Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1117678 times)

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Offline Flavus101

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I think you are mistaking stagnation with other nation states catching up from a period in history (WW1 and WW2) that crippled them or drastically changed their political systems. Innovation today happens in the pharmaceutical and supply chain management sector (not easily visible to the naked eye).

Absolutely you can argue that the world wars crippled the economies of Europe, I would agree with that. I would argue that those economies had recovered and in the majority of cases improved from pre-war conditions by the mid-70's.

Would you not say that there is innovation around the world in much more than the pharmaceutical sector and supply chain management systems?

I think materials innovation is also quite relevant, from synthetic clothing materials to actual building materials. An example off the top of my head, technological innovation of being able to mass produce curved glass has started to influence the smartphone world.

It's expensive to have your fingers on all corners of the planet at all times. At the infancy of the current global economy, it was profitable to send out your armed forces to force you economic will in all major makets. As China and other emerging world powers caught up via developing economies, they naturally regained their influence over their immediate spheres of influence. The USA was no longer the default power and it would cost them too much to retain that power. So, they started to retract a lot of influence and concentrated on specific regions. This is where we are seeing a major battle for influence, namely the Middle East.

I would compare this to the historical colonization efforts. Historically it was profitable to send out armies to colonize technologically backwards people and exploit them and their land. As these new lands were gradually industrialized the populations (whether native or with immigrant roots) became less willing to have colonial overlords. While I will concede that in modern times there is much less direct colonialism (in the form of the host nation having very limited sovereignty) I think that there is a lot of hidden economic colonialism with more economically powerful countries having significant influence within an economically weaker country.

I would compare the modern day US to the British Empire when it started the decline from the world's pre-eminent global power (the period of which lasted for a much shorter timeframe than that of the current US global dominance).

This is Historically accurate if you look at it from a broad perspective. However, current world actors are too intertwined economically to truly inflict the historical destabilisation you are talking about. China would never go to war with the USA unless it was economically to their advantage. Nato would not institute blanket sanctions on Russia as Europe is too intertwined with their energy sector. If we ever saw a retraction of the current global economy, then your senario could happen. However, we're all done if that happens.

Your scenario involves all actors being truly rational, which I would argue is not always the case.

Historically the vast majority of wars were fought due to economic tendencies, the seizing of land for resources or control over trade routes, the sacking of large cities for riches. etc. I would agree that open warfare of the scale seen in the World Wars will not happen in the near future, however I think proxies wars such as Vietnam and Korea are a severely increasing concern.

And now that this topic has been significantly derailed I will end my post... (Perhaps when the new staff are appointed we could get a thread split)

Offline Eye In The Sky

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No EXISTENTIAL threats.

Do you think that, also, for the US?  We're pretty close to them after all.

*I think you use the term existential threat more literally than I do?  It could be argued any nation/state with nuclear weapons poses a possible existential threat, IMO.  But, I could be off on my understanding of the word/context.
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Online MilEME09

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I would also call any country with territorial claims against us a potential threat.

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Offline Chris Pook

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Absolutely you can argue that the world wars crippled the economies of Europe, I would agree with that. I would argue that those economies had recovered and in the majority of cases improved from pre-war conditions by the mid-70's.

Would you not say that there is innovation around the world in much more than the pharmaceutical sector and supply chain management systems?

I think materials innovation is also quite relevant, from synthetic clothing materials to actual building materials. An example off the top of my head, technological innovation of being able to mass produce curved glass has started to influence the smartphone world.

I am going to guess that SR was responding to your statement "I think that Western civilization has become stagnant and lacking in innovation and drive (not counting the yearly iPhone or other gadget release)" which read as fairly categorical, by offering one are in which innovation has continued, not necessarily implying that it was the only field in which innovation thrived. 

On the other hand, I can agree with you on the political front. There has been a degree of ossification; a tendency which has, in my view been encouraged, by entrenched interests that consider the last 70 years to have been a disaster.  Liberal Democracy was not popular on the continent prior to May 8 1945.  And just because governments "surrendered", people didn't.

I would compare this to the historical colonization efforts. Historically it was profitable to send out armies to colonize technologically backwards people and exploit them and their land. As these new lands were gradually industrialized the populations (whether native or with immigrant roots) became less willing to have colonial overlords. While I will concede that in modern times there is much less direct colonialism (in the form of the host nation having very limited sovereignty) I think that there is a lot of hidden economic colonialism with more economically powerful countries having significant influence within an economically weaker country.

I would compare the modern day US to the British Empire when it started the decline from the world's pre-eminent global power (the period of which lasted for a much shorter time frame than that of the current US global dominance).

Actually, Ferguson's Empire will give a good read of the other view of Empire.   Britain's most successful Empire happened before the Empire was "Nationalized".  The East India Company was self financing and raised its own security forces from its local clients. 

Things went down hill with the arrival of the Methodists and the desire to "Improve" the locals.  All of a sudden Britain had to send in "White" troops to protect the Methodists.  Things got worse when Britain started exporting its unemployed to Canada, Australia and South Africa.  The Hudson's Bay Company, like the East India Company, had a good thing going with the locals.  The locals sold pelts and got Axminster blankets and were satisfied.  The HBC were not fans of the Settlers as the folks around the Red River in Manitoba will tell you.

Trade empires, the empires of Clive, Raffles, Jardine and Mathieson, and Radishes and Gooseberries were actually quite profitable. Settlers were a millstone.  Little England made money.

Your scenario involves all actors being truly rational, which I would argue is not always the case.

Historically the vast majority of wars were fought due to economic tendencies, the seizing of land for resources or control over trade routes, the sacking of large cities for riches. etc. I would agree that open warfare of the scale seen in the World Wars will not happen in the near future, however I think proxies wars such as Vietnam and Korea are a severely increasing concern.

And now that this topic has been significantly derailed I will end my post... (Perhaps when the new staff are appointed we could get a thread split)

Rational actors are rare.  And even those that are rational may base their rationale on entirely different criteria than mine and appear irrational.  I deal with dietary laws in my line of trade. 

The best safeguard for human survival, in my opinion, is variety.  Inbred monocultures are very vulnerable to singular events.  Weeds, mongrels and nomads as well as multivarious plantings will always survive.  And to accommodate the differences well, I eat rump roast while others eat brisket - everybody is happy and none of the cow goes to waste.

Accommodation.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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I would also call any country with territorial claims against us a potential threat.

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Including Scotland, FFS  ::)

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/scotland-as-canada-s-11th-province-author-says-it-s-a-good-idea-1.3375160
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Offline Ostrozac

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I would also call any country with territorial claims against us a potential threat.

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Are you talking about the United States (the Beaufort Sea triangle) and Denmark (Hans Island) or are there other territorial disputes that I'm not tracking?

Offline Chris Pook

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Online Bird_Gunner45

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Do you think that, also, for the US?  We're pretty close to them after all.

*I think you use the term existential threat more literally than I do?  It could be argued any nation/state with nuclear weapons poses a possible existential threat, IMO.  But, I could be off on my understanding of the word/context.

existential= pertaining to existence

No nation/group is going to make Canada, the US, NATO, etc etc etc "not exist". The current world order created in the post-WW2 era out of Bretton woods, the Marshall Plan, the UN, etc also isn't in any threat of not existing within the current time.

That is all to back to original point that there is no "boogey man" to justify spending money on a large standing military for Canada, particularly in the reserves. As a middle power, Canada (like most middle powers historically) will serve its interests by assisting in maintenance of the current world order from which it prospers. This means small scale expeditionary units deploying to theatres where the US feels its interests (not existence) are at stake, including, GASP, UN Peacekeeping operations where said interests are at stake. This is how it's been since 1945 and how it will remain for the foreseeable future.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Ack.  Thanks for the reply, as I thought, you were using it in a context fairly significantly more literal and absolute than I do.

Its interesting, the differences in opinions.  (1) don't spend money on reserves, fund a small, capable standing force or (2) reduce the standing force size and rely on a reserve force that is expanded, as it is cheaper day to day that way.  Something like that.  I, personally, lean towards (1) so I think we support the same argument.

Cheers!
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Online MilEME09

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Are you talking about the United States (the Beaufort Sea triangle) and Denmark (Hans Island) or are there other territorial disputes that I'm not tracking?

Just missed Russia,

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Online Bird_Gunner45

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Ack.  Thanks for the reply, as I thought, you were using it in a context fairly significantly more literal and absolute than I do.

Its interesting, the differences in opinions.  (1) don't spend money on reserves, fund a small, capable standing force or (2) reduce the standing force size and rely on a reserve force that is expanded, as it is cheaper day to day that way.  Something like that.  I, personally, lean towards (1) so I think we support the same argument.

Cheers!

We are in violent agreement.... I dont think that having undeployable "territorial brigade groups" does anything to assist in our actual national defence. To me, the reserves should be fully there to augment the regular force and do disaster assistance. The days of large standing armies, based largely on trained reserves (though this wasn't the case in the British system) are over. We need to let them go, focus money on where it needs to be (assisting the major powers in maintaining the current world order) and stop living in a fantasy world where WW2/WW1 are the key elements

Offline daftandbarmy

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We need to let them go, focus money on where it needs to be (assisting the major powers in maintaining the current world order) and stop living in a fantasy world where WW2/WW1 are the key elements

So, like, does that mean the Navy will stop focusing their efforts on building a force whose main effort is to escort convoys across the Atlantic, too?  ;)
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Online Bird_Gunner45

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So, like, does that mean the Navy will stop focusing their efforts on building a force whose main effort is to escort convoys across the Atlantic, too?  ;)

That's not, like, their main effort. The Canadian navy should, IMHO, focus on drug/smuggling interdiction and inter-operability with the USN and NATO

Online MilEME09

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Wasnt our cold war role keeping the north atlantic free from soviet subs? Thus our ASW forcus

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Offline Ostrozac

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or (2) reduce the standing force size and rely on a reserve force that is expanded, as it is cheaper day to day that way.

You know, I often hear it mentioned that reserve forces are significantly cheaper than regular forces, but I've never seen any hard numbers to back that up, particularly when you factor in infrastructure. When I was on RSS duty I was briefly involved in the project that was looking at the future of reserve armouries in the city I was posted to, and what numbers I saw implied that both the cost of continuing to operate the ancient facilities and the cost of new replacement faculties were astronomical -- and all that cost is required to support relatively few part-time soldiers. Don't get me wrong, infrastructure for regulars is also expensive, but with units of 400-500 soldiers you can get some economy of scale for a building -- but my reserve unit was less than 100 all ranks.

I wonder what the actual cost breakdown is for a reserve unit -- between salary for the part-time soldiers, salary for the full-time support staff, training, equipment and infrastructure. And how that compares to the breakdown for a regular unit.

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The Canadian navy should, IMHO, focus on drug/smuggling interdiction...
If in doubt (ie - the absence of a current, coherent Defence White Paper), return to first principles.  A fleet optimized for constabulary duties cannot establish command of the seas.  We may as well paint Coast Guard hulls grey and task the RCN to focus on NavRes and Sea Cadets across the prairies.




Offline Good2Golf

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No physical EXISTENTIAL threats.

*cough*...CYBER...*cough*

Whether the CAF is the right tool, that remains to be seen, but Canada needs to think of security in more than just the physical plane.

Regards
G2G

Offline FJAG

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You know, I often hear it mentioned that reserve forces are significantly cheaper than regular forces, but I've never seen any hard numbers to back that up, particularly when you factor in infrastructure. When I was on RSS duty I was briefly involved in the project that was looking at the future of reserve armouries in the city I was posted to, and what numbers I saw implied that both the cost of continuing to operate the ancient facilities and the cost of new replacement faculties were astronomical -- and all that cost is required to support relatively few part-time soldiers. Don't get me wrong, infrastructure for regulars is also expensive, but with units of 400-500 soldiers you can get some economy of scale for a building -- but my reserve unit was less than 100 all ranks.

I wonder what the actual cost breakdown is for a reserve unit -- between salary for the part-time soldiers, salary for the full-time support staff, training, equipment and infrastructure. And how that compares to the breakdown for a regular unit.

The problem is the model of armouries that we use. If you take a look at National Guard and Reserve centers in the US (especially for smaller towns) you will find that the local infrastructure is design to support a company size organization  or a battalion headquarters and consists of a fenced parking lot (which generally has a company's worth of vehicles) and a smaller building which contains just enough office, training and assembly space. Larger centers have larger structures or complexes but again the size is generally tailored for fully manned entities. Not like here where battalions are authorized to company plus establishments and manned at company minus, platoon plus strengths. The big difference is that US NG units and subunits are established, manned and equipped to near Active Army levels because they are intended to be mobilized and deployed as complete entities.

Reserve units are cheaper on a man for man basis because individual reservists only receive 85% of the daily pay and benefits of a regular soldier and are not paid at a full 365 days a year basis as their regular counterparts but generally at a small fraction of that. So man for man they are definitely cheaper.

On the other hand reserve organization and headquarters (and to an extent infrastructure) fall far short of being efficient and effective. Nonetheless whatever shortcomings they do have has to be laid at the feet of the regular force leadership which for decades has refused to do anything to properly rejig the entire regular force and reserve structure to maximize both components' strengths and efficiencies. You can't fine tune a force that is fundamentally flawed. :2c:

 :cheers:
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Offline MCG

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Nonetheless whatever shortcomings they do have has to be laid at the feet of the regular force leadership ...
Sorry.  You cannot absolve reserve leadership from any responsibility for the state of the reserve force.  The regular force has not fought to retain or restore platoon-regiments for the glory of local fiefdoms.

I would also have to partially agree with Ostrozac.  You cannot claim the PRes is cheaper (even man-for-man) while choosing to exclude the costs of infrastructure and the organizational structures.  That being said, I don't know that the reserves do become more expensive when those overhead costs are included.  I have neither done the math nor even seen the data.

Offline Old Sweat

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I am not sure there is any sort of attainable solution that will fix the force structure, especially as the political will, knowledge base and interest in expending political capital on an issue without a meaningful level of support is non-existent. Without political support at the highest level and the same from the public service, and that means money and lots of it, we are probably doomed to go through periodic bursts of wheel spinning that results in things like total force and 10/90 units and the like. And that goes for the regular force as well as the reserves and in all three services.

So what do we do? Maybe we making the best of a bad situation and maybe we can't expect more from a system that is designed to be not so good, but not all that bad. I suspect we have what the government and the public will accept and pay for because it is relatively cheap and doesn't get in serious trouble too often.

Offline FJAG

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Sorry.  You cannot absolve reserve leadership from any responsibility for the state of the reserve force.  The regular force has not fought to retain or restore platoon-regiments for the glory of local fiefdoms.

I would also have to partially agree with Ostrozac.  You cannot claim the PRes is cheaper (even man-for-man) while choosing to exclude the costs of infrastructure and the organizational structures.  That being said, I don't know that the reserves do become more expensive when those overhead costs are included.  I have neither done the math nor even seen the data.

Reserve leadership generally ends at the lieutenant colonel level with a smattering of colonels and the odd brigadier. It speaks very poorly of the RegF senior CF leadership if good ideas can be stymied by lower ranking officers and the odd politically connected civilian/retired hack. I sat on the Chief of Reserves and Cadets Council for over half a decade and failed to see anything other than reactive survival activities there as well. We certainly didn't generate any far reaching reform programs but mostly because we were sure that anything we brought forward would be shot down in flames.

I think the reality is that the RegF senior CF hasn't had a viable idea or plan for the reserves since the 1950s and has failed to garner any by-in from the reserves for any forward steps that would help and improve the overall force structure. In large part they are in the trenches fighting to protect the existing RegF PYs and budgets without any appetite to even consider whether a few thousand of those could be used to create a larger more efficient total force (and yes that would include legislative changes; a willingness to compulsorily mobilize and deploy reserve individuals, subunits etc; proper equipping, etc etc)

Sorry MCG. The RegF 2, 3 and 4 stars can't off load their responsibility to construct and lead a comprehensive effective total force by blaming a bunch of part timers sitting in the local armouries, who (while they might like their mess dinners and regimental kit) are doing their best (as they know it) to keep things moving along in a system that is daily becoming less and less defensible.

I am not sure there is any sort of attainable solution that will fix the force structure, especially as the political will, knowledge base and interest in expending political capital on an issue without a meaningful level of support is non-existent. Without political support at the highest level and the same from the public service, and that means money and lots of it, we are probably doomed to go through periodic bursts of wheel spinning that results in things like total force and 10/90 units and the like. And that goes for the regular force as well as the reserves and in all three services.

So what do we do? Maybe we making the best of a bad situation and maybe we can't expect more from a system that is designed to be not so good, but not all that bad. I suspect we have what the government and the public will accept and pay for because it is relatively cheap and doesn't get in serious trouble too often.

I don't think that we would see much political opposition to a plan to that would expand the total deployable force if it came with a zero budget increase. Back door political interference could be minimized if the plan is a good one and built with reserve buy in.

The very fact that we don't get into trouble very often is exactly why we could trade of RegF PYs for a larger deployable reserve/RegF force.

Back to what I said before; if the RegF objective is to squeeze every possible RegF PY out of the existing budget, and if  the proposition is that in order to build up the reserves we need more funds, then we are dealing with a nonstarter.

 :cheers:
« Last Edit: April 23, 2017, 18:44:26 by FJAG »
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Offline Chris Pook

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A bit of editing if you don't mind Old Sweat.

I am not sure there is (are) (m)any sort of attainable solution(s) that will fix the force structure.  especially as (But) the political will, knowledge base and interest in expending political capital on an issue without a meaningful level of support is non-existent. Without political support at the highest level and the same from the public service, and that means money and lots of it, we are probably doomed to go through periodic bursts of wheel spinning that results in things like total force and 10/90 units and the like. And that goes for the regular force as well as the reserves and in all three services.

So what do we do? Maybe we making the best of a bad situation and maybe we can't expect more from a system that is designed to be not so good, but not all that bad. I suspect we have what the government and the public will accept and pay for because it is relatively cheap and doesn't get in serious trouble too often.

There are lots of effective models out there (both within NATO and ABCANZUS as well as elsewhere).   It is indeed the lack of political will that allows the uniformed force to swan around playing with buttons and bows.  If there were a discerned need then I can't imagine that somebody wouldn't grip the situation and get everybody numbered off.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Reserve leadership generally ends at the lieutenant colonel level with a smattering of colonels and the odd brigadier. It speaks very poorly of the RegF senior CF leadership if good ideas can be stymied by lower ranking officers and the odd politically connected civilian/retired hack. I sat on the Chief of Reserves and Cadets Council for over half a decade and failed to see anything other than reactive survival activities there as well. We certainly didn't generate any far reaching reform programs but mostly because we were sure that anything we brought forward would be shot down in flames.

I think the reality is that the RegF senior CF hasn't had a viable idea or plan for the reserves since the 1950s and has failed to garner any by-in from the reserves for any forward steps that would help and improve the overall force structure. In large part they are in the trenches fighting to protect the existing RegF PYs and budgets without any appetite to even consider whether a few thousand of those could be used to create a larger more efficient total force (and yes that would include legislative changes; a willingness to compulsorily mobilize and deploy reserve individuals, subunits etc; proper equipping, etc etc)

Sorry MCG. The RegF 2, 3 and 4 stars can't off load their responsibility to construct and lead a comprehensive effective total force by blaming a bunch of part timers sitting in the local armouries, who (while they might like their mess dinners and regimental kit) are doing their best (as they know it) to keep things moving along in a system that is daily becoming less and less defensible.

I don't think that we would see much political opposition to a plan to that would expand the total deployable force if it came with a zero budget increase. Back door political interference could be minimized if the plan is a good one and built with reserve buy in.

The very fact that we don't get into trouble very often is exactly why we could trade of RegF PYs for a larger deployable reserve/RegF force.

Back to what I said before; if the RegF objective is to squeeze every possible RegF PY out of the existing budget, and if  the proposition is that in order to build up the reserves we need more funds, then we are dealing with a nonstarter.

 :cheers:

FJAG

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-ncm-class-c-rates.page
http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-class-c-officer-rates.page

From that it appears to me that a month of an increment 7 Major ($9404) will buy 6 months of an Officer Cadet Basic ($1567) or 3.5 months of a Private increment 1 ($2806).  If you allowed 3 months per annum to train a "reservist"  then one Major less would result in pay for 24 Officer Cadets a year (3x 1567 = 4701)  or 13 Privates (8418).  I understand there are something like 5000 Majors running around loose in a force of 60,000 or so.

I have offered before the notion of putting the troops on retainer for a period of 5 to 7 years with a stipend of $5000 to $10000 per annum, make three months training mandatory in the first year, maybe two, then have a reduced training obligation for the rest of their term (2 to 4 weeks and weekends).  And put the onus on the troop to organize their life so that they can show up or have their stipend clawed back from their bank accounts by the Canada Revenue Agency.



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Offline daftandbarmy

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FJAG

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-ncm-class-c-rates.page
http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-class-c-officer-rates.page

From that it appears to me that a month of an increment 7 Major ($9404) will buy 6 months of an Officer Cadet Basic ($1567) or 3.5 months of a Private increment 1 ($2806).  If you allowed 3 months per annum to train a "reservist"  then one Major less would result in pay for 24 Officer Cadets a year (3x 1567 = 4701)  or 13 Privates (8418).  I understand there are something like 5000 Majors running around loose in a force of 60,000 or so.

I have offered before the notion of putting the troops on retainer for a period of 5 to 7 years with a stipend of $5000 to $10000 per annum, make three months training mandatory in the first year, maybe two, then have a reduced training obligation for the rest of their term (2 to 4 weeks and weekends).  And put the onus on the troop to organize their life so that they can show up or have their stipend clawed back from their bank accounts by the Canada Revenue Agency.

We have the ability to control much of our own destinies within our reserve Bdes, so, we do it to ourselves too, of course.
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Offline FJAG

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FJAG

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-ncm-class-c-rates.page
http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/caf-community-pay/reg-force-class-c-officer-rates.page

From that it appears to me that a month of an increment 7 Major ($9404) will buy 6 months of an Officer Cadet Basic ($1567) or 3.5 months of a Private increment 1 ($2806).  If you allowed 3 months per annum to train a "reservist"  then one Major less would result in pay for 24 Officer Cadets a year (3x 1567 = 4701)  or 13 Privates (8418).  I understand there are something like 5000 Majors running around loose in a force of 60,000 or so.

I have offered before the notion of putting the troops on retainer for a period of 5 to 7 years with a stipend of $5000 to $10000 per annum, make three months training mandatory in the first year, maybe two, then have a reduced training obligation for the rest of their term (2 to 4 weeks and weekends).  And put the onus on the troop to organize their life so that they can show up or have their stipend clawed back from their bank accounts by the Canada Revenue Agency.

I've been violently in agreement with this notion for quite some time.  ;D

Even within the current army reserve organization there is an authorized strength of some 18,000 which to me represents 3 to 4 bdes with maybe twenty-five bn sized units (rather than 10 bdes with 143 units) The savings in excess reserve force cols, lcols, maj, CWOs and MWOs would easily fund a bn or two of extra jnr ncos and jnr officers. (no, I haven't done the actual math. My name isn't Sheldon. ;D)

The old concept of having a high percentage of leadership to tail ratio was designed at a time where units had slow mobilization times where the tail could be recruited and trained by the existing leadership before deployment. Those days, like the Reg F is fond of saying, are long gone and won;t come back. To be truly deployable RegF and ResF units need to be fully manned and trained with an overage percentage for annual attrition.

The three month training at the beginning makes too much sense and is what the NG uses to ensure that a soldier coming from basic training is immediately useable by the unit. Note to that in the US the basic training for a NG soldier and an active duty soldier is the same but substantially shorter than for Canadians. (e.g. Inf has a Basic Combat Training phase of ten weeks and an Advanced Individual Training phase of five weeks all of which turns out a basic trade trained infantryman).

There are numerous things the reserves could do themselves to make things better but the real issue is that the total force should consist of complimentary elements which are mutually supporting (I've always believed that the RegF should be infantry and tech maintainer heavy and armour and arty poor while the reserves provide the vast majority of the armour, artillery and support trades that are only needed on deployment on the basic principle that the RegF be those elements that need to go on a moments notice while the ResF should be those that aren't needed every day of the year and can take a little extra time to be deployed.

:cheers:



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