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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

GR66

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See the RAND link I posted earlier. They've done the math for an SBCT. An SBCT, three DOS, and the necessary package to secure/run an airhead weighs in at 16,200 short tons and has 4,525 personnel.

The analysis estimated 182 C-17 lifts to move this 5,000 nmi into a functional airfield. 8 Wing would fall out of the sky before pulling that off.
With it highly unlikely that any Canadian government will be willing to pay the cost of forward stationing a CMBG in Europe (especially with the CF-18 replacements, the CSCs and our huge pandemic debt eating up so much of the budget) I think it's fair to assume that any major Canadian military combat force deployed to Europe will be after the fighting begins.

That being the case then probably the most logical and effective thing the Army could do (in terms of rapid response while our heavy forces muster) would be to figure out what air-deployable assets we could rapidly mobilize to protect and support our forward deployed fighters (likely our most effective rapid reaction force) - airfield defence troops, AD units, engineers, etc. - or a selection of ISR assets to identify targets and/or light fires units to slow the advance.
 

FJAG

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See the RAND link I posted earlier. They've done the math for an SBCT. An SBCT, three DOS, and the necessary package to secure/run an airhead weighs in at 16,200 short tons and has 4,525 personnel.

The analysis estimated 182 C-17 lifts to move this 5,000 nmi into a functional airfield. 8 Wing would fall out of the sky before pulling that off.
I read that RAND study some time ago and there are two key things about it.

First math is math. When you count up airlift capacity, distances, load to be transported and the various related parameters (number of crews, crew rest, a/c down for maintenance etc) you get an objective answer as to what you can do. Simply put the math is very limiting on what we can do with Canadian military airlift at any given time. That's not to say we are estopped from deploying an airmobile force, just that our appetite needs to be modest.

Second, this study was completed for the USAF in 2002 to give the US Army some heartburn (or a reality check) about their latest brainfart i.e. the Stryker Brigade Combat Team. In short it concludes that using a combination of a CONUS base, a forward deployed equipment in Germany and regional prepositioned sites in key theatres of operation would facilitate rapid air or sea transport into a hot spot. (albeit even with this it considers timelines of 5 to 14 days achievable rather than 3 days)

I presume this study made its way into Canada where the LAV 3 and Coyote were already a reality and the MGS was being talked about. Nonetheless we continued on with the idea that our force was going to be an "agile" one which at least alluded to an expectation of deployability by air. The inability to transport our M109s and Leopards by air (in our then Hercs) certainly contributed to their deaths because they no longer fit the definition of an "agile" weapon system.

In short, a Canadian medium weight force, of any capability at all, will need to deploy by sea. We have little need to secure an airhead - a port maybe. If we do plan on deploying a light force into any theatre we need for it to be small, mostly self-sufficient and probably with no expectation of there being a heavier follow-up force unless a sea lane and time is available.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Curiously the east coast ferries are owned by the Government of Canada. They are in a position to supply 3 or 4 more ocean going roros to Marine Atlantic and Bay Ferries.... if they wanted to expand Atlantic connectivity.

And provide sea lift for a CMBG... in a permissive environment of course.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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I was part of a NATO exercise in 2018 where we deployed a Bde HQ, a Light Infantry Battalion and associated support to Norway along with an air component and of course a maritime component. The troops flew in, but everything else for the land component went by ship.

We have a couple of mission sets that require rapidity of deployment where air will be the usual method of entry: non-combatant evacuation operations and humanitarian assistance disaster relief. NEO is not really the combat operation that some folks envision/dream about.
 

Kirkhill

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I was part of a NATO exercise in 2018 where we deployed a Bde HQ, a Light Infantry Battalion and associated support to Norway along with an air component and of course a maritime component. The troops flew in, but everything else for the land component went by ship.

We have a couple of mission sets that require rapidity of deployment where air will be the usual method of entry: non-combatant evacuation operations and humanitarian assistance disaster relief. NEO is not really the combat operation that some folks envision/dream about.

With any luck at all. As a potential evacuee I would much rather not be dodging bullets on my way on board my aircraft or ship.
 

Infanteer

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NEO is not really the combat operation that some folks envision/dream about.
How CJOC sees the NEO: Enough CAF personnel in civilian clothing to help GAC get CANCITS out of the country.

How the Army translates this: You need a Light Infantry Battalion ready to go, led by Samuel L. Jackson from Rules of Engagement.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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How CJOC sees the NEO: Enough CAF personnel in civilian clothing to help GAC get CANCITS out of the country.

How the Army translates this: You need a Light Infantry Battalion ready to go, led by Samuel L. Jackson from Rules of Engagement.
True! As a planner for a couple of NEO certification exercises there was usually a bit of a gulf between what people think NEO is going into it (which included me) and what the mission actually entails.
 

Old Sweat

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Back a million years ago, when I was in J3, I wrote a couple of contingency plans for NEOs. One, after I retired, was actually dusted off, albieit in a different context. Flexibility has to be a key factor, along with the realization that we are tap dancing with international law. The aim is to get in, collect and document our citizens, and get out, without having to be heavy-handed. The poor buggers that live there are left, stuck in the mess that caused us to act in the first place.
 

daftandbarmy

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True! As a planner for a couple of NEO certification exercises there was usually a bit of a gulf between what people think NEO is going into it (which included me) and what the mission actually entails.

We referred to it as a 'Break and Enter' operation with a 'soft' or 'hard' knock, as the situation dictated ;)
 

Underway

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How CJOC sees the NEO: Enough CAF personnel in civilian clothing to help GAC get CANCITS out of the country.

How the Army translates this: You need a Light Infantry Battalion ready to go, led by Samuel L. Jackson from Rules of Engagement.
How the Navy translates this: WTF are we going to fit all these people? HTF are we going to feed them? WTF are they going to s**t?
 

TangoTwoBravo

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How the Navy translates this: WTF are we going to fit all these people? HTF are we going to feed them? WTF are they going to s**t?
I ran a NEO certex in Halifax a couple of years ago. In the margins of the Ex the RCN was gracious enough to give the HQ (which included Whole of Government partners) a good tour of VDQ.

Having a Frigate in the area of a NEO in time would likely require a bit of luck (or incredible foresight), but I saw the big advantage being in terms of C2 support as opposed to being the means of evacuation. Your ships have fantastic comms. Of course, the ship could also sail away!
 

daftandbarmy

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I ran a NEO certex in Halifax a couple of years ago. In the margins of the Ex the RCN was gracious enough to give the HQ (which included Whole of Government partners) a good tour of VDQ.

Having a Frigate in the area of a NEO in time would likely require a bit of luck (or incredible foresight), but I saw the big advantage being in terms of C2 support as opposed to being the means of evacuation. Your ships have fantastic comms. Of course, the ship could also sail away!

Since we've drifted into this subject, here's something relevant from the UK. I like their use of the term 'non-discretionary' to describe NEO ops i.e., do it, or your nationals get chopped into little bits by the bad guys ....


Joint Doctrine Publication 3-51 Non-combatant Evacuation Operations

Purpose

1. Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 3-51, Non-combatant Evacuation Operations provides insight, guidance and points to consider when planning and conducting a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO). Context

2. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is responsible for coordinating the evacuation of British nationals from areas of crises, often with support from other government departments, such as the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Integration between the FCDO and MOD is paramount to success, whether it is through planning support or providing military assets to conduct a NEO. The necessary interaction for this type of crisis is recognised in a service level agreement between the two departments. Audience

3. JDP 3-51 is intended for use primarily by military commanders and their staff at the strategic and operational levels of command. The publication also acts as a useful guide to diplomatic staff serving in the UK and overseas. It should inform local FCDO contingency evacuation plans where appropriate. Although the doctrine highlights some tactical-level considerations, it does not attempt to cover tactics, techniques and procedures.1

4. A NEO is a non-discretionary operation that often requires a national response. Differing interests and risk thresholds often result in countries responding to crisis in different ways. Although evacuations are likely to be conducted in a multinational setting, the interaction between nations will probably be limited to the coordination of separate national plans rather than a unified multinational endeavour. However, commanders and their staff should read North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) doctrine on NEOs in addition to this publication to understand the challenges of operating as part of a coalition when conducting a multinational evacuation.

 

Underway

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I ran a NEO certex in Halifax a couple of years ago. In the margins of the Ex the RCN was gracious enough to give the HQ (which included Whole of Government partners) a good tour of VDQ.

Having a Frigate in the area of a NEO in time would likely require a bit of luck (or incredible foresight), but I saw the big advantage being in terms of C2 support as opposed to being the means of evacuation. Your ships have fantastic comms. Of course, the ship could also sail away!
JSS is going to have the same all-up comms (including my personal fav radio, PRC-117, yes I'm that much of a nerd I have a fav radio) and the space for C2 of your NEO HQ including OPS spaces and conference spaces.

Right now the NEO plan for frigates in a pinch is to convert the hangar into a shelter. There is a NEO kit in stores that has clothes, flip flops, towel and some toiletries. We also carry plenty of cots and blankets. Using the hangar also allows us to control access for security reasons. The single heads below the hangar are for ablutions.

The situation in Lebanon in 2006 could have been assisted with a naval asset that sailed immediately from Halifax, there was enough time. However, even if we did have a ship big enough to do the task it would have been quite the risk to send a warship into those waters, hopefully, no accidental attack by the Israelis or Hezbollah on our asset when you pulled alongside to get the evacs.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Since we've drifted into this subject, here's something relevant from the UK. I like their use of the term 'non-discretionary' to describe NEO ops i.e., do it, or your nationals get chopped into little bits by the bad guys ....


Joint Doctrine Publication 3-51 Non-combatant Evacuation Operations

Purpose

1. Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 3-51, Non-combatant Evacuation Operations provides insight, guidance and points to consider when planning and conducting a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO). Context

2. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is responsible for coordinating the evacuation of British nationals from areas of crises, often with support from other government departments, such as the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Integration between the FCDO and MOD is paramount to success, whether it is through planning support or providing military assets to conduct a NEO. The necessary interaction for this type of crisis is recognised in a service level agreement between the two departments. Audience

3. JDP 3-51 is intended for use primarily by military commanders and their staff at the strategic and operational levels of command. The publication also acts as a useful guide to diplomatic staff serving in the UK and overseas. It should inform local FCDO contingency evacuation plans where appropriate. Although the doctrine highlights some tactical-level considerations, it does not attempt to cover tactics, techniques and procedures.1

4. A NEO is a non-discretionary operation that often requires a national response. Differing interests and risk thresholds often result in countries responding to crisis in different ways. Although evacuations are likely to be conducted in a multinational setting, the interaction between nations will probably be limited to the coordination of separate national plans rather than a unified multinational endeavour. However, commanders and their staff should read North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) doctrine on NEOs in addition to this publication to understand the challenges of operating as part of a coalition when conducting a multinational evacuation.

For those interested, the CAF has CFJP 3-5 Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations as our doctrinal foundation. We exercise it annually with our Government partners and all components. Sometimes its just the Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT), other times it can include infantry sub-units, ships and aircraft. As was pointed out earlier, NEO must be flexible.
 

Kirkhill

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How CJOC sees the NEO: Enough CAF personnel in civilian clothing to help GAC get CANCITS out of the country.

How the Army translates this: You need a Light Infantry Battalion ready to go, led by Samuel L. Jackson from Rules of Engagement.

Could that translate into a LIB by CC-150 with their man-portable weapons in containers delivered by CC-177? No arms necessary when handing out water, meals and blankets and escorting little old ladies to their seats on their RCAF flights. On the other hand weapons close to hand if the situation changes?
 

Kirkhill

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For those interested, the CAF has CFJP 3-5 Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations as our doctrinal foundation. We exercise it annually with our Government partners and all components. Sometimes its just the Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT), other times it can include infantry sub-units, ships and aircraft. As was pointed out earlier, NEO must be flexible.
Done it again. Thanks T2B.
 

Kirkhill

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So, as I see it, we can get a light force, usefully armed IMO, on the ground in a permissive environment in about a week. Once that force is established it can be built up with reinforcements, at a trickle. It's major problem is that the bigger and heavier the force is the less likely it is that we will be able to recover the force in a timely fashion. Dunkirk 2 would be a problem. Hong Kong 2 would be more likely.

We need sea transport on hand to move the Medium Force. Transport that is virtually identical to that required for the Heavy Force. Strategically then, the Medium Force offers few, if any, advantages over the Heavy Force. There can be considerable debate about the merits of the two forces once they are in theatre. But the first problem we face, having decided we are going to be supplying a Medium Force, is getting the force to an appropriate theatre of our choosing. And executing a recovery when necessary. We may get to choose the where and when of the insertion. They enemy may get to choose the where and when of the withdrawal.

With that need declared the standard solutions are

1. USN/RN large amphibious vessels (Albions and Tarawas)
2. RFA/MSC fleet auxilliaries (Bay Class LSDAs)
3. PPP - Various and includes DFDS RoRo Ferry arrangement with Denmark and Point Class RoRo arrangement with RN (long term charters and leases)
4. STUFT (Shipping Taken Up From Trade) - urgent charters from the market.

We have demonstrated that we are not in the market for Solution 1. The RCN is not in the market for a BHS.
We have relied on urgent charters from the market, as far as I can gather. Solution 4. Has that been successful? Is it appropriate for a retirement in the face of the enemy?
Solution 2 is a possibility but it requires establishing an organization we don't have
Which brings me to the Solution 3, the PPP arrangements.

We have started down that road, it seems to me, with Federal and the Asterix. I have also found out that the ferries on the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of St Lawrence are also PPP ventures with the vessels being owned by the Government of Canada and operated by local private interests like Marine Atlantic and Bay Ferries. I also discovered that they Yarmouth to Bar Harbor ferry operated by Bay Ferries Ltd is actually owned by the USN Military Sealift Command. She is the original high speed catamaran HST-2 that was taken up from Hawaii Superferry at the instigation of the Marines and spawned 15 vessel T-EPF / JHSV fleet built by Austal.

I think it would be a reasonable suggestion that one of the PPP models be adopted to both improve marine connectivity down the Labrador, with Iqaluit and with Greenland and Iceland.

Iqaluit was actually expecting a RoRo terminal but apparently the Infrastructure Government decided it was too expensive. Personally I think that those types of investments are exactly the investments the Government of Canada should be making. They stake a much more significant claim than an annual snowmobile excursion among the polar bears.


Government builds ships to its specs and charters them out as excess capacity to local operators with the understanding that they can be withdrawn from trade (without disrupting connectivity) in support of Government operations. It wouldn't bother me if the vessels ran empty most of the time - any more than it bothers me to drive along an empty divided highway on the prairies.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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So, as I see it, we can get a light force, usefully armed IMO, on the ground in a permissive environment in about a week. Once that force is established it can be built up with reinforcements, at a trickle. It's major problem is that the bigger and heavier the force is the less likely it is that we will be able to recover the force in a timely fashion. Dunkirk 2 would be a problem. Hong Kong 2 would be more likely.

We need sea transport on hand to move the Medium Force. Transport that is virtually identical to that required for the Heavy Force. Strategically then, the Medium Force offers few, if any, advantages over the Heavy Force. There can be considerable debate about the merits of the two forces once they are in theatre. But the first problem we face, having decided we are going to be supplying a Medium Force, is getting the force to an appropriate theatre of our choosing. And executing a recovery when necessary. We may get to choose the where and when of the insertion. They enemy may get to choose the where and when of the withdrawal.

With that need declared the standard solutions are

1. USN/RN large amphibious vessels (Albions and Tarawas)
2. RFA/MSC fleet auxilliaries (Bay Class LSDAs)
3. PPP - Various and includes DFDS RoRo Ferry arrangement with Denmark and Point Class RoRo arrangement with RN (long term charters and leases)
4. STUFT (Shipping Taken Up From Trade) - urgent charters from the market.
NEO is not intended to be a combat operation. There are different levels of cooperation/support from the host nation security forces which determine the posture along with, of course, the threat. There is a CONPLAN and several SUPLANs for this that includes the generic phasing of the operation as well as how the NEO element moves and stages into and out of the theatre (modified to fit the specific geography). The method of evacuation of the entitled personnel to the designated Safe Haven will depend on a number of factors, but think contracted solutions as Plan A for most situations (but there are always exceptions). The Head of Mission (diplomat) with the advice of the CO NEO will work on that in cooperation with CAF elements back home and allies/like-minded nations seeking to do the same things for their people. Cooperation is the byword.

As a doctrinal aside, Dunkirk 2 would be an extraction. If we are talking about rescuing people then its a whole different operation.

The so-what of all this is that we have units assigned to this: some on a rotational basis (infantry battalions), others on an as-needed basis and others still as part of the OLRT and NEO HQ.

I am comfortable with contracted shipping for episodic deployments of our forces into theatres.
 

Colin Parkinson

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As much as I like the Mistrals, I be happy with 2 Bay Class ships and would give up a CSC and AOP's for them. They need a crew of 63 and the RN runs them with the RFA. It would mean we also have secure transportation to move our forces overseas as required.
 

Kirkhill

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I understand the point about NEO operations. Lebanon is the one that most immediately comes to mind. In an active combat zone non combatants found their own way to the docks and then were shuttled to a safe haven in Cyprus as I recall.

I am thinking more along the lines of the government being able to react rapidly to a developing crisis before the bullets start flying and discourage the opening of hostilities. And then, when they discover they got it wrong and decide they don't want to hang around, are capable of extracting their troops, and their gear before they lose them all.

Where do you find vessels to urgently extract troops when the docks are under fire?
 
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