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Canada eyeing reservists to bolster force in Afghanistan

career_radio-checker

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One concern I'd like to have addressed is post-secondary protection for students.

40% of the Reserves are students and many of those (myself included) are on student loans. If we go on tour (and I know many who would in a heart beat) we risk being kicked out of universities because most post-secondary institutions have either a 3-4 semester 'absecence' period granted to students who need to work. After that your name is removed from the roster and it may be extremely difficult trying to get back into your program of studies.

Also, student loans give you a 6 month grace period after your last semester of classes before they start collecting interest. They are provincially administrated so I don't see how you could be exempted from paying interest while on tour.

Any suggestions?

CRC
 

GAP

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That, I think would have to be a negotiated, political decision with the provinces. I would probably, send an email/letter to MND at least, maybe the PMO, because, with everything else going on, I suspect nobody has given that consideration.
 

Staff Weenie

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While this situation may no longer occur, I did receive some complaints by Res F personnel who had deployed, on to come home and find that their Province was billing them a year's worth of health care premiums - even when they hadn't been around for most of that year. The Provinces also weren't accepting military documentation easily to calculate the real costs.

Anybody from the West know if this is still a problem for Reservists?
 

GAP

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The CTV article with a slightly different spin

Military to send more reservists to Afghanistan
Updated Wed. Feb. 28 2007 12:13 PM ET CTV.ca News Staff
Article Link

The Canadian military is expected to announce today that a large group of reservists from Western Canada will be deployed to Afghanistan to compensate for a troop shortfall.

Col. Kelly Woiden, commander of 38 Canadian Brigade Group, will hold a news conference this afternoon to discuss plans to send more than 160 reservists to Afghanistan by next year.

The group is responsible for all reserve units from Thunder Bay, Ont. to the Saskatchewan-Alberta boundary.

Earlier this week, a Senate committee heard that Canada will need up to 5,000 new soldiers over the next few years to meet the nation's troop commitment in Afghanistan.

"I need 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers in the next three to five years and that's above and beyond our current figures," Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, chief of the army, told the national security and defence standing committee.

with the demand for troops, the military is expected to call upon more reservists to help fill the gap.

Reservists serve either in full-time or part-time position within the Canadian forces. Currently, there are 400 to 600 reservists in Afghanistan.

In total, there are 62,700 members of the regular force and 22,000 primary reservists, reports the Toronto Star.

Canada has about 2,500 soldiers based in Afghanistan, mostly in the Kandahar region. Since the mission began in 2002, 44 Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have been killed in Afghanistan.
end
 

enfield

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I'm not entirely sure what the CLS means by this. It sounds good, and makes a good headline - but as far as I can tell just about every deployable reservist is, has, or will head to Afghanistan. As far as I can see, from my view on the bottom, there is no great untapped pool of reservists. Everyone who can go is already being used. Those who for whatever reason are not going overseas are filling positions here in Canada, positions that would normally be Reg F. The Reserves are working at max speed - in some Areas/Brigades its nearing a state of mobilization. The Reserves will be able to squeeze out a few dribs and drabs for the coming Rotos, but at present demand the regiments can't produce the numbers required for more than one TF.

The only way to get more people is Job Protection Legislation. Such legislation would likely mean mandatory service - fixed lengths of service, required overseas service, etc - and would drive everyone out and kill the Reserves.

So unless there's a Grand Clone Army of the Militia waiting in a hangar in Nunavut, there ain't much that could happen.

Going back to the article itself, I'm not sure if the CLS and MND gave the wrong impression, or the reporter screwed up, but the article implies that Reservists are not already on combat operations in A'stan, and that they are not deployabling in huge numbers. I can't help but wish that the Minister and Chief of Land STaff had been more forceful in representing the role reservists have played.

I heard another report yesterday where the CLS was quoted as saying he wished recruiting was in the hands of the Regiments and Battalions, not CFRG. To me, this seems a better approach to the problem - if you need a bigger army, recruit, train and pay for it, and start by finding ways to improve recruiting.

Need more people for A'Stan?
Shut down CSOR, get rid of bilingual requirements/training for officers, shrink JTF2, mothball the subs, do more to retain people in the combat arms - there are many solutions, all of them painful. The reality is that, if the numbers the CLS states are correct (and I asume they are) the military simply cannot maintain the mission and the CDS and CLS should say so.


 

career_radio-checker

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GAP said:
That, I think would have to be a negotiated, political decision with the provinces. I would probably, send an email/letter to MND at least, maybe the PMO, because, with everything else going on, I suspect nobody has given that consideration.

I just did.
 
S

sandyson

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I visited a medical unit last week and was surprised to learn they are permitted only a seven person intake this year--be it tranfers or recruits: ORs or officers.  This situation is not consistent with the shortages in reserves for overseas service.  Or, is the recruiting effort being focused upon needed infantry reservists?  What are the intake numbers around the militia units? As has been said--the militia does not have that many more people to harvest.
 

mysteriousmind

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Personnally...for the job thing...I jus would quit my civvie job to do it.

Ok the jobs im doing are crappy so I would not miss at all selling macs and checking out some building, and, one of my employer would gladly give me some time off because he encourage people doin military services. but I probably would loose the job Im doing now and upon my return, be "reaffected" to an other building watch.

But after my BMQ-SQ-QL3 I sure would go.

Yes there should be a law that protects reservist civvie jobs.

 

Colin Parkinson

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I know my old unit is sending 14 soldiers over and have a notice posted in all of the Messes saying if you apply, you will more than likely go. Different world than my days where you had to whine and snivel for a posting. There are also concern that Militia units will not having anyone to do the training of new recruits or deploy on exercises.
 

Gayson

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career_radio-checker said:
One concern I'd like to have addressed is post-secondary protection for students.

40% of the Reserves are students and many of those (myself included) are on student loans. If we go on tour (and I know many who would in a heart beat) we risk being kicked out of universities because most post-secondary institutions have either a 3-4 semester 'absecence' period granted to students who need to work. After that your name is removed from the roster and it may be extremely difficult trying to get back into your program of studies.

Also, student loans give you a 6 month grace period after your last semester of classes before they start collecting interest. They are provincially administrated so I don't see how you could be exempted from paying interest while on tour.

Any suggestions?

CRC

Most schools have programs set up for military service.  At my institute I simply need to tell my program coordinator what the deal is and he makes the arrangements for my integration back into class.
 

Spartan

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As a reservist I'm wondering why there is no mention of an Order in Council, anywhere.
If there is such a need of Reserve augmentation - and one could argue there is when a CBG is deploying so many soldiers, this should be considered. Yes it will include many facets to sort out, and will have to address legal issues, pay, length of service etc - but if such a need is required by the army - this should be considered and expanded on the rotating CBG augmentation ( ie certain Area is required at higher service readiness for x time to supply y #  of troops).
 

mysteriousmind

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Colin P said:
I know my old unit is sending 14 soldiers over and have a notice posted in all of the Messes saying if you apply, you will more than likely go. Different world than my days where you had to whine and snivel for a posting. There are also concern that Militia units will not having anyone to do the training of new recruits or deploy on exercises.

M. J. Gayson has a point....in the unit im joining (waiting for my paperwork to be solved)....their is already a lack of staff to instruct or to run different things around. yes that is, somesort of a problem....but what if you could take some regs force to train the reserve while they are in garnison?? would it be possible to work something.
 

GAP

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It sounds like the CF is doing a full court press on this issue....here's an audio link from CJOB in Winnipeg where Rick Linden, a former Major General and Chief of Reserves and Cadets talks about reservists

Audio Link
 

Staff Weenie

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Spartan - I do not think that the current minority Govt is willing to risk defeat in an attempt to enact an Order In Council to 'mobilize' the Reserves. It may well toppple the Govt, and may cost them enough support to lose the subsequent election.

It is unfortunate that there is not some means for a more selective activation of Reservists, backed by solid job protection legislation and solid compensation (using tax credits & incentives for employers to avoid the stigma like that attached to US Reservists seeking civy employment).

For us, it's the highly specialized CSS trades that are really hurting over the operational tempo - there's only so many anaesthetists in the CF, and we send them on short Rotos as is to avoid burnout, but we can chew through the lot of them in no time, and we can't just create new ones in short order. That said - I'm not even sure if we have any anaesth folks in the Reserves to call on......
 

chrisf

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career_radio-checker said:
40% of the Reserves are students and many of those (myself included) are on student loans. If we go on tour (and I know many who would in a heart beat) we risk being kicked out of universities because most post-secondary institutions have either a 3-4 semester 'absecence' period granted to students who need to work. After that your name is removed from the roster and it may be extremely difficult trying to get back into your program of studies.

Don't know about the university you attended, but the university I formerly attended allowed 1 semester absence, after which you had to reapply, which pretty much meant as long as your grades were up to par before you left, you just paid the registration fee. I also know of a few people who left for longer and had the fee waived for whatever reasons.

Also, student loans give you a 6 month grace period after your last semester of classes before they start collecting interest. They are provincially administrated so I don't see how you could be exempted from paying interest while on tour.

Why should you be exempted? It's a good opportunity to make some money and clean up your debt. Start paying off the whole loan...
 

enfield

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sandyson said:
I visited a medical unit last week and was surprised to learn they are permitted only a seven person intake this year--be it tranfers or recruits: ORs or officers.  This situation is not consistent with the shortages in reserves for overseas service.  Or, is the recruiting effort being focused upon needed infantry reservists?  What are the intake numbers around the militia units?

Recruiting is always constrained by the capacity of the training system that they are being fed into. Numbers very greatly. Infantry units can recruit 30-100 people a year.
Most Combat Arms units can recruit and train in large numbers - there are more courses and instructors.

Specialties have other considerations; for example, the Medical Reserve attempts to recruit people with medical experience, or takes occupational transfer from other units, and don't focus on taking unskilled people off the street. The Med unit in my area recruits completely differently from the Combat Arms units: we use Info Nights, Open Houses, and school visits, they have personal interview with potential applicants and focus on hospitals and EMS.

It is highly unlikely that anyone joining the Reserves now will have the opportunity to go to Afghanistan, assuming the mission ends in 2009, so the current operations aren't really a factor in numbers, besides being a drain on potential instructors. In short, the military is recruiting as fast as it can train people.
 

career_radio-checker

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Just a Sig Op said:
Why should you be exempted? It's a good opportunity to make some money and clean up your debt. Start paying off the whole loan...

I'm talking about people who would pause their school to go on tour and then come back to finish and might have to go back on student loans. The 'pause' you're allowed with student loans is only 6 months. And while you do make good money while on tour, what if I have expenses back at home on top of my already 20, 000 in debt from student loans? You can't expect an average Cpl. to go on tour; pay his expenses back at home; pay off $20, 000; and then have enough leftover to pay the $6,000 tuition fee, and living expenses without applying for ANOTHER student loan. Much less hassel to only have one loan.
 

Donut

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Really?

I had absolutely no problem doing EXACTLY what you just described.  Had loans, went to school, left school, 14 Month CL C, Went to school, Got Loans, Went to school. Graduated.

The banks were always more then happy to stamp and mail that student loan form.  This may be stale info, but it certainly wasn't hard.

Now I've got two student loans paid off, one Federal, one Provincial.  No biggy.

Edit 

And, yes, I did have to make loan payments after 6 months out of school. I was on CL C, I was "Rich" compared to my living-in-res-scrounging-for-beer-money days.
 

Springroll

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I know of 11 reservists here at CRPG BC DET who really want to go over, but are not being given the opportunity because their CO doesn't want to try and find someone to fill their positions. Now these reservists (for the most part) are "retired" Sgt's and WO's with tons of reg force time in.

Why is it such a fight for them to go over if they are wanting too? Most of them are ready to quit their job to go over.
 

career_radio-checker

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ParaMedTech said:
Really?

I had absolutely no problem doing EXACTLY what you just described.  Had loans, went to school, left school, 14 Month CL C, Went to school, Got Loans, Went to school. Graduated.

The banks were always more then happy to stamp and mail that student loan form.  This may be stale info, but it certainly wasn't hard.

Now I've got two student loans paid off, one Federal, one Provincial.  No biggy.

Edit 

And, yes, I did have to make loan payments after 6 months out of school. I was on CL C, I was "Rich" compared to my living-in-res-scrounging-for-beer-money days.

I have to say that I am more in the 'living-in-res-scrounging-for-beer-money days' category except I'm not in Res, but I do bring home IMPs/boxed lunches whenever possible.

Sounds good ParaMed Tech, who did you see about ebing off from school and extending your loans? I ask because my university has given me nothing but grief. (UofOttawa)
 
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