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Informing the Army’s Future Structure

FJAG

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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)...
One of my primary reference sources. CBO also has a good interactive page for "what iffing" the costs of adding, subtracting or changing BCTs.


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.
I think the important lesson here is that when the SBCT was initially conceptualized (roughly concurrently with our LAV based all singing and dancing force) the intent was to create a rapidly deployable force (96 hours worldwide) that could make and hold a bridgehead until heavy forces arrived. Studies done in 2003 found that the airlift for such a reaction time simply wasn't available.

When you now consider the heavier LAV 6.0 and the restricted Canadian airlift, the concept of a quick reaction mechanized force simply becomes impossible. Medium weight forces have always been a compromise right from the get go with the BTR 60s. A medium weight vehicle has its uses; a medium weight force, on the other hand, is a solution looking for a problem.

Also what I found relevant to Canada is the "Special Topic" on P.38
Integration of the Army’s Active and Reserve Components
This is very critical for a force that routinely deploys in strength or has an objective to deploy at some time in massive strength and wants to have all the necessary enablers available at a low standby costs.

It's less of a requirement for an Army that deals in small scale missions day to day and has no plan for large scale missions. For those purposes a small full-time support structure is adequate and a reserve force can be mostly ignored.

The Army is a product of its own folly and limited vision.

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...
Canada's army is solely expeditionary. Even defence of our own territories is primarily an expeditionary operation and in short, we are poorly established for the role. A massive rebalancing is necessary.

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.
Numbers-wise you are absolutely correct. We have the people authorized to field two divisions as it stands - one for day-to day operations at small scale and one training for deployment on divisional scale. With current numbers (and assuming we cure our training deficiencies) we could not deploy and sustain more than the one division. Based on the equipment available to us we could not deploy and sustain more than one brigade. All of that assumes that we do not use a six month rotation scheme but go "all in" and that we rapidly overcome some critical capability deficiencies by UOR. To go beyond deploying more than one brigade requires a substantial procurement program.

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IKnowNothing

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When you now consider the heavier LAV 6.0 and the restricted Canadian airlift, the concept of a quick reaction mechanized force simply becomes impossible. Medium weight forces have always been a compromise right from the get go with the BTR 60s. A medium weight vehicle has its uses; a medium weight force, on the other hand, is a solution looking for a problem.
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If doctrine were followed, units were equipped to a modern standard, and LAV UP and TAPV didn't shit the bed, is a CMBG riding a 26tonne, 30mm & ATGM equipped IFV, supported with organic turreted mortars, suitable Bn level AT assets, and a tank regiment still a medium force?
 

Ostrozac

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If doctrine were followed, units were equipped to a modern standard, and LAV UP and TAPV didn't shit the bed, is a CMBG riding a 26tonne, 30mm & ATGM equipped IFV, supported with organic turreted mortars, suitable Bn level AT assets, and a tank regiment still a medium force?
Yes — because you‘d be missing self propelled artillery. Mortars are critical, but they supplement, not replace, proper tube and rocket artillery.
 

IKnowNothing

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Yes — because you‘d be missing self propelled artillery. Mortars are critical, but they supplement, not replace, proper tube and rocket artillery.
Sorry, was focusing on the maneuver elements. Add your preference of Archer/Ceasar/ LAV 6 AGM, same answer?
 

KevinB

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TBH looking at what is available, the Regular Force @ around 22k gives slightly less than 2 Bde’s if one follows the 36% Cbt Formation construct.

I’d argue that is the CA isn’t going to vastly reform the PRes, then creating 1 CABG and 2 CLBG out of the Regs with modern equipment and to cascade the LAV to the PRes…
That involves also giving up and ideas on CSSB and Div assets and working from within Brit and US Div’s. I’m not sure the GoC would like that - but…
 

Ostrozac

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Sorry, was focusing on the maneuver elements. Add your preference of Archer/Ceasar/ LAV 6 ACSV, same answer?
You’d be getting there. You’d have more firepower than a comparable British armoured brigade, but less protection, so you’d probably get the job done with higher casualties.
 

markppcli

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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.
Respectfully we have doctrine that has no grounding in our reality. I challa ge anyone to tell me the last time a Canadian infantry Bn had 4 companies and an Anti Tank company, I suspect it’s only in the fevered dreams of some people in a Kingston basement. Similarly our existing equipment does not let us equip our forces to the doctrinal Orbats; the notional 4 CMBG tank regiment has more tanks in it the entire CAF and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Javelin company in a Canadian Bde.
 

FJAG

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Respectfully we have doctrine that has no grounding in our reality. I challa ge anyone to tell me the last time a Canadian infantry Bn had 4 companies and an Anti Tank company, I suspect it’s only in the fevered dreams of some people in a Kingston basement. Similarly our existing equipment does not let us equip our forces to the doctrinal Orbats; the notional 4 CMBG tank regiment has more tanks in it the entire CAF and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Javelin company in a Canadian Bde.
Interesting this.

Going back to the 70s and early into 1980s the battalions here in Canada had three rifle companies and a combat support company from my recollection. I believe 4 CMBG's battalions may have had four (but I can't swear to it)

During my Army Command and Staff Course we were already playing around with concepts that would mature into Corps 86 (which had many deltas between real world and doctrine over and above the four-company battalion) but the unanswered question was always: "how do we get to the "doctrinal" establishment from the real establishment both as to people and equipment. There was a defining silence as to that.

The closest to a plan that I ever encountered was the designation of G Bty 3 RCHA as a flyover battery to 1 RCHA where we would form its fourth gun battery - Z Bty - on prepositioned M109s. We successfully exercised that plan several times.

I see nothing wrong with having a restricted peacetime organization and a doctrinal wartime one as long as there is a coherent mobilization plan to get from A to B and one exercises it regularly to work out the kinks.

The problem is that after the Cold War shut down, the word "mobilization" became a dirty word. Instead the Army has gone to extremes to build a flexible force that gets cobbled together to suit specific missions with never ending ad hocery. It's really just a bit of a shell game to hide the Army's many deficiencies albeit many might call it "working with what you have" or "managing to stay relevant". I've never been on a MAPLE RESOLVE but considering the nature and scope of our organizations and the way that managed readiness works, I think it falls far short of mobilizing in a way that let's the Army exercises and evaluates doctrinal organizations properly.

Personally I've given up on Canadian Army doctrine. Our need to go our own way seems both unnecessary and arrogant. More and more I find myself drifting to doctrine built around three-company battalions and 14-tank squadrons because those have been war gamed and proven in combat recently rather than being WW2 artifacts. Sure, the extra gear and people are useful, but is it more useful to have four three-company battalions in your army rather than three four-company ones? Is it better to have one Type 56 tank regiment and a fragment rather than two Type 44 regiments?

Whatever doctrine we either adopt or make for ourselves needs to be supported by a clear equipment procurement program and mobilization plan that achieves the doctrinal end state. Ad hocery built around capability deficiencies has to end. If the Army doesn't have a clear doctrinal structure, how can it ever convince politicians to pay for the equipment required? The Army will forever be sucked into making do with whatever inadequate quantities allocated funds will buy.

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IKnowNothing

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Respectfully we have doctrine that has no grounding in our reality. I challa ge anyone to tell me the last time a Canadian infantry Bn had 4 companies and an Anti Tank company, I suspect it’s only in the fevered dreams of some people in a Kingston basement. Similarly our existing equipment does not let us equip our forces to the doctrinal Orbats; the notional 4 CMBG tank regiment has more tanks in it the entire CAF and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Javelin company in a Canadian Bde.
Truthfully, the link I used to use to get to Battalion in Battle, Infantry Section/Platoon is defunct so I'm going off memory (stupid for not downloading), but as I recall the much more recent Infantry Section/Platoon describes a 3 coy Bn with an AT/Direct Fire Platoon, not Coy, and Bn in battle allowed for those expansions but didn't necessarily prescribe them. When faced with contradictory bureaucratic information I go with the most recent. I also might be completely imagining that, but suffice to say when I was referring to a doctrinal mech Bn it's 3 line Coy, AT platoon, recce platoon, mortar platoon, assault pioneer platoon, a doctrinal tank regiment as a type 56/7.

That being said, respectfully, you're hammering home my point. We have enough tanks for a type 56, we just decided not to follow doctrine and didn't upgrade enough to combat standard. We have enough LAV hulls to mount x number of doctrinal mech Bn's, but we didn't equip the necessary weapons systems/ variants, and are spreading them too thin.

I challenge that when viewed from a long term perspective it's not that doctrine has no grounding in reality, it's that CA senior leadership has done a pisspoor job organizing and equipping the army to follow it.
 
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GR66

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Interesting this.

Going back to the 70s and early into 1980s the battalions here in Canada had three rifle companies and a combat support company from my recollection. I believe 4 CMBG's battalions may have had four (but I can't swear to it)

During my Army Command and Staff Course we were already playing around with concepts that would mature into Corps 86 (which had many deltas between real world and doctrine over and above the four-company battalion) but the unanswered question was always: "how do we get to the "doctrinal" establishment from the real establishment both as to people and equipment. There was a defining silence as to that.

The closest to a plan that I ever encountered was the designation of G Bty 3 RCHA as a flyover battery to 1 RCHA where we would form its fourth gun battery - Z Bty - on prepositioned M109s. We successfully exercised that plan several times.

I see nothing wrong with having a restricted peacetime organization and a doctrinal wartime one as long as there is a coherent mobilization plan to get from A to B and one exercises it regularly to work out the kinks.

The problem is that after the Cold War shut down, the word "mobilization" became a dirty word. Instead the Army has gone to extremes to build a flexible force that gets cobbled together to suit specific missions with never ending ad hocery. It's really just a bit of a shell game to hide the Army's many deficiencies albeit many might call it "working with what you have" or "managing to stay relevant". I've never been on a MAPLE RESOLVE but considering the nature and scope of our organizations and the way that managed readiness works, I think it falls far short of mobilizing in a way that let's the Army exercises and evaluates doctrinal organizations properly.

Personally I've given up on Canadian Army doctrine. Our need to go our own way seems both unnecessary and arrogant. More and more I find myself drifting to doctrine built around three-company battalions and 14-tank squadrons because those have been war gamed and proven in combat recently rather than being WW2 artifacts. Sure, the extra gear and people are useful, but is it more useful to have four three-company battalions in your army rather than three four-company ones? Is it better to have one Type 56 tank regiment and a fragment rather than two Type 44 regiments?

Whatever doctrine we either adopt or make for ourselves needs to be supported by a clear equipment procurement program and mobilization plan that achieves the doctrinal end state. Ad hocery built around capability deficiencies has to end. If the Army doesn't have a clear doctrinal structure, how can it ever convince politicians to pay for the equipment required? The Army will forever be sucked into making do with whatever inadequate quantities allocated funds will buy.


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Several have said it here previously. If we deploy (especially for major combat operations) it will with certainty be alongside the US military.

In our organization and equipment purchases we should strive for as much commonality and interoperability with the US as possible. We should be able to more or less seamlessly plug a Canadian BCT (lets even start using their terminology to avoid confusion) into a US Division. If we ever get our act together enough to deploy a Canadian-led Division we should also be able to more or less seamlessly plug an American BCT into our formation.

No need to constantly try to re-invent the wheel. Is the US system/equipment perfect? No, but nobody has the perfect system/equipment. Their overall package though is clearly superior to ours. Take advantage of the economy of scale in joint/common equipment purchases. If we do that consistently we might even lure some defence production North of the border.

Some would say that copying the Americans would be surrendering some of our sovereignty, but I'd suggest that if the US government sees us an actually useful contributor to our collective defence it will rather increase the say we have at the political table.

$.02
 

KevinB

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Which is where IMHO it’s better to have 2 properly resourced Regular Bde’s than 4 that seem to strive for inadequacy. Or 4 Total Force Bde’s that are properly organized and equipped than the ~11 that exist on paper.

Honestly with 22k regulars, and 17k PRes that’s 39k troops All Ranks.

Using the 36% Cbt Formation that works out to 14k for Bde’s, and at 4,500 per Bde (ish) that works out to 3.1
Given the CAF doesn’t have the seem churn as the US Army, I don’t think the Admin and Support #’s need to be as high as down here, so I think that 4 Bde is very doable.
It also provided for robust support and schools to allow for mobilization.

1 Armoured
2 Light (Airborne, Air Mobile, with Arctic and Mountain sub specialties
1 Med (and honestly I’d burn the Med Bde if the CAF didn’t have a zillion LAV)
Put remaining LAV in storage for mobilization needs or protected mobility for Light units on Peace Support Ops.

Those should be setup to plug and play with the US Army - but I’d accept 1 of the Light Bde’s setup for work with the USMC too).
 

GR66

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Which is where IMHO it’s better to have 2 properly resourced Regular Bde’s than 4 that seem to strive for inadequacy. Or 4 Total Force Bde’s that are properly organized and equipped than the ~11 that exist on paper.

Honestly with 22k regulars, and 17k PRes that’s 39k troops All Ranks.

Using the 36% Cbt Formation that works out to 14k for Bde’s, and at 4,500 per Bde (ish) that works out to 3.1
Given the CAF doesn’t have the seem churn as the US Army, I don’t think the Admin and Support #’s need to be as high as down here, so I think that 4 Bde is very doable.
It also provided for robust support and schools to allow for mobilization.

1 Armoured
2 Light (Airborne, Air Mobile, with Arctic and Mountain sub specialties
1 Med (and honestly I’d burn the Med Bde if the CAF didn’t have a zillion LAV)
Put remaining LAV in storage for mobilization needs or protected mobility for Light units on Peace Support Ops.

Those should be setup to plug and play with the US Army - but I’d accept 1 of the Light Bde’s setup for work with the USMC too).
Under your proposal I could possibly see something like this as an evolution:

1 x ABCT
We don't currently have the equipment required for one and personally I'd wait until the winner of the Bradley replacement program (Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle) is determined before we look at acquiring the required equipment. No point starting out with kit that is already on its way out the door in the US.
Logically our Heavy "break glass in case of fire" force should be a 30/70 formation. The Reserves are not yet at a point where they can provide that 70% contribution.
So to me it would make sense to "put a pin" in this one for now. Do what we need to do to maintain our tank skills (and ideally start shifting from the Leopard to the Abrams) and our mounted infantry skills while we work on making the changes required to the Reserves to allow them to fulfill the required role and while we wait for procurement programs to provide the required equipment.

2 x IBCT
Should not be terribly difficult to begin aligning our structure to match the American model and also the unit type that lends itself best currently to Reserve augmentation.
Technically our Brigades are already at 70% manning so we could begin formalizing the augmentation between the Reserves and the Reg Force elements.
Eventually we may want to shift some of the Battalions to a 30/70 Reg/Reserve ratio once the Reserve system is overhauled.

1 x SBCT
LAVs are already there. Manning is at 70% already but some work will be required to get the Reserves to fulfill 30%, especially in the more technical elements.
Being a single BCT we could focus on a single geographic region for upgrading the Reserve technical capabilities. To start we could look at filling 30% as primarily dismounts. Eventually you might want to shift at least one of the Battalions to a 30/70 ratio.

I'm assuming your 4 x Brigade proposal excludes any plans for Divisional-level assets or plans for Canadian Divisional HQ deployments? Current CSSB elements would be distributed into the BCT structures? Or could you maybe replace one of the IBCTs with a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade?
 

daftandbarmy

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Which is where IMHO it’s better to have 2 properly resourced Regular Bde’s than 4 that seem to strive for inadequacy. Or 4 Total Force Bde’s that are properly organized and equipped than the ~11 that exist on paper.

Honestly with 22k regulars, and 17k PRes that’s 39k troops All Ranks.

No.

That's 22k regulars with a mish mash of full time and part time reservists that, because of prevailing CAF policies and leadership postures, might be described as, at best, unreliable and, at worst, a dangerous liability. ;)
 

IKnowNothing

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During my Army Command and Staff Course we were already playing around with concepts that would mature into Corps 86 (which had many deltas between real world and doctrine over and above the four-company battalion) but the unanswered question was always: "how do we get to the "doctrinal" establishment from the real establishment both as to people and equipment. There was a defining silence as to that.
It strikes that said silence would exist regardless. Old Canadian doctrine, new canadian doctrine, SBCT, IBCT, ABCT, Deep Strike...
Seems like regardless of what was written the decisions made over the last 20 years would have similarly ignored it and the same gaps would exist.
 

KevinB

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No.

That's 22k regulars with a mish mash of full time and part time reservists that, because of prevailing CAF policies and leadership postures, might be described as, at best, unreliable and, at worst, a dangerous liability. ;)
I don’t make a lot of expectations out of the current PRes structure.
The only way for Canada to realistically be able to field more than two actual Combat ready Bde’s is to totally rework the PRes system.
 

Brad Sallows

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Some micro complaints about the Res F:
1. Spends too much time prepping/loading/unloading/cleaning/storing eqpt relative to training time; and attendance isn't mandatory.
2. Consequently doesn't execute enough pl/coy battle tasks in the course of a year.
3. Consequently has decreasingly skilled people relative to increasing rank, which affects the quality of the little bit of actual training at (1).

That wheel must be broken.

Regarding the general mobilization scenario, many (most) Res F officers will not be capable in command roles. Most will be capable in staff roles. The Res F could better prepare by participating in more long staff exercises (under canvas, not in barracks or armouries). I doubt the Res F is capable of adequately training itself in this regard (at least, not yet).

Someone is going to have to try mixed units at some point. If they work, reinforce success and start withdrawing resources from failures.
 

daftandbarmy

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Some micro complaints about the Res F:
1. Spends too much time prepping/loading/unloading/cleaning/storing eqpt relative to training time; and attendance isn't mandatory.
2. Consequently doesn't execute enough pl/coy battle tasks in the course of a year.
3. Consequently has decreasingly skilled people relative to increasing rank, which affects the quality of the little bit of actual training at (1).

That wheel must be broken.

Regarding the general mobilization scenario, many (most) Res F officers will not be capable in command roles. Most will be capable in staff roles. The Res F could better prepare by participating in more long staff exercises (under canvas, not in barracks or armouries). I doubt the Res F is capable of adequately training itself in this regard (at least, not yet).

Someone is going to have to try mixed units at some point. If they work, reinforce success and start withdrawing resources from failures.

The people in the Reserves are/ have the potential to be generally excellent.

The biggest issue is no clear vision/mission/goals.

As a result, every direction people try to lead the reserves is the right one because: these 8 things, especially #3 ;)




.
 

foresterab

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Some micro complaints about the Res F:
1. Spends too much time prepping/loading/unloading/cleaning/storing eqpt relative to training time; and attendance isn't mandatory.
2. Consequently doesn't execute enough pl/coy battle tasks in the course of a year.
3. Consequently has decreasingly skilled people relative to increasing rank, which affects the quality of the little bit of actual training at (1).

That wheel must be broken.

Regarding the general mobilization scenario, many (most) Res F officers will not be capable in command roles. Most will be capable in staff roles. The Res F could better prepare by participating in more long staff exercises (under canvas, not in barracks or armouries). I doubt the Res F is capable of adequately training itself in this regard (at least, not yet).

Someone is going to have to try mixed units at some point. If they work, reinforce success and start withdrawing resources from failures.
This is one of the reasons I think of reserve units being overhauled almost completely with equipment. In my mind the basic vehicle for any reserve unit is a 3/4 ton long box truck that can be serviced via local garage/dealership and allows for 4 passengers per/vehicle.

Why go this route for infantry units?
1. All LAV/Bison/field wrecker units for infantry based units are stored at central, Division maintained, training facilities where assembly of units will occur for annual training.
2. A simplified fleet allows for easier local maintenance but also allows for cheaper sourcing of vehicles via bulk order and logistics support.
3. Truck canopy add-ons allow for mobile treatment centers for limited medical support. These are not ambulances but advanced first aid level care until experts show up.
4. simplified training for basic recruits. Yes training should occur before a person hops from a pickup to a Leopard or LAV but at least you can use all recruits, with minimum training, for basic exercises.
5. Cheap means of planning assembly and road movement exercise. Assemble the unit on a training night and try to go through Montreal as a formed unit while section commanders try to track 3x trucks enroute.
6. You don't need a LAV to show to the public you're the Canadian Army. Uniforms, common trucks with armed forces logo on side, and frankly showing up is what what people want to know.
7. Law enforcement has gun locking mounts for the cab if needed for transport of firearms in the cab.

For field support/Artillery/armour units?
1. Medical units should have some ambulance type units (sorry I'm totally ignorant on what they currently have) under direct care so they can be operate immediately as effective medical support
2. Logistics units should have some tractor trailer rigs and a limited number of flatdeck/lowboy trailers to allow for movement. The trucks are more important than the trailers as you can hook onto civilian sourced trailers.
3. Artillery and armour units. You have heavy expensive loads that need a bigger truck at times. Need competency on how to move and retrieve stuck vehicles but also think this is often better learned during field exercises than paved parking lots.

Reality says that if reserve forces are going to be deployed it's going to be a multiple step process. 1) Movement order, 2) local assembly, 3) assembly at a common brigade/division assembly point, 4) mission order. By simplifying things to basic pick ups you are aligning with 3) assembly at a common brigade/division assembly point where the movement from local armoury to this location may be road transport (so pick up is fine) or air (in which case ground transport is irrelevant).

Again the emphasis here is based upon all reserve units working jointly with regular forces towards annual mobilization and common training. I want the reserves to know at least the annual mission and to be able to train within the limits of their limited personel at each local unit to allow for a larger, more effective formation to be created when joined with regular force units.
 

Brad Sallows

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It's more efficient to load/unload for a 4 day exercise than a 36 hour exercise.

[Add: I get the reluctance to have a situation in which the troops-to-be-trained fall in on their eqpt and drop it off for someone else to finish up with, but at some point the hours available for a part-timer are going to crash into the minimum training hours needed to maintain some given level of expertise, and solutions involving "housekeepers" may have to be considered.]
 
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