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Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves

Halifax Tar

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I am enjoying this dissucssion and learning lots. 

Out of left field is there any lessons that could be learned from the way the RCN and RCAF organize, operate and employ their respective reserve forces ?
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
Once again you have put your finger right on the problem which is that the Regular Force is looking for augmentees to fill holes either as day-to-day administrative Class Bs or as surge operational Class Cs.

With respect, that is a limited view of what the reserves could be capable of if properly organized and trained. The current system relegates them to an "office overload" position which does nothing to expand the capabilities of the total force which quite frankly is a bloody weak organization at best because Regular Force personnel costs are sapping the organization of money for critical equipment and operations and maintenance.

To quote a much used phrase "reserves add depth and breadth". Augmentation is only depth. Reserves currently provide only very limited breadth. It could provide much more.

:cheers:

One might lead to another e.g., if the the Reserves get good at the 'augmenting' thing then, over time, they can build the capacity to do the 'stand alone' thing.

Going from what we are capable of now (IMHO, barley able to get the augmenting thing sorted out) straight to providing independent sub-units for immediate integration into Reg F units is a tricky 'peak leap', from both a policy and practical point of view.
 

Loch Sloy!

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One might lead to another e.g., if the the Reserves get good at the 'augmenting' thing then, over time, they can build the capacity to do the 'stand alone' thing.

Going from what we are capable of now (IMHO, barley able to get the augmenting thing sorted out) straight to providing independent sub-units for immediate integration into Reg F units is a tricky 'peak leap', from both a policy and practical point of view.

Not sure what you mean by "barely capable" of augmenting the Reg Force. The Calgary Highlanders have augmented virtually every 3 Div deployment for the last 15 years or so. We currently have pers augmenting various Reg Force Units in multiple (at least 3) theaters.

As we speak there is a 100% PRes mortar platoon deployed to Latvia. Considering that this capability was rebuilt within the army from scratch, and the flash to bang was less than 2 years I think that is a pretty good indicator that deployable (vs. deplorable ;) ) formed PRes sub-units are realistic right now.
 

MilEME09

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Sub sub unit or sub unit is semantics, point was the Pres deployed a body that wasn't just individual augmenties, now this is a success case, cant say I have heard of other units yet reaching those platoon deployment objectives set by the army
 

Loch Sloy!

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I get that a mortar platoon is not a company... however take at the look at a mortar platoon ORBAT, it's a large and complex beast.

If we can train and deploy a mortar platoon from scratch, I'm very confident that we (41 brigade) could manage a rifle company.
 

MilEME09

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Loch Sloy! said:
I get that a mortar platoon is not a company... however take at the look at a mortar platoon ORBAT, it's a large and complex beast.

If we can train and deploy a mortar platoon from scratch, I'm very confident that we (41 brigade) could manage a rifle company.

Does the Highlanders and the LER have the manning for a rifle company? I think a bigger milestone will be if we or any other brigade can have each units platoon task deployed at the same time, recce troop, combined CSS platoon, etc
.... such a deployment would represent a company + in assets.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Could you have a brigade provide the company, where each infantry unit works at providing a platoon and other units fill different positions (mortar, driver, medic, storesman, etc)?
 

dapaterson

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Loch Sloy! said:
I get that a mortar platoon is not a company... however take at the look at a mortar platoon ORBAT, it's a large and complex beast.

If we can train and deploy a mortar platoon from scratch, I'm very confident that we (41 brigade) could manage a rifle company.

No.  A mortar platoon is small and straightforward.  It's an important achievement, but it's neither large nor complex.

As with many of Canada's Army Reserve formations, 41 CBG has the trained strength to justify a single LCol in command.  (Assuming all Pte R, Pte B, OCdt and 2Lt are not yet OFP).  The trained strength of infanteers across the brigade could form two companies at 100% attendance.  Based on the 3:1 rule of thumb for Res F availability, 41 CBG would be hard pressed to generate a rifle company - more likely, a company HQ, two platoons of infantry (with luck) and a third composite company of ATR soldiers.

DWAN only link: http://mcs-lcm.forces.mil.ca/MCSPersonnel/Default.aspx#MOS:!FRC:pRes!LZ:9824!RNK:!CIV:
 

daftandbarmy

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Loch Sloy! said:
Not sure what you mean by "barely capable" of augmenting the Reg Force. The Calgary Highlanders have augmented virtually every 3 Div deployment for the last 15 years or so. We currently have pers augmenting various Reg Force Units in multiple (at least 3) theaters.

As we speak there is a 100% PRes mortar platoon deployed to Latvia. Considering that this capability was rebuilt within the army from scratch, and the flash to bang was less than 2 years I think that is a pretty good indicator that deployable (vs. deplorable ;) ) formed PRes sub-units are realistic right now.


Yes, I know the Cal His are awesome. You rock. Now.

But what about the other several thousand Class As across Canada?  Can your awesomeness be sustained forever?

Accidents of geography and access to resources, like a lot of retired Reg F people for example, or downturns in the economy that incent people to join up, are no way to ‘run a railroad’ over the longer term.

Not saying that’s the case for you, but I’ve certainly seen those factors influence units I’ve been part of over the last couple of decades.
 

OldSolduer

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dapaterson said:
No.  A mortar platoon is small and straightforward.  It's an important achievement, but it's neither large nor complex.

Not straight forward - in terms of personnel required to competently man six 81 mm medium mortars you need a decent command element and trained MFCs.
Its also not terribly easy to train competent numbers on the mortars themselves.

Mortar Platoons in the 70s and 80s at wartime strength was at that time in about the 50 all ranks range.

NOT straightforward.


 

Kirkhill

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I note that this conversation started with mention of units fielding 4 Grizzlies.

I was in the "Calg Highrs" when we had our 4 Grizzlies.

Maintenance wasn't a problem.  Because we didn't use them.

I remember them being used locally to train drivers and VCs. I remember a dog and pony show recruiting exercise in a classy mall (trying not to damage the marble).  I remember a singular road move to Suffield preceeding an exercise where me and my buddies tried to dig trenches in hardpan and never caught a glimpse of our Grizzlies.

We had ranges at Harvey Barracks so we could have trained gunners.  Just like we could have trained riflemen, grenadiers, machine-gunners, 60 mm mortarmen, CG men and asslt pnrs.  We didn't lack facilities.

We didn't lack for willing offrs, NCOs or troops.

We lacked dollars.

Dollars to hire the troops for training (offrs and NCOs were donating more time than we were getting paid for)
Dollars to buy beans
Dollars to buy bullets, bombs and pyro
Dollars fuel for buses, jeeps, 5/4s, deuces and grizzlies to get to ranges.
Dollars for range staff....

Recruiting people to play with toys is not a problem.  Keeping them more than 30 days was and is a challenge.
 

PuckChaser

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Loch Sloy! said:
If we can train and deploy a mortar platoon from scratch, I'm very confident that we (41 brigade) could manage a rifle company.

Shouldn't take an entire brigade to field a rifle company...
 

MilEME09

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PuckChaser said:
Shouldn't take an entire brigade to field a rifle company...

If we were manned at actual brigade strength I would agree with you. But the reserves in canada are not manned at proper strength for what they are.
 

dapaterson

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MilEME09 said:
If we were manned at actual brigade strength I would agree with you. But the reserves in canada are not manned at proper strength for what they are.

The Reserve brigades are not properly structured.  The GoC goal is a 30K Res F, about 75% Army.  That's 22.5K.  BTL and recruiting overhead of 4.5K leaves 18K trained strength.  That's four brigades, not ten.

Res F structure is stuck in 1946.
 

MJP

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Loch Sloy! said:
Not sure what you mean by "barely capable" of augmenting the Reg Force. The Calgary Highlanders have augmented virtually every 3 Div deployment for the last 15 years or so. We currently have pers augmenting various Reg Force Units in multiple (at least 3) theaters.

As we speak there is a 100% PRes mortar platoon deployed to Latvia. Considering that this capability was rebuilt within the army from scratch, and the flash to bang was less than 2 years I think that is a pretty good indicator that deployable (vs. deplorable ;) ) formed PRes sub-units are realistic right now.

It was a great achievement but it really took a Div effort to produce one Pl and even then it was dicey and required Ref F augmentation at all stages to get it done.  Hardly a marker for a self sustaining ResF or the CA to rest its laurels on and say fait accompli. 


 

CBH99

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The Calg Highlanders also deployed a sub-unit to Afghanistan for I believe 2 rotations in a row, in additional to other augmentations.

The RegF was required to stand up the capability as they were the ones who had some experience with mortars, and the mortars themselves.  The training on mortars & the mortars themselves came from the RegF, and it was the RegF who was needed to assist in standing up the capability.


Now that the unit has mortars, instructors, and the ability to generate troops to provide that capability - RegF involvement is minimal.  (From what I understand, anyway)
 

Kirkhill

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dapaterson said:
The Reserve brigades are not properly structured.  The GoC goal is a 30K Res F, about 75% Army.  That's 22.5K.  BTL and recruiting overhead of 4.5K leaves 18K trained strength.  That's four brigades, not ten.

Res F structure is stuck in 1946.

18000 / 120 nominal units = 150 TES per reserve unit = 1 Coy + 1 Cadre = 1 Capt + 1 Maj

120 Coys / 4 Brigades = 30 Res Coys per Res Brigade

1 Res Bde / Area 

So how do you want to regiment your companies?

Land Force Structure

CanSOFCom

1 Div (1,2 and 5 Bde)

Res Div (R2, R3, R4 and R5 Bdes)

Canadian Rangers

What do we want to do with those troops?

What tools do they need to do the job effectively?

How much training do they need?  How often?  Can they be put on a long return spring once trained?

Myself, I have argued, and continue to argue, that reserve units should essentially be foot borne rifle companies focused on lots of practice of BMQ skills with a secondary function as a repository for skilled trades released from the regs but still under obligation to the colours.

Small arms, comms and roadworthy vehicles as a priority.
 

daftandbarmy

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PuckChaser said:
Shouldn't take an entire brigade to field a rifle company...

Good point.

I've been the OC for reservist rifle companies that required 3 different brigades to 'field'....

.... that we were able to get our act together at all was a testament to the excellent leadership at the platoon level (Officers, SNCOs and NCMs), usually just in time to be embarrassed by the directing staff invigilating over advanced tasks that we were thrown into at short notice which, while serving in the Reg F, I had had weeks to prepare a rifle company for :)
 

FJAG

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I'd be the last guy to demean anyone's achievements in turning out a platoon to support the regular force. In fact I'd go so far as to laud it as quite an achievement considering how heavily the whole system is stacked on achieving that so, good on 'ya Cal His.

In answer to these points:

MCG said:
... or is the problem a Reserve Force with ambitions to deploy itself internationally in formed sub-units, units, and formations even in the absence of a requirement?

The requirement is that SSE, amongst other things, recognizes Russia and China as a threat and proposes that we have forces capable of deterring and fighting them. We currently do not have the equipment to do that. and our three brigades seem hard pressed to get out a couple of battle groups at any one time. We need a lower cost alternative, even if that has more risk. (and quite frankly having a company of LAVs with little anti armour, artillery, air defence, no reinforcement plan and a whole lot of other things that would help them survive a fight is in my mind an enormous risk. We need to do better.


MCG said:
So your proposal is to cut the Regular Force?

If that's what it takes to ensure that our regular force and reserve force is properly equipped, trained and maintained then absolutely. Right now we p*** away half of our defence budget on salaries. Our aging equipment is taking up an inordinate percentage of the remaining budget just to keep stuff on the road. Leslie pointed out in 2011 how bloated our headquarters have become. Rather than taking action on that NDHQ tinkered away very little on the job after he was gone. I'd start by cutting headquarters. I've attached an article of some folks who did it.

MCG said:
Just because a thing can be done, it does not follow that the thing should be done.  What is the requirement for (and what problem is being fixed by) getting third-rate armoured fighting vehicles and establishing support brigades for the reserves?  Do we think that we could mobilize units in a Saxon or Grizzly like vehicle and deploy these without catastrophic results against a peer enemy?  Or would we really be buying these for the glory of the units which would park them at the armouries?

Who says they should be third rate? Maybe as an interim training and organization measure but in the end we should never give any soldier (regular or reserve) any equipment he can't fight with. Giving the reserves hand-me-downs is part of the attitude problem what permeates the system. I totally agree that under the current system it makes little sense. That's why I'm a strong advocate that the system (both regular and reserve) needs to be torn down and rebuilt in a way that creates a balance of risks and costs through the use of a combined total force where the regulars are there to meet the day-to-day issues that the forces must face and the reserves are there (trained and equipped) to meet the extreme situations where a lethal and credible force is needed. Right now we have neither a lethal nor credible force.

I'll be honest with you. I think Hellier s****d the pooch back in the day when he bought into the Stryker concept. He took his eye off the heavy stuff. He wasn't alone but he was still wrong and we're still playing shell games as a result. Hindsight is 20/20.

:stirpot:
 

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