and will constantly be training for something different.

Quote
Centralized control of scarce resources. The Combat Support Brigade is, in my opinion, long overdue. For too long, we've had a strange habit of concentrating national level resources, allocating them to low level regional or tactical headquarters, and then wondering why those HQs didn't have the ability or influence to manage them properly. I'm thinking Electronic Warfare, tanks and the short-lived TOW company. I do wonder about putting the Combat Support Brigade under one of the divisions though, I would have it as a direct report to Army HQ. And I don't think that the concept went far enough -- if we don't have enough to share, tanks belong in the Combat Support Brigade. That doesn't mean they don't belong in Edmonton and Gagetown -- it means that I think they need central stewardship. If we insist on having minimal indirect fire, there's a argument to pulling the M777 up under central control, too.

Completely agree. IMHO the weakness of the CCSB is that it's headquarters is not a deployable entity, just a force generating headquarters. More importantly, Canada also needs a sustainment brigade (CSB) which commands, controls and generates the forces necessary to form the NSEs that accompany our deployed contingents. Both the CCSB and the CSB should also have substantial ResF personnel and units. I don't agree that they need to be directly under Army headquarters. Our Divisions (except 1 Cdn Div) are simply non-deployable administrative headquarters that force generate (including everything that entails) and as such they remove much responsibility for training, direct supervision etc of the brigades and their units from the senior Army headquarters. Basically the CCSB and the CSB, under Div supervision, would generate the forces necessary to round out, support and sustain deployed maneouvre brigade elements as directed by CJOC and commanded by 1 Cdn Div. (Quite frankly I don't think that we need four force generating divisions; practically speaking - again looking at personnel numbers (both Reg F and Res F) two force generating Div HQs are sufficient.

Quote
Role of the reserves? Throughout. I'd have the high readiness brigade at full strength, all units topped up with Class C reservists for the duration of road to high readiness and high readiness. Whether 6 or 12 month tours, maybe instead of Class C we have them enrol in the Regular Force or the Special Force for a 18-24 month engagement for the entire road to high readiness and the deployment/high readiness period. Could this augmentation go behind individuals, and include entire platoons or companies or even a battalion of reservists, giving reservists the ability to command on operations? Of course, but probably on a lesser rotation cycle than the regulars. If there are 3 regular brigades, we might need 6 or 9 reserve battalion equivalents, plus reserve augmentation for the Combat Support functions -- but certainly not a structure of 10 reserve brigades.

I think if you have asymmetric brigades targeted on battlegroup or smaller missions then the entire brigade's resources could be used to top up the "deploying contingent" to full strength, whether by other Reg F personnel from within the brigade or by Class Cs. I also agree reservists could and should be used for such deployments but in order to do so we need to again get away from symmetry. Reservists cannot be agile, multi-purpose forces as the Army imagines itself to be. If specific reserve units in specific reserve brigades are also asynchronous and paired with a specific Reg F brigade then the training, organizational and mission specific skill focus is narrowed and much more achievable. I agree with you as to needing fewer reserve brigades. Based on the numbers of reservists we have (some 20,000) we can comfortably man five reserve brigades and their trg system. If we increase the size of the Army reserve (and are capable of generating and retaining such numbers) we could form an additional brigade or two.

Quote
Anything on top of that is an extra bill. Making the Latvia battalion a permanent non-rotational posting adds a battalion to the force structure, but removes that task from the brigades. If it stays rotational, that's another brigade on the force structure. A standing light NEO battalion, that's probably another brigade. You can easily get to a 5 to 7 brigade structure. Which is what we might need to be a credible army with influence and effect -- but then we get back to where we started at the end of the Cold War: "too hard, too expensive". None of this would be easy and cheap -- if was, we would have done it by now.

I thought about that but if that organization becomes non-rotational it will inevitably lead to requiring accommodation for families with all the complexity that comes with it.  As stated above, if we changed the rotation to one year then the four manoeuvre units in 1 CMBG (3 Inf bns, 1 armd regt) would rotate it's HQ and a support and rifle company there every 4th year. More importantly, the entire brigade would be experienced in that mission and be capable of rapidly reinforcing the ePF Latvia if required (and assuming we could get the equipment there). Same for the other brigades and their missions.

I agree fully that in order to be a credible deterrent we need to have a credible force. We have the numbers to justify an eight brigade force ( 5 manoeuvre and 3 support) We only have equipment for roughly 1 armoured brigade, 1 mechanised brigade, 1 light brigade and 1 combat support brigade (but with critical capability gaps) It's a long shopping list. The Canadian Army has seriously starved itself of mission essential equipment for far too many years.

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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #177 on: September 07, 2020, 07:07:01 »
I don't agree with this although your arguments are sound if we had a role to actually deploy a full brigade.

If we don't want to actually deploy a full brigade, then my arguments are completely unsound. But if we view the brigade as an administrative headquarters, not a tactical one that fights, then we need to say so instead of dancing around the subject. Revitalize the old Optimized Battle Group (the OBGYN project, for those that remember) and stop wasting time and money with half-assed brigade exercises and concentrate on the battalion level. But recognize that it will be symbolic -- a Canadian battalion will not be a credible contribution to fighting in the next Korean War.

On the other hand if the SSE roles remain limited to battlegroups or less than one can (and IMHO, should) have asynchronous brigades with each brigade having a specialty and the responsibility to generate battlegroups to specific missions e.g. 1 CMBG (armoured) constantly looks after only the Baltics eFP battlegroup; 2 CMBG (light) constantly looks after the Ukraine mission and a quick reaction force; 5 CMBG (mech) looks after UN missions and follow-on to the quick reaction force. - This develops expertise within the brigade for its prime mission.

I discussed my argument for symmetrical tactical brigades, but even if the brigades are purely administrative headquarters that only force generate battalions/battle groups, I'd still prefer them to be symmetrical. One disadvantage I see of asymmetrical administrative brigades is that you don't assign your risk evenly. In your above example, if we commit to 3 small missions -- Latvia for 1 CMBG, Ukraine for 2 CMBG and 5GBMC to a Mali-equivalent quagmire, then 1 and 2 Brigade are bored and 5 Brigade suffers disproportionate casualties.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2020, 09:06:37 by Ostrozac »

Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #178 on: September 07, 2020, 12:09:08 »
Let me play devil's advocate for a few minutes here. There is no way any Canadian government would commit a major formation drawn mainly from one region of the country to battle. Our force structure, especially our regular infantry regimental structure, combined with geography, and plain old political sensibilities rule against it. No matter how logically and how compelling is our argument, the reaction of the voting public and the politicians rule against it. I'm sorry, but that's how it has been for over a century, in fact since the Boer War, and that's how it is going to continue to work. During my time as an officer, covering the sixties and ending in the mid-nineties, I don't know how many times I have heard well researched and compelling logical presentations for just the sort of structure being debated here. I also don't know how many times they have been shot down in flames as being non-starters politically.

A battle group maybe, as long as the next battle group in line is from another region, with another cap badge, but a brigade group drawn purely from one of our existing formations would not fly. Maybe it is militarily dodgy, but ramp ceremonies and convoys of hearses on the Highway of Heroes has logic all of its own. Does that create really difficult, maybe insurmountable, challenges for the army? You bet your butt it does, but it is a fact of life in Canada.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #179 on: September 07, 2020, 16:55:29 »
Let me play devil's advocate for a few minutes here. There is no way any Canadian government would commit a major formation drawn mainly from one region of the country to battle. Our force structure, especially our regular infantry regimental structure, combined with geography, and plain old political sensibilities rule against it. No matter how logically and how compelling is our argument, the reaction of the voting public and the politicians rule against it. I'm sorry, but that's how it has been for over a century, in fact since the Boer War, and that's how it is going to continue to work. During my time as an officer, covering the sixties and ending in the mid-nineties, I don't know how many times I have heard well researched and compelling logical presentations for just the sort of structure being debated here. I also don't know how many times they have been shot down in flames as being non-starters politically.

A battle group maybe, as long as the next battle group in line is from another region, with another cap badge, but a brigade group drawn purely from one of our existing formations would not fly. Maybe it is militarily dodgy, but ramp ceremonies and convoys of hearses on the Highway of Heroes has logic all of its own. Does that create really difficult, maybe insurmountable, challenges for the army? You bet your butt it does, but it is a fact of life in Canada.

Our extended commitment to Afghanistan showed the way forward AFAIC. There are alot of ways to make it better, but I'd rather build on that than re-create an unrealistic wheel.
β€œTo stand on the firing parapet and expose yourself to danger; to stand and fight a thousand miles from home when you're all alone and outnumbered and probably beaten; to spit on your hands and lower the pike; to stand fast over the body of Leonidas the King; to be rear guard at Kunu-Ri; to stand and be still to the Birkenhead Drill; these are not rational acts. They are often merely necessary.”
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Offline FJAG

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Re: Army Reserve Restructuring
« Reply #180 on: September 07, 2020, 17:47:21 »
If we don't want to actually deploy a full brigade, then my arguments are completely unsound. But if we view the brigade as an administrative headquarters, not a tactical one that fights, then we need to say so instead of dancing around the subject. Revitalize the old Optimized Battle Group (the OBGYN project, for those that remember) and stop wasting time and money with half-assed brigade exercises and concentrate on the battalion level. But recognize that it will be symbolic -- a Canadian battalion will not be a credible contribution to fighting in the next Korean War.

Don't get me wrong. In my view we should be fully capable of deploying a brigade and in fact in my view we should plan for and have the ability to deploy a division. Right now, the Reg F does have three deployable brigade headquarters (and IMHO, the reserves should have several more) It's the SSE that limits our missions to forces of a size that equate to a battle group. My argument is that the SSE should require the Army to have a contingency to deploy more than that.

I discussed my argument for symmetrical tactical brigades, but even if the brigades are purely administrative headquarters that only force generate battalions/battle groups, I'd still prefer them to be symmetrical. One disadvantage I see of asymmetrical administrative brigades is that you don't assign your risk evenly. In your above example, if we commit to 3 small missions -- Latvia for 1 CMBG, Ukraine for 2 CMBG and 5GBMC to a Mali-equivalent quagmire, then 1 and 2 Brigade are bored and 5 Brigade suffers disproportionate casualties.

Let me play devil's advocate for a few minutes here. There is no way any Canadian government would commit a major formation drawn mainly from one region of the country to battle. Our force structure, especially our regular infantry regimental structure, combined with geography, and plain old political sensibilities rule against it. No matter how logically and how compelling is our argument, the reaction of the voting public and the politicians rule against it. I'm sorry, but that's how it has been for over a century, in fact since the Boer War, and that's how it is going to continue to work. During my time as an officer, covering the sixties and ending in the mid-nineties, I don't know how many times I have heard well researched and compelling logical presentations for just the sort of structure being debated here. I also don't know how many times they have been shot down in flames as being non-starters politically.

A battle group maybe, as long as the next battle group in line is from another region, with another cap badge, but a brigade group drawn purely from one of our existing formations would not fly. Maybe it is militarily dodgy, but ramp ceremonies and convoys of hearses on the Highway of Heroes has logic all of its own. Does that create really difficult, maybe insurmountable, challenges for the army? You bet your butt it does, but it is a fact of life in Canada.

Brian. I know that you are the historical expert amongst us and arguing with you will probably prove me to be wrong but there are several factors to take into consideration.

First, the rule is not hard and fast. For example in WW2 we had several brigades that were regionally homogeneous (for example 1st and 4th Inf Bde's battalions were all southern Ontario; the 7th Inf were western Canada; the 15th were from Quebec) But I take your point. I sometimes wonder whether or not the organization came from an overt plan to mix casualties or as a result of grouping units into new formations as they finished their training which would come in waves across the country;

Secondly, Our Reg F brigades may be stationed regionally, but their troops are willy-nilly from across the country without any special segregation (except perhaps by language). When we add reservists into deploying formations, they are similarly scattered about. I see absolutely nothing that would prevent us from deploying a given Reg F brigade with it's organic units.

As an example, in the suggest revised asymmetric structure that I have previously proposed, an armoured/mech force for Europe would have it's brigade's units come from central and western Canada while it's support components come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes. A UN peacekeeping force would it's manoeuvre units come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes with support elements from the Maritimes and central Canada. (at the same time, ResF infantry trained on LAVs from western and central Canada could volunteer as augmentees to 5 Bde.)

While I think that the burden of casualties could very well be an excuse to restrict any move to an asymmetrical force, the true and real reason is RegF Regimental hideboundness (I claim a copyright on that word). I honestly believe that it's not so much what the politicians think but what the military leadership thinks that the politicians are thinking or what they might want. When's the last time a military leader resigned when he disagreed with a stupid political thought (and Norman doesn't count for this)

The problem with our way of thinking is that we believe we'll have forever to cobble together and train an ad hoc force. We did it in South Africa, two world wars, Korea and Afghanistan. For 4 CMBG we just posted it there in total for several decades. Firstly we won't post any major elements outside the country for the foreseeable future and secondly we shouldn't be spending $23 billion per year maintaining a full-time force that's so fragile that it needs a year to train to deploy. Lord at that rate we could have a cadre of 75 trained people and recruit and train the rest of  the battalion off the streets when we need them. (I'm obviously exaggerating but not by much)

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