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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

FJAG

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I still like Kevin's COA 4: 2 Div each of 3 Bde - all Bde mixed Reg and Res.
I save even more PY ;)
And given the recent GOFO immolation, less HQ seems to be healthier for everyone...
Does Kevin's COA 4 include any CS or CSS brigades?

FJAG's :giggle: COA 4 also includes 2 Divs but with 3 x Reg and 2 x Res manoeuvre brigade groups and 1 x CS and 2 x CSS brigades.

That's another thing that I don't like about the Army's COA 3 (nor 1 and 2). While there seems to be some change in structure and lines of responsibility in CSS, nothing seems to tear us away from what is basically a static structure. Nothing creates more operationally focused deployable CSS assets. Have I told you recently that I think that NSEs are the work of the devil?

Nothing that I see in any of these COAs is designed to grow the force to a level where it can expand beyond three brigade groups and nowhere is there any indication we will create the ability to deploy anything beyond a battlegroup. (Besides that I just don't trust people that talk about a future MLRS capability and then show a picture of a HIMARS - It's not that I want MLRS, I prefer HIMARS - but it shows a profound shallowness of knowledge)

The COA 3 structure calls for 19 Res F Infantry TBG/battalions with 2 x RFL 1 companies and 1 x RFL 2 company each but still under 10 x Bde HQs.
I need to make a correction to what I said above. The infantry battalions with 2 x RFL 1 and 1 x RFL 2 companies refers to the Reg F battalions. The Res F TBGs are all identified as having only an RFL 3 capability. Sorry about that.

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KevinB

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Does Kevin's COA 4 include any CS or CSS brigades?
I would have them directly part of the Divs - and Bdes
I view them as integral structures necessary for operations, but I view the Bde as the lowest reasonable deployable asset - beyond limited short duration operations that would be mostly CANSOFCOM run.

I don't see a need for a CSS Bde - but Bn's inside the Bde and Div's.
Maybe that is naive of me - but I view higher HQ of those formations to be unnecessary in a Military this small.

FJAG's :giggle: COA 4 also includes 2 Divs but with 3 x Reg and 2 x Res manoeuvre brigade groups and 1 x CS and 2 x CSS brigades.

That's another thing that I don't like about the Army's COA 3 (nor 1 and 2). While there seems to be some change in structure and lines of responsibility in CSS, nothing seems to tear us away from what is basically a static structure. Nothing creates more operationally focused deployable CSS assets. Have I told you recently that I think that NSEs are the work of the devil?
I always viewed NSE and NCE as the Devil ;)
I think there should be more Svc Bn's in each Bde, as well as more robust Maintenance sub units in the Bn/Reg't's.
Depending on how one defines CS depends if I think they should be a Deiv or Bde asset - or specifically part of Bn's/Reg't in the Bde's.



Nothing that I see in any of these COAs is designed to grow the force to a level where it can expand beyond three brigade groups and nowhere is there any indication we will create the ability to deploy anything beyond a battlegroup. (Besides that I just don't trust people that talk about a future MLRS capability and then show a picture of a HIMARS - It's not that I want MLRS, I prefer HIMARS - but it shows a profound shallowness of knowledge)
Well its better than years ago when the briefing slide for Div Arty was always an MLRS and no program for MLRS was active...

I need to make a correction to what I said above. The infantry battalions with 2 x RFL 1 and 1 x RFL 2 companies refers to the Reg F battalions. The Res F TBGs are all identified as having only an RFL 3 capability. Sorry about that.

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FJAG

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I would have them directly part of the Divs - and Bdes
I view them as integral structures necessary for operations, but I view the Bde as the lowest reasonable deployable asset - beyond limited short duration operations that would be mostly CANSOFCOM run.

I don't see a need for a CSS Bde - but Bn's inside the Bde and Div's.
Maybe that is naive of me - but I view higher HQ of those formations to be unnecessary in a Military this small.
I agree that a full manoeuvre brigade is probably the largest force we can reasonably expect to deploy (although I tend to think that if you are going to pay a division's worth of folks a full-time salary then you should have the ability to surge them all in the event of a Come to Jesus Moment.)

But, in any event, if you do deploy a brigade then the brigade service battalion provides the combat service support internal to the brigade and not the theatre level support that goes on behind it. That means that in the event of a full brigade's deployment you need a deployable theatre support organization as well as the brigade's service battalion. IMHO the best way to have that theatre support available is to have a hybrid CSS brigade that can force generate the necessary transport, supply and maintenance companies needed to support a deployed brigade. On top of that a sustainment battalion headquarters from a CSS brigade could also incorporate control over such theatre level personnel and health services support as might be necessary. If you do not have such a thing then you will need to rob all of the remaining manoeuvre brigade service battalions and base support establishments to form something along the lines of a composite sustainment battalion or, even worse, do that and rob the deployed brigade service battalion of some of its assets to do theatre level sustainment.

I tend to agree that support brigades should be within the force generating divisions, but primarily for administration and training. Effectively they are an Army level resource deployed in small or large chunks as dictated by requirements.

We certainly do not have the size of an army to have the number and variety of CS and CSS brigades that the US has but there are three that we should focus on: an artillery brigade to concentrate all esoteric indirect fire and AD assets such as 4 RCA(GS) beyond the close support artillery in the manoeuvre brigades; a sustainment brigade for the basic supply, transport and maintenance support needed at theatre level; and a manoeuvre enhancement brigade where one can concentrate the remaining odds and sods from engineer support regiments to the Canadian Army Intelligence Regiment to 21 EW Regiment, to the nebulous Army MP Group (the whole MP chain needs downward renaming/restructuring desperately) to CNRB to CIMIC to the Influence Activity etc etc etc.

We essentially already have a manoeuvre enhancement brigade by way of the Cdn Cbt Support Brigade. It would only need minor restructuring and redefining of tasks. In addition there is the CF Joint Operational Support Group which could form the core of a sustainment brigade. (It's not that I'm anti joint organizations I just think that a hybrid Reg F/ Res F Army structure offers more options for expansion and focused mission specific training - IMHO, the 1,100 strong CFJOSG is too large for a headquarters and too small as a force generator for the functions it supports - I think it needs restructuring to put paid to the NSE concept and to better leverage Res F manpower - obviously restructuring the CFJOG is outside of the scope for Force 2025)

The key need for these brigades (and their headquarters) is to focus the organization and training of them to be able to force generate theatre level support for everything from deployed battle groups to brigades (and in that Come To Jesus Moment - a whole division) so that the manoeuvre brigades are not required to cannibalize and bastardize their CS and CSS agencies to do that and can focus on their own training and support to their brigade groups.

For the most part, CS and CSS brigades should be hybrid with the ratio of Reg F to Res F of their various elements dependent on the likelihood of rapid or frequent deployment as opposed to deployment only in extreme circumstances.

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KevinB

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I agree that a full manoeuvre brigade is probably the largest force we can reasonably expect to deploy (although I tend to think that if you are going to pay a division's worth of folks a full-time salary then you should have the ability to surge them all in the event of a Come to Jesus Moment.)
Actually I was arguing we shouldn't piecemeal - and opt for Bde Deployments (which would force several large elephants to be addressed).

But, in any event, if you do deploy a brigade then the brigade service battalion provides the combat service support internal to the brigade and not the theatre level support that goes on behind it. That means that in the event of a full brigade's deployment you need a deployable theatre support organization as well as the brigade's service battalion. IMHO the best way to have that theatre support available is to have a hybrid CSS brigade that can force generate the necessary transport, supply and maintenance companies needed to support a deployed brigade. On top of that a sustainment battalion headquarters from a CSS brigade could also incorporate control over such theatre level personnel and health services support as might be necessary. If you do not have such a thing then you will need to rob all of the remaining manoeuvre brigade service battalions and base support establishments to form something along the lines of a composite sustainment battalion or, even worse, do that and rob the deployed brigade service battalion of some of its assets to do theatre level sustainment.
The Bde is effectively your theatre force if a Bde deploys.
You shouldn't need an NSE or NCE - as the Bde should be self sufficient.
In a Div OP - the Bde would still need to deal with higher - same issue should apply.

I tend to agree that support brigades should be within the force generating divisions, but primarily for administration and training. Effectively they are an Army level resource deployed in small or large chunks as dictated by requirements.
They aren't truly an Army level resource though - the CF can't currently really field an equipped Division - so IMHO it is best to field a smaller better equipped and trained force than a larger under equipped force - as an under equipped force I just a large waste of tax payer money in peacetime - and just a huge stack of body bags in wartime.
We certainly do not have the size of an army to have the number and variety of CS and CSS brigades that the US has but there are three that we should focus on: an artillery brigade to concentrate all esoteric indirect fire and AD assets such as 4 RCA(GS) beyond the close support artillery in the manoeuvre brigades; a sustainment brigade for the basic supply, transport and maintenance support needed at theatre level; and a manoeuvre enhancement brigade where one can concentrate the remaining odds and sods from engineer support regiments to the Canadian Army Intelligence Regiment to 21 EW Regiment, to the nebulous Army MP Group (the whole MP chain needs downward renaming/restructuring desperately) to CNRB to CIMIC to the Influence Activity etc etc etc.
Div Arty Assets -- I just don't think it needs to be called a Bde, it can be a Regiment +, as well as Staff at Div.
I see the Sustainment Bde as being better suited to being broken down to Bde Level - making the Service BN's actually capable of CSS functions for the Brigade - even if it needs 3 Svc Bn / Bde - they don't need a separate HQ staff (IMHO)
I just don't see large amounts of Troops to satisfy the requirement for a slew of support staff positions - as even with reserve mobilization it's really just a 1 Div deployable Army
We essentially already have a manoeuvre enhancement brigade by way of the Cdn Cbt Support Brigade. It would only need minor restructuring and redefining of tasks. In addition there is the CF Joint Operational Support Group which could form the core of a sustainment brigade. (It's not that I'm anti joint organizations I just think that a hybrid Reg F/ Res F Army structure offers more options for expansion and focused mission specific training - IMHO, the 1,100 strong CFJOSG is too large for a headquarters and too small as a force generator for the functions it supports - I think it needs restructuring to put paid to the NSE concept and to better leverage Res F manpower - obviously restructuring the CFJOG is outside of the scope for Force 2025).
Those are (or should be) Div assets - I'm not sure they need to be called Bde's IMHO.
The key need for these brigades (and their headquarters) is to focus the organization and training of them to be able to force generate theatre level support for everything from deployed battle groups to brigades (and in that Come To Jesus Moment - a whole division) so that the manoeuvre brigades are not required to cannibalize and bastardize their CS and CSS agencies to do that and can focus on their own training and support to their brigade groups.
I fully agree with that.
For the most part, CS and CSS brigades should be hybrid with the ratio of Reg F to Res F of their various elements dependent on the likelihood of rapid or frequent deployment as opposed to deployment only in extreme circumstances.
I think the entire Army should be a hybrid force down to the Bde's - but I still think those assets should be part of the deployable Bde.
 

Ostrozac

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I always viewed NSE and NCE as the Devil ;)
In the event of a Canadian brigade being committed, I can, conceptually, see the necessity of a Canadian organization for handling nationally-specific supplies, acting as a replacement personnel depot, and generally answering the mail back home to free up the brigade headquarters in contact to fight, plan and coordinate with their coalition division headquarters. But it doesn’t have to be a monster interfering with and micromanaging the close fight. The equivalent organizations in the Korean War, 2 Canadian Administrative Unit and 25 Canadian Reinforcement Group, were located in Kure, Japan, while remaining under command of the Canadian Brigade commander.

On the question of whether this is a joint function provided by NSE/JOSG/an Operational Support Hub or this is an Army function provided by a Service Battalion (Rear) — that is probably splitting hairs — it would mostly be the same people doing the same jobs.

Personally, just like during Korea, I’d like to see the NSE located for enough back to be safe for walking out — that way you could also use it as an R&R centre. 🎉 🍻
 
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FJAG

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Actually I was arguing we shouldn't piecemeal - and opt for Bde Deployments (which would force several large elephants to be addressed).
Realistically Canada tends to cheap out and mixes in when there are allies involved and then becomes part of a multinational force. We don't have enough staying power to deploy a brigade for any significant period.
The Bde is effectively your theatre force if a Bde deploys.
You shouldn't need an NSE or NCE - as the Bde should be self sufficient.
In a Div OP - the Bde would still need to deal with higher - same issue should apply.
Wholly disagree.

A brigade service battalion does not have the establishment (neither headquarters nor sub-units) to deal efficiently with national theatre level support, nor ought it to. The bde svc bn concerns itself with brigade level support well forward of where theatre level support agencies work out of. It ought not to have to deal with the intricacies involved. There needs to be a separate element that concerns itself with getting supplies, personnel, equipment etc into theatre and moves them forward to the bde svc bns.
They aren't truly an Army level resource though - the CF can't currently really field an equipped Division - so IMHO it is best to field a smaller better equipped and trained force than a larger under equipped force - as an under equipped force I just a large waste of tax payer money in peacetime - and just a huge stack of body bags in wartime.
By Army level I simply mean they aren't a divisional level resource such as an old style Discom or Div Arty used to be but rather are part of a modular structure that can be added on to a deployed force of any size to provide capabilities that are not organic to a brigade group. We tend to agree about better equipped and trained vs underequipped and undertrained force. Where we disagree is on the size of the day-to-day force and the break-glass-in-case-of-fire force Canada ought to be able to generate with what the taxpayers are currently paying.
Div Arty Assets -- I just don't think it needs to be called a Bde, it can be a Regiment +, as well as Staff at Div.
Arty brigades are generally small. In our case it needs nothing more than an air defence battalion, an long range precision rocket battalion, a UAV strike battalion (or whatever we want to call it) and a small svc bn - probably 2,500 personnel with about 70% reservist. It's not a div arty asset. Its a set of resources that can augment a battle group, brigade or division as required.
I see the Sustainment Bde as being better suited to being broken down to Bde Level - making the Service BN's actually capable of CSS functions for the Brigade - even if it needs 3 Svc Bn / Bde - they don't need a separate HQ staff (IMHO)
I just don't see large amounts of Troops to satisfy the requirement for a slew of support staff positions - as even with reserve mobilization it's really just a 1 Div deployable Army

Those are (or should be) Div assets - I'm not sure they need to be called Bde's IMHO.
Disagree - see theatre level support above.
I think the entire Army should be a hybrid force down to the Bde's - but I still think those assets should be part of the deployable Bde.
I don't disagree that there ought to be a rethink of what the organic components of a manoeuvre brigade should be and what components ought to be maintained in modular elements that can be attached to a battlegroup, brigade or division only when needed. Part of that discussion involves what does a manoeuvre brigade need to own and train with all the time in order to become proficient in its use. But there also needs to be consideration of what elements there are that need to exist within their own structure separate from the manoeuvre brigade in order to properly develop their capabilities and to provide the flexibility to tailor a specific task force with more or less of those elements.

I can think of many elements that ought not to be organic to a manoeuvre brigade including air defence (with the exception of self air defence assets); engineer support regiments; deep strike capabilities (such as precision rockets and loitering munitions), military police units above the brigade MP platoon (such as might be needed for rear area prisoner handling), intelligence (except bde int assets) Role 3 Medical facilities etc etc.

Our experience in Afghanistan has seriously tainted our view of combat. Brigade headquarters and their support organizations grew into large static organizations that operated over much larger AOs than normal and who ran relatively small and restricted service support elements (also working from static locations). For full spectrum operations they need to be tighter, more mobile and able to focus on operations within their immediate area of responsibility and not be distracted by extraneous issues.

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Kirkhill

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800px-SBCT.png



Stryker Bde Service Battalion

Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Distribution Company
Field Maintenance Company
Medical Company

Forward Support Company (Engineers)
Forward Support Company (Artillery)
Forward Support Company (Cavalry)
Forward Support Company (Infantry)
Forward Support Company (Infantry)
Forward Support Company (Infantry)

One Battalion, 9 Companies under command (6 Detached)

Could an Artillery Regiment be organized on similar lines? The Engineers? The Cavalry? Just because the infantry is commonly triangular why do the other arms Regiments have to follow suit?

Why not a 10 Battery Artillery Regiment, or a 6 Squadron Cavalry Regiment? Leaving a single service core element and detachable elements to form combined arms teams?
 

FJAG

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Could an Artillery Regiment be organized on similar lines? The Engineers? The Cavalry? Just because the infantry is commonly triangular why do the other arms Regiments have to follow suit?

Why not a 10 Battery Artillery Regiment, or a 6 Squadron Cavalry Regiment? Leaving a single service core element and detachable elements to form combined arms teams?

The main reason artillery is triangular is to support triangular bns at the rate of one to one. However, Canadian arty regiments aren't triangular now (its a PY thing that has nothing to do with the reality of war fighting anymore). Leaving aside the HQ battery there are two gun batteries, an STA battery and an observation battery. There used to be four gun batteries (three close support one general support). That still makes sense to me. And if one was to acquire a short range loitering munitions battery it would fit in nicely. On the other hand deep strike weapons do not fit into a brigade group's scheme of operations but might fit in with a brigade group assigned to the role of a divisional or corps covering force or a deep strike brigade.

That's why artillery should be capable of a) massing fires (centralized with a common command and control system) and b) being modular (to allow redistribution and reallocation) to support varying missions.

Engineer support regiments work the same way. They can be assigned to missions that have zero to do with a brigade groups mission. Cavalry to.

That's my whole point. Don't lock assets into a manoeuvre brigade that do not need to be there at all times. It impedes their flexibility of the brigade as well as the shoehorned asset.

This from FM 3-96 The Brigade Combat Team:

BCTs are the Army’s primary combined arms, close combat force. ... BCTs include capabilities across the command and control, movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment, and protection warfighting functions. These capabilities are scalable to meet mission requirements. All BCTs include maneuver; field artillery; intelligence; signal; engineer; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN); and sustainment capabilities. Higher commanders augment BCTs with additional combat power for specific missions. Augmentation might include aviation, Armor, Infantry, field artillery, air defense, military police, civil affairs, a tactical psychological operations (PSYOP) company, engineers, additional CBRN capabilities, cyberspace, and information systems. Organizational flexibility enables the BCT to accomplish missions across the range of military operations.

I'm not saying that we can't look at the organization of a brigade group to see if it could be better, but at the same time let's not start stuffing things into them that do not need to be there just because we think they need to be stuffed somewhere - especially when we have general purpose brigades widely dispersed around the country.

While we are not as large as the US Army, their brigade building block system is scalable. We obviously do not have enough resources to build air defence brigades, or military intelligence brigades or engineer brigades or civil affairs brigades or medical brigades or signals brigades, but we have enough CS and CSS battalions and regiments that ought to be "brigaded". The three I discussed above are adequate for the needed role.

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MilEME09

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Theater level support is 4th line which is above the Division service group, it is usually colocated at ports, or airports in order to support the flow of materials into the theater. It is entirely separate from a service battalion, and should never be mixed together or double hated.

Remember F echelon is 1st Line for the unit
Service battalions provide 2nd line and limited 3rd line support to the brigade
3rd line full support is provided by the division service group/ division workshops
4th line support is corp/theater level COSCOM units, and handles full rebuilds of equipment as well as the flow of goods into and out of theater. 4th line also technically includes original manufacturer.

While all lines of support are designed to be mutually supportive, they all preform very specific rolls and are organized, and manned according to their roles.
 

FJAG

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Theater level support is 4th line which is above the Division service group, it is usually colocated at ports, or airports in order to support the flow of materials into the theater. It is entirely separate from a service battalion, and should never be mixed together or double hated.

Remember F echelon is 1st Line for the unit
Service battalions provide 2nd line and limited 3rd line support to the brigade
3rd line full support is provided by the division service group/ division workshops
4th line support is corp/theater level COSCOM units, and handles full rebuilds of equipment as well as the flow of goods into and out of theater. 4th line also technically includes original manufacturer.

While all lines of support are designed to be mutually supportive, they all preform very specific rolls and are organized, and manned according to their roles.
It seems almost like we've lost the bubble on remembering all the lessons learned from the past. During WW2 we had a significantly higher ratio of personnel dedicated to support roles rather than to manoeuvre. With peacetime we tended to reduce support functions across the board.

During the Cold War we had few deployed forces other than 4 CMBG and the Cyprus commitment - the odd UN contingent here or there. The theatre level logistics structure for both were pretty much built into the system. We never did have a good structure to surge the rest of the force (the three other "lightish" brigades) including the AMF(L) and CAST but those were always economy of effort tasks.

With Yugoslavia and Afghanistan we got into the business of supporting long-term deployments but, again, never did build the the logistics system to back those operations. Oh, we built headquarters for that like CANOSCOM and then CJOC/CFJOSG but we never built a structure of support units/formations which are designed to deploy, and more importantly, designed to scale up deployed support.

I keep looking at the US model for guidance primarily because it is designed to 1) operate as an expeditionary force like Canada; 2) keeps both a ready force and a "in-an-emergency-break-the glass-force" and 3) uses reserves as a viable cost control measure. The scale is obviously different but the objectives are similar.

The last time I counted, the US Army, since going modular, maintained 31 Active Army manoeuvre brigades; 27 National Guard manoeuvre brigades; 75 Active Army combat support and combat service support brigades; 78 National Guard combat support and combat service support brigades and 59 Reserve combat support and combat service support brigades. The key takeaways are that 1) the ratio of manoeuvre brigades to support brigades is 58 to 212 or roughly 1 to 4. The ratio of active to reserve manoeuvre brigades is 31 to 27 or roughly 1 to 1. Finally, the ratio of active to reserve support brigades is 75 to 137 or roughly 1 to 2.

In Canada we have three manoeuvre brigades to 1 combat support brigade (plus one could and should add in 1 Wing's aviation resources) in the regular force and 10 unequipped and roughly 1/3 to 1/2 strength manoeuvre brigades and no combat support or combat service support brigades in the reserve force.

Canada's Army has a strength of roughly 42,000 of which 23,000 are regulars (roughly 55% Reg F). The US Army has 485,000 Active and 525,000 ARNG and USAR reservists (48% Active). That's roughly equivalent.

On the other hand, our total Army is 5% of the size of the US Army. 5% of their manoeuvre brigades would indicate we should have 1.5 Reg F and 1.5 Res F manoeuvre brigades (or three in total). In addition, 5% of their support brigades indicates that we should have 3.75 Reg F and 6.75 Res F support brigades which would get Canada close to the 1 to 4 ratio of manoeuvre to support.

Now there's a certain amount of adjustment required to compensate for the scaling that occurs due to higher formation levels such as divisions and corps headquarters but nonetheless, it's quite clear that Canada lags tremendously in the support elements needed to support the nation's manoeuvre forces. This is why we can't deploy and sustain a full brigade much less a division even though we have the numbers and the equipment (barring a few key capabilities) that indicates we ought to be able to field a division (if not two based on the number of manoeuvre brigades we could man (based on established combat arms positions we should be able to man three Reg F and three Res F brigades - realistically, of course we can't).

To put it in context, and to adjust the ratios based on the smaller size of our Army, if we wanted to have a force that could be properly sustained on operations we could probably be able to form a division made up of 2 Reg F and 1 Res F manoeuvre brigades with an additional Res F manoeuvre brigade held "in reserve". To provide that sustainment we would need 8 support brigades, 4 within the division (one each artillery, sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement and aviation) and 4 for theatre support (one each sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement, and two providing mixed resources from air defence to MI to MP to CBRN to Cyber etc etc)

This, of course requires a massive realignment within both the Reg F and the Res F. Cutting the Reg F manoeuvre capabilities from 3 to two brigades would 1) free up sufficient PYs to staff any and all hybrid positions to give day-to-day strength and leadership to the support brigades; 2) reduce the strain on current support infrastructure as between day-to-day support functions and deployments; but 3) reduce the ability to deploy the number of rifles on day-to-day peacetime deployments while on the other hand the Reg F and Res F's ability to provide domestic and international support of a non-kinetic nature would be significantly enhanced.

For the Res F it would require a massive change of focus from combat arms functions to support functions. Effectively Res F many trades would see little change (arty, signals, engineers, MI, MP) but there would be a drastic reduction in infantry and recce units offset by a dramatic increase in combat service support functions. That would get us to the point where the necessary 4 lines of support are reestablished and sustainable to the point of supporting the entire army and not merely the odd battlegroup here or there.

Not a popular concept, I know and I've been skirting the issue in many of my own past organizational models where I tend to protect manoeuvre elements at the expense of proper service support - protecting cap badges, I guess. Time to change.

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KevinB

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Theater level support is 4th line which is above the Division service group, it is usually colocated at ports, or airports in order to support the flow of materials into the theater. It is entirely separate from a service battalion, and should never be mixed together or double hated.

Remember F echelon is 1st Line for the unit
Service battalions provide 2nd line and limited 3rd line support to the brigade
3rd line full support is provided by the division service group/ division workshops
4th line support is corp/theater level COSCOM units, and handles full rebuilds of equipment as well as the flow of goods into and out of theater. 4th line also technically includes original manufacturer.

While all lines of support are designed to be mutually supportive, they all preform very specific rolls and are organized, and manned according to their roles.
I tend to be a bit pragmatic - I don't see the CF having a real Division - thus I believe that the Div simply becomes the pond of higher enablers.
I would adjust if there was a larger force.
It seems almost like we've lost the bubble on remembering all the lessons learned from the past. During WW2 we had a significantly higher ratio of personnel dedicated to support roles rather than to manoeuvre. With peacetime we tended to reduce support functions across the board.

During the Cold War we had few deployed forces other than 4 CMBG and the Cyprus commitment - the odd UN contingent here or there. The theatre level logistics structure for both were pretty much built into the system. We never did have a good structure to surge the rest of the force (the three other "lightish" brigades) including the AMF(L) and CAST but those were always economy of effort tasks.

With Yugoslavia and Afghanistan we got into the business of supporting long-term deployments but, again, never did build the the logistics system to back those operations. Oh, we built headquarters for that like CANOSCOM and then CJOC/CFJOSG but we never built a structure of support units/formations which are designed to deploy, and more importantly, designed to scale up deployed support.

I keep looking at the US model for guidance primarily because it is designed to 1) operate as an expeditionary force like Canada; 2) keeps both a ready force and a "in-an-emergency-break-the glass-force" and 3) uses reserves as a viable cost control measure. The scale is obviously different but the objectives are similar.
The Objective may be similar - but the implementation is totally different.

The last time I counted, the US Army, since going modular, maintained 31 Active Army manoeuvre brigades; 27 National Guard manoeuvre brigades; 75 Active Army combat support and combat service support brigades; 78 National Guard combat support and combat service support brigades and 59 Reserve combat support and combat service support brigades. The key takeaways are that 1) the ratio of manoeuvre brigades to support brigades is 58 to 212 or roughly 1 to 4. The ratio of active to reserve manoeuvre brigades is 31 to 27 or roughly 1 to 1. Finally, the ratio of active to reserve support brigades is 75 to 137 or roughly 1 to 2.

In Canada we have three manoeuvre brigades to 1 combat support brigade (plus one could and should add in 1 Wing's aviation resources) in the regular force and 10 unequipped and roughly 1/3 to 1/2 strength manoeuvre brigades and no combat support or combat service support brigades in the reserve force.

Canada's Army has a strength of roughly 42,000 of which 23,000 are regulars (roughly 55% Reg F). The US Army has 485,000 Active and 525,000 ARNG and USAR reservists (48% Active). That's roughly equivalent.

On the other hand, our total Army is 5% of the size of the US Army. 5% of their manoeuvre brigades would indicate we should have 1.5 Reg F and 1.5 Res F manoeuvre brigades (or three in total). In addition, 5% of their support brigades indicates that we should have 3.75 Reg F and 6.75 Res F support brigades which would get Canada close to the 1 to 4 ratio of manoeuvre to support.
So everything can (and I believe should fit) in 1 CDN Div - fortunately with all the GOFO bloodletting - now the Army Commander can also be the Div commander - so one only needs to find 1 2Star who isn't tainted.

Now there's a certain amount of adjustment required to compensate for the scaling that occurs due to higher formation levels such as divisions and corps headquarters but nonetheless, it's quite clear that Canada lags tremendously in the support elements needed to support the nation's manoeuvre forces. This is why we can't deploy and sustain a full brigade much less a division even though we have the numbers and the equipment (barring a few key capabilities) that indicates we ought to be able to field a division (if not two based on the number of manoeuvre brigades we could man (based on established combat arms positions we should be able to man three Reg F and three Res F brigades - realistically, of course we can't).
1 CMBG and 1 and 2 CLBG Plus 1CSB
I would make 1 CLBG Reg only and have 1 CMBG and 2 CLBG 50/50
To put it in context, and to adjust the ratios based on the smaller size of our Army, if we wanted to have a force that could be properly sustained on operations we could probably be able to form a division made up of 2 Reg F and 1 Res F manoeuvre brigades with an additional Res F manoeuvre brigade held "in reserve". To provide that sustainment we would need 8 support brigades, 4 within the division (one each artillery, sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement and aviation) and 4 for theatre support (one each sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement, and two providing mixed resources from air defence to MI to MP to CBRN to Cyber etc etc)

This, of course requires a massive realignment within both the Reg F and the Res F. Cutting the Reg F manoeuvre capabilities from 3 to two brigades would 1) free up sufficient PYs to staff any and all hybrid positions to give day-to-day strength and leadership to the support brigades; 2) reduce the strain on current support infrastructure as between day-to-day support functions and deployments; but 3) reduce the ability to deploy the number of rifles on day-to-day peacetime deployments while on the other hand the Reg F and Res F's ability to provide domestic and international support of a non-kinetic nature would be significantly enhanced.

For the Res F it would require a massive change of focus from combat arms functions to support functions. Effectively Res F many trades would see little change (arty, signals, engineers, MI, MP) but there would be a drastic reduction in infantry and recce units offset by a dramatic increase in combat service support functions. That would get us to the point where the necessary 4 lines of support are reestablished and sustainable to the point of supporting the entire army and not merely the odd battlegroup here or there.

Not a popular concept, I know and I've been skirting the issue in many of my own past organizational models where I tend to protect manoeuvre elements at the expense of proper service support - protecting cap badges, I guess. Time to change.

🍻
The Regimental Mafia system needs to be taken out and shot.
Lay up all the colors - and start fresh.
 

daftandbarmy

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Not a popular concept, I know and I've been skirting the issue in many of my own past organizational models where I tend to protect manoeuvre elements at the expense of proper service support - protecting cap badges, I guess. Time to change.

🍻

Or even better, time to have a clear strategic plan and the willingness to implement it.
 

Kirkhill

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Administrative Regiments and Operational Regiments
Administrative Divisions and Operational Divisions.

Is that where the Canadian Army falls down?

The Royal Canadian Navy. The Royal Canadian Air Force. The Royal Canadian Artillery. The Royal Canadian Engineers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Each of those have a singular identity. The regiment is ubiquitous. They have their own internal, and external politics, and the obviously intrude into operational matters. But the administrative is not as tightly woven with the operational as it is in the Army, both Regular and Reserve, Active and Sedentary.

The Canadian Airborne Regiment is often cited as an example of what happens when the operational regiment splits from the administrative. Supposedly, in the eyes of some, it became a "dumping ground" for the Regimental Sergeant Major's problem children. But, I believe, there is another school of thought that traces the problems back to when each regular force infantry regiment got its own Commando. The original concept, I believe, was that the Airborne was a posting, not a career. That everyone in the army would have the opportunity to rotate through it.

I can suggest, as others have, I am sure, that the tight association of the operational brigades with administrative regiments of infantry reflects a similar problem. And it is not just one of Francos vs Anglos. It is also Army of the West and Army of the East. Regimental Pride, which can be a good thing, overflows into operational disputes on everything from the nature of war and policy to doctrine and tactics.

The problem becomes much worse in the Reserves where operational roles are demanded for willing volunteers with limited skills.

The Americans are mocked for their "morale patches" with their NFL/NBA team names.
The Brits are praised for their cap badges. (Although the Vikings and Poachers could make great CFL names - better than Red Blacks, two Roughriders, or the Edmonton team).

However the Americans intentionally split up their administrative regiments and spread them across their operational formations
Even the Brits hold their infantry battalions in administrative Divisions (Guards - Scots, Welsh, Irish - Kings - Queens) by Regiments (Guards, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Lancs, Yorks, Mercs, PWORR, Fusiliers, Gib, Paras, Rifles, Gurkhas) The battalions are then assigned roles, active or reserve, light, or mech, and tasked to operational brigades.

The Aussies don't seem to have the same problems but they also don't have the defining difference of being a bilingual country. They didn't have to find a solution to that problem.

But we have made a virtue of a vice. And baked it in clay. The problem of conscription, of French Canada's legitimately different views, of ensuring that they, and natives, and the recent immigrants have a legitimate home in the Army and the opportunity for advancement is a hard one. But the problem and its 1960s solution need to be revisited again.


With the best will in the world, my old regiment, staffed with good and willing people, is not going to be able to deploy a company, let alone a battalion to fight a 30 day war in Norway on 7 days notice. It might be able to refight The Hundred Days with 4 years of recruiting, training and experience in the field. The army that those veterans of 1918 wanted to retain died in 1919. Just like the one the veterans of 1945 wanted to retain died in 1946.

Those Regiments make great recruiting grounds. But they are not the basis of an operational army. Even, or especially, when they are employed full time.

I am going to suggest anathema. Mixed Cap Badges at the Unit Level.

Combined Arms Teams with Black, Green and Blue hats and sub units with Infantry and Cavalry badges

LAV Battle Groups with Black Hat LAV squadrons and Green hatted rifle companies and Ubiquitous Fires Batteries

Lt Battle Groups with Black Hat lt recce squadrons and Green rifle companies and Ubiquitous Fires Batteries

Organized in mixed Brigade Groups or Task Forces under the administration of 1 Canadian Div.

The 1 Canadian Divisional Support Group then becomes the administrative home for various capabilities on which CJOC can draw and assign the fielded formations and units as it sees fit.

CJOC also has the opportunity to raise, equip and train task forces from the administrative divions of the Reserves, given adequate time.


The local Regiments should be exploited for what they can do best - bring in willing volunteers and organize them. Then point them in the direction of training and employment opportunities.


The Regular force infantry families? They need to be rethought. As do their cavalry counter-parts.
 

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Reading what Kevin and FJAG are posting while I was posting it seems that the conversation is leading us all in the same direction. Kind of.

Is the biggest difference between the Artillery and Engineer Lt Col and the Infantry and Cavalry Lt Col that the former are comfortable with despatching their commands to support other branches while the latter expect to be accumulating accretions from other branches and leading them?

Should Field Grade officers (Majors, Lt Colonels and Colonels) be separated from their Regiments? After all they are no longer paying for the privilege of leading. They are being paid to lead and follow.
 

daftandbarmy

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Reading what Kevin and FJAG are posting while I was posting it seems that the conversation is leading us all in the same direction. Kind of.

Is the biggest difference between the Artillery and Engineer Lt Col and the Infantry and Cavalry Lt Col that the former are comfortable with despatching their commands to support other branches while the latter expect to be accumulating accretions from other branches and leading them?

Should Field Grade officers (Majors, Lt Colonels and Colonels) be separated from their Regiments? After all they are no longer paying for the privilege of leading. They are being paid to lead and follow.

I used to think of the Arty and Engrs as the rocks around which the rest of us riff raff flowed :)

In reality, on operations, all arms grouping and re-grouping happens so much that no one really cares what cap badge you are because there is no cap badge on a helmet (yet). All anyone really cares about is capabilities.

It was always fun to watch the reactions of my (roughie toughie paratroopers and commandoes) when they watched - with awe - the tubby little ATO prance out to deal with yet another huge, dangerous IED :)
 

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It seems almost like we've lost the bubble on remembering all the lessons learned from the past. During WW2 we had a significantly higher ratio of personnel dedicated to support roles rather than to manoeuvre. With peacetime we tended to reduce support functions across the board.

During the Cold War we had few deployed forces other than 4 CMBG and the Cyprus commitment - the odd UN contingent here or there. The theatre level logistics structure for both were pretty much built into the system. We never did have a good structure to surge the rest of the force (the three other "lightish" brigades) including the AMF(L) and CAST but those were always economy of effort tasks.

With Yugoslavia and Afghanistan we got into the business of supporting long-term deployments but, again, never did build the the logistics system to back those operations. Oh, we built headquarters for that like CANOSCOM and then CJOC/CFJOSG but we never built a structure of support units/formations which are designed to deploy, and more importantly, designed to scale up deployed support.

I keep looking at the US model for guidance primarily because it is designed to 1) operate as an expeditionary force like Canada; 2) keeps both a ready force and a "in-an-emergency-break-the glass-force" and 3) uses reserves as a viable cost control measure. The scale is obviously different but the objectives are similar.

The last time I counted, the US Army, since going modular, maintained 31 Active Army manoeuvre brigades; 27 National Guard manoeuvre brigades; 75 Active Army combat support and combat service support brigades; 78 National Guard combat support and combat service support brigades and 59 Reserve combat support and combat service support brigades. The key takeaways are that 1) the ratio of manoeuvre brigades to support brigades is 58 to 212 or roughly 1 to 4. The ratio of active to reserve manoeuvre brigades is 31 to 27 or roughly 1 to 1. Finally, the ratio of active to reserve support brigades is 75 to 137 or roughly 1 to 2.

In Canada we have three manoeuvre brigades to 1 combat support brigade (plus one could and should add in 1 Wing's aviation resources) in the regular force and 10 unequipped and roughly 1/3 to 1/2 strength manoeuvre brigades and no combat support or combat service support brigades in the reserve force.

Canada's Army has a strength of roughly 42,000 of which 23,000 are regulars (roughly 55% Reg F). The US Army has 485,000 Active and 525,000 ARNG and USAR reservists (48% Active). That's roughly equivalent.

On the other hand, our total Army is 5% of the size of the US Army. 5% of their manoeuvre brigades would indicate we should have 1.5 Reg F and 1.5 Res F manoeuvre brigades (or three in total). In addition, 5% of their support brigades indicates that we should have 3.75 Reg F and 6.75 Res F support brigades which would get Canada close to the 1 to 4 ratio of manoeuvre to support.

Now there's a certain amount of adjustment required to compensate for the scaling that occurs due to higher formation levels such as divisions and corps headquarters but nonetheless, it's quite clear that Canada lags tremendously in the support elements needed to support the nation's manoeuvre forces. This is why we can't deploy and sustain a full brigade much less a division even though we have the numbers and the equipment (barring a few key capabilities) that indicates we ought to be able to field a division (if not two based on the number of manoeuvre brigades we could man (based on established combat arms positions we should be able to man three Reg F and three Res F brigades - realistically, of course we can't).

To put it in context, and to adjust the ratios based on the smaller size of our Army, if we wanted to have a force that could be properly sustained on operations we could probably be able to form a division made up of 2 Reg F and 1 Res F manoeuvre brigades with an additional Res F manoeuvre brigade held "in reserve". To provide that sustainment we would need 8 support brigades, 4 within the division (one each artillery, sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement and aviation) and 4 for theatre support (one each sustainment, manoeuvre enhancement, and two providing mixed resources from air defence to MI to MP to CBRN to Cyber etc etc)

This, of course requires a massive realignment within both the Reg F and the Res F. Cutting the Reg F manoeuvre capabilities from 3 to two brigades would 1) free up sufficient PYs to staff any and all hybrid positions to give day-to-day strength and leadership to the support brigades; 2) reduce the strain on current support infrastructure as between day-to-day support functions and deployments; but 3) reduce the ability to deploy the number of rifles on day-to-day peacetime deployments while on the other hand the Reg F and Res F's ability to provide domestic and international support of a non-kinetic nature would be significantly enhanced.

For the Res F it would require a massive change of focus from combat arms functions to support functions. Effectively Res F many trades would see little change (arty, signals, engineers, MI, MP) but there would be a drastic reduction in infantry and recce units offset by a dramatic increase in combat service support functions. That would get us to the point where the necessary 4 lines of support are reestablished and sustainable to the point of supporting the entire army and not merely the odd battlegroup here or there.

Not a popular concept, I know and I've been skirting the issue in many of my own past organizational models where I tend to protect manoeuvre elements at the expense of proper service support - protecting cap badges, I guess. Time to change.

🍻

FJAG, it is the same problem that we have been skirting since at least the CAST Bde era in 1968. We wanted to be able to deploy an operational force but lacked the means to do it. The problem there is that the support functions have to be the most professional functions in the Army. They have to be available to support the operational side at a moments notice. They have to support it during training. They have to conduct the training. They have to maintain the kit. Order supplies, maintain comms and provide the maps and intelligence.

The operational side of the house, especially when considering a peer on peer conflict, is going to sit on its hands in garrison for long periods.

Did I just make the argument for a strong, professional, Institutional Army and a Militia with a small Active Permanent Force?

And Transport. Lots and lots of Transport - Trucks, Helos, Planes and Ships.
 

KevinB

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Should Field Grade officers (Majors, Lt Colonels and Colonels) be separated from their Regiments? After all they are no longer paying for the privilege of leading. They are being paid to lead and follow.
IMHO the NCO Mafia is just as bad.
 

dapaterson

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Should Field Grade officers (Majors, Lt Colonels and Colonels) be separated from their Regiments? After all they are no longer paying for the privilege of leading. They are being paid to lead and follow.
Report to the PM on the Leadership and Management of the CF, 1997, made similar arguments, and pulled the regimental names from the battle schools, and changed the cap badges of Army Colonels.
 

GR66

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Which is better, to have a fully supported and deployable Brigade structure that has depth for reinforcement and sustainability in a prolonged conflict or a Divisional structure which assumes you're going to empty the pantry in order to deploy it?

If you were to shift two a two Brigade (1 x Heavy and 1 x Light) structure vs the current three Brigade structure (symmetrical as now, or a Light/Medium/Heavy split) what would you gain and lose?

Ongoing peacetime deployments might be more difficult to generate with fewer maneuver units to draw from. On the other hand you could shift the Artillery, Engineer and Support elements from the 3rd Brigade to the remaining two Brigades (or into hybrid Reg Force/Reserve units).

As noted by both KevinB and FJAG, the approach you take would also change how you'd organize your CS and CSS elements.

Two Heavy Brigades and two Light Brigades....one of each Reg Force and Reserves? Beefed up supporting elements? Perhaps a couple of Territorial Battalions/Arctic Response Battalions in addition to the expeditionary force Brigade structure?
 
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