Author Topic: Communication reservists return to the Army  (Read 3358 times)

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Communication reservists return to the Army
« on: May 05, 2008, 21:03:21 »
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Communication reservists return to the Army
Transfer of authority means greater training and career opportunities for soldiers
by Paul

Reserve soldiers serving with communications units won’t have long to wait before seeing the benefits of their return to the Army after more than 30 years in a “purple” chain of command. Funding for equipment upgrades and acquisition has been approved, and the soldiers will enjoy greater training and career opportunities, say senior staff officers.

The formal transfer of authority for communication reserve units from Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management) to Land Force Command took place April 1, with an April 19 ceremony in Ottawa to mark the change.

“They now have the support of the G6,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Davies, Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategy for the Army Reserves. “They are already realizing the benefits in terms of equipment upgrades.” LCol Davies also noted that those who have commanded communications units or have served as sergeants-major will now have greater opportunities for command and staff positions, in Land Force Area headquarters, for example. “They’ve gone from a relatively small, level 2 formation of just 1 900 to an organization of 40 000 [Army Regulars and Reservists],” he said. “They can now operate within the scope of the entire Army and move around within that.”

“They will also have the opportunity to get trade-related experience via direct support to Army operations in a headquarters,” he added.

Bringing the communication reserves back into the Army chain of command synchronizes and aligns resources within the Army. It enables senior Army planners to decide what their future requirements in communications will be, set priorities and allocate the resources needed to generate forces with the required capabilities.

The Army Reserve is currently studying and planning for future force employment structures within the wider context of Army Transformation. For example, the Government of Canada plans to place greater emphasis on security at home and the lead responsibility for domestic operations falls to the Reserve Force, with support from the Regular Force. Once the new structures and the training system for domestic ops are in place, communication reserve units will be expected to provide a training component for that, as well as provide communications capability for domestic, continental and expeditionary operations.

Equipment approved

In anticipation of the return of the communication reserves, the Army quickly approved a long-awaited upgrade of 81 command post vehicles, along with the purchase of six tactical command, control and communications systems (TCCC) static kits - with plans to buy more – and other equipment.

Major Frank Bak, a communications reserve officer serving with the Land Staff, explained that the TCCCs static kits will benefit reservists in both training and on domestic ops.

“These are radio kits that can be installed in the classroom setting or used on domestic ops if you’re setting up a command post in an urban setting,” Maj Bak said. “In addition, we send many of our vehicles to Kingston each summer in order to conduct training. The process is lengthy – some units are without their vehicles from about April to as late as November or even December. So the static kits will perform an important role at the unit level – soldiers will be able to continue their training in a classroom setting.”

Maj Bak said communications reservists will enjoy the benefits of being able to tap into Army resources and will have some greater opportunities for command roles, but day-to-day operations will remain much the same at the unit level. “But we now have a clearly defined role for the communication reserve that is directly linked to the Army. Our training was, for the most part, already Army or land-based. It’s just that the linkage is now clearly defined – we are now fully part of the Army and we support Army tasks.”

LCol Davies said the return of the communications reservists will add further pressure to deal with the problem of so-called “hollow units,” or units that are well below strength. “The Army is going to have to roll up its sleeves and look at this,” he said. “It is something we will take on – we will tackle it under Army Transformation and build up these units so that they have the capability we require to support operations.”

LCol Davies stressed, however, that there will be no foreseeable expansion of the Army Reserves. Once future force employment structures have been approved, the Army Reserves will restructure and re-allocate resources, including personnel, to fit priorities of the Chief of the Land Staff. Some units may experience growth but, overall, Army Reserve strength will remain constant until new funding becomes available.

The communication reserve was once part of the now defunct Canadian Forces Communication Command, the Defence Information Services Organization and, finally, of the Information Management Group. With time, the role of communication reserve units changed from mainly supporting base communication centres to generating personnel in support of operations, mostly conducted by the Army. Participation increased from providing less than 10 individuals annually to missions such as Cyprus and the Golan Heights to an average of 100 for the last few years in support of Army deployment, mainly in Afghanistan.

“The evolving role of the communication reserve made this transfer a logical move,” LCol Davies said. “The Information Management Group and its predecessors have been a good home for the communication reserve, and their support over the years is very much appreciated. It is now time to be better integrated with the Army we deploy with in order to ensure the best training for our soldiers.”
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Communication reservists return to the Army
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2008, 21:25:56 »
Hopefully this solves some of the problems I know I had to work thru while in the G6 shop at a CBG HQ.  The process to request CPs and HF assets was so ridiculous, as it went thru 450 channels.  In the end it 'usually' worked but anyone involved in the co-ord was left walking painfully.  ;D

My understanding is the former Comm Res Sqn's will be back to the  PRes Bde's/Area's, where, IMO, they should have been all along.
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Communication reservists return to the Army
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2008, 22:49:34 »
The Comm groups have been assigned to the LFAs.  The CBGs do not own the Comm sqns.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Communication reservists return to the Army
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 23:09:42 »
But logically will support them i.e. 723 will support 36 CBG, 722 will support 37 CBG, and so on, sort of like that old Alberto V05 shampoo commercial through the LFAs?
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Offline dapaterson

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Re: Communication reservists return to the Army
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 08:10:31 »
Areas will deconflict requests for support - so if 723 is already tasked, 722 could be tasked to support 37 CBG.  Same as any other taskings.
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Offline geo

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Re: Communication reservists return to the Army
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 08:29:09 »
Comm Sqns in Quebec belong to 71 Comm Group - which is a formation that answers to GCmd of LFQA.
There is no doubt that 712 Comms sqn is based in Montreal & will support Montreal based units BUT, the comms Sqn in Sherbrooke can easily provide service to the same units....
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