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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

blacktriangle

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
We could start by coming up with an operational role for the reserves other than  1 for 1 augmentation of the regular force.

Domestic operations. And not just a domestic response ex once every year or so...

 

RCPalmer

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
We could start by coming up with an operational role for the reserves other than  1 for 1 augmentation of the regular force.

There are plenty of roles.  The Army Force Employment Concept (via Waypoint 2018 articulates a bunch:
http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/assets/ARMY_Internet/docs/en/waypoint-2018.pdf

To summarize the key tasks:
-Arctic Response Company Groups (ARCG) x4 - these are exercised every year
-Territorial Defence Battalions (TBG) x10 - these are exercised at a CP level every year (though unevenly), and they have been deployed in recent DOMOPS
-Individual augmentation for Army LOO 3 (Expeditionary Ops) on the order of 20% of the force strength starting on Roto 1
-Force Pro Coy, Convoy Security Tp, PSS Pl, and IA Coy for Army LOO 3 (Expeditionary Ops) starting on Roto 1

There is lots for the PRes to do, and for the most part, I think the tasks are quite reasonable.  What the report is noting is that training, resourcing and institutional support for the Army Reserve in meeting these tasks is highly deficient. 
 

Fishbone Jones

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It's all academic. Nothing is going to change. These are the same problems we've  had for the last 50 years.
 

Bird_Gunner45

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RCPalmer said:
There are plenty of roles.  The Army Force Employment Concept (via Waypoint 2018 articulates a bunch:
http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/assets/ARMY_Internet/docs/en/waypoint-2018.pdf

To summarize the key tasks:
-Arctic Response Company Groups (ARCG) x4 - these are exercised every year
-Territorial Defence Battalions (TBG) x10 - these are exercised at a CP level every year (though unevenly), and they have been deployed in recent DOMOPS
-Individual augmentation for Army LOO 3 (Expeditionary Ops) on the order of 20% of the force strength starting on Roto 1
-Force Pro Coy, Convoy Security Tp, PSS Pl, and IA Coy for Army LOO 3 (Expeditionary Ops) starting on Roto 1

There is lots for the PRes to do, and for the most part, I think the tasks are quite reasonable.  What the report is noting is that training, resourcing and institutional support for the Army Reserve in meeting these tasks is highly deficient.

Except without the ability to call reservists up full time there can be as many paper tasks as anyone can imagine. When your force generation model relies on people showing up as they want there's no legitimate way that you can properly train large groups, no matter how much money is thrown at it. Ex WESTERN GUNNER in Shilo last year, for example demonstrates this- All the western area arty "regiments" pooled together to do a Regimental ex but got just under 90 people of the 200 they expected. 1 RCHA got to make up the difference.
 

RCPalmer

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Bird_Gunner45 said:
Except without the ability to call reservists up full time there can be as many paper tasks as anyone can imagine. When your force generation model relies on people showing up as they want there's no legitimate way that you can properly train large groups, no matter how much money is thrown at it. Ex WESTERN GUNNER in Shilo last year, for example demonstrates this- All the western area arty "regiments" pooled together to do a Regimental ex but got just under 90 people of the 200 they expected. 1 RCHA got to make up the difference.

Agreed, the reserve force is on life support at the moment, mainly due to a lack of recruiting and training capacity.  With the current limited capacity we have to prioritize all tasks and if it is a matter of sending a member on a career course (as an instructor or candidate), or an exercise, we will always send the member on course because that is the investment in long term capability. Ultimately, these are part time soldiers, and we can only ask so much of them.  If the Army was serious about rebuilding capacity in the reserve force, we wouldn't even attempt collective training until we had rebuilt our critical mass.

More robust TOS with an element of mandatory service would definitely help, but absent that I do not agree that further investments in a volunteer reserve force are a waste.

We have had a lot of successes in a volunteer reserve model.  The reserve force generated more pers for Afghanistan than the Army had any right to expect given the investment made over the previous 20 years.  While it hasn't always been pretty, we've generated workable platoons for Afghanistan and companies for Bosnia.  I would argue that if our reserve force had been properly resourced and managed, we could have done a lot better.

In the 2013 floods, 41 TBG was the largest unit in 1 CMBG, formed in an afternoon, and was mobile because we still had our full allocation of MSVS at that point.

To motivate a part time member to join and stay (whether that service is cumpulsory or not) they need to see that they are part of a serious, professional organization, and when when we run our reserve force on a shoe string, that has significant attraction and retention implications which impact our capabilities.

 

RedcapCrusader

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RCPalmer said:
Agreed, the reserve force is on life support at the moment, mainly due to a lack of recruiting and training capacity.  With the current limited capacity we have to prioritize all tasks and if it is a matter of sending a member on a career course (as an instructor or candidate), or an exercise, we will always send the member on course because that is the investment in long term capability. Ultimately, these are part time soldiers, and we can only ask so much of them.  If the Army was serious about rebuilding capacity in the reserve force, we wouldn't even attempt collective training until we had rebuilt our critical mass.

More robust TOS with an element of mandatory service would definitely help, but absent that I do not agree that further investments in a volunteer reserve force are a waste.

We have had a lot of successes in a volunteer reserve model.  The reserve force generated more pers for Afghanistan than the Army had any right to expect given the investment made over the previous 20 years.  While it hasn't always been pretty, we've generated workable platoons for Afghanistan and companies for Bosnia.  I would argue that if our reserve force had been properly resourced and managed, we could have done a lot better.

In the 2013 floods, 41 TBG was the largest unit in 1 CMBG, formed in an afternoon, and was mobile because we still had our full allocation of MSVS at that point.

To motivate a part time member to join and stay (whether that service is cumpulsory or not) they need to see that they are part of a serious, professional organization, and when when we run our reserve force on a shoe string, that has significant attraction and retention implications which impact our capabilities.

Cannot agree more.

 

CBH99

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I remember years ago, there was a big moment that simply "hit me" one day - and a week later I was on my way out of the reserve force.

I was tasked with organizing a unit level weekend exercise - nothing special. 

In the weeks leading up to the exercise, I had to beg, borrow, and steal (in that order) - just for a couple of working LS' & ML's, because our unit had no working vehicles other than 2 Milcots.

41 CBG then took one of our Milcots, saying we didn't need 2.  So we ended up with 1.  1 Milcot.  No working ML.  No working LS. 


It was in the final week of prepping for the exercise that it all just hit me at once.  I'm serving in the military of a 1st world country - why do I have NO working vehicles?  Why can't I get my hands on any?  Why do I have to ask units in different cities if they can lend us their vehicles?  Why is this such an uphill battle?

Once that exercise was done, I was done.  Morale had finally sunk to an all time low, when I realized that a ragtag militia in Africa of a similar size had more transport capability than we did.  One of my untrained privates who was helping with odds & ends around the unit had jokingly suggested I could try to borrow a truck or two from Botswana - it was funny, but also brutally true.

^Quite a few reservists that I personally know, got out of the military for similar reasons.  It wasn't the time commitment.  It wasn't the pay.  It wasn't anything of the sorts - I think most of them would have stayed in if things like the above had been different. 
 

RedcapCrusader

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CBH99 said:
I remember years ago, there was a big moment that simply "hit me" one day - and a week later I was on my way out of the reserve force.

I was tasked with organizing a unit level weekend exercise - nothing special. 

In the weeks leading up to the exercise, I had to beg, borrow, and steal (in that order) - just for a couple of working LS' & ML's, because our unit had no working vehicles other than 2 Milcots.

41 CBG then took one of our Milcots, saying we didn't need 2.  So we ended up with 1.  1 Milcot.  No working ML.  No working LS. 


It was in the final week of prepping for the exercise that it all just hit me at once.  I'm serving in the military of a 1st world country - why do I have NO working vehicles?  Why can't I get my hands on any?  Why do I have to ask units in different cities if they can lend us their vehicles?  Why is this such an uphill battle?

Once that exercise was done, I was done.  Morale had finally sunk to an all time low, when I realized that a ragtag militia in Africa of a similar size had more transport capability than we did.  One of my untrained privates who was helping with odds & ends around the unit had jokingly suggested I could try to borrow a truck or two from Botswana - it was funny, but also brutally true.

^Quite a few reservists that I personally know, got out of the military for similar reasons.  It wasn't the time commitment.  It wasn't the pay.  It wasn't anything of the sorts - I think most of them would have stayed in if things like the above had been different.

It's still like that.

Vehicles aren't being repair or being repaired quickly, people don't want to lend out vehicles because they only have a few working vehicles and don't want to risk someone else breaking a vehicle on loan.

41 CBG had to order units to provide vehicles for a Driver Wheeled course because the unit hosting it had only 2 working vehicles and one trailer. Hard to get 25 privates trained on 2 vehicles in a an expedient fashion. They initially asked other units to help out and nobody budged.

It's no different on any other piece of equipment we have. No working radios, broken helmets and tac vests, boots... Don't get me started on boots.

Even many career courses, reservists are left with equipment scraped off the bottom of the barrel which causes a student to lose focus when you're spending 80% of the time just trying to get things to work.

It's terribly demoralizing. We could be doing so much more and so much better, if only we were properly funded and equipped.
 

stanleyykk

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/auditor-general-report-army-reserves-1.3563990

Just 17 hours ago a scathing auditor general's report said the reserve is under equipped and trained for international operation and domestic emergencies.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-wildfire-fortmcmurray-idUSKCN0XU2D8

Just 2 hours ago a wildfire in Alberta broke lose and everyone is calling for the support of the army. (Without the needed equipment? Your guess is as good as my.)

But according to the huffingpost:
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/05/03/canada-s-army-reserve-lacking-soldiers-equipment-training-audit-finds_n_9828412.html

"When there is a domestic emergency, reserve units are expected to assemble trained units of up to 600 soldiers, but Ferguson's report noted that they were thrown into the field over the last few years — specifically in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — without everything they needed, including essential items."

[:'(
 

CBH99

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Essential items must be referring to...*cough*...trucks & vehicles to actually transport people.

You can ask a lot of reservists!  But marching on foot to Ft. McMurray isn't one of them...

We have the MSVS.  I'm hoping that when the new fleet of trucks arrives, everybody can finally have a basic transport capability again.
 

MilEME09

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LunchMeat said:
It's still like that.

Vehicles aren't being repair or being repaired quickly, people don't want to lend out vehicles because they only have a few working vehicles and don't want to risk someone else breaking a vehicle on loan.

41 CBG had to order units to provide vehicles for a Driver Wheeled course because the unit hosting it had only 2 working vehicles and one trailer. Hard to get 25 privates trained on 2 vehicles in a an expedient fashion. They initially asked other units to help out and nobody budged.

It's no different on any other piece of equipment we have. No working radios, broken helmets and tac vests, boots... Don't get me started on boots.

Even many career courses, reservists are left with equipment scraped off the bottom of the barrel which causes a student to lose focus when you're spending 80% of the time just trying to get things to work.

It's terribly demoralizing. We could be doing so much more and so much better, if only we were properly funded and equipped.

I recall being on my DP2 and having 1 tool box of specialized tooling to share between 2 PRes, and 3 Reg force courses, try doing a course on a C6 with only one set of gauges for 5 courses, testing was a night mare
 

George Wallace

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CBH99 said:
Essential items must be referring to...*cough*...trucks & vehicles to actually transport people.

You can ask a lot of reservists!  But marching on foot to Ft. McMurray isn't one of them...

We have the MSVS.  I'm hoping that when the new fleet of trucks arrives, everybody can finally have a basic transport capability again.

You overlooked the problem currently affecting the CAF, of the shortage of BOOTS.  Hard to march up to Fort Mac without boots.  >:D
 

daftandbarmy

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CBH99 said:
I remember years ago, there was a big moment that simply "hit me" one day - and a week later I was on my way out of the reserve force.

I was tasked with organizing a unit level weekend exercise - nothing special. 

In the weeks leading up to the exercise, I had to beg, borrow, and steal (in that order) - just for a couple of working LS' & ML's, because our unit had no working vehicles other than 2 Milcots.

41 CBG then took one of our Milcots, saying we didn't need 2.  So we ended up with 1.  1 Milcot.  No working ML.  No working LS. 


It was in the final week of prepping for the exercise that it all just hit me at once.  I'm serving in the military of a 1st world country - why do I have NO working vehicles?  Why can't I get my hands on any?  Why do I have to ask units in different cities if they can lend us their vehicles?  Why is this such an uphill battle?

Once that exercise was done, I was done.  Morale had finally sunk to an all time low, when I realized that a ragtag militia in Africa of a similar size had more transport capability than we did.  One of my untrained privates who was helping with odds & ends around the unit had jokingly suggested I could try to borrow a truck or two from Botswana - it was funny, but also brutally true.

^Quite a few reservists that I personally know, got out of the military for similar reasons.  It wasn't the time commitment.  It wasn't the pay.  It wasn't anything of the sorts - I think most of them would have stayed in if things like the above had been different.

Did you check the radios? ( that make us share our cellphone numbers around to make sure we can have comms on ex?)
 

ArmyRick

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This is a good thread to follow and I would hope some of these concerns make their way up to the Minister, maybe not through these means but through CoC and "nasty" reports.

The reserves are an excellent return in investment on the dollar. I am saying this as an ex-regular force soldier, currently a reserve infantry CSM. It hurts a lot of people's feeling but shoving ego aside, here is the reality. The current government (and most previous ones) do not have the stomach to build up a true full size three or four brigade army. They are not willing to spend the funds, not now and not likely in the near future. Deal with it.

I have done 2/3 of my tours as a reservist. From an Infantry perspective, I will say this, most units keep a pretty good rythymn of training soldier indivdual up to platoon level skills. Most operational deployments, it takes anywheres between 3-6 months to shake out and get the soldiers up to speed. Most regular force infantry battalions need at least a month or two of shake out training themselves to get sorted. UNLESS they are fresh off the road to high readiness.

Now for resources, a very good point. We need vehicles, no if, ands or buts, we need vehicles. We need uniforms and personal kit as well, that seems to be a systemic problem across the board. On the shortage of resources, we may need to really focus on what we need from our reserve force. I will say the politically incorrect thing to say and hurt people's feelings. Is it time to re-roll a few regiments into less resource intensive arms? Like re-rolling some armoured and artillery regiments into infantry?
My regiment has been artillery and armoured corps in the past. We are Infantry today and have been since 1970, we originally were infantry.

Why create more Infantry?
1. We are simple to train and equip (small arms, troops, radios and a few vehicles for stores)
2. Our trg delta with reg f light infantry is very marginal.
3. Infantry can be used for force protection, dom ops, parades, etc. We truly are a "general duty" force
4. Very easy to deploy when needed (aircraft, ship, bus, on foot, boat, ATV, snowmobile, helicopter)5. You can build
5. You can build an easily achievable training cycle from September to May going from individual to section to platoon and touching onto company level operations (most certainly can do by the time the summer ex rolls around)

What does it take?
POLITICAL WILL from both inside the army and the politicians
I think we need to re-think how P Res pay funding is sourced (from Army O & M budget, is it not?), how about same as reg force members?
Someone with more info than myself on pay can comment on that please
It will need people to park their egos to the side

Remember the context of this modern Canada, Their is no desire to build or maintain a large regular army, we do some very unique operations overseas with unpredictable forecast of what we will be asked to do and some P Res can be fired up to Op readiness pretty quick
 

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Rick - I agree with you, especially on the need for infanteers.

The one point of modification I would make is concerning rerolling Artillery, Armoured and Engineer units. 

Infantry is Her Majesty's Odd Job Corps.  They do whatever is required wherever and whenever it required.  Up to and including going to strange places meeting strange people and killing them.

Artillery, Blackhats and Engineers, in my opinion, are all infanteers with additional sets of skills.  There is no need to re-role the Blackhats of the Gunners or the Engineers.  There may be a need to refocus their training so that, for example, of the unit only a troop or a battery/squadron is fully trained up to deploy with their specialist skills.  The rest of the unit would just be GS soldiers - capable of doing whatever, wherever.
 

RCPalmer

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CBH99 said:
We have the MSVS.  I'm hoping that when the new fleet of trucks arrives, everybody can finally have a basic transport capability again.

We have the MSVS for now. We have already lost a significant portion of our MSVS(MILCOT) fleet in 3 Div to support R2HR.  I don't begrudge them the use of the vehicles.  Obviously, high readiness should be the priority.  However, as the MLVW fleet rusts out, and the MSVS(SMP) (ie the RegF MSVS to be built by Mac) procurement drags on, the RegF will increasingly look to the reserve MSVS fleet to solve their B vehicle problems.  If those vehicles are not returned (like the Bison) or returned worn out (remember it isn't an SMP vehicle, so its life span is shorter), that will have significant long term implications for the reserve force capabilities in DOMOPS and routine training. 
 

ArmyRick

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One point, Chris Pook,

Part of the reason I have suggested re-rolling some other units is very much an unfortunate reality, co$t of training/running these units

-Procurement cost
-Maintenance cost
-Training Cost (courses are more $$$)
-Then their is the CAF concept of "sharing" (i.e. CFTPO) since the days of a unit holding its own kit seem to be long gone

Fiscal restraint is a reality and there is no escaping it. There is much more to to infantry than taking G-wagons and mortars away from the other two P Res branches. There is skill sets that have to be trained and exercised, it takes some time but is much more fiscally achievable than training for "armoured" or artillery.

This does not mean that all P Res Armoured and Arty be re-rolled. Its a thought. Also look at what MOSID can not realistically keep a reserve equivalent (I have heard lots of rumblings on hear about vehicle technician for example). Looking at skill sets and development time to become operational.

I can most certainly see certain trades/units being moved out of the reserve force altogether.

 

daftandbarmy

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ArmyRick said:
This is a good thread to follow and I would hope some of these concerns make their way up to the Minister, maybe not through these means but through CoC and "nasty" reports.

The reserves are an excellent return in investment on the dollar. I am saying this as an ex-regular force soldier, currently a reserve infantry CSM. It hurts a lot of people's feeling but shoving ego aside, here is the reality. The current government (and most previous ones) do not have the stomach to build up a true full size three or four brigade army. They are not willing to spend the funds, not now and not likely in the near future. Deal with it.

I have done 2/3 of my tours as a reservist. From an Infantry perspective, I will say this, most units keep a pretty good rythymn of training soldier indivdual up to platoon level skills. Most operational deployments, it takes anywheres between 3-6 months to shake out and get the soldiers up to speed. Most regular force infantry battalions need at least a month or two of shake out training themselves to get sorted. UNLESS they are fresh off the road to high readiness.

Now for resources, a very good point. We need vehicles, no if, ands or buts, we need vehicles. We need uniforms and personal kit as well, that seems to be a systemic problem across the board. On the shortage of resources, we may need to really focus on what we need from our reserve force. I will say the politically incorrect thing to say and hurt people's feelings. Is it time to re-roll a few regiments into less resource intensive arms? Like re-rolling some armoured and artillery regiments into infantry?
My regiment has been artillery and armoured corps in the past. We are Infantry today and have been since 1970, we originally were infantry.

Why create more Infantry?
1. We are simple to train and equip (small arms, troops, radios and a few vehicles for stores)
2. Our trg delta with reg f light infantry is very marginal.
3. Infantry can be used for force protection, dom ops, parades, etc. We truly are a "general duty" force
4. Very easy to deploy when needed (aircraft, ship, bus, on foot, boat, ATV, snowmobile, helicopter)5. You can build
5. You can build an easily achievable training cycle from September to May going from individual to section to platoon and touching onto company level operations (most certainly can do by the time the summer ex rolls around)

What does it take?
POLITICAL WILL from both inside the army and the politicians
I think we need to re-think how P Res pay funding is sourced (from Army O & M budget, is it not?), how about same as reg force members?
Someone with more info than myself on pay can comment on that please
It will need people to park their egos to the side

Remember the context of this modern Canada, Their is no desire to build or maintain a large regular army, we do some very unique operations overseas with unpredictable forecast of what we will be asked to do and some P Res can be fired up to Op readiness pretty quick

As an Infantry guy (with a capital 'I') I can see your point.

However when a real war starts, which is what national level militaries are supposed to be ready for, we will need the whole team at the party or we can expect to see a repeat of the 'Forlorn Hope' of old on a massive scale.

If we focus just on Infantry because we are cheaper and supposedly more flexible (and much, much better looking of course ;) ), the CF will be basically useless in any kind of fight that does not resemble the most basic of COIN type operations or DOMOPS. You can't 'magic wand'' up a significant armour/arty/engr capability overnight.

 

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Vehicles are a huge issue for my unit as well. We have three LSVW Ambulances. At any given point, two are in maintenance for a variety of reasons. Ambulances are supposed to be a priority for repair, but this is Ottawa, and civilians tell us they have other things they are working on. When we do use them, we are extremely reluctant to drive them outside of Ottawa, because they are so mechanically unreliable - one of my great worries is to have a Pri A in the back, and the vehicle sh$ts the bed......

Comms are another issue - we've resorted to using cell phones as well - and then you have some HQ idiot give you grief about using them, they're not secure! Well how about getting the right number of reliable radios that have a decent range???

As far as training time goes - how many days per year are we mandated to spend on various political correctness training, and CYA activities for Senior Officers and politicians? We had a DND Ethics Coordinator come in and give us a big song and dance about ethical models in decision making. I put him on the spot with some pretty standard medical ethical issues faced in the R3MMU - where you have seconds to make a call - life or death for the patient - make the decision and then live with it years later (that gave me a huge amount of respect for the Docs). How does your decision tree work now dingbat???

Insane levels of financial micromanaging and approval hampers effectiveness. A unit wants me to send a Med A to support training in Petawawa? That's outside of the 100 Km zone - I need to secure the approval of our higher HQ for that! In my career I've seen activities that were once approved by Captains, now requiring a LGen to sign off - who on this planet thinks that's a good idea?

There is so much to fix, on so many levels.
 

ArmyRick

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daftandbarmy,

IF, big IF a war of nation on nation started TODAY, and lets just throw it out there that PM JT suddenly changed his heart and multiplied the defence budget many times over, how soon could we have those armoured reserve units manning AFV (tanks, recce or whatever) and ready to do their jobs as intended?
How long long could our industries (or American ones?) churn out the AFVs? How long would the learning curve be? How long would it take to recruit and train those soldiers to an effective operational capability? TOO LONG. Thats my answer.

Yes, there is always the big scary scenario, and it is very real. I will emphasize their is little political will to keep the RESERVES equipped and skilled in operating big and expensive gear. It would be more prudent to keep the regular force armoured regiments topped up or structured similar to Australian Army.

My point is here and now, a government and a Canadian population, will NOT support expensive (in money, time and maintenance) equipped reserve army. There is barely stomach to keep the regular force going. When those G-Wagons rust out, what will they replace them with? We can't even get enough trucks for current logistic issues. Let alone "half-assed reconnaissance vehicles" 

I am saying that with the current political will, lets build on capabilities that we can in the reserves, such as LOTS of infantry. No one ever went to war and said "we have too many infantry battalions".

I am NOT advocating getting rid of armoured or artillery. Or combat engineers (I have not touched that one on the P Res side, not sure how resource heavy they are). I am saying in the current context we are operating, lets exploit what we can.

 
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