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

IKnowNothing

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Step 1- take the tanks and the 3 LIB's, put them in a box for later
Step 2- plan 3 symmetrical CMBG's , 1x CAV Squadron+ 2x LAV Bn
Step 3- Scrap the CBG's that are collocated with CMBG's (or close enough for a reasonable drive) - 33/34/38/41
Step 4- All viable units to be absorbed into CMBG. Regiments remain as force generation body responsible for supplying a platoon/troop designated in the CMBG ORBAT.
Step 5 - Take Armoured and Artillery RegF Py's bumped/saved by Step 4 to stand up "Bde" type capabilities - Doctrinal Tank Regiment, AD Regiment, HIMARS, etc.
Step 6- Move 3 R22R to Montreal, absorbs 34CBG to become 70/30 Light Battle Group (If 6/7 Inf Unit listed can deliver would actually be closer to 50/50 with 2x 100/0 and 2x 10/90 Coys
Step 7- Move 3PPCLI and 3 RCR to Borden absorb 31 & 32 CBG and stand up 3CLBG (assuming 4x RegF Coy's and 4x Pres worth of platoons)



Desired Result
3x ~70/30 CMBG's fully manned with proper CS coys. Line Coy RegF allocation either 100/70/40 or 100/100/10(HQ Reg), attachments to turn any of the 3 into a quasi heavy bde with 3 maneuver units and proper enablers as needed, a new light Bde.

How far off viable? What are the stumbling points to take it that far?

If not completely asinine
a-would there be any armoured/arty PY's created for the new units or would reserve integration just bring them up to strength?
b-would it be better to attach the Montreal based light battle group to 3 CLBG and be orphaned by language or 5CMBG and be orphaned by function?
c-what should be done with 36/37/39? Could sims let them be re-roled to help with a? fly in coy's for the light bde?
d-is there enough CS and CSS inherent to 31&32 and leftover after step 5 to support the light Bde? (even as a Bn generator)
 
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FJAG

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Let me throw out a few random thoughts
That to my mind should be one of the first things to be looked at in restructuring the Reserves. I'm thinking that a reasonable goal would be for each Infantry unit to be able to muster a complete Company strength with 3 x Platoons of trained personnel plus a Recruit Platoon. So 150-180 troops minimum?
In any restructure I look at the objective as being the generation battalions within a brigade concept. I do not look at existing reserve battalions for this (albeit I definitely want to retain ResF battalion names for those units). What I look at is the number of troops that a geographic area can reasonably generate and sustain in order to determine what size element they should be required to generate. So a place like Brockville and it's region might be able to generate and sustain a company while Kingston might have a battalion with one company in Kingston and a company in Brockville and another in Bellevile but all being one battalion with one CO. I might even go so far as each of the Brockville and Bellevile companies keeping an affiliation with their prior unit (a buttons and bows thing perhaps) but the entire command and organizational structure for Belleville e.g. would be as a single rifle company.

On the other hand a place like Toronto or Montreal could undoubtedly form and sustain multiple battalions of different types.

That would allow each unit to deploy a Platoon for exercises using only 1/3 of their trained strength. Platoons could run through a readiness cycle so that you have the same Platoon being your High Readiness Platoon and working with the Platoons from the other units making up the augmentation Company in prop for the annual exercise with their Reg Force parent unit.

The 2nd Platoon can be focusing on Platoon-level training while the 3rd Platoon can work on catching up on individual training, integrating newly trained recruits, etc.
Honestly, I think the whole readiness cycle thing is a red herring we created for Afghanistan and limited equipment. It isn't necessary for ResF elements at all. I anticipate that for any operational deployments where the RegF is looking for augmentation there will be a predeployment training cycle anyway to integrate volunteers. Basically the ResF is a "reserve" to be called on as volunteers when needed or "activated" when the Poop hits the fan. In that case we'll activate anyone who has completed DP1 (and probably some who haven't).

The important thing is to ensure that everyone is properly DP1 trained or better. IMHO ResF units should concentrate on collective training to the company level within the time frame available to them which includes the summer training cycle. While summer training would be as a battalion, the focus is training the companies.

I do like FJAG's idea of centralized Training Depots where recruits from all of the units making up the Reserve Battalion that is tasked to force generate the augmentation company can train together to get at least their DP1 qualifications before joining their individual units. Doing basic training together with troops from your affiliated units would also help with cohesion as the Platoons from each unit train together. Perhaps the Training Depot could be co-located with a Transport Company that can maintain a centralized pool of vehicles for the augmentation Company to train on throughout the year?
The primary intent of the the Depots, as you point out, is to relieve the requirement for units (both RegF and ResF) to do individual training and let them concentrate their time on collective training. Essentially a unit receives a DP1 qualified soldier. It also centralizes individual training management (and in my royal kingdom, recruiting for the Army) of the BTL and some elements of the ATL lists. In my perfect world the depot battalions would report to a Canadian Army Basic Training Group headquartered at Kingston and reporting to the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre (also in Kingston)

Geographically I see four or five battalions at the existing principal training centres (Wainwright, Meaford, Valcartier and Aldershot [with maybe something on the west coast - maybe]) but with subordinate companies or even platoons) at each of the main urban centres across the country. The aim is to recruit, train and manage BTL/ATL people locally on what can be taught locally and then bring them to centralized training areas for those things that need better resources such as equipment or ranges. I would see these depots training RegF throughout the year and ResF folks intensively in the summer months but also at opportune times during the winter. Equipment and peak summer training may be a challenge and will probably still require some augmentation for instructors and gear from both RegF and ResF units.

We already do some of these things but not as comprehensively as I think it needs to be.
 

GR66

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Let me throw out a few random thoughts

In any restructure I look at the objective as being the generation battalions within a brigade concept. I do not look at existing reserve battalions for this (albeit I definitely want to retain ResF battalion names for those units). What I look at is the number of troops that a geographic area can reasonably generate and sustain in order to determine what size element they should be required to generate. So a place like Brockville and it's region might be able to generate and sustain a company while Kingston might have a battalion with one company in Kingston and a company in Brockville and another in Bellevile but all being one battalion with one CO. I might even go so far as each of the Brockville and Bellevile companies keeping an affiliation with their prior unit (a buttons and bows thing perhaps) but the entire command and organizational structure for Belleville e.g. would be as a single rifle company.

On the other hand a place like Toronto or Montreal could undoubtedly form and sustain multiple battalions of different types.
I think we're actually on the same page generally. I too see Reserve Brigades & Battalions. There would just be both a Mobilization role for the units as well as an Augmentation role which is one level down from the unit size.

For example a Reserve Light Infantry Brigade would consist of 3 x Light Infantry Battalions each with 3 x Infantry Companies and a CS Company (each of these companies may perpetuate an existing Reserve "Regiment" in name). Each of these Infantry Companies would be tasked to generate a single Platoon annually for joint company-level training with the Platoons from the Reserve Battalion's other Infantry Companies.

Between the three Reserve Battalions in the Reserve Brigade they would be able to provide a 4th Company to each of the Reg Force Battalions in their affiliated Brigade.

This "augmentation" Company would then join their affiliated Reg Force Battalion (as a 4th Infantry Company) in a culminating exercise each year, but they would also have the objective of being prepared (DAG Green) to deploy on Ops in support of their affiliated Reg Force Battalion on short notice if required. The goal of this augmentation is to maintain a high level of unit and sub-unit level training within the Reserves and to establish an ongoing working relationship with the Reg Force units.

However, in case of a major crisis where expansion of the Army is required instead of just augmentation of the Reg Force then the Reserve Brigades and Battalions would mobilize en masse as complete formations.
Honestly, I think the whole readiness cycle thing is a red herring we created for Afghanistan and limited equipment. It isn't necessary for ResF elements at all. I anticipate that for any operational deployments where the RegF is looking for augmentation there will be a predeployment training cycle anyway to integrate volunteers. Basically the ResF is a "reserve" to be called on as volunteers when needed or "activated" when the Poop hits the fan. In that case we'll activate anyone who has completed DP1 (and probably some who haven't).

The important thing is to ensure that everyone is properly DP1 trained or better. IMHO ResF units should concentrate on collective training to the company level within the time frame available to them which includes the summer training cycle. While summer training would be as a battalion, the focus is training the companies.
You can deal with the concept of "readiness" however works, but the idea is that while you may not be able to ensure that 100% of your Reserve unit is available to conduct major collective training exercises each and every summer it should at least be possible to have at least 1/3 of your trained manpower (one full Platoon) reliably available to do so.

This of course doesn't mean that just because the "augmentation" Platoon is preparing for their exercise with the Reg Force Battalion that the rest of the Reserve Company is not training as well. There should still be Platoon and Company level training with the unit and Battalion and even Brigade-level exercises taking place as well.
The primary intent of the the Depots, as you point out, is to relieve the requirement for units (both RegF and ResF) to do individual training and let them concentrate their time on collective training. Essentially a unit receives a DP1 qualified soldier. It also centralizes individual training management (and in my royal kingdom, recruiting for the Army) of the BTL and some elements of the ATL lists. In my perfect world the depot battalions would report to a Canadian Army Basic Training Group headquartered at Kingston and reporting to the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre (also in Kingston)

Geographically I see four or five battalions at the existing principal training centres (Wainwright, Meaford, Valcartier and Aldershot [with maybe something on the west coast - maybe]) but with subordinate companies or even platoons) at each of the main urban centres across the country. The aim is to recruit, train and manage BTL/ATL people locally on what can be taught locally and then bring them to centralized training areas for those things that need better resources such as equipment or ranges. I would see these depots training RegF throughout the year and ResF folks intensively in the summer months but also at opportune times during the winter. Equipment and peak summer training may be a challenge and will probably still require some augmentation for instructors and gear from both RegF and ResF units.

We already do some of these things but not as comprehensively as I think it needs to be.
(y)
 

daftandbarmy

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I think we're actually on the same page generally. I too see Reserve Brigades & Battalions. There would just be both a Mobilization role for the units as well as an Augmentation role which is one level down from the unit size.

For example a Reserve Light Infantry Brigade would consist of 3 x Light Infantry Battalions each with 3 x Infantry Companies and a CS Company (each of these companies may perpetuate an existing Reserve "Regiment" in name). Each of these Infantry Companies would be tasked to generate a single Platoon annually for joint company-level training with the Platoons from the Reserve Battalion's other Infantry Companies.

So how would you accommodate and train all these people in a 1915, or earlier, era armoury with a parade square, 6 separate messes, one 'lecture room' (max 30 people) and a parking lot designed for a few horse drawn gun limbers?

Just wondering ;)
 

GR66

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So how would you accommodate and train all these people in a 1915, or earlier, era armoury with a parade square, 6 separate messes, one 'lecture room' (max 30 people) and a parking lot designed for a few horse drawn gun limbers?

Just wondering ;)
The individual Reserve units (current "Regiments"/future "Companies") wouldn't have to relocate. They would continue to use their existing (sub-optimal) facilities.

Like everything else in the broken down CA there would have to be a plan to eventually upgrade/replace inadequate facilities. Training Depots and Transport Companies/Service Battalions serving the Reserve units from a centralized location (ideally co-located with the training areas) could help by consolidating equipment/vehicles where there is more space.

Obviously no changes would be able to take place overnight. First step (while the Reg Force concentrates on their reconsolidation) would be to examine the current strength and potential recruiting pool for the existing Reserve Regiments. Then figure out how to best group them as Company groupings into the new Battalions and Brigades. Then look at the training model and training facilities and work on getting those in a position to be able to start with the new model. Finally figure out what equipment is required to complete the required training.

We're likely looking at a decades long process but you have to start somewhere.
 

daftandbarmy

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The individual Reserve units (current "Regiments"/future "Companies") wouldn't have to relocate. They would continue to use their existing (sub-optimal) facilities.

Like everything else in the broken down CA there would have to be a plan to eventually upgrade/replace inadequate facilities. Training Depots and Transport Companies/Service Battalions serving the Reserve units from a centralized location (ideally co-located with the training areas) could help by consolidating equipment/vehicles where there is more space.

Obviously no changes would be able to take place overnight. First step (while the Reg Force concentrates on their reconsolidation) would be to examine the current strength and potential recruiting pool for the existing Reserve Regiments. Then figure out how to best group them as Company groupings into the new Battalions and Brigades. Then look at the training model and training facilities and work on getting those in a position to be able to start with the new model. Finally figure out what equipment is required to complete the required training.

We're likely looking at a decades long process but you have to start somewhere.

Luckily, DND spent $70+M on an wonderful armoury upgrade for a regiment that rarely parades more than 40 troops on a training night or weekend ex, and a couple dozen Class B wallahs that show up during the day for 39 CBG HQ.

I think the precedent has been set ;)

 

Remius

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Luckily, DND spent $70+M on an wonderful armoury upgrade for a regiment that rarely parades more than 40 troops on a training night or weekend ex, and a couple dozen Class B wallahs that show up during the day for 39 CBG HQ.

I think the precedent has been set ;)

Find a way to buy some empty schools. Most are already fenced off. Plenty of classrooms, parking normally a decent yard or football field, a gym, offices and storage space. Wouldn’t take much to make a few upgrades.
 

FJAG

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Find a way to buy some empty schools. Most are already fenced off. Plenty of classrooms, parking normally a decent yard or football field, a gym, offices and storage space. Wouldn’t take much to make a few upgrades.
Empty malls work too

🍻
 

markppcli

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Random guess would be almost 100%.

I've never seen a unit that couldn't scrape together at least one 'trained' platoon, and approximately another full of trainees at various stages in the qualification process.

I'm sure that someone will be along in a minute to correct me, though ;)
With the Rocky Mountain Rangers we were never above 25 on parade. When I was there at least. But I’d assume on aggregate most could manage something close to a platoon.

Sadly the regular Bns are mandated be be manned below war strength. Odd comparison to make really. I suppose the better question is why call something a regiment when it’s one platoon.

If we start readjusting units, and think in terms of catchment areas vs regiments reporting to armouries, we can alter and adjust who goes where for what. I would much much rather have all the units in Vancouver work out of ASU Chilliwack a weekend a month rather than 4 half days at their sub par armouries. Similar in Edmonton, they could make great use of the on base facilities vs their two armouries… which aren’t in the base because that made sense to some one… I digress.
 
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Remius

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With the Rocky Mountain Rangers we were never above 25 on parade. When I was there at least. But I’d assume on aggregate most could manage something close to a platoon.

Sadly the regular Bns are mandated be be manned below war strength. Odd comparison to make really. I suppose the better question is why call something a regiment when it’s one platoon.

If we start readjusting units, and think in terms of catchment areas vs regiments reporting to armouries, we can alter and adjust who goes where for what. I would much much rather have all the units in Vancouver work out of ASU Chilliwack a weekend a month rather than 4 half days at their sub par armouries. Similar in Edmonton, they could make great use of the on base facilities vs their two armouries… which aren’t in the base because that made sense to some one… I digress.
While I think a lot of units can put out a platoon or two there are several that cannot. At least not realistically.

We do have some units that are tactically grouped. Because of that.
 

markppcli

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While I think a lot of units can put out a platoon or two there are several that cannot. At least not realistically.

We do have some units that are tactically grouped. Because of that.
At my core I argue if you can’t field a platoon, you probably don’t need a Lt Col a CSM, ect ect. If two units can field two platoons a piece, well that’s a company. Probably Winnipeg should have a company, maybe a Bn for the whole of 41 Bde. Tactical Grouping is, at present, a half measure that should be far more wide spread, amd include some more sweeping reforms in reserve structure.

To add we have 10 Reserve Brigades managing a total of 14,000 reservists (one the Rangers are taken out of the equation). At roughly 1400 per Bde I feel a Bn in their plus some divisional regiment / Bn HQs wouldn’t be much more appropriate.
 

Remius

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At my core I argue if you can’t field a platoon, you probably don’t need a Lt Col a CSM, ect ect. If two units can field two platoons a piece, well that’s a company. Probably Winnipeg should have a company, maybe a Bn for the whole of 41 Bde. Tactical Grouping is, at present, a half measure that should be far more wide spread, amd include some more sweeping reforms in reserve structure.
I’m not saying that restructuring is not required. Just what some units are doing to get the training they can at platoon level or higher.

We already have units tactically grouped sharing COs and RSMs so it does work and the world isn’t ending.

The issue too is that while you might be able to field two platoons out the door for what whatever, you could also have more that on the establishment doing other stuff or having civilian priorities conflicting. It’s not every unit though that would be in that situation.
 

Brad Sallows

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Sigs and meds and some other folks and things are in there with 39 CBG and the Seaforths.
 

daftandbarmy

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Sigs and meds and some other folks and things are in there with 39 CBG and the Seaforths.

Yes, I know. It's just a staggeringly huge investment out of all proportion to the realities of the evolving demographic realities of population centres in the Lower Mainland/ Fraser Valley, and where the largest units are located.
 

Brad Sallows

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Yeah. Took them forever, too. I was tagged to attend a liaison committee to "prepare" some years before I released, so that'd be over 20 years ago. On, off, on, off, on...

Agree they missed a chance to build something big somewhere out in the valley near Surrey/Langley border. Easy access to Hwy 1, I-5, people, knock 45 min off travel time just getting out of Vancouver, etc.
 

markppcli

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I’m not saying that restructuring is not required. Just what some units are doing to get the training they can at platoon level or higher.

We already have units tactically grouped sharing COs and RSMs so it does work and the world isn’t ending.

The world isn’t ending because we don’t use the reserves as an integral part of our operational capability. If we did this system would be crippling. But then again I never said it was and “isn’t a catastrophe” is hardly a glowing review. Also see above, those units don’t need COs or RSMs.

The issue too is that while you might be able to field two platoons out the door for what whatever, you could also have more that on the establishment doing other stuff or having civilian priorities conflicting. It’s not every unit though that would be in that situation.
Yes very familiar, I was in a reserve unit that claimed 75 members but only ever paraded 25. NES paper work was something no one ever really wanted to get done I guess. It is of course the natural result of the show up when and if you want system, which is also why we can’t build reserve structures into our operational capabilities. Simply not reliable.

I’ll point out that the Netherlands has their reserve Bns directly inside their 3 Bdes. Each is made up of geographically dispersed, obviously to a lesser extent than in Canada, companies who come together to provide a third Bn to their parent formation.
 
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