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July 11, 2005

The Canadian Army Transforms.

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CAPT H provides a one-stop shop for all things Canadian Military, especially if he can plug his beloved Royal Canadians, Lord Strathcona's Horse. The Strathcona's, as it happens, are at the center of the Canadian Army's morphing from a small, heavy-cored force to a small, medium-cored force. Which sounds like a snark, but isn't, really.

Given how the Canadians have been using their forces, and see their forces being used in the future, what they are doing right now makes perfect sense. It is more deployable, cheaper to acquire and maintain - and makes more of their force available for use. The Canadians maintained a heavy armored force to support the Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, Canada's NATO contribution - which is no longer needed as a heavy punch in Europe. And let's face it - the US isn't going to allow (if it's even *truly* possible at this point in history) someone *else* to invade Canada (heck, we've never been successful, we aren't about to let someone else do it and embarass us, right?). So, given the way the Canadians see their forces, this transformation makes sense, and actually *expands* the spectrum of effort they can involve themselves in. Which, when they come to think about it - may cause some Canadians some angst. I wouldn't worry, folks - your political class will take care of that...

Start here - The Soldier's Guide to Transformation. (I'd open this in a new window, the website is reluctant to let you return...)

Then here - when Princess Patty's Completely Lost Infantry (Okay, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, sheesh lemme have some fun, eh?) Anti-Armor troops integrate in with the Strathcona's.

And finish up here - where the new-fangled (not really, but we all have to pretend it's radically new for PR purposes) Direct Fire Unit runs through it's paces in what we would call a CALFEX - Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise. Very nice to watch, very dangerous to execute because of all that live ammo - but still, no one is shooting back. If I were these guys, I'd be itching to find a way to get to the National Training Center or Joint Readiness Training Center to test myself against an enemy that shoots back. And that's not a snark about Canadian training - they are slowly building to a NTC-like capability, but no one can afford what we've built - and if I were the Canadian Army, I'd be all over trying to find a way to get there... perhaps with a US unit training for an Afghan deployment. Why? Because the Canadians are part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Oh, and before anyone snarks changing from "Armor Battalion" to "Direct Fire Unit" remember the "Units of Action" and "Units of Employment" labels being used in the US Transformation effort.

Just sayin'

Update: Damian of BabblingBrooks reads me pretty well, I think. Now you should read him.

Unfortunately, the supposed "transformation" of our military hasn't yet even staunched the bleeding yet. Via my Chief Ottawa Correspondent, faithful readers of Babbling Brooks (who have now dwindled to a short-strength Pictionary team) will be interested to learn that private contractors will soon be providing basic weapons training to CF members. Yes, you read that right: civilians will be teaching soldiers how to shoot.

John, you didn't share *that* little nugget with me! Anyway - for the rest of Damian's expansion of my topic - click here.

And I should note, full disclosure, that the Armorer makes a living since his retirement doing things like, well, providing training to active military personnel, developing the tools to provide that training and now doing analytical work on myriad things about the Army of the future, which frees up the young healthy bucks to go do things like, um, OIF and OEF... and instead of a Major with 15 years of service under his belt doing it, you get someone with, um, (feh, this makes me feel old) 30 years of experience doing it... but cheaper than someone with equivalent length of service.

Just sayin'