Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1225713 times)

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Offline MilEME09

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FTSE is designed for those under 5 years of service, meaning for tech trades you womt have a qualified tech until the 5th year if your lucky. DRCCC is for trained personal in the CSS world to get class B contracts upto 90 days (sometimes longer) for skills maintance. I agree that the ARes cant under current structure maintain LAVs, what I foresee working is having LAVs at the major bases Avalible for the Pres to sign out for exercises. Maybe invest in some kind of simulator for training in garrison.

Back to the topic on hand the news releases state 8 varients. I can only seem to count 7, whats the last one? TUA, mortor carrier?

Troop carrier
EW
MRV
MRT
CP
Amb
Engineer
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Do you know if any of the battalions have asked for FTSE personnel for stuff like this?

No, that I don't know, nor do I suspect it would matter as the plan for FTSE was from much higher. I do know that when I was at 2 RCR we spent 2 years trying to get reserve augmentation, even gave it a name "Op REINFORCEMENT," and it transpired into us getting only about 15 reservists for Ex Rugged Bear (Level 3/5 pre-MR training) / Maple Resolve. Except their CFTPOs were only done up until the end of Rugged Bear so half of them had to go home because they had other commitments lined up (not blaming them, blaming the machine for that one).

We also went out of our way to get untrained 2Lts from the Infantry School brought in. We employed them in garrison and in the field. They were with us all the way up to Level 4 live in the fall which is as far as we went that year.

Many FTSE pers are not yet at the OFP - depending how late they are enrolled, some will not even get BMQ in a summer.  While I agree that providing FTSE pers to get OJT with Reg F units would be valuable experience, I don't think Reg F units would like to have dozens on untrained folks in their lines for the summer.

They wouldn't be. They'd be sent on their courses that they are supposed to go on and prioritized for. But at least then they'd have the administrative support to get them on the courses / get them looked after / receive them / employ them during the breaks between courses. One of the struggles I heard for PRes Units was actually trying to administer all this as they had so many people coming and going in and out of the unit. This is not normal for the Reserves in the summer time as they are usually stood down. Everyone goes on their courses and when they aren't on course they are at home because the unit isn't running. Now they were on full-time Class B contracts so they couldn't just be at home doing nothing in the 3 weeks between each course.

That said, there is plenty of stuff at a Battalion that a non-OFP person can be employed. It's not like all of the infantry tasks are rocket science. See above about us employing untrained 2Lts in our rifle companies who were on loan from the infantry school, and speaking to one of them at the Xmas Mess Dinner in December, having just finished his Ph IV, he was quite happy he was training with us the year prior and said it definitely helped him be successful on his courses.

And personally, the best thing I witnessed for our SNCOs and NCOs was after 2 years of having zero privates (the running joke was that they were unicorns) because of the recruitment cycle, all of a sudden there were huge influxes of brand new privates that needed leadership, needed direction, and needed help.

You are def right.  I think the idea of OJEs is a nice one but it really just turns in to filler time and what ends up happening is we end up dumping dozens of untrained people at operational units who really shouldn't be babysitting them.

3x dozen divided by 9 platoons... is 4 per platoon. I suspect I could have taken 8-10 with who I had on the ground at the time and we'd have been better off vice hindered.

Case in point, the annual dog & pony show that is the ROTP summer OJE program.  The Navy tries to run a pretty extensive OJE program but all that ends up happening is we spend many thousands of dollars flying Naval Cadets out to Esquimalt or Halifax for the summer who park themselves and do nothing other than eat rations.

I'm not sure the untrained officers is a fair comparison to a BMQ-qualified troop. There are also a lot more places to employ a BMQ-qualified troop in the Reg Force Army than there are places to employ a untrained Navy officers, so the sheer numbers issue would be less of a factor.


Granted, I'd like to see the number of people in the army, by rank, that took advantage of FTSE this year and last year. There is obviously a lot of assumptions being made on our parts about viability that would be impacted by those numbers.
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Offline MilEME09

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"We are called a Battalion, Authorized to be company strength, parade as a platoon, Operating as a section"

Online FJAG

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https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/taylor-the-battle-to-save-the-canadian-forces-army-reserve

Interesting read, new book to add to my reading list

I'll get it just as soon as I can. It releases tomorrow but doesn't look like it might be available through Amazon.ca at this time.

This got me to review the current Reserves 2000 website and I see that their advocacy still runs to the meaningless. Essentially they are advocating for funding for 15,000 more Army Reservists without any indication as to what one would do with them and no indication as to reforming the system so that the Army Reserve become credible and effective.

 :not-again:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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I'll get it just as soon as I can. It releases tomorrow but doesn't look like it might be available through Amazon.ca at this time.

This got me to review the current Reserves 2000 website and I see that their advocacy still runs to the meaningless. Essentially they are advocating for funding for 15,000 more Army Reservists without any indication as to what one would do with them and no indication as to reforming the system so that the Army Reserve become credible and effective.

 :not-again:

I’ve talked to some of these people. They seem to be a bit cray, cray.

But that was just my first, second and third impressions :)
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Online FJAG

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I’ve talked to some of these people. They seem to be a bit cray, cray.

But that was just my first, second and third impressions :)

I hadn't given them much thought for many years and in fact had thought the organization was defunct until I heard about this book and saw their new website. https://reserves2000.ca/. When you click on the "Take Action" button you get a form letter to send to your Member of Parliament which essentially uses the last auditor-general's quote that the Army's ideal size for the reserves is 29,000 then throws some numbers around and recommends an expansion of 15,000 to the existing 22,000 positions (which if my analog math is still functional works out to 37,000 and not 29,000).

At the moment we're falling short of keeping our strength above 19,000 (lower for DP1 trained). Of all the things wrong with the Army Reserve (much of which but not all is contained in the A-G report) creating another 15,000 positions isn't one of them. Here's an idea. Let's fix all the other crap wrong with the Army Reserve first (like meaningful training, real equipment, a bloody meaningful  purpose) and once we have all that underway then let's see if we need another 15,000.

I've just run a paper exercise with another member on this site to restructure and re-purpose the existing Army Reserve and with 22,606 part-time positions and 2,732 RegF positions (477 more than the current RSS staff and certain Reg F units becoming part of the force [mostly the CCSBde)) you can form two fully staffed mechanized brigade groups, an artillery brigade, a manoeuvre enhancement brigade and a sustainment support brigade each of which is augmented with it's own training depot and an enhanced capability to maintain its own equipment (most of the 477 full-time shortfall is additional maintainers).

15,000 more! Jesus!

 :brickwall:
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 23:55:53 by FJAG »
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Offline tomahawk6

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Why not just expand the Army by 15000 instead of expanding the reserves ?

Offline daftandbarmy

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Why not just expand the Army by 15000 instead of expanding the reserves ?

Then you’d be feeding the wrong egoes...according to these guys anyways.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Colin P

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We need to expand both, but it takes time and money. Not to mention equipment. Plus committed politicians/voters.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/taylor-the-battle-to-save-the-canadian-forces-army-reserve

Interesting read, new book to add to my reading list

From the article:

Quote
Without them, Canada’s military would be hard put to function effectively and the reserve provides four trained soldiers for the cost of just one regular soldier.

Statements like these detract and blind some people, me included, to articles like this.  The average Cl A reserve soldier doesn't have the same capabilities as a Reg Force one, not even close to the same TOS, just as a starting point to pick away at that single statement.

The last part of the statement is a horrible metric to anyone who understands the most very basics of anything above "human waves" in military force employment (IMO).


Online FJAG

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Why not just expand the Army by 15000 instead of expanding the reserves ?

I've expounded on my opinions too often and am probably  :deadhorse: for some time now.

For starters we don't need another 15,000 in the Reg F Army unless we were given a role or mission that substantiated it. Quite frankly while we've been reducing our overall numbers in the Forces, we've been expanding headquarters like drunken sailors. We're up to our butt holes in bureaucrats and quite frankly if we were prepared to recognize that there is a need for a deployable force larger than a battalion plus battle group, we should first drag folks out of our headquarters and into field units through a rigorous slimming down process before adding more people.

That said, our military is one of the highest paid in the world. We currently spend over half of our defence budget on personnel salaries and benefits which severely impacts our ability to fund essential capital projects. Another 15,000 regular force soldiers would be completely unsustainable based on our current budget trends. In fact our current Regular Force numbers are most probably unsustainable. This is why we've had one cut in numbers after the other over the last few decades.

Man for man, year for year, done properly, a reservist should cost approximately one sixth that of an equivalent ranked Regular Force member. We have many good reservists (just like we have many good Reg F soldiers) but for various long standing reasons, we have a sh*tty reserve system. As I said above, we have probably enough reserve positions right now so that they could double the Regular Army's combat power BUT because of our systemic problems, our reserves presently are merely capable of filling some individual holes in existing Reg F establishments and are not able to add any degree of additional combat power (much of which is related to their lack of equipment and lack of collective training.)

Fundamentally we need to seriously overhaul the entire system from the ground up. We need to do that long before we need to add people.

 :cheers:
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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That said, our military is one of the highest paid in the world. We currently spend over half of our defence budget on personnel salaries and benefits which severely impacts our ability to fund essential capital projects.

Is that the real issue, though, or is it our budget itself not being big enough?

Online FJAG

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Is that the real issue, though, or is it our budget itself not being big enough?

I think that it's big enough for the time being. I'm going to do a little cherry picking here.

Italy, like us, spends 1.3% of it's GDP on defence which in 2018 worked out to USD 28 Billion as to our USD 22 Billion for the same period. Italy's regular army numbers 100,000 (plus another 71,000 in their air force and navy) organized (roughly) into a special forces brigade; an army aviation brigade; an Alpine division of two brigades; two deployable division headquarters; an airmobile brigade; a cavalry brigade; an armored brigade; an airborne brigade; five mechanized brigades; an artillery brigade; an anti-air artillery brigade; an engineer brigade; a signals brigade; a military intelligence brigades and numerous support elements. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_of_the_Italian_Army
Fairly well equipped with fairly modern weapons systems
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equipment_of_the_Italian_Army

Japan spends 0.9% of their GDP on defence which works out to USD 47 Billion or a bit over twice our budget. For that they get a 247,000 military (including an army of 150,000) formed into 1 armored and 8 infantry divisions (which in fact are really more like very large all arms brigades; a further 8 more normal sized brigades; and nine combat support brigades
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Ground_Self-Defense_Force#Organisation
Again fairly well equipped:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_modern_equipment_of_the_Japan_Ground_Self-Defense_Force

Our USD 22 Billion basically buys us a little over a battalion-sized special forces, three deployable brigades with a smattering of tanks, two mech and one light battalion each and an anaemic artillery regiment plus one combat support brigade that has a non-deployable headquarters.

If it wasn't for Australia, which with 1.9% of GDP at USD 27 Billion budget and which buys them an Army of only 30,000 and a reserve of 17,500, I'd say we were at the bottom of the heap for value for money spent. Australia has a deployable division headquarters, 3 "mixed" brigades, a combat support brigade, an aviation brigade and a combat service support brigade, a special forces command and an administrative division which holds their six reserve brigades which have problems not dissimilar from those that our own reservists have. Essentially their reserve brigades, like ours are basically administrative in nature and are neither manned nor equipped to the same level as the regular brigades.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Army
https://www.army.gov.au/our-work/speeches-and-transcripts/australian-army-reserve-transformation-a-total-force-address-by

Neither Italy nor Japan are significant users of reserves while Australia, like us, looks at the reserves as an office overload labour pool from which it can round out regular force units and formations but will do nothing in the way of allowing us to expand the regular army beyond it's current limited capabilities. That is a major missed opportunity. One only needs to look at the US Army's National Guard and Army Reserve structures and their recent contributions in the War on Terror to see what the possibilities are.

Why do I feel like you've sucked me into another rant on this subject?  ;)

 :cheers:
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Offline Eaglelord17

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Three simple ways to significantly increase the power of the Reserves without much in the way of change.

1) Federal Gov enacts legislation making it so Reservists are guaranteed time off from civilian job and the job must be held, for the following: International and Local (like the floods, etc.) deployments, Career courses (with a limitation of how often this can happen, so the employer doesn't end up without a worker for most the year), and a 1 month period at the end of the summer.

2) Every summer all Army Reservists will attend and participate in a 1 month exercise at the end of the summer before school starts, as full unit exercises. This should more or less take care of any training differences between the Regs and the Reserves (there would still be a difference, but it would be much smaller and not nearly as much of a gap to close). It would require complete deployment of all equipment and the units will be expected to function as they would in combat with all the equipment they would in combat. I suspect it would be a dismal failure for the first year, but each year afterwards once equipment and capabilities get sorted out, it could lead to a fairly effective force.

3) Take the Reserve Force budget out of the Regular Forces control. This would stabilize the Reserves and allow them to actually have predictable budgeting each year, instead of the current boom/bust method that exists.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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1.  Never going to happen.

2.  1 month a year "full time" will not = 12 months a year full time experience and ability.  There are just too many perishable skills.

Additionally, how many of the Cl A types actually want to give up half of their summer do you think?  People are forgetting, some cl A types like it the way it is...

Offline Remius

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1.  Never going to happen.

2.  1 month a year "full time" will not = 12 months a year full time experience and ability.  There are just too many perishable skills.

Additionally, how many of the Cl A types actually want to give up half of their summer do you think?  People are forgetting, some cl A types like it the way it is...

Nobody wants to give up a month of the summer if the training sucks and they get treated like crap.

Good solid training and being treated professionally with solid employer support and you'd see a good chunk of reservists out.
Optio

Offline Eye In The Sky

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But the statement was "all reservists", making it mandatory not optional.




Offline daftandbarmy

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Like any good marketing challenge you need to decide what the right audience is and target/attract/retain them properly.

The Reserves are basically designed to attract students, high school and university. The focus on summer training is an example of that.

As a result, at most, you can expect to get 5 or 6 years service out of them before life changes etc mean that they move on to other things. Some will stick around, but not enough to guarantee that they will fill the succession plans for various units.

With that in mind, how can we incentivize students (and perhaps teachers and other school/college staff) to join and remain in the reserves? Breaks on their student loans? Civilian employment connections? Additional credits to add to educationally focused resumes?

It seems that a federal organization (DND) might be able to get help from another public service organization (Education) to figure this out.
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Offline mariomike

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Good solid training and being treated professionally with solid employer support and you'd see a good chunk of reservists out.

If you are in a union, you may wish to ask your reps to negotiate a Military Leave Policy into the collective agreement.

We had one where I worked, but not everyone does.




Offline Remius

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If you are in a union, you may wish to ask your reps to negotiate a Military Leave Policy into the collective agreement.

We had one where I worked, but not everyone does.

I work for the PS so getting time off is not an issue.  But not every reservist is a as lucky. I still have to pick my battles though.  One off tasks work fine.  But if I take time off for a dom ops going to the area concentration becomes less of an option.  There is still some give and take.  Not to mention pension implications for taking LWOP or vacation time.  I have exercised my ability to take LWP though for some things. 
Optio

Online FJAG

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Like any good marketing challenge you need to decide what the right audience is and target/attract/retain them properly.

The Reserves are basically designed to attract students, high school and university. The focus on summer training is an example of that.

As a result, at most, you can expect to get 5 or 6 years service out of them before life changes etc mean that they move on to other things. Some will stick around, but not enough to guarantee that they will fill the succession plans for various units.

With that in mind, how can we incentivize students (and perhaps teachers and other school/college staff) to join and remain in the reserves? Breaks on their student loans? Civilian employment connections? Additional credits to add to educationally focused resumes?

It seems that a federal organization (DND) might be able to get help from another public service organization (Education) to figure this out.

Since finishing my article for the CMJ and playing with reserve establishments I've been thinking of dozens of ways to incentivize reserve service. Like the old bugbear about not having enough maintainers to look after equipment if we ever gave any to the reserves. How about teaming with community colleges whereby we pay the tuition and related expenses for young folks to take diesel and/or heavy equipment maintenance courses during the school year (with no salary to them during this time) and then teaching them the military maintenance essentials during one or two full pay summer programs and then requiring 3 or 4 years of part-time service (and maybe even full time jobs with a local service battalion maintaining reserve equipment)

Same kind of thing for truckers and numerous other support and skilled trades that we constantly have difficulty filling. We get several years of skilled service and Canada gets a trained and experienced worker.

Personally, I think that we should maximize the latter high school years and university and college years where getting jobs or practical experience is difficult for most young folks. Helping with schooling expenses and practical full-time summer employment is a great draw but needs to be coupled with compulsory service and training requirements.

We really do want maybe six years of service by youths for the bulk of our Res F rather than 20+ year reserve force careers by teachers and accountants and what nots who probably won't be physically capable of deployment anyway. The critical leadership positions can come from the Reg F pers or transferees and those reservists prepared to commit. Re-enlistment bonuses would help with that. Real and meaningful job protection legislation is also needed but less critical if you thin the herd of old "career" reservist leadership by reducing establishments to several dozen full-sized battalion sized units and maybe five full sized brigades.

Damn. Sucked in again.

 :cheers:

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Offline Jarnhamar

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Reservists need to be held to a stricter work schedule than once every couple months.
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Offline mariomike

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I work for the PS so getting time off is not an issue.  But not every reservist is a as lucky. I still have to pick my battles though.  One off tasks work fine.  But if I take time off for a dom ops going to the area concentration becomes less of an option.  There is still some give and take.  Not to mention pension implications for taking LWOP or vacation time.  I have exercised my ability to take LWP though for some things.

This was / is our Military Leave Policy,

Quote
Employees can take a leave of absence with pay, for the two week period of absence, to attend the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Training Program.

The maximum period of absence is two weeks in a calendar year.

Employees are paid their regular pay provided they submit any compensation received for military service to the city treasurer, unless this compensation is paid for days they are not scheduled to work.

Compensation received for travelling expenses and meal allowance does not have to be returned to the city.

All benefits continue during the leave.

An employee's service is not affected by the leave. An employee's vacation entitlement, and pension credit do not change.
https://wx.toronto.ca/intra/hr/policies.nsf/a8170e9c63677876852577d7004ff7f8/58a35e5368beb69e852567bd006d7e4b?OpenDocument

It cost the city taxpayers double time and a half. Your 80 hours, plus another 80 hours at time and a half for the off-duty people called in to work your shifts.

The highlighted part was interesting.

We worked twenty 12-hour shifts every six weeks. So, if your PRes training landed on your 7 days off, you didn't have to give it to the city treasurer.

I know it was frustrating for our payroll clerks.  :)




« Last Edit: September 20, 2019, 15:58:20 by mariomike »

Offline Jonezy76

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I'm wondering if the 5 week residency portion of PLQ is a major stumbling block for older reservists? (and has a lot to do with retention) I mean, once out of university or college, who can take 5 weeks off of a job to attend? No PLQ=no promotion to MCpl. My belief is that not many folk would be happy as a Cpl forever.

Thankfully I have an understanding employer that will give me the time off if/when it comes.

Forgive me if it has already come up, I only made it through about 50 of 136 pages.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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I'm wondering if the 5 week residency portion of PLQ is a major stumbling block for older reservists? (and has a lot to do with retention) I mean, once out of university or college, who can take 5 weeks off of a job to attend? No PLQ=no promotion to MCpl. My belief is that not many folk would be happy as a Cpl forever.

Thankfully I have an understanding employer that will give me the time off if/when it comes.

Forgive me if it has already come up, I only made it through about 50 of 136 pages.

Everything about training in the Reserves is a stumbling block, unless you happen to be a 20 year old student. That’s the way it’s been designed.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon