I am resurrecting an 2+ year old thread rather than start a new one, because I think this fits with the topic ...
I'm surprised no one is mentioning all the new things going on for the naval reserves. The mission of the Naval reserves will be Class A, Orca and new NST. The MCDV's are changing 40% of their billets to regular force this year, and the year after 100%. All class of ship will have 5% reserves at any one time in the future, mostly as back fills. Contracts up to a year will be given no more than two consecutive contracts. All members on Class B/C that have a year experience Class C in the last 5 years will be offered a transfer at rank up to PO1 and LCdr.
I think we, Canada, at large and DND and the CF, in particular, owe the NAVRES a vote of thanks for showing us both the capabilities and limitations of reserve forces over the past 25 years.
class of ships was, originally, more about "industrial support" for (then) HDIL (Halifax-Dartmouth Industries Limited) and SNC-Lavelin
than it was about the Navy's needs or wants and the decision to make them "shad boats" (reserve crewed vessels) was taken because the big, institutional (regular) Navy wasn't terribly interested.
The Naval Reserve, 4,000ish
people in 24 Naval Reserve Divisions, was able to provide 400+ (well enough) trained people to crew a dozen small warships, top to bottom. But, as the years wore on the "bill" could only be paid by having, as the NAVGEN message
says, "A CADRE OF FULL-TIME CLASS C RESERVISTS WHO FOR SEVERAL YEARS WERE ABLE TO MEET KINGSTON MANNING REQUIREMENTS," but who were, essentially a new, second tier of the NAVRES: full time, at sea, not "at home" training reserve sailors in their Divisions for the NAVRES' primary task: augmentation of the fleet. But, the NAVRES showed us all what good people can do when there is opportunity, which in this case, meant a flotilla of modern ships. If the 4,000 strong NAVRES could crew a dozen ships we have to assume that the 18,000 people in the Army Reserve ought to be able to field, say, 50+ (well enough trained) platoon/troop sized units from within the 11 Reserve brigades, IF they had enough proper equipment and fuel and ammunition etc for training.
The Naval Reserve also showed us the limits of trying to do too much with too little. The Navy is right, in my opinion
, to want one "full time" fleet, crewed, in the main, by regulars and augmented by reservists and to have a reserve "base" from which "surge" manning, in a war, can be found without having to build the foundations. I do not doubt that the NAVRES can provide hundreds of well enough trained people to augment ships for both work-a-day tasks and for training. Equally, I do not doubt, that, given the right focus, each Canadian Army Reserve brigade could produce four or five platoon/troop sized units to, annually, train with regular force regiments and battalions, and
to provide hundreds of individual augmentees on an ongoing basis.
But what the NAVRES did to and for the Navy, and vice-versa, was only possible because there was both equipment, the Kingston
class ships, (and now the Orcas
), and money
available to make it happen. The Army Reserve, it appears to me
, from far away, lacks both ... and maybe more.
The key, 20+ years ago, was that the institutional Navy was committed to making the Kingston
class ships at least minimally useful so resources were provided ... sometimes grudgingly, but more and more freely as the little Kingstons
proved their worth in training and operations from the High Arctic to the Caribbean.
I wonder if the institutional Army's leadership has anything like that sense of commitment to the Army Reserve.It seems to me
that we, Canada, needs the Department and the CF to recognize the capabilities and limitations of its reserve forces and direct, staff, equip and fund them to do practical, achievable, useful, important things.Edit: typo