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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

Kirkhill

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Only 26% of Canadian Rangers are indigenous, according to a 2019 statement by the Army Commander to a parliamentary committee. Whatever the Rangers are, and they are many things, they are not predominantly First Nations.

Thank you very much for that. I didn't know that. It puts a considerably different slant on things. I wonder if that split is evident in the northern communities as well.

Regardless, in terms of living and working in the environment suitable mobility would seem to be first and foremost.
 

FJAG

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Frankly the Reserves as they stand currently are useless
The key words there are "as they stand". Even then they are not entirely useless as they can still provide augmentation given enough integration and time.

I keep banging my head into a wall. We have some 10,000 to 15,000 folks (and authority for a bunch more) and yet we constantly refuse to do anything about the obvious shortcomings that this component has. If stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result then what is doing the same thing over and over again knowing full well that the product is of marginal value and will never improve?

One of my biggest gripes is the old chestnut about not giving the reserves equipment because they can't maintain it. Well duh! The answer is simple, augment the reserves with sufficient full-time personnel and facilities to maintain that equipment. If equipment is needed to properly train the reserves for their intended employment then the system must be design to ensure the equipment is there and maintained.

A lack of proper doctrine let's us play with the fiction that the reserves do not need equipment and that there will be time to train and integrate them.

In any proper corporate structure, a board of directors who would see that they had a vital, necessary and cost saving division underperforming like this they would fire the CEO and directors responsible for its stagnation.

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MilEME09

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One of my biggest gripes is the old chestnut about not giving the reserves equipment because they can't maintain it. Well duh! The answer is simple, augment the reserves with sufficient full-time personnel and facilities to maintain that equipment. If equipment is needed to properly train the reserves for their intended employment then the system must be design to ensure the equipment is there and maintained.

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Or do what other nations do and have the manufacturer come in annually to not only do the annual maintenance, but do it with the troops to show them how to maintain the kit.
 

daftandbarmy

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Frankly the Reserves as they stand currently are useless.
I would never given them those vehicles - as they cannot maintain them.
I would rather make Depot Centers with Reg Force Garrisons that have vehicles for Res Forces if they come out to play. But honestly until the Reserves are fixed, giving them stuff is just tossing away good money.

We did a pretty good job augmenting the Reg F during various operations, like Yugo and Afghanistan.

IMHO that should be our main role: rapid and effective augmentation of the Reg F.

Start with individual augmentees then, over time, build up the experience and relationships to 'plug and play' coy/sqn sized elements. This is totally doable within the scale of equipment issued, and training time/courses available, for most reserve units right now.

For some reason, and it may be mostly on the Reserve side of the house, there seems to be a movement to build a 'parallel CAF' of reservists who think they can do what the Reg F can do.

This is obviously blatant careerism from some part timers, augmented by Reg F leaders who want to ingratiatie themselves to the political whims of Ottawa.

Or maybe a little of both, plus some insanity thrown in for texture ;)
 

FJAG

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to 'plug and play' coy/sqn sized elements
That's kind of my viewpoint. I think that if one ensures that DP 1 training at both the OR and offr level contains all the "must know" and "should know" elements of regular force training and if supported within the company by some regular force command staff then one can create formed sub-units that can plug into a regular force battalion size unit.

That's why I've come to the conclusion that creating a total force of 70/30 and 30/70 battalions is achievable and sustainable and would essentially double the number of deployable units that the Army could field in an emergency while maintaining the ability to generate at least as many battlegroups in peacetime as we do now. I think that should be the objective of any Army reorganization plan. Anything else is less than optimal.

While I'm sure that there are individual res f officers and NCMs that have the ability to rise to be able to fill a position of CO or RSM, if they took the time for the training and gain the experience, my view is that it's essentially a fiction to think that reservists in general will ever command battalions or more in combat, or quite frankly, during proper unit training.

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Ostrozac

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But giving them kit they can’t maintain is just as bad. It creates false hopes and dreams.
Isn‘t that what we do to regulars? Destroying their hopes and dreams? One army-one standard, after all.

More seriously, as equipment becomes more complicated, we have a bad habit of simultaneously running our technical trades right into the ground. Any talk of buying more equipment for the reserves, to be maintained by regulars, is a non starter when the reg force struggles to maintain what gear we currently have.
 

Kirkhill

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More seriously, as equipment becomes more complicated, we have a bad habit of simultaneously running our technical trades right into the ground. Any talk of buying more equipment for the reserves, to be maintained by regulars, is a non starter when the reg force struggles to maintain what gear we currently have.

But does equipment need to become more complicated? Why can't the Reserves be equipped with a simple Bv206 or a simple LAVII/Bison/LAV-Log type vehicle without all the nick-nacks and gew-gaws that complicate the lives of Reg Force techs?

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Likewise the Bv206, the empty, unarmoured box that goes anywhere and floats - that doesn't seem to require a PEng or a PhD to maintain. Not that I would let either on anywhere near a machine of mine.
 

FJAG

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But giving them kit they can’t maintain is just as bad. It creates false hopes and dreams.
That's true enough but it leads to the usual canard that the reserves can't be given equipment because they can't maintain it. The key thing in my post above is that the requisite equipment must come with the requisite maintenance capability.

Everything depends on the type of unit you are creating. If its a light rifle company it's one thing; a transportation company another; a UCAV unit another still; and a tank unit, yet another. If the intent is to create a trained deployable reserve company then it must have access to the equipment to train on. Further, the system must hold the equipment to deploy with. That get's us all back to the "you go to war with the army you have" truism.

Whatever equipment that subunit requires must be provided, whether its held at a local armoury or a training center or with its regular force battalion parent is irrelevant and adaptable, but it must be there. And ... if it must be there then there must be a maintenance system for it. That's a sine quo non.

In theory we have a life cycle management plan for every piece of equipment we acquire (except the UOR stuff) but we frequently cheap-out on things for the reserves or simply don't provide it to them. My expectation is reserve equipment requires less maintenance because it receives significantly less use but it will require appropriate maintenance and that must be factored into the Total force structure from day one.

Isn‘t that what we do to regulars? Destroying their hopes and dreams? One army-one standard, after all.

More seriously, as equipment becomes more complicated, we have a bad habit of simultaneously running our technical trades right into the ground. Any talk of buying more equipment for the reserves, to be maintained by regulars, is a non starter when the reg force struggles to maintain what gear we currently have.

You're absolutely right. There is a significantly greater complexity to keeping an infantry battalion equipped with LAV 6.0s on the road then there was in one equipped with 3/4 ton trucks or even M113s. But doesn't that just lead us to the inescapable conclusion that we should sacrifice one armoured recce regiment, for example, to form a maintenance battalion? Or much better yet, pull six hundred positions out of NDHQ?

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PuckChaser

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But does equipment need to become more complicated? Why can't the Reserves be equipped with a simple Bv206 or a simple LAVII/Bison/LAV-Log type vehicle without all the nick-nacks and gew-gaws that complicate the lives of Reg Force techs?
Because it's the vehicle itself that complicates the lives of RegF techs. Armd vehicles suffer a lot more from lot rot because when they're finally taken out, we beat the crap out of them off road. You'd be taking a couple training days a month away from every unit that has them for crew maint, and they need those days for GBA+ and CTAT refreshers.
 

KevinB

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Also a ‘streamlined’ version will often be more problematic as it is different.
It’s easier to maintain more of the same - than different variations.
 

Kirkhill

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Because it's the vehicle itself that complicates the lives of RegF techs. Armd vehicles suffer a lot more from lot rot because when they're finally taken out, we beat the crap out of them off road. You'd be taking a couple training days a month away from every unit that has them for crew maint, and they need those days for GBA+ and CTAT refreshers.

FJAG pretty much has my answer covered.

I believe that a critical piece of the puzzle is a simple, tactical logistic vehicle. Something that works in the echelons and makes no pretensions a being a fighting vehicle. The maligned Infantry Squad Vehicle (properly an Infantry Support Vehicle) is one example. The Bv206 is another. The LAV II Amphibious is another option but I would sooner that GDLS Canada looked at adding something like the Alvis Stalwart to its production line, based on the LAV II chassis.

That tactical transport should be a key, and separate, component of the Reserves with Transport Battalions, Companies and Platoons widely distributed nationally, with a large war stock of spare vehicles, and individual augmentation of the regular forces on deployment.

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Kirkhill

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Also a ‘streamlined’ version will often be more problematic as it is different.
It’s easier to maintain more of the same - than different variations.

Not true Kev.

The more Byzantine the kit becomes the more bits there are to break and the more spares that have to be kept in the system.

A stripped hull, with the same running gear, transmission, engine, power train and driver's station is going to produce driver/mechanic/communicators/navigators that can transition to more complex systems with additional training. But the vehicle itself, and its entry level crew, will provide utility just as simple transport.
 

Good2Golf

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The Army needs to work out the day to day collaboration between its components. The to’ing and fro’ing of what kit should the PRes be entrusted with, vice held back from them by the RegF is a head scratcher. Hard to take the ‘gravity of the conundrum’ seriously when other environments can make it work. It’s not like aircraft/helicopters and ships are simple/non-complex systems…geez, it’s as though the Army writ large either doesn’t want it to work, or isn’t institutionally mature enough to make the effort. It seems more interested in hand-wringing and blaming unsupportive legislation.

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MilEME09

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Not true Kev.

The more Byzantine the kit becomes the more bits there are to break and the more spares that have to be kept in the system.

A stripped hull, with the same running gear, transmission, engine, power train and driver's station is going to produce driver/mechanic/communicators/navigators that can transition to more complex systems with additional training. But the vehicle itself, and its entry level crew, will provide utility just as simple transport.
I'd agree, a stripped down LAV without all the bells and whistles still allows troops to practice their drills. Besides we need to teach without all the bells and whistles anyway, cause you need to know how to operate when all your fancy shit breaks.
 

PuckChaser

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We need the Army PRes to know what it's mission is before we start dreaming about buying them LAVs and BV206s. If we're going to require 8-10 months of predeployment training for formed Task Forces (like Afghanistan), then there's no need to hold any major equipment at the PRes level because they'll get the training in that monstrosity of a Road to High Readiness. If we're going to expect them to integrate into a TF with no notice, then they need all the same equipment they can expect to use with the RegF.

There's also the issue of training area space, because having an A-Veh sit in Downtown Toronto for 2 months and then drive to Meaford/Petawawa a couple times a year is a recipe for disaster.

At the end of the day, we cannot and should not buy equipment and then build an employment concept for it. We need to figure out what the heck the PRes is for, what is their employment concept and then kit them to that requirement. Otherwise you're pissing valuable finite defense dollars into the wind.
 

daftandbarmy

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The Army needs to work out the day to day collaboration between its components. The to’ing and fro’ing of what kit should the PRes be entrusted with, vice held back from them by the RegF is a head scratcher. Hard to take the ‘gravity of the conundrum’ seriously when other environments can make it work. It’s not like aircraft/helicopters and ships are simple/non-complex systems…geez, it’s as though the Army writ large either doesn’t want it to work, or isn’t institutionally mature enough to make the effort. It seems more interested in hand-wringing and blaming unsupportive legislation.

🤷🏻‍♂️

Dude...

You clearly don't 'get' the Army.

Next thing you know you'll be wanting us to wear the same uniforms too. ;)


The Best King GIF by TV Land
 

FJAG

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At the end of the day, we cannot and should not buy equipment and then build an employment concept for it. We need to figure out what the heck the PRes is for, what is their employment concept and then kit them to that requirement. Otherwise you're pissing valuable finite defense dollars into the wind.

You are absolutely right in the first sentence. I would expand the second sentence to "1. We need to figure out what the heck the Army is for; 2. We need to determine which part of that is a day to day requirement that demands full-time personnel and which part is for emergency use that can be fulfilled by part-time personnel; and 3) organize, kit and train them them accordingly.

I think I'm going to write a little paper on that 70/30 thing I floated some months ago and another on how to sustain a more capable ARes and Army.

:unsure:
 

Kirkhill

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One of my biggest gripes is the old chestnut about not giving the reserves equipment because they can't maintain it. Well duh! The answer is simple, augment the reserves with sufficient full-time personnel and facilities to maintain that equipment. If equipment is needed to properly train the reserves for their intended employment then the system must be design to ensure the equipment is there and maintained.

"Full-time personnel"

Which brings us back to the question of what is the difference between a Class C Reservist and a Regular Soldier.

I believe that the heart of the problem lies in the identity of the Canadian Army. It suffers from the British tradition of their being no army. There is a collection of local regiments that are annually authorized and that operate under the command and control of a single General Staff.

The British Army gains its corporate identity because it is regularly brigaded and employed. It is rare for a year to go by without a Brit soldier being shot at.

The Canadian Army is a Militia. And it hates that.

Until 1940 the Regular Force was known as the Permanent Active Militia, in other words a slice of the Militia that was permanently available for active service. That constituted three Infantry Battalions and a few Cavalry Squadrons.

Most of the rest of the Permanent Militia were instructor cadres supposedly dedicated to training the Sedentary Militia.

With WWI the Permanent Militia found, and lost, a voice and a role that actually converted it into a real army.

When WWII came along it was the answer to the ancient prayer "Dear Lord, let me do it again. I promise not to screw it up this time." Korea and 4 CMBG cemented the Army as an institution and separated it from its Militia roots. The loss of Army identity in Unification was particularly problematic but the Army survived and managed to recreate itself. Eventually it managed to eliminate the Militia entirely by simply calling it the Reserves - and removing it as a separate, competing entity.

But institutions don't die easy. The Militia, even when called the Reserves, still exists in thought, deed and word.

So the answer to the question of the difference between the Class C Reservist (Militiaman) and the Regular Soldier (Permanent Active Militiaman) is that they are both full time employees but employees of two separate, competing, institutions. And the Militia is reliant on support from an entity that would rather not be reminded that the other exists and would prefer that it didn't have to support it.

It sees every dollar spent on the Militia as a dollar lost to the "Real" Army, the regular force of the Permanent Active Militia.
 
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