Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1125983 times)

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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).

Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline 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.

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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?
Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

Offline 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...
Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

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.



Everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions.

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

Offline 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

Offline MilEME09

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I have brought it up many times and RCEME corp is going to look into courses for the ARes in the fall and winter months because thats the better time if your not a student.
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Offline mariomike

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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.

That was the way it seemed to me. Joined the CAF Student Summer Employment Plan (SSEP) at age 16.


Offline daftandbarmy

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That was the way it seemed to me. Joined the CAF Student Summer Employment Plan (SSEP) at age 16.

Which is an excellent example of something we should have continued.
"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 Jarnhamar

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Quote from: Jonezy76
My belief is that not many folk would be happy as a Cpl forever.


Our culture promotes getting paid more money and gaining rank as signs of success.

We also built up a stigma around members who don't want to be promoted and deal with the BS that comes with climbing up in rank.

If someone wants to fix helicopters their whole career and not be a leader I think that's great. They'll become a hell of an expert in that field.

I don't see why reserves can't run smaller plq course at their home units if they need to promote that bad.

The down side is those new leaders are far far behind in skills (and I'd say equality) when compared to someone hammering out the same course full time over 6 weeks. You learn a lot in the in-between times between PO checks.
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Offline mariomike

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Which is an excellent example of something we should have continued.

I can't speak highly enough of SSEP. We were all the same age. At 16 most young people are more easily "moldable" than when they get older. 

It's not uncommon now to read of applicants with "Life Experience" going on social media to ask questions.

Not to say SSEP was better or worse than that. Just different.


« Last Edit: September 21, 2019, 13:05:56 by mariomike »

Offline FJAG

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I can't speak highly enough of SSEP. We were all the same age. At 16 most young people are more easily "moldable" than when they get older. 

It's not uncommon now to read of applicants with "Life Experience" going on social media to ask questions.

Not to say SSEP was better or worse than that. Just different.

Ditto. The funny thing is that at the time I never realized there were other ways to become a soldier and I never even dreamed of becoming an officer back then. Maybe I was a bit more motivated to the military than the average flower children of the mid 60s that were all around me but I have to admit, pretty much everything that has become my life started in SSEP.

 :cheers:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Ditto. The funny thing is that at the time I never realized there were other ways to become a soldier and I never even dreamed of becoming an officer back then. Maybe I was a bit more motivated to the military than the average flower children of the mid 60s that were all around me but I have to admit, pretty much everything that has become my life started in SSEP.

 :cheers:

If anyone were ever able to align the Cadets properly with the rest of the CAF, the line of sight would be pretty much: Cadets, SYEP/SSEP, Reserves, RegF (then back to support the reserves or cadets on retirement).

Call it the 'Full circle program' or something like that.
"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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Our Navy League is a major feeder for the 3 other cadet corps, but we are left out in the wild. My unit used to have tight bonds with the Army cadets, who would come out and be part of the gun crews, who then joined the unit and were generally great additions as they have already learned a lot and generally were better at drill then the rest of us.