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

KevinB

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A company to each Bn is actually harder to integrate than a Bn into a Bde.
Better 1 soldier to each section...
At this point, I doubt anyone would want a PRes Coy without significant workup - and no one is going to want a PRes BN, unless it takes 2 years of workup (mainly for the WO and higher)
 

GR66

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A company to each Bn is actually harder to integrate than a Bn into a Bde.
You may be right, but I bet we'd struggle to to consistently form even fully trained Companies right now. Complete Battalions I'm thinking would be in the realm of pure fantasy.

Better 1 soldier to each section...
At this point, I doubt anyone would want a PRes Coy without significant workup - and no one is going to want a PRes BN, unless it takes 2 years of workup (mainly for the WO and higher)
As I noted earlier my preference would be to have Reg Force units at full strength to avoid Russia-type issues.

My plan would be for Company-level augmentation to provide a trained and worked-up Reserve Company to EXERCISE with the Reg Force Battalions annually. I don't think anyone would willingly consider deploying Reserve Companies (and certainly not Reserve Battalions) on overseas operations without a major work-up period given the current state of the Reserves.

The hope is that through regular annual joint training exercises that the work-up requirements for augmentation could be greatly reduced and eventually Reserve units (Battalions) could be deployed as complete units.
 

Eaglelord17

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To make the Army Reserves combat effective for a reliable consistent force, it would require a complete restructuring of how we deal with both the Regs and Reserves, something neither side wishes to do at the moment. The way I see this working is doing something similar to the Swiss model with some Canadian modifications.

Basically have the Army Reserves centered around a mandatory 1 month to 1-1/2 month exercise/training session each year. Two weeks of that being IBTS, range qual, medicals, etc. basically all the admin and refreshers. The next 2 weeks to a month being a full field exercise featuring the Regs as well (possibly having Reg Force members acting as instructors for the previous two weeks).

Only trained Reservists would participate and time off from work would be guaranteed (with changes to leglisation to make it happen).

To become a trained Reservist there would be 3 entry routes.

1) summer training based, aimed at highschool-university students or others that wish to do it that way.
2) have soldiers do a full year give or take to become trained in Reg Force courses. Contract can be extended if they wish to do more advanced courses past the basics.
3) transfer from the Regs into the Reserves with some sort of incentive to make it worthwhile for members leaving the Regs.

The intent would be to primarily get Reservists to OFP and then if they wish to progress past that point they need to find the time to do so. Higher up manning positions would mainly be held by Reg Force members/retired Reg Force members who have moved into the Reserves.

There still would be Reservist taskings throughout the year but they would be sent to you via email, which is basically how you receive most info now anyways.

Going with this model would also be logistics saving because you would remove the whole parade night function/requirement. Remove the admin for Reservists to attempt to plan training and exercises. Remove the requirement to have armouries and even regiments based on a geographical location. Remove the requirement for a ton of clerks as a lot of what is required as a Reservist clerk is simply managing who is on what tasking, who is NES, who is parading what days, where is that paysheet, etc. all things that take a lot more effort than it sounds, certainly more admin than a Reg Force member.

Equipment could be completely centralized and maintained in a couple locations.

Your troops would be significantly better trained this way and actually forming functional units. Yes they will not be 100% up to the standard of our Regular Force units but they would be a substantially higher standard than they are currently.

It also allows for a greater variety of soldiers from the sense your not geographically tied to a unit (i.e. the only Reserve unit in the area is the XYZ infantry so if you don’t want to be infantry you can’t join in the area, still try to tie close to the geographical area but it isn’t a limitation).

This model I think could work but it would be a huge undertaking with all sorts of changes along the way and empires both in the Regs and Reserves being destroyed.

The reason I see this being the best way forward is two fold
1) as mentioned we have neither the funding or willingness to maintain a Regular Force the size we need for defence, therefore a Reserve force (preferably in the 200k range) is necessary, and
2) Its hard to ask someone to do the Reserves part time and expect a large commitment when they actually get a life going without substantial changes. Its easier to get 1 month off mandated by law than it is to constantly give up weekends and show up to parade nights, especially those on shift, etc.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Still listed as a Regiment. They were a Fd Bty then Changed back to a Regiment and been that way since the late 90s.
I thought you were wrong as it was always a Battery in my day, but your right, I guess when you don't have enough guns to go around, you have more time on your hands to play silly games:

On 25 October 1956 the battery was redesignated the '5th Independent Medium Battery, RCA' with the '120th Harbour Defence Troop, RCA' ceasing its amalgamation.Footnote16 It was redesignated: '5th (British Columbia) Independent Medium Battery, RCA' on 25 April 1958;Footnote17 '5th (British Columbia) Independent Medium Artillery Battery, RCA' on 12 April 1960.Footnote18 and '5th (British Columbia) Field Battery, RCA' and allocated to the '15th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA', on 28 February 1965.Footnote19 The battery was detached from the 15th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA, to operate as an independent artillery battery on 1 September 1967;Footnote20 and on 13 September 1991 the battery was reorganized as a regiment and redesignated the '5th (British Columbia) Field Artillery Regiment, RCA'.Footnote23
 

daftandbarmy

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Better 1 soldier to each section...
At this point, I doubt anyone would want a PRes Coy without significant workup - and no one is going to want a PRes BN, unless it takes 2 years of workup (mainly for the WO and higher)

As an ARes OC I never had any specific training or coaching in how to do my job in my three decades of service, outside of some lame CAX events and one two week course in Wainwright (the latter was pretty good, actually).

I have never seen an ARes CO receive any training that might be connected with running a BGp/Bn, and doubt that 80% of the ones I've worked with would have been capable anyways. I have never seen a ARes CO give a set of orders for anything, beyond emailing around a sync matrix, quad slide package or something equally unimpressive and ineffective. I have only observed A Res COs (and their RSS stooges) in the field sleeping on the ground and slogging through the mud with the rest of us a handful of times.

This 'workup' you speak of... it's more like a huge culture shift IMHO ;)
 

KevinB

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As an ARes OC I never had any specific training or coaching in how to do my job in my three decades of service, outside of some lame CAX events and one two week course in Wainwright (the latter was pretty good, actually).

I have never seen an ARes CO receive any training that might be connected with running a BGp/Bn, and doubt that 80% of the ones I've worked with would have been capable anyways. I have never seen a ARes CO give a set of orders for anything, beyond emailing around a sync matrix, quad slide package or something equally unimpressive and ineffective. I have only observed A Res COs (and their RSS stooges) in the field sleeping on the ground and slogging through the mud with the rest of us a handful of times.

This 'workup' you speak of... it's more like a huge culture shift IMHO ;)
I think 2 years was overly optimistic for some ;)

Part of the problem is obviously training but mainly simply lack of experience -- how can an OC get experience when they don't have an actual company to command? It gets worse as one goes higher than Coy level.

I've attended some ARNG exercises as a tech rep - and if it is a Bde Ex, there will be a full Bde on Ex, will ALL the enablers - and so there is experience (even in short periods of time) for personnel in there roles.

If the CA would shitcan a bunch of the PRes units and amalgamate the units, and then actually have real Coy, Bn's and Bde, then the Maj's and up would actually be able to have a role.
 

GR66

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As an ARes OC I never had any specific training or coaching in how to do my job in my three decades of service, outside of some lame CAX events and one two week course in Wainwright (the latter was pretty good, actually).

I have never seen an ARes CO receive any training that might be connected with running a BGp/Bn, and doubt that 80% of the ones I've worked with would have been capable anyways. I have never seen a ARes CO give a set of orders for anything, beyond emailing around a sync matrix, quad slide package or something equally unimpressive and ineffective. I have only observed A Res COs (and their RSS stooges) in the field sleeping on the ground and slogging through the mud with the rest of us a handful of times.

This 'workup' you speak of... it's more like a huge culture shift IMHO ;)
Which is exactly why FJAG and others note that Reserve Brigades and Battalions should be integrated into a Total Force structure with Reg Force COs in the HQs and 10/90 or 30/70 Reg/Reserve manning so that Reservists aren't promoted up into ranks/positions for which there is simply not the ability to gain the experience necessary to be able to properly fulfill the roles on a part-time basis.
 

FJAG

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My plan would be for Company-level augmentation to provide a trained and worked-up Reserve Company to EXERCISE with the Reg Force Battalions annually.
This is truly hard because RegF and ResF train at different times. We tried this using the Easter break and it didn't work well and you'll never get RegF unit to exercise in the summer because of APS and its simply out of their training cycle. When I think 30/70 units I see two separate training cycles with only the Bn HQ and RegF cadre to ResF companies involved in both.

To make the Army Reserves combat effective for a reliable consistent force, it would require a complete restructuring of how we deal with both the Regs and Reserves, something neither side wishes to do at the moment. The way I see this working is doing something similar to the Swiss model with some Canadian modifications.
Absolutely

Basically have the Army Reserves centered around a mandatory 1 month to 1-1/2 month exercise/training session each year. Two weeks of that being IBTS, range qual, medicals, etc. basically all the admin and refreshers. The next 2 weeks to a month being a full field exercise featuring the Regs as well (possibly having Reg Force members acting as instructors for the previous two weeks).
You simply won't get that long a period in our society. The ARNG moved to a four-year progressive cycle under Guard 4.0 which applies mainly to ARNG ABCT and SBCTs. Under this the first two years use the standard 39 day training year of one weekend per month as well as a two week summer exercise. The last two years add an extra week to the exercise with year three being preparatory to NTC and year four being an NTC rotation. One of the keys is that by knowing where a brigade is in its four year cycle lets command know exactly how much additional predeployment training it needs once an ARNG BCT is mobilized.

Only trained Reservists would participate and time off from work would be guaranteed (with changes to leglisation to make it happen).

To become a trained Reservist there would be 3 entry routes.

1) summer training based, aimed at highschool-university students or others that wish to do it that way.
2) have soldiers do a full year give or take to become trained in Reg Force courses. Contract can be extended if they wish to do more advanced courses past the basics.
3) transfer from the Regs into the Reserves with some sort of incentive to make it worthwhile for members leaving the Regs.

The intent would be to primarily get Reservists to OFP and then if they wish to progress past that point they need to find the time to do so. Higher up manning positions would mainly be held by Reg Force members/retired Reg Force members who have moved into the Reserves.

There still would be Reservist taskings throughout the year but they would be sent to you via email, which is basically how you receive most info now anyways.

Going with this model would also be logistics saving because you would remove the whole parade night function/requirement. Remove the admin for Reservists to attempt to plan training and exercises.
Generally in agreement to this point.
Remove the requirement to have armouries and even regiments based on a geographical location.
There are many advantages for local armouries (albeit they do not need to be 19th century fortresses) including rapid assembly areas and , yes, even places to socialize and bond.
Remove the requirement for a ton of clerks as a lot of what is required as a Reservist clerk is simply managing who is on what tasking, who is NES, who is parading what days, where is that paysheet, etc. all things that take a lot more effort than it sounds, certainly more admin than a Reg Force member.
Admittedly reservists require a fair bit of admin. Removing clerks doesn't solve this. Removing or streamlining policies does.
Equipment could be completely centralized and maintained in a couple locations.
Equipment needs to be located where troops train. Local training has many advantages including cost and time savings. One needs the right equipment at the right location. Where that right location is varies with the training.
Your troops would be significantly better trained this way and actually forming functional units. Yes they will not be 100% up to the standard of our Regular Force units but they would be a substantially higher standard than they are currently.

It also allows for a greater variety of soldiers from the sense your not geographically tied to a unit (i.e. the only Reserve unit in the area is the XYZ infantry so if you don’t want to be infantry you can’t join in the area, still try to tie close to the geographical area but it isn’t a limitation).

This model I think could work but it would be a huge undertaking with all sorts of changes along the way and empires both in the Regs and Reserves being destroyed.

The reason I see this being the best way forward is two fold
1) as mentioned we have neither the funding or willingness to maintain a Regular Force the size we need for defence, therefore a Reserve force (preferably in the 200k range) is necessary, and
2) Its hard to ask someone to do the Reserves part time and expect a large commitment when they actually get a life going without substantial changes. Its easier to get 1 month off mandated by law than it is to constantly give up weekends and show up to parade nights, especially those on shift, etc.
I'm not sure. I think some of these might be counterproductive. I do agree that any meaningful change to the system will be a huge undertaking.

As an ARes OC I never had any specific training or coaching in how to do my job in my three decades of service, outside of some lame CAX events and one two week course in Wainwright (the latter was pretty good, actually).
That's the problem with truncated courses for rank progression. Inevitably important stuff gets cut to fit the time frame. IMHO many of our RegF courses are overstuffed because they combine administrative management with tactical skills training. I see reservists learning the tactical while RegF people handle the "management"
I have never seen an ARes CO receive any training that might be connected with running a BGp/Bn, and doubt that 80% of the ones I've worked with would have been capable anyways. I have never seen a ARes CO give a set of orders for anything, beyond emailing around a sync matrix, quad slide package or something equally unimpressive and ineffective. I have only observed A Res COs (and their RSS stooges) in the field sleeping on the ground and slogging through the mud with the rest of us a handful of times.
That's my experience too. During my years as RSSO the two COs I spanned both left training entirely to me while my RegF Chief Clerk handled 90% of all admin and Class B fin clerk 100% of pay leaving band fund, regimental fund, messes, regimental ball etc etc to the CO, DCO and RSM. That suited all of us.
This 'workup' you speak of... it's more like a huge culture shift IMHO ;)
I don't think that workup will happen. My take on it is that certain positions need both training AND experience in order to be done right. I think being an OC of a mech company is one of those (and maybe even a dismounted company) As it was in Afghanistan even some of the well trained and experienced RegF company commanders did not have a handle on many nuances, such as the use of artillery in close battle or engineering resources, until after the first contacts because their training covered those things in a superficial and unrealistic way. This goes back to my Combat Team Commanders course in the 1970s where all artillery was "notional" and engineers rarely dismounted their vehicles to actually do an engineering task (it too was done as "notionally they are blowing the bridge now")

I don't think a ResF artillery major can handle a modern battlefield's FSCC duties what with JTAC'ing and running a LAV OPV and various types of smart munitions. That too takes time and experience. I'm not saying a reservist can't learn that. I'm just saying in the time available for a reservist in peacetime its not possible and you probably won't have the time and resources at mobilization. That's why I lean towards a RegF leadership at the company and above level for all units.

It limits the career of reservists but I'd prefer platoon commanders with lots of time in the job and good at it rather than a company commander who gets people killed.

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GR66

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This is truly hard because RegF and ResF train at different times. We tried this using the Easter break and it didn't work well and you'll never get RegF unit to exercise in the summer because of APS and its simply out of their training cycle. When I think 30/70 units I see two separate training cycles with only the Bn HQ and RegF cadre to ResF companies involved in both.
Good thing wars never happen in the summer! Maybe not all Reg Force units should be in the middle of APS and block leave at the same time? Not just to accommodate training with Reservists, but you know...war and stuff.
 

markppcli

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Good thing wars never happen in the summer! Maybe not all Reg Force units should be in the middle of APS and block leave at the same time? Not just to accommodate training with Reservists, but you know...war and stuff.
The reason the regular forces don’t do exercises in the summer is
1. APS,
2. RST tasks,
3. Op Lentus, and;
4. Units coming off the Spring Bde exercises prepping for the fall Bn / Regt exercises by doing PCFs.

APS is built to make it easier to move families, with school ending in June ish around the country that causes a minimum of disruption. And frankly much like a bandaid, it’s probably better to do it all at once and reorganize rather than constantly shuffle.
 

FJAG

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The reason the regular forces don’t do exercises in the summer is
1. APS,
2. RST tasks,
3. Op Lentus, and;
4. Units coming off the Spring Bde exercises prepping for the fall Bn / Regt exercises by doing PCFs.

APS is built to make it easier to move families, with school ending in June ish around the country that causes a minimum of disruption. And frankly much like a bandaid, it’s probably better to do it all at once and reorganize rather than constantly shuffle.
There are very good reasons for why a RegF units training cycle used to be Sept to May/June (and may still be for all I know). There are also very good reasons why you will never have ResF unit participate fully on an exercise during Sept to May.

That, however, should not be a bar to having a hybrid unit. It just has to be run with the realization that not everyone trains together at all times nor will they progress at the same pace.

What it takes is a realization as to what each brings to the table: full-time experience and readiness on the one hand and inexpensive part-time mass on the other. One needs to build a system that leverages both to their maximum.

Our present system is collapsing. The Army is deluding itself if it thinks it can turn this around.

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desindarfur

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With all due respect to many of the schemes that have been discussed on this thread reserve training depends on individual reservists volunteering to train. Give them challenging goals to aspire to and they will come out. Run them ragged with administration, that might be important to the CoC, but not to them, they will stay away.
During my time in the Militia (later the reserves) well run exercises were well attended. All the participants knew in advance from the preparations (drawing specific kit, rehearsals etc) what was expected from them.
The summer concentration exercises were a case in point. Some years it was a District (Bde) level ex. The CO wasn't named until May, not given enough time or resources to put together a good plan. They would inevitably fall back on the safe but boring stand training concept. Other years it was an LFCA effort (Div). The CO was named a year in advance. There was a budget for TEWTs, CAX and a spring break ex in the USA to test the concept, give command teams a chance to work together and rehearse the plan. Those exercises were well run and well attended.
 

FJAG

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I can't disagree with you at all, but there are other factors as well.

Once the country has invested several tens of thousands or more dollars to train an individual it needs to ensure a return on investment. That return shouldn't be based solely on how well the Army entertains the individual.

In addition, the initial training simply gets the reservist to the trained individual level and now needs to develop his incorporation into ever larger teams through collective training, a further investment. The training needs to be structured so that the money spent on it actually turns out teams and not a small subset of people who consider the training valuable. It needs to get everyone.

The problem being faced is we've now gone on for seventy some odd years with a system which, like you say, is spotty with some good training and some bad. The result is an all too large turnover and, at best very small teams. It is a system that is not even getting better by increments, it's barely holding a status quo.

To many of us here that means a radical change is needed to guarantee the consistent delivery of the things which you say are important as well as those things that improve the overall capability of the force as a whole.

What did Einstein say? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". That's where the Army is and has been for a long time.

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childs56

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You want to fix the Reserves. Equip them properly, stop cancelling courses, stop watering down their existence and give them the resources to succeed.
I have to ask a question, How many Reservists were killed in Afghanistan because they were a Reservist and lacked training? How frigging many? Tell me I am curious.
I know a buddy of mine was blown up over there because of wrong place wrong time. The Regular Force guys killed same. They all died the same, no one said dam that Reservist lacked training that's why he died. They all died in a piece of crap unarmored g wagon.

If you give the Regular Force the same lack of equipment, same course cancellations, the same lack of resources as you do Reservists I assume you would have the same issues and the same results. In some cases all the difference between Reg and Res is wages.
 

daftandbarmy

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I admire his optimism... he used the term 'Rebuilding', as if the Reserve Force was 'built' at one time in the past ;)



Rebuilding the Reserve Force​


Introduction

Canada’s political and even military leaders take an exceptionally narrow approach to the reserves. The map below reveals that CAF primary reserve units remain an extraordinary network of army, navy, air, intelligence and medical units nested in cities and towns all across the country. They are available on short notice to deal with security problems or natural disasters and are a crucial supplement to our drastically under-strength regular force. And yet our political leaders, our cultural and thought leaders and even our military leaders consistently overlook the reserves’ importance and the need to ensure their vitality.


 

Halifax Tar

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You want to fix the Reserves. Equip them properly, stop cancelling courses, stop watering down their existence and give them the resources to succeed.
I have to ask a question, How many Reservists were killed in Afghanistan because they were a Reservist and lacked training? How frigging many? Tell me I am curious.
I know a buddy of mine was blown up over there because of wrong place wrong time. The Regular Force guys killed same. They all died the same, no one said dam that Reservist lacked training that's why he died. They all died in a piece of crap unarmored g wagon.

If you give the Regular Force the same lack of equipment, same course cancellations, the same lack of resources as you do Reservists I assume you would have the same issues and the same results. In some cases all the difference between Reg and Res is wages.

The A Res shouldn't get an ounce more funding or equipment until it can come to the table to with a sensible restructuring plan that amalgamates and eliminates some units, eliminates ridiculously over ranked positions and reclassifies them correctly, and eliminates some trades that just aren't feasible or reasonable for them to have in the reserves.

Having now spent a while working with the A Res they and their silly regimental mafias are they're own worst enemy.
 

KevinB

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You want to fix the Reserves. Equip them properly, stop cancelling courses, stop watering down their existence and give them the resources to succeed.
I have to ask a question, How many Reservists were killed in Afghanistan because they were a Reservist and lacked training? How frigging many? Tell me I am curious.
I know a buddy of mine was blown up over there because of wrong place wrong time. The Regular Force guys killed same. They all died the same, no one said dam that Reservist lacked training that's why he died. They all died in a piece of crap unarmored g wagon.

If you give the Regular Force the same lack of equipment, same course cancellations, the same lack of resources as you do Reservists I assume you would have the same issues and the same results. In some cases all the difference between Reg and Res is wages.
What equipment?

Honestly I’d shutter the PRes at this point - as per @Halifax Tar have a valid plan for the Res first - then go forward.
Right now the Reg Force is missing so much equipment, the PRes is pointless.
 

Remius

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The A Res shouldn't get an ounce more funding or equipment until it can come to the table to with a sensible restructuring plan that amalgamates and eliminates some units, eliminates ridiculously over ranked positions and reclassifies them correctly, and eliminates some trades that just aren't feasible or reasonable for them to have in the reserves.

Having now spent a while working with the A Res they and their silly regimental mafias are they're own worst enemy.
Would require an actual seat at the table first.

Who exactly comes to the table with that plan? And how does it fit it into the overall CAF plan? How is that plan going btw? Seems to me that the state of the A Res is a symptom of a dysfunctional and degrading reg force. And now that they actually need a ready A Res, there isn’t much to tap into.

Who makes the decision to reclassify and eliminate trades?

So, all of those things you mention cost money and time to do. It won’t happen unless you fund, equip and train it to match the direction and vision of what is wanted from the A Res.

But to an extent I agree with a lot of what you post. The first thing though is for the CAF writ large (and the army) to sort itself out first.
 
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