Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1118854 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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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:

Lots of kids take a 'gap year' between high school and college.

Why don't we enlist them for a year, at age 17/18, train them up full time, then assign them to reserve units for Class A commitments at age 18/19 until they've graduated university? They could save a ton of money for their education in that first year, get all their military qualifications done, build up a great resume, as well as avail themselves of the various educational subsidies etc we now have available afterwards.

This could be a 'thing' across the country and would benefit both the reserves and the Reg F (as some would no doubt want to join the full timers after their year's stint).

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Bird_Gunner45

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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.

I agree, which is why I put in the part about NATO interoperability. Things like ASW and being able to work with the USN, who actually maintain control of the seas, will serve us well. Canada can't hope to have enough of a navy to protect the coasts by ourselves, so alliances are the only real strategy

Offline Bird_Gunner45

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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.

Reserve units are cheaper in a sheer pay vs pay sort of way, but the opportunity costs of maintaining reserves are too high. What you get with a larger regular force and smaller reserve force is a readily deployable and well trained unit that can be deployed in a timely manner. No offence to the reserves, but reserves don't provide full units, well trained units, or readily deployable units. So the opportunity costs of enlarging them far outweighs whatever monetary costs we may save.

IMHO, reserves should be for 1 for 1 augmentation of the regular force or specialized capabilities that are better trained in the civilian world (doctors, dentists, etc)

Offline Journeyman

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I agree, which is why I put in the part about NATO interoperability. Things like ASW and being able to work with the USN, who actually maintain control of the seas, will serve us well. Canada can't hope to have enough of a navy to protect the coasts by ourselves, so alliances are the only real strategy

Sorry, I based my response on what you actually posted:  "The Canadian navy should, IMHO, focus on drug/smuggling interdiction and inter-operability with the USN and NATO."

Interoperability does not mean alliances; it refers to STANAGS and the like -- ensuring that our comms, refueling fixtures, etc, etc are....well, interoperable.  Subsequently throwing things in, "like ASW," is not the purview of a drug interdiction fleet, but requires an actual war-fighting Navy.

For some of us, correct terminology usage is an important thing.  Again, sorry.

I suspect that you'll want the last word, so have at 'er


...then maybe this can return to being an Army Reserve thread.

Offline Rifleman62

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What you get with a larger regular force and smaller reserve force is a readily deployable and well trained unit that can be deployed in a timely manner. No offence to the reserves, but reserves don't provide full units, well trained units, or readily deployable units.

Well tell me how the reserves themselves can change that without funding, equipment, nor a willingness to change the current status quo.
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Offline Bird_Gunner45

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Well tell me how the reserves themselves can change that without funding, equipment, nor a willingness to change the current status quo.

They can't, but I'm arguing that they don't have to. We could get away with far less units covering far less areas of interest to achieve the same results. I'd see it more in line with the US reserve system where they have specific tasks with a few combat arms reserve units in the vicinity of regular force units to augment them.

There is no military requirement for the sheer bulk of reserve units and the money could be better spent in the regular force.

Offline Remius

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the money could be better spent in the regular force.

 :rofl:

edit:  I'll quantify that emoticon with the statement that the CAF as a whole needs to figure out how to best spend its money effectively.  I doubt the money could be better spent as it can't even spend what it currently has effectively.   
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 12:57:15 by Remius »
Optio

Offline Chris Pook

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There is no military requirement for the sheer bulk of reserve units and the money could be better spent in the regular force.

If by Regular Force you mean the RCN, the RCAF, Special Ops, Logistics, Comms and ISR then I might agree with you.  But strangely none of those are army.  And I don't see anybody, beyond the army itself, rushing to put large numbers of Canadian boots on foreign soil.

Here we are talking about the Army and how the Army organizes itself.  And while there is no rush to deploy the requirement is to have bodies in waiting "come the day".  I personally would like to see a large pool of prepared raw material from which to draw and which can be converted into useful force with notice, which can also provide a domestically useful capability for those days when "routine" services are overwhelmed.

Various portions of that pool can be hired under various NTM regimes.  Arguably, for the Army, I would suggest that foreign excursions on 72 Hrs NTM or less are the realm of the Special Ops types.   Domestically, some portion of the pool could be retained as civilians with a 72 hour call up requirement. 

2 week to 2 month NTM regimes are an arguable grey area of what, how many and for how long.
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Offline RCPalmer

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:rofl:

edit:  I'll quantify that emoticon with the statement that the CAF as a whole needs to figure out how to best spend its money effectively.  I doubt the money could be better spent as it can't even spend what it currently has effectively.

Agreed.  To provide a bit of context as the overall cost of the reserve force has been talked around in this thread, a fairly comprehensive estimate of the cost of the reserve force for FY 13/14 can be found here:

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs-report-plan-priorities/2014-reserve-force.page

To summarize, the total cost of the PRes (including RSS PYs, pay, infrastructure and equipment) is approximately 1.3 billion dollars, or 7.2% of the 18 billion dollar defence budget.  Unfortunately, this type of cost capture was not published for the years before or after, so there is no easy way to do a year over year comparison.  Viewed in this context, I would offer that the PRes offers excellent value for the money. 

I would further offer that even if you disbanded the PRes tomorrow, and the defence portfolio somehow realized that 1.3b in savings, you wouldn't see much in the way of capability growth in the RegF.  LGen Leslie's 2011 transformation report concluded that most of the funding growth realized in the 2000's not directly related to the war in Afghanistan went into personnel costs that did little to enhance capabilities or readiness.  This is why he was making the case for a leaner, more efficient force.  Until we take some steps to achieving such a force, we really have no idea whether anyone in defence needs more money. 

In terms of comparing forces, the Australians manage to maintain all of the capabilities we do (and a number of capabilities we don't) with a 55,000 person full-time component.  Assuming a CAF funded to 68,000, that is a 20% manning difference of 13,000 full time personnel.   Employing a $100,000/person/year SWAG for the incremental cost of a full time paid member (think pay, benefits and training only), that personnel delta alone (without accounting for the capability deltas which would widen that chasm) accounts for $1.3 billion dollars, equivalent to the cost of the entire PRes. 

It is undeniable that the PRes requires significant structural reform, particularly if an increase in PRes roles and missions is desired in the context of the needs of the overall force.  There are inefficiencies all over the place. However, the cost of those inefficiencies are absolutely trivial compared to those that exist in the full time component. 

The last point I will make (and to echo FJAG) is that the people empowered to make decisions regarding reform of the PRes are without exception members of the RegF.  There are no PRes commanders above CBG level. My hope is that within the CAF there would be discussions about reform on all fronts to make the entire force more efficient.  Instead, what I hear (both from an institutional perspective and to a certain extent on this forum) are parochial discussions of the PRes not providing value for money, and a requirement for the PRes to grow while simultaneously becoming more accountable and efficient without any of the structural changes necessary to actually make that happen.  To summarize, from the shop floor it looks like we (the PRes) are being set up for failure as an excuse to justify the status quo.  Whether that is true or not, the perception exists and it is a morale crusher.  Until we as a force find a way bring the full and part time components together to move forward together as a team, we are just spinning our wheels.


Offline Eye In The Sky

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

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk

The Atlantic and other bodies of water were never free of soviet surface or sub-surface vessels...international waters and all...the goal was to track them and let them know you were there...more of less.  Unless they're in territorial waters, that kind of thing...not much else you can do.

...sorry...back to Army stuff...
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 15:35:41 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Agreed.  To provide a bit of context as the overall cost of the reserve force has been talked around in this thread, a fairly comprehensive estimate of the cost of the reserve force for FY 13/14 can be found here:

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs-report-plan-priorities/2014-reserve-force.page

To summarize, the total cost of the PRes (including RSS PYs, pay, infrastructure and equipment) is approximately 1.3 billion dollars, or 7.2% of the 18 billion dollar defence budget.  Unfortunately, this type of cost capture was not published for the years before or after, so there is no easy way to do a year over year comparison.  Viewed in this context, I would offer that the PRes offers excellent value for the money. 

I would further offer that even if you disbanded the PRes tomorrow, and the defence portfolio somehow realized that 1.3b in savings, you wouldn't see much in the way of capability growth in the RegF.  LGen Leslie's 2011 transformation report concluded that most of the funding growth realized in the 2000's not directly related to the war in Afghanistan went into personnel costs that did little to enhance capabilities or readiness.  This is why he was making the case for a leaner, more efficient force.  Until we take some steps to achieving such a force, we really have no idea whether anyone in defence needs more money. 

In terms of comparing forces, the Australians manage to maintain all of the capabilities we do (and a number of capabilities we don't) with a 55,000 person full-time component.  Assuming a CAF funded to 68,000, that is a 20% manning difference of 13,000 full time personnel.   Employing a $100,000/person/year SWAG for the incremental cost of a full time paid member (think pay, benefits and training only), that personnel delta alone (without accounting for the capability deltas which would widen that chasm) accounts for $1.3 billion dollars, equivalent to the cost of the entire PRes. 

It is undeniable that the PRes requires significant structural reform, particularly if an increase in PRes roles and missions is desired in the context of the needs of the overall force.  There are inefficiencies all over the place. However, the cost of those inefficiencies are absolutely trivial compared to those that exist in the full time component. 

The last point I will make (and to echo FJAG) is that the people empowered to make decisions regarding reform of the PRes are without exception members of the RegF.  There are no PRes commanders above CBG level. My hope is that within the CAF there would be discussions about reform on all fronts to make the entire force more efficient.  Instead, what I hear (both from an institutional perspective and to a certain extent on this forum) are parochial discussions of the PRes not providing value for money, and a requirement for the PRes to grow while simultaneously becoming more accountable and efficient without any of the structural changes necessary to actually make that happen.  To summarize, from the shop floor it looks like we (the PRes) are being set up for failure as an excuse to justify the status quo.  Whether that is true or not, the perception exists and it is a morale crusher.  Until we as a force find a way bring the full and part time components together to move forward together as a team, we are just spinning our wheels.

Well said.

So it looks like you went through the RESO program too, eh? :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Eye In The Sky

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The last point I will make (and to echo FJAG) is that the people empowered to make decisions regarding reform of the PRes are without exception members of the RegF.  There are no PRes commanders above CBG level.

Just for clarity...did you mean CMBG level?  It's been some time, but when I was at a CBG HQ, the Comd was PRes, the Bde Sgt-Major was PRes;  the unit COs were PRes.  What was at the PRes HQ, as the HQ CO and COS was a Reg Force Lt Col and the HQ was a mix of Cl A, B and B(A) Pres with some Reg Force in there to...the G3, Supt Clerk, etc.  Each learned from each other and we had a pretty good HQ.

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline Remius

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Just for clarity...did you mean CMBG level?  It's been some time, but when I was at a CBG HQ, the Comd was PRes, the Bde Sgt-Major was PRes;  the unit COs were PRes.  What was at the PRes HQ, as the HQ CO and COS was a Reg Force Lt Col and the HQ was a mix of Cl A, B and B(A) Pres with some Reg Force in there to...the G3, Supt Clerk, etc.  Each learned from each other and we had a pretty good HQ.

there are no CMBGs at the PRES level.   The M is for Mechanised.  The PRES is at best motorised.  With busses. 
Optio

Offline RCPalmer

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there are no CMBGs at the PRES level.   The M is for Mechanised.  The PRES is at best motorised.  With busses.

Civilian contracted buses that is :)...Yep, I am referring to the PRes Canadian Brigade Groups (CBGs) and opposed to the RegF Canadian Mechanized Brigade Groups (CMBGs).  I draw attention to that because those CBG Comds are the highest command appointment held by the PRes members.  There some other notable PRes positions at higher levels, to include the Div DComds, COS Army Reserve, and Director Reserves and Cadets, but my point is that top level PRes commanders are pretty far down the chain.



Well said.

So it looks like you went through the RESO program too, eh? :)

I did. It is too bad we've killed off some of the best parts of that program.  As I understand it, all non-degree holding officers in the PRes are technically still enrolled in the RESO program.

Offline MilEME09

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Our PRes is most definitely in my opinion a motorized element, using trucks and other transport to move around. We also do a bad job of being a brigade too, at best we are battalion plus, just like everything else in the PRes, we are called what we are not.
"We are called a Battalion, Authorized to be company strength, parade as a platoon, Operating as a section"

Offline Chris Pook

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Our PRes is most definitely in my opinion a motorized element, using trucks and other transport to move around. We also do a bad job of being a brigade too, at best we are battalion plus, just like everything else in the PRes, we are called what we are not.

Confusion to the Enemy!  [cheers]
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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there are no CMBGs at the PRES level.   The M is for Mechanised.  The PRES is at best motorised.  With busses.

I know.  I was wondering if he meant CMBG because, when I was at a CBG HQ, we had a PRes BGen at the area level as, IIRC, either Deputy Comd or Comd (or both, at offset times).  Early 2000s, LFAA.  But, looking now, I forgot to add that part after the CBG HQ Comd Pres/CO HQ - COS Reg Force LCol part.   ;D
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Confusion to the Enemy!  [cheers]

Exactly!  How can they know what we are up to if we don't know ourselves!   ;D
Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline Colin P

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Our PRes is most definitely in my opinion a motorized element, using trucks and other transport to move around. We also do a bad job of being a brigade too, at best we are battalion plus, just like everything else in the PRes, we are called what we are not.

I suspect if you looked at a Syrian "Division" right know you find 4-500 men, a squadron of tanks and a battery of artillery.

Offline Chris Pook

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Lots of kids take a 'gap year' between high school and college.

Why don't we enlist them for a year, at age 17/18, train them up full time, then assign them to reserve units for Class A commitments at age 18/19 until they've graduated university? They could save a ton of money for their education in that first year, get all their military qualifications done, build up a great resume, as well as avail themselves of the various educational subsidies etc we now have available afterwards.

This could be a 'thing' across the country and would benefit both the reserves and the Reg F (as some would no doubt want to join the full timers after their year's stint).

Been thinking more about this re 12 months vs 3 months.

It strikes me that with a 3 month engagement then a single PY gets me 4 training periods or 4 trained soldiers.  If you engage them for a year you only have one trained soldier.

My aim is to create a trained pool of soldiers which can be assigned Reserve status and from which the Reg Force can recruit/draw.

Take 1000 PYs from the Reg Force Budget.

With that train 4000 Soldiers in 4 3-month periods.  Pay them at Regular recruit pay scale.

Upon successful completion of training assign them to the Reserves on Class A service for a period of 5 years.

You now have a pool of 20,000 trained privates from which to draw.  Privates that could fit into 2 to 4 weeks of annual training, and that could be maintained with Wednesday nights and once a month refreshers/updates/PD.

You also have the opportunity to demonstrate to those 20,000 bodies the wonders of service life and try to draw them into longer contracts.

You want more Privates?  Adjust intake, training period and engagement period to suit.

The draw for the kids, beyond the fun and excitement?  Education and guaranteed stipends for 5 years.
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Offline runormal

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I've got a few problems with your plan...


Been thinking more about this re 12 months vs 3 months.

It strikes me that with a 3 month engagement then a single PY gets me 4 training periods or 4 trained soldiers.  If you engage them for a year you only have one trained soldier.

My aim is to create a trained pool of soldiers which can be assigned Reserve status and from which the Reg Force can recruit/draw.

Take 1000 PYs from the Reg Force Budget.

This is true that if you run more cycles, you will be able to train more people. However given your time frame, you'd only be able to pump out infantry and artillery soldiers and possibly some LOG support trades. ACISS, Engineers, Armd Recee would all take longer than 3 months to fully train. (Assuming a BMQ, BMQ-L and DP 1.0 standard) Additionally, what is their experience of the army? 3 straight months of course... Sounds awesome :rofl:!


With that train 4000 Soldiers in 4 3-month periods.  Pay them at Regular recruit pay scale.

The vast Majority of your intake is going to be available after the Summer Session of High School... So late June-ish. A smaller portion will be available every December. How do you expect to run 4 equally loaded courses, if 80% of your potential recruits are available at only one time? Anyone that we aren't recruiting directly out of school, is likely going to be wanting full time work. Even if we include University/College students, my point still stands that the bulk of your candidates are only going to be available in the summer.

Additionally who pays for all of the rations, foods and accommodations? Can our bases/Training Centres even support this increased volume of troops? What about weapons? Radios? Vehicles? Bullets? Can the recruiting system even process this many applications?

Upon successful completion of training assign them to the Reserves on Class A service for a period of 5 years.
Of the reservists that we recruit voluntarily, who "can leave at anytime", we loose about half of them before they hit 5 years of service. I'm not sure how telling someone that they need a 5 year commitment (for a part time job), is going to increase our numbers.. Part of the appeal to the reserves to me, was the whole "try, before you sign". Likewise to which unit(s)? What are we going to do with 16,000 Class A infanteers/arty soldiers? The whole reserve force itself is only ~25k...


You now have a pool of 20,000 trained privates from which to draw.  Privates that could fit into 2 to 4 weeks of annual training, and that could be maintained with Wednesday nights and once a month refreshers/updates/PD.

Who sticks around for a job to be called up for 2-4 weeks? This is what I don't understand, from anyone who proposes this sort of nonsense. I don't have guys telling me "I need work for 2-4 weeks during the summer". It is either, "I need the Whole Summer" or "I found a job and I do not need any work". The only ones who seem to be available for this amount of time, are the ones who got screwed over by the training system or are generally under-employed.

That being said, I would love a 2 week exercise or 2 guaranteed 1 week exercises (1 in summer and 1 in the winter reading week), throughout the training year.  However, the Army would need to plan these well in advance, so that people can actually get the time off work. We have people who could go, if they had the proper notice.

You also have the opportunity to demonstrate to those 20,000 bodies the wonders of service life and try to draw them into longer contracts.

Given the speed that we currently process CT-OT's, I do not think that this is realistic. Hell we tell people on this board, "Do not apply to the reserves if you are even thinking about going full time, go reg-f right away". I'd argue that we should be putting a greater push to recruiting the reserves first, and then once Pte Bloggins finds out that he loves the reserves, he can easily CT to the Reg-F.

You want more Privates?  Adjust intake, training period and engagement period to suit.
Preferably, I'd work on retention vice recruiting.

The draw for the kids, beyond the fun and excitement?  Education and guaranteed stipends for 5 years.
We already have the ILP program which is fairly easy to get the full $8,000k, if you stick around for 4-5 years.


That's not to say that I'm against this something like this, but I would prefer more of a hybrid approach.

Something like:

~500 PY's - 1 year gap year.
~500 PY's - 65% Summer intake, 20% (January Intake), 15% (Fall intake)

I think a structured 1 year gap year would be great, but we'd need make sure that our recruiting and training systems could actually handle it.

A compressed gap year/summer job program would also be great, but again we'd need make sure that our recruiting and training systems could actually handle it. Personally, I would of preferred to do all of my courses in 1 summer, vice two.


Offline Chris Pook

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Yep, you're right.  20,000 infanteers.  Volunteers who, if you can convince them to put up with the guff, might decide they want to hang around and become engineers, or mechanics, or radar techs, or who just want a full gig for a summer entertaining the tourists on Parliament Hill.

Cheers.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Yep, you're right.  20,000 infanteers.  Volunteers who, if you can convince them to put up with the guff, might decide they want to hang around and become engineers, or mechanics, or radar techs, or who just want a full gig for a summer entertaining the tourists on Parliament Hill.

Cheers.

Good idea.

It would be kind of like our Officer training: all arms and services lumped together to start with then, as you progress, you specialize into your various elements and stove pipes ...
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline runormal

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Yep, you're right.  20,000 infanteers.  Volunteers who, if you can convince them to put up with the guff, might decide they want to hang around and become engineers, or mechanics, or radar techs, or who just want a full gig for a summer entertaining the tourists on Parliament Hill.

Cheers.

You know it isn't a, a bad idea. So you are basically saying that that would be the new minimun standard. If after all that I want to transfer to Sig's, CER, Armd Recce I can.

What do you propose, that we do with people who want to be trade Y or X but can't get the time off or aren't available for the Dp 1.0.  Though, I suppose that it'd be no different than if someone hung around a unit as a BMQ/L qualified troop.

I still think that your scaling and frequency of these courses is far too high.


Good idea.

It would be kind of like our Officer training: all arms and services lumped together to start with then, as you progress, you specialize into your various elements and stove pipes ...

We sort of had this when everyone in the Army P-Res did BMQ and the same BMQ-L.

Edit: We could even do this properly for Highschool students. Take the two months between Highschool and knock out BMQ and BMQ-L. Then when you show up for school in the fall, you'd actually be somewhat employable.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 21:31:44 by runormal »

Offline Chris Pook

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People that want trades would have to sign longer contracts.  For training, for service and for reserve service.
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