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Military bases struggling with personnel shortages, internal review finds

MilEME09

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We are starting to see reality coming into the public light of how our lack of trained personal in many trades is hurting aspects of our institution.

I say trained because I know many PAT platoons are rather large and this needs to be addressed.
 

PuckChaser

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Probably time to fix our LDA/SDA/Aircrew Pay system. Fit folks don't want to take the pay cut to go Base side, even for a temporary basis. If we had a real PLD system or actual legislated pay increased tied to inflation but compared to the PS every 10 years or so to readjust, then I'd buy dropping allowances to go to Base.

We all know folks who were told they were being posted to Base and got out because of it, and to say it wasn't largely due to the sometimes drastic pay decrease would be disingenuous.
 

daftandbarmy

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A 'base' is a waste, in any supply chain system. We would be better off looking at just in time solutions for alot more of the services we require. Or more temporary set ups, to deal with peaks and troughs in demand, much like we see in various natural resources sector 'man camp' setups.

This article, about US military bases, highlights some of the opportunities in cost savings as well, but there needs to be the political will to 'pull the trigger' of course:

"One of the largest sources of waste in the defense budget—and one that Congress can fix with a single piece of legislation—is the massive number of excess bases and facilities the Defense Department maintains here in the United States." https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/06/27/cut-waste-defense-spending-brac-000468/
 

Halifax Tar

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I have to disagree DBA.

Just on time doesn't work for a military. I need warehouses full of parts collecting dust in case something happens.

I'm not sure what bases we have left that we could close. I mean Shearwater and Greenwood should probably be smashed together. Buts that's all I can think of.
 

PuckChaser

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The "Base" isn't just a Supply Chain system. It controls multi millions of dollars in roads, grounds, buildings, heating, cooling, power, policing, fire service, etc. The Base concept is a small town and we won't get the PY savings we think by downloading its responsibilities to the unit level.

I also agree with HfxTar, there's only a handful number of items that would work in a just in time concept. Logistik Unicorp for DEU items is a success story, I'd like to see it expanded for any next to skin items and field/sailing/flying uniforms as well.
 

MilEME09

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Just in time does not work for our supply system, The pandemic showed its weaknesses. As an example I was on a base this summer and due to covid they got their January parts order in the second week of July. Why? Can't get parts if they aren't being made and shipped. If we were in a shooting war, we would of been screwed.
 

FJAG

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I'm with Halifax Tar on this.

One needs to distinguish between the bases and the functions performed on them. I think that we've just about trimmed all the fat as far as the number and location of bases is concerned. What we need are better warehousing, spare equipment and logistics chains to speed up maintenance and to allow for the ramp up of the force. There may be some efficiencies available if we could group the command and control of some of these places but that's just a little bit.

Our biggest problem by far is the fact that during unification the Army lost many of the warehousing and workshop facilities that were part of the Army's 3rd and 4th line facilities and now every time we do a deployment we need to create ad hoc NSEs which strip personnel and equipment out of 1st, 2nd and base support facilities across Canada thereby undermining the work that needs to be done back in Canada. We need a better organized (and mostly Army but some air and aviation too) 3rd and 4th line support system (and even 2nd line where the deployed organization is so small as to not have it's own integral 2nd line elements) that can support from Canada and/or deploy. It just seems to me that CFJOSG and CMSG aren't cutting it the way things are.

🍻
 

MilEME09

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I'm with Halifax Tar on this.

One needs to distinguish between the bases and the functions performed on them. I think that we've just about trimmed all the fat as far as the number and location of bases is concerned. What we need are better warehousing, spare equipment and logistics chains to speed up maintenance and to allow for the ramp up of the force. There may be some efficiencies available if we could group the command and control of some of these places but that's just a little bit.

Our biggest problem by far is the fact that during unification the Army lost many of the warehousing and workshop facilities that were part of the Army's 3rd and 4th line facilities and now every time we do a deployment we need to create ad hoc NSEs which strip personnel and equipment out of 1st, 2nd and base support facilities across Canada thereby undermining the work that needs to be done back in Canada. We need a better organized (and mostly Army but some air and aviation too) 3rd and 4th line support system (and even 2nd line where the deployed organization is so small as to not have it's own integral 2nd line elements) that can support from Canada and/or deploy. It just seems to me that CFJOSG and CMSG aren't cutting it the way things are.

🍻
Maintenance wise all we have is 202 workshop in Montreal, however most 3rd and 4th line is handled by manufacturers. We could use another near Edmonton to be close to 7 CFSD. We spend a fortune shipping from the west to Montreal.
 

FJAG

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Maintenance wise all we have is 202 workshop in Montreal, however most 3rd and 4th line is handled by manufacturers. We could use another near Edmonton to be close to 7 CFSD. We spend a fortune shipping from the west to Montreal.
Has anyone ever done a comprehensive study to see if we are obtaining the cost benefits that a manufacturer's 3rd and 4th line maintenance system was supposed to bring. I've read a few CRS reviews and Auditor General's reports that seem to indicate we are being badly served by these systems.

Personally, I dislike any logistics or maintenance system that we don't own and can't deploy.

🍻
 

MilEME09

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Has anyone ever done a comprehensive study to see if we are obtaining the cost benefits that a manufacturer's 3rd and 4th line maintenance system was supposed to bring. I've read a few CRS reviews and Auditor General's reports that seem to indicate we are being badly served by these systems.

Personally, I dislike any logistics or maintenance system that we don't own and can't deploy.

🍻
I personally do not know, but if not then one should. Manufacturers have always been part of our 4th line, but 1st to 3rd line is supposed to be deployable, and have the capability to do rebuilds of major assemblies like engines and transmissions. 4th line is back in Canada, either at 202 or Manufacturer.
 

daftandbarmy

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Has anyone ever done a comprehensive study to see if we are obtaining the cost benefits that a manufacturer's 3rd and 4th line maintenance system was supposed to bring. I've read a few CRS reviews and Auditor General's reports that seem to indicate we are being badly served by these systems.

Personally, I dislike any logistics or maintenance system that we don't own and can't deploy.

🍻
Our nation’s industrial base is, for bizarre and bureaucratic reasons, at more than triple arms length from our F Ech. As a result our supply chain is a disaster waiting to happen should we get into a real shooting war.

The closer we are able to get the mill worker to the rifleman/gunner/trooper/sailor/pilot, the more effective and efficient we will be as a fighting force.

Seriously, we could contract with Amazon for 80-90% of our routine needs and have a 10-20% cushion we absorb for some critically important items.

Every big business in the world is getting rid of the middleman To be more customer centric, cost effective and timely. We could learn a lot from that.
 

MilEME09

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Our nation’s industrial base is, for bizarre and bureaucratic reasons, at more than triple arms length from our F Ech. As a result our supply chain is a disaster waiting to happen should we get into a real shooting war.

The closer we are able to get the mill worker to the rifleman/gunner/trooper/sailor/pilot, the more effective and efficient we will be as a fighting force.

Seriously, we could contract with Amazon for 80-90% of our routine needs and have a 10-20% cushion we absorb for some critically important items.

Every big business in the world is getting rid of the middleman To be more customer centric, cost effective and timely. We could learn a lot from that.
With us replacing our transport/ refueling aircraft, we should buy extra, convert them for cargo only and have aircraft for the transport of parts, supplies, etc... quickly from depot to the various bases.
 

daftandbarmy

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With us replacing our transport/ refueling aircraft, we should buy extra, convert them for cargo only and have aircraft for the transport of parts, supplies, etc... quickly from depot to the various bases.
Now you're talking.... what's the cost of a fleet of transport aircraft versus hundreds of thousands of square feet of real estate, and thousands of troops and contractors?

A fraction I would think.
 

MilEME09

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Now you're talking.... what's the cost of a fleet of transport aircraft versus hundreds of thousands of square feet of real estate, and thousands of troops and contractors?

A fraction I would think.
Considering high priority units like SAR squadrons need things quickly and the auditor general did rip our supply system a new one earlier this year. I would say a new approach is needed. Having our own transport for cargo regularly would speed up our supply system, that said we would need to do a cost analysis to see if the benefits of doing our own transport out weigh the costs. Not just for air but ground transport as well.
 

MJP

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With us replacing our transport/ refueling aircraft, we should buy extra, convert them for cargo only and have aircraft for the transport of parts, supplies, etc... quickly from depot to the various bases.
So what do we currently do for transportation of material from one depot to the other and the various support bases? Does everything need to fly which is a very expensive method of transporting material or are there more effective options? What is quickly and what determines the need for quickly? Who determines what is a priority for quickly?

How many more pilots do we need? Infra for these planes?

I am not an expert in supply chain and know we certainly need to fix some things, but also know that we don't necessarily need to have more CAF assets to solve some of our problems especially domestically. The whole point of the article is that the smashing of the ASU concept essentially put the same amount of work on less people. The Supply chain needs to be modernized no doubt we are employing an old old system but I would carefully weigh the need for more CAF assets to move material around
 

dapaterson

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Indirect costs of CAF personnel are roughly double those of the public service (health care costs, early pension costs, military training costs...) If we accept the assumption that public service personnel are more expensive than contracted personnel, then a model that grows CAF personnel or public service personnel in 2nd / 3rd / 4th line positions would be cost prohibitive - and, since the overall number of CAF personnel is limited, would detract from the "pointy end" of the CAF (unless we come up with better tools to optimize both the full and part-time components of the CAF).

How many "urgent" CAF requirements are driven by units unwilling to plan ahead, and dropping demands at the last minute? How many delays are driven by incomplete work and lack of follow-up?


SIDEBAR: I recently read an AAR type document where there were multiple complaints about equipment and infrastructure. When the staff ('3 and '4 for equipment and Engr for infra) dug deep into the problems, they discovered that the whiners had never submitted UCRs for equipment or requests for infra to be fixed - they never bothered to figure out the process to request change or improvement. How many CAF problems are driven by lazy leadership, unwilling to do the work?
 

MilEME09

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Indirect costs of CAF personnel are roughly double those of the public service (health care costs, early pension costs, military training costs...) If we accept the assumption that public service personnel are more expensive than contracted personnel, then a model that grows CAF personnel or public service personnel in 2nd / 3rd / 4th line positions would be cost prohibitive - and, since the overall number of CAF personnel is limited, would detract from the "pointy end" of the CAF (unless we come up with better tools to optimize both the full and part-time components of the CAF).

How many "urgent" CAF requirements are driven by units unwilling to plan ahead, and dropping demands at the last minute? How many delays are driven by incomplete work and lack of follow-up?


SIDEBAR: I recently read an AAR type document where there were multiple complaints about equipment and infrastructure. When the staff ('3 and '4 for equipment and Engr for infra) dug deep into the problems, they discovered that the whiners had never submitted UCRs for equipment or requests for infra to be fixed - they never bothered to figure out the process to request change or improvement. How many CAF problems are driven by lazy leadership, unwilling to do the work?
How many actually understand how the process works or how to fill it out? First UCR I ever did took awhile for me to get done because the CAF UCR instructions are read as a what the form is and when to use it, not how to fill out the form, and no one around knew either had to make a few phone calls.
 

FJAG

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That touches on a key point. If people aren't using the proper system to make their life better than chances are that there is something wrong with the system: it's ease of use; training in its use; non responsiveness; etc. When I use Amazon to order an item, it's very easy to do (the forms practically fill themselves out); once ordered, Amazon feeds me continuous information on the status of my order and the "tracking" function lets me know it just left a Lexington, Kentucky transfer point etc. or that it is out locally on delivery or whatever.

Even more important, Amazon's fulfillment centres have fast moving frequently ordered items in stock locally in Mississauga. I frequently get something that I ordered before 4:00 pm delivered the next day. A "just-in-time" system works very well where there are well laid out production schedules like in a car plant where a particular item is sequenced several weeks ahead and will enter the chain on a given hour of a given day but simply doesn't work with a system where supplies or parts are required as a result of an unpredictable event or mechanical failure. Car manufacture is very much a push system while we mostly run a pull one. Even civilian car dealerships frequently need to back-order repair parts or transfer between dealers these days because local stocks just aren't sufficient as manufacturers and dealers try to tighten up on their own stock costs.

The same goes for people in the stream. We generally build an establishment with some type of work throughput equation (some are built better than others) and we have to expect that when the system takes people out of their establishment positions for ops postings or courses, or if we don't have a robust recruiting/training system to replace attrition vacancies, then output will naturally suffer. The days of having excess staffing to absorb personnel turbulence are long gone.

🍻
 

MJP

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How many actually understand how the process works or how to fill it out? First UCR I ever did took awhile for me to get done because the CAF UCR instructions are read as a what the form is and when to use it, not how to fill out the form, and no one around knew either had to make a few phone calls.
The UCR system is weak at best as they generally need command involvement to get solved. It is an unwieldly system but has decent value for non-critical things( fix a manual error etc) However it is a side bar to the issue at hand in the article which is not even really supply chain related but really the dismantling of the ASU system for a weaker CDSG/base construct that left less people giving support to the same things
 

lenaitch

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With us replacing our transport/ refueling aircraft, we should buy extra, convert them for cargo only and have aircraft for the transport of parts, supplies, etc... quickly from depot to the various bases.

How many bases have functioning fixed-wing airfields anymore? Nearby civilian strips perhaps but you'd still have the 'last mile' problem.
 
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