The Post-pandemic Canadian Armed Forces

OldSolduer

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MilEME09 said:
https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/politics/liberals-don-t-plan-to-cut-military-spending-to-rein-in-deficit-sajjan-1.5106032#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=mDqwJ6b


Minister says defense cuts are not on the table, and that they went to accelerate military spending due to covid. Likely in my opiniom to stimulate the economy.

I'll believe it when the budget comes down without us loosing money.

I'll believe it when I see an F 35 flying over my house.
 

Colin Parkinson

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MilEME09 said:
https://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/politics/liberals-don-t-plan-to-cut-military-spending-to-rein-in-deficit-sajjan-1.5106032#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=mDqwJ6b


Minister says defense cuts are not on the table, and that they went to accelerate military spending due to covid. Likely in my opiniom to stimulate the economy.

I'll believe it when the budget comes down without us loosing money.

You give DND a lot of money and ensure they can't spend it and it returns to general revenue to fund politically beneficial programs. How to dodge a political bullet.
 

OldSolduer

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Colin P said:
You give DND a lot of money and ensure they can't spend it and it returns to general revenue to fund politically beneficial programs. How to dodge a political bullet.

F7ckin brilliant analysis - seriously. Well said.
 

dimsum

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Colin P said:
You give DND a lot of money and ensure they can't spend it and it returns to general revenue to fund politically beneficial programs. How to dodge a political bullet.

To paraphrase Blackadder, that is so cunning that it could be a fox appointed as a Professor of Cunning at Oxford.
 

FJAG

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135484570_10158956411299817_7198490723797345230_n.jpg
 

GR66

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We're going to be deeply in debt as a nation after Covid. We've got huge spending upcoming for ships and aircraft. We have high personnel costs and yet we still have issues recruiting/training/retaining people across a whole range of trades.

There has already been lots of discussion about cutting HQ's and reducing administrative overhead and also about fixing the Reserves, but maybe it's time to seriously look at technologies that will allow us to do more with less people.

Maybe we need more units of unmanned aircraft, surface and underwater vessels and ground vehicles instead of more fighters, helicopters, ships, subs, tanks, IFVs and artillery.

The CF is unlikely to grow and personnel costs will continue to rise. To maintain and increase our capabilities maybe we need to focus much more on manned/unmanned teaming for all our capabilities. Don't just plan to replace our MPAs/Fighters/Tanks/C3's/etc. with a new piece of kit...instead, plan right from the start to replace the existing capability with a mix of manned and unmanned platforms that can give the desired capabilities using less people.

If the CF doesn't do something fairly radical, I fear that it will simply become ineffective across the board as a military force.
 

PuckChaser

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There has already been lots of discussion about cutting HQ's and reducing administrative overhead and also about fixing the Reserves, but maybe it's time to seriously look at technologies that will allow us to do more with less people.

I'll stop you right there. Any new technology that appears to save PYs on the front end, increases the taskload and PYs required of the backend support which is in 90% of cases, Signalers. Slamming more network intensive technologies at a trade who's been around 70% PML for 10 years and not recovering to save a handful of shooter PYs on the front end is a recipe for disaster.
 

Ostrozac

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I'll stop you right there. Any new technology that appears to save PYs on the front end, increases the taskload and PYs required of the backend support which is in 90% of cases, Signalers. Slamming more network intensive technologies at a trade who's been around 70% PML for 10 years and not recovering to save a handful of shooter PYs on the front end is a recipe for disaster.
Seconded. And it isn't just the communications networking requirement, which, as you correctly point out, is substantial -- UAV/UAS/RPV require maintenance, fueling, arming, weather and intelligence support, not to mention the operators/crew themselves, who, while not sitting inside the airframe, still need to be trained and force generated in significant numbers. For example, the NATO AGS programme, which operates 5 Global Hawk variants, has 550 personnel at its base in Sicily. Unmanned aircraft are quite manpower intensive.
 

MilEME09

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Any tech we employ such as say an unmanned tank, might save a couple bodies up front but you are still gaining techs, and will need more of them, especially for an unmanned piece of kit because you have no user input to figure out issues, more wires to chase, more software and hard ware to troubleshoot.
 

dimsum

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Any tech we employ such as say an unmanned tank, might save a couple bodies up front but you are still gaining techs, and will need more of them, especially for an unmanned piece of kit because you have no user input to figure out issues, more wires to chase, more software and hard ware to troubleshoot.
Also, politically (and probably LOAC reasons) Canada, at this time, will not allow weapons release without a person in the loop. So you may save a few people, but we're not at SkyNet levels here.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why I have trouble with people being so scared about RPAs conducting kinetic strikes, when it is really not all that different than a fighter or bomber doing the same thing.
 

daftandbarmy

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We're going to be deeply in debt as a nation after Covid. We've got huge spending upcoming for ships and aircraft. We have high personnel costs and yet we still have issues recruiting/training/retaining people across a whole range of trades.

There has already been lots of discussion about cutting HQ's and reducing administrative overhead and also about fixing the Reserves, but maybe it's time to seriously look at technologies that will allow us to do more with less people.

Maybe we need more units of unmanned aircraft, surface and underwater vessels and ground vehicles instead of more fighters, helicopters, ships, subs, tanks, IFVs and artillery.

The CF is unlikely to grow and personnel costs will continue to rise. To maintain and increase our capabilities maybe we need to focus much more on manned/unmanned teaming for all our capabilities. Don't just plan to replace our MPAs/Fighters/Tanks/C3's/etc. with a new piece of kit...instead, plan right from the start to replace the existing capability with a mix of manned and unmanned platforms that can give the desired capabilities using less people.

If the CF doesn't do something fairly radical, I fear that it will simply become ineffective across the board as a military force.
Which takes us back to the big question: What is our mission?, of course :)
 

ballz

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From way down here it looks like the CAF has done it's damn best to keep the status quo alive and are giddy to get back to it, sans any substantial changes.

Sure, we finally got on board with electronic signatures, Microsoft Teams, and Sharepoint. Anybody with any sense would recognize that it's an immense failure that it takes a global pandemic to make even the most incremental progress. And look how easy those changes were... there goes all the pre-pandemic excuses about why it was so "complicated."
 

lenaitch

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And what about the issue of taking the warrior out the warzone but not out of the war? I've seen articles about US military RPAS operators, based in the US, basically 'walking to war' from home. When you kill someone, regardless of whether it is via video, there are still the emotional and mental issues that go along with that that are perhaps not being recognized and addressed. You do your thing, get up from the console and go home to the family.
 

dimsum

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And what about the issue of taking the warrior out the warzone but not out of the war? I've seen articles about US military RPAS operators, based in the US, basically 'walking to war' from home. When you kill someone, regardless of whether it is via video, there are still the emotional and mental issues that go along with that that are perhaps not being recognized and addressed. You do your thing, get up from the console and go home to the family.
Yes. There are lots of studies and articles about not only the aircrew (Pilots and Sensor Operators) but also the Int personnel who have to analyze the video. That part gets glossed over by folks that think it's just a video game.

Reaper Force, written about the RAF MQ-9 Reaper fleet, has a pretty good section devoted to this. It was a great read.

 

FJAG

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And what about the issue of taking the warrior out the warzone but not out of the war? I've seen articles about US military RPAS operators, based in the US, basically 'walking to war' from home. When you kill someone, regardless of whether it is via video, there are still the emotional and mental issues that go along with that that are perhaps not being recognized and addressed. You do your thing, get up from the console and go home to the family.
That's pretty much a red herring. Those issues will always be there regardless of the weapon systems. The real issue is recurring personnel costs to develop a defence capability output.

When I look at some of the newer artillery systems I see a gun capable of being operated by a single driver and one operator. Sure there's an ammo reload team at the back but how highly trained do they have to be compared to the driver/gunner. Veh and system techs - you betcha. My old M109 battery had around fifteen give or take. I'm not sure that a battery of Archers or HIMARS, being primarily wheeled and with fewer vehicles, need that many.

Same for wheeled UAV systems - a small core of highly trained personnel and a number of handlers who require less training and experience.

🍻
 

GR66

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The problem is that with increasing personnel costs and increasing weapon costs you end up with smaller and smaller fleets of vehicles/weapon systems. Does having the capability of fielding a single sub operationally mean we have a sub force? A single deployable tank squadron means we have an armoured capability? Is 65 fighters enough to defend an airspace the size of Canada's?

Which capability is easier to generate in modern Canadian society and to train for operations? IT techs or pilots? Mechanics or tankers? The kind of trades that can support technology have direct civilian analogies unlike military-specific trades. Are we more likely to find recruits that want to join the military in a trade that will give them skills that will set them up for a civilian career when they release?

All I know is that my gut tells me that what we are doing now isn't working.
 

MarkOttawa

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The way the wind looks like blowing, increasingly taking the "armed" out of the CAF and resulting in a a less and less combat-oriented CAF (except perhaps for the RCN which has little domestic relevance and provides all those juicy shipbuilding jobs! jobs! jobs!):

Christian Leuprecht is Class of 1965 Professor in Leadership at the Royal Military College, cross-appointed to Queen’s University and senior fellow at the Macdonald Laurier Institute.
Two years ago, few could have imagined that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) would end up managing a global supply chain for national vaccine distribution and backstopping the provincial mismanagement of 54 long-term care homes. The pandemic also showed that no one in government fully understands national supply chains across Canada. Still, no part of the country ran out of personal protective equipment even when supply was critically short, because CAF logisticians had the managerial savvy to locate it, CAF planners executed without having to rely on other partners or equipment, and the Royal Canadian Air Force transported it where it needed to go.
Time and again, the Department of National Defence has been called on as the only federal organization with the highly trained, well-educated and experienced roster of specialists and assets to plan and execute complex and large-scale operations in short order. Under Operation Laser, the CAF had a COVID-19 plan that it was able to execute while coming to the assistance of other government departments…
Over the past decade, Canada has become more reliant on the CAF to respond to domestic emergencies: the number of CAF’s domestic taskings has doubled and tripled over the two previous decades. These operations have proven well within the capabilities of the CAF. But in the event of floods, forest fires, or a grave international crisis, CAF assets currently dedicated to the pandemic may have been unavailable. Climate change is bound to multiply the frequency of crises such as wildfires and floods in the coming years, and that will increase demand for CAF resources. The pandemic is a harbinger of future CAF domestic operations that are more frequent and complex, longer and larger without the ability to rely on help from allies. Although the CAF has been able to deliver, after 15 years of efforts focused on counterinsurgency and building partner capacity, Canada’s military still has much to learn and re-learn about large-scale operations.
For decades, the CAF has prioritized a strategic culture premised on Army expeditionary operations despite the fact that Afghanistan represented the only such mission in the past 60 years [but see just below this paragraph, Prof. Leuprecht is being rather selective]. Since the late 1950s, CAF leaders have vehemently resisted anything seen as diluting the combat role: they argue that it is easier to “scale down” from combat than to “scale up” from domestic operations. But that is a false dichotomy, and politicians are looking for a broader contribution to national security from their annual defence investment of $22-billion…
[Afghanistan has been the Army’s only combat expeditionary mission since 1960 and then only from 2006-11. But there have also been several major and sometimes dangerous Army “peacekeeping” missions with both the UN and NATO, e.g. in Somalia, in former Yugoslavia, in Kosovo and Macedonia (a hybrid operation: the RCAF engaged in bombing and then the Army in peacekeeping) and in Afghanistan itself 2003-05. Plus a major army contribution to NATO in West Germany from the 1950s through the 1980s, and since 2017 a significant Army presence leading the forward NATO multinational force in Latvia. And substantial numbers of Canadian special forces have been engaged in a variety of activities in Iraq since 2014.]
Evidently, domestic operations are no longer a part-time sideshow, yet the CAF still responds to emergencies with pick-up teams. CJOC needs a dedicated Joint Task Force (JTF) for domestic operations, composed of regular and reserve forces. The newly appointed Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, is experienced at conducting domestic operations: he was the commander of JTF Pacific from 2016 to 2018 and ran humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations as maritime component commander of JTF Haiti in 2010. That background should come in handy as the CAF ponders how to optimize its force structure in response to growing domestic, continental and international demands on its limited assets.

Guess where most governments, the populace and the media will favour putting Canada’s future “defence” priorities and efforts. Especially given almost everybody’s intense aversion to taking fatal casualties in anything beyond the most minimal numbers.

Mark
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MilEME09

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Part of the problem is with the downsizing of bases in the 90s, it takes time to mobilize and move a force for a DOMOP to a given location. Logically then you look to the reserves to be that local QRF but in most cases we lack the equipment to respond to even the most basic tasks to hold the line till the reg force arrives. If the CAF wants us to be better prepared, PRes Service battalions should be used to preposition kit for DOMOPs. Especially engineering equipment.
 

FJAG

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The way the wind looks like blowing, increasingly taking the "armed" out of the CAF and resulting in a a less and less combat-oriented CAF (except perhaps for the RCN which has little domestic relevance and provides all those juicy shipbuilding jobs! jobs! jobs!):
....

Guess where most governments, the populace and the media will favour putting Canada’s future “defence” priorities and efforts. Especially given almost everybody’s intense aversion to taking fatal casualties in anything beyond the most minimal numbers.

Mark
Ottawa
An academic's view that totally misses the point (unfortunately the whole article is behind a pay wall so my opinion is based solely on what is quoted here.)

As General Simonds pointed out back in the sixties, a military force trained in general combat can easily adapt to domestic disaster operations; the reverse is not true.

If we want a domestic response force we could for considerably less money create a civil defence corps of a few trained professionals, storehouses of equipment and a largely volunteer standby force to ramp up in case of a disaster whether flood, fire or pandemic. You simply do not need a full-time force for such matters - it's more a seasonal requirement.

To reallocate funds from National Defence or to refocus direction of existing defence resources is playing a risk game based on the proposition that we will never have to fight again. In what is becoming a more dangerous world with more complex weapon systems and more complex skills needed it is virtually impossible to build a defence force from scratch - a large part of it needs to be there full-time albeit that much of it can be trained and on part-time standby.

The problem is that with increasing personnel costs and increasing weapon costs you end up with smaller and smaller fleets of vehicles/weapon systems. Does having the capability of fielding a single sub operationally mean we have a sub force? A single deployable tank squadron means we have an armoured capability? Is 65 fighters enough to defend an airspace the size of Canada's?

Which capability is easier to generate in modern Canadian society and to train for operations? IT techs or pilots? Mechanics or tankers? The kind of trades that can support technology have direct civilian analogies unlike military-specific trades. Are we more likely to find recruits that want to join the military in a trade that will give them skills that will set them up for a civilian career when they release?

All I know is that my gut tells me that what we are doing now isn't working.

That's why I keep saying focus on keeping the weapon systems that provide the defence capability outputs and find a better cheaper personnel solution across the board. There's a point where we have to stop the death spiral.

🍻
 
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