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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

OldSolduer

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I've been hearing for about 2 years now a plan ti upgrade all our Carl G's to M4 standard which comes with a larger ammunition family, alas budget, competing priorities and politics have probably put it on the back burner.
I briefed my troops on that about 7 years ago. And someone briefed me on it in 1987 or so. Kick the can down the road.
 

GR66

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Going back to capabilities and the threat for a moment, let's do a little thought experiment. Assume that we have deployed a CMBG HQ to a theatre as part of a multi-national division that is in turn part of a multi-national force. This is a surge - it is not going to be a rotational deployment. Perhaps it is somewhere in the Middle East or Caucasus and the force has the mission of liberating a nation or part of a nation that has been taken over by a 2nd World opponent that has Russian equipment. Russia is staying out of it, but their advisors put in place a very effective integrated air defence network. The enemy has Brigade Tactical Groups with a variety of AFVs. They have SP tube artillery and several battalions of rockets. They have Russian EW and AD at the BTG and Div level.

...
A couple of thoughts on this.

1) I think the fact that 2nd World opponents and even non-state actors are able to get their hands on quite sophisticated weapon systems puts into question the viability of dedicated Light Brigades or Battle Groups for the Canadian Army.

I definitely agree that there is a role that can be played by Light forces even in a peer conflict. However, I think that in order to be effective they need to offset their lightness with volume and I don't believe that the Canadian Army currently has the depth of capabilities to be able to deploy and support both a sufficiently sized Light Brigade for rapid response as well as a Medium/Heavy Brigade in a more traditional response. And given political risk aversion I'd bet that the Medium/Heavy response is the one that would always be deployed over the Light response. That being the case, I don't see the value in Canada specifically building and equipping a dedicated Light Brigade (or Light Battalions within a Brigade structure). Perhaps there is a role within CSOR for a dedicated Light role, but I think the PYs and equipment dollars would be better spent in the Army on our LAV-based Medium forces. If truly required, the LAV infantry can deploy dismounted if the specific circumstances require it.

2) Overall I think the Canadian Army needs to bring more in the way of indirect fires to the table to be able to handle the modern battlefield. As a first step the Brigade Artillery Regiments need more guns and more survivable guns (and as FJAG mentions the logistics and targeting support to make use of those guns).

The 4th Artillery Regt. (General Support) should also be beefed up with additional TA capabilities. Possibly Reserve augmentation to cover more of the battlefield and deal with attrition? This might also be the place to put a dedicated long-range counter-battery capability (HIMARS? Loitering Munitions?) to counter enemy fires strength. Again this could possibly be a Reserve capability.

3) We need to move quickly to establish a SHORAD capability to protect our forces from the sensors the enemy is using to direct their artillery. My preference would be a strong focus on the lower level UAV direct threat to the Brigade with an emphasis on guns, microwave and low cost missiles/counter-UAVs to deal with large quantities of smaller UAVs over defense against enemy large UAVs, helicopters and fast air (which can better be countered by our own fast air or higher echelon AD units).

4) We need to invest in active protection measures to make our vehicles more survivable against these various threats. The cost of these systems is much less than the cost in lives (and vehicles) from not having them.

What would I be willing to give up to get this? I think that if you were to say re-align the Reg Force to have two Heavy(-ish) Brigade Groups with three LAV infantry Battalions each and turn the 3rd Brigade into a 25/75 Brigade then the savings in PYs should be enough to begin funding some additional equipment beyond the existing current programs of record.
 

Rifleman62

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Speaking of procurement, new boots pending 3 Aug 21??


Also making the rounds in la belle province is Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, who stops by Sherbrooke boot-maker L.P. Royer Inc. to share details of a new contract that will “ensure that the members of the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need to fulfill their commitment to serving Canadians at home and abroad.” (2 PM)

L.P. Royer Inc also share a boot contract in 2014
 

Kirkhill

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A couple of thoughts on this.

1) I think the fact that 2nd World opponents and even non-state actors are able to get their hands on quite sophisticated weapon systems puts into question the viability of dedicated Light Brigades or Battle Groups for the Canadian Army.

I definitely agree that there is a role that can be played by Light forces even in a peer conflict. However, I think that in order to be effective they need to offset their lightness with volume and I don't believe that the Canadian Army currently has the depth of capabilities to be able to deploy and support both a sufficiently sized Light Brigade for rapid response as well as a Medium/Heavy Brigade in a more traditional response. And given political risk aversion I'd bet that the Medium/Heavy response is the one that would always be deployed over the Light response. That being the case, I don't see the value in Canada specifically building and equipping a dedicated Light Brigade (or Light Battalions within a Brigade structure). Perhaps there is a role within CSOR for a dedicated Light role, but I think the PYs and equipment dollars would be better spent in the Army on our LAV-based Medium forces. If truly required, the LAV infantry can deploy dismounted if the specific circumstances require it.

2) Overall I think the Canadian Army needs to bring more in the way of indirect fires to the table to be able to handle the modern battlefield. As a first step the Brigade Artillery Regiments need more guns and more survivable guns (and as FJAG mentions the logistics and targeting support to make use of those guns).

The 4th Artillery Regt. (General Support) should also be beefed up with additional TA capabilities. Possibly Reserve augmentation to cover more of the battlefield and deal with attrition? This might also be the place to put a dedicated long-range counter-battery capability (HIMARS? Loitering Munitions?) to counter enemy fires strength. Again this could possibly be a Reserve capability.

3) We need to move quickly to establish a SHORAD capability to protect our forces from the sensors the enemy is using to direct their artillery. My preference would be a strong focus on the lower level UAV direct threat to the Brigade with an emphasis on guns, microwave and low cost missiles/counter-UAVs to deal with large quantities of smaller UAVs over defense against enemy large UAVs, helicopters and fast air (which can better be countered by our own fast air or higher echelon AD units).

4) We need to invest in active protection measures to make our vehicles more survivable against these various threats. The cost of these systems is much less than the cost in lives (and vehicles) from not having them.

What would I be willing to give up to get this? I think that if you were to say re-align the Reg Force to have two Heavy(-ish) Brigade Groups with three LAV infantry Battalions each and turn the 3rd Brigade into a 25/75 Brigade then the savings in PYs should be enough to begin funding some additional equipment beyond the existing current programs of record.

Leaving aside the LAV/Lt question for the moment it is my understanding that the Personnel Budget is separate from the Capital and Operating budgets and that savings in one area are not directly transferable to the other areas.

As to the vulnerability of the Light Forces - I think both the Light and the LAV forces would benefit from a better suite of sensors (to include EO/IR, Rdr, Sigs, EW, Acoustics), a better suite of active defence systems (to include GBAD-CRAM, and an ATGM suite), a better suite of decoys, spoofers and obscurants, a broader range of platforms from which to deploy (to include UAVs and light vehicles including motor cycles for despatch riders when the world goes silent) and finally a fuller spectrum of munitions for all weapons currently in the inventory.

If you are going to concentrate all of the infantry PYs available in 6 battalions rather than 9 then those battalions are going to become even more precious, less likely to be used and, at the same time going to have to cross train to a greater extent to be able to deploy without their LAVs.

How many of the 27 rifle companies currently on the active rolls are currently engaged?

Having said that I do agree with the need for more Fires of all types and I also agree that there are reserve roles in those areas.

Arty for Guns and Missiles and UAVs. Infantry and Cavalry/Recce for Mortars, Manpads, DF and Man in the Loop NLOS ATGMs as well as UAVs. All designed to thicken the Active force lines and not to provide capabilities the Regs don't have.
 

MilEME09

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Here's my concern, every time we loose a capability we never get it back without along fight, if we loose those battalions to amalgamation, history has shown we likely will never get them back. We would have better luck continuing the shell game and fighting for increased manning to properly fill out our battalions without class B positions.
 

GR66

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If you are going to concentrate all of the infantry PYs available in 6 battalions rather than 9 then those battalions are going to become even more precious, less likely to be used and, at the same time going to have to cross train to a greater extent to be able to deploy without their LAVs.
I'd argue that from a political point of view light battalions are the least likely ones to be deployed because we as a nation are highly risk and casualty adverse.

As for cross-training, as several people on here have noted our infantry are already trained to fight dismounted. Whether they drive to the fight in a LAV or a Polaris they will fight the same and need the same man-portable kit to succeed against an opposing mechanized force.

True, if you're instead talking about a truly optimized Light force with specialized equipment, etc. for dispersed operations then I agree there would be a training delta. But I'd argue that our equipment budget would be better spent on better equipping the LAV battalions (mortar and ATGM vehicles for example) rather than a new, separate fleet of light and specialist vehicles.
 

GR66

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Going to throw this out there as a possible 2025 first step towards a re-designed Army.

Highlights:
  • Concentrates the LAV battalions together within Reg Force Brigades (with rotating readiness each Brigade can force generate a medium-weight Infantry Battle Group (which remains our most likely type of foreign deployment requirement).
  • Adds an additional Artillery Battery to the Reg Force Brigade Artillery Regiments.
  • Frees up some Reg Force PYs from the Light Infantry companies for some of the key enablers that need to be added to the Army (SHORAD, additional indirect fires, Anti-tank, etc.).
  • Creates a hybrid 25/75 Brigade that maintains the core of Reg Force enablers/supporting elements which are harder for the Reserves to generate and focusing the Reserve elements on the core combat trades. Centralizes this hybrid Brigade in one Province to minimize the spread of additional support infrastructure required.
  • Consolidates the Reserve units into fewer Brigades which more realistically represents the size of the units. This consolidation at least provides a structure which has the potential for possible deployment as a unit as Reserve restructuring evolves.
  • Matches each Reg Force/Hybrid Brigade with a Reserve Brigade which gives opportunities for a direct augmentation relationship to be created between affiliated Reg/Reserve units.

This structure could develop in a number of different ways as we move toward Force 2030, 2035 and beyond. In its initial form it has created essentially a "Heavy" Brigade with all the tanks concentrated in 1 Brigade, 5 Brigade as a "Medium" Brigade and the hybrid 2nd Brigade as a "Light" Brigade. You could keep this structure, or with the reduction in Reg Force PYs you could adjust the existing budget more towards equipment and upgrade/purchase enough tanks to equip both Reg Force Armoured Regiments. Over time the hybrid Brigade could also be equipped with the same equipment as the Reg Force Brigades giving it a deployment capability similar to the US National Guard Brigades.

View attachment Force 2020-2025.png
 

Kirkhill

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Going to throw this out there as a possible 2025 first step towards a re-designed Army.

Highlights:
  • Concentrates the LAV battalions together within Reg Force Brigades (with rotating readiness each Brigade can force generate a medium-weight Infantry Battle Group (which remains our most likely type of foreign deployment requirement).
  • Adds an additional Artillery Battery to the Reg Force Brigade Artillery Regiments.
  • Frees up some Reg Force PYs from the Light Infantry companies for some of the key enablers that need to be added to the Army (SHORAD, additional indirect fires, Anti-tank, etc.).
  • Creates a hybrid 25/75 Brigade that maintains the core of Reg Force enablers/supporting elements which are harder for the Reserves to generate and focusing the Reserve elements on the core combat trades. Centralizes this hybrid Brigade in one Province to minimize the spread of additional support infrastructure required.
  • Consolidates the Reserve units into fewer Brigades which more realistically represents the size of the units. This consolidation at least provides a structure which has the potential for possible deployment as a unit as Reserve restructuring evolves.
  • Matches each Reg Force/Hybrid Brigade with a Reserve Brigade which gives opportunities for a direct augmentation relationship to be created between affiliated Reg/Reserve units.

This structure could develop in a number of different ways as we move toward Force 2030, 2035 and beyond. In its initial form it has created essentially a "Heavy" Brigade with all the tanks concentrated in 1 Brigade, 5 Brigade as a "Medium" Brigade and the hybrid 2nd Brigade as a "Light" Brigade. You could keep this structure, or with the reduction in Reg Force PYs you could adjust the existing budget more towards equipment and upgrade/purchase enough tanks to equip both Reg Force Armoured Regiments. Over time the hybrid Brigade could also be equipped with the same equipment as the Reg Force Brigades giving it a deployment capability similar to the US National Guard Brigades.

View attachment 65959


If you are going to buy steel for deployments why are you spending muscle?

If you are going with a LAV based / Wheels based force why not take full advantage of that and use it to reduce the number of PYs relative to every tube in the system?

Instead of packing as many bodies as possible into each vehicle why not reduce the number of bodies in each vehicle and optimize the tubes per vehicle? 45 LAVs per Battalion? More if you add in the Recce Platoon? Strap a couple of ATGM launchers on each turret. Add a Trophy system. Add an AD radar to half a dozen or so and supply them with AA missiles along with their Bushmasters. Convert some to AMOS or Mjolnir 120mm mortar turrets. Maybe even add a few 105mm RWS turrets to the mix. And reduce the number of GIBs to 4 PYs per LAV.

A lot more capability. Many of the gaps filled. Far fewer bodies. And residual PYs for other capabilities. Including CH-146 transportable Light Companies.

And all of the capabilities are "upgrades" to existing platforms. Conversions of LAVs, ACSVs and the occasional TAPV.

If you're going with LAVs you have converted the infantry to dragoons in any event. And the dragoons are cavalry. Not infantry.

Meanwhile I will still argue for the benefit of well armed light infantry that can be rapidly deployed to inhospitable firing positions by means of our available helicopter force. That means a dozen CH-146s and 4x CH-147s attached to each Brigade on ops. It does not need road warrior light vehicles.

It does argue for small vehicles that can be transported by CH-146, along with the troops, that can carry 750 kg of platoon and/or company supplies, and that will spend most of their life quietly crawling along in the rear of the foot-borne troops with an occasional sprint to the CQ.

Call it 8x ATV per Coy, all held at the CQ. One for each platoon driver, one for the Coy HQ driver and 4 for the CQSM and his 3 drivers.

They are not there to transport the troops. They are there to take a load of their backs and carry lots of water, bullets and bombs.


On long term deployments you don't want casualties. Casualties turn long term deployments into short term deployments once the headlines hit. The best solution to casualties is not more steel on wheels. It is not to deploy the bodies in the first place. Deploy vehicles not bodies unless you have to, or unless the ground prevents the deployment of the vehicles.

If you really need more bayonets in the assault then heli-lift them up to the line of departure to marry up with the vehicles where they can supply mutual intimate support.

I see nothing wrong with a 3 Brigade structure with a LAV based ISR regiment, a pair of LAV dragoon battalions (equipped with a full suite of suitable tubes), and a well equipped light battalion trained and equipped to operate with CH-146s and 147s on both the armoured and the remote battlefields. That would mean that each brigade would be equipped to go Medium AND Light and that follow on rotations would have the time to adapt and reorg to meet the needs of the operation.

And the Tanks? I would concentrate them in the Combat Support Brigade Group. Along with the Armoured Engineers, the Div Recce/ISR Regiment and the Div Arty Group.
 
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GR66

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If you are going to buy steel for deployments why are you spending muscle?

If you are going with a LAV based / Wheels based force why not take full advantage of that and use it to reduce the number of PYs relative to every tube in the system?

Instead of packing as many bodies as possible into each vehicle why not reduce the number of bodies in each vehicle and optimize the tubes per vehicle? 45 LAVs per Battalion? More if you add in the Recce Platoon? Strap a couple of ATGM launchers on each turret. Add a Trophy system. Add an AD radar to half a dozen or so and supply them with AA missiles along with their Bushmasters. Convert some to AMOS or Mjolnir 120mm mortar turrets. Maybe even add a few 105mm RWS turrets to the mix. And reduce the number of GIBs to 4 PYs per LAV.

A lot more capability. Many of the gaps filled. Far fewer bodies. And residual PYs for other capabilities. Including CH-146 transportable Light Companies.

And all of the capabilities are "upgrades" to existing platforms. Conversions of LAVs, ACSVs and the occasional TAPV.

If you're going with LAVs you have converted the infantry to dragoons in any event. And the dragoons are cavalry. Not infantry.

Meanwhile I will still argue for the benefit of well armed light infantry that can be rapidly deployed to inhospitable firing positions by means of our available helicopter force. That means a dozen CH-146s and 4x CH-147s attached to each Brigade on ops. It does not need road warrior light vehicles.

It does argue for small vehicles that can be transported by CH-146, along with the troops, that can carry 750 kg of platoon and/or company supplies, and that will spend most of their life quietly crawling along in the rear of the foot-borne troops with an occasional sprint to the CQ.

Call it 8x ATV per Coy, all held at the CQ. One for each platoon driver, one for the Coy HQ driver and 4 for the CQSM and his 3 drivers.

They are not there to transport the troops. They are there to take a load of their backs and carry lots of water, bullets and bombs.
Nothing in the proposed structure precludes changes to the composition of Companies, Platoons or Sections, what equipment those troops carry, or what weapons are mounted on the vehicles they ride.

Without adding or eliminating a single Reg Force or Reserve unit (other than a few Reserve Brigade HQ's) I believe it simply provides a more solid (and realistic) foundation from which the design of the Future Army can begin.
 

daftandbarmy

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Nothing in the proposed structure precludes changes to the composition of Companies, Platoons or Sections, what equipment those troops carry, or what weapons are mounted on the vehicles they ride.

Without adding or eliminating a single Reg Force or Reserve unit (other than a few Reserve Brigade HQ's) I believe it simply provides a more solid (and realistic) foundation from which the design of the Future Army can begin.

How dare you propose to limit the career paths of the inexperienced and unqualified to the ranks of 'Junior General Officer'? :)
 

FJAG

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Going to throw this out there as a possible 2025 first step towards a re-designed Army.
...
View attachment 65959

You're starting to come to the dark side with me. Welcome.

My thoughts (as expressed before)

1) With a total of eight brigades, you can cut the divisions down to two (an eastern one based on 2 Div [with 5, 34, 36 Bdes and the CCSB] and a western one based on 3 Div [with 1, 2, 41, and 32 Bdes]). I would remove the two surplus div headquarters but keep all the div support establishments and reassign them to the two remaining divs as appropriate.

2) I would reform two of the inf bns and the armoured reg't in 1 Bde into three combined arms battalions and retask the third inf battalion as a cavalry regiment/battalion)

3) I would also restructure 12 RBC as a cavalry regiment/battalion (essentially I see cavalry regiments as more robust combined arms organizations capable of much more than reconnaissance)

4) If one does restructure the third inf battalion in 1 Bde to cavalry, there will a few companies of LAVs surplus to repurpose.

5) While you are right and can't expect to do much more by 2025, I think one should position for 2030 by earmarking significant numbers in both 36 Bde and 32 Bde to converting them to additional combat support and combat service support capabilities as the total force is too manoeuvre heavy and too light on support. In particular, Ontario has the capability of generating more reservists than anyone else so there is some scope there.

All that said, I'm not quite sure of what 2 Bde's role is to be in this structure. It strikes me we are creating two types of reserve brigades - 2 Bde with a Reg F HQs and res coys and 32, 34, 36 and 41 with Res F HQs and coys. It looks to me like you are wanting to create a brigade of mostly reservists which has the ability to generate deployable battle groups while the other reserve brigades are essentially hole fillers. I'm not sure if this two tier structure is workable. My expectation is that the Res F units assigned to 2 Bde will generate no more individual volunteers for deployments than any other Res F unit which means any 2 Bde battlegroup deploying will still need to recruit people from elsewhere.

One factor here is that you are reducing the Res bdes from ten to four. Assuming that you are keeping the same RSS staff that means the number of RSS in each "new" Res F "Bde" and "battalion/regiment" will increase by a factor of 2.5. If you add to that the Reg F officers and NCMs being retained within 2 Bde and distribute them across all the Res F bdes and 2 Bde equally you could probably establish a very robust Reg F presence in every reserve unit across the board and create all Res Bdes into viable hybrid units (albeit more like 15-20/85-80 rather than 25-30/75-70)

(And yes D&B - I would put Reg F colonels and other senior Reg F staff into all Res F bde headquarters so that they too can deploy with appropriate augmentation when required and where appropriate. It's not like we have a shortage of Reg F colonels and staff and how much mileage do we really get out of the Res F colonels and BGens we have now?)

Which begs the question - what do we do with Petawawa besides give it all to CANSOFCOM?

🍻
 

PuckChaser

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Which begs the question - what do we do with Petawawa besides give it all to CANSOFCOM?
Considering the RTA and ranges are booking 6-8 months in advance and spend 90% of the year full, any COA that doesn't involve retaining it is an absolute non starter. Anyone east of the GTA and west of Montreal are using it non stop, including the Queens Own for para.
 

FJAG

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Considering the RTA and ranges are booking 6-8 months in advance and spend 90% of the year full, any COA that doesn't involve retaining it is an absolute non starter. Anyone east of the GTA and west of Montreal are using it non stop, including the Queens Own for para.
You know me. I hate it every time the Army divests itself of old equipment that still has some life in it. There's no way I'd give up an acre of land that's part of a useable range (the twin towers in Ottawa on the other hand ....)

My thought was more in the line of what types of new equipment do we need/should we get that could benefit from being flown around large swatches of rural countryside linked to an impact area. I keep saying we need an experimental brigade to test out new gear. Maybe if we convert 2 CMBG to a combat support brigade headquarters plus a battle group to trial new gear and tactics (as well as a couple of reserve units as suggested.) - Gagetown would probably be a more realistic area for such an organization but its too far away from all the chair-warming generals and politicians in Ottawa that one wants to bring out to the ranges for an afternoon to impress them with the demonstration of a new toy revolutionary piece of equipment.

🍻
 

FJAG

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:unsure:

Made me wonder what the twin towers in Ottawa are worth and how many SP guns and rocket launchers one could buy (or lease) with the cash.

:giggle:
 

MilEME09

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Or we could just bring back all our old testing establishments, RCEME/EME/LEMS had a testing facility for vehicles and equipment which was closed down, in the early 90s if I recall correctly. If we want to play with the big boys, we gotta start acting like a proper army. Buy extra vehicles, shoot them, blow them up, find out how they break so we know our own weaknesses.
 

McG

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LETE was pretty small and surrounded by suburbs. I don’t think we ever did explosive testing of vehicles there. DRDC Valcartier does that sort of work. They have blown up most (if not all) armoured vehicle types in CAF service to assess & improve survivability.
 

Edward Campbell

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The former three test establishments (AETE, LETE and NETE) were (25+ years ago when I was serving and involved) all quite different, one from the others, in organization, structure and operation. Each added considerable value. LETE closed after a high pressure local/provincial political pressure campaign and because the military had too little influence in Ottawa.
 
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