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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

FJAG

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our procurement system lacks the ability to UOR them the Javelins (or equivalent) they need to do their jobs.
In order to UOR a Javelin someone in the CoC needs to initiate a UOR and someone else in the CoC needs to approve it. My guess is that there is no such UOR and that the CoC is prepared to leave it that way while waiting for a project to deliver it. This is not a procurement problem; this is a calculated leadership issue which must feel that the TOWs there are adequate.

I have only the most peripheral knowledge of this but as far as I know there will be a capability gap in man-portable anti-armour until 2026 at best and there is no project for a mounted anti-armour capability. If push came to shove and the risk of hostility was higher I assume (and hope) that a UOR might magically appear as it did for the M777 back in 2005 and subsequently for Leopards and CH-47 but until then ...

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Kirkhill

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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)

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So, could that be met by a small "spotter" force and a larger Fire Support Coordination Centre?
 

dapaterson

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There is finite project capacity and procurement capacity in DND and government.

Is a Javelin or similar capability more important than replacing fighters? Replacing the frigates? Getting LAV support variants? Midlife upgrades to various fleets? Keeping enterprise software systems up to date and supported?
 

FJAG

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So, could that be met by a small "spotter" force and a larger Fire Support Coordination Centre?
No.

Every FOO always has been, but even more so now, is a mini fire support coordination centre who has to juggle numerous resources. While battalion FSCC and brigade FSCC's take some of the burdens off the FOO (such as air space coord and finding and pushing down resources) at the end of the day its the FOO/JTAC team (and sometimes the BC when tactically deployed with the bn comd) tied to the troops in contact who juggles the delivery of terminal effects on the ground in front of his supported troops. In Afghanistan it would not be unusual for a single FOO/JTAC team to be simultaneously controlling gun fire, Predator strikes and fast air during a TIC - sometimes, when available, attack helicopters. All of these need eyeballs on the target area and a team. Note that FOO tech NCOs are qualified to fire missions and should also be JTACs. As a FOO I trained both my Sigs to shoot the guns as well (in those days we generally had four-man FOO parties - during Afghanistan they ran from 5 to 6. to be able to work 24/7)

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CBH99

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There is finite project capacity and procurement capacity in DND and government.

Is a Javelin or similar capability more important than replacing fighters? Replacing the frigates? Getting LAV support variants? Midlife upgrades to various fleets? Keeping enterprise software systems up to date and supported?
That’s a good point, and one I don’t think many people take into consideration when thinking about what projects/capabilities we should be adopting. I know I didn’t, anyway.

I think when we look at Force 2025, none of the projects that have been discussed would take lengthy amounts of time or require lengthy acquisition processes.

That being said, I admit that even simple projects can take a long time. (Pistol replacement, anyone?)

New fighters & subsequent tankers/transports are extremely important, as is the new CSC fleet, and upgrades to some fleets (re Griffon, etc.)

Are any of these suggested projects more important than those? For our current deployments, no, I don’t believe so. New fighters, new CSC fleet, AOPS, JSS, etc are all more important, especially when it comes to international/coalition commitments, NORAD, etc.

But all of the above are big projects with big price tags, which require big money to not only be spent by us, but subsequently invested into Canada by who we do business with. They are big projects which - while they don’t have to take as long as they do - would take some time regardless.

None of the smaller projects for Force 2025 should be overly expensive or lengthy.

Platoon/company level basic AD capability? Narrow it down to a few systems (already in service with a key ally being one of them) - open a competition, choose one, sign a contract, etc.

DND wouldn’t have so many projects on the go if they could just sign off on the smaller/basic ones faster.
 

GR66

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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.)
With so few tanks available and no plans to purchase more on the books is it the best course of action to split them in half and geographically separate them?

I'm tempted to think that we stick with the Swedish model for our Heavy-ish Mech Brigade. Three combined arms Battalions in Edmonton/Wainwright each with 2 x Tank Squadrons/Companies (using the 3 x 3-tank Platoon format per Squadron/Company).

This concentrates all of our tanks in one geographic location for support. Combined arms Battalions rather than pure Tank and Infantry Battalions within a Brigade allows for better training in combined arms operations. And there are enough tanks left over for the Alberta/Sask. Reserve Armoured regiments to train on the left over Leopards to provide augmentation/replacements for deployments.

If we ever make the decision to expand our tank fleet then we can expand the Reserve Armoured capability to cover the full 6 x Squadrons/Companies required to field a 2nd full Mech Brigade. We can still have enough LAVs available to equip the Reserves (in Ontario?) with enough vehicles to fully augment the Infantry portion of the Brigade.
 

FJAG

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With so few tanks available and no plans to purchase more on the books is it the best course of action to split them in half and geographically separate them?

I'm tempted to think that we stick with the Swedish model for our Heavy-ish Mech Brigade. Three combined arms Battalions in Edmonton/Wainwright each with 2 x Tank Squadrons/Companies (using the 3 x 3-tank Platoon format per Squadron/Company).

This concentrates all of our tanks in one geographic location for support. Combined arms Battalions rather than pure Tank and Infantry Battalions within a Brigade allows for better training in combined arms operations. And there are enough tanks left over for the Alberta/Sask. Reserve Armoured regiments to train on the left over Leopards to provide augmentation/replacements for deployments.

If we ever make the decision to expand our tank fleet then we can expand the Reserve Armoured capability to cover the full 6 x Squadrons/Companies required to field a 2nd full Mech Brigade. We can still have enough LAVs available to equip the Reserves (in Ontario?) with enough vehicles to fully augment the Infantry portion of the Brigade.
Because I like playing with paper napkin org charts I might play with that idea for a bit.

I'm torn between two limitations: on the one hand concentrating the capabilities in Edmonton/Wainwright makes a lot of sense from a ranges and maintenance point of view; and on the other hand the combined 38 and 41 CBG manpower sucks at roughly 2,400 - even if you add in 39 CBG you still only generate some 3,900 reservists at best and I tend to think 39 CBG's best utilization is as a light battle group. Ontario followed by Quebec and the Maritimes are your best manpower pools.

Like I said, I'll ponder it.

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GR66

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Because I like playing with paper napkin org charts I might play with that idea for a bit.

I'm torn between two limitations: on the one hand concentrating the capabilities in Edmonton/Wainwright makes a lot of sense from a ranges and maintenance point of view; and on the other hand the combined 38 and 41 CBG manpower sucks at roughly 2,400 - even if you add in 39 CBG you still only generate some 3,900 reservists at best and I tend to think 39 CBG's best utilization is as a light battle group. Ontario followed by Quebec and the Maritimes are your best manpower pools.

Like I said, I'll ponder it.

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For the Reserve Mech Brigade the Tank units are in the Prairies....the LAV infantry in population-rich Ontario. Keep a LAV company of spares in Wainwright so the Infantry elements can fly out for summer concentration and practice their Armour-Infantry coordination. The non-Armoured units from 38/39/41 can form a Light Territorial/Arctic Response Brigade Group.
 

KevinB

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There is finite project capacity and procurement capacity in DND and government.

Is a Javelin or similar capability more important than replacing fighters? Replacing the frigates? Getting LAV support variants? Midlife upgrades to various fleets? Keeping enterprise software systems up to date and supported?
It shouldn't be like that though.
The Capital Acquisition budget are/should be planned out - and so each service/entity is able to field modern equipment, and needs to prioritize when there isn't enough to go around.

- The Army needs to accept that this is their failure - I believe as far as actual war fighting capability that an ATGM and GBAD are infinitely more important than yet more LAV's.
 

FJAG

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It shouldn't be like that though.
The Capital Acquisition budget are/should be planned out - and so each service/entity is able to field modern equipment, and needs to prioritize when there isn't enough to go around.

- The Army needs to accept that this is their failure - I believe as far as actual war fighting capability that an ATGM and GBAD are infinitely more important than yet more LAV's.
We absolutely do not need any more LAV battalions. We do need LAV chassis for mounted mortars, ATGM systems and GBAD (maybe even a direct fire gun capability and an indirect fire gun capability).

Whether we can or should create those out of current hulls or not is the question.

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daftandbarmy

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It shouldn't be like that though.
The Capital Acquisition budget are/should be planned out - and so each service/entity is able to field modern equipment, and needs to prioritize when there isn't enough to go around.

- The Army needs to accept that this is their failure - I believe as far as actual war fighting capability that an ATGM and GBAD are infinitely more important than yet more LAV's.

What about radios we can use to ctually talk to each other like real soldiers as opposed to, you know, having to share out our smart phone numbers during O Groups? :)
 

MilEME09

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We absolutely do not any more LAV battalions. We do need LAV chassis for mounted mortars, ATGM systems and GBAD (maybe even a direct fire gun capability and an indirect fire gun capability).

Whether we can or should create those out of current hulls or not is the question.

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I'd argue new hulls, why? Because I would prefer to have spares incase of future battle field losses for the main fleet.
 

IRepoCans

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What about radios we can use to ctually talk to each other like real soldiers as opposed to, you know, having to share out our smart phone numbers during O Groups? :)
Don't even have to be new, just need to have them, and actually train people on them before a pre-deployment work-up.

I'd kill for a handful of MBITRs (or IMBITRs if we're going for future-proof) with long whip multi-band antennas from Shakespeare.
 

PuckChaser

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IMBITRs aren't future proof if your future includes Type 1 voice and data comms. CA is buying PRC-163 radios which is a Type 1 TSM-X capable 152A. What CA hasn't realized, is they're double the cost of a 152A. Champagne tastes, Labatt 50 budget...
 

IRepoCans

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The PRC-163s are plagued with issues from what I hear; hell an 18E I know is doing all he can to hold onto their MBITRs and 152s. Funny considering since USASOC went with 163s, and the US Army is going with IMBITRs (which are Type 1 TSM capable btw).

Plus, we're odd about purchasing new shiny things: we'll pay premium for hot garbage opposed to paying an acceptable price for something that works quite well.

I wonder if we ever looked at the MPU5s?
 

PuckChaser

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IMBITRs are not Type 1 capable, says right on their website. The 148D will be Type 1 capable once it gets NSA certification. There's nothing wrong with the 163, it's a 152A glued to a Type 1 TSM SDR. It has significantly more upside than the 148D, but we wouldn't go wrong with either.

CAF has a bunch of MPU5s for ISSP and other uses. They use a different waveform than 163/148 so the WB networking piece isn't compatible. From my understanding ISSP is moving towards the 163 to leverage the contracts in place from Crypto Modernization Project (as is tradition, it wasn't scoped or funded properly).

Edit: I can see where the nomenclature is difficult when someone is just Googling radios. The 148C IMBITR is the current radio that actually exists, and is not Type 1 capable. The 148D IMBITR doesn't exist until NSA certification is complete, and will be Type 1 capable.
 

KevinB

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We absolutely do not need any more LAV battalions. We do need LAV chassis for mounted mortars, ATGM systems and GBAD (maybe even a direct fire gun capability and an indirect fire gun capability).

Whether we can or should create those out of current hulls or not is the question.

🍻
All of which where part of the recent LAV buy...
A slew of CP variants - probably with no radios to use in them based on what I have been recently reading.

At this point I would settle for 1 Bde to be actually equipped as a Modern Army.
The CA will never fully equip the Army - at least to full 3 Active Reg Bde - and forget the Reserves.
1 Reg force Bde - 1 Res Bde - and actually equip them -- then if money ever shows up again - build another Bde of Regs and another of Res.
Rinse and repeat as one can - but always forces on a modern well equipped force - rather than a poor equipped slightly larger one.
 

CBH99

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As a country that enjoys the ‘luxury’ of being able to focus primarily on expeditionary operations, I couldn’t agree more.



I’ve argued in the past that we need to decide what we want to do, and focus on doing that exceptionally well.

Discuss with our US and NATO allies which capabilities they’d like us to bring to a fight, and focus on bringing those capabilities in a world class manner.

We either spend our money more efficiently, and equip our current Army adequately with modern yet basic capabilities - or we focus on a niche, and be world class at it.

0.02
 

daftandbarmy

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All of which where part of the recent LAV buy...
A slew of CP variants - probably with no radios to use in them based on what I have been recently reading.

At this point I would settle for 1 Bde to be actually equipped as a Modern Army.
The CA will never fully equip the Army - at least to full 3 Active Reg Bde - and forget the Reserves.
1 Reg force Bde - 1 Res Bde - and actually equip them -- then if money ever shows up again - build another Bde of Regs and another of Res.
Rinse and repeat as one can - but always forces on a modern well equipped force - rather than a poor equipped slightly larger one.

No. Not on your life. There is no way we could develop the right kind of leaders, above the rank of Major/MWO or so, to man such a formation - alone - in the reserves.

If you have a Reg F Bde that is 'augmented' with Reservists, then that might work. Over the course of 10-15 years you could then try to grow the reserve capabilities to staff up complimentary units, possible to BGp size.
 
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