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https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/08/14/logistics-woes-could-strain-military-deployments.htmlLogistics woes could strain military deployments
Canada’s military is gearing up for a busy period of overseas deployments but the big task of keeping those missions supplied could stretch resources thin, experts say.
By Bruce Campion-Smith, Ottawa Bureau
14 Aug 2016
OTTAWA—Canada’s military is gearing up for a busy period of overseas deployments but the big task of ferrying troops and supplies to these dispersed missions could stretch defence resources thin, experts say.
With ongoing commitments in the Middle East and Ukraine, a newly announced force for Latvia and an expected mission in Africa, providing logistical support for these widely spread operations could be more than armed forces is able to handle, said retired general Lewis MacKenzie.
“What will make it borderline impossible is the logistics support,” MacKenzie said.
“Forget about asking whether we have the combat arms capability. It’s whether we have the logistics capability to support them properly,” he said in an interview.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is currently on a five-country fact-finding mission in Africa as the Liberal government weighs options for a peace support mission in the region.
But defence analyst Dave Perry said the challenge for Canada’s military won’t be finding troops for that new mission but supporting them in the field.
Having significant operations ongoing in five sites across the globe — Latvia, Iraq, Kuwait, Ukraine and Africa — would test military logistics to keep provisions, gear and troop rotations flowing, he said.
“It’s fairly taxing on the forces’ support capacity,” he said in an interview, noting that the Royal Canadian Air Force has just five CC-177 Globemaster III heavy-lift transport aircraft.
“When you get into doing a lot of missions, a lot of times it’s the logistics and support people that get worn out the fastest,” said Perry, a senior analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
Is it time to invest more into the CAF's logistics? This is an area where we always force the personnel to do more with less. When resources are available for investment, there is also a tendency to invest those resources into Op functions with the idea that the CSS stuff will be sorted out later ... but "later" never happens and the logisticians are called to sp new capabilities with out new resources of their own.
In the Army, we have 4 GS Arty Regt as a Div Arty asset. But we do not have a Division Support Group (DISGP) to provide a Div CSS asset. 4 ESR exists as a Div Engr asset, and it is posturing itself as the force generator for the JTFSC theatre opening function. But we do not have a Joint Services Battalion to function as the CSS force generator for the JTFSC (and, CSS is the biggest part of what the JTFSC is). Instead, we have three service battalions - each one with bi-polar responsibilities to support their brigade, support their garrison/base, provide Div CSS functions on Ex MR, and force generate the CSS to both the tactical and operational level on deployed operations.
I don't know that we necessarily need a "J Svc Bn" but I do think we are overly thin on our CSS force generation base. Partially this is because of the double hatting of field and garrison support personnel.
We don't have fully deployable CSS organizations because the units all retain significant garrison responsibilities. Is that a problem? The experiment to split field and garrison between a CS Bn and a GS Bn (~12 years ago) failed when it was not resourced adequately. Should we try this again with an investment of PYs?
... and then there are the strat assets mentioned in the article - the airlift and sealift.