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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

Kirkhill

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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.

Agreed.

The point though is that I, personally, see a role for the Army PRes (aka The Militia) in service of the domestic community that would benefit both the domestic and military communities by having it equipped with, and operating, vehicles like LAVs and Bv206s.

Just like the Air Force benefits from its Air Reserve in operating and maintaining its vehicles and provides much needed service domestically when it isn't being required overseas.

Just like the Navy benefits from its Navy Reserve in operating and maintaining its vehicles and provides much needed service domestically when it isn't being required overseas.

The problem is that many nations find benefit in the Militia/Home Guard/National Guard as both a reserve warfighting capability and as a community emergency response capability.

The Canadian Army is single-mindedly focused on its war fighting capability. And I am glad it is. But National Defence needs a broader purview. It can benefit from a well regulated Militia/Home Guard/National Guard that supplies service in peace and war.

If the Militia were separated from the Army, but with a porous wall between them, in the same way the Americans have a porous wall between their Guards, Reserves and federal forces, then I believe that would be beneficial.

With respect to the perennial budget squabbles I continue to believe that it would be defensible to have the Army keep its existing budget while having a new budget created for the Militia as a National Emergency Force. And yes ropes and ladders would be involved but so would rifles, radios, guns and trucks. Many of which could also be put at the service of the regular Canadian Army.

I know that a lot of people on both sides of the divide don't like this prescription. But I haven't heard of any prescription that doesn't cause somebody, somewhere to gag. At the end both parties, whatever the final solution, are just going to have to choke it down and soldier on.
 

Kirkhill

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There are many more examples of vehicles withdrawn from service, or put into long term storage, that are put back into service, even temporarily.

I believe even Air Forces and Navies do it.

Yes. It costs money. The question is: who sees that money as being well spent?
 

Kirkhill

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I found this comment in the Ukrainian Saxon article particularly interesting given the debates about TAPVs and Airmobile forces, and wheels and tracks

Saxon vehicles, in a wide variety of versions, were firstly delivered to the elite tactical units (25th Airborne Brigade, 79th, 81st and 95th Airmobile Brigades and 36th Naval Infantry Brigade (which is also considered to be a coastal defence unit). Some examples of the vehicles were also received by other units, including the Kharkiv based military police elements.

Saxon Surprises

At the first glance, the AT-105 seems to be an obsolete vehicle. Nonetheless, the Ukrainian soldiers using the platform cannot speak of it highly enough. One of the soldiers of the Airmobile Brigade appreciated the Saxon’s good performance on the road and in an off-road context, since the performance characteristics of the British vehicle, in certain situations, exceed those of the contemporary BTR vehicles used by the Ukrainians. The interviewed soldier claimed that AT-105, in off-road conditions, turned out to have better mobility than the BTR-4 platform. The second example shows that AT-105 4x4 vehicle has all-terrain capabilities which are no worse than those of the track-chassis platforms (2S3 Akatsiya), while on hardened surfaces the vehicle is even more mobile. This type of comparisons takes place because of the fact that the aforementioned airmobile units use a quite varied and surprising inventory.​

Saxon, BTR-80, 2S3 Akatsiya 152mm SPH, all operated by "Airborne" and "Air Mobile" troops. With the 4x4 Saxon able to keep up with the 8x8 and the Track. Funny stuff.

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KevinB

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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.

🤷🏻‍♂️
It doesn't want to work.
If it did want the Reserves to work - they would have followed through beyond 10/90.

But the Nav Res is a bad example - and the TacHel units are at major airports/bases.

IF the CA wanted the Army Res to work - they would have equipment at certain spots - and create 30/70 units, and larger amounts of maintenance support.

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.
But that doesn't exist - its not simply a Bison 6.0.
The "bells and whistles" are a key part of Reg integration -- or you just have the stupid Cougar Tankette - and serves no purpose.

If you just want a Vehicle - there are much cheaper options than a LAV hull.


Frankly I think based on the LAV numbers that the CAF has acquired - its pretty much inexcusable that each Militia District doesn't have at least a PL worth for fam training -
 

FJAG

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"Full-time personnel"

Which brings us back to the question of what is the difference between a Class C Reservist and a Regular Soldier.
...
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.
I don't agree with your Militia premise.

I think today's Reg F / ResF dichotomy arises from Gen Guy Simonds when he was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1952. At that time the UN had just committed to Korea and the Western European countries, the US and Canada felt that they were on the brink of war with Russia. Eisenhower came to Canada and asked for a commitment of two divisions for Europe which Canada agreed to. Simonds was of the view then and maintained the view that it would be impossible to send such a force to Europe when a war started so it was necessary to have it there before hand. The "forces in being concept" was formed which led to the inexorable rise of the RegF and a consequential degradation of the importance of the Militia. Canada eventually deployed a full-time air division of 12 squadrons and a full mechanized brigade to BAOR. Concurrently 1 Cdn Div HQ was reactivated and two additional brigades were built in Canada effectively creating the two divisions called for (one air, one land) albeit no more than one brigade was ever stationed in Europe.

The "forces in being" concept remained our focus through the Sixties and even after reductions in the RegF structure started happening in that decade and throughout the 70s and 80s as long as the Soviets were our primary threat. As RegF numbers were reduced, the CF - and the Army in particular - scrambled to maintain "forces in being" capabilities. This naturally favoured RegF entities and equipment. As budgets became tighter the disparity grew. The budget crunch on equipment acquisition essentially negated the "mobilization" concept. Individual augmentation became the budget conscious alternative. Even maintaining older equipment as a reserve became impractical as the costs of such maintenance jeopardized new equipment funding. The "divestment" concept became and remains the standard. All of this is comes with the risk that the "force in being" is based on the equipment we can man which is limited to the equivalent of two underequipped mechanized and one light brigade regardless of how many people, RegF or ResF, we actually have. Mobilization is an impossibility under the current construct and in fact we're at the point where we are hard pressed to fully man those three brigades at any time. In fact during Afghanistan we were hard pressed to maintain a battlegroup in the field without ResF augmentation (in fairness we would have been far less stressed if we'd gone to 12 to 15 month rotos like the US.)

The RegF attitudes remain rooted in the 'forces in being" concept. It values anything that is immediately available for utilization to meet defence policy requirements. It accepts as a risk (or possibly ignores the risk) that the force cannot grow. Unfortunately, it is also hamstrung by a bureaucracy mentality when it comes to management. The standard solution for virtually any issue within DND is to create an agency to handle it. As a result we have grown the headquarters above brigade level at a faster rate than the force itself. In fact as the field force shrinks the headquarters continue to grow.

Your question is: what is the difference between a Class C and a RegF soldier? The answer is that after having done his tour the Class C soldier reverts to a much less expensive Class A soldier while the RegF continues to cost full price. But you are asking the wrong question. The real question is, how much of the RegF personnel and equipment can be reasonably transferred to a part-time, low-cost Class A reserve status and how much must be retained as full-time RegF "forces in being". (Not to mention how many people can we realistically fire out of higher headquarters.)

I have no issue whatsoever with the Class C reservist. He/she is fulfilling the duty of being a low cost part-time asset that fills a full-time need when required.

My issue is with the Class B concept as we use it to bulk up thousands of full-time butts in cubicles and as a result degrade part-time capabilities both directly and indirectly. (and don't even get me started on the travesty that is ten brigade headquarters, some 130 or so ResF battalions each of which is stressed to marshal a platoon on exercises)

The system is dysfunctional to the point of corruption. That said, a proper ResF system is vital to a peacetime army that wants to save costs yet have the ability to mobilize to defend the country's interest when it becomes necessary. Our ResF system and the RegF and the ResF attitudes towards it need to change drastically. I'm wondering whether or not the current Russian belligerence will create a wake-up call on Parliament Hill and, more importantly, in the twin towers.

🍻
 

Brad Sallows

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Frankly the Reserves as they stand currently are useless

Sure. As they stand, it's hard for them to do well at anything. That they don't do well is a reason not to waste resources on them. Which means they don't do well at anything...
 

Kirkhill

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From Michael Dorosh's canadiansoldiers.com

The entire Militia was reorganized in 1968/1969 into 5 Areas, comprising 21 Militia Districts.​

Area
Districts
Atlantic Militia AreaEastern New Brunswick Militia District
Western New Brunswick Militia District
Western Nova Scotia Militia District
Cape Breton Militia District
Prince Edward Island Militia District
Newfoundland Militia District
secteur de l'EstMilitia District Number 1
Militia District Number 2
Militia District Number 3
Central Militia AreaOttawa Militia District (OMD)
Toronto Militia District (TMD)
London Militia District (LMD)
Northern Ontario Militia District (NOMD)
Windsor Militia District (WMD)
Hamilton Militia District (HMD)
Prairie Militia AreaNorthern Alberta Militia District (NAMD)
Southern Alberta Militia District (SAMD)
Saskatchewan Militia District (SMD)
Thunder Bay Militia District
Manitoba(-Lakehead) Militia District
Pacific Militia AreaVancouver Militia District
Victoria Militia District

1968 to 1989 (actual 1980 to 1984) was the era of my Militia (and MITCP training).

5 Areas. 21 Districts. Each District had a disparate bunch of Combat Arms but they each had a Service Battalion, a Field Ambulance and an MP Pl. I contend that that Combat Service Support, together with the co-located Communication Squadrons of the era, was the real backbone of Canada's "potential" national emergency response capabiliity.

If I take the 199 Bison and the 820 Northern Terrain Vehicles, intended for purchase in that era, and allocated them to the Service Battalions then each of the 21 Battalions would have had 9-10 Bisons and 40 or so NTVs on charge. Or approximately a platoon's worth of LAV-Logs capable of supplying an expedient armoured transport capability and a separate company's worth of all terrain transport capability.

Keep that kit away from the combat arms and day to day usage. Put it solely under the Service Battalion just as the older Transport Companies were supplied by the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps - which was the prime mover for all infantry.

Let the infantry in garrison continue to work with the MilCOTS vehicles for administrative duties. Leave the specialized vehicles, including the SMP variants, with the Service Battalion(s) and their Transport Company(ies). The infantry, with the time available in the reserves, has got enough on its plate without worrying about vehicles.

The "cavalry", artillery and engineers require separate consideration with a mix of MilCOTS for admin and SMPs for taskings. For them their vehicles are their specialization.
 

Kirkhill

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I don't agree with your Militia premise.

I think today's Reg F / ResF dichotomy arises from Gen Guy Simonds when he was appointed Chief of the General Staff in 1952. At that time the UN had just committed to Korea and the Western European countries, the US and Canada felt that they were on the brink of war with Russia. Eisenhower came to Canada and asked for a commitment of two divisions for Europe which Canada agreed to. Simonds was of the view then and maintained the view that it would be impossible to send such a force to Europe when a war started so it was necessary to have it there before hand. The "forces in being concept" was formed which led to the inexorable rise of the RegF and a consequential degradation of the importance of the Militia. Canada eventually deployed a full-time air division of 12 squadrons and a full mechanized brigade to BAOR. Concurrently 1 Cdn Div HQ was reactivated and two additional brigades were built in Canada effectively creating the two divisions called for (one air, one land) albeit no more than one brigade was ever stationed in Europe.

The "forces in being" concept remained our focus through the Sixties and even after reductions in the RegF structure started happening in that decade and throughout the 70s and 80s as long as the Soviets were our primary threat. As RegF numbers were reduced, the CF - and the Army in particular - scrambled to maintain "forces in being" capabilities. This naturally favoured RegF entities and equipment. As budgets became tighter the disparity grew. The budget crunch on equipment acquisition essentially negated the "mobilization" concept. Individual augmentation became the budget conscious alternative. Even maintaining older equipment as a reserve became impractical as the costs of such maintenance jeopardized new equipment funding. The "divestment" concept became and remains the standard. All of this is comes with the risk that the "force in being" is based on the equipment we can man which is limited to the equivalent of two underequipped mechanized and one light brigade regardless of how many people, RegF or ResF, we actually have. Mobilization is an impossibility under the current construct and in fact we're at the point where we are hard pressed to fully man those three brigades at any time. In fact during Afghanistan we were hard pressed to maintain a battlegroup in the field without ResF augmentation (in fairness we would have been far less stressed if we'd gone to 12 to 15 month rotos like the US.)

The RegF attitudes remain rooted in the 'forces in being" concept. It values anything that is immediately available for utilization to meet defence policy requirements. It accepts as a risk (or possibly ignores the risk) that the force cannot grow. Unfortunately, it is also hamstrung by a bureaucracy mentality when it comes to management. The standard solution for virtually any issue within DND is to create an agency to handle it. As a result we have grown the headquarters above brigade level at a faster rate than the force itself. In fact as the field force shrinks the headquarters continue to grow.

I won't entirely disagree. I would suggest however that Simmonds grasped the opportunity presented by a crisis and refused to let it go to waste. The Force in Being would have been the capstone to the previous hundred years of trying to establish an army in a country whose politicians were adamant they didn't need or want one.

Your question is: what is the difference between a Class C and a RegF soldier? The answer is that after having done his tour the Class C soldier reverts to a much less expensive Class A soldier while the RegF continues to cost full price. But you are asking the wrong question. The real question is, how much of the RegF personnel and equipment can be reasonably transferred to a part-time, low-cost Class A reserve status and how much must be retained as full-time RegF "forces in being". (Not to mention how many people can we realistically fire out of higher headquarters.)

I have no issue whatsoever with the Class C reservist. He/she is fulfilling the duty of being a low cost part-time asset that fills a full-time need when required.

We agree on the utility. And I particularly think this type of soldier is extremely well suited to the Artillery and the Engineers as a reserve. Someone that holds highly specialized skills, that are used very infrequently but need occasional exercising to remain current.

My issue is with the Class B concept as we use it to bulk up thousands of full-time butts in cubicles and as a result degrade part-time capabilities both directly and indirectly. (and don't even get me started on the travesty that is ten brigade headquarters, some 130 or so ResF battalions each of which is stressed to marshal a platoon on exercises)

I agree re "Butts in cubicles". I can't help but wonder how many of those should actually be in uniform and shouldn't be civilians, or civilians with previous service.

WRT Class B - I think an appropriate use of Class B service would be to take a Service Bn driver/mechanic on strength for two weeks a year to conduct annual maintenance on trucks, boats, ATVs and LAVs. Similarly for Comms techs and Gunners.

The system is dysfunctional to the point of corruption. That said, a proper ResF system is vital to a peacetime army that wants to save costs yet have the ability to mobilize to defend the country's interest when it becomes necessary. Our ResF system and the RegF and the ResF attitudes towards it need to change drastically.

Agreed. Entirely.

I'm wondering whether or not the current Russian belligerence will create a wake-up call on Parliament Hill and, more importantly, in the twin towers.

🍻

I'm not willing to hold my breath.

So final thought.

Should the Reserves be organized differently for each of the Service elements, the Support (Ordnance) elements and the Infantry and Cavalry?

The Service elements are the ones that have general utility and need constant maintenance. The Support elements, guns and engineers, following the dictum "it is with guns that war is made", have a very distinct set of needs and capabilities that may never be operationalized in any given gunner's career.

Meanwhile the infantry are the General Duties people. It is more important that they be available and organized than that they have specific sets of skills, although some portions of them may be specially trained.

The cavalry, with its vehicles, actually has more in common with the Guns and Engineers these days. They are a technical organization. But they get more use than the guns because of their utility in maintaining Situational Awareness.
 

Good2Golf

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But the Nav Res is a bad example - and the TacHel units are at major airports/bases.
Well, Pet is up to 15-16,000 residents these days…so I guess that’s ‘Major’… 😉
 

Kirkhill

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Comox - 14,828
Edmonton - 981,280
Cold Lake - 14,961
Yellowknife - 19,569
Moose Jaw - 33,890
Portage la Prairie - 13,304
Winnipeg - 749,534
North Bay - 51,533
Ottawa - 994,837
Petawawa - 17,187
Borden - 12,640
Trenton - 21,972
St-Hubert - 1,780,000
Bagotville - 148,497
Oromocto - 9,223
Greenwood - 5,369
Shearwater - 431,479
Gander - 11,688
Goose Bay - 8,109
Iqaluit - 7,740
Rankin Inlet - 2,842
Inuvik - 3,243
Resolute - 198
Alert - 0

Major Metropoli of the RCAF? ;)
 

FJAG

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The entire Militia was reorganized in 1968/1969 into 5 Areas, comprising 21 Militia Districts.​
...
1968 to 1989 (actual 1980 to 1984) was the era of my Militia (and MITCP training).

5 Areas. 21 Districts. Each District had a disparate bunch of Combat Arms but they each had a Service Battalion, a Field Ambulance and an MP Pl. I contend that that Combat Service Support, together with the co-located Communication Squadrons of the era, was the real backbone of Canada's "potential" national emergency response capabiliity.

Hate to disagree with you but ... not so much.

I was in the Militia from 65 to 69, RegF from 69 to 81 with RSSO from 76 to 78 all at the height of the Mil Area system. It was a hollow shell.

The Suttie Commission of 1964 started the road to gutting the Militia. At its start there were about 47,000 militiamen. The commission started with the closure of 114 armouries and eliminated 72 units which brought the number of units down to very roughly what is left today. That would have been okay if the personnel had all been retained in the amalgamated units but with the cut in units came an even larger cut in paid strength and by 1971 the Militia was down to just under 13,000. Concurrently the RegF Army went from just under 50,000 to just over 40,000.

You make the 5 areas and 21 districts sound like a balanced force. They weren't. There was some compatibility with the RegF during that time frame as the Militia generally had the same vehicles and equipment (primarily light infantry and 105 mm howitzers and some tanks - just a lot less of it) but that was about to change as the RegF started getting new gear at that time while the Militia was frozen in time. There was a brief fling at National Survival taskings (the infamous Snakes and Ladders) but that was mostly ignored in favour of general warfighting training.

It was anything but a backbone.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Hate to disagree with you but ... not so much.

I was in the Militia from 65 to 69, RegF from 69 to 81 with RSSO from 76 to 78 all at the height of the Mil Area system. It was a hollow shell.

The Suttie Commission of 1964 started the road to gutting the Militia. At its start there were about 47,000 militiamen. The commission started with the closure of 114 armouries and eliminated 72 units which brought the number of units down to very roughly what is left today. That would have been okay if the personnel had all been retained in the amalgamated units but with the cut in units came an even larger cut in paid strength and by 1971 the Militia was down to just under 13,000. Concurrently the RegF Army went from just under 50,000 to just over 40,000.

You make the 5 areas and 21 districts sound like a balanced force. They weren't. There was some compatibility with the RegF during that time frame as the Militia generally had the same vehicles and equipment (primarily light infantry and 105 mm howitzers and some tanks - just a lot less of it) but that was about to change as the RegF started getting new gear at that time while the Militia was frozen in time. There was a brief fling at National Survival taskings (the infamous Snakes and Ladders) but that was mostly ignored in favour of general warfighting training.

It was anything but a backbone.

🍻

I'll accept it was a shell. But a shell is a structure.

I'll accept it was a structure rejected by a large portion of the serving militia. But it was a structure.

I'll accept that it wasn't a functional capability. But there was a structure.

I'll accept that the Service Battalions were generally poorly resourced and by and large disparaged as second class citizens by the infantry and armoured types. (I actually never came across many gunners and engineers in my short career - tangent).

However, I will still contend that when trying to organize the Militia as a National Defence/Civil Defence Force the key, even if belittled, element in such a force is the Service Battalion, with its associated Fd Ambulance.

The infantry and the gunners may find hewing wood and drawing water beneath them but that is what the Service Battalion is paid to do.

If the Infantry, Armoured(Cavalry) and Gunners had supported the Service Battalions, and investment in its equipment, then there might have been an opportunity to generate a support capability that would have served the needs of the combat arms AND the civil defence needs of the government.

And I'll accept our continuing adversarial debating style and enjoy it for what it is. :giggle:
 

daftandbarmy

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Hate to disagree with you but ... not so much.

I was in the Militia from 65 to 69, RegF from 69 to 81 with RSSO from 76 to 78 all at the height of the Mil Area system. It was a hollow shell.

The Suttie Commission of 1964 started the road to gutting the Militia. At its start there were about 47,000 militiamen. The commission started with the closure of 114 armouries and eliminated 72 units which brought the number of units down to very roughly what is left today. That would have been okay if the personnel had all been retained in the amalgamated units but with the cut in units came an even larger cut in paid strength and by 1971 the Militia was down to just under 13,000. Concurrently the RegF Army went from just under 50,000 to just over 40,000.

You make the 5 areas and 21 districts sound like a balanced force. They weren't. There was some compatibility with the RegF during that time frame as the Militia generally had the same vehicles and equipment (primarily light infantry and 105 mm howitzers and some tanks - just a lot less of it) but that was about to change as the RegF started getting new gear at that time while the Militia was frozen in time. There was a brief fling at National Survival taskings (the infamous Snakes and Ladders) but that was mostly ignored in favour of general warfighting training.

It was anything but a backbone.

🍻

You could probably run the Militia in Western Canada from a 'Project Management Cell' at 3 Div HQ, managed by a Reg F LCol and a few senior and junior staffers.

The inconvenient truth about the vast overhead/infrastructure we artifically maintain now is, I'm guessing, politics.
 

KevinB

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Well, Pet is up to 15-16,000 residents these days…so I guess that’s ‘Major’… 😉
I meant Major Airports (ish) and Bases - there are exactly zero CAF bases I would consider Major - like Ft Bragg, Ft Drum, Ft Benning etc.
Heck some Camps down here are larger and have more troops than a CFB.

In my town - we have a NG Inf Coy - pretty much nothing is done there - they go to training centers on the weekend that have the Equipment etc. Most of the more interested folks do a two hour drive to WV to the SF unit there.
The NG Aviation unit nearby has more Blackhawks and Hooks than the entire CF.

It is very clear that WITH a WILL one can equip and train Reserve forces very easily.
It is also clear the CA has little interest unlike the RCN and RCAF, or down here...
 

ballz

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You could probably run the Militia in Western Canada from a 'Project Management Cell' at 3 Div HQ, managed by a Reg F LCol and a few senior and junior staffers.

The inconvenient truth about the vast overhead/infrastructure we artifically maintain now is, I'm guessing, politics.

Everyone in 1 CMBG HQ just felt that "punch in the guts" feeling for yet another incoming task that 3 Div staff "don't have enough staff" for.............
 

daftandbarmy

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Everyone in 1 CMBG HQ just felt that "punch in the guts" feeling for yet another incoming task that 3 Div staff "don't have enough staff" for.............

Well, if they folded the tents of both 39 CBG and 41 CBG HQs that would give you well over 100 full timers to choose from to help out a bit, I'm guessing.


 

FJAG

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Well, if they folded the tents of both 39 CBG and 41 CBG HQs that would give you well over 100 full timers to choose from to help out a bit, I'm guessing.


Is there a reason why you are keeping 38 CBG? Or is it that distance makes the heart grow fonder?

😉
 
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