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


Yard Ape

There are three common themes that arise when discussing this topic: individual augmentation to Regular Force units, mobilisation base or specialised support units.

I would question the viability of the specialised support role, as it would require a criticle mass in each of the specialty trades before a full unit of volonteers could be mobilized for an operation.   If we had a system similar to the US, with legislated job protection, this could be a viable approach for a few units in major urban centers (ei with the population to sustain them).

Overall I would suggest that prepairing for general mobilisation should be the key role of the reserves.   Meeting this standard would ensure the reserves are capable of reacting to whatever requirements are placed on them by the future activities of the army.   It would also result in individual members being qualified to augment Regular force units, and thus diminnishes the relavence of individual augmentation as a role on to itself.   

What are some of the opinions on this topic out there?

   :cool: Yard Ape
I agree with Yard Ape.

The regs are the first to deploy, and the first line of defense. They also have high casualites. Reserve units are there to a) replace reg units and b) the cadre to train new people. Obviously a reservist is less expericenced than a reg of the same rank, but it takes a lot less time to get a reservist up to speed than to train entirerly new people.

The secondary purpose of the reserves is to augment the reg force with personell. I know in my unit, the people who have been on tour and they ex-reg force people are a really valuable resource. They have a lot of experience and they know the tricks on how to do things. (especially important in an Engineer unit)

I‘m not so big on support trades in the reserves. For instance, my friend is in the medic company and it‘s the worst of both worlds. He doesn‘t get the skills he needs to function in the field as a field medic, yet he isn‘t trained to the standard of a BMS type and he has no practical experience in treating patients. Compare this to the medics who are attached to my unit who have basic field skills and have some experience treating minor injuries. (of course, my friend might disagree with me)

I think the reserves should place a lot more empasis on deployable skills. For instance, making a contact report is not part of the radio curreculum on QL2, yet I think this is pretty important.
If I may be permitted to go off on a tangent ...

One role of the Army Reserve is becoming increasingly evident:
To maintain an Army presence with city garrisons in urban centres (lest the Army vanish from the public eye, and memory, as it retreats to increasingly isolated bases, i.e. Shilo ...).

Sure, the rocket scientist bean-counters will claim it‘s oh so much more efficient to squirrel the Army away in remote locations, however this overlooks something quite matter-of-fact: "out of sight, out of mind" - we shouldn‘t be too astonished when the defence budget gets short shrift in the future, since the child prodigy political geniuses in red suspenders will quickly manipulate the polls such that the voting public will turn their attention only to those things which affect them on a day-to-day basis (and, if the Army is banished to the boonies, ... you can see where I‘m going with this, I hope).

Thus, I reiterate - a role of the Reserve Army is to remind "the rest of Canada" (i.e. those locations without a large Regular Army presence).

Don‘t be swayed by the suggestion that this could be achieved solely through aggressive marketing and public information campaigns - these activities are too easily silenced by the whim of somebody with a different agenda ...
In my humble opinion the taxpayers will all too quickly forget where their defence dollars are going, unless they see something green on "Main Street", Any-City, Canada.

Dileas Gu Brath,
M.A. Bossi, Esquire

P.S. (as an aside, I‘d also like to point out that the "military-friendly" vote continues to be relatively diluted, even if the Regular Army consolidates into a smaller number of locations, since the majority of Regular soldiers vote in their "home" riding instead of where they live - thus, it should not come as a surprise if the military continues to be an ignored minority in the House of Commons since they have no elected "voice", whereas other special interest groups somehow manage to throw their muscle behind certain candidates ... sigh - I‘d better cut off my rant now, before I get myself into trouble).
Just to clarify a point: (and so you understand you are hitting a little too close to home with the Shilo-wilderness remark)

The Army is constanly training and Shilo is a training base wheras where do you train mech infantry in downtown Winnipeg. Besides they still have the Air Force and they are perfectly suited to each other.

Shilo is not in the wilderness and for once a desicion was made stricly on military matters.
not on politics.

As to the role of the reserves, we must endevour to maintain our idently and purpose by recruiting, retaining and training to sub-unit level and meeting the required BTSs for our Corps. We must not fall into the trap in that we are only a manpower pool for Reg F for individual augmentation or Component Tranfers. (and we are slowly sliding taht way)

The reserve Company being stood up for ROTO 11 should go a long way to proving that formed sub-units are viable for us.
Should All the same vehicles and equipment be available to the reserves for trg, as is available to the Reg Force? LAV III APC‘s for the reserve infantry to train on, etc. Even if this equipment was only available at area training centers and shared by all units who trained there?

If this is not the case, then what purpose does it serve to train reserves for mobilsation as there will be no equipment for them to deploy with.

:cool: Yard Ape
There is one major flaw with any vehs being held at ATC‘s. That is with the move to the CBO‘s (Civilian Base Operators) the storage, issue and especially maintenence of pooled vehs is absolutley atrocious. Going up on a Friday and drawing a couple of jeeps is one thing. To draw a Sqn worth of coyote or cougar, etc and ancilliary equip would take you into Sat morning, unless you pay them overtime. Then you get out to the trg area, find that because they haven‘t moved in two months the seals are dried out causing leaks and breakdowns. Now you have to wait while they call the duty recovery crew in from home (on overtime, min 4 hrs call in) to find out they will only tow the veh up top and not repair it. However, before you turn it in you must figure a way to get it to the washrack and back before they accept it. Of course the mech breakdown is charged against YOUR budget as you were the one using it when it quit. Some units must travel over six hours by bus to get to the ATC. By the time they arr Sat morn at 0230 after a 1900 hr Fri departure and leave at noon Sun to arrive home the viability of useful trg is seriously questionable. The better idea would be to give say, ea recce unit two coyotes at home for trg. If not the complete veh then at least the Brigade mount survellience gear (does not req the veh). Until DND comes up with their own sugar daddy, the idea of res units being equipped like regs (a la Nat Guard, US Army Res) is a pie in the sky we can only dream about.
The res should absolutely have compatible equipment with the regs. If a major mission of the res is to augment the predominantly mech regs, they should have access to compatible equipment. That is one reason I was against the Shilo. Winnipeg has two res inf units and an armoured recce unit (combat arms). These light inf units (at least one)should have been mech, and had access to the regs equipment, like LAV IIIs and TUA. The RECCE unit should have been given its own det of Coyote, or at least Cougars with a Coyote turret. If it is cost prohibitive to equip both res and regs with the same equipment, then money should be invested in simulation equipment.


If the equipment does not exist, even for training, how can the reserves ever be mobalized? An iltis will not transform into a coyote, nor a cougar into a MBT in the event that the reserves need to be mobalised.
By simulation equipment, I meant that if we cannot kit out the reserves with additional LAVs, etc. that are for their exclusive use, then it may be acceptable to use simulators in addition to the regs equipment. Hmm, still not to clear I guess...

Okay, the Regs have their kit assigned, but the local reserve unit has none. Both are infantry-the regs are mech, but the res are light. In order for the reserve inf unit to augment the regs, the majority have to be trained in mech prior to their deployment. But the govn‘t won‘t fund the resrvs for their own mech equipment. Ideally then, they should share the mech equipment with the regs, developing the skills to augment the regs in a timely fashion (and as a sec to plt size unit if possible).

The problem with this is that the regs may lose training time on their vehicles, as well as additional wear and tear on the kit. To solve this, I would advocate an investment in vehicle simulators. In this way, both the regs and reserves could practice formation and maneuver, as well as TI recognition, Comms, Nav and targeting skills, etc. When the regs weren‘t using the actual kit, the res could get field time, and put the simulation skills into practice, and vice-versa. Of course, the regs would get first dibs, and a good portion of the field time, but the res would also be much better prepared to augment the regs in ops overseas.

Of course, this begs the question as to what the res would use in a general mobilization, requiring them to be sent to fight. Well, it would be nice to have stocks of surplus equipment lying around to equipment a hastily mobilized militia. But unfortunately Canada does not have many surplus state of the art AFVs and such left over from the Cold War (like the US or Germany) to hand down to reserves. However, The DDGM plant in London, ON currently cranks out 1 LAV per day, and could do better on a war footing. It takes months to train a mech inf soldier to fight in high intensity combat with today‘s advanced technology. Simulation equipment would allow the both res and regs to maintain a higher quality of training when each other are using the equipment, or when it is down for maintenance. It works for the US (especially for the gas guzzling M1s and BFVs heavy mech units, both reg and NG). This is also why I think that the primary mech battalions in the regs should be located near major pop centres with larger res units (the Minto armouries are far away from Shilo).

Just a thought, yours?


We would not be the only country asking GM Defence to pump out more vehicles if we found ourselves on a war footing.

:cool: Yard Ape
We are going back in time,this was done after the war in the late 40‘s and early 50‘s making the reserve‘s an emergency responce organisation in cas of attack and didn‘t work then.

Army considers new path for reserves

KAMLOOPS (CKNW/AM980) -- An Army spokesperson says the reserve program needs a little money to bring it up to speed.

Captain Dan Thomas says the Army Reserve program needs to improve capabilities in urban search and rescue, and take on some non-traditional reserve roles to keep up with the changing times. Thomas says there would be an investment of at least $100 million required for equipment and training.

Army officials are meeting this weekend in Kamloops at the headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Rangers, to talk about the changing role of the reserves.
Well, I don‘t know who this guy is, what he actually said (vice what was quoted), and I don‘t know who he‘s a spokesman for ...

All I can say is that I was on a NATO Civil Emergency Planning course last week, and the key phrase is " ... wartime capabilities that can also be used during times of peace ..." (i.e. during an emergency or disaster like a flood, earthquake, whatever).

I can save lives with a clear conscience (just as I can contemplate doing the opposite with Al Q‘ueda).

CIMIC is Civil-Military Co-operation - it exists throughout the Spectrum of Conflict, in all Phases of War - it can be just as important as combat arms, depending on the situation.
1/ I haven‘t the dates at hand, but it sounds like this is one of the current round of LFRR "town hall" meetings.
2/ Capt Thomas is 39 CBG PAffO.
3/ "Non-traditional roles" simply means anything other than what we we considered to be business as usual in the past 30-odd years (eg CIMIC, PSYOPS, HUSAR, LRRP, etc). It _does not_ mean we are going to swing the clock back 50 years.

Any thoughts?


Reserve tasks evolving

By Susan Turcotte

ASCOT CORNER, Que. - Cpl Valérie Gignac serves Canada as a medical assistant with 55e Compagnie Médicale, Sherbrooke, while studying to be a nurse.
The Army Reserve‘s long history of serving at home and overseas continues into the new century. As the type of warfare and threats to our country evolve, so does the Reserve‘s role as part of Canada‘s Army.

Phase I of the Land Force Reserve Restructure (LFRR) project began Fall 2000 with a central theme of the assignment of roles, missions and tasks across all phases of mobilization.

The last major objective of Phase I began this fall and wraps up in the spring with a series of about 40 Unit Consultative Meetings (UCMs), or town hall meetings, taking place across Canada.

"We pulled out a job or task list based on existing defence policy," said Major-General Ed Fitch, who heads up the LFRR Project Management Office. "For each stage of mobilization we have figured out how many of each type of unit we need."

While some tasks have already been allocated through the chain of command at area and brigade level, consultations are ongoing for assignment of other missions and tasks.

"As we look at the future threat environment, we see we need skill sets we don‘t have right now," said MGen Fitch.

New or enhanced capabilities for the Army Reserve have been or are being developed, including Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC), Public Affairs and Psychological Operations (PSYOPS), while others are under consideration, including Human Intelligence (HUMINT), Long Range Reconnaissance and Heavy Urban Search and Rescue.

Army capabilities will also be required by the Air Force, Navy and homeland defence, although to date Canada does not have a homeland defence policy. Once the Army has fully analyzed these areas, it will go through a second round of allocating tasks to units.

Phase II of LFRR, designed to accelerate the Reserve‘s growth, begins April 2003. The Army funded the bulk of Phase I from its own budget. Funding for Phase II has not been announced yet.

"It is clear to everybody that the money for Phase II is not in the Army budget, and I believe the department‘s position is it‘s not the department‘s budget either," said MGen Fitch. "We‘re at a very critical juncture."

For more information about LFRR, call 1-866-230-LFRR or visit www.army.dnd.ca/lfrr.
I think it‘s a positive step, provided the funding is there to carry on with the further phases of implementation.

It makes sense to specialize, from an economic standpoint.

But, what happens if you are in a regiment or unit that gets assigned a role you don‘t like? I guess I know the answer to that one...
Well this is my opinion.  We all know how the CF is strapped for cash, this is my idea of what they should do to the res. I'll use 31 CBG as an example.  Here are the units in the bde:

7 x inf
2 x arty
1 x recce
1 x armored
1 x eng.
3 x service

Well here goes.  Take all 7 inf units and make them into 31 RCR for example.  Think of the money they would save by having no highlander units, and you would only have 1 CO and 1 RSM for 31 RCR.

Well chew on that, I'm sure their will be a lot of interesting comments
think of how hard it is to get stuff done at your own unit sometimes, now think of how hard it would be to use the chain of command with units spread out all over. Want something for your webbing? hour road trip to the QM ;)
31 RCR?? What a joke, are you for real??
I‘m sure these units would go for it as well.
They would like to give up their brass and heritage to all belong to the same unit combined. Being in the same Brigade should be enough. With the sad state of our Reserves(numbers) and our military in general, the Bde should only have a Bde RSM and the units should just have a CSM and the high ranking NCO. Size wise and all, that seems to make more sense. Same deal with the CO!
HA I would love to see that!!
All Armour Res units will be Recce by the end off 2003. Reg Force units are going Recce complete, The LdSH will be taking over the tanks in Waynewright as training.
Just a thought buds.
Who‘s to say it wouldn‘t work, I hate it when people hate change or cling on things, ie the past.
Ya sure my unit kicked a$$ in that "war" but it‘s 2003, maybe it‘s that I belong to a numbered unit, I‘m more loyal to the troops then the unit when I think about it, but thats just me.