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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

KevinB

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Which tells us all we need to know about the Government's National Defence priorities.
Not necessarily - combined with the recent Monocle purchase (and the price they paid) it shows knowledge has been replaced by ignorance and/or incompetence (or some sort of nepotism).
 

Good2Golf

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Which tells us all we need to know about the Government's National Defence priorities.
And the extant maturity of other CAF organizations to get their poop in a group, at least for some of the smaller-scale procurements that politicians don’t immediately see as own-riding cash cows to be pursued assiduously.

I first flew with AN/AVS-501s (a CAN-specific build of US Gen II AN/PVS-5C) back in ‘91. I think they had a FOM of between 600-800, crappy for sure, but than no NVGs and a single landing light as the alternative. I was very happy to get in with Gen III tubes subsequently: AN/AVS- later ANVIS-6, -9, Pinnacle -9 and ‘some other models.’ All to say that op and tech requirements were established, applicable staff work done to ensure life-cycle support for the systems as well as supporting systems like focussing devices and maintenance equipment, and a recurring update program to assign applicable capital funding for fleet turnover and expansion. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take organizations to form up their paths and commit to them in an informed and progressive manner. Not to become a continual nag about the Army’s challenges with sorting things and getting in with them (light forces, anybody?), but I’ll nag about the fact that the army does enjoy a good long stare at its belly button and whining when others move on in contemporary technology. As KevinB and others noted, the CA’s NV program writ large is….or has…room to improve. Good Lord, if the AF has had NV sorted for 30+ years, can it really be that hard? 🤔
 

CBH99

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Dammit if they monos were good enough for me they are damn well good enough for you!!
;)


In WW1 Canadians were in the forefront using tech and innovation to lead the way.
Sadly it sounds like we don't care.
I was hoping once combat operations in Afghanistan ended in 2011, the folks with multiple tours were the ones who would stay in & pave the way forwards for the CAF.

I got out in 2011, once the combat operations ended. Garrison life started to creep in again, and I realized how much I hated it.

I was somewhat surprised at how many colleagues felt the same way — and the CAF went from having a recruiting wait list, to all of a sudden being short by a few thousand folks.

The mindset of “Well this is how we did it in the 1970’s and it worked just fine then, so that’s how we are going to do it now” crept back, and frighteningly quickly at that!


The notable senior folks who did stay in were under-achievers during Afghanistan, and stayed that way afterwards.

Or they did well for themselves and did some really good work, which hopefully isn’t tarnished from the scandal that’s happening now. Some of them are still in, and I find them to be some of the sole sources of real drive and change.

Others I think had plenty of drive, experience, and great ideas on how to make us a more modern, effective, and efficient fighting force. Some of those individuals ended up being the CDS and MND, and there seems to be some kind of substantial leverage hanging over them that prevents them from taking any solid initiative.

(I highly doubt a guy like Vance, who received plenty of praise from the troops when he was TF Commander, went into this position without some great ideas. Same with our MND, who had more than enough experience to implement some solid ideas also. That they both appear to have become more of the same ‘yes men’ has me questioning whether those positions are cursed for now, with the current government.)


Sorry for the lazy unintentional rant!

Worked in the 1970’s? Why change it if it isn’t broken? 😉
 

dapaterson

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The Army's usual approach:

1. Over spec so there's nothing on the market.
2. Complain.
3. Write a thinly veiled attempt at sole source.
4. Fail.
5. Do a real competition.
6. Discover that the years of diddling around eroded your purchasing power
7. Wait to see if inflation will magically reverse itself.
8. Admit that you can't afford the quantities you think you need, and compromise.
9. Buy the tech you specced five years ago for delivery three years from now.
 

KevinB

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And the extant maturity of other CAF organizations to get their poop in a group, at least for some of the smaller-scale procurements that politicians don’t immediately see as own-riding cash cows to be pursued assiduously.

I first flew with AN/AVS-501s (a CAN-specific build of US Gen II AN/PVS-5C) back in ‘91. I think they had a FOM of between 600-800, crappy for sure, but than no NVGs and a single landing light as the alternative. I was very happy to get in with Gen III tubes subsequently: AN/AVS- later ANVIS-6, -9, Pinnacle -9 and ‘some other models.’ All to say that op and tech requirements were established, applicable staff work done to ensure life-cycle support for the systems as well as supporting systems like focussing devices and maintenance equipment, and a recurring update program to assign applicable capital funding for fleet turnover and expansion. It isn’t rocket science, but it does take organizations to form up their paths and commit to them in an informed and progressive manner. Not to become a continual nag about the Army’s challenges with sorting things and getting in with them (light forces, anybody?), but I’ll nag about the fact that the army does enjoy a good long stare at its belly button and whining when others move on in contemporary technology. As KevinB and others noted, the CA’s NV program writ large is….or has…room to improve. Good Lord, if the AF has had NV sorted for 30+ years, can it really be that hard? 🤔
Rotary Wing guys have always been on the cutting edge of NVG's.
The GPNG weight and bulk made it a no go for most ground units - but it does stellar work for folks who need clarity and field of view in the air - and Dev, as SEAL's love shinny stuff ;)
 

CBH99

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Not necessarily - combined with the recent Monocle purchase (and the price they paid) it shows knowledge has been replaced by ignorance and/or incompetence (or some sort of nepotism).
Which these days shouldn’t be the case, at all.

If I’m the person who is either in charge, or directly advising the person in charge, of what to purchase to enhance our NV capabilities (Army wide, or perhaps something trade specific) - and I’m woefully out of my knowledge base…there is nothing wrong with reaching out to allied organizations and discussing with them what has worked well/not well for them, and asking for advice based on their experience.

Ignorance, in this case, shouldn’t exist. We each have more access to information, discussion forums, and reviews about tech available at our fingertips.

If we want to bring ourselves up to speed on something quickly, and truly bring a useful capability to bear - reach out and ask an allied unit for feedback/advice based on their experience.

Heck, even reach out to some of the CANSOF types and their network of contacts for feedback.

Ignorance isn’t really acceptable, in my opinion anyway, when it comes to these things.


Anyways. Lunch break is over, and also my random rants. 😉
 

KevinB

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Which these days shouldn’t be the case, at all.

If I’m the person who is either in charge, or directly advising the person in charge, of what to purchase to enhance our NV capabilities (Army wide, or perhaps something trade specific) - and I’m woefully out of my knowledge base…there is nothing wrong with reaching out to allied organizations and discussing with them what has worked well/not well for them, and asking for advice based on their experience.
Clearly you never worked in DLR ;)

Ignorance, in this case, shouldn’t exist. We each have more access to information, discussion forums, and reviews about tech available at our fingertips.

If we want to bring ourselves up to speed on something quickly, and truly bring a useful capability to bear - reach out and ask an allied unit for feedback/advice based on their experience.

Heck, even reach out to some of the CANSOF types and their network of contacts for feedback.
There used to be a vast gap between CANSOF and the rest of the Army -- a lot of gear was viewed as "Special" by Regular Army and ignored - without realizing that 99% of "Special" kit is only special due to initial expense - and that it has equal employment utility across the Force.

I've been out of the CF for a long time - and my close friends who remained are either MWO's or above on the NCO side, or LCol's or above on the O side of the conventional army, or Sgt and above on the SOF side -- so I don't get a true coal face opinion anymore.

Ignorance isn’t really acceptable, in my opinion anyway, when it comes to these things.
The ignorant most often don't know they are ignorant...
A buddy of mine once explained why he chose to sit in the parking lot and shoot the shit with me and another guy instead of exhibiting at a Defense Event. He pointed out that there where 7-8 folks he could have a truly deep discussion with in small arms - and he was sitting with 2 of them, he was going to gain nothing from exhibiting - and gain more by our talk.
I was very proud - not that because a decorated member of that entity would skip his own entities event - but because I had hired him, and he had replaced me when I left, and he had truly learned one of life's lessons.

Anyways. Lunch break is over, and also my random rants. 😉
You always know morale hasn't hit rock bottom and people still care when they rant -- as for when the bitching stops - that's when you worry, as they have gotten into plotting...
 

Kirkhill

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Which tells us all we need to know about the Government's National Defence priorities.

What I was getting at was some entities are actively engaged and don't have time to muck around debating the nature of the universe. Consequently decisions are made and the consequences incorporated into the operational plan. If something doesn't work then the other thing is done. If it does work then move on.


Aviation, SAR, CANSOF (and Pathfinders?) seem to be routinely engaged - especially SAR, both techs and their aviation. CANSOF and logistics aviation seem to be in demand from our allies.

NORAD, NorthCom, SovPats and the RCN all seem to be gainfully employed and have to manage operations despite equipment and manning issues.

But, the Army......???

Would anybody really notice if Canada withdrew from Latvia?

Here's a bone for D&B to chew on, knowing his great professional admiration for the RAF Regiment. Going back to Perrin Beatty's VP Guards - how would it be if the Militia were organized along RAF Regiment lines. A lot of policing, a bit of armed security and a bit of GBAD.

47 NORAD Radar sites plus North Bay, Cold Lake and Bagotville and 5 FOLs (Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin Inlet, Kuujjuaq and Iqaluit)
4 Sigs sites (Alert, Masset, Gander and Leitrim)
4 Naval Radio Sites - Aldergrove, Matsqui, Mill Cove and Newport Corner
Resolute
Nanisivik

That is 65 sites, most of them unmanned. If even one platoon were assigned to each station that would be 65 platoons required. If an enduring presence were required, adopting oil industry northern policies ( two weeks to a month on and then two weeks to a month off) Then there would be a need for 130 to 200 platoons. Or roughly the same number of "platoons" as the Rangers can field. And the Rangers do it with a fraction of the population base available to the southern Militia.

5000 Rangers in 200 patrols = 25 Rangers per patrol = a small platoon

200 VP platoons of 25 militia = 5000 militia.

Not a force to be permanently deployed up north, but a permanently available force, trained to Home Guard standards, that can establish a presence where there is none when it is needed.

A force to be backed up by the Rangers, by Arctic Rapid Response Companies, by Territorial Battle Groups, by Regular Lt Bn IRUs.

And then organize the remaining Regs into modified versions of 4 CMBG - light on infantry, only two battalions, but heavy on arty, 24 guns, GBAD, STA, UAS, FOO/FAC and Fire and Air SCCs. 75/25 Reg/Militia-Reserve or possibly even 50/50.
 

MilEME09

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Back to F2025 it self, it would appear they went back to the drawing board a bit to redo COA3, now it's COA 3.1 and 3.2, the 6th Div HQ is gone in both cases
 

Ostrozac

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Back to F2025 it self, it would appear they went back to the drawing board a bit to redo COA3, now it's COA 3.1 and 3.2, the 6th Div HQ is gone in both cases
Aw! But building a new HQ would have been actually achievable in the timelines and within our comfort zone. Bonus points if we had put it in the greater Montreal area and the formation patch incorporated the quadruple arrows, just so that we can officially go full circle right back to where we started.

On a more serious note, a COA that incorporated “more division headquarters” was probably never going to fly. The Leslie plan talked about fewer Div HQ, down to two I think, and in the old days for quite some time brigades reported directly to St Hubert with no intermediate HQs.
 

FJAG

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Back to F2025 it self, it would appear they went back to the drawing board a bit to redo COA3, now it's COA 3.1 and 3.2, the 6th Div HQ is gone in both cases
Good start. Call me again when three or four more are gone.

I'll be interested in seeing how they plan to juggle that - particulalry the TBG structures.

Currently there are 49 Res F infantry battalions. The COA 3 structure calls for 19 Res F Infantry TBG/battalions with 2 x RFL 1 companies and 1 x RFL 2 company each but still under 10 x Bde HQs. Quite frankly at that rate the Maritimes, Quebec and the Prairies could be reduced to one brigade HQ each, Ontario to two with the Maritimes and Quebec as one division, Ontario and the Prairies as another and all the Reg F brigade groups to one division.

Under COA 3 arty goes from 16 regiments plus three independent batteries to 10 TBGs; armour goes from 19 Res F regiments to 7 TBGs; 10 CERs and 10 Svc Bns and 10 Sigs Regts stay at 10 each. Each of these could easily be amalgamated into 5 TBGs each.

Ta Da - 3 division HQs, 4 Reg F brigades and 5 Res F ones. Those HQ PY savings alone would provide the 2-300 PYs being sought to add to the instructor cadres.

I quite dislike the basic COA 3 concept primarily because it puts all the Reg F brigades under one division while the Res F brigades are under separate ones. This breaks the linkage between Reg F and Res F brigades and their shared geographic training establishments. Strangely that is not listed as a disadvantage for COA 3.

🍻
 

MilEME09

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Can anyone share where one might be able to find these COAs?
Just search Force 2025 of ACIMS, it's all available for anyone to view. It is app constantly changing, the decision brief will occur before the end of the year with an announcement on Jan about what the future will be.
 

CBH99

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Aw! But building a new HQ would have been actually achievable in the timelines and within our comfort zone. Bonus points if we had put it in the greater Montreal area and the formation patch incorporated the quadruple arrows, just so that we can officially go full circle right back to where we started.

On a more serious note, a COA that incorporated “more division headquarters” was probably never going to fly. The Leslie plan talked about fewer Div HQ, down to two I think, and in the old days for quite some time brigades reported directly to St Hubert with no intermediate HQs.
The Leslie plan called for fewer HQ. And while Hillier is known for his ‘big honkin’ ship’ comment - I don’t think he was a proponent of even more HQ’s either.

Which has me asking a question only one person can truly answer. How/why does Vance seem to be onboard for new HQ’s?

I thought his experience, especially when including Afghanistan, he’d have realized the value of being more streamlined. Sometimes “less is more” really is true.


Anyways, back to F2025… no additional HQ’s. Our goal is to get our crap together, streamline, and become a more efficient force. Not bloat even more.
 

KevinB

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Good start. Call me again when three or four more are gone.

I'll be interested in seeing how they plan to juggle that - particulalry the TBG structures.

Currently there are 49 Res F infantry battalions. The COA 3 structure calls for 19 Res F Infantry TBG/battalions with 2 x RFL 1 companies and 1 x RFL 2 company each but still under 10 x Bde HQs. Quite frankly at that rate the Maritimes, Quebec and the Prairies could be reduced to one brigade HQ each, Ontario to two with the Maritimes and Quebec as one division, Ontario and the Prairies as another and all the Reg F brigade groups to one division.

Under COA 3 arty goes from 16 regiments plus three independent batteries to 10 TBGs; armour goes from 19 Res F regiments to 7 TBGs; 10 CERs and 10 Svc Bns and 10 Sigs Regts stay at 10 each. Each of these could easily be amalgamated into 5 TBGs each.

Ta Da - 3 division HQs, 4 Reg F brigades and 5 Res F ones. Those HQ PY savings alone would provide the 2-300 PYs being sought to add to the instructor cadres.

I quite dislike the basic COA 3 concept primarily because it puts all the Reg F brigades under one division while the Res F brigades are under separate ones. This breaks the linkage between Reg F and Res F brigades and their shared geographic training establishments. Strangely that is not listed as a disadvantage for COA 3.

🍻
I still like Kevin's COA 4: 2 Div each of 3 Bde - all Bde mixed Reg and Res.
I save even more PY ;)
And given the recent GOFO immolation, less HQ seems to be healthier for everyone...
 

markppcli

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Follow the Dutch model with each brigade having a reserve Bn made up of dispersed companies. Apply this equally to the Artillery and Engineers where they get reserve Sqns and Batteries. Set up regional reserve admin centres, in the buildings of the old Bdes.
 

Kirkhill

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A bit more Force 2025 situation.

The evolution of the Canadian Air Sea Transportable Brigade is fascinating. As is the ACE Mobile Force (Land) - North.

From its inception in 1968, as a Joint Force substituting 2x CF-5 CAS Squadrons for an armoured ground element, discussions over ownership of helicopters, how do you get M109s to the field, where do you find transport vessels in a crisis (ask the Norwegians to provide them), the role of the RCN in getting troops there, supporting them ashore, withdrawing them if need be, lack of experience with brigade, joint and expeditionary ops, taking 2 to 4 years to plan a rapid intervention into a 30 day war...

Has anything been resolved? Or was the reconsolidation of the Canadian effort in Germany from 1987 a short term fix, a dodge by the military establishment, that allowed a problem that needed to be addressed then, and still needs to be addressed? An opportunity missed?

I know some of our contributors have direct experience of this era, and may have been involved in some of the planning. Does this account accord with recollections?




The Canadian Air-Sea Transportable Brigade Group, or CAST, was a Canadian Forces battle group dedicated to the rapid reinforcement of Norway in the event of a land war in Europe. The Group was based on a mechanized infantry brigade, supported by two Rapid Reinforcement Fighter Squadrons equipped with Canadair CF-5 fighters and a variety of supporting units. Manpower varied between 4,800 and 5,500 troops depending on how it was counted. CAST formed in 1968 as part of a widespread realignment of Canadian forces in Europe, and disbanded again in 1989 when the Forces were recombined into larger battalion sized group in West Germany.

a ... formation roughly the size of the European portion of 4 CMBG would be deployed to Norway given one month's notice by the Norwegian government.

CAST consisted of three major components; the three mechanized infantry battalions of the 5 CMBG, two Rapid Reinforcement Fighter Squadrons with 10 CF-5 fighters each, an artillery regiment and an armored reconnaissance squadron. In total, CAST contained about 5,500 men in the combined force. Their battle plan was known as Operational Plan BORAL.[3] BORAL relied on the Norwegians supplying the required roll-on/roll-off sealift capability, while Canadian commercial aircraft would be commandeered to move in advanced parties.

In the case of a war, CAST would be joined by similar-sized units from the United Kingdom/Netherlands Landing Force and US's 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade.[4]


Planning started in the summer of 1984 and it was found the Operational Plan BORAL was sketchy at best - it had never been developed to any sort of operational level. Further, it became clear that "NDHQ planners… were addressing a large scale joint/combined exercise for the first time…"[3] Planning dragged on, and BRAVE LION was not ready for deployment for a full two years, a worrying development for a system designed to be rapidly deployed in a short war.[2] The required sealift capability was not available, and additional commercial ships from West Germany, England and Panama had to be chartered.[6]

The main infantry sections and supporting units were in place in 7 days, but the mechanized forces and equipment were not unloaded until the 22nd day[9] - the majority of time allotted to the entire war (30 days). There was no plan to test or provide for a strategic withdrawal, which many commented would leave the troops stranded.[6][10]


Militarily, the forces proved entirely capable once they arrived, carrying out operations until they returned in October. The only notable event was the crash of a CH-137 Kiowa helicopter than resulted in three minor injuries.[11] Small portions of the force, notably heavy trucks, were left in Norway to avoid having to ship them in the future.[6]

However, the entire mission structure behind the combat sections was generally considered a failure.[3] Logistics support was cobbled together from several different existing groups, while the extensive logistics experience that was part of Headquarters Canadian Forces Europe was not called upon. Further confusion ensued over the role of the Canadian naval forces in the exercise; planning did not call for any Canadian ships to be dedicated to the mission as they were expected to be part of a much larger NATO antisubmarine effort. However, it was clear that the mission would require naval support, especially if opposed at landing, and such support had never been arranged. Finally, traditional rivalries between the land and air forces led to a division of effort between helicopter and fighter support that was never addressed.[3]


The Canadian Forces, with the connivance of a Canadian Government who doesn't want assets sitting "at the end of the runway" because they might be asked to use them, has been ducking the obvious since the era of Pearson and Hellyer.

If Canada wanted to play a part in a Pearsonian United Nations then it needed a Joint Force that could deploy and sustain a Canadian Air-Sea Transportable Brigade. And that meant:

the army providing a Light Division of 3 Light Brigades,
or the Navy providing Big Honking Ships with escorts to transport tanks, M109s and trucks,
and the Air Force committing to Close Air Support of the army,
and the army committing to defending the Air Force.
 
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