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Informing the Army’s Future Structure

daftandbarmy

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Prepping / cleaning / user maintenance of equipment isn't something to be ignored or offloaded to others.

It's actually an important part of professional development... for everyone.

Where leaders, at all levels, don't do their job re: maintenance we're all hooped, of course.
 

foresterab

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It's actually an important part of professional development... for everyone.

Where leaders, at all levels, don't do their job re: maintenance we're all hooped, of course.
Fully agree that there is a level of development gained for personally responsible. Your own webbing, boots, field gear...yes.

As a unit that is however going to be a) attached to a larger permanent force if mobilized fully and b) often limited on numbers it can mobilize under the current system of P Reserve attendance/training and c) often mobilized as single resources to fill out gaps in other unit and/or conglomerated units mis-mashed together (domestic ops)....then why have the responsibility of training and preparation on equipment that doesn't always align and instead simplify the mission training day to day so that field exercises can be true focused learned.

Again I'm biased from my wildfire experience where we mobilize manpower, send it with basic gear, and then draw additional resources upon arrival depending on what's needed (pumps/hoses/saws etc.) There is enough common equipment to allow national or international resources to grab a pump and deploy on incident even if we have variations in boots/coverals/radios. Most importantly though the incoming resources are known and have a mission pre-deployment (you're a plans chief, you're a helicopter coordinator, your a crew leader of a 20 man unit) that can be slotted into the bigger operational picture and rotated as needed.
 

dapaterson

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Combat Arms soldiers in the Res F already mistreat CSS soldiers enough, and expect them to do basic tasks that are not CSS.

Cheating on exercises by offloading your responsibilities to someone else (before, during or after) builds bad muscle memory, and means soldiers are not being properly prepared and trained.

Mission focus means understanding your roles from end to end and practicing them.

Signed, CBT A to CSS, from back row third rank to front of the parade retired Res F guy.
 

dapaterson

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Let me add: there is ample time to prepare for Res F units, they just piss away most of it.

A normal month should be something like:

Evening one: four periods of lectures and rehearsals for the upcoming exercise.

Evening two: one period of rehearsals, three periods of prep of equipment etc in advance of the coming weekend.

Weekend exercise

Evening three: cleanup, repair, put away eqpt.

Evening four: various mandatory training and lectures.

Lather, rinse, repeat. It's not rocket surgery.
 

KevinB

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1) Pooled vehicles / equipment don’t work.
They get driven like stolen and treated with zero responsibility.
2) Basic vehicle maintenance is a driver / crew function — however that doesn’t mean there doesn’t need to be robust support functions.
The CAF should never need to simply take their Chevy etc down to the local dealership, as they should have enough personnel in support side to keep the entire fleet moving.
3) Contractor maintenance makes folks lazy, irresponsible and odds are those contractors won’t come and fix your vehicle in a war zone.

Post Ex drills aren’t rocket science as @dapaterson pointed out.
Personal kit is an individual task
Section/platoon (DET etc) items are a collective one.
For the PRes - some items may need a quick job till the next admin night or full parade night as long as they are not muddy, etc.

One problem is secure storage - few PRes Armories have cages etc to hang things etc.
 

KevinB

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That last comment drives home a point.
The Reg Force units have Platoon/Det etc cages - so tents can be hung to dry and not go missing. Other items can be left to dry or soaking in oil etc whatever.

Very very few PRes units have significant controlled storage space to allow for things like toboggan groups to be left to air dry.

Res Armories need to be construct with the same concept of Ops as Reg Force buildings (those are generally the bare minimum as well).
 

FJAG

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1) Pooled vehicles / equipment don’t work.
They get driven like stolen and treated with zero responsibility.
For several years in 2 RCHA, F Bty used militia equipment with the understanding the militia could use it on weekends and summer concentrations and save having to drive their own to Petawawa.

On a training weekend we would line the battery up on the parade square with kit laid out. The training militia unit would arrive by bus on a Friday night, sign for their kit and deploy to the field with each det or crew having an F Bty DS supervisor to supervise training. On Sunday afternoon the battery would return to the parade square for maintenance under the supervision of their officers and NCOs. Each piece of kit was signed back and inspected by the DS for cleanliness and completeness. No bus left until every piece of kit was clean and accounted for.

It can be done.

2) Basic vehicle maintenance is a driver / crew function — however that doesn’t mean there doesn’t need to be robust support functions.
The CAF should never need to simply take their Chevy etc down to the local dealership, as they should have enough personnel in support side to keep the entire fleet moving.
Absolutely agree.

3) Contractor maintenance makes folks lazy, irresponsible and odds are those contractors won’t come and fix your vehicle in a war zone
Post Ex drills aren’t rocket science as @dapaterson pointed out.
Personal kit is an individual task
Section/platoon (DET etc) items are a collective one.
For the PRes - some items may need a quick job till the next admin night or full parade night as long as they are not muddy, etc.
Absolutely agree, again. It's a vital part of training. If done poorly in training it will be done poorly when it counts.

One problem is secure storage - few PRes Armories have cages etc to hang things etc.
That should be fixable on a case-by-case basis with minor and inexpensive budgets. RSMs hate to give up space on a parade square for things as "messy" as caged lockers. 😁

🍻
 

Brad Sallows

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My concern is the ratio of "pre/post" to "exercise".

Each of the following requires some amount of time:
  • pers admin - nearly inelastic, can't be evaded
  • mandatory non-BTS training - completely inelastic, can't be evaded
  • BTS - somewhat elastic depending on how activities are planned and due to fact not everything can realistically be done each year, so BTS must be selected and therefore time required can be tweaked
  • pre/post activities for practicing and measuring BTS - nearly inelastic unless people aren't moving with purpose

Add up the time required. If it exceeds 37.5 days (or whatever the number of days is "per soldier"), less the amount of overhead skimmed by various "work parties" (advance, rear, prep for SAV, etc) and other miscellaneous activities, it is unrealistic and fated to fail; failure rests at the feet of the people not matching resources to requirements.

Shortening the time spent on BTS is an option, but is self-defeating if the aim is to increase Res F competence.

So that leaves shortening the time spent on pre/post activities (increasing the "BTS time" : "pre/post time" ratio). Either find other people to do some of the pre/post stuff (which is what advance and rear parties do some of), or plan longer exercise periods and stop wasting 2.5 paid days per soldier on 30 to 36 hour exercises.
 

KevinB

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For several years in 2 RCHA, F Bty used militia equipment with the understanding the militia could use it on weekends and summer concentrations and save having to drive their own to Petawawa.
F Troop ;)

On a training weekend we would line the battery up on the parade square with kit laid out. The training militia unit would arrive by bus on a Friday night, sign for their kit and deploy to the field with each det or crew having an F Bty DS supervisor to supervise training. On Sunday afternoon the battery would return to the parade square for maintenance under the supervision of their officers and NCOs. Each piece of kit was signed back and inspected by the DS for cleanliness and completeness. No bus left until every piece of kit was clean and accounted for.

It can be done.
A C1 Bty cleanup isn’t nearly as intensive as a LAV Coy in my experience. Also IIRC it was really just 49FD and 56FD using it. 30FD always brought it own gear and I was pretty sure did 7Tor.

It wasn’t getting used every weekend and left.
The Militia AVGP pool enters the chat.

Can it be done, yes, but will it, and most importantly it shouldn’t need to.

I’m fine with extra gear that a cadre holds at a Trg Area - but it should be extra for TRG only.
 

FJAG

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F Troop ;)


A C1 Bty cleanup isn’t nearly as intensive as a LAV Coy in my experience. Also IIRC it was really just 49FD and 56FD using it. 30FD always brought it own gear and I was pretty sure did 7Tor.
Nope. 7 Tor, 11 Fd, 30 Fd, 49 Fd and 56 Fd all came up by buses in those years. The gear was basically theirs to start with. Each regiment was "taxed" one or two guns and several 1/4, 3/4 and 2 1/2 tons each. Generally each regiment came for two shoots in the spring and one in the fall as well as a summer concentration. In the summer they had to bring extra gear because they generally formed two batteries. This is one of the reasons that when I transferred to the reserves in 1981 I had 180 days accumulated leave which saw me pretty well through first year law. 😁
It wasn’t getting used every weekend and left.
Around 15 weekends per year, the summer concentration and three live fire 2 RCHA exercises every year. The regiment ran at 15,000 rounds each year so the battery would have put roughly 7,500 downrange of our own and the Militia added roughly another 3,000 (about 600 per regiment).
The Militia AVGP pool enters the chat.

Can it be done, yes, but will it, and most importantly it shouldn’t need to.
I don't disagree. If one had operational guns, you'd need to rotate them if nothing else to keep the EFCs under control.
I’m fine with extra gear that a cadre holds at a Trg Area - but it should be extra for TRG only.
I'm actually on the side of depot battalions having their own vehicles and heavy weapons if only for the reason that if the operational battalions go off to war the depots need to keep churning out trainees. I'm also not a fan of concentrating units' gear into an NRQS/ARTS (or whatever its called) or Milcon pool in the summer. That does guarantee clapped out gear coming back.

In my perfect world, the heavy brigades would do their exercises with prepositioned gear in Europe. RegF during the fall to spring and ResF during the summer.

🍻
 

KevinB

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Nope. 7 Tor, 11 Fd, 30 Fd, 49 Fd and 56 Fd all came up by buses in those years. The gear was basically theirs to start with. Each regiment was "taxed" one or two guns and several 1/4, 3/4 and 2 1/2 tons each. Generally each regiment came for two shoots in the spring and one in the fall as well as a summer concentration. In the summer they had to bring extra gear because they generally formed two batteries. This is one of the reasons that when I transferred to the reserves in 1981 I had 180 days accumulated leave which saw me pretty well through first year law. 😁
Ah. Several years before me.
I know it was tried again in the early 90’s with less than stellar results
Around 15 weekends per year, the summer concentration and three live fire 2 RCHA exercises every year. The regiment ran at 15,000 rounds each year so the battery would have put roughly 7,500 downrange of our own and the Militia added roughly another 3,000 (about 600 per regiment).

I don't disagree. If one had operational guns, you'd need to rotate them if nothing else to keep the EFCs under control.

I'm actually on the side of depot battalions having their own vehicles and heavy weapons if only for the reason that if the operational battalions go off to war the depots need to keep churning out trainees. I'm also not a fan of concentrating units' gear into an NRQS/ARTS (or whatever its called) or Milcon pool in the summer. That does guarantee clapped out gear coming back.

In my perfect world, the heavy brigades would do their exercises with prepositioned gear in Europe. RegF during the fall to spring and ResF during the summer.

🍻
Agreed.
I don’t like the idea of operational gear for training either.
 

AmmoTech90

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Let me add: there is ample time to prepare for Res F units, they just piss away most of it.

A normal month should be something like:

Evening one: four periods of lectures and rehearsals for the upcoming exercise.

Evening two: one period of rehearsals, three periods of prep of equipment etc in advance of the coming weekend.

Weekend exercise

Evening three: cleanup, repair, put away eqpt.

Evening four: various mandatory training and lectures.

Lather, rinse, repeat. It's not rocket surgery.
I just dug out the regimental schedule for 763 (Ottawa) Comm Regt for Feb 1988.
All Wednesdays were Admin Parades. MCpl+ and others by appointment. Sometimes the .22 indoor range would be booked.
1st Friday- CO's parade followed by Sqn Training.
1st Saturday- Regimental Trg
2nd Friday- Officer's have a mess dinner. RSM's parade followed by Sqn Training
2nd Sunday- Regimental skiing
3rd Friday- Squadron Trg/Packup/depart for squadron level exercises
3rd Sat/Sun- Squadron level exercises (Radio or Teletype)
4th Weekend- No training (not sure why).
In December, right after school broke we had run a 7 day Winter Indoc.
In January, the training was similar but we did a ground search and rescue exercise where the Radio squadron established comms and support and Teletype got to practice their winter indoc stuff.
In March there was SIT course, driver training, ranges and a Comm Gp level exercise.

We didn't always work on our own, often one or two rad dets would be tasked to support another unit's exercise. Of course MILCON was a thing in the the summer, and the Ottawa Militia District seemed to like having a mini-MILCON in September where all the Rad Dets would get to do what they did during MILCON again.

All of this was organized with O-gps, a semi-regular unit newsletter, and a big white board outside the OR. Not rocket science.
 

Kirkhill

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@KevinB

US National Guard.

When the Guard is assigned a Federal Task - eg supplying a Stryker Brigade Combat Team - is the entire Guard assigned to the task? Are there volunteers for the duty? How does it work?
 

KevinB

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@KevinB

US National Guard.

When the Guard is assigned a Federal Task - eg supplying a Stryker Brigade Combat Team - is the entire Guard assigned to the task? Are there volunteers for the duty? How does it work?
If the Guard unit is Federalized - it’s the entire unit that mobilizes. So everyone but those sick or otherwise excused (generally very few excused).
Unless it’s a limited personnel tasking.

Even on their drill periods it’s mandatory, employers need to give them effectively Leave (and most do leave with pay).

The ARNG and USAR are a pretty good model these days.
 

Kirkhill

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If the Guard unit is Federalized - it’s the entire unit that mobilizes. So everyone but those sick or otherwise excused (generally very few excused).
Unless it’s a limited personnel tasking.

Even on their drill periods it’s mandatory, employers need to give them effectively Leave (and most do leave with pay).

The ARNG and USAR are a pretty good model these days.

What I was getting at was Guardsmen surplus to the numbers necessary to field the BCT for Federal Service.

Would the entire Pennsylvania Guard be federalized or just the SBCT? And how is the SBCT populated? Are they volunteered? Do they volunteer? How long are they tasked prior to deployment? Etc.
 

GR66

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Which is where IMHO it’s better to have 2 properly resourced Regular Bde’s than 4 that seem to strive for inadequacy. Or 4 Total Force Bde’s that are properly organized and equipped than the ~11 that exist on paper.

Honestly with 22k regulars, and 17k PRes that’s 39k troops All Ranks.

Using the 36% Cbt Formation that works out to 14k for Bde’s, and at 4,500 per Bde (ish) that works out to 3.1
Given the CAF doesn’t have the seem churn as the US Army, I don’t think the Admin and Support #’s need to be as high as down here, so I think that 4 Bde is very doable.
It also provided for robust support and schools to allow for mobilization.

1 Armoured
2 Light (Airborne, Air Mobile, with Arctic and Mountain sub specialties
1 Med (and honestly I’d burn the Med Bde if the CAF didn’t have a zillion LAV)
Put remaining LAV in storage for mobilization needs or protected mobility for Light units on Peace Support Ops.


Those should be setup to plug and play with the US Army - but I’d accept 1 of the Light Bde’s setup for work with the USMC too).
A couple of thoughts on the types of Brigades we may want/need.

  1. I think an Armoured Brigade (ideally Reserve-heavy if we can ever fix that mess) should be part of the mix because if anything major does go down in Europe/Iran/North Korea/etc. you're going to want a Heavy "break glass in case of fire" capability.
  2. A Light Brigade makes sense for Canada as both a Rapid Reaction Force that can be deployed worldwide in a crisis and can also respond to any threats to the Canadian Arctic.
  3. While I think it's important to have the types of forces available to fight a peer conflict if required, I do also continue to believe (especially after the beating Russia has taken in Ukraine) that like during the Cold War, the most common types of future deployments will be in support of proxy brush wars rather than direct conflict with Russia/China. Would it then make sense to have 1 or more Security Force Assistance Brigades? LAVs and TAPVs would be suitable vehicles for such missions and being Officer and NCM heavy units they would provide a good leadership base for expansion if mobilization is ever required. They also use up less PYs than a maneuver Brigade.
  4. Ukraine has proven (yet again) that Artillery is the "King of Battle". Perhaps a Fires Brigade (or two) would be a more impactful contribution to our coalition partners than another maneuver Brigade. Also potentially less manpower intensive (and well suited for the Reserves).
 

FJAG

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What I was getting at was Guardsmen surplus to the numbers necessary to field the BCT for Federal Service.

Would the entire Pennsylvania Guard be federalized or just the SBCT? And how is the SBCT populated? Are they volunteered? Do they volunteer? How long are they tasked prior to deployment? Etc.
The ARNG and USAR can be mobilized as individuals, subunits, units or formations.

During Afghanistan's Op Phoenix, the training of the ANA was rotated between various ARNG brigades. Generally the entire brigade would deploy with the exception of rear parties and a few individuals exempted for various reasons. The brigades were generally understaffed and as such volunteers from other brigades would round out the establishment.

The US Army's Command and General Staff College's Combined Arms Research Library has a large collection of interviews of various individuals who deployed during the Global War on Terror many of whom are Guard and Reservist. They are very informative and can be found here:


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