Author Topic: Divining the right role, capabilities, structure, and Regimental System for Canada's Army Reserves  (Read 1136756 times)

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Offline Brad Sallows

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The problem with electronic media is that they discourage staff rigour.  Before electronic media became widely available, one either had to distill critical information before passing it around or endure the task of copying in bulk.  Now people simply attach every document under the sun in case each might have some relevance.  As a CYA exercise, it's great: "We provided all necessary information; it's not our fault if it was not read and heeded".  "Brevity" has ceased to be a principle of military writing, with "Clarity" and "Relevance" under substantial attack as well.  Another side effect is the proliferation of ad hoc reports and returns.  When a higher HQ staff officer has the choice of combing through available reports and returns and plans and directives for particular information, or designing a nifty template and firing it off to all subordinate HQs demanding that it be filled out with just the right information in just the right format, which course of action do you think is chosen?
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Offline Bill Smy

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I believe that hierarchy of roles for the Militia (and the Primary Reserve in general) is extremely important. I do not believe that any attempt to produce a vision for the future of the Army Reserve will stand the test if it does not conform to the direction of the Minister: 1) mobilization, 2) linkage to the community, and 3) augmentation.

In the past, various attempts to define the missions and tasks to be assigned to the Militia have become exercises of â Å“cherry pickingâ ?, choosing those that were popular at the time, or which were thought to be financially viable, ignoring government policy. The VCDS paper of 26 Nov 99 (para 23d), is an example; it reverses completely the roles as stated by the Minister, in all likelihood because augmentation was the current necessity of the Regular Force, and at the time the most popular amongst the staff which was under pressure to respond to the events and crisis of the day. The result of this approach has been years of confusion, and the resultant dissatisfaction in both the Regular and Reserve community with the current status of the Reserve Army.

Some have even put forward that one role of the Reserves is to provide part-time employment (Land Force Reserve Restructure Strategic Plan of 6 Oct 00).

Perhaps the most important result of ANY restructuring plan will relate to the development of leadership in the Army Reserve. One measure of healthy units is succession. Healthy units have at least two officers trained and qualified to take command, and two senior NCOs ready to be RSM. In addition, the numbers in the follow-on ranks must be large enough to sustain that capability. That does not happen overnight. It is a fact of life that some Reservists leave their parent unit due to employment, education and personal reasons. They often transfer to other units, and in some case leave the Reserves altogether but return later when circumstances permit. Career planning is difficult, but not impossible. Any restructure plan must dictate methods which foster the development of these leaders.

I also believe (with over 32 years experience) that too often the aim of our military training appears to be designed to result in failure, rather than success. In many cases, thousands of dollars have already been invested in the individual, and when resources are scarce this is a wasteful practice which should not be tolerated. Additionally, it most likely discards many who, with proper help and encouragement, would be assets to the Reserve. How would our civilian educational system respond if we told teachers we expected them to fail students, rather than teach, develop and pass?

If the Army Reserve is truly to be a basis for mobilization, I believe that a priority in the listing of Mission statements should be one which addresses the size of the Army Reserve. It is an acknowledged fact that a Regular Force unit is incapable of deploying its total strength to meet an operational task. â Å“Wastageâ ? is inevitable, either through age, medical fitness, personal situations, or levels of training. We need not look further than the current â Å“weeding outâ ? of Regular Force battalions as they prepare to deploy on peacekeeping. The Army Reserve has the same problems and in a new structure one not four or five times the size of the Regular Force will not have the capability of achieving its Mission on mobilization. This is a simple fact, but one which some planners refuse to address, for a variety of reasons.

Any structuring plan must reflect the necessity of creating a training system for the Army Reserve which will reflect the reality of a true Reservist who has about 40 days a year to devote to the military, whether it be on a rifle range, in a gas hut, or in a lecture room receiving sensitivity training. Units overburdened with unnecessary individual training and administrative tasks will never be able to adequately exercise their operational tasks.

 :salute:
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Offline Michael Dorosh

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That's nice from a macro view, Bill, but what about the university student who, already devoting his time to study and exams, just wants a stable and steady source of income?  "Unncessary training and administration" as you call it translates to the individual junior soldier as another day's pay.  Getting jacked around and not knowing how many days you are likely to train from month to month does little for retention, and highlights one of the many forms of wastage - rather than "wasting" money on unnecessary training, you are wasting money on training a soldier and having him quit after the first summer because McDonald's is more flexible with hours and more generous with work opportunities...

Some people are of the opinion that the Reserves are "just" a hobby, others that whatever it is, it shouldn't be a "part time job".  But to thousands of students, that's exactly what it is.  Few can juggle school, the reserves, and another source of income on top of that.  He doesn't care about deploying as a complete company/battery/squadron, he just wants some money to buy beer with at the end of the school week.

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Offline 54/102 CEF

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Hi!

I promise to behave myself for the rest of the year!     
A few points from the last few posts --

Part time Jobs? Definitely. Need at least 50% more part timers. Hire the regulars to help make it happen. And it should go to the USA or UK full pay rate model. Anything less is miserly and does not separate the deployable folks from those who will never do more than the monthly parades and summertime trips to the Bde Ex.

Full time jobs? I believe there is not enough turnover to have a real recruiting base
See ***   http://198.231.69.12/papers/csc30/mds/lander.htm      **** which states in part
The ....Canadian Forces, organized and tasked as they are, with the expected level of funding available, are unsupportable.   The inevitable result is the rust out of equipment, the burn out of personnel and the continual loss of capabilities in an unplanned and incoherent manner.   It would be much better to determine the capabilities considered the highest priority to the Canadian government, concentrate the limited resources available on them and create a military that may not be capable of doing a little bit of everything, but could be world class at what it is capable of doing.   Such a military would be a powerful foreign policy tool as well as a useful force for domestic purposes, if and when the need arises.        

The other side of which is that - if we can't get into a sustained fight - then too much pension money is pouring out the door..... When the regulars are gone - as in the BE F of 1914 - we won't have the base to contribute as per Afghanistan or Iraq as the kit isn't which inevitably leads to re-rolling to kit based military activities with civvy pattern eqpt like CSS. See comparative sizes of reserves and regulars here - numbers may be down for Cdn but the relative number seems about right. See http://198.231.69.12/papers/csc29/exnh/alarie.htm

PMQ's? Go on the economy or get out http://198.231.69.12/papers/csc30/mds/fortier.htm   but the author suggests that DND will help you live on the economy sooner or later. ----As long as Canada does not have a robust deployment capability I am sure there is a real bell curve visible segment of the regular component that says - we probably won't get into a fist fight on a sustained basis so this is a good - low risk - steady job and pretty interesting as long as you can take a joke.

But does it even matter - the public says prepare for peace keeping --- but the government says - go back to the top of this post - we won't be peacekeeping too much too often.... certainly to produce regular - reserve interaction as per IRAQ or Afghanistan. see http://198.231.69.12/papers/csc30/mds/coates.htm

Note - I don't subscribe to either regulars or a reserve being stronger or weaker - my real point - as we consider these problems is WHAT ARE THE GOVERNMENT AIMS FOR DND? Saying we reflect and reflecting sound like here you mhave all these jobs and no resources.............. BS baffles brains everytime at the Ballot box.

As a line I read today goes - What do you do? I'm in the lead delivery business.   Lets just all work in 2005 to make sure we are not in the Lead Swinging Business.

Here's a good video for you for the next time ytou have to see the RSM - CO or your troops http://www.armyrotc.vt.edu/multimedia/airborne.mpg

So - see me in the butts at the rifle range if you want to go over these points - http://www.3bn12sfga.com/_riflerange/Weapon_Range.htm

Happy New Year!
You can visit me when I retire to the Island of Sayonara - but if the tide goes out - you go too - OK?

Offline pbi

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Bill Smy: that was an excellent post and could have been lifted directly from the "Commander's Intent" of our present or immediately previous Bde Op Plan. Trying to build leaders has been our main effort for the last three years, because without them nothing else matters. I get frustrated when I hear the endless rambling about "too many officers" or "too many Sgt Majs" in the Army Reserve. I don't know where it is that this situation exists, but we would love to have that situation in our Bde. Cheers.
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Thucydides

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Happy new year everyone!

I was (properly) slagged for the remark about clerks (esp by my own "Niner Domestic", who is of that trade!), but as usual, I wasn't fully spelling things out. Programs like CFTPO, Peoplesoft etc. are tools to store and manipulate data, but many of the very basic "data entry" type jobs do not need to be done by a dedicated clerical staff. Example: If I have finished instructing a course, written the candidates course report on my laptop, had it vetted by the course officer and standards (via email), then debriefed the candidate; why should I not then email or input the final copy to the candidates personnel record as part of my staff duties? Should the candidate need to reffer to this course report years later, wouldn't it be faster and more efficient to log onto a secure system and download it? If a gaining unit wanted to check this guy out for operations, then the same would apply.

Even the idea of the CSM swiping your smart card on opening parade is an idea to remove the complex procedures in the Reserve which go from paper to electronic to paper to....well, you get the idea.

Personell administration is a very complex system with so many variables that as a non-HR person looking in, I would say it is in need of a massive overhaul and streamlining. One virtue of systems like "Peoplesoft" is implementation should be a time to take a hard look at your existing procedures. I spoke to an IT person at UWO about this once, and apparently their implementation of Peoplesoft would have been a first order nightmare, until the implementation committee saw the light and threw away decades of archaic "quiffs" and stopped attempting to hand craft the software. (This is not to say the basic version of Peoplesoft is the only way to track and administer staff).

Software is a tool, and can be a great help if it is selected properly, and the user is properly trained in how to use it. Very clever people can also use software in ways the designer never imagined (like sculptors using chainsaws to create a work of art...), although I don't claim to be one of those.

Quote
Yup.  I do duty rosters by hand despite the computer having all the data to generate them.  I have suggested a template for a useful duty roster for three years running, but no one seems interested in getting the IT guys to implement it....so I get a report from our software, export it to Excel, then move the cells around to get the info I need presented in the format I need.  Would take 2 seconds for a computer to do that, that's what they are supposed to be for.  Instead, for a week's worth of duty, it usually takes me about an hour and half of screwing around in Excel.  Then I print it out on hard copy, then I blow it up on the photocopier because we have to write changes in by hand during the week, then I photocopy the photocopies so that the subunit has a copy; then at the end of the payperiod I photocopy the large copies and shrink them back down so I can manually check the payroll (about 4 hours to do a week).   So I've wasted a ton of paper and about 5 or 6 hours each week doing what the computer could do in seconds.

Look up "iCAL" by Brown Bear software. It is a very inexpensive web based calendaring program which might do the job for you. PM me if you need more details.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Bill Smy: that was an excellent post and could have been lifted directly from the "Commander's Intent" of our present or immediately previous Bde Op Plan. Trying to build leaders has been our main effort for the last three years, because without them nothing else matters. I get frustrated when I hear the endless rambling about "too many officers" or "too many Sgt Majs" in the Army Reserve. I don't know where it is that this situation exists, but we would love to have that situation in our Bde. Cheers.

 I do think there is a point at which the amount of leadership in reserve units does seem to be a bit much. Many reserve units are small and barely require the admin for a company, let alone that of a battalion. For example, my Regiment has about 25-30 regular parading soldiers. To  command this we have an Lt. Col, a Major, 3 Captains, 2 Lieutenants, a Chief Warrent Officer, a Master Warrent Officer, and a Warrent. How is this an efficient formation? If nothing else it means that any training must go through unnecessary paper work; and it's fairly obvious that such a huge command structure is a financial burden. I do, however, recognize that you cannot have a Lieutenant in charge of the armouries; but at the same time; why not down grade units like this to company level; commanded by a Major.

 Infact; I think we should adopt the British system; in which reserves(TA) are grouped into Companies of a parent regiment. This means that they can be supported by that Regiments administration at higher levels, and get trained by members of the Regiment. It also stream lines command, as you don't have "Brigades" of 1500, or 1000 reservists using up funds on administration for the brigade.

 Furthermore; would it not be a good idea to be able to train reservist in mounted warfare? If, as some members of this forumhave suggested, Canadian units switch to the British system of rotating from mech to light roles; why not allow the "reserve battalion" of a regiment to take the opposite rotation; and have the regular force SMEs train them in certain aspects? This would also mean that reserve units could have some armour to show would be recruits at dog and pony shows; or they could legitimately claim to be trained light infanteers.
 

Offline MCG

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The British are abandoning the practice of rotating unit roles, which doesn't suggest that it is a model that still works.

If resrves were to do mounted ops, I think the best approach would be to establish APC units like the 1 CACR or WWII.

Offline pbi

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I do think there is a point at which the amount of leadership in reserve units does seem to be a bit much

Yes, that is true, but I do not see it in our Bde, and we cover three provinces. It may exist elsewhere, but I am not so sure that it is not just a "rant". Maybe the real problem is not that there are "too many" leaders, but that the assigned rank for them is too high for the actual strength of the organizations they lead.

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Many reserve units are small and barely require the admin for a company, let alone that of a battalion

I disagree. The amount of admin required from a Res unit is not directly related to its size. The Army and the CF demand the same range and proportion of mandated admin from a unit of 50 as they do from a unit of 200. Do not confuse "admin" with just doing the pay and promotions of the people who parade. Look at my post on this at http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,24381.msg141927.html#msg141927

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If nothing else it means that any training must go through unnecessary paper work;

No-not if the unit is being run properly. The conduct of most training should be between the OC and the Trg Office. If the CO is sticking his fingers in that, that is a personality problem, although it is probably true to say that he may feel "underemployed" and thus perhaps "idle hands are the devil's tools"

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why not down grade units like this to company level; commanded by a Major.

This has been discussed elsewhere, along with TA-style amalgamation. My personal take is that more and more serving Res soldiers have little or no opposition to this concept, as long as it is done intelligently and respectfully, not stupidly and blindly.We have two projects like this under way in our Bde now, but I have to admit that the support from the greater Army has been marked as much by institutional "cold feet" as by enthusiasm and support. Numerous hoops and obstacles were put in our path by various levels of command and staff.

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Infact; I think we should adopt the British system; in which reserves(TA) are grouped into Companies of a parent regiment. This means that they can be supported by that Regiments administration at higher levels, and get trained by members of the Regiment.

To the best of my knowledge, this is not exactly how the TA works. TA companies (some of them being the legacy remnants of former battalions) are not grouped into Regular battalions. They are grouped into "Volunteer" battalions of Regular Regts (but I believe some, such as the Yeomanry Regt, are "stand alone"). There is a small cadre of Regulars and full time TA at the battalion HQ (not too different from what we have, ctually...) The admin and training is done via the TA unit HQ, just as we do it. It is not, to the best of my knowledge, done by Regular battalions of the parent Regt.

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It also stream lines command, as you don't have "Brigades" of 1500, or 1000 reservists using up funds on administration for the brigade.

This is a bit of a moot point. There is a need for a properly manned HQ to coordinate the dozens of activities involved in running the Army Reserve today. Whether we call the HQ a "Brigade" or a "Battle Group"   or WTF is really immaterial: the plannning, coordination and staff work must be done somewhere. At present the horsepower simply does not exist at Res unit level to do it. You can shunt the workload around, but that is a shell game. Somebody, somewhere, has to do it. Normally, the closer to the "coal face" that planning and admin are done, the better in terms of responsiveness.

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Furthermore; would it not be a good idea to be able to train reservist in mounted warfare? If

Interestingly, during the Reserve Roles and Missions Town Hall series (RRMT) conducted under LFRR PH II, our five Inf units resoundingly rejected being assigned mech or "dismounted mech" roles in favour of being good quality generic "infantry".(NOT "Light Infantry"-that is another breed of cat in our Army today). This vote was based on previous experience with the AVGP role, and a pretty astute assessment of the amount of time available to train. I look at the USARNG Bradley unit located to the south of our Bde: its AIFV skills are good, but IMHO its Inf skills are weak. It's true that our Res do get more trg time pe year than the avg ARNG, but it is still a stretch that our units (rightly, IMHO) rejected.
Cheers.




The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...

Offline Bill Smy

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It's almost 21 years since I turned over command of an infantry militia unit, and if parading strength is an indicator of success, I guess I have something to be proud of, but I don't know whether I can claim all the credit. During my command I had a group of officers and NCOs which was second to none in the District (the Bde in those days).

Times change. I readily recongize that, so many of the things I did then would not work now. In fact, they would not be tolerated.

First, I directed that we would no longer be in the individual training business. All IT would be done at someone else's time, labour and expense. We had just completed a fall/winter recruit course which started about 30 strong, and graduated about 5 individuals. What a waste. My solution was to do all recruit training in the summer, and concentrate on collective training.

Trade progression training days in those days was the responsibility of the District.

Over the fall/winter/spring I ran an exercise every six weeks or so. I issued the aim and scope of the exercise to the training officer, and all training in that six week period was directed at preparing individuals to perform their role in the exercise. I allowed raw recruits to attend, but limited their participation.

I tried to make these exercises as exciting as possible -- escape and evasion, rapelling, airmobile assaults on the locks on the local canal, exercises with our allied regiment in Jamaica and North Carolina, an exercise in Florida (turned down until I rewrote it as a District exercise). If we went to Meaford, I would not allow any instruction to take place in buildings (that was what the local armoury was for).

I tried to vary the activities of training. For example, the basic reason for winter exercises in those days was to master the skills necessary to live in tents in winter conditions. I had the training officer design an exercise where tent commanders were given a few grid squares in which to conduct their training. They then had a list of items to accomplish   -- erection of tents, cross-country snowshoeing, map and compass, etc. But they planned and conducted the training. The officers were given monitoring and assessment tasks. One year, the main activity was cross-country skiing. But in the background were all those skills needed in living in tents in winter.

I extended that concept with a helicopter company from a New York Army National Guard company. We   flew tent groups to isolated grid references in Allegeny State Park. On dismounting, the tent group commander was given sealed orders which told him the grid reference in which to set up his tent, a RV and time the next afternoon when the platoon would come together, and then a company RV for Sunday morning where the company would be airlifted out.

The point of all this ramble is that although it might seem the CO is training his unit at the Private soldier level, he should be using that activity to train leaders. The ability to conduct a range practice should be developed long before reaching the rank of Major. I tasked my Majors to conduct live-fire manoevre exercises.

Another short war story. The local Parks Canada tourist site wanted to celebrate an event by demonstrating how the military presence had evolved over the year. The superintendant had arranged for re-enactors for the most part, and approached me for a demonstration of an activity appropriate to the Militia at that time. He basically wanted a "troop the colour" ceremony. I gave him a platoon air assault. I decided that the summer course would provide the soldiers, but suddenly the platoon commander was unavailable. I had the course sergeant conduct all the training (monitored by me, of course) and command the assault. Twenty years later he still speaks of the spark he had in that I trusted him where others would not.

When I took over the unit, we were hard pressed to put 60 people on the floor. When I left we were bumping 300 on a regular basis.

As I noted, I don't think a CO could do the types of things today that I was able to do in 1980, but certainly he can make training exciting and at the same time train the next generation of leaders.

 :salute:

"I have ate of the King's salt and therefore I conceive it to be my duty to serve with unhesitating zeal and cheerfulness when and where my King or his government may think proper to employ me."

Offline Spr.Earl

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We can discuss this till we are all nauseas,nothing will happen unless we bring in Job Protection and a I hate too say it a contract sysytem,you sign up you are in,if you break it you pay or you are in the Regs.for the rest of your contract.
THE PRECEDING POST AND OTHERS MADE BY MYSELF ARE MY PERSONAL VIEWS, NOT FOR REPRODUCTION, NOT FOR CUT AND PASTE OF ANY PORTION THEREOF, NO QUOTES ARE PERMITTED ELSEWHERE,ANYWHERE OTHER THAN EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WEB FORUM.




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Offline pbi

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We can discuss this till we are all nauseas,nothing will happen unless we bring in Job Protection and a I hate too say it a contract sysytem,you sign up you are in,if you break it you pay or you are in the Regs.for the rest of your contract.

How come the TA functions without these things? Cheers.
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Offline Infanteer

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The British are abandoning the practice of rotating unit roles, which doesn't suggest that it is a model that still works.

Really, when did they do this?

What sort of system are they going to adopt now, permanent rolling of "light" or "heavy" status?
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline MCG

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What sort of system are they going to adopt now, permanent rolling of "light" or "heavy" status?
Just now (part of the reorganization & amalgamation of regiments). 
http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,24461.msg135815.html#msg135815

Offline Spr.Earl

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As I said we can talk till the Cows come home. ::)
But what is needed is our system to give equal course's (Reg) and Legislation for time off.
Until then our Reserves will be ineffective.
THE PRECEDING POST AND OTHERS MADE BY MYSELF ARE MY PERSONAL VIEWS, NOT FOR REPRODUCTION, NOT FOR CUT AND PASTE OF ANY PORTION THEREOF, NO QUOTES ARE PERMITTED ELSEWHERE,ANYWHERE OTHER THAN EXCLUSIVELY IN THIS WEB FORUM.




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The TA & ARNG have something that the Reserves in Canada desperately need.  That is a defined role for their units.  During the Cold War every member of these orgs knew exactly where they would be going and what they would be doing when the balloon went up.  And they rehearsed it.  As an infantry reservist during this time we had know idea what was expected of us or even if we would be involved at all.

Todays Reserve units need defined roles & missions that the leadership can train towards.  Providing individual augmentation or providing blank for step # mobilization (something only my ex-DCO ever understood) is quite vague and not tremendously inspirational for soldiers.  We just end up checking off the same ELOC/BTS boxes every year with no real goal in sight.

Give each Reserve unit a mission and a defined role in the Army.  Give them a set of standards to achieve, sufficient resources, and let them get on with it!

Offline MCG

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What about financial incentives for reservists that pass annual proficiency tests or attend a minimum number of training events?

I like what pbi has suggested about replacing one evening a week with one additional weekend a month.   There is a concern that some people accustom to the old way of things would not be able to adjust schedules/lifestyles to the new.   However, in a city a battalion of multiple companies could designate one company as the weekend company and the other company as the week night company.   Both companies could come together once a month for battalion training on a weekend.   And if a member's life situation changes, it would be easy to transfer between the companies.   

This set-up could work if we amalgamate regiments or if we form multi-regiment battalions.
http://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,24463.0.html

Offline Michael Dorosh

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I like what pbi has suggested about replacing one evening a week with one additional weekend a month.  There is a concern that some people accustom to the old way of things would not be able to adjust schedules/lifestyles to the new.  However, in a city a battalion of multiple companies could designate one company as the weekend company and the other company as the week night company.  Both companies could come together once a month for battalion training on a weekend.  And if a member's life situation changes, it would be easy to transfer between the companies. 


That's still irrelevant for people who work swing shifts, split shifts and other irregular schedules.  If you work evenings, then days, with 4 on and 3 off, your schedule is going to be all over the place, so it is not a matter of either evenings or weekends.  No way around it in some cases; so do you encourage a guy who is rock solid in job knowledge to quit in such a case, or just accept that he might only parade twice a month?

This is why I think Bill's comments about collective training may be not clearly focussed.  It seemed like he was talking about not having OJT for individuals, and instead focus on "unit training."  That's great, if your entire unit shows up all the time.  We did that the last couple of years, with a live fire exercise having all the exercises before it as a prerequisite - PWT on the range, then pairs, then section, then platoon, finally the company live fire.  I believe "gateway training" is the term.   So in Bill's case, if I understand him correctly, for an individual who shows up for the PWT, but misses the pairs and section exercises, he is pretty much hooped for the rest of the year.  If there are no other training tasks to do, he is out of a job until the summer courses, or next September.

How important is it to have Militia infantry companies capable of conducting a live fire company attack?  Is this really the role they need to fulfill?  It is a great incentive, no doubt, for keeping troops interested in training, but it can't be the only thing on the plate.

I always thought the Militia were the guys who kept the lights on in between periods of conflict.   What good is it to teach an individual about his part in a company live fire attack during the year, if he never learns how to drive a truck, splice a signal wire, send a contact report, identify a land mine....

And what good does it do to have him miss that pairs fire and movement weekend, then quit because he needs money and there is no other training going on?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2005, 17:10:38 by Michael Dorosh »
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Offline pbi

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The TA & ARNG have something that the Reserves in Canada desperately need.   That is a defined role for their units.   During the Cold War every member of these orgs knew exactly where they would be going and what they would be doing when the balloon went up.   And they rehearsed it.   As an infantry reservist during this time we had know idea what was expected of us or even if we would be involved at all

I certainly stand to be corrected here, but I think that this is an exaggeration (no doubt with good intent...). I think that for a number of years the US Army did not know exactly what to do with the ARNG as a whole, and had no "specific missions" for most of them.   IIRC most of the ARNG Divisions except those with a REFORGER role, were general reinforcement, and it is questionable how many ARNG Divs could actually have deployed efficiently as such. The greatest single focus for most ARNG personnel was, (based on comments I hear from some US Active Army types here in Afgh), to be called out for State emergencies and go to summer camp. GWOT has changed much of that, and has reportedly caused a number of people in the ARNG to re-evaluate their reasons for joining in the first place. It is worth recalling the performance of some ARNG Bdes when they were called up for the first Gulf War and sent through NTC: not too good. So, even if they supposedly had these "assigned missions" what good did it do them? And anyway, they didn't end up going where they were assigned, did they?

Again subject to correction, I think you will find that only a percentage of the TA was ever designated for BAOR tasks, which IIRC contributed to something of a "have" and "have not" situation in the TA. The lack of specific missions for specific units contributed, IMHO, to some of the reductions and re-roling that TA units have experienced over the last couple of decades.

As far as assigning "specific missions", I think we are in the same boat as the USMC: our "specific mission" is to be ready to go anywhere, to do anything. Realistically, what alternative is there? Other than our overseas missions (which change with increasing frequency), where exactly would these "specific missions" be? Trying to be "scenario based" or "specific mission based" is not really very practical given our small size, limited resources and a   national foreign policy of committing at fairly short notice to NATO, Coalition or UN ops all over the planet. Far better IMHO to be a solidly capability-based army, thus being as flexible as a small army can be. Being too specific risks "niche-ism" which IMHO is an express route to irrelevance if your chosen "niche" becomes redundant. Cheers.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2005, 23:00:16 by pbi »
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I do think there is a point at which the amount of leadership in reserve units does seem to be a bit much. Many reserve units are small and barely require the admin for a company, let alone that of a battalion. For example, my Regiment has about 25-30 regular parading soldiers. To  command this we have an Lt. Col, a Major, 3 Captains, 2 Lieutenants, a Chief Warrent Officer, a Master Warrent Officer, and a Warrent. How is this an efficient formation? If nothing else it means that any training must go through unnecessary paper work; and it's fairly obvious that such a huge command structure is a financial burden. I do, however, recognize that you cannot have a Lieutenant in charge of the armouries; but at the same time; why not down grade units like this to company level; commanded by a Major.

Well, I come from a unit that has 150 soldiers attend regular training activities, from 3 sub units, and we need the command structure.

If you down grade a unit, will you not lose the units identity also. What happens if you get a great influx of new recruits and you go up to Coy plus then you are left lots of soldiers and not enough comd's. There are some reserve units that have 200 plus members, if a smaller unit is reduced to Coy size it would be easier to role it over and put it under a different unit, I see many problems that would arise from the mere mention of this of this point.

For example, if the RCR regs were reduced to Coys instead of Bn's and made a part the PPCLI, it might make sense in the short term, but then you lose the unit identity, the history and you make a few people upset.

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I think others have raised this before but isn't there more opportunity in this day and age for more individual "on-line" training with individuals getting the "class-room" work on their own time with computer instruction, even testing, and use weekday parade nights for testing/evaluation/tutoring of individuals as well as planning for exercises on Weekends.  This could fit into the type of programme that Bill Smy was using successfully in the 80's.  (As an aside ,LCol Paul Hughes (Calg Highrs) used similar strategies to Mr. Smy's as wel,l as did his successor John Fletcher and the CH recruited and paraded well in those years).
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Offline pbi

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Kirkhill: You would be pleased to know that some progress is actually being made in delivering "Distributed Learning (DL)" to Reserve units, following the same concept that was used to introduce it into the RegF: to reduce the amount of time spent away from home unit. Over the last two years I have seen a module of the PLQ delivered this way, and I believe other courses are becoming available too. In each of our multi-unit garrisons (TBay, Winnipeg and Regina) we have had a computer classroom for some time now. There is more that could be achieved, but we are getting there. Cheers.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Good news pbi, thanks.
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Honestly I think we are fooling ourselves by believing in computer assisted learning progrman in the military.  Very few skills can be taught or properly learned that way - the PLQ being a prime example.


SHARP WO - there is nothing stating that the overborne reserve coy's could not spin off another coy. 

 
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Offline pbi

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Honestly I think we are fooling ourselves by believing in computer assisted learning progrman in the military.  Very few skills can be taught or properly learned that way - the PLQ being a prime example.

This really depends on what you use it to teach. If you use it to teach the wrong thing, such as drill, or how to dig a trench or do a section attack, then of course you are misusing it and wasting everybody's time. But, that is not generally how it is used. DL is normaly used to replace "book learning" theory that does not strictly require you to be together in a group with an instructor. However, the "chat room" function does give a limited capability to interact with an instructor (or other DL candidates) at certain times.

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SHARP WO - there is nothing stating that the overborne reserve coy's could not spin off another coy. 

Yes, unfortunately there are several things that stop this. First of all, unless you are lucky enough to be in the Army Reserve units in Southern Ontario or Vancouver, you are apparently not permitted to raise new sub-units. We were tasked to raise an Engr Sqn under LFRR in Wpg but we ended up having to group it inside the Fort Garry Horse because we could not create any "new units" or "new HQs" even though this was blatantly being permitted in the locations I mentioned. You would also run into the fact that the Army makes it difficult (perhaps for good reasons, perhaps not...) for Res units to change their establishments, due largely to the issue of how many funded positions are actually available. I agree completely that this system needs to be streamlined so that units that have the ability to grow can do so. Cheers.
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...