• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

KevinB

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,182
Points
910
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?
There CF doesn't have 2 Heavy Brigades - and honestly not even 1.
There are enough vehicles for a Medium Brigade with Tanks, but still is missing a lot of key enablers.
There is not enough equipment for much more, there are a lot of LAV's - but it's not a Heavy IFV, and never will.

So let's look at it as a LAV Bde with Tanks (I will call it LAV-T)
If the Brit's continue to occupy Suffield for most of the training year - Wx is the only logical place for the Bde - or perhaps the Bde equipment.
*ideally I think the LAV-T Bde would be based in Central Canada - West Ontario - or East Manitoba - but that would require an entirely new base and training area.

I don't see the CA being able to field 4 Bde (Reg and Res) with the current manning levels.
So it's realistically 1 LAV-T Bde, and 2 Light Bde (potentially with some CAV ability with LAV's).

I don't view Mechanized until as rapid deployment - simply as the CF cannot move them quickly -- as we have discussed before that either means Pre-Positioning - or accepting they are a follow on force.
So I would have them manned as 30/70 (30% Reg and 70% Res)

The Light Bdes - ideally would be 1 East and 1 West - to be able to help run DomOps - and would be manned at a 70/30 Split Reg and Res.

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).
I think the only way the CA moves forward is with a unified command - with Reg and Res in the same Bde, and some sub units mixed as well.

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?
As I mention above I think given the major gaps in capabilities and equipment deficiencies that 3 Bde is the absolute max the CA can field with any degree of credibility.

The Light Bdes would be the IRU, and have Dom Ops roles - as well as Mountain, Arctic, Maritime etc.
 

KevinB

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,182
Points
910
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.
Which did nothing really - the LFWA Battle School didn't all of a sudden not become populated by near 100% PPCLI - and even knows which Branch/Unit a Col is from - and the Regimental HQ's still track and publish the servicing Col - GOFO as their original hat badge.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
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.
The way that I see it is that we will still have a general operational/deployed day-to-day role that will be like what we do today. A smallish army contingent in a place like Latvia, a small but very professional special operations force for quick reaction (and in my mind foreign training role) and a large enough conventional force to maintain readiness to deploy an additional battlegroup if required/desired.

That does not take a very large support structure on a day-to-day basis and should be filled by the Reg F cadres of hybrid CSS units. What is critical is that there be a large enough and trained enough and equipped enough force to expand into a surge when required.

Army transport should be a no brainer. What seventeen or eighteen year old kid doesn't want to drive big army trucks through muddy fields? Logistic vehicles are some of the least expensive vehicles we own. Hell, the MilCOTS could probably even be useful in theatre level transport companies. And HET companies. How often are they really needed? If the Reg F could arrange to move their heavy equipment on weekends the bulk of HET transport and POL transport (of which, I think, we could use a lot more of than we have) could all be passed on to reserve units with a small core of Reg F leadership. The problem seems to be that over the last fifty years, every time that we refresh the fleet we reduce its size.

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.
I remember that and recall that it made little difference about anything other than for a while I had to wear the generic colonel's cap badge before the JAG put us all back into the branch one.

I actually like the US Army system where the uniforms are standard and the distinct unit identifier are inexpensive, small, enameled badges that you can change out quite easily on postings. Note that the gunners and engineers and a whole hockey sock full of others already wear badges that easily transfer with units. It's really only the infantry and armoured corps that are so heavily invested in this "regimental" thing and even there, amongst the Reg F regiments there is very little uniform difference that can't be changed if a Patricia should go Royal.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
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.

Presumably it didn't last. Was it something worth pursuing with more vigour?
 

dapaterson

Army.ca Relic
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
2,410
Points
890
The change in names, and non-specialist Army colonels no longer wearing regimental / branch accoutrements has lasted.

Culture change, on the other hand...
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
There CF doesn't have 2 Heavy Brigades - and honestly not even 1.
There are enough vehicles for a Medium Brigade with Tanks, but still is missing a lot of key enablers.
There is not enough equipment for much more, there are a lot of LAV's - but it's not a Heavy IFV, and never will.

So let's look at it as a LAV Bde with Tanks (I will call it LAV-T)
If the Brit's continue to occupy Suffield for most of the training year - Wx is the only logical place for the Bde - or perhaps the Bde equipment.
*ideally I think the LAV-T Bde would be based in Central Canada - West Ontario - or East Manitoba - but that would require an entirely new base and training area.

....

I don't view Mechanized until as rapid deployment - simply as the CF cannot move them quickly -- as we have discussed before that either means Pre-Positioning - or accepting they are a follow on force.
So I would have them manned as 30/70 (30% Reg and 70% Res)
I think we're arguing semantics as opposed to a real issue. Totally agree we can't form an ABCT with the equipment we have but we can form a Motor Rifle Brigade which is heavyish but not heavy. (lets leave aside the arty, AD and anti-armour issues for the time being - that definitely needs rectifying before we could ever think of peer to peerish ops.) So we're left with something that could realistically be called a Mech brigade.

We have enough tanks to form two tank battalions if we go down to three troops per battalion and three tanks per troop as some others do. We have enough LAVs for easily six battalions. So we have the core equipment of two mech brigades - one Reg F one Res F. The Reg F one in Edmonton/Wainwright/Shilo the Res F one in Ontario - as the only place where you have enough people to man it (Ontario generates around 5,300 reservists) and have ranges where tanks can be fired (annually). For actual summer manoeuvre training fly the brigade to Wainwright for a few weeks and use the Reg F gear or if gear is prepositioned (as it could be at this rate then fly them to Poland or wherever for their two - three weeks summer training.)

I don't see the CA being able to field 4 Bde (Reg and Res) with the current manning levels.
So it's realistically 1 LAV-T Bde, and 2 Light Bde (potentially with some CAV ability with LAV's).
I think that they can based on the numbers distribution for reservists in Canada but it also depends on how many reservists will be rebadged to support roles.

Put the Reg F light brigade into Quebec. Put the Res F light brigade into Quebec and the Maritimes (Quebec and the Maritimes generate appx 7,200 reservists between them.

When you subtract the Reg F cadres for the two Res F manoeuvre brigades you end up with around 3,000 reservists uncommitted in Quebec/the Maritimes; 1,500 in Ontario; and 4,000 in western Canada. At roughly 2,000 reservists per support brigade that should provide for four support brigades which could be spread across the whole country.

The numbers above are based on a very poor reserve system that is far from the best at recruiting and training and retaining their people. It needs fixing and real equipment holdings and a real mission might finally get the Reg F and Res F leadership off their collective butts to fix things. One should be capable of generating another 8,000 reservists for four more support brigades.

The Light Bdes - ideally would be 1 East and 1 West - to be able to help run DomOps - and would be manned at a 70/30 Split Reg and Res.

I don't see the need because for the vast majority of DomOps that we do any soldier will do and in fact more engineers, truckers and logisticians should be even better for DomOps. If push comes to shove leave a 500 man light amphibious/mountain battalion on the BC mainland.
I think the only way the CA moves forward is with a unified command
Technically it is. Spiritually its far from that.
- with Reg and Res in the same Bde, and some sub units mixed as well.
Definitely agree. BUT. This will take careful thinking so that the Reg F cadre doesn't spend the bulk of its year sweeping armory floors. I've always though that a battalion with a mostly Reg F HQ and CSS coy and one full-time subunit and two Res F subunits and additional headquarters staff would work best.
As I mention above I think given the major gaps in capabilities and equipment deficiencies that 3 Bde is the absolute max the CA can field with any degree of credibility.
I disagreed above and still do. But then I'm a glass half full guy. The big point, however, is that the system and not just the structure must be changed to generate better trained reservists and make the experience so worthwhile during their "useable" years that retention becomes much better. There are dozens of ways to do this.
The Light Bdes would be the IRU, and have Dom Ops roles - as well as Mountain, Arctic, Maritime etc.
Sure.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
The way that I see it is that we will still have a general operational/deployed day-to-day role that will be like what we do today. A smallish army contingent in a place like Latvia, a small but very professional special operations force for quick reaction (and in my mind foreign training role) and a large enough conventional force to maintain readiness to deploy an additional battlegroup if required/desired.

That does not take a very large support structure on a day-to-day basis and should be filled by the Reg F cadres of hybrid CSS units. What is critical is that there be a large enough and trained enough and equipped enough force to expand into a surge when required.

Army transport should be a no brainer. What seventeen or eighteen year old kid doesn't want to drive big army trucks through muddy fields? Logistic vehicles are some of the least expensive vehicles we own. Hell, the MilCOTS could probably even be useful in theatre level transport companies. And HET companies. How often are they really needed? If the Reg F could arrange to move their heavy equipment on weekends the bulk of HET transport and POL transport (of which, I think, we could use a lot more of than we have) could all be passed on to reserve units with a small core of Reg F leadership. The problem seems to be that over the last fifty years, every time that we refresh the fleet we reduce its size.


I remember that and recall that it made little difference about anything other than for a while I had to wear the generic colonel's cap badge before the JAG put us all back into the branch one.

I actually like the US Army system where the uniforms are standard and the distinct unit identifier are inexpensive, small, enameled badges that you can change out quite easily on postings. Note that the gunners and engineers and a whole hockey sock full of others already wear badges that easily transfer with units. It's really only the infantry and armoured corps that are so heavily invested in this "regimental" thing and even there, amongst the Reg F regiments there is very little uniform difference that can't be changed if a Patricia should go Royal.

🍻

But don't we need a large number of skill sets in small volumes? Its one thing to say that we are a small army and therefore we can't afford all the skill sets that the Yanks (or the Chinese) can. But if we are fighting a modern war aren't there a lot of those skill sets that are indispensible?

I agree that truck drivers should be a dead easy get for the Reserves.

But how about drone mechanics? Cyber warfare?

When we look at the Stryker BCT (and the IBCTs and ABCTs have the same enablers) we find, in addition to the Service Battalion with its HQ and Command Support people, its truck drivers, mechanics and medics and its 6 forward support companies, Sigs and Military Intelligence Companies and a Target Acquisition Platoon.

To that the US Army intends to add an EW platoon, a cyberspace electromagnetic activities cell, a drones platoon, a 3D printing platoon, a drone maintenance platoon, and robot combat vehicle operators, as well as attaching a divisional MSHORAD element permanently, an engineer company, another Cavalry platoon to eachsquadron, and two more guns to each artillery battery. All of those elements, capabilities have very long tails tying them into the Institutional Army, and Higher Level formations.

Yes we can field keen kids with rifles. We have been doing that very well since 1871 apparently.

But we don't seem to come to grips with developing a proper system of support. That was evident in 1885 where we relied on Brit engineers and gunners and civilian transport to deploy to the Northwest. It was evident again in South Africa. So much so that in 1903 a 1000 man Permanent Force army divided into Garrison Artillery, the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, the Royal Canadian Dragoons and the Royal Canadian Regiment was doubled to 2000 with the formation of regular companies of Royal Canadian Engineers, an Army Service Corps, a Canadian Ordnance Corps, a Canadian Army Signal Corps, a Candian Corps of Signals. an intelligence branch, staff clerks and pay staff. At the same time engineering and stores were transferred from the Department of the Militia to the General Officer Commanding.

So by 1907 the Army had the elements of a miniature field force. Which was then strewn about the countryside in companies and dets as trainers.

According to "We Stand on Guard".

The problem seems to have endured through the CAST era from 1968 to 1989 into the present day.

Interestingly enough

"Stryker brigade takes over base support and force protection ops in Iraq, sans Strykers" Wednesday, Sep 22​



A LAV Brigade, deployed without LAVs, in the role of training and support.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
But don't we need a large number of skill sets in small volumes? Its one thing to say that we are a small army and therefore we can't afford all the skill sets that the Yanks (or the Chinese) can. But if we are fighting a modern war aren't there a lot of those skill sets that are indispensible?

Before I diverted myself there was another point I wanted to make emanating from the same observation.

It is the same problem that small civilian companies have. Their working environment demands that they have a reservoir of skill sets on which to draw. But they can't afford to have all the skill sets manned internally. So they end up doing the job themselves in a half-assed fashion, often getting themselves into trouble. Or they buy in the skilled people on a temporary basis - people that aren't fully engaged with the company and its circumstances. Or they buy the capability from a third party. In all cases they are less competitive than their competitors.

In my opinion, or maybe it is just me coming around to appreciating DAP's position, the CAF needs to spend on its Central Nervous and Cardio-Vascular systems, its ability to plan, exert command and control and transport its operational elements. And those require full time professionals dedicated to the tasks at hand and in sufficient numbers to continually develop and polish and pass on the developed skills. The operational elements need occasional exercise but generally can rest in the armouries. Except for those that are regularly employed?

The point, with respect to planning, command and control and transport are that those are the primary elements required to mitigate civil emergencies.
 

McG

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
302
Points
880
Should Field Grade officers (Majors, Lt Colonels and Colonels) be separated from their Regiments?
It’s “senior officers” in Canada, but otherwise maybe. Army Col are already separated from branch and regiment … at least in dress. I don’t think all Army LCol necessarily need to look the same, but maybe they could shed regimental accoutrements for branch accoutrements except for such periods of time where they happen to be a battalion CO.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
Thanks for the correction McG.

Something else I got wrong. I forgot to include my reference on the Stryker Brigade upgrades. It's from April this year.

 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
But don't we need a large number of skill sets in small volumes? Its one thing to say that we are a small army and therefore we can't afford all the skill sets that the Yanks (or the Chinese) can. But if we are fighting a modern war aren't there a lot of those skill sets that are indispensible?

Before I diverted myself there was another point I wanted to make emanating from the same observation.

It is the same problem that small civilian companies have. Their working environment demands that they have a reservoir of skill sets on which to draw. But they can't afford to have all the skill sets manned internally. So they end up doing the job themselves in a half-assed fashion, often getting themselves into trouble. Or they buy in the skilled people on a temporary basis - people that aren't fully engaged with the company and its circumstances. Or they buy the capability from a third party. In all cases they are less competitive than their competitors.

In my opinion, or maybe it is just me coming around to appreciating DAP's position, the CAF needs to spend on its Central Nervous and Cardio-Vascular systems, its ability to plan, exert command and control and transport its operational elements. And those require full time professionals dedicated to the tasks at hand and in sufficient numbers to continually develop and polish and pass on the developed skills. The operational elements need occasional exercise but generally can rest in the armouries. Except for those that are regularly employed?

The point, with respect to planning, command and control and transport are that those are the primary elements required to mitigate civil emergencies.
Skill sets are a monstrous issue. Gunners, just as an example, have ridden and are riding the peaks and valleys of that with air defence, STA and now even guns.

You always need a certain critical mass of each trade or classification to ensure that those skills are alive and rank progression moves satisfactorily. It took quite a while to revive STA and its anyone's guess as to how long it will take to revive the AD specialty. I expect tankers are barely hanging on and I doubt that mortars and anti armour will have an easy go of it. Technical skills such as technicians capable of servicing the few numbers of highly complex digital gun management systems, which are spread over three geographical locations, are a very weak link. And there are dozens and dozens of skill sets like that where we are barely hanging on with very little depth. As our equipment becomes ever more complex we will have a need for more and more highly skilled and trained people and with them a highly capable logistics management capability.

I really do think we are too infantry heavy in the Reg F Army. Not to mention too divisional headquarters and Res F brigade headquarters and CMTC and other things heavy. All at the expense of those core systems. The good news is that we can train reservists to be good infantrymen, gunners, tankers and combat engineers. The question is whether we can reduce our appetite for operational deployments that eats them up. If nothing else, Afghanistan should have taught us that getting into long-term stabilization missions in third world non-western societies in the midst of a civil war is a zero-sum game. Time to get back into Cold War mode.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
Something else that has been niggling at me. The role of the Forward Observer, Mortar Fire Controller, FOO/FAC. Is it, like the signaller, moving down the chain?

Two articles.



In the first case the discussion is about the new 16 man USMC squad (16 men when the Navy Corpsman is attached to the Command team). The emphasis is on adding capabilities while taking the load off the Squad Leader.

The Squad Leader gains an Assistant and Squad Systems Operator.

The newly created position of Marine Systems Operator replaces the position of radio Marine. While the System operator will be tasked with carrying the squad’s radio, they will expand into other systems as well. This includes the use of quadcopter-based reconnaissance devices.

Additionally, the implementation of a squad range finder might be delegated to the system’s operator, but it’s a tool that could be used by the assistant squad leader as well.

But it (the squad range finder) "could be used by the assistant squad leader".

the assistant squad leader can now manage comms with command and manage and coordinate fires, leaving the squad leader to focus on the fight. Coordinating fires means communicating to relay target information and friendly positions for artillery, mortar, and air strikes, among others. These tasks are essential in a fight, but can take away from a squad leader’s situational awareness, and as a result, their ability to lead their squad.

It seems to me that the squad is gaining its own, permanent, FO as Assistant Squad Leader, especially if the ASL takes control of the Squad Range Finder. That infantry man is likely to be doing the same job for the Squad Leader that an MFC does for a Platoon Leader, a FOO does for a Coy OC and Battery Commander does for a Bn CO.

In fact, it seems like the Squad is becoming a mini-platoon capable of dispersed independent operations.....

A related observation from the article is this

Grenadier was a role traditionally reserved for fireteam leaders. Of course, just like coordinating fires can distract the squad leader from his or her primary responsibilities, this often forced fireteam leaders to be either good grenadiers or good team leaders. When a leader’s focus is on putting 40mm HEDP on bad guys, they might not be focusing on their leadership tasks. Moving this to another position allows the team leader to focus on leading.

The Fire Team leader used to be responsible for leading and for fire support with his grenade launcher. Now he has one of his team dedicated to providing fire support - ie learning to read the battle in a manner that would build skills compatible with the position of Asst Squad Leader.

The final piece of the puzzle is this

the Marine Corps aims to improve communications through the use of tablets. The Marine Corps Common Handheld tablet will allow commanders to transmit real-time information to the squad through commercially available devices. This allows command or fellow squads to transmit important real-time information, including maps, locations, pictures of potential high-value targets, and much more.

Networking all the squads over longer ranges.


Which brings me to the second article


Networked Lethality capabilities were recently tested in the Stryker Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) vehicle here (Yakima) by Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.
Soldiers validated the effectiveness of the Stryker’s Modified Improved Target Acquisition System (MITAS) under realistic combat situations against a dynamic opposing force.

Through networked lethality, crews can now pass images and cue targets between vehicle platforms.
Network lethality allows each Stryker to act as a sensor by transmitting situational reports and images within the Platoon, Company, and Brigade.

Other MITAS upgrades include the precision far target locator (pFTL), image enhancement, high-definition color camera, and upgraded missile launcher.

The pFTL integrates with the laser range finder, which allows for greater accuracy and precision while detecting enemy targets.

The networked lethality also enables and allows the ATGM vehicles to increase their tactical dispersion within the limits of the terrain, explained Thomas.

Optical enhancements provide the ATGM gunner with improvements for detecting, recognizing, and identifying targets at greater ranges and with more clarity.

“I was able to take images of enemy targets over 9 kilometers and cue my wingman to their location using the network lethality capability,” said Sgt. Anthony Rodrigues, Stryker ATGM Gunner for 1st Platoon, Delta Troop, Delta Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment.

Every Squad, mounted or dismounted, becomes a sensor and a target designator and can call for support to a clearly defined target. In this case it is working with 4 km TOW ATGMs mounted on other vehicles. It could just as easily be calling for Loitering Munitions, NLOS-AT missiles, gunfire support, long range precision fires or air support. Or even EW support....assuming they can get the call through.

The point is how many other "technical trades" can be simplified to the point where even Millitia might be able to master them on Wednesday night?


QX6B7YOWANE2HC34YK2L3CZY5Q-750x750.jpg


courtesy-battleorder-928x750.png



It is interesting to see the distribution of arms in the Marine Squad - 15 Automatic Rifles (including the Corpsman's rifle), 1 DMR, 3 dedicated 40mm Grenade Launchers with proper sights, 1 84mm Carl Gustaf, and 1 Range Finder - together with the Squad Systems Operator's quadcopter and other toys.

The Squad has a secure link to the rear and its support, excellent view to the other side of the hill, and an array of weapons capable of dealing with barriers and personnel, in general or in detail.

 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
I really do think we are too infantry heavy in the Reg F Army

Agreed. Fully.

I'd sooner have an infantry battalion per brigade less and their numbers converted into ISR, Precision Fires (NLOS-AT and Loitering Attack Munitions) and GBAD operators.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
Thanks for the correction McG.

Something else I got wrong. I forgot to include my reference on the Stryker Brigade upgrades. It's from April this year.

An interesting article but it leaves the question about what is concurrently going on within ABCTs and IBCTs on some of these issues which would effect them as well. The establishments of ABCTs, IBCTs and SBCTs have a very high degree of commonality except where specific to their roles.

One thing about our hypothetical reorg to two mech and two light brigades would mean we have almost sufficient M777s to equip the light brigades fully as long as we get new and much more appropriate wheeled SPs for the mech brigades.

I'm really chuffed about the possibility of eight gun batteries again - takes me back 55 years. In Afghanistan we operated a six-gun battery as three two-gun troops for most of the time. With digital fire control systems, autoloaders capable of burst fire, and rapid deploy SP capabilities I could see an eight-gun battery operating as four two-gun troops (or even eight independent guns) constantly repositioning, and firing precision missions or occasional massed concentrations as required. I think with dispersed operations being an expected norm, a 30% increase in guns become a necessity.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
An interesting article but it leaves the question about what is concurrently going on within ABCTs and IBCTs on some of these issues which would effect them as well. The establishments of ABCTs, IBCTs and SBCTs have a very high degree of commonality except where specific to their roles.

One thing about our hypothetical reorg to two mech and two light brigades would mean we have almost sufficient M777s to equip the light brigades fully as long as we get new and much more appropriate wheeled SPs for the mech brigades.

I'm really chuffed about the possibility of eight gun batteries again - takes me back 55 years. In Afghanistan we operated a six-gun battery as three two-gun troops for most of the time. With digital fire control systems, autoloaders capable of burst fire, and rapid deploy SP capabilities I could see an eight-gun battery operating as four two-gun troops (or even eight independent guns) constantly repositioning, and firing precision missions or occasional massed concentrations as required. I think with dispersed operations being an expected norm, a 30% increase in guns become a necessity.

🍻

I would't be surprised if the IBCTs followed the Marines with their Squad (or Platoon) level systems operators, range finders (designators?) and tablets while the ABCTs get the same networking in their Abrams and Bradleys that are in the Stryker ATGM vehicles.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
I would't be surprised if the IBCTs followed the Marines with their Squad (or Platoon) level systems operators, range finders (designators?) and tablets while the ABCTs get the same networking in their Abrams and Bradleys that are in the Stryker ATGM vehicles.
There's the limitation of folks a Stryker can carry coupled with the fact that the Strykers themselves bring stuff to the game. I'm quite sure some of the functions that are carried out by the Marine dismounted squad will be covered by the platoon or the mounted elements. UAV controllers can be back with the Zulus as long as there is a dat feed to the dismounts.

That said I do have concerns about much of this data link stuff in a full-on EW environment.

I do like the Stryker ATGM system though. That almost strikes me as a no-brainer solution that will take us ten years to analyze and validate.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
743
Points
1,060
Skill sets are a monstrous issue. Gunners, just as an example, have ridden and are riding the peaks and valleys of that with air defence, STA and now even guns.

You always need a certain critical mass of each trade or classification to ensure that those skills are alive and rank progression moves satisfactorily. It took quite a while to revive STA and its anyone's guess as to how long it will take to revive the AD specialty. I expect tankers are barely hanging on and I doubt that mortars and anti armour will have an easy go of it. Technical skills such as technicians capable of servicing the few numbers of highly complex digital gun management systems, which are spread over three geographical locations, are a very weak link. And there are dozens and dozens of skill sets like that where we are barely hanging on with very little depth. As our equipment becomes ever more complex we will have a need for more and more highly skilled and trained people and with them a highly capable logistics management capability.

I really do think we are too infantry heavy in the Reg F Army. Not to mention too divisional headquarters and Res F brigade headquarters and CMTC and other things heavy. All at the expense of those core systems. The good news is that we can train reservists to be good infantrymen, gunners, tankers and combat engineers. The question is whether we can reduce our appetite for operational deployments that eats them up. If nothing else, Afghanistan should have taught us that getting into long-term stabilization missions in third world non-western societies in the midst of a civil war is a zero-sum game. Time to get back into Cold War mode.

🍻

Just as a point, in addition to the 18, going on 24 howitzers the Styker Brigade also has 36 120mm self-propelled mortars along with 12 81mms and 18 60mm mortars. As well as a plethora of 40mm Grenade Launchers, It also has 81 Javelin launchers, one per Squad and 9 TOW vehicles with twin launchers.
 

FJAG

Army.ca Fixture
Reaction score
1,898
Points
1,040
Something else that has been niggling at me. The role of the Forward Observer, Mortar Fire Controller, FOO/FAC. Is it, like the signaller, moving down the chain?
I've been interviewing a bunch of battery commanders and FOO/JTACs who had deployed to Afghanistan and quite frankly I'm amazed at how complex the job has gotten from my Cold warrior days. Firstly there is a herd of complex equipment from the LAV OPV itself to a whole new generation of comms and sensor gear. More importantly though the skills and teamwork needed in coordinating everything from a multitude of new munitions as well as air, aviation and Predator resources in a crowded airspace and a multitude of widely dispersed mounted and dismounted elements on the ground is much more complex even in what was a relatively low intensity combat zone.

It's one thing to say "put the round there" its quite another to have a high level of understanding what will happen once it gets there. Splinters do not distribute themselves evenly - they are very dependent on the line gun-target, and the angle of decent something your average assistant squad leader will have no knowledge or experience with. That's just one very small issue.

With the loss of the mortar platoon and the bn FSCC and MFCs, the artillery had to step up and, while reducing guns, it significantly increased the FSCCs and FOO/JTACs in the CF. Keeping them trained and qualified and, in the case of JTACs - recertified, is a major job that we are not keeping up with as well as we should. There are very significant training requirements and retraining requirements and for the most part FOO/JTAC NCOs are pretty much their own career stream these days while FOOs themselves are still a short term (roughly two year) assignment for officers on the artillery cursus honorum. Right now the artillery is established for 9 x FSCC crews and 27 x FOO/JTAC teams - that's basically 9 x battle groups of three sub units each which is enough to provide rotations for one or two battlegroups but not the whole force if you count in the armoured regiments as manoeuvre elements. It's getting very tough for Res F FOOs to do anything beyond the most basic dismounted fire support operations and even harder for Res F battery commanders to be able to provide the full scope of FSCC support needed with the limited training that they have.

All that said to point out that while I dearly love every supported arms guy to be able to do calls for fire (and they certainly did in Afghanistan), the complexity of what constitutes indirect fire support these days (and even more complex once we add loitering munitions and such into the mix) is such that there will, in all probability, be no more moving down the chain. The supported arms call for fire will probably continue much the same way it does now and be much more accurate for target location than it used to be (as will the corresponding rounds delivered much more precisely) but there will continue to be the need for a very highly trained "interpreter/support manager" as between the caller and the appropriate delivery system. (As an aside I'm not sure of the state of the return of mortars to the infantry at this time)

🍻
 

Ostrozac

Sr. Member
Reaction score
180
Points
430
Just as a point, in addition to the 18, going on 24 howitzers the Styker Brigade also has 36 120mm self-propelled mortars along with 12 81mms and 18 60mm mortars. As well as a plethora of 40mm Grenade Launchers, It also has 81 Javelin launchers, one per Squad and 9 TOW vehicles with twin launchers.
Well, yeah, because infantry without integrated organic fire support weapons die in bucketloads. This was a lesson learned in approximately 1914 that Canada, and specifically our procurement system and regimental/cap badge mafias, actively deny.

If we’re serious about war fighting, we need to build robust combat support within the infantry. And if we intend to use our infantry for parades, floods, riots and occasional counter-insurgency, then maybe we don’t. But we shouldn‘t confuse the two — and I fear that we already have. The company in Latvia is tasked to fight Russians, if necessary, but it lacks the integral anti-armour capability to do so, and our procurement system lacks the ability to UOR them the Javelins (or equivalent) they need to do their jobs.
 

MilEME09

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
729
Points
940
Well, yeah, because infantry without integrated organic fire support weapons die in bucketloads. This was a lesson learned in approximately 1914 that Canada, and specifically our procurement system and regimental/cap badge mafias, actively deny.

If we’re serious about war fighting, we need to build robust combat support within the infantry. And if we intend to use our infantry for parades, floods, riots and occasional counter-insurgency, then maybe we don’t. But we shouldn‘t confuse the two — and I fear that we already have. The company in Latvia is tasked to fight Russians, if necessary, but it lacks the integral anti-armour capability to do so, and our procurement system lacks the ability to UOR them the Javelins (or equivalent) they need to do their jobs.
If we go by WW2 stats, 3 in 5 soldiers should be non combat trades. We really don't have that kind of ratio because of our high bloat. As a result the CA has also admitted Service Battalions can't support army ops as currently structured, and IS isn't efficiently supporting bases. It's one of the major focuses of F2025 in order to completely restructure our sustainment functions.
 
Top