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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

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Gentlemen, this is strictly from the outside looking in. Some thoughts on the presence of all manner of UAVs which are becoming a larger consideration as seen even today in Ukraine. There is a variety of these assisting in what seems as mainly the offensive part of the battle so I imagine there's someone already developing systems to counter UAVs (have seen a few of these too). As these establish themselves as part of "the battle plan" do you not have to dedicate more soldiers to manning these systems and would this growth not lend itself to "for lack of a better label - UAV teams" much like there are mortar teams etc.? Should the larger numbers of these personnel not be identified and noted when building your battle groups? I see this becoming much more a prominent force in the years to come so why not acknowledge it now and build your future accordingly?
As I mentioned, it's from the outside looking in and full disclosure I am well out of my lane....
 

KevinB

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SSE does not actually spell out the deployable capabilities that the CAF must have. If does list a few mostly new capabilities, but it primarily lays out requirements in terms of numbers of people and durations of effort. When you link that with a vision that sees the strategic objective as being achieved just by showing up, you end up with the situation where a frigate and a square combat team are interchangeable. It is hardly comprehensive guidance for force development, but it is great for an L1s’ choose your own adventure menue.
Arguably it theoretically allowed for the CAF to create a lot of different capabilities to allow for a robust response in any domain.

Of course the NATO Heavy Bde commitment was spelled out and the CAF hasn’t had a Heavy Bde since 4 CMBG in Germany…
The CA just likes to pretend that todays CMBG is heavy, as opposed to medium with some tanks and towed Arty, no GBAD, no anti armor capability (outside the tanks) etc.

I suspect SSE 2.0 will have a much less open interpretation as it’s clear the CAF can’t be trusted to act like an adult and actually plan for spelled out requirements let alone for open ended options.
 

Kirkhill

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Arguably it theoretically allowed for the CAF to create a lot of different capabilities to allow for a robust response in any domain.

Of course the NATO Heavy Bde commitment was spelled out and the CAF hasn’t had a Heavy Bde since 4 CMBG in Germany…
The CA just likes to pretend that todays CMBG is heavy, as opposed to medium with some tanks and towed Arty, no GBAD, no anti armor capability (outside the tanks) etc.

I suspect SSE 2.0 will have a much less open interpretation as it’s clear the CAF can’t be trusted to act like an adult and actually plan for spelled out requirements let alone for open ended options.

Where are you finding these adults to write a prescriptive text for the CAF to follow? Or is the Permanent Joint Board on Defence weighing in on this?


 

FJAG

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I'd argue that the strategic environment is radically different than when SSE was drafted and is no longer fit for purpose. And frankly I strongly suspect that the deployment capabilities in SSE were based more on what the existing structure was/is capable of generating rather than an actual strategic assessment of what is required to meet the military/political objectives of the Government of Canada.

A new set of capability objectives based on a coherent strategic plan I think is required.

I don't think things have changed at all. This was part of SSE:
Recent years have witnessed several challenges. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea is an example that has carried grave consequences.
and:
The re-emergence of major power competition has reminded Canada and its allies of the importance of deterrence. ... A credible military deterrence serves as a diplomatic tool to prevent conflict and should be accompanied by dialogue. NATO allies ... have been re-examining how to deter a wide spectrum of challenges to the international order by maintaining advanced conventional military capabilities that could be used in the event of a conflict with a “near-peer.”
I think that the strategic overview was there. Other than our commitments to Latvia and Ukraine, it, and the department's response, failed to address the bigger picture.

I think the requirements of a battle group size deployment long term or meeting our nato 1 Heavy Bde commitment short term on x days notice is probably the reasonable goal.

That requires the refinement of a battle groups is / means ( I want to say SSE says 1500 person deployment?). It also requires we define a heavy Bde, to incline its structure and its capabilities, and man it. We then need to determine if that Bde will have to be rotated off readiness and how that effects of Bde / forces. Or do we just have “the heavy Bde” that units float in and out of ?
Yes to both. Latvia is a good international statement. A prepositioned heavy brigade is an achievable "credible military deterrence" act.

SSE does not actually spell out the deployable capabilities that the CAF must have. If does list a few mostly new capabilities, but it primarily lays out requirements in terms of numbers of people and durations of effort. When you link that with a vision that sees the strategic objective as being achieved just by showing up, you end up with the situation where a frigate and a square combat team are interchangeable. It is hardly comprehensive guidance for force development, but it is great for an L1s’ choose your own adventure menue.
In any functioning organizational entity a broad statement of vision which leaves the details to the staff is the right way to go. That presupposes that you have a staff that is aligned with the visionary and the vision is adequately communicated.

Ever since we went to Kabul (maybe even Bosnia), we seem to be more focused on the number of deployed troops we can generate and sustain and we try to squeeze the capabilities into each roto envelope. Kandahar initially saw some envelope and capability growth but that came as the result of reactions to circumstances met on the ground rather than by proactive forward planning.

Writing a defence paper is obviously a cooperative act which not only is done in consultation with the various stakeholders within DND but also other agencies and the PMO. I can only assume that the structure of the SSE is because that's what everyone agreed to or, if they didn't, its the content that the shot caller on the final draft wanted.

... The CA just likes to pretend that todays CMBG is heavy, as opposed to medium with some tanks and towed Arty, no GBAD, no anti armor capability (outside the tanks) etc.

I suspect SSE 2.0 will have a much less open interpretation as it’s clear the CAF can’t be trusted to act like an adult and actually plan for spelled out requirements let alone for open ended options.
It's not a pretense. Advancing with Purpose states:
The Canadian Army is an increasingly network-enabled, medium land force augmented by light and heavy forces. Its composition optimizes versatility across the spectrum of missions and unique environments. The medium force allows the Canadian Army to provide task-tailored forces ready to respond broadly to many conflict types.
So it's a medium weight force that can suck and blow light and heavy at the same time.

😁
 

KevinB

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I ‘like’ the fact it didn’t even commit to being a fully network enabled forces - just increasingly - so getting an extra digital network radio a year could meet that goal….

It like they took ‘aim small, miss small’ to a level of ‘don’t aim, so you can’t miss…’
 

FJAG

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I ‘like’ the fact it didn’t even commit to being a fully network enabled forces - just increasingly - so getting an extra digital network radio a year could meet that goal….

It like they took ‘aim small, miss small’ to a level of ‘don’t aim, so you can’t miss…’
Note that it also says "many conflict types" but not "all" nor specifying which.

😁
 

MilEME09

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I ‘like’ the fact it didn’t even commit to being a fully network enabled forces - just increasingly - so getting an extra digital network radio a year could meet that goal….

It like they took ‘aim small, miss small’ to a level of ‘don’t aim, so you can’t miss…’
You can't fail if you never try?
 

daftandbarmy

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Gentlemen, this is strictly from the outside looking in. Some thoughts on the presence of all manner of UAVs which are becoming a larger consideration as seen even today in Ukraine. There is a variety of these assisting in what seems as mainly the offensive part of the battle so I imagine there's someone already developing systems to counter UAVs (have seen a few of these too). As these establish themselves as part of "the battle plan" do you not have to dedicate more soldiers to manning these systems and would this growth not lend itself to "for lack of a better label - UAV teams" much like there are mortar teams etc.? Should the larger numbers of these personnel not be identified and noted when building your battle groups? I see this becoming much more a prominent force in the years to come so why not acknowledge it now and build your future accordingly?
As I mentioned, it's from the outside looking in and full disclosure I am well out of my lane....

If only we had UAVs....

jon stewart wish GIF
 

CBH99

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Gentlemen, this is strictly from the outside looking in. Some thoughts on the presence of all manner of UAVs which are becoming a larger consideration as seen even today in Ukraine. There is a variety of these assisting in what seems as mainly the offensive part of the battle so I imagine there's someone already developing systems to counter UAVs (have seen a few of these too). As these establish themselves as part of "the battle plan" do you not have to dedicate more soldiers to manning these systems and would this growth not lend itself to "for lack of a better label - UAV teams" much like there are mortar teams etc.? Should the larger numbers of these personnel not be identified and noted when building your battle groups? I see this becoming much more a prominent force in the years to come so why not acknowledge it now and build your future accordingly?
As I mentioned, it's from the outside looking in and full disclosure I am well out of my lane....
I agree.

Conflicts between Russia & Ukraine, or Armenia & Azerbaijani, both demonstrate how small UAVs have become weaponized into controllable, loitering munitions.

In both conflicts, they’ve played a decisive role & inflicted far more than their fair share of damage.

While the conflicts mentioned above involved purpose built UAVs, with military level performance & warhead size, rebel factions in Yemen have demonstrated how easy it is to convert civilian ‘toy drones’ into flying remote controlled bombs.


This highlights the need for advanced sensors (to detect them, since they are small) and advanced enough weapons to be able to shoot them down.

The problem will be economics. As things are currently, it’ll cost western forces significantly more money to shoot down the drones than the drones themselves.
 

markppcli

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I agree.

Conflicts between Russia & Ukraine, or Armenia & Azerbaijani, both demonstrate how small UAVs have become weaponized into controllable, loitering munitions.

In both conflicts, they’ve played a decisive role & inflicted far more than their fair share of damage.

While the conflicts mentioned above involved purpose built UAVs, with military level performance & warhead size, rebel factions in Yemen have demonstrated how easy it is to convert civilian ‘toy drones’ into flying remote controlled bombs.


This highlights the need for advanced sensors (to detect them, since they are small) and advanced enough weapons to be able to shoot them down.

The problem will be economics. As things are currently, it’ll cost western forces significantly more money to shoot down the drones than the drones themselves.
What small UAVs have been weaponized in Ukraine ? Or in Azerbaijan ? TB2s are anything but. We run the risk of assuming drone = quad copter. It doesn’t, they’re cheaper than a jet but still in the millions of dollars.
 

Kirkhill

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What small UAVs have been weaponized in Ukraine ? Or in Azerbaijan ? TB2s are anything but. We run the risk of assuming drone = quad copter. It doesn’t, they’re cheaper than a jet but still in the millions of dollars.

It happens.

1652274863407.png

https://www.reddit.com/r/fosscad/comments/t7pk2r
 

suffolkowner

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I agree.

Conflicts between Russia & Ukraine, or Armenia & Azerbaijani, both demonstrate how small UAVs have become weaponized into controllable, loitering munitions.

In both conflicts, they’ve played a decisive role & inflicted far more than their fair share of damage.

While the conflicts mentioned above involved purpose built UAVs, with military level performance & warhead size, rebel factions in Yemen have demonstrated how easy it is to convert civilian ‘toy drones’ into flying remote controlled bombs.


This highlights the need for advanced sensors (to detect them, since they are small) and advanced enough weapons to be able to shoot them down.

The problem will be economics. As things are currently, it’ll cost western forces significantly more money to shoot down the drones than the drones themselves.

What small UAVs have been weaponized in Ukraine ? Or in Azerbaijan ? TB2s are anything but. We run the risk of assuming drone = quad copter. It doesn’t, they’re cheaper than a jet but still in the millions of dollars.

I'm pretty sure there was some decent use of Harop in Azerbaijan. Doesn't seem like there's been a lot of coverage of loitering munitions in Ukraine though not sure if thats from lack of use or not. Maybe US deliveries of Switchblade?

The cost of a Tamir missile and a Harop are roughly the same I think
 

GR66

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Not all loitering munitions/UAVs should be viewed the same and each type will be integrated into the force differently.

  • Micro-UAVs and small quadcopters treated as an extended range sensor for a Section/Platoon
  • Slightly larger units (Switchblade 300?) that are employed in a similar way as mortars or other support weapons in a CS company (or as longer range sensors for a Recce Troop/Squadron).
  • Larger (vehicle mounted? Switchblade 600?) units fulfilling a Direct Support artillery type role in support of a Brigade Group and/or recce.
  • Fixed wing UAVs using runways from the Bayraktar TB2 up to large units like the Reaper or Predator would be Air Force units and would fulfill roles ranging from ISR, targeting for long range precision fires, tactical air support, deep strike against high value targets, etc.
 

Kirkhill

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Not all loitering munitions/UAVs should be viewed the same and each type will be integrated into the force differently.

  • Micro-UAVs and small quadcopters treated as an extended range sensor for a Section/Platoon
  • Slightly larger units (Switchblade 300?) that are employed in a similar way as mortars or other support weapons in a CS company (or as longer range sensors for a Recce Troop/Squadron).

I would insert the Quad-Copter / Recoverable IED at about this level - It is kind of a poor man's Switchblade 300 but with the additional benefit that it can be recovered and re-armed.

As I understand it, in Ukrainian service, the Quad-Copters were popularized in the Territorials and Volunteers when locals talked to locals who had Quad-Copters and asked them to bring them out to the field to help them observe and target the Russians. From there the use of the Quads spread and then somebody started sticking old 1950s era hand thrown HEAT grenades on them. Accuracy was improved by local 3D printing of fins that could screw on to the grenade in place of the original throwing stick and parachute.

DIY warfare.

  • Larger (vehicle mounted? Switchblade 600?) units fulfilling a Direct Support artillery type role in support of a Brigade Group and/or recce.
  • Fixed wing UAVs using runways from the Bayraktar TB2 up to large units like the Reaper or Predator would be Air Force units and would fulfill roles ranging from ISR, targeting for long range precision fires, tactical air support, deep strike against high value targets, etc.
 

IKnowNothing

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If there was going to be any public movement on/towards the Asymmetric Army proposal, when would that start showing up, and where would one watch for it?
 

markppcli

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Not all loitering munitions/UAVs should be viewed the same and each type will be integrated into the force differently.

  • Micro-UAVs and small quadcopters treated as an extended range sensor for a Section/Platoon
  • Slightly larger units (Switchblade 300?) that are employed in a similar way as mortars or other support weapons in a CS company (or as longer range sensors for a Recce Troop/Squadron).
  • Larger (vehicle mounted? Switchblade 600?) units fulfilling a Direct Support artillery type role in support of a Brigade Group and/or recce.
  • Fixed wing UAVs using runways from the Bayraktar TB2 up to large units like the Reaper or Predator would be Air Force units and would fulfill roles ranging from ISR, targeting for long range precision fires, tactical air support, deep strike against high value targets, etc.
Honestly below the runway launched UAV I really see their major benefit as sensor extenders. I’m not sure I’d want one as a section commander frankly. I have this worry about giving guys at the pointy end too much information leads to a bit of overload. Similar to what happens if a JTAC gives the company commander access to VDL, all of a sudden it’s screen watching not leading troops.
 

GR66

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Honestly below the runway launched UAV I really see their major benefit as sensor extenders. I’m not sure I’d want one as a section commander frankly. I have this worry about giving guys at the pointy end too much information leads to a bit of overload. Similar to what happens if a JTAC gives the company commander access to VDL, all of a sudden it’s screen watching not leading troops.
Who knows how far down the chain they will go. Could be extremely useful in urban combat for seeing what's behind the fence, in the next compound or even down the hall. Agreed though that at the lower levels their utility will be as sensors not weapons.

From the CS aspect I'm surprised that an automatic mortar launched loitering munition round hasn't been developed. Something like a Patria Nemo turreted 120mm mortar that can select a Loitering Munition as one of the "ammo" types available to the crew....HE, Smoke, Illumination, PGMM, Loitering Munition...whatever round gives the needed effect.
 

Kirkhill

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1652319357361.png1652319626890.png


1652319756244.png

Mix of Pyro, Decoys and Javelins for the Navy.
 

rmc_wannabe

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Honestly below the runway launched UAV I really see their major benefit as sensor extenders. I’m not sure I’d want one as a section commander frankly. I have this worry about giving guys at the pointy end too much information leads to a bit of overload. Similar to what happens if a JTAC gives the company commander access to VDL, all of a sudden it’s screen watching not leading troops.
Sensor overload is a real thing, not only for the Section commander, but also on the back-end hassles it creates in a C5ISR scenario.

Where does the feed link into? How is that feed routed? Is it secure/encrypted? Who wants the info (Section, Pl, Coy, Bn, etc.) ? How much bandwidth will it eat up? How much battery does it eat up? How much weight does it all add to the poor fucker humping it onto the objective?

I remember seeing the initial trials for the ISSP at GDLS in Calgary and I brought up these questions without solid answers from anyone involved.

New tech is awesome, but how much is to much?
 
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