Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1085203 times)

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Offline GK .Dundas

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We had the HUSAR folks in Vancouver in for a weekend of 'getting to know you' type activities. My take away was that we, the Reserves especially, are currently a moon shot away from being able to integrate with, or otherwise support without getting in the way, of the activities of organizations like this.

Confined/ semi-confined space entries and any kind of rescue in any kind of built up area? NBC decontamination? Anything that requires to be done in a fire/flood/chemical toxic environment? No way, uh uh...

Unless you need us to fill and carry body bags... which was something I mentioned we could probably do with our current levels of training and support.
And I bet you were really popular for mentioning that too!
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Offline Jarnhamar

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The light urban search and rescue really seems like an oddball task.
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Offline OldTanker

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The HUSAR teams are the tip of the capability spear in terms of emergency response. They are few and far between and relatively small considering the potential magnitude of a large disaster anywhere in Canada. There are plenty of worthwhile tasks the CF could do following a disaster event, in particular tasks that require organizing people giving direction, and communicating. The average Militia master-corporal (I mean no disrespect having been one myself) is far more competent in terms of organizing and leading small-unit tasks than the vast majority of civilians. We as a society are so poorly prepared to respond to a major disaster that this is really the case that in a world of blind people, a one-eyed person will be king. Or something similar, but please don't underestimate how useful the military could be. I fully understand how few of them there are but they would still be a valuable resource. And consider the attitude General Honoré brought to New Orleans after Katrina and the effect that had.
 

Offline daftandbarmy

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'Popular' has never really been one of my life goals, fortunately :)
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Offline Thucydides

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The HUSAR teams are the tip of the capability spear in terms of emergency response. They are few and far between and relatively small considering the potential magnitude of a large disaster anywhere in Canada. There are plenty of worthwhile tasks the CF could do following a disaster event, in particular tasks that require organizing people giving direction, and communicating. The average Militia master-corporal (I mean no disrespect having been one myself) is far more competent in terms of organizing and leading small-unit tasks than the vast majority of civilians. We as a society are so poorly prepared to respond to a major disaster that this is really the case that in a world of blind people, a one-eyed person will be king. Or something similar, but please don't underestimate how useful the military could be. I fully understand how few of them there are but they would still be a valuable resource. And consider the attitude General Honoré brought to New Orleans after Katrina and the effect that had.

As weird confirmation story, I took part in an exercise with 32 IA Coy, where we spent a weekend with Toronto's EMS, working on a scenario on how the Armed Forces could assist Toronto in the event of a disaster like the Ice Storm. We did our prep work, area survey, identified vulnerable neighbourhoods etc. then went to their operations centre.

The place was quite impressive and very "high tech", and in a specially constructed building with its own on board power and so on. Their expectation seemed to be that "we" would be arriving with fleets of trucks and manpower to augment the Police, Fire Department and Ambulance services, but after the initial introduction and scenario briefing, a question came to my mind:

Q: "Each department has its own internal radio system, but how does the incident commander report to you, here?"

A: "By cell phone"

Q: "What is the backup comms plan?"

A: "City community centres can be converted to CP's for the incident commander. The incident commander will set up at the community centre and Skype into the Ops Centre....."

Our preliminary plan for supporting Toronto in the event of an ice storm or other major power outage is now to establish a TOC in or on the grounds of the operations centre and fan out RRB's to supply VHF radio support to the incident commanders.....
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Offline Colin P

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The HUSAR teams are the tip of the capability spear in terms of emergency response. They are few and far between and relatively small considering the potential magnitude of a large disaster anywhere in Canada. There are plenty of worthwhile tasks the CF could do following a disaster event, in particular tasks that require organizing people giving direction, and communicating. The average Militia master-corporal (I mean no disrespect having been one myself) is far more competent in terms of organizing and leading small-unit tasks than the vast majority of civilians. We as a society are so poorly prepared to respond to a major disaster that this is really the case that in a world of blind people, a one-eyed person will be king. Or something similar, but please don't underestimate how useful the military could be. I fully understand how few of them there are but they would still be a valuable resource. And consider the attitude General Honoré brought to New Orleans after Katrina and the effect that had.

One of the challenges is the first few arriving to the armouries will likely have no access, unless they physically break in, hopefully they are in uniform so they don't get arrested for looting....

Offline mariomike

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The HUSAR teams are the tip of the capability spear in terms of emergency response. They are few and far between and relatively small considering the potential magnitude of a large disaster anywhere in Canada.

Not sure how much operational experience the teams have. ( Which we can be thankful for. )

For example, Toronto HUSAR ( CAN-TF3 ) has only deployed four times ( that I know of ) since it was created in 2003.

Two explosions, one roof collapse and one tornado.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 11:35:41 by mariomike »

Offline OldTanker

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Calgary HUSAR (CANTF 2) deployed en masse to relieve the EOC staff in Fort Mac several summers ago. The Vancouver HUSAR team (CANTF1) deployed to Louisiana post-Katrina. I know these two teams train rigorously (I've provided some training to the Calgary HUSAR team a few years ago). I would assess their operational experience as fairly high, considering that their members already bring significant operational experience to the teams.

Offline daftandbarmy

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As weird confirmation story, I took part in an exercise with 32 IA Coy, where we spent a weekend with Toronto's EMS, working on a scenario on how the Armed Forces could assist Toronto in the event of a disaster like the Ice Storm. We did our prep work, area survey, identified vulnerable neighbourhoods etc. then went to their operations centre.

The place was quite impressive and very "high tech", and in a specially constructed building with its own on board power and so on. Their expectation seemed to be that "we" would be arriving with fleets of trucks and manpower to augment the Police, Fire Department and Ambulance services, but after the initial introduction and scenario briefing, a question came to my mind:

Q: "Each department has its own internal radio system, but how does the incident commander report to you, here?"

A: "By cell phone"

Q: "What is the backup comms plan?"

A: "City community centres can be converted to CP's for the incident commander. The incident commander will set up at the community centre and Skype into the Ops Centre....."

Our preliminary plan for supporting Toronto in the event of an ice storm or other major power outage is now to establish a TOC in or on the grounds of the operations centre and fan out RRB's to supply VHF radio support to the incident commanders.....

This is an excellent example of how the reserves (and CAF in general) can provide a value added service in the event of a natural disaster: through being really good at some of our core battle tasks, like C3, vehicle and logistics management, general first aid etc.

Trying to out do the guys in 'Backdraft'? Not so much....
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Offline mariomike

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Calgary HUSAR (CANTF 2) deployed en masse to relieve the EOC staff in Fort Mac several summers ago. The Vancouver HUSAR team (CANTF1) deployed to Louisiana post-Katrina. I know these two teams train rigorously (I've provided some training to the Calgary HUSAR team a few years ago). I would assess their operational experience as fairly high, considering that their members already bring significant operational experience to the teams.

Yes, they have operational experience. HUSAR is in addition to the 40 hours a week they work 9-1-1 operations.

I don't recall many guys volunteering for HUSAR. I remember it paid a $425.00 annual premium. I'm sure it has gone up a bit since then.

Personally, I like the Rescue-Medic program.

Offline Remius

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Personally, I like the Rescue-Medic program.

The reserves would have to actually have medics to do that... ;D
Optio

Offline mariomike

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The reserves would have to actually have medics to do that... ;D

From what I have read, it sounds like they can ( or will be? ) trained for Light Urban Search and Rescue ( LUSAR ).
"•Assign new roles to Army Reserve units such as light urban search and rescue (LUSAR)"
http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/news-publications/national-news-details-no-menu.page?doc=commander-canadian-army-statement-on-the-new-defence-policy/j2yxndxe

Offline Remius

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From what I have read, it sounds like they can ( or will be? ) trained for Light Urban Search and Rescue ( LUSAR ).
"•Assign new roles to Army Reserve units such as light urban search and rescue (LUSAR)"
http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/news-publications/national-news-details-no-menu.page?doc=commander-canadian-army-statement-on-the-new-defence-policy/j2yxndxe

I know some units that made a point of indicating their disinterest in that task...
Optio

Offline Blackadder1916

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As the discussion wends back to Urban Search and Rescue (regardless of weight class), I bring your attention to this service paper from a (2016) student at Staff College. CAF URBAN SEARCH AND RESCUE CAPABILITY

Without making any judgement about the scholarship of the author (and recognizing that I am years removed from familiarity of current CF capabilities or contemporary disaster response doctrine - but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once while attending a conference on disaster response), this paper is an example of what I think is a common construct in CF thinking about disaster response.  They want a role in disaster response because it justifies their existence but steam forward with but a slim understanding of the task.  That is not to say that there is no role for military intervention in, particularly, domestic disaster response but as noted in one study of (international) military response to natural disasters

Quote
The provision of medical military assets is more controversial than air transport
because it entails a high degree of interaction between affected populations and foreign
military personnel. Also, deploying military field hospitals is considerably more
expensive than deploying civilian field hospitals, as was recognized by several
contributing countries. Even so, several countries continue to dispatch military field
hospitals, mobile clinics and hospital ships to disaster sites. Some of the reasons for this
were identified by contributing countries and members of the NGO community as:
• an overwhelming humanitarian need that cannot be met by local health infrastructure
or by the humanitarian agencies responding to the disaster (access, security etc);
• assets already deployed in the country or region;
the political attraction (visibility, media exposure) of having one’s armed forces
saving lives in a foreign disaster situation
.
That I think drives the thought process of a number of decision makers (both in and out of uniform) at all levels.  From the highest to the lowest.  One of the most disgusting moments that I witnessed during my military career was the antics of some senior officers when rumours reached us that (while in Rwanda) a crew from 60 Minutes would be visiting us.  They didn't show up to their disappointment  - and a few were upset when they later found out that I was interviewed by Harry Belafonte for UNICEF TV when he stopped after noticing a section of us by the roadside.

I am more in favour of a domestic disaster response organization such as that found in Germany.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11117024

While they do not rule out the use of the military if necessary, it is not the first (or even second) echelon of response.  I am particularly taken with this philosophy.
Quote
. . .  Rescue service is carried out by professionals, disaster relief by volunteers. . . .
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Now, contrary to my earlier musings, I don't believe it is necessary (or even prudent) to aim to build square combat teams all the time.

I could see an ideal CMBG (or CABG?) with the following manoeuvre elements:

2x Mech Inf Bns (3x Rif Coys, 1x Cbt Sp Coy)
1x Tank Regt (4x Saber Sqns, 1x Cbt Sp Sqn)

Bde manoeuvre is provided by 6x Mech Inf and 4x Tank sub-units, serving under 3x unit HQs.  In the offence or defence, the math the Army is looking at as a max right now is 12km of frontage.  I need to dig into frontages based off recent historical studies a bit more, but my gut tells me that nothing has significantly changed the range of a dismounted infanteer for the last half-century - the platoon can still probably control a good 600 to 800 meters of ground.  Sure, weapons ranges are a lot longer - but that doesn't guaranteed you anything, especially with the effects of microterrain in masking an enemy's movement. 

I'd argue that you probably would want to avoid a 12km frontage if you could, with 6km for a Bde Gp as a "start point" likely being a lot more workable.  With a 6km frontage, two BGs could cover 3 km each, with BG task organization being completely dependent on the task - I attached a PPT with a few different combinations.


... how about adding a wheeled Inf Bn from the reserves?  The UK used to have a 'in case of war' establishment that included a TA element. This gave the TA a war role it could train for, and an associated Reg F formation it could work with.
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Offline MilEME09

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... how about adding a wheeled Inf Bn from the reserves?  The UK used to have a 'in case of war' establishment that included a TA element. This gave the TA a war role it could train for, and an associated Reg F formation it could work with.

That would require more investment in people who only show up on average once every 2 weeks. More is being put on the reserves in terms of what is demanded of them but we arent getting the one thing we need to make it work. That is time, double the reserves from one evening a week to two would be a start. Thay said isnt having a reg force parent unit for the reserves been done before with the 10/90 concept? Heard that didnt go so well.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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That would require more investment in people who only show up on average once every 2 weeks. More is being put on the reserves in terms of what is demanded of them but we arent getting the one thing we need to make it work. That is time, double the reserves from one evening a week to two would be a start. Thay said isnt having a reg force parent unit for the reserves been done before with the 10/90 concept? Heard that didnt go so well.

If the average reservist only shows up every 2 weeks (approx. 20 x 3hr sessions a year), how would doubling the Cl A trg budget across the PRes solve the problem that issue?

If there's more money to be had, there are many operational regular force units who needs things worse than the PRes needs a 2nd trg night.  If anything,  I'd pipe the money towards kit shortages and valuable trg (3 more hours in an armouries doesn't necessarily qualify, IMO).
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If the average reservist only shows up every 2 weeks (approx. 20 x 3hr sessions a year), how would doubling the Cl A trg budget across the PRes solve the problem that issue?

If there's more money to be had, there are many operational regular force units who needs things worse than the PRes needs a 2nd trg night.  If anything,  I'd pipe the money towards kit shortages and valuable trg (3 more hours in an armouries doesn't necessarily qualify, IMO).

I'm a strong supporter of the PRes and think they have much more to contribute to Canada than they presently do.

But ... I think that it's an utter waste of money to throw even one more nickle towards PRes training until such time as: the training becomes obligatory and is supported by an internal to DND enforcement system rather than purely voluntary; becomes organized and structured across the Army as a whole rather than ad hoc'd by individual units; underlies a meaningful role that expands the capabilities and credibility of the Army as a whole rather than merely filling in random gaps in RegF establishments; and is supported by appropriate equipment holdings that facilitate the deployability of tasked PRes units and elements.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against spending more money on the PRes, in fact I think that the PRes should get much more money for both training and equipment but not until it is radically reorganized so that it can become a credible and deployable entity.

 :2c:
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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I'm a strong supporter of the PRes and think they have much more to contribute to Canada than they presently do.

But ... I think that it's an utter waste of money to throw even one more nickle towards PRes training until such time as: the training becomes obligatory and is supported by an internal to DND enforcement system rather than purely voluntary; becomes organized and structured across the Army as a whole rather than ad hoc'd by individual units; underlies a meaningful role that expands the capabilities and credibility of the Army as a whole rather than merely filling in random gaps in RegF establishments; and is supported by appropriate equipment holdings that facilitate the deployability of tasked PRes units and elements.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against spending more money on the PRes, in fact I think that the PRes should get much more money for both training and equipment but not until it is radically reorganized so that it can become a credible and deployable entity.

 :2c:

Very well said; I'm also a supporter of the Reserves and have seen them 'dwindled' over the last 2+ decades. I was a PRes Cl A and B type back in the late 80's/early 90's when we did have 2 trg nights a week and usually one wknd ex/month.  We also had enough vehs/radios/wpns/etc to field 3 x Recce Tp (5 car min), a SHQ with 2 X CPs (from the local CommRes Sqn), and a modest A1 Ech.  Overall, not to shabby for part-timers.  We trained enough that we were good at the job too. 

Things are not that way now; the last time I saw my old Regt on Remembrance Day, there were more Officers than Jnr Ranks on Parade and they struggle to field a single Recce Tp - not only because of personnel shortages, but mostly because there old 46 sets were replaced with TCCCS - but not one for one.  The Iltis was replaced by the G-Wagons - but not one for one.  I believe the personnel shortage is a result of the kit shortages.

Your post above proposes great solutions to many of the big ticket issues.

Sorry for the sidetrack in a very interesting and educational thread (I've been following in the background, I've no meaningful contribution to anything 'green' anymore). 
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Offline daftandbarmy

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I'm a strong supporter of the PRes and think they have much more to contribute to Canada than they presently do.

But ... I think that it's an utter waste of money to throw even one more nickle towards PRes training until such time as: the training becomes obligatory and is supported by an internal to DND enforcement system rather than purely voluntary; becomes organized and structured across the Army as a whole rather than ad hoc'd by individual units; underlies a meaningful role that expands the capabilities and credibility of the Army as a whole rather than merely filling in random gaps in RegF establishments; and is supported by appropriate equipment holdings that facilitate the deployability of tasked PRes units and elements.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against spending more money on the PRes, in fact I think that the PRes should get much more money for both training and equipment but not until it is radically reorganized so that it can become a credible and deployable entity.

 :2c:

Agreed. If you run a reserve augmentation role like a 'come as you are party', that's what you'll get. If you have a Bde establishment that has a dotted line around 'Reserve BGp', and align all reserve training, leadership and equipment scales to that task, you'll get far more bang for your buck. You'd also need to move heaven and earth to formalise Reg F training so that annual collective exercises happen at the same time every year e.g. in the summer.

10/90 was a thin attempt to hide a Reg F Bn establishment in the Reserves' skirts when a previous Liberal government was looking to axe PYs. This temorary expedient, as a result, didn't work as a way to better align Reserves with Reg F war roles....
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Offline Jarnhamar

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I'm a strong supporter of the PRes and think they have much more to contribute to Canada than they presently do.

But ... I think that it's an utter waste of money to throw even one more nickle towards PRes training until such time as: the training becomes obligatory and is supported by an internal to DND enforcement system rather than purely voluntary

Great post.
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Offline MilEME09

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I fully agree with you all, our reserve force is institutionally ineffective, and disorganized to provide effective anything aside from an effective waste of resources.  If the reforms could/did happen to make the reserves effective I do believe doubling avalible training time would be beneficial. If our PRes were deployable sub units or unitz as a whole, IE the brigade HQ was a deployable HQ, we would see less strain on our limited RegF elements that struggled to maintain a brigade in Afghanistan. While PRes man power helped, individual augmentation is less effective and does effect unit cohesion by taking a bunch of unknown people and dropping them into an established organization that the people of know how to work together. If a PRes company or larger could be deployed instead that would eliminate this problem mostly.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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While PRes man power helped, individual augmentation is less effective and does effect unit cohesion by taking a bunch of unknown people and dropping them into an established organization that the people of know how to work together. If a PRes company or larger could be deployed instead that would eliminate this problem mostly.

But it's cheap, and very low risk to the Reg F in many ways... right?

And that's probably one of the main reasons why we will need to continue to factor the Reserves into anything 'big' the Reg F does in the future, like it or not.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Still a fan of how the French integrate their "reserves" into their unit structure:

Le 1er RHP est composé de :

 1 escadron de commandement et de logistique.
 3 escadrons blindés sur AMX 10 RCR et ERC 90 SAGAIE.
 2 escadron d'éclairage et d'intervention sur VBL, équipé de missile MILAN.
 1 escadron de réservistes.
 1 peloton de commandos parachutistes.

https://www.defense.gouv.fr/terre/l-armee-de-terre/le-niveau-divisionnaire/3e-division/11e-brigade-parachutiste/regiments/1er-regiment-de-hussards-parachutistes

Keeping in mind that their reservistes, by and large, are ex-regs.
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