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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

daftandbarmy

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I’m of the opinion that Canada should be able to field a real 3 DIV force for the Army.
1 Light (1 Reg Bde, 1 70:30 Mostly Reg and 1 mostly PRes 30:70)
1 Heavy (1 70:30 mostly Reg Bde ) and 2 30:70 Mostly Res Bde’s)
1 Med (mostly PRes 10:90)

DIV assets and Staff would be 30:70 Reg/PRes

I don’t see that as a bridge to far for Canada with its population and GDP.

I’m also of the opinion that the RCN needs to about triple and the RCAF double.

The GDP of Russia ranks #12 in the world, and we now have a good idea of how much 'heavy metal' they can bring to the party while concurrently maintaining a thriving economy.

Canada is #9.

 

FJAG

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I’m of the opinion that Canada should be able to field a real 3 DIV force for the Army.
1 Light (1 Reg Bde, 1 70:30 Mostly Reg and 1 mostly PRes 30:70)
1 Heavy (1 70:30 mostly Reg Bde ) and 2 30:70 Mostly Res Bde’s)
1 Med (mostly PRes 10:90)

DIV assets and Staff would be 30:70 Reg/PRes

I don’t see that as a bridge to far for Canada with its population and GDP.

I’m also of the opinion that the RCN needs to about triple and the RCAF double.
Let's put it this way @KevinB, in WW2 with a population of 12 million we fielded 1.1 million in the military. The Army raised 8 divisions and 4 brigades of which 5 divisions and 2 brigades went overseas to fight in Europe. Today we have a population of 38 million which, notwithstanding obesity amongst our youth, means that we could easily sustain a force of that size if there was the same public fervor to participate.

The conscription crisis in WW2 made it clear that the vast bulk of those in favour of fighting overseas were individuals who identified with the British Empire at a time when England was perceived to be under a direct threat. We have no such allegiance anymore to anything. I'd go so far as to say that there is a general apathy as to a cause that would be considered worth fighting for by even a minority of Canadians.

A 3 division force (together with a headquarters, training and logistics capability - I'll assume that no corps headquarters or corps troops are fielded) would come in at around 70-80,000 soldiers (add the corps and let's say 100,000).

I think that's doable assuming the right incentives for recruiting and retention are available. Those incentives need to predominate in the field of self-interest (education, cash and interesting fellowship) rather than patriotism.

A GDP ratio increase from 1.4% to 2% should put an additional $10 to $11 billion into the defence budget. Let's unreasonably assume that it doesn't all get eaten up by the bureaucracy. Then the math kind of goes like this:

1. We already have the equivalent of one div of Reg F personnel in the current budget;

2. We already have the equivalent of almost one division of ResF personnel in the budget;

3. We already have ship and new fighter replacements included in our current budget projections;

4. We already have much of the equipment for a div worth of LBCTs (LAV BCT) (two for sure, three if we become a bit less lavish with the gear);

5. The CBO cost calculator indicates the following annual costs for an ABCT - $1 billion for an ARNG ABCT and $3.5 billion for an Active Army ABCT;

6. Accordingly a ResF armoured div would cost approximately $3 - 4 Billion more per year to maintain;

7. Then there is the cost for the new equipment to build the new ABCT and to bring the LBCTs (LAV BCT) and the IBCTs up to snuff. Lets allocate $3 billion per year until done;

8. That totals roughly $6-7 billion out of a budget increase of $10 - $11 billion annually; and

9. That leaves roughly $4 billion annually to dedicate to NORAD projects and a submarine project.

So it's very roughly mathematically doable but that leaves the question of why would we? We should probably spend more on NOAD and subs than $4 billion annually. We could probably form two divisions (1 ABCT, 1 LBCT) for roughly $4 billion per year ($1 billion for personnel, $3 billion for equipment). Maybe once the ABCT equipment is bought and paid for a good slice of those costs could go towards developing several IBCTs as well. But at the moment I fail to see the need for the Inf Division. The LBCT can perform mounted and dismounted (including QRF alongside our existing SOF capability) roles during peacetime as required as well as numerous other contingency missions for wartime. The Armoured Division, NORAD and submarines are our big draws for a making friends and influencing people with respect to our allies and enemies (especially if a large portion is prepositioned in and dedicated to Europe and continental defence).

Just some musings.

🍻
 

GR66

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Let's put it this way @KevinB, in WW2 with a population of 12 million we fielded 1.1 million in the military. The Army raised 8 divisions and 4 brigades of which 5 divisions and 2 brigades went overseas to fight in Europe. Today we have a population of 38 million which, notwithstanding obesity amongst our youth, means that we could easily sustain a force of that size if there was the same public fervor to participate.

The conscription crisis in WW2 made it clear that the vast bulk of those in favour of fighting overseas were individuals who identified with the British Empire at a time when England was perceived to be under a direct threat. We have no such allegiance anymore to anything. I'd go so far as to say that there is a general apathy as to a cause that would be considered worth fighting for by even a minority of Canadians.

A 3 division force (together with a headquarters, training and logistics capability - I'll assume that no corps headquarters or corps troops are fielded) would come in at around 70-80,000 soldiers (add the corps and let's say 100,000).

I think that's doable assuming the right incentives for recruiting and retention are available. Those incentives need to predominate in the field of self-interest (education, cash and interesting fellowship) rather than patriotism.

A GDP ratio increase from 1.4% to 2% should put an additional $10 to $11 billion into the defence budget. Let's unreasonably assume that it doesn't all get eaten up by the bureaucracy. Then the math kind of goes like this:

1. We already have the equivalent of one div of Reg F personnel in the current budget;

2. We already have the equivalent of almost one division of ResF personnel in the budget;

3. We already have ship and new fighter replacements included in our current budget projections;

4. We already have much of the equipment for a div worth of LBCTs (LAV BCT) (two for sure, three if we become a bit less lavish with the gear);

5. The CBO cost calculator indicates the following annual costs for an ABCT - $1 billion for an ARNG ABCT and $3.5 billion for an Active Army ABCT;

6. Accordingly a ResF armoured div would cost approximately $3 - 4 Billion more per year to maintain;

7. Then there is the cost for the new equipment to build the new ABCT and to bring the LBCTs (LAV BCT) and the IBCTs up to snuff. Lets allocate $3 billion per year until done;

8. That totals roughly $6-7 billion out of a budget increase of $10 - $11 billion annually; and

9. That leaves roughly $4 billion annually to dedicate to NORAD projects and a submarine project.

So it's very roughly mathematically doable but that leaves the question of why would we? We should probably spend more on NOAD and subs than $4 billion annually. We could probably form two divisions (1 ABCT, 1 LBCT) for roughly $4 billion per year ($1 billion for personnel, $3 billion for equipment). Maybe once the ABCT equipment is bought and paid for a good slice of those costs could go towards developing several IBCTs as well. But at the moment I fail to see the need for the Inf Division. The LBCT can perform mounted and dismounted (including QRF alongside our existing SOF capability) roles during peacetime as required as well as numerous other contingency missions for wartime. The Armoured Division, NORAD and submarines are our big draws for a making friends and influencing people with respect to our allies and enemies (especially if a large portion is prepositioned in and dedicated to Europe and continental defence).

Just some musings.

🍻
Are we stuck in a WWII/Cold War mindset when it comes to our Army requirements? Firstly I don't think you can compare the size of WWII forces to current force structures. The differences in costs to man and equip forces is exponentially higher than it was then and no country has the size of military to population ratio anywhere near what they had in WWII. It's like comparing apples to socket wrenches. Also remember that the original Canadian land force commitment (the Canadian Active Service Force - CASF) was only a single Division for overseas deployment and a 2nd Division to be raised and kept in Canada only to be used "as necessary". Only after the fall of France in May 1940 did Canada authorize the raising of the 3rd and 4th Divisions and with the exception of Hong Kong and Dieppe it was three years before the units were deployed in combat.

Secondly, the population & GDP (NATO vs Russia)/Military Spending/Size of Military Forces differences between NATO and Russia are huge and greatly favour NATO in any war with Russia. While in a surprise attack Russia could potentially do great damage to NATO forces and win some battles ultimately NATO simply has the population, economic and military strength to beat Russia in any full-scale war. Those balances are tipping even further in NATO's favour with the addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO and the heavy losses that Russia is facing in Ukraine.

So the question is whether it really makes sense for Canada to focus it's military force structure on preparing to deploy Divisions worth of Heavy forces to Europe? Do we really believe Russia is going to launch a conventional attack against NATO? I think we're doing the right thing by putting multinational tripwire forces in the bordering nations in order to basically guarantee an Article 5 joint NATO response if Russia were to attack one of the more vulnerable, smaller neighbours, but do we really need to forward position more heavy forces there to further demonstrate our military overmatch?

I also totally agree that we can't assume that situations won't change and that we will never need Heavy forces and also that due to the length of time it takes to procure modern military hardware that we need to have it now...not only start to get it when things turn hot. But shouldn't those forces be primarily rested in the Reserves where the annual cost to maintain them is significantly less?

We are very fortunate that as a nation we face very little direct military threat of invasion. We're basically a distant island conveniently sitting on top of the most powerful military power on the planet. We're a trading nation and probably the most ethnically diverse nation on the planet. We should be looking outward to the entire world and not just focusing on a single military threat.

As an "island" nation our primary military focus should be on the RCN and RCAF to both protect our approaches and to project our power. To my mind that means that our day-to-day Army focus should be to support and enhance those capabilities. That means forces that can deploy by air and from our ships at sea. Our Heavy forces should be our mobilization forces with a core of Reg Force personnel but primarily Reserves. But it also means we have to make the commitment to properly train and equip those mobilization forces...not leave them to wither like we are doing now.

$.02
 

Kirkhill

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The GDP of Russia ranks #12 in the world, and we now have a good idea of how much 'heavy metal' they can bring to the party while concurrently maintaining a thriving economy.

Canada is #9.


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On February 2022 Russia managed to field a force of something like 100,000 to 200,000 troops

This is from a population of 144.1 Million
Canada has a population of 38 Million or roughly 25%

Following the same model should we expect Canada to field

250,000 bodies comprising

55,000 Officers
106,500 Contractees (Most of whom are in the RCN, the RCAF, the Space Element, the CSE and in the Log and Support elements)
88,750 Conscripts

Of that mob we should expect to launch an army of 25,000 to 50,000 organized into 40 BTGs or so with 600 to 1200 troops per BTG.
40 BTGs = 400 Leos and 1200 LAVs plus a bunch of other stuff we don't have
1200 LAVs with 6 Dismounts each = an infantry/airborne force of 7200 rifles and the vast majority of them conscripts or pressed conscripts operating under forced contracts.

With our current model we field a comparably sized Infantry force.


As to weaponry for the RCAC, RRCA, RCE, RCAF and RCN

What I see in Russia is very slow production rates of everything, very little new technology introduced and a lot of remanufactured existing stock or replenishment of very old designs.


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FJAG

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Are we stuck in a WWII/Cold War mindset when it comes to our Army requirements?
Set aside the preconceptions about what you think I said, re-read @KevinB's posts and then my post and you might glean from that that neither of us is talking about a WW2 and Cold War mindset per se but instead we are talking about what would return some political clout and an attitude that we are pulling our weight to both our North American and Western society allies while equally projecting a credible deterrence force against what this century has turned into an avaricious expansionist. They are not even being subtle about it. My reference to WW2 goes no further than to point out the numbers involved and the changed social circumstances.

But since the subject of the Cold War has been brought up. The issue is not whether NATO can beat Russia in a war. No one can "beat" Russia. Anyone who has nuclear weapons cannot be beaten. They might be held in check but not beaten.

If you really do not think that the Baltic states and other former Warsaw Pact countries that have a sizeable ethnic Russian population in them are not vulnerable to Russian pressure then you haven't been paying attention to either history (and yes that means WW2 and the Cold War) or the noises coming out of Russia. This Russian regime, which has in effect solidified Putin's reign into perpetuity, has long ago stopped looking at détente.

No. I do not expect to see a massive sweep of tank armies heading for the Fulda Gap. But I do see many bite and hold "special operations" like we've seen in Georgia and Ukraine occurring in the Baltics, and Moldova and the continued suppression of opposition in Belarus (a la Hungary and Czechoslovakia) as well as influence operations in almost all the former Warsaw Pact countries not to mention in Western democracies.

How much Russian Shyte do individual NATO countries need to eat before it becomes a problem?

🍻
 

KevinB

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Light Brigades have capabilities that medium don’t.
Look at XVIII Abn Corps and I’d like a Abn Bde and an Airmobile Bde - I might accept a LAV Bde as the third Bde in that Div.

There needs to be a credible Rapid Reaction Force than can get places if needed.
 

daftandbarmy

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How much Russian Shyte do individual NATO countries need to eat before it becomes a problem?

🍻

I recall when General Howlett, CinC AFNORTH, visited us north of Narvik in the winter of 1986 and explained that the great NATO fear was for Russia to 'scootch' over the border with Norway, following a 'friendship making' campaign with the people in North Norway.

This is not a new thing for Russia. NATO has just been asleep at the switch since the Wall came down.
 

KevinB

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Are we stuck in a WWII/Cold War mindset when it comes to our Army requirements? Firstly I don't think you can compare the size of WWII forces to current force structures. The differences in costs to man and equip forces is exponentially higher than it was then and no country has the size of military to population ratio anywhere near what they had in WWII. It's like comparing apples to socket wrenches. Also remember that the original Canadian land force commitment (the Canadian Active Service Force - CASF) was only a single Division for overseas deployment and a 2nd Division to be raised and kept in Canada only to be used "as necessary". Only after the fall of France in May 1940 did Canada authorize the raising of the 3rd and 4th Divisions and with the exception of Hong Kong and Dieppe it was three years before the units were deployed in combat.
The model I proposed above is a heavy Reserve based system. I am looking at history for the fact that the perception of weakness drives aggression from rogue/authoritarian regimes.

1 Regular Force Light Bde (like the old SSF) with an Airborne/Airmobile capability -- with a goal of being able to push that Bde anywhere in the world inside 72hrs.
The critical time period before competition turns to conflict and allows forces in place to help deter aggression - while heavier forces (if appropriate) can be moved into theatre.
The 2nd Bde would then be "mobilized" and ready to conducted the RDF/IRU mission, support the 1st Bde, or if necessary rotate in to relieve the 1st if that mission becomes longer than a 9 month deployment.



Secondly, the population & GDP (NATO vs Russia)/Military Spending/Size of Military Forces differences between NATO and Russia are huge and greatly favour NATO in any war with Russia. While in a surprise attack Russia could potentially do great damage to NATO forces and win some battles ultimately NATO simply has the population, economic and military strength to beat Russia in any full-scale war. Those balances are tipping even further in NATO's favour with the addition of Sweden and Finland to NATO and the heavy losses that Russia is facing in Ukraine.

So the question is whether it really makes sense for Canada to focus it's military force structure on preparing to deploy Divisions worth of Heavy forces to Europe? Do we really believe Russia is going to launch a conventional attack against NATO? I think we're doing the right thing by putting multinational tripwire forces in the bordering nations in order to basically guarantee an Article 5 joint NATO response if Russia were to attack one of the more vulnerable, smaller neighbours, but do we really need to forward position more heavy forces there to further demonstrate our military overmatch?
What does a tripwire really do? We have seen that Russia fully believes that NATO Tripwires will be pulled back, and Article 5 will most likely only be invoked if certain countries in NATO are attacked.

Furthermore - Europe is 1 continent, it doesn't have the monopoly on World Crisis, as we have constantly seen crisis across the Globe in the last 100 years.
It is much easier for a Rogue state to start brush fires across the Globe than create a massive confrontation -- Russia has a lot of support worldwide in other authoritarian regimes, and those also seek to grow -- there is force need to contain those entities, and provided stability to regions that they would seek to disrupt.

I also totally agree that we can't assume that situations won't change and that we will never need Heavy forces and also that due to the length of time it takes to procure modern military hardware that we need to have it now...not only start to get it when things turn hot. But shouldn't those forces be primarily rested in the Reserves where the annual cost to maintain them is significantly less?
I agree that the majority of Heavy Forces should be PRes, (which also gets into my you need to totally restructure the PRes to more a ARNG model)

We are very fortunate that as a nation we face very little direct military threat of invasion. We're basically a distant island conveniently sitting on top of the most powerful military power on the planet. We're a trading nation and probably the most ethnically diverse nation on the planet. We should be looking outward to the entire world and not just focusing on a single military threat.
Agreed
As an "island" nation our primary military focus should be on the RCN and RCAF to both protect our approaches and to project our power. To my mind that means that our day-to-day Army focus should be to support and enhance those capabilities.
You still need ground forces to control/defend territory.

That means forces that can deploy by air and from our ships at sea. Our Heavy forces should be our mobilization forces with a core of Reg Force personnel but primarily Reserves. But it also means we have to make the commitment to properly train and equip those mobilization forces...not leave them to wither like we are doing now.

$.02
 

GR66

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Set aside the preconceptions about what you think I said, re-read @KevinB's posts and then my post and you might glean from that that neither of us is talking about a WW2 and Cold War mindset per se but instead we are talking about what would return some political clout and an attitude that we are pulling our weight to both our North American and Western society allies while equally projecting a credible deterrence force against what this century has turned into an avaricious expansionist. They are not even being subtle about it. My reference to WW2 goes no further than to point out the numbers involved and the changed social circumstances.
I did read (and re-read) both of your posts and there are two elements of the WWII/Cold War mindset that I was referring to. The first is what I perceive as a misconception of the size of Army that is likely "doable" for Canada. @KevinB's post proposed three deployable, asymmetric Divisions (1 x Light, 1 x Medium and 1 x Heavy) plus a tripling in size of the RCN and a doubling in size of the RCAF. You noted in your follow-up post that in WWII that with a population of 12 million we raised 8 Divisions and suggested that by comparison fielding three Divisions today should be doable.

Firstly I'd note that saying that Canada raised 8 Divisions in WWII is somewhat of an exaggeration. 6th, 7th and 8th Infantry Divisions were all short-lived entities with Brigades moving in-and out and with the exception of 6th Division's 13th Brigade being deployed to Kiska, Alaska (where it had no contact with the enemy) were not deployed overseas. 7th and 8th Infantry Divisions were raised in 1942 and disbanded in 1943 and 6th Division HQ was disbanded in January 1945 after most of it's constituent units had already been transferred out in 1944. So reality in WWII we had 5 x deployable Divisions and this is in a time of full national mobilization and (eventually) conscription. The (temporary) existence of the 6th, 7th and 8th Divisions goes to show how much depth of manpower (and equipment) is required to keep those deployed Divisions at effective strength in the field and despite this we were still experiencing serious manpower shortages in the combat arms by the end of the war.

So how large does your actual Army need to be to support three Divisions in the field? Not just the manpower, but the replacement vehicles, equipment and war stocks of ammo, and consumables to keep them operational? Take a look at current estimates of artillery ammunition usage rates in Ukraine. Either we need to establish a massive defence industry to supply our greatly expanded Army (and maintain the capacity to rapidly ramp up production in time of war) or we have to rely on the US to keep us supplied during a major war. And if they are our primary source of supply that means we will be limited to using their equipment. Is that a politically acceptable option?

I'd also note that the United States, with almost ten times our population (and over double our % GDP defence expenditure) currently has only 12 x Active Army, 8 x Army National Guard and 4 x Marine Divisions for a total of 24 Divisions. I defy you to identify a political party that would be able to justify to the Canadian public the level of defence spending that would be required to maintain a peacetime Army that is proportionally larger than that of the United States.


But since the subject of the Cold War has been brought up. The issue is not whether NATO can beat Russia in a war. No one can "beat" Russia. Anyone who has nuclear weapons cannot be beaten. They might be held in check but not beaten.

If you really do not think that the Baltic states and other former Warsaw Pact countries that have a sizeable ethnic Russian population in them are not vulnerable to Russian pressure then you haven't been paying attention to either history (and yes that means WW2 and the Cold War) or the noises coming out of Russia. This Russian regime, which has in effect solidified Putin's reign into perpetuity, has long ago stopped looking at détente.

No. I do not expect to see a massive sweep of tank armies heading for the Fulda Gap. But I do see many bite and hold "special operations" like we've seen in Georgia and Ukraine occurring in the Baltics, and Moldova and the continued suppression of opposition in Belarus (a la Hungary and Czechoslovakia) as well as influence operations in almost all the former Warsaw Pact countries not to mention in Western democracies.

How much Russian Shyte do individual NATO countries need to eat before it becomes a problem?

🍻
And this speaks to my 2nd element of WWII/Cold War mindset to which I was referring. The assumption that despite the fact that you "do not expect to see a massive sweep of tank armies headed for the Fulda Gap", the default form of deterrence we tend to fall back on is more ABCT's facing off against the Russians along their border.

There are already NATO forces in the Baltic and I'm not sure what additional forces there would do to assist with asymmetric operations by the Russians in relation to their Russian minorities. If you're suggesting that a Russian military incursion against a NATO member in order to seize a limited piece of territory wouldn't illicit an Article 5 response then really that's a question of NATO's political will rather than a question of force ratios. Whether we have a multi-national Brigade or a multi-national Corps in country is irrelevant if the NATO alliance chooses not to honour its treaty obligations.

With respect to Belarus and other non-NATO countries facing pressure and threats from Russia I guess we already have our answer to that question in Ukraine. We are not willing to risk full-scale war with Russia for a non-alliance state. Until that political reality changes the number of troops we have deployed on the ground on NATO's Eastern frontier is irrelevant. Cash and increased stocks of weapons and ammo available to supply the defending nation would be the better investment if we're unwilling to fight Russia ourselves.

Don't get me wrong. I totally agree that we have to up our military capabilities in the face of Russian (and potentially Chinese and other's) aggression. I just don't view massive expansion of our heavy land forces as being the only, or necessarily the best option available.
 

KevinB

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I’m talking about the equivalent of a DIV of regulars.
But having equipment and a trained reserve to mobilize in terms of crisis.

I don’t see that as a tough demand from Canada as it works to around 30k regular force personnel in the Army and close to 70k for the PRes.

Increasing the Regular Force portion of the RCN from ~ 8,300 to 25,000 and NavRes from 3,400 to 10k shouldn’t be impossible either.

The RCAF from 12k to 25k and Res from 1,600 to 6k shouldn’t be a burden either.

That’s around 80k regular force personnel, up really only 12k from current authorized strength.
The major changes would be in the reserves as it would grow from approx 36k to 86k.


It would take years of training, major legislation for the PRes, and years of acquisition to support it, but at the end of the day Freedom isn’t Free.
 

FJAG

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So how large does your actual Army need to be to support three Divisions in the field?
I never took @KevinB to say he wants to create an army that will deploy and support three divisions in the field. I took him to say he wants to create an army of three divisions including both RegF and ResF. My pointing out the number of divisions we raised in WW2 with the population that we had then should result in Canada having no problems in finding the people and resources to man three divisions today (hell - most people think we already have 5 divisions 😉). By my figures that's an army of no more than 70-80,000 the majority of whom will be reservists.

If you recall all my posts you'll remember that I'm advocating for an Army of approximately the same size as we have now of five manoeuvre and three support brigades with only one divisional headquarters located within CJOC to command any actual deployed force bigger than a brigade. So yes, I do have an appreciation for the fact that there need to be layers to support a deployed division. IMHO the size of force I suggest is a sustainable peacetime force possible with our current manning and budget and capable of generating up to a division for deployment.

I'd also note that the United States, with almost ten times our population (and over double our % GDP defence expenditure) currently has only 12 x Active Army, 8 x Army National Guard and 4 x Marine Divisions for a total of 24 Divisions. I defy you to identify a political party that would be able to justify to the Canadian public the level of defence spending that would be required to maintain a peacetime Army that is proportionally larger than that of the United States.
Actually, those figures lean more towards proving that my figures are easily doable and @KevinB are also within parameters. The US Army has 485k Active, 336k ARNG and 189k ARes for a total of 1,000,000 uniformed members. 1/10th of that is a Canadian Army of 100k made up of 48k RegF and 52K ResF. Both @KevinB and I call for less than those numbers.

More importantly though is a count of brigades. Each division generally has three manoeuvre brigades and three support brigades (artillery, aviation, sustainment) so 24 divisions contain roughly 70 manoeuvre brigades and 70 support brigades. Over and above that, there are 50 brigade-sized formations outside the divisions including air defence, intelligence, artillery, engineer, aviation, cavalry and special forces for a grand total of 190 brigades. My proposal is for 8 (9 if you add 1 Wing) which is around 4 - 4.7% of the US. @KevinB suggests something in the nature of 15 brigades (16 with 1 Wing) which is 7.9 to 8.4% of the US Army/Marines.

All told my suggestion falls within the current RegF and ResF pay envelop but certainly requires more equipment. @KevinB's generally requires a larger personnel structure than the current one but if I understand his proposals he aims that the vast majority of that as being ResF members. He too requires more equipment. Quite frankly it ought to be a national scandal that the Army provides virtually no equipment to the ResF.

As to defying to name a political party - I'll start with the CPC whose policy platform is to spend 2% of GDP on the military. The CLP, post Russian invasion, has also promised an uptick in spending although they plan to run through a new study first. But I'll truck out my old basic argument that we could afford considerably more defence outputs even with the current budget if we cleaned up our administrative overhead and acquisition processes and reformed and assigned more roles to the ResF.

And this speaks to my 2nd element of WWII/Cold War mindset to which I was referring. ..., the default form of deterrence we tend to fall back on is more ABCT's facing off against the Russians along their border.

There are already NATO forces in the Baltic and I'm not sure what additional forces there would do to assist with asymmetric operations by the Russians in relation to their Russian minorities. If you're suggesting that a Russian military incursion against a NATO member in order to seize a limited piece of territory wouldn't illicit an Article 5 response then really that's a question of NATO's political will rather than a question of force ratios. Whether we have a multi-national Brigade or a multi-national Corps in country is irrelevant if the NATO alliance chooses not to honour its treaty obligations.
RAND wargaming studies indicate NATO needs at least seven brigades on the ground in the Baltics three of which need to be heavy. Latvia has one mech brigade, Lithuania has one mech and two light brigades, Estonia has one mech and one light battalion. The total RegF strength of the three countries is the equivalent of three brigades while the rest are reservists. There are additional home guard troops. None of these units are "heavy" or ABCTs.

NATOs Enhanced Forward presence bolsters this force with three battlegroups which are basically mechanized with some tanks and could in some ways be considered combined arms battalions. They are weak in artillery and, most importantly, are scattered around the region and could therefore not be operated as a single heavy brigade.

In short, while there are roughly seven brigades in the Baltics, they lack the necessary three heavy brigades which are vital for counterattacking and stabilizing faltering positions.

An Article 5 response would be of no value in defending these countries. RAND calls for these forces to be on the ground or preposition for rapid mobilization. Once the Russians cross the border is too late.

With respect to Belarus and other non-NATO countries facing pressure and threats from Russia I guess we already have our answer to that question in Ukraine. We are not willing to risk full-scale war with Russia for a non-alliance state. Until that political reality changes the number of troops we have deployed on the ground on NATO's Eastern frontier is irrelevant. Cash and increased stocks of weapons and ammo available to supply the defending nation would be the better investment if we're unwilling to fight Russia ourselves.
I disagree with that. I fully agree with cash and stocks of weapons but considering Canada's pitiful response so far I presume this is one of those "Let Joe do it" suggestions. It's far more meaningful and probably cheaper to have our own prepositioned force there to augment and expand the eFP battlegroup. I don't want to for a minute minimize the political ineptitude of our current government when it comes to international commitments but I prefer to remain optimistic and at least believe that we won't be morons forever.

Don't get me wrong. I totally agree that we have to up our military capabilities in the face of Russian (and potentially Chinese and other's) aggression. I just don't view massive expansion of our heavy land forces as being the only, or necessarily the best option available.
I won't pretend that I'm not a product of the Cold War Army. I also never drank the Hillier Kool-Aid as to the all singing all dancing Lego Block medium force that can be light one day and heavy the next if you add or subtract the right blocks. We took a wrong turn with Advancing with Purpose as we advanced ourselves into a force structure that has a very limited capabilities to engage in high intensity warfare. Like @KevinB I think Canada has a need for each of light, medium and heavy forces. We already have the light and the medium (mostly but with critical shortfalls). What we need to build, almost from scratch, is a heavy capability. We can fake it a bit with the Leos and LAVs that we've got but we owe it to our soldiers to properly equip them for the fight.

Don't fool yourself; our commitment to the eFP in Latvia means that Canada has already made the political decision that we need to be there. The only other decision to be made is how best to we fulfill the commitment we have made and provide a proper deterrence. I'm comfortable with a commitment of the current eFP battlegroup stationed in country on a rotational basis and the remainder of a heavy brigade (a HQ, an armoured regiment, an additional mech infantry battalion, an artillery regiment, an engineer regiment, a service battalion and a field ambulance) prepositioned and exercised in Latvia on a twice yearly fly-over basis. Incidentally I don't ant this to be a 4 CMBG knock-off. There are new concepts and new weapon systems required and which need to be acquired, but at its heart, a heavy brigade needs a solid core of tanks, armoured infantry and SP artillery.

🍻
 

KevinB

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So how large does your actual Army need to be to support three Divisions in the field? Not just the manpower, but the replacement vehicles, equipment and war stocks of ammo, and consumables to keep them operational? Take a look at current estimates of artillery ammunition usage rates in Ukraine. Either we need to establish a massive defence industry to supply our greatly expanded Army (and maintain the capacity to rapidly ramp up production in time of war) or we have to rely on the US to keep us supplied during a major war. And if they are our primary source of supply that means we will be limited to using their equipment. Is that a politically acceptable option?
The CAF I proposed would only field 3 Divisions in the event of a major worldwide conflict - that would have Canada mobilizing anyway, and the economy moved into wartime production etc.
@FJAG pointed that aspect out already.

When one looks at the PRes, from my understanding around 3k Regular Force members release each year.
If one was to change the pension and educational benefit system to make those members have an incentive to join the PRes for 10 years, you can add nearly 30k members to the PRes (All services).

The system down here does that, as well as having VA Loans for home buying etc -- a much more supportive system to encourage service beyond ones active time.
 

Kirkhill

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The CAF I proposed would only field 3 Divisions in the event of a major worldwide conflict - that would have Canada mobilizing anyway, and the economy moved into wartime production etc.
@FJAG pointed that aspect out already.

When one looks at the PRes, from my understanding around 3k Regular Force members release each year.
If one was to change the pension and educational benefit system to make those members have an incentive to join the PRes for 10 years, you can add nearly 30k members to the PRes (All services).

The system down here does that, as well as having VA Loans for home buying etc -- a much more supportive system to encourage service beyond ones active time.


The US is ponying up 12 Regular Divisions (11 if you eliminate the HQ Only 7th - and 2 or the 11 are 2 Brigade Division (the 11th and the 25th)
Lets call it 10 Regular Divs.

US Population 330,000,000
Canada Population 38,000,000 = 11.5% of US Population
Army is people heavy so comparing Divs to People is reasonable.

So 11.5% of 10 Divs is a bit over 1 Div.

So if Canada had available one Div it would be matching the US regular commitment.


The US also has 8 National Guard Divs

11.5% of 8 is a bit under 1 Div

So if Canada had available on Div it would be matching the US National Guard commitment.


Our actual commitment of Bodies and Units are already in line with the US commitment.

Now if only we could get our act together internally and decide how we were going to task, organize and equip the soldiers we have been authorized to recruit and sustain.

The US maintains 3 Brigade Types

Lt (IBCTs)
Med (SBCTs)
Hy (ABCTs)

Each Brigade has a strength of about 4500 PYs

The Regular Force has

15 IBCTs
6 SBCTs
10 ABCTs
31 BCTs total

The National Guard has

20 IBCTs
2 SBCTs
5 ABCTs
27 BCTs total

Canadianized

1 Division of
3 Regular BCTs Total of 4500 each
1.5 IBCTs
0.5 SBCTs
1.0 ABCT

1 Division of
3 Militia BCTs total of 4500 each
2.0 IBCTs
0.2 SBCTs
0.5 ABCTs

I would note that the SBCT is actually an IBCT with integral transport.

On that basis

The US maintains 3 Brigade Types

Lt (IBCTs)
Med (SBCTs)
Hy (ABCTs)

Each Brigade has a strength of about 4500 PYs

The Regular Force has

15 IBCTs
6 SBCTs
21 Light

10 ABCTs
10 Heavy

The National Guard has

20 IBCTs
2 SBCTs
22 Lt

5 ABCTs
5 Hy

Canadianized

1 Division of
3 Regular BCTs Total of 4500 each
1.5 IBCTs
0.5 SBCTs
2 Lt

1.0 ABCT
1 Hy

1 Division of
3 Militia BCTs total of 4500 each
2.0 IBCTs
0.2 SBCTs
2 Lt

0.5 ABCTs
0.5 Hy


Summary paragraph

US, with 10x the population and a comparable per capita GDP fields a predominantly Light Force. Of 58 BCTs, split among 19 to 20 Divisions, 35 are Infantry BCTs and 8 of them are Mounted Infantry BCTs (Light Infantry in Strykers). 15 are Heavy Armoured BCTs.

If Canadianized we should expect to supply 2 Divisions of Troops with a total of 6 BCTs, 1 Regular Division with 3 BCTs and 1 Militia Division with 3 BCTs.

The 6 BCTs would 1 ABCT (Regular), 3 IBCT (1 Regular, 2 Militia) 2 Medium, Composite or LAV BCTs (1 Regular 1 Militia)

We are not far from where we should be.

2 Divisions are within our grasp.

We have the Regular Division framework already established - 1 Cdn Div, CCSB, 1/2/5 CBGs, it needs, dare I say it, Regimenting? A bit of discipline?

The Militia continues to be a mess. But we have 10 TBGs, or the bases for 3 or 4 Militia Brigades that could be organized under 1 Division command.

One thing that I think we get wrong is the emphasis on the Heavy Force. If we were to look at our 6 Brigades as 3 Lt Brigades, 2 LAV Brigades and 1 Heavy Brigade, and consider the LAVs not as poor man's IFVs but instead as really good WAPCs then I think the force structure would rationalize itself quickly.

Particularly if it were noted that in the US, in both the Stryker and Bradley Units, the crews are managed separately from the infantry.

Stryker crews carry full 9 man squads in the back.
The Bradley crews are moving towards carrying a fire team in the back of each vehicle with two vehicles carrying a section of infantry. The Bradley company is moving towards a Bradley Platoon of 14 crews, two Infantry platoons, and a Mortar/Indirect Fire section.

That would mean that we would be looking at 5 infantry brigades, two of them with LAV transport and a Heavy Brigade equipped with a better IFV but incorporating the same infantry platoon as employed in the other 5 brigades.
 

GR66

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I never took @KevinB to say he wants to create an army that will deploy and support three divisions in the field.
I’m of the opinion that Canada should be able to field a real 3 DIV force for the Army.
1 Light (1 Reg Bde, 1 70:30 Mostly Reg and 1 mostly PRes 30:70)
1 Heavy (1 70:30 mostly Reg Bde ) and 2 30:70 Mostly Res Bde’s)
1 Med (mostly PRes 10:90)

DIV assets and Staff would be 30:70 Reg/PRes

I don’t see that as a bridge to far for Canada with its population and GDP.

I’m also of the opinion that the RCN needs to about triple and the RCAF double.
A 3 division force (together with a headquarters, training and logistics capability - I'll assume that no corps headquarters or corps troops are fielded) would come in at around 70-80,000 soldiers (add the corps and let's say 100,000).

I think that's doable assuming the right incentives for recruiting and retention are available. Those incentives need to predominate in the field of self-interest (education, cash and interesting fellowship) rather than patriotism.
From the above two comments I think you can excuse me for getting the impression that you were both envisioning Canada being able to field (and presumably support in the field) a 3 Division Force.

I'll just say that in light of the current economic situation and with major defence spending like the just announced NORAD upgrades, the shipbuilding program, F-35's and basic critical equipment needs highlighted by the events in Ukraine on the books, that in my humble opinion any CDS or MND that walked in to the PMO and suggested that we go from an Army that has no plans to even deploy a single Brigade Group to any army that wants to be able to deploy a 3 Division force (regardless of the ratio of Reg Force to Reserves) would be laughed out of the office.

I took him to say he wants to create an army of three divisions including both RegF and ResF. My pointing out the number of divisions we raised in WW2 with the population that we had then should result in Canada having no problems in finding the people and resources to man three divisions today (hell - most people think we already have 5 divisions 😉). By my figures that's an army of no more than 70-80,000 the majority of whom will be reservists.

If you recall all my posts you'll remember that I'm advocating for an Army of approximately the same size as we have now of five manoeuvre and three support brigades with only one divisional headquarters located within CJOC to command any actual deployed force bigger than a brigade. So yes, I do have an appreciation for the fact that there need to be layers to support a deployed division. IMHO the size of force I suggest is a sustainable peacetime force possible with our current manning and budget and capable of generating up to a division for deployment.


Actually, those figures lean more towards proving that my figures are easily doable and @KevinB are also within parameters. The US Army has 485k Active, 336k ARNG and 189k ARes for a total of 1,000,000 uniformed members. 1/10th of that is a Canadian Army of 100k made up of 48k RegF and 52K ResF. Both @KevinB and I call for less than those numbers.

More importantly though is a count of brigades. Each division generally has three manoeuvre brigades and three support brigades (artillery, aviation, sustainment) so 24 divisions contain roughly 70 manoeuvre brigades and 70 support brigades. Over and above that, there are 50 brigade-sized formations outside the divisions including air defence, intelligence, artillery, engineer, aviation, cavalry and special forces for a grand total of 190 brigades. My proposal is for 8 (9 if you add 1 Wing) which is around 4 - 4.7% of the US. @KevinB suggests something in the nature of 15 brigades (16 with 1 Wing) which is 7.9 to 8.4% of the US Army/Marines.

All told my suggestion falls within the current RegF and ResF pay envelop but certainly requires more equipment. @KevinB's generally requires a larger personnel structure than the current one but if I understand his proposals he aims that the vast majority of that as being ResF members. He too requires more equipment. Quite frankly it ought to be a national scandal that the Army provides virtually no equipment to the ResF.
If you are suggesting that we have an Army that is the equivalent of 3 Divisions with the objective of being able to deploy, support and maintain a single Division in the field then I will agree with you that this is an objective that a country the size and wealth of Canada should be able to achieve. I will however suggest that this is an aspirational goal that falls (very) far outside any discussions of a Force 2025/2030/2035 timeframe.

There are already a lot of major defence programs in process which will eat up much of the effort and funding available to the CAF that will have to work their way through the system before the absolutely transformative changes that would be required to achieve a Division-sized field force can become a reality. Retention issues, basing issues, equipment issues, training issues, Reserve TOS issues, legislative issues, doctrinal issues, etc. all together will likely be a decades long battle in order to lay the foundation for what you are proposing. That's not to say that we shouldn't start down that road now, but it does to my mind mean that we need a more achievable interim plan.
As to defying to name a political party - I'll start with the CPC whose policy platform is to spend 2% of GDP on the military. The CLP, post Russian invasion, has also promised an uptick in spending although they plan to run through a new study first. But I'll truck out my old basic argument that we could afford considerably more defence outputs even with the current budget if we cleaned up our administrative overhead and acquisition processes and reformed and assigned more roles to the ResF.
2% GDP and major administrative reform are an excellent start but I'd argue that probably at least a decade of that level of funding will be required just to fix what we have (and complete our current projects) before it can start to be directed into major transformation programs.
RAND wargaming studies indicate NATO needs at least seven brigades on the ground in the Baltics three of which need to be heavy. Latvia has one mech brigade, Lithuania has one mech and two light brigades, Estonia has one mech and one light battalion. The total RegF strength of the three countries is the equivalent of three brigades while the rest are reservists. There are additional home guard troops. None of these units are "heavy" or ABCTs.

NATOs Enhanced Forward presence bolsters this force with three battlegroups which are basically mechanized with some tanks and could in some ways be considered combined arms battalions. They are weak in artillery and, most importantly, are scattered around the region and could therefore not be operated as a single heavy brigade.

In short, while there are roughly seven brigades in the Baltics, they lack the necessary three heavy brigades which are vital for counterattacking and stabilizing faltering positions.

An Article 5 response would be of no value in defending these countries. RAND calls for these forces to be on the ground or preposition for rapid mobilization. Once the Russians cross the border is too late.
I'd make a couple of comments about the RAND report. Firstly, their wargaming pits the entire forces of the Russian Western Military District and their forces in Kaliningrad (which runs from Ukraine in the South to the coast of Norway in the North) against the in-place NATO forces in the Baltic States. So, are we to seriously expect that Russia would leave the rest of their entire Western frontier undefended while they focus all of their military forces against a single point on the NATO front? Of course not.

In order to invade the Baltic States Russia would have to move and concentrate their forces for the attack as well as move up reinforcements from other military districts to cover the rest of their front against the likely counter-attacks by NATO. These movements and preparations for war would certainly be noticed by NATO.

NATO first noticed an increase in Russian forces massing near Ukraine and conducting increased tempo of training exercises in the Spring of 2021. By November 2021 the US publicly released commercial satellite images showing the continuing build-up of Russian forces (they certainly would have been aware of this well before the information was released publicly). January 24th NATO put their forces on standby and began reinforcing Europe with additional ships and aircraft. In February the US deployed additional troops to Poland and Romania and warned Russia of impending economic sanctions should they invade.

I don't think that there is any reason to believe that the signs of a Russian build-up in preparation for an invasion of NATO would not also be detected in advance. Especially in light of what has happened in Ukraine I'd suggest that both NATO will be extra vigilant in watching for any future signs of Russian military preparations and that Russia will not want to risk the manpower issues that it faced in Ukraine by not ordering a general mobilization of Reserves in advance of a war against NATO.

This should trigger a build-up of NATO forces from both Europe and North America. Yes I think that deploying a Brigade is something that Canada should have as a policy, maintain the capability to do and regularly practice. I've also stated before that I'm not opposed to Canada pre-deploying some equipment for a fly-over force in Europe although I've seen no signs that any Canadian political party is in favour of doing that.

As to your comment that Article 5 is irrelevant to the Baltic States because "Once the Russians cross the border it's too late" I simply disagree with that. Setting aside the fact that a reinforced NATO presence in the Baltics resulting from detection of signs of the Russian build up may firstly deter Russia from going through with the attack or that the beefed up defending forces may stop or significantly slow any Russian attack, an invasion by Russia would cause the death of not only Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian NATO personnel, it would also result in the deaths of American, British, Danish, French, Canadian, Albanian, Czech, Italian, Montenegran, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Belgian, Icelandic, Luxembourgian, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Croatian and Romanian NATO troops.

I don't believe that NATO in the face of that kind of aggression and loss of life would simply allow Russia a fait accompli with whatever gains they made.
I disagree with that. I fully agree with cash and stocks of weapons but considering Canada's pitiful response so far I presume this is one of those "Let Joe do it" suggestions. It's far more meaningful and probably cheaper to have our own prepositioned force there to augment and expand the eFP battlegroup. I don't want to for a minute minimize the political ineptitude of our current government when it comes to international commitments but I prefer to remain optimistic and at least believe that we won't be morons forever.
The comment about supplying arms and cash was in relation to Russian aggression against non-NATO members. It is related to the (obvious) fact that so far NATO is unwilling to directly intervene in the defence of non-alliance members. Augmenting our eFP Battlegroup in Latvia will have ZERO deterrent effect on Russia's actions in Ukraine (or any other non-NATO country they choose to invade) unless the policy of NATO changes and direct military intervention is approved. This isn't just a case of Canadian political ineptitude, it's a pan-NATO policy decision.
I won't pretend that I'm not a product of the Cold War Army. I also never drank the Hillier Kool-Aid as to the all singing all dancing Lego Block medium force that can be light one day and heavy the next if you add or subtract the right blocks. We took a wrong turn with Advancing with Purpose as we advanced ourselves into a force structure that has a very limited capabilities to engage in high intensity warfare. Like @KevinB I think Canada has a need for each of light, medium and heavy forces. We already have the light and the medium (mostly but with critical shortfalls). What we need to build, almost from scratch, is a heavy capability. We can fake it a bit with the Leos and LAVs that we've got but we owe it to our soldiers to properly equip them for the fight.
What makes our "Medium" forces "Medium"? The LAV 6.0 is 28,636kg. The Bradley M2A2 is 27,220kg. We're certainly not "Medium" in terms of deployability. We're "Medium" I guess in that we're missing a bunch of the puzzle pieces that allow us to engage in a peer "Heavy" conflict, but is there some type of "Medium" role that a 28,636kg LAV can perform that a 27,220kg Bradley can't perform?

It's probably time to take the term "Medium" out of our vocabulary. Realistically the only time we'd ever deploy a full Brigade on operations (or a full Division in our wet dreams) would be for a major peer/near-peer conflict. And for that we either need Light forces (because we need to respond more quickly than we are able to deploy our Heavy forces) or we need Heavy forces.

If we simply bought some more tanks we'd have what we need for 3 x Heavy Brigades each with 1 x Tank Regiment and 2 x LAV Battalions. That would be enough Heavy forces to deploy and maintain through rotation 1 x Heavy Brigade in the field. That also leaves us with 3 x Light Battalions which could be grouped together into a single Light Brigade with a single Battlegroup available on rotation as a Rapid Response force.

If we're lucky, GDLS will be selected as the winner of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle competition for the US Army and we can begin replacing the LAVs in our Reg Force Battalions with domestically produced Griffin III IFVs. By that time (if we're lucky) we'll have some of our Reserve structure/training/legislation issues worked out and we can start devolving the LAVs down to the Reserves and begin building up the Divisional structure you and @KevinB have been proposing.
Don't fool yourself; our commitment to the eFP in Latvia means that Canada has already made the political decision that we need to be there. The only other decision to be made is how best to we fulfill the commitment we have made and provide a proper deterrence. I'm comfortable with a commitment of the current eFP battlegroup stationed in country on a rotational basis and the remainder of a heavy brigade (a HQ, an armoured regiment, an additional mech infantry battalion, an artillery regiment, an engineer regiment, a service battalion and a field ambulance) prepositioned and exercised in Latvia on a twice yearly fly-over basis. Incidentally I don't ant this to be a 4 CMBG knock-off. There are new concepts and new weapon systems required and which need to be acquired, but at its heart, a heavy brigade needs a solid core of tanks, armoured infantry and SP artillery.

🍻
I won't argue that this is one possible contribution to NATO that we can make, but it really is focused primarily on a single threat (Russian invasion of NATO) which for several reasons I don't feel is likely (not impossible, but in my opinion highly unlikely).

For example, Light forces equipped with AD and ASuW missiles could be deployed along the Norwegian coast or in the Baltic Islands or on Svalbard, etc. to block Russian naval/amphibious forces from deploying in support of a land invasion. These same types of forces would also be useful in the Pacific theater, the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden or elsewhere in the World.

Replacing our Aurora's with an equal number (or even greater number) of P-8s would also be useful not just against Russian naval threats but Worldwide against all types of military and non-state threats.

Building small combatants like Corvette's to replace our Kingston-class would allow us to better contribute to naval conflicts, enforce sanctions/blockades, anti-piracy and contraband smuggling, etc.

Bigger stretch here, but what if we were to actually get the mythical "Big Honking Ship"? What kind of capabilities for example would a Canadian Juan Carlos-class LPD give Canada? Carries 913 troops and up to 46 MBTs. In a pure combat role it can carry 25 x F-35Bs or in a pure transport role can carry 25 x NH90 class helicopters (or FVL?).

Any of these capabilities combined with a continued eFP Latvia rotation, a Rapid Deployment Light Battlegroup and a single ABCT available to be sustainably deployed when required might be just as valuable to NATO as a single fly-over Division and be much more flexible for Canada in contributing to allied military operations around the World and not just in a single theatre.
 

GK .Dundas

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From the above two comments I think you can excuse me for getting the impression that you were both envisioning Canada being able to field (and presumably support in the field) a 3 Division Force.

I'll just say that in light of the current economic situation and with major defence spending like the just announced NORAD upgrades, the shipbuilding program, F-35's and basic critical equipment needs highlighted by the events in Ukraine on the books, that in my humble opinion any CDS or MND that walked in to the PMO and suggested that we go from an Army that has no plans to even deploy a single Brigade Group to any army that wants to be able to deploy a 3 Division force (regardless of the ratio of Reg Force to Reserves) would be laughed out of the office.


If you are suggesting that we have an Army that is the equivalent of 3 Divisions with the objective of being able to deploy, support and maintain a single Division in the field then I will agree with you that this is an objective that a country the size and wealth of Canada should be able to achieve. I will however suggest that this is an aspirational goal that falls (very) far outside any discussions of a Force 2025/2030/2035 timeframe.

There are already a lot of major defence programs in process which will eat up much of the effort and funding available to the CAF that will have to work their way through the system before the absolutely transformative changes that would be required to achieve a Division-sized field force can become a reality. Retention issues, basing issues, equipment issues, training issues, Reserve TOS issues, legislative issues, doctrinal issues, etc. all together will likely be a decades long battle in order to lay the foundation for what you are proposing. That's not to say that we shouldn't start down that road now, but it does to my mind mean that we need a more achievable interim plan.

2% GDP and major administrative reform are an excellent start but I'd argue that probably at least a decade of that level of funding will be required just to fix what we have (and complete our current projects) before it can start to be directed into major transformation programs.

I'd make a couple of comments about the RAND report. Firstly, their wargaming pits the entire forces of the Russian Western Military District and their forces in Kaliningrad (which runs from Ukraine in the South to the coast of Norway in the North) against the in-place NATO forces in the Baltic States. So, are we to seriously expect that Russia would leave the rest of their entire Western frontier undefended while they focus all of their military forces against a single point on the NATO front? Of course not.

In order to invade the Baltic States Russia would have to move and concentrate their forces for the attack as well as move up reinforcements from other military districts to cover the rest of their front against the likely counter-attacks by NATO. These movements and preparations for war would certainly be noticed by NATO.

NATO first noticed an increase in Russian forces massing near Ukraine and conducting increased tempo of training exercises in the Spring of 2021. By November 2021 the US publicly released commercial satellite images showing the continuing build-up of Russian forces (they certainly would have been aware of this well before the information was released publicly). January 24th NATO put their forces on standby and began reinforcing Europe with additional ships and aircraft. In February the US deployed additional troops to Poland and Romania and warned Russia of impending economic sanctions should they invade.

I don't think that there is any reason to believe that the signs of a Russian build-up in preparation for an invasion of NATO would not also be detected in advance. Especially in light of what has happened in Ukraine I'd suggest that both NATO will be extra vigilant in watching for any future signs of Russian military preparations and that Russia will not want to risk the manpower issues that it faced in Ukraine by not ordering a general mobilization of Reserves in advance of a war against NATO.

This should trigger a build-up of NATO forces from both Europe and North America. Yes I think that deploying a Brigade is something that Canada should have as a policy, maintain the capability to do and regularly practice. I've also stated before that I'm not opposed to Canada pre-deploying some equipment for a fly-over force in Europe although I've seen no signs that any Canadian political party is in favour of doing that.

As to your comment that Article 5 is irrelevant to the Baltic States because "Once the Russians cross the border it's too late" I simply disagree with that. Setting aside the fact that a reinforced NATO presence in the Baltics resulting from detection of signs of the Russian build up may firstly deter Russia from going through with the attack or that the beefed up defending forces may stop or significantly slow any Russian attack, an invasion by Russia would cause the death of not only Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian NATO personnel, it would also result in the deaths of American, British, Danish, French, Canadian, Albanian, Czech, Italian, Montenegran, Polish, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish, Belgian, Icelandic, Luxembourgian, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Croatian and Romanian NATO troops.

I don't believe that NATO in the face of that kind of aggression and loss of life would simply allow Russia a fait accompli with whatever gains they made.

The comment about supplying arms and cash was in relation to Russian aggression against non-NATO members. It is related to the (obvious) fact that so far NATO is unwilling to directly intervene in the defence of non-alliance members. Augmenting our eFP Battlegroup in Latvia will have ZERO deterrent effect on Russia's actions in Ukraine (or any other non-NATO country they choose to invade) unless the policy of NATO changes and direct military intervention is approved. This isn't just a case of Canadian political ineptitude, it's a pan-NATO policy decision.

What makes our "Medium" forces "Medium"? The LAV 6.0 is 28,636kg. The Bradley M2A2 is 27,220kg. We're certainly not "Medium" in terms of deployability. We're "Medium" I guess in that we're missing a bunch of the puzzle pieces that allow us to engage in a peer "Heavy" conflict, but is there some type of "Medium" role that a 28,636kg LAV can perform that a 27,220kg Bradley can't perform?

It's probably time to take the term "Medium" out of our vocabulary. Realistically the only time we'd ever deploy a full Brigade on operations (or a full Division in our wet dreams) would be for a major peer/near-peer conflict. And for that we either need Light forces (because we need to respond more quickly than we are able to deploy our Heavy forces) or we need Heavy forces.

If we simply bought some more tanks we'd have what we need for 3 x Heavy Brigades each with 1 x Tank Regiment and 2 x LAV Battalions. That would be enough Heavy forces to deploy and maintain through rotation 1 x Heavy Brigade in the field. That also leaves us with 3 x Light Battalions which could be grouped together into a single Light Brigade with a single Battlegroup available on rotation as a Rapid Response force.

If we're lucky, GDLS will be selected as the winner of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle competition for the US Army and we can begin replacing the LAVs in our Reg Force Battalions with domestically produced Griffin III IFVs. By that time (if we're lucky) we'll have some of our Reserve structure/training/legislation issues worked out and we can start devolving the LAVs down to the Reserves and begin building up the Divisional structure you and @KevinB have been proposing.

I won't argue that this is one possible contribution to NATO that we can make, but it really is focused primarily on a single threat (Russian invasion of NATO) which for several reasons I don't feel is likely (not impossible, but in my opinion highly unlikely).

For example, Light forces equipped with AD and ASuW missiles could be deployed along the Norwegian coast or in the Baltic Islands or on Svalbard, etc. to block Russian naval/amphibious forces from deploying in support of a land invasion. These same types of forces would also be useful in the Pacific theater, the Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden or elsewhere in the World.

Replacing our Aurora's with an equal number (or even greater number) of P-8s would also be useful not just against Russian naval threats but Worldwide against all types of military and non-state threats.

Building small combatants like Corvette's to replace our Kingston-class would allow us to better contribute to naval conflicts, enforce sanctions/blockades, anti-piracy and contraband smuggling, etc.

Bigger stretch here, but what if we were to actually get the mythical "Big Honking Ship"? What kind of capabilities for example would a Canadian Juan Carlos-class LPD give Canada? Carries 913 troops and up to 46 MBTs. In a pure combat role it can carry 25 x F-35Bs or in a pure transport role can carry 25 x NH90 class helicopters (or FVL?).

Any of these capabilities combined with a continued eFP Latvia rotation, a Rapid Deployment Light Battlegroup and a single ABCT available to be sustainably deployed when required might be just as valuable to NATO as a single fly-over Division and be much more flexible for Canada in contributing to allied military operations around the World and not just in a single theatre.
Small problem, you would have to get the following groups to actually take this seriously.
Canadian politicians who are too busy fighting the next election . The only reason they even travel abroad aside from vacations is to win votes locally.
War doesn't win votes talking about it seriously even might even lose you votes. Better to avoid the issue entirely
The Canadian Military at the moment is in disarray trying to fight far too many internals battles to be able to focus on fighting a war.
And the average Canadian is deluged with problems from having to choose between having sufficient food to eat for their entire family and having enough gas in their car in order to get to work in able to earn enough money for the above.
And then we have the spectre of inflation and recession.,.....
And the beat goes on.
I wish I knew what the answer was I really do.
 

FJAG

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From the above two comments I think you can excuse me for getting the impression that you were both envisioning Canada being able to field (and presumably support in the field) a 3 Division Force.
Except that for over a year now we've both argued that we need more deployable units than we have but neither one of us has ever said that we should internationally deploy 3 divisions at one time. Most of the time we debate whether we are even capable of deploying one division.

If you are suggesting that we have an Army that is the equivalent of 3 Divisions with the objective of being able to deploy, support and maintain a single Division in the field then I will agree with you that this is an objective that a country the size and wealth of Canada should be able to achieve.
My position is simply that we should create an eight brigade (5 manoeuvre, 3 support) peacetime army with one battlegroup forward deployed, the remainder of one heavy brigade prepositioned for flyover. In addition we should provide healthy staff augmentation to the Multinational Division North headquarters and have contingency plans to deploy an additional heavy brigade, an additional mech or light brigade and divisional support enablers. And I'll repeat that I think that is achievable within the current budgeting and manning levels save and except there is the capital cost of two heavy brigades' and some support equipment. It's also within the Force 2025 timeframe with the exception of the equipment acquisition which means that we form one heavy brigade from our existing Leo and LAV stocks. Not optimal by any stretch of the imagination but a viable first step.

I'd make a couple of comments about the RAND report. Firstly, their wargaming pits the entire forces of the Russian Western Military District and their forces in Kaliningrad (which runs from Ukraine in the South to the coast of Norway in the North) against the in-place NATO forces in the Baltic States. So, are we to seriously expect that Russia would leave the rest of their entire Western frontier undefended while they focus all of their military forces against a single point on the NATO front? Of course not.
I don't think the report says that. It wargamed 25 BTGs plus supporting another 21 supporting artillery and aviation battalions "from WMD". WMD has some 300,000 troops. 25 BTGs is a portion of WMD, not it's entirety.

What makes our "Medium" forces "Medium"?
We've discussed this ad nauseam throughout these threads. Let's just rest on this quote from Advancing with Purpose.

Today, Canada’s Land Force is often described as a strategically relevant, tactically decisive, knowledge-based, medium-weight force.

I won't argue that this is one possible contribution to NATO that we can make, but it really is focused primarily on a single threat (Russian invasion of NATO) which for several reasons I don't feel is likely (not impossible, but in my opinion highly unlikely).
It's not merely possible but we're already fully committed as a part of Latvia's defence. That's a fait accompli. But it's an inadequate deterrent. That's why I argue for more. Italy and especially Spain could also commit more to eFP Latvia - maybe an armoured battlegroup each.

Bigger stretch here, but what if we were to actually get the mythical "Big Honking Ship"?
I have absolutely no objections for other missions and roles. That's why we have a Navy, and Airforce and two medium brigades and a light brigade and a Special Forces Command still in the inventory.

Today, Canada’s Land Force is often described as a strategically relevant, tactically decisive, knowledge-based, medium-weight force.
Not a big fan anymore of big honking ships in the Navy. I prefer press-ganging/contingency leasing ocean going ferries and civilian ROROs an having mixed regular and reserve crews trained on how to operate them. I find it a hard peacetime resource to commit to. If we did we should lease it out to civilian customers during peacetime and let it earn its maintenance costs.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Not a big fan anymore of big honking ships in the Navy. I prefer press-ganging/contingency leasing ocean going ferries and civilian ROROs an having mixed regular and reserve crews trained on how to operate them. I find it a hard peacetime resource to commit to. If we did we should lease it out to civilian customers during peacetime and let it earn its maintenance costs.

🍻

Tax break to shipping companies and airlines to buy and maintain milstd cargo assets in excess of their actual needs. Reserve crews to fly them in time of need. Government to insure when flying into a warzone. Bob's your uncle. The extra craft might even be useful in supplying communications with remote communities.

As to the size of the force, based on my exercise above I am now going to start punting for a 6 Brigade Army plus Brigade sized CANSOFCOM. 2 Divisions plus CANSOFCOM

6 Brigades of 12 Regular BTGs and 10 Reserve BTGs. 1 Heavy, 5 Light - 1 Light mounted in LAVs, 4 Lights with a LAV BTG in each.

1 Hvy
1 Lt (LAV)
4 Lt

Reg, Reserve Mix and deployments to be determined.

The Poles seem interested in hosting Lt Infantry - they will even supply the bases.

Poland ready to build permanent NATO bases

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The installations would accommodate? Light infantry units? in the bloc, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said
Warsaw is ready to build permanent military installations to house “light infantry units” from the US-led NATO bloc, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Thursday. The Prime Minister called for further military build-up of NATO in Eastern Europe in the midst of the ongoing Russian offensive in Ukraine.

“Permanent Allied bases should be built in the countries of the eastern flank of NATO. Poland is ready to build such bases as would be provided for the permanent deployment of light infantry units,” he told the Strategic Ark Forum in Warsaw.

Continuing NATO’s military build-up is the only way to “deter” Russia, the prime minister said, demanding that military aid be extended to Ukraine as well. Warsaw has been one of the most active suppliers to Kyiv in the ongoing conflict, sending old Soviet-made tanks and other hardware to Ukrainian troops.
“Russia can only be deterred by our unity and military capabilities and harsh sanctions; not by telephone calls and talks with Putin but by military aid to Ukraine and the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank,” Morawiecki stressed.

The Polish Prime Minister also promised to provide military support to Sweden and Finland should they be attacked during their NATO alignment process.
“I would like to make it clear that in the event of an attack on Sweden or Finland during their accession process to NATO, Poland will help them,” Morawiecki said.
Morawiecki’s rhetoric echoed with comments made earlier this month by his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, who promised to also come and help the new potential NATO members. “What we emphatically say is that in the event of a disaster or in the event of an attack on Sweden, then Britain would come to Sweden’s aid with whatever Sweden requested,” Johnson said.

The two Nordic nations submitted a formal membership offer on Wednesday, but they have already met strong opposition from Ankara. Turkey, which is a large NATO country, claims that Sweden and Finland both house people they consider to be terrorists, namely members of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has branded the countries a “guest house” for terrorists.
NATO’s expansion and alliance building in Eastern Europe were revived by the Russian offensive in Ukraine, which began in late February. In addition to Poland, other easternmost members of the bloc are also seeking an increased military presence of the US-led bloc. Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are said to be pushing to create a division-size force of about 20,000 soldiers. The force would be on standby and ready for deployment in any of the nations should any threat arise.

Russia attacked the neighboring state after Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s final recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-mediated Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims that it planned to retake the two republics by force.
 

KevinB

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The Poles see multiple benefits.
Increased defense and deterrence, plus financial benefits.

Plus they know the enemies in play.
 
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