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

dapaterson

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RCPalmer said:
I would be curious to know what specific skill set a reserve full Col or BGen is missing that would prevent them contributing effectively at the defence team at that level, but I see your point with regards to the deeper corporate institutional knowledge.

It's also a lack of any staff experience, in either formations or in more "corporate" functions.  Those are key developmental positions to make institutional leaders.

Perhaps a better way to articulate my point that is that there should be commanders at the appropriate levels responsible for the success of the reserve force with the financial authority to make it happen.  If that authority were to take the form of an HQ, that HQ would have need to have a combination of RegF and PRes pers, and like every other element of the CAF, would be accountable to its higher authority for its broader governance.  For example, the Aussies do that by organizing their Army into 2 divisions. 1 Div is primarily (but not exclusively) RegF and 2 Div is primarily (but not exclusively) PRes.  I would also offer that a guy who has spent his entire career in the RegF is likely not well equipped to make decisions about what is "good" for the PRes.

I lurch back and forth between dedicated Res/Reg high level formations.  I think we need better methods to integrate Reg & Res leaders.  And we need ways to get class A leaders exposure to staff roles (both formation and "corporate" type ones).

But there's the challenge: class A time is limited.  If we want to develop some of the knowledge and experience of things outside the unit (and to my mind, we do), we run into time constraints.  How deep of a knowledge base do we need senior leaders to have if we want them to succeed?

And I have seen far too many "I'm from the outside, I can change everything" types.  There are statutory and regulatory realities that shape the military; lack of knowledge in those areas often means tremendous wasted time, wasted effort, and wasted opportunity as individuals chase windmills - or, worse, fix symptoms and cause even more problems because they do not understand the underlying problems.  A lack of understanding the interrelations and responsibilities within DND/CAF are equally problematic - and a senior formation leader needs that understanding if they are to be effective.

The Reserve system today produces too many senior individuals without the knowledge and experience base to be effective institutional leaders.  The push to find "The Next CO" drives a neverending process of pushing people too quickly, and not getting them the necessary experience to be effective, in either their roles as COs or in further employment.  (The cap badge wars and refusal to provide any meaningful ERE until an individual is post-command is equally problematic).  Despite armoury floor belief, there is little widespread Regular Force animosity towards the Reserves; in my experience, there is more ill-founded distrust/dislike of the Reg F in the Res F than the other way around.

I am not holding up the current Reg F C2 structure as any sort of beacon on a hill; frankly, if we are to keep the Army as a formation (which is the  worst option, but is what we will do), then the three CMBG commanders should report directly to the Army commander; the Divs should be disbanded and formations commanded by Colonels should report to an Army HQ BGen to do the sustain piece (bases etc), and a Res Formation, commanded by a Reg F BGen should take on the half dozen or less Reserve Bde Gps that could reasonably be built within the structure and resources available to the Reserves.
 

daftandbarmy

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RCPalmer said:
From a tactical standpoint, absolutely, but I am talking institutional leadership here.  To become a full Col in the PRes, you have to command a CBG, a unit of 1500-2000 pers, and that is effectively a full time role.  Those officers have also completed a tenure as a unit CO, which is also nearly a full time job and while the units are embryonic, they have significant responsibilities in shaping their own institutions in terms of community footprint, recruiting, strategic engagement, etc.  The best of the group will become Div DComds, also nearly a full time job with significant responsibilities.  These senior leaders get the better part of a decade to "learn the ropes" institutionally.  Senior reserve force leaders frequently also bring significant management and leadership experience from their civilian employment.  Again, I agree that there are a lot of "Kentucky Colonels" out there, but there are also a lot of really sharp people.

As I said, they also lack some of the depth with regards to CF/DND level bureaucratic knowledge that comes with decades of full time service (and they would definitely need some staff to help them out), but I view that as a positive.  What we need are fresh ideas, and not slavish servitude to an organizational culture that has made little recent institutional progress, apart from adding ever increasing layers of HQ in the Army, and maintaining an 8,000 man NDHQ while the core capabilities rot.

I'm not saying that a reservist should be the Army Commander, or even a brigade in active operations, but I think that to move forward institutionally, reservists need a voice at the highest level, and that requirement is not met by officers in purely advisory roles.  What we need are some reservists in some responsible positions at the highest levels to help shape the institution so that the needs of the whole army are met.

Well, there is BGen RRE Mackenzie http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/about-army/leadership.page

And this 'badass' http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/harjit-sajjan-badass-canada-defence-minister-1.3304931

But I wonder how much influence even these people can have, really...
 

RCPalmer

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daftandbarmy said:
Well, there is BGen RRE Mackenzie http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/about-army/leadership.page

And this 'badass' http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/harjit-sajjan-badass-canada-defence-minister-1.3304931

But I wonder how much influence even these people can have, really...

BGen Mackenzie's position and the Director Reserves and Cadets are two examples of the advisory roles I was referring to.  Neither of them command anything.  What I would like to see is a more integrated organizations with PRes and RegF commanders and staff in various positions to provide some balance in "the force". 
 

MilEME09

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Until we see significant Reserve force influence in the decision making process for the reserves I doubt we will see much change from the way things are, I mean no offense by saying this but in the majority of cases the regular force doesn't understand Reserve Force issues well enough to make informed choices.
 

RCPalmer

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dapaterson said:
It's also a lack of any staff experience, in either formations or in more "corporate" functions.  Those are key developmental positions to make institutional leaders.

Agreed.  There are currently some institutional barriers to building those types of capabilities in the PRes, mostly due to the fact that our talent gets pushed into the succession planning racetrack to generate COs.

dapaterson said:
I lurch back and forth between dedicated Res/Reg high level formations.  I think we need better methods to integrate Reg & Res leaders.  And we need ways to get class A leaders exposure to staff roles (both formation and "corporate" type ones).

Absolutely.
dapaterson said:
But there's the challenge: class A time is limited.  If we want to develop some of the knowledge and experience of things outside the unit (and to my mind, we do), we run into time constraints.  How deep of a knowledge base do we need senior leaders to have if we want them to succeed?

Very true, but I would offer that if you want a vibrant and dynamic organization, you need some fresh blood from time to time, and that will never happen if takes a person decades to get up to speed.  I was listening to a speech Field Marshall Slim gave after the war, and in talking about his staff in 14th Army he noted that:
1. His best intelligence officers were university professors and essentially civilians in uniform.
2. His best operational planner was a U.S. Army National Guard Officer who was a refrigerator salesman in civilian life with no pre war full time service.  I will note that this particular Army operated in extremely difficult conditions, and resupplied primarily by air to the tune of 9,000 Dakota sorties per day.

My point here is that diversity of experience is sometimes a good thing. 

dapaterson said:
And I have seen far too many "I'm from the outside, I can change everything" types.  There are statutory and regulatory realities that shape the military; lack of knowledge in those areas often means tremendous wasted time, wasted effort, and wasted opportunity as individuals chase windmills - or, worse, fix symptoms and cause even more problems because they do not understand the underlying problems.  A lack of understanding the interrelations and responsibilities within DND/CAF are equally problematic - and a senior formation leader needs that understanding if they are to be effective.

I think that there is a balance to be struck here between those with the institutional knowledge, and those with the wild, fresh ideas.  In the current CAF structure, we have lots of the former, but none of the later.  One of the most effective methods to rejuvenate an organization in the corporate world is to hire a new CEO, or (at a lower level), bring in some new managers.  It isn’t pretty, and employees generally don’t like it, but that approach has turned around a lot of businesses.  In WW2, the relief of commanders was one of the major methods to rejuvenate a failing division/corp/army, but we have all but abandoned that practice.
 
dapaterson said:
The Reserve system today produces too many senior individuals without the knowledge and experience base to be effective institutional leaders.  The push to find "The Next CO" drives a never-ending process of pushing people too quickly, and not getting them the necessary experience to be effective, in either their roles as COs or in further employment.  (The cap badge wars and refusal to provide any meaningful ERE until an individual is post-command is equally problematic).  Despite armoury floor belief, there is little widespread Regular Force animosity towards the Reserves; in my experience, there is more ill-founded distrust/dislike of the Reg F in the Res F than the other way around.

I agree on the lack of staff officer development in the PRes.  As you say, our outdated organizational structure forces us to sacrifice a lot to generate COs and RSMs for tiny units. 

I think we will have to agree to disagree on the PRes/RegF relationship overall, but I agree with you in the sense that I don’t think there is a lot of animosity within the RegF towards the PRes generally. It is more of a culture of neglect.  I think they view us more as an occasional nuisance (when we need something), and sometimes as a useful labour pool (when they need troops to fill out their hollow units).  The PRes has little capability to damage or undermine the RegF in a serious way, but I would offer that the opposite is not true.  I will preface what I say below by emphasizing the fact that I think that the relationship has improved significantly because of Afghanistan, and that I have observed lots of good, low level cooperation between RegF and PRes units.  However, I will cite a few examples to highlight how the relationship is often not one of mutual support, trust and respect:

-While briefing an officer visiting the HQ I was working at in Afghanistan, the visiting officer noted, “My this HQ has a lot of PRes augmentee officers…I guess that’s ok as long as you’re not commanding anything”.  At that moment, other reserve officers were commanding CSS convoys, PYSOPS and CIMIC Teams, and leading OMLT company mentor teams…

-A few years ago my unit had all of its machine guns CFTPO’d for a RegF unit’s end of FY “ammo burnathon”, not tied to any training objective.  They returned every one broken without a word of apology or explanation.  Could you imagine what would have happened if a reserve unit had done that?  Later in the year we were running a WDM course, and went through the CFTPO process to procure some additional C6s and SF kits.  While they were eventually provided, it took considerable staff effort and it was made clear to us at every stage that we were somehow being done a favour.  As a matter of course, when we beg and plead for a few NVGs for an exercise, we are told in no uncertain terms that if so much as a lense cap is missing, the loan will not be repeated.  I have no problem returning equipment in the state we received it, but would appreciate some reciprocation.  I shudder to think what our MSVSs will look like when/if we get them back. 

-A nearby base decided to close range control on weekends, severely limiting PRes access to ranges.  Concurrently, our formation was being chastised for having low IBTS numbers.  After much begging, (and a period where our formation funded the range control staff), said base agreed to open range control one weekend per month.  If you know anything about PRes training calendars, you would see that such a move would be of little benefit. 

dapaterson said:
I am not holding up the current Reg F C2 structure as any sort of beacon on a hill; frankly, if we are to keep the Army as a formation (which is the  worst option, but is what we will do), then the three CMBG commanders should report directly to the Army commander; the Divs should be disbanded and formations commanded by Colonels should report to an Army HQ BGen to do the sustain piece (bases etc), and a Res Formation, commanded by a Reg F BGen should take on the half dozen or less Reserve Bde Gps that could reasonably be built within the structure and resources available to the Reserves.

That sounds like a great structure, one of several that would help get us closer to where we need to be.   
 

Rick Goebel

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FYI, one of my reserve contemporaries served as a Task Force Commander in Bosnia as a Colonel.  Another served as Deputy Com­mand­ing Gen­eral for Polit­i­cal Mil­i­tary Inte­gra­tion in the Com­bined Secu­rity Tran­si­tion Com­mand — Afghanistan as a Brigadier General.  Both were what I like to call "pure reservists".
 

daftandbarmy

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Rick Goebel said:
FYI, one of my reserve contemporaries served as a Task Force Commander in Bosnia as a Colonel.  Another served as Deputy Com­mand­ing Gen­eral for Polit­i­cal Mil­i­tary Inte­gra­tion in the Com­bined Secu­rity Tran­si­tion Com­mand — Afghanistan as a Brigadier General.  Both were what I like to call "pure reservists".

And they would represent about 25% of the total. Seriously.
 

Kirkhill

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dapaterson said:
My back of the envelope structural math for an Army Reserve designed from the ground up, not morphed to fit the historical cap-badges on the ground.

Trained platoon = 32
Trained Company = 125 (3 platoons + Wpns + CHQ)
Trained Bn = 420 (3 companies + Bn HQ)

Bde = 3300 (7 Bns + Bde HQ + Recruiting/Battle School unit (call it a Depot?) + BTL)

We can fit six of those into our current ~20K total strength target.

That means 42 trained Bns (plus six Depots), with 126 trained companies, with 378 trained platoons.


Obviously, different corps and branches have variations in structure, but as a high level start point, perhaps that's what we should aim for: 420-strong Bns that do not do recruiting, or worry about training before soldiers are occupationally qualified - that's the Depot's task.  Even if folks have exams / fall sick / are washing their hair, a Bn sized exercise run to train sections and platoons is now much more viable and interesting.

DAP - you refer to the entities as "trained".  Don't you mean "in training"?  The Army is authorized to hire 20,000 bodies, plus or minus, each year.  QR&Os say that the CDS can employ those bodies for up to 60 days of Class A and 15 days of Class B service annually each.  75 Days would be equivalent to an 11 week course or a little bit shy of BMQ or BMOQ-L.  So, theoretically, after two years of Class A/B service the Army would have a fully trained private.

But that only works if three things happen:

One - the Army funds the training of troops for 75 days (24 hour days - as would happen on a course)
Two - the training happens locally to conform with the limitations of Class A service
Three - the Army retains those privates and provides local training to permit them to become corporals, master-corporals, sergeants and warrants.

And then, once you have a suitable body of all ranks, proficient in their ranks, led by a similarly trained officer corps, can you start talking about creating a trained force.

I believe that it is unlikely, with the current terms of enlistment, and financing, that a force of 20,000 bodies will ever be able to field more than 10% of its strength as an organized entity. So 10 Brigades, each of 2,000 nominal can realistically find 200 bodies adequately trained to create a useful company.  Everybody else is "in training" trying to find the course days to achieve the necessary skills to qualify in their rank.

And the Army isn't "calling up" their authorized reserve strength for 75 days a year.  They are only "calling them up" for something like a fifth of that.  So it would take a civvy off the street 4 to 5 years to put in the time at the local armouries to achieve even BMQ, assuming, as previously noted, that the courses were offered on the local parade square.  And most folks that enroll don't stick around that long when they realize that the courses, the field work, the range time aren't available.

Short form: You can't get there from here.
 

daftandbarmy

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Chris Pook said:
DAP - you refer to the entities as "trained".  Don't you mean "in training"?  The Army is authorized to hire 20,000 bodies, plus or minus, each year.  QR&Os say that the CDS can employ those bodies for up to 60 days of Class A and 15 days of Class B service annually each.  75 Days would be equivalent to an 11 week course or a little bit shy of BMQ or BMOQ-L.  So, theoretically, after two years of Class A/B service the Army would have a fully trained private.

But that only works if three things happen:

One - the Army funds the training of troops for 75 days (24 hour days - as would happen on a course)
Two - the training happens locally to conform with the limitations of Class A service
Three - the Army retains those privates and provides local training to permit them to become corporals, master-corporals, sergeants and warrants.

And then, once you have a suitable body of all ranks, proficient in their ranks, led by a similarly trained officer corps, can you start talking about creating a trained force.

I believe that it is unlikely, with the current terms of enlistment, and financing, that a force of 20,000 bodies will ever be able to field more than 10% of its strength as an organized entity. So 10 Brigades, each of 2,000 nominal can realistically find 200 bodies adequately trained to create a useful company.  Everybody else is "in training" trying to find the course days to achieve the necessary skills to qualify in their rank.

And the Army isn't "calling up" their authorized reserve strength for 75 days a year.  They are only "calling them up" for something like a fifth of that.  So it would take a civvy off the street 4 to 5 years to put in the time at the local armouries to achieve even BMQ, assuming, as previously noted, that the courses were offered on the local parade square.  And most folks that enroll don't stick around that long when they realize that the courses, the field work, the range time aren't available.

Short form: You can't get there from here.


And 'reserve math' suggests that for every one that turns up, you need three on the books.

For example, one platoon of 32 requires you to have 96 on strength.
 

Journeyman

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daftandbarmy said:
And 'reserve math' suggests that for ...one platoon of 32 requires you to have 96 on strength.
....'commanded' by a LCol, 3 x Maj, CWO, 3 x MWO.... 

....and a band....


.....oh, and usually some weird, retired guy who's all over  regimental quirks, "we've always done it this way," accoutrements,
historical 'glory' (whether true or not), etc.....  :whistle:
 

Rifleman62

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Another served as Deputy Com­mand­ing Gen­eral for Polit­i­cal Mil­i­tary Inte­gra­tion in the Com­bined Secu­rity Tran­si­tion Com­mand — Afghanistan as a Brigadier General

If it is the same fellow I am thinking about, he was in the RWpgRif as a Lt, then went RCR. Promoted to LCol to be CO of the LSSR, retired, rejoined the PRes, then on, and on.
 

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Trained means: has completed basic training plus army common training plus occupational training to the point where they are employable.  That DP1 training burden is taken away from units so they can focus on collective training, not recruiting or basic training.
 

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If the desired end state is 20,000 troops at DP1, and the churn rate is 4000 releases per year (5 yrs in the reserves) then is the system supplying 4000 DP1s to the units annually?

And DP1 means BMQ for 12 weeks plus 4 weeks for BMQ-L plus 10 weeks for a gunner, 11 weeks for tanker and 17 weeks for an infanteer.  A total of 26 to 33 weeks of full time training.  To supply and maintain a force of 20,000 trained privates.

Are reservists entering with the understanding that they will be trained to that standard before they go onto the roll of a reserve unit?  I don't think so.  To achieve 33 weeks of training at the rate of 20 paid days annually (3 to 4 weeks) it will take the recruit 8 to 11 years to become fully qualified to be deployable.

The alternatives are, in my opinion:

to ensure every soldier is trained to a common standard on entry prior to assignment to a reg force or a reserve force unit
to cascade reg force soldiers into the reserves
to treat the local armouries as centres of individual training for force generation and not for force employment.

And I will continue to bang the drum for an unpaid Homeguard/Militia that trains at the local armouries and supplies a recruiting pool for people willing to commit the time for reg force equivalent training and deployments. 

Finally, I would separate the Reserves from the Militia.  Their roles are different.  The Reserves need to be willing to deploy wherever, whenever at the beck and call of Ottawa.  The Militia is tied to their homes and their community.
 

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Chris, you do not understand the training system.  It's not an 8-11 year process.  DP courses are run full time; if someone will commit for only 20 days a year, frankly, they should never be enrolled in the first place.  Serving in the military requires commitment.  If you don't want to show up, don't join.  If you can't make the time to train, don't join.
 

daftandbarmy

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dapaterson said:
Chris, you do not understand the training system.  It's not an 8-11 year process.  DP courses are run full time; if someone will commit for only 20 days a year, frankly, they should never be enrolled in the first place.  Serving in the military requires commitment.  If you don't want to show up, don't join.  If you can't make the time to train, don't join.

And as long as they don't cancel, or change dates at the last minute, career courses we are generally good to go. Of course, reality intrudes upon the best plans :)
 

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daftandbarmy said:
And as long as they don't cancel, or change dates at the last minute, career courses we are generally good to go. Of course, reality intrudes upon the best plans :)

Litterally EVERY course I went while in the reserve , there was a problem with the dates / timming / etc.

I wasn't on that many courses :

-BMQ
-SQ
-DP1
-Driver ( wheel )
-Recce Tech
-PC Tech

The ONLY one that was on the right time and everything was BMQ. 
SQ : I got told on the 7th that I needed to be there on the 9th ....
DP1 : we got it short right after SQ

Driver : They booked me 1 night prior , litterally told me to drive up there and show up on the class which didn't even had my name on the papers.
Recce Tech : got told 5 days prior , got there , wasn't even on the paper , spent 1 day running everywhere trying to get everything sorted out
PC Tech : Wasn't listed for the course , told me in the middle of Recce Tech , had to call my unit to fix the issue before then end of the course.


I Know sometimes things don't work out like it should , but as a reservist , it was pretty hard to keep a regular job and try to balance both of them when they call you and give you a 4 days notice ...
 

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daftandbarmy said:
And as long as they don't cancel, or change dates at the last minute, career courses we are generally good to go. Of course, reality intrudes upon the best plans :)

That's, in part, my point.  Units spend disproportionate effort recruiting and managing non-DP1 qualified personnel. Remove that from them.  Let the Depot units (one per Bde, geographically dispersed as the Bde is) focus on that.  Let units work at ongoing CT for qualified soldiers.


 

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dapaterson said:
Chris, you do not understand the training system.  It's not an 8-11 year process.  DP courses are run full time; if someone will commit for only 20 days a year, frankly, they should never be enrolled in the first place.  Serving in the military requires commitment.  If you don't want to show up, don't join.  If you can't make the time to train, don't join.

DAP - you're right.  I don't understand the training system.  I don't understand how you can require a "trained force" to be made available from people that are still completing the training necessary to meet the minimum standard for employment.

And I do get the need for commitment - to create a reg force replacement on a part time basis.  Is the reservist expected to train on their own time - without pay?  In order to achieve the standards expected of the reg force?  Because I agree that you can't train a soldier on the basis of 20 days a year. (or even 37.5 days and a couple of weeks as alluded to by pbi way back in 2004)

http://army.ca/forums/threads/25365/post-113706.html#msg113706

As you've noted this problem is not new and the solutions aren't new either.  Way back in 2004 I was trying to figure out how shove 10 lbs into a 5 lb bag.  In the intervening 12 years I have come to accept that you can't.

An unpaid volunteer will never achieve the skills of a Reservist.

But, equally a Reservist, trained under the current system will never achieve parity with the Regs.

On the other hand the Reservist is able to relieve some of the Reg burden when properly employed. I would argue the same case can be made for a corps of unpaid volunteers.  Other government departments, and other countries, seem to agree.
 

Kirkhill

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dapaterson said:
That's, in part, my point.  Units spend disproportionate effort recruiting and managing non-DP1 qualified personnel. Remove that from them.  Let the Depot units (one per Bde, geographically dispersed as the Bde is) focus on that.  Let units work at ongoing CT for qualified soldiers.

And here we agree - You are effectively arguing, in my view, for the separation of the trained Reserve as an independent entity.
 

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Chris Pook said:
And here we agree - You are effectively arguing, in my view, for the separation of the trained Reserve as an independent entity.

No.  All one entity, but defined roles for different parts in personnel production.  Reserve units are their own worst enemies, fighting to do everything when they should be concentrating on collective training (Section & platoon).

An effective reserve requires established standards for training and readiness, so we know what we have when we need to activate them as individuals or formed groups.  I don't think holding up the Reg F as the standard to achieve is necessarily the right measuring stick; we need to be able to compare to them to understand where the deltas are, but I will whisper the heresy that perhaps we provide too much training to the Reg F - and then don't provide enough opportunities to permit them to retain and develop those skills.  A Reserve force that focuses on a narrower skill set, but practices those skills regularly, is far ahead of one that tries to do everything, but nothing well.
 
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