• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Informing the Army’s Future Structure

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
If anything the Ukraine conflict has shown that Canada doesn’t have enough of an Army as it is.
Instead of striking Reg Force formations off the books, one would be better served IMHO at trying to make a Total Force Army work.
That means making the PRes work under Reg Force units and fixing the equipment and personnel shortfalls that exist in significant amounts.
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,851
Points
1,160
Even with all the tanks, it will not be heavy.
Hence the quotation marks around "Heavy"
Dissolving the Francophone brigade may do more to alienate a quarter of the potential recruiting pool than any organizational efficiency such a move may offer. You would also be shutting down a brigade HQ that can at least deploy to the field while keeping another that cannot.
5 Bde would not be dissolved. 5 Bde HQ would remain (and remain as a deployable HQ). 3 R22eR would be eliminated but those francophone PYs would be fed back into 1 & 2 R22eR. All other units from 5 Brigade would remain intact but shift to CCSB.
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,851
Points
1,160
If anything the Ukraine conflict has shown that Canada doesn’t have enough of an Army as it is.
Instead of striking Reg Force formations off the books, one would be better served IMHO at trying to make a Total Force Army work.
That means making the PRes work under Reg Force units and fixing the equipment and personnel shortfalls that exist in significant amounts.
This would be a first step. Bring two Brigade Groups closer to full manning by filling in missing CS capabilities to make them more combat effective.

Deploying a single Brigade right now would likely be a stretch so why pretend by having three understrength Brigades? 1 & 2 Brigades would give us Light and Heavy(ish) deployment options that are potentially doable with additional Reg Force troops in 5 Brigade to sustain them.

Making CCSB a deployable Brigade would bring us closer to the capability of being able to deploy a Canadian led multi-national Division with a Divisional HQ, 1 x Maneuver Brigade and 1 x Support Brigade (and we could fold in our Tac Hel Squadrons into an Aviation Brigade as well).

Edit to add: Eventual goal would be to have the Reserves able to provide the unit-level augmentation to 5 Brigade to make them fully deployable as well.
 

Ostrozac

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
366
Points
930
Dissolving the Francophone brigade may do more to alienate a quarter of the potential recruiting pool than any organizational efficiency such a move may offer.
Canada’s Francophone proportion of population is shrinking — Statscan forecasts 17-18% by the mid-2030’s, and the population of Quebec tracks older than the national average. A breakdown of Canada’s fighting age population may show even worse numbers.

Valcartier has absolutely been a success story — but the recruiting pool of small-town Quebecois may be starting to dry up — albeit a few years after demographic patterns in the Maritimes/Newfoundland did something similar. Demographics of Canada drives our source of people, and we can’t ignore the facts because of outdated models or sacred cows.

Valcartier is affordable, and we’ve had English language units there in the past (3rd Bn Canadian Guards) — is the solution to our housing crisis right outside Quebec City? If a city becomes unaffordable for troops — start to pack up units and send them to Val!
 

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
Well you are better off folding the RCR or PPCLI Brigades than the French, given there are two English ones and 1 French, folding the Vandoos would go over like a fart in church.
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,851
Points
1,160
Well you are better off folding the RCR or PPCLI Brigades than the French, given there are two English ones and 1 French, folding the Vandoos would go over like a fart in church.
But you're not folding the Vandoos. A deployed Brigade would basically have 5 x maneuver units to pick from for a deployment. LdSH, 1 & 2 PPCLI and 1 & 2 R22eR. You could do a Heavy(ish) deployment with LdSH and any two of the four LAV Battalions or a Medium deployment of 3 x LAV Battalions which would still leave 1 x LAV Battalion in reserve or available for a separate Battle Group deployment.

Remember our Brigades are not fixed field formations. A deployment could quite possibly be:

5 Brigade HQ
1 R22eR
2 R22eR
LdSH
2 RCHA
5 CER
1 Service
 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
16,768
Points
1,160
If anything the Ukraine conflict has shown that Canada doesn’t have enough of an Army as it is.
Instead of striking Reg Force formations off the books, one would be better served IMHO at trying to make a Total Force Army work.
That means making the PRes work under Reg Force units and fixing the equipment and personnel shortfalls that exist in significant amounts.

Actually, the Reserve structure is very effective at standing up a mass Army quickly. That's what it was designed for, and it did it's job very well in both World Wars and, to a lesser extent, conflicts in FRY and AFG.

If you want to leverage that strength, then use the Reserves as a massive Force Generator for the Reg F. Attract, recruit, deliver basic preliminary training/ acclimatization, send off to Depot, done...

If you could only get CFRC out of the way....
 

IKnowNothing

Full Member
Reaction score
380
Points
730
But you're not folding the Vandoos. A deployed Brigade would basically have 5 x maneuver units to pick from for a deployment. LdSH, 1 & 2 PPCLI and 1 & 2 R22eR. You could do a Heavy(ish) deployment with LdSH and any two of the four LAV Battalions or a Medium deployment of 3 x LAV Battalions which would still leave 1 x LAV Battalion in reserve or available for a separate Battle Group deployment.

Remember our Brigades are not fixed field formations. A deployment could quite possibly be:

5 Brigade HQ
1 R22eR
2 R22eR
LdSH
2 RCHA
5 CER
1 Service
What about:
  • leave 5 Bde intact,
  • leave LdSH and 12 BdC as Cavalry
  • dissolve 3 PPCLI and 3 R22eR to round out 1&2
  • Pull a half squadron of regulars from each of RCD, 12, and LdSH to stand up a 50/50 tank regiment
  • 20 tanks to Val for subunit/ combat team training (flyover from Edmonton)
1 and 5 CMBG, both capable of being our "heavyish" Bde with the tanks attached, both capable of generating mech BG's. Still the 2x Bn sets from RCR to round out CS and Cav
 

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
At the end of the day the current equipment is lacking.

I’d prefer to get 1 Bde (being a number not specifically 1 CMBG) setup correctly.
Sit down and decide what is needed for Bde’s to actually be Bde’s.

Unfortunately until an actual Defence plan is unveiled, it’s really just pissing in the wind.

I suspect 2030 will have rolled by and this will be still up for debate.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Relic
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
5,385
Points
1,160
At the end of the day the current equipment is lacking.

I’d prefer to get 1 Bde (being a number not specifically 1 CMBG) setup correctly.
Sit down and decide what is needed for Bde’s to actually be Bde’s.

Unfortunately until an actual Defence plan is unveiled, it’s really just pissing in the wind.

I suspect 2030 will have rolled by and this will be still up for debate.

Does anybody have any idea on what that magical date is for the release of the "renewed" defence policy? The one that, back in May, was promised would be speedily produced?
 

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
Does anybody have any idea on what that magical date is for the release of the "renewed" defence policy? The one that, back in May, was promised would be speedily produced?
Sometime after the Crisis had ended.
Which crisis you ask, well whatever is the current one…
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
6,833
Points
1,040
What about something like this for a pragmatic, doable in the short term plan that lays some groundwork for future force enhancements:

1 Brigade becomes our "Heavy" Brigade with all the tanks concentrated in LdSH and two PPCLI LAV Battalions making up the three maneuver units. 1 RCHA would transition from the M777 to a new SP 155mm when that program eventually happens.

2 Brigade (RCR) goes all 3 x Light Battalions and acts as our Rapid Deployment/Arctic Response Brigade. RCD is roled as a light (motorized) Cavalry/Recce element to support the Light Brigade. 2 RCHA would keep the M777.
So far generally I'm along

Realistically we're probably already really stretching to be able to deploy and sustain a single Canadian Brigade Group and don't have the required enablers to deploy a Canadian Division. Therefore we don't really need to have 5 Brigade as a fully deployable Brigade Group. 5 Bde HQ would be maintained for future expansion. 1 & 2 R22eR would be maintained as LAV Battalions. They would be used along with 1 & 2 PPCLI for deployment as part of 1 Bde to provide depth/replacements and to help fulfill other Battle Group sized deployments which may come up.
I take a different path here. I see 1 bde and 2 bde's roles are in extremis - use when the balloon goes up - roles. 5 bde would be useful for all the peacetime missions such as peacekeeping, foreign training etc. that do not require a full brigade.
Fix the reserves and use them for depth/replacements

Since 5 Bde is not a deployable Brigade then it will not require Artillery, Engineer or Service support elements. One gun battery from 5 RAL would go to each of 1 & 2 RCHA to bring them up to full 3 x Battery Regiments. The HQ and remaining elements of 5 RAL would be re-roled into a SHORAD Regiment as part of the Canadian Combat Support Brigade (CCSB). 5 CER and 5 Service would also be integrated into the CCSB to make it a fully deployable Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.
4 RCA(GS) is good enough for the SHORAD role. We don't have enough gun regiments as it is. fragmenting one, won't help things. Disperse some of the PYs to bulk up other places but keep the core as a 30/70 regiment. We also need an LRPR system that will need a home.
The PYs from the two Light Battalions which are being eliminated (3 PPCLI and 3 R22eR) would be fed back into the remaining Infantry Battalions to being up their strength (and in particular rebuilding missing CS capabilities). The 2 x Battalions worth of LAVs that are made available by 1 & 2 RCR going Light would be used to provide vehicles for the future SHORAD Regiment (5 RAL) and to be modified into CS variants for use by the remaining four LAV Battalions (ATGM, Mortar, DFS, etc.)
Converting a perfectly useable LAV into a SHORAD carrier is a waste of capability. We can easily build basic LAV hulls for specialist roles just as cheaply as converting old ones.
The Reg Force Brigades could be amalgamated into a single Reg Force Division (1 Mech Bde, 2 Lt Bde, 5 Bde and CCSB).
I don't go for this. We need to spread our RegF PYs across two forces - an extremis for war force and an everyday force. Concentrating them merely continues the two solitudes between the Reg Army and the decrepit reserves.
Similarly all of the Reserve units could be combined under a single Reserve Division with the existing Reserve Brigades being amalgamated into three Light Infantry Brigades (38/39/41 Brigade, 31/32/33 Brigade and 34/35/36/37 Brigade).
See above.

🍻
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
6,833
Points
1,040
Actually, the Reserve structure is very effective at standing up a mass Army quickly. That's what it was designed for, and it did it's job very well in both World Wars and, to a lesser extent, conflicts in FRY and AFG.

If you want to leverage that strength, then use the Reserves as a massive Force Generator for the Reg F. Attract, recruit, deliver basic preliminary training/ acclimatization, send off to Depot, done...

If you could only get CFRC out of the way....
I see a need for a beefed up training establishment (which I usually express as 4 x Depot battalions across the country) to conduct DP1 and 2 training for all branches during peacetime. My view of mobilization is to augment them to increase throughput. Since I see most Reservists already assigned to deployable units, new units would need to be called up from the supplementary order of battle. Equipment is the bugbear.

🍻
 

IKnowNothing

Full Member
Reaction score
380
Points
730
Sit down and decide what is needed for Bde’s to actually be Bde’s.

Unfortunately until an actual Defence plan is unveiled, it’s really just pissing in the wind.
I think that's a cop out. While maybe not perfect, CA has (acceptable?) doctrinal ORBATs. CA has the full and part-time personnel to fill them. CA has spent the money and bought enough hulls/chassis to fill them.

Senior leadership doesn't get the prerogative of throwing shit uphill unless they've made the best use of what they have, and executed to the limits of what they're allowed to. I think we can all agree that's not the case.
 

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
I think that's a cop out. While maybe not perfect, CA has (acceptable?) doctrinal ORBATs. CA has the full and part-time personnel to fill them. CA has spent the money and bought enough hulls/chassis to fill them.
Not sure if the book value doctrine ORBAT has changed in the years, but there used to be a lot of theoretical items included.

I’d argue Senior CA leadership have made a mess of this for ages.

  • the symmetrically useless ‘medium’ Brigades enters the chat.
  • divesting M109, ADATS, TUA, TLAV/M113 and the list continues without a replacement…
  • getting a tank and calling it a day without a tracked IFV, SPA etc.
  • divesting Cbt Spt Coy’s from Infantry BN’s to focus on riflemen (probably the easiest filled job in NATO)

Senior leadership doesn't get the prerogative of throwing shit uphill unless they've made the best use of what they have, and executed to the limits of what they're allowed to. I think we can all agree that's not the case.

I don’t disagree with you there. My point is simply that without a fundamental shift in the CA, that it’s really just rearranging deck chairs.

How many Light working groups have their been? I got out in 2005, and there was yet another one going then…

I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know divesting your Air Defense role isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do for any Army…

The CA is generally the CA’s biggest enemy, the second biggest enemy is the GoC…
 

GR66

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
1,851
Points
1,160
At the end of the day the current equipment is lacking.

I’d prefer to get 1 Bde (being a number not specifically 1 CMBG) setup correctly.
Sit down and decide what is needed for Bde’s to actually be Bde’s.

Unfortunately until an actual Defence plan is unveiled, it’s really just pissing in the wind.

I suspect 2030 will have rolled by and this will be still up for debate.
Agree and disagree. Current equipment is lacking and both updated Foreign and Defence policies are needed.

However, there is broadly laid out in SSE the general range of operations that are expected to be performed by the CF.
That document specifically states that "The Army trains to fight at the Brigade-group level." and that it should be prepared to operate across "the spectrum of conflict" which would include peer/near-peer combat. A new Foreign or Defence policy paper is not likely to significantly change what basic capabilities are required to field a battle-worthy Brigade Group.

If the CA leadership doesn't know what capabilities are required to fight a Brigade in a peer conflict then they shouldn't be the CA leadership.
We have certain equipment. Some of it is not ideal for every role but is still useable. There are other required capabilities that we do not have. Everyone knows what they are. The CA should begin re-building the Brigades with what they have and provide the GoC a list of the additional capabilities required in order of priority in order to achieve the required combat capability. No need to wait for new White Papers to start that process.
I take a different path here. I see 1 bde and 2 bde's roles are in extremis - use when the balloon goes up - roles. 5 bde would be useful for all the peacetime missions such as peacekeeping, foreign training etc. that do not require a full brigade.
Fix the reserves and use them for depth/replacements
Agreed. Our Heavy(ish) Brigade is for in extremis but in the absence of a Reserve system that is ready to RAPIDLY expand our Mechanized capability in a crisis then for the short-to-medium term I believe we will have to rely on primarily Reg Force personnel with limited Reserve augmentation (remember that all of our existing "Reg Force" units are actually already 70/30 units based on Establishment vs Force Generation numbers). The Light Brigade is our Rapid Deployment capability and at least a portion needs to be Reg Force personnel on heightened readiness. The combination of LAV infantry between 1 & 5 Brigades gives the ability to deploy a mechanized Battle Group on OOTW missions while still having enough forces available for a crisis deployment. Definitely fix the Reserves so that we can move beyond these initial bandaid fixes to a proper "Total Force" structure.

4 RCA(GS) is good enough for the SHORAD role. We don't have enough gun regiments as it is. fragmenting one, won't help things. Disperse some of the PYs to bulk up other places but keep the core as a 30/70 regiment. We also need an LRPR system that will need a home.
Are there enough PYs for 4 RCA(GS) to fulfill their current role as well as take on the SHORAD role? Should the two capabilities be combined within the same unit? Agreed that probably one of the easiest Total Force changes would be for Reserve Artillery units to take on the manning of the guns in the 2nd & 3rd Batteries in each of the CS Regiments. If the PYs from the two 5 RAC Batteries are then maintained within that Regiment then where are they best put to use? As a 3rd CS Regiment supporting your "Medium" Battalions (which are focused on OOTW), or for manning new capabilities like SHORAD and HIMARS?
Converting a perfectly useable LAV into a SHORAD carrier is a waste of capability. We can easily build basic LAV hulls for specialist roles just as cheaply as converting old ones.
SHORAD is actually one program that is listed in SSE so perhaps there will be money for the required vehicles made available by the GoC. I don't hold great confidence however in light of pending NORAD upgrades, the F-35s and new ships for the RCN that there will be much funding left available for things like ATGM and Mortar LAVs, etc. Ideally the RCR LAVs would be issued to the Reserves to be used for force expansion/sustainment in a conflict but if the only way we can afford to get key missing CS capabilities met for our Reg Force Battalions is to re-purpose existing hulls then I'd do so.
I don't go for this. We need to spread our RegF PYs across two forces - an extremis for war force and an everyday force. Concentrating them merely continues the two solitudes between the Reg Army and the decrepit reserves.
Agreed as the desired end state. However I don't believe that the Reserves are currently in a position to be able to act in the "extremis for war" force in terms of equipment, organization, leadership or training. Creating two Divisions with structures that roughly mirror each other (3 x maneuver Brigades and ideally a deployable CSS Brigade) is a first step. Once that is in place and you start filling in the gaps in organization, training and equipment then you can start shifting your Reg Force/Reserve Force PYs between the units to create the balance you need. Start with 2 x Reg Force Divisional HQs and 6 x Reg Force deployable Brigade Group HQs as the first step. For Phase II you work on the consolidation of all the individual Reserve Regiments into 3 x coherent Brigade Groups plus a CSS Brigade). Then you have the common foundation upon which you can start shifting the weight between Reg Force and Reserve Force PYs between the various component units.
See above.
 

Skysix

Sr. Member
Reaction score
944
Points
810
Wonder if there would be a role for any of these in Canada. Screenshot_20221004-100137~2.png30mm autocannon, 7.62 remote machinegun and an automatic grenade launcher.

As a mobile fire support base or recce vehicle in a mechanised unit? Too light for an armored unit.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
6,833
Points
1,040
However, there is broadly laid out in SSE the general range of operations that are expected to be performed by the CF.
That document specifically states that "The Army trains to fight at the Brigade-group level." and that it should be prepared to operate across "the spectrum of conflict" which would include peer/near-peer combat. A new Foreign or Defence policy paper is not likely to significantly change what basic capabilities are required to field a battle-worthy Brigade Group.
I basically agree with this but I do tend to be a stickler for parsing language. 'trains to fight at the Brigade-group level" does not equate to "deploying and sustaining a brigade". When you take a look at the mission sets enumerated in SSE you'll see that none of them approach the numbers needed for a full brigade group deployment. Prior defence policies made deployment of a brigade a task.

Are there enough PYs for 4 RCA(GS) to fulfill their current role as well as take on the SHORAD role? Should the two capabilities be combined within the same unit?
I understand that there are additional PYs assigned to the GBAD project which strike me as enough for a full battery. 4 RCA(GS) already has the MRR radars and ASCC which would ordinarily be part of an AD regiment. The whole thing revolves around how many systems are being contemplated as part of the purchase. If the answer is 9 to 16 then there will be enough PYs to build a regiment with one firing battery. If we can get 18 to 32 systems and MANPADs then we could build two or more batteries which would involve transferring 4 RCA(GS)s Blackjacks to some other unit and adding in ResF positions but my guess is we would still be able to generated within the existing and contemplated PY ceiling.

However I don't believe that the Reserves are currently in a position to be able to act in the "extremis for war" force in terms of equipment, organization, leadership or training.
All my napkin forces are based on the presumption that someone will grab the CAF leadership by the short and curlies and demand meaningful reform. It also presupposes a phased transition from our current state to the desired end state.

Agreed as the desired end state. However I don't believe that the Reserves are currently in a position to be able to act in the "extremis for war" force in terms of equipment, organization, leadership or training. Creating two Divisions with structures that roughly mirror each other (3 x maneuver Brigades and ideally a deployable CSS Brigade) is a first step. Once that is in place and you start filling in the gaps in organization, training and equipment then you can start shifting your Reg Force/Reserve Force PYs between the units to create the balance you need. Start with 2 x Reg Force Divisional HQs and 6 x Reg Force deployable Brigade Group HQs as the first step. For Phase II you work on the consolidation of all the individual Reserve Regiments into 3 x coherent Brigade Groups plus a CSS Brigade). Then you have the common foundation upon which you can start shifting the weight between Reg Force and Reserve Force PYs between the various component units
I agree totally that you start with forming the two divisional headquarters and the appropriate brigade headquarters. I disagree with the idea that they be "mirrored" when their end state is to be asymmetrical. Each division and brigade from the start should be formed in a way that reflects the end state. For example, in my design, 1 Div in the west should be developed in contemplation that it might need to be deployable while 2 Div in the east won't be. While the brigade headquarters might well be full RegF, the brigade's support structures in the west will be designed in contemplation of a predominant end state of being ResF while the east is more tilted towards a larger RegF day to day component. We're talking a subtle difference here.

🍻
 

KevinB

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Reaction score
11,688
Points
1,260
One rule of thumb I have found from looking at both US and UK force constructs for the Army in that there is generally a 35-36% of the force in Combat Units.
46-47% in Support Units - and the remaining ~2% in overhead (admin units)
No granted down here we do put more Support in the Reserve (not ARNG, but USAR)

Down here we are pretty transparent - so for your reading pleasure (has nice graphics too)...

Plus this lovely little tidbit on P.29:
However, DoD currently describes scenarios involving Russia and China as its most challenging potential con- flicts, and the particular strengths of Stryker BCTs would not be especially useful in those scenarios. Armored BCTs would probably be preferred for responding to Russian aggression against the Baltic states, and infantry BCTs would probably be preferred for responding to Chinese military action against Taiwan or other states on the South China Sea.

Also what I found relevant to Canada is the "Special Topic" on P.38
Integration of the Army’s Active and Reserve Components

In short given the size of the CA, I think the 4 Regular Bde (3 "CMBG" and 1 CSSB) is a little overly ambitious, without PRes integration - given the Support needs of an Expeditionary Army...

If the PRes can be effectively leveraged - then I think that the CA could actually field two functioning DIV.
BUT that would require massive capital investiture - something I strongly doubt that the GoC would support.
 
Top