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Ostrozac said:If we don't want to actually deploy a full brigade, then my arguments are completely unsound. But if we view the brigade as an administrative headquarters, not a tactical one that fights, then we need to say so instead of dancing around the subject. Revitalize the old Optimized Battle Group (the OBGYN project, for those that remember) and stop wasting time and money with half-assed brigade exercises and concentrate on the battalion level. But recognize that it will be symbolic -- a Canadian battalion will not be a credible contribution to fighting in the next Korean War.
Don't get me wrong. In my view we should be fully capable of deploying a brigade and in fact in my view we should plan for and have the ability to deploy a division. Right now, the Reg F does have three deployable brigade headquarters (and IMHO, the reserves should have several more) It's the SSE that limits our missions to forces of a size that equate to a battle group. My argument is that the SSE should require the Army to have a contingency to deploy more than that.
Ostrozac said:I discussed my argument for symmetrical tactical brigades, but even if the brigades are purely administrative headquarters that only force generate battalions/battle groups, I'd still prefer them to be symmetrical. One disadvantage I see of asymmetrical administrative brigades is that you don't assign your risk evenly. In your above example, if we commit to 3 small missions -- Latvia for 1 CMBG, Ukraine for 2 CMBG and 5GBMC to a Mali-equivalent quagmire, then 1 and 2 Brigade are bored and 5 Brigade suffers disproportionate casualties.
Old Sweat said:Let me play devil's advocate for a few minutes here. There is no way any Canadian government would commit a major formation drawn mainly from one region of the country to battle. Our force structure, especially our regular infantry regimental structure, combined with geography, and plain old political sensibilities rule against it. No matter how logically and how compelling is our argument, the reaction of the voting public and the politicians rule against it. I'm sorry, but that's how it has been for over a century, in fact since the Boer War, and that's how it is going to continue to work. During my time as an officer, covering the sixties and ending in the mid-nineties, I don't know how many times I have heard well researched and compelling logical presentations for just the sort of structure being debated here. I also don't know how many times they have been shot down in flames as being non-starters politically.
A battle group maybe, as long as the next battle group in line is from another region, with another cap badge, but a brigade group drawn purely from one of our existing formations would not fly. Maybe it is militarily dodgy, but ramp ceremonies and convoys of hearses on the Highway of Heroes has logic all of its own. Does that create really difficult, maybe insurmountable, challenges for the army? You bet your butt it does, but it is a fact of life in Canada.
Brian. I know that you are the historical expert amongst us and arguing with you will probably prove me to be wrong but there are several factors to take into consideration.
First, the rule is not hard and fast. For example in WW2 we had several brigades that were regionally homogeneous (for example 1st and 4th Inf Bde's battalions were all southern Ontario; the 7th Inf were western Canada; the 15th were from Quebec) But I take your point. I sometimes wonder whether or not the organization came from an overt plan to mix casualties or as a result of grouping units into new formations as they finished their training which would come in waves across the country;
Secondly, Our Reg F brigades may be stationed regionally, but their troops are willy-nilly from across the country without any special segregation (except perhaps by language). When we add reservists into deploying formations, they are similarly scattered about. I see absolutely nothing that would prevent us from deploying a given Reg F brigade with it's organic units.
As an example, in the suggest revised asymmetric structure that I have previously proposed, an armoured/mech force for Europe would have it's brigade's units come from central and western Canada while it's support components come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes. A UN peacekeeping force would it's manoeuvre units come primarily from Quebec and the Maritimes with support elements from the Maritimes and central Canada. (at the same time, ResF infantry trained on LAVs from western and central Canada could volunteer as augmentees to 5 Bde.)
While I think that the burden of casualties could very well be an excuse to restrict any move to an asymmetrical force, the true and real reason is RegF Regimental hideboundness (I claim a copyright on that word). I honestly believe that it's not so much what the politicians think but what the military leadership thinks that the politicians are thinking or what they might want. When's the last time a military leader resigned when he disagreed with a stupid political thought (and Norman doesn't count for this)
The problem with our way of thinking is that we believe we'll have forever to cobble together and train an ad hoc force. We did it in South Africa, two world wars, Korea and Afghanistan. For 4 CMBG we just posted it there in total for several decades. Firstly we won't post any major elements outside the country for the foreseeable future and secondly we shouldn't be spending $23 billion per year maintaining a full-time force that's so fragile that it needs a year to train to deploy. Lord at that rate we could have a cadre of 75 trained people and recruit and train the rest of the battalion off the streets when we need them. (I'm obviously exaggerating but not by much)