Author Topic: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post  (Read 13224 times)

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Offline gwp

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Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« on: February 16, 2013, 02:43:07 »
Canada’s army reserve units are facing deep budget cuts that appear to fly in the face of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s explicit direction to stay away from front-line reductions.

Across the country, despite public assurances to the contrary from military leaders, reserve budgets have been slashed between about 16 to almost 25 per cent from last year.

Worse, it appears that most of the $330-million supposedly destined for 19,000 part-time reserve soldiers is in fact still going to reservists working full-time on what are called Class B contracts in various headquarters in such places as Ottawa, Kingston and Edmonton.

True reservists are part-time soldiers and, with units located in more than 100 towns and cities from coast to coast, they remain the military’s most visceral and enduring connection to civilian Canada. .... see more in link.

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/02/15/christie-blatchford-reserve-budgets-slashed-by-almost-25-per-cent-despite-harpers-order-to-avoid-front-line-reductions/

Offline Pandora114

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2013, 09:13:20 »
Wrong "Reserve" budget buddy..

The First Nation Reserves budgets are what need to be slashed..not the DND one..

Damnit...

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2013, 09:40:57 »
The reserves could save a lot of money if they sat down and took a look at where they are bleeding money.  Meal claims, TD, top heavy weekend ex's.

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Offline Bird_Gunner45

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2013, 09:48:54 »
With the reserves main task of the future (at least for the arty) being force generating individuals to augment regular force units, than perhaps the CF needs to consider disbanding certain units or formations IOT focus on pushing resources to meet this goal.  The scarce resources available would be better if they were pushed to a few larger units, with less high ranks, with a focus on individual training and low level collective training.  Reserve Bde Exes in the southern US, for starters, could be cut with little impact to the initial task, IMHO. 

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2013, 10:58:19 »
The reserves could save a lot of money if they sat down and took a look at where they are bleeding money.  Meal claims, TD, top heavy weekend ex's.

Absolutely. Seems more exercises are training officers than to train soldiers. A unit that has 50 people doesn't need 15 Cl A officers.

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2013, 11:28:29 »
Reserve Bde Exes in the southern US, for starters, could be cut with little impact to the initial task, IMHO.

Well for some Bde's (like 36 and 37) these exercises are the culmination of the previous years training cycle...so cutting them IMHO would impact them..... also who wants to do section attacks in the snow.... ;D
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Offline Bird_Gunner45

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 11:38:27 »
Well for some Bde's (like 36 and 37) these exercises are the culmination of the previous years training cycle...so cutting them IMHO would impact them..... also who wants to do section attacks in the snow.... ;D

Roger, but I guess my question is "why" do 36 and 37 bde's NEED to have a Bde level training cycle? For the arty units in LFAA (5 Div, whatever it is now), their primary task is to augment 4 AD and the RCAS W Battery (1 and 3 Fd).  As we know that none of the reserve brigades will ever deploy, what is the requirement to train them to ELOC/MLOC 4-6? once again, for arty (as I can't speak for the other arms) the task is to provide "odds and sods" for HALO, MRR, SUAS, and individual augmentation for W Battery.  Reserve Arty officers, to deploy, have to re-do their 1.2 and get the mounted FOO course (if for guns) or will have to get the STA Tp Comd course/AD Tp Comd course for the other tasks.  We could save on just providing the higher level augmentation to regular force exercises in this case, than having them train on their own.

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 11:47:25 »
Absolutely. Seems more exercises are training officers than to train soldiers.

The amount of leadership on a reserve ex should be proportionate with how many troops are attending in my opinion (if saving money is a key issue).

Quote
A unit that has 50 people doesn't need 15 Cl A officers.
I agree. In a reserve unit I was with we had 2 or 3 platoon commanders per platoon who would just switch back and forth for everything.   
I also find the reserves have a big clerk to troop ratio that could be scaled back.


I don't think cutting class b positions and filling them with more reg force RSS positions is a better idea mind you.


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Offline Harris

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2013, 16:47:35 »
The reserves could save a lot of money if they sat down and took a look at where they are bleeding money.  Meal claims, TD, top heavy weekend ex's.

Can you give some examples of how these items are bleeding reserve money?  This is a serious question.  Speaking from my own unit experience, I don't see this.
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 16:54:16 »
Roger, but I guess my question is "why" do 36 and 37 bde's NEED to have a Bde level training cycle?
If they don't then how do we train Company commanders, CSMs etc... to be able to become future COs and RSMs?  They need to get that experience somewhere.  It's hard enough as it is to get pers ready for succession now.  I can't imagine how we do it without opportunities like those you mention.
Cheers

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Offline Brihard

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2013, 17:07:17 »
If they don't then how do we train Company commanders, CSMs etc... to be able to become future COs and RSMs?  They need to get that experience somewhere.  It's hard enough as it is to get pers ready for succession now.  I can't imagine how we do it without opportunities like those you mention.

Speaking purely hypothetically- what is the actual number of primary reserve company and battalion commanders the Canadian Forces actually need, and what sort of reserve structure would allow this number to be met while reducing overhead?

I would contend that our numbers of battalion and company commanders should be proportionate to our actual ability to force generate troops. Again, hypothetically, why does every single reserve regiment need a battalion command element? If a reserve CBG struggled to force generate a territorial battalion group that is less than three understrengthed companies large, why does that CBG have eight reserve infantry LCols as commanding officers?

I know this all ends up inevitably leading back to a conversation about the flaws of the regimental structure as applied to the reserves, etc etc. There are many arguments in both directions. But I would like to see someone justify the institutional NEED (as opposed to want) to have as many 'battalion commanders' and 'company commanders' we have, notwithstanding the actual sizes of the organizations they command.

I'm not foolish enough to believe that an organization as geographically dispersed as the PRes could be effective commanded as efficiently with a command team as slim as that of a regular battalion. But I definitely also don't think that our numbers of senior officers and senior NCOs realistically reflect the need for same.
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Offline ObedientiaZelum

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2013, 17:10:32 »
Can you give some examples of how these items are bleeding reserve money?  This is a serious question.  Speaking from my own unit experience, I don't see this.
Sure NP.
A no hook private earning more in a month than a class B MCpl due to meal claims.
A unit weekend ex with 7 "troops", 5 NCOs, 2 platoon WOs,  CSM, RSM, 2 platoon commanders, 2 captains, additional senior staff.
Ex's where senior members go on ex to hang out in a tent and talk about RV86.
Sending RSS staff on ex just to hang around.  (which means field pay)

I have a few more examples but they would border on airing dirty laundry so I'll fire off a PM.

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Offline noneck

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2013, 17:33:39 »
OZ which units are going on EX with numbers like that?

I fully agree with some of the posts here concerning Bn Comd staff and PRes infantry units. I know that for many this will be considered heresy.....but I think we need to re-org our MO Infantry Bn's into Coy sized organizations and have one Bn staff for every 3-4 infantry Coy's in a PRes CBG. We could start saving money there!

Offline MCG

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2013, 17:54:28 »
There are ways to organize the PRes that are both more efficient and more effective than our current model.  I have advocated some of these changes in the reserve role and structure thread.  But, getting back to the article …
Army Reserve taking the budget hit?
Everybody is "taking the budget hit."  This is not unique to the reserves; everyone is seeing cuts.  The title implies the PRes are taking a disproportionate hit, but that conclusion would require a comparing reserve brigade cuts to the being made against Reg F brigade operating budgets.  With the facts given, we cannot say that the reserves are taking more or less than their share of the hit.

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2013, 17:58:10 »
Everybody is "taking the budget hit."  This is not unique to the reserves; everyone is seeing cuts.  The title implies the PRes are taking a disproportionate hit, but that conclusion would require a comparing reserve brigade cuts to the being made against Reg F brigade operating budgets.  With the facts given, we cannot say that the reserves are taking more or less than their share of the hit.

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Offline MCG

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2013, 18:08:49 »
To be fair, the thread title with its implied conclusion is not the title printed over the article.

Within the first few sentances, Christie Blatchford does refer to an issue that I think many of us would be interested to see the numbers on: are operational units and formations (of all components) taking a disproportionate hit in comparison with institutional HQs and bureaucracy?  But again, we can't tell from what is written.

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2013, 18:19:01 »
Sure NP.
A no hook private earning more in a month than a class B MCpl due to meal claims.
A unit weekend ex with 7 "troops", 5 NCOs, 2 platoon WOs,  CSM, RSM, 2 platoon commanders, 2 captains, additional senior staff.
Ex's where senior members go on ex to hang out in a tent and talk about RV86.
Sending RSS staff on ex just to hang around.  (which means field pay)

I have a few more examples but they would border on airing dirty laundry so I'll fire off a PM.

Wow!  Then I see your points.  All I can say is that not all units are like that.  Mine is definitely not.  Normally It is the Company Commander down, with any additional support as needed depending on the Ex.   No support needed, no additional pers.  The CO and RSM may visit for part of the day to check on trg, but not always.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 18:22:05 by Harris »
Cheers

Todd
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2013, 19:05:20 »
A unit weekend ex with 7 "troops", 5 NCOs, 2 platoon WOs,  CSM, RSM, 2 platoon commanders, 2 captains, additional senior staff.

Since you were, quite obviously, involved with this unit, where were the troops?  Did the "5 NCOs, 2 platoon WOs,  CSM, RSM, 2 platoon commanders, 2 captains, additional senior staff" show up for the exercise expecting more than 7 troops to show up?  How many of these leaders were already deployed as part of the advance party and were also expecting more than 7 troops to show up?

So, rather than questioning the officers, WOs and NCOs who showed up to lead and execute the training,  the better approach would be to ask the question of why did only 7 troops show up?
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2013, 19:43:58 »
Just released about a few months ago. To answer your question Haggis. I seen troops be all gung ho at the start then their interest wonder. The army is just not for some people. My hearts not it anymore, i think the army will always have its long time troops and its short time troops. I'll still read about the army and visit this site but for me i'am done with it. Maybe no one is doing anything wrong, just that only a few have it in them to stay on for a long time.
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2013, 20:33:00 »
If they don't then how do we train Company commanders, CSMs etc... to be able to become future COs and RSMs?  They need to get that experience somewhere.  It's hard enough as it is to get pers ready for succession now.  I can't imagine how we do it without opportunities like those you mention.

This goes back to the initial question- if the reserves role now is to force generate people, than what higher training does a Coy Commander of a Reserve unit require aside from perhaps a reserve Combat team commander course? The Major will not likely lead troops on operation as an Inf Coy commander.  In A-Stan, the reserve OCs were all of units like the CIMIC or PSYOPS (I'm sure there''s exceptions...), so that higher level training had little value on operations.  If the job is to force generate for the Reg force, than focus on Coy commander DOWN, not up

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2013, 20:35:16 »
Since you were, quite obviously, involved with this unit, where were the troops?  Did the "5 NCOs, 2 platoon WOs,  CSM, RSM, 2 platoon commanders, 2 captains, additional senior staff" show up for the exercise expecting more than 7 troops to show up?  How many of these leaders were already deployed as part of the advance party and were also expecting more than 7 troops to show up?

So, rather than questioning the officers, WOs and NCOs who showed up to lead and execute the training,  the better approach would be to ask the question of why did only 7 troops show up?

I think you're reading what he posted differently from how he intended... I don't see him saying those people didn't have a reason to be present, but rather that in its totality, the package we're looking at here can fairly be described as poor bang:buck ratio within the scope of what the reserves are supposed to do. And I'm sure we're also all picking up that there's a bit of hyperbole present in presenting a genuine but rare 'worst case' for reserve attendance as somehow the norm. However this also isn't a set of circumstances unique to any one unit; I'm sure we've all seen smaller reserve regiments occasionally have abysmal attendance on one exercise or another.

The context of the discussion being money poorly spent, I think the example he cites remains valid, irrespective of what circumstances led to it being the case. And of course 'anecdote' doesn't pluralize to 'data', and one really bad showing isn't something I think any of us would generalize across a unit or the people therein.
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2013, 20:39:08 »
This goes back to the initial question- if the reserves role now is to force generate people, than what higher training does a Coy Commander of a Reserve unit require aside from perhaps a reserve Combat team commander course? The Major will not likely lead troops on operation as an Inf Coy commander.  In A-Stan, the reserve OCs were all of units like the CIMIC or PSYOPS (I'm sure there''s exceptions...), so that higher level training had little value on operations.  If the job is to force generate for the Reg force, than focus on Coy commander DOWN, not up

Musing more on the points that I myself initiated earlier- one thing does come to mind. While I agree that generally speaking Coy down is the appropriate focus, at the end of the day the reserves DO need a chain of command all the way up. That chain of command will inevitably come into closer contact with their regular forces peers, and I can see merit in having reserve leadership with the training, and consequently more of the credibility and, hopefully the balls to fight to protect our organization and what we offer within the scope of the larger CF. On those grounds I'm certainly not going to argue against the need to have some higher command, though I still think we're 'command overweight' below the CBG level. What I don't have visibility over is how those brigade commanders are selected, and whether the size of the pool of COs we have now is necessary to achieve brigade Comds of sufficient quality and experience to be worthwhile. Way the hell above my pay grade.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline ObedientiaZelum

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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2013, 20:48:48 »

So, rather than questioning the officers, WOs and NCOs who showed up to lead and execute the training,  the better approach would be to ask the question of why did only 7 troops show up?

This kind  situation has happened at at least 4 units that I know of but as Brihard said, I'm using a very worst case scenario with the numbers.

In my own experience I would say the primary answer to your question of why only 7 soldiers are showing up is that their immediate leadership, MCpls and Sgts, didn't really care. They were signing in for the weekend so who cares if troops show up or not?  I found the difference between a soldier attending an ex could be something as little as the section commander saying 'c'mon man I need you out on this ex'.


Using my example I can't decide if a solution is for the COC to tell extra leadership to go home OR if that would actually be unfair since they're doing their part by clearing their schedule and showing up for the ex.   If we're discussing ways to save money (and keep a regiment open) I'd lean towards the former.  But then that would of course likely push the very same leadership out the door.

I know as a section commander I would have tripled my efforts to get troops out on ex if there was a SOP that I could not attend a weekend ex if my section wasn't attending as well.
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2013, 20:56:13 »
Everybody is "taking the budget hit."  This is not unique to the reserves; everyone is seeing cuts.  The title implies the PRes are taking a disproportionate hit, but that conclusion would require a comparing reserve brigade cuts to the being made against Reg F brigade operating budgets.  With the facts given, we cannot say that the reserves are taking more or less than their share of the hit.

That is the real question.  In the Army of the West, I have heard that 1 CMBG took a 50% cut to its O+M budget for next Fiscal Year, while its sister CBGs took cuts below 10%. 

The reality is that the manner in which the cuts are coming (brutal, but very incrementally) leads organisations into the inevitable shaving of the ice cube, vice a redesign of the force.
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Re: Army Reserve taking the budget hit? - National Post
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2013, 20:58:02 »
This kind  situation has happened at at least 4 units that I know of but as Brihard said, I'm using a very worst case scenario with the numbers.

In my own experience I would say the primary answer to your question of why only 7 soldiers are showing up is that their immediate leadership, MCpls and Sgts, didn't really care. They were signing in for the weekend so who cares if troops show up or not?  I found the difference between a soldier attending an ex could be something as little as the section commander saying 'c'mon man I need you out on this ex'.


Using my example I can't decide if a solution is for the COC to tell extra leadership to go home OR if that would actually be unfair since they're doing their part by clearing their schedule and showing up for the ex.   If we're discussing ways to save money (and keep a regiment open) I'd lean towards the former.  But then that would of course likely push the very same leadership out the door.

I know as a section commander I would have tripled my efforts to get troops out on ex if there was a SOP that I could not attend a weekend ex if my section wasn't attending as well.

Interesting point raised by this one, too... When we run an ex, there's quite a bit of close-to-fixed cost. The cost of the bus. Paying for blue rockets. The Cl A necessary for the advance party (which will likely not scale up very much as a larger PTA attends). So on the one hand this sort of mitigates in favour of collectivising training in larger numbers; not necessarily the brigade exercises many troops loathe (with good reason), but within two or three local regiments, in order to take advantage of economies of scale. On the other hand reserve units can be so damned clannish that sheer stubbornness can make it harder to work with other regiments even when it's to mutual advantage.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.