Wolf Riedel

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Restructuring the Canadian Army - A Sustainable Option

By Wolf Riedel, OMM, CD, QC

... Another way of putting this is that no planning is being done for a major war.

This is shortsighted in the extreme. A military that thinks in terms of turning itself into a great host in a crisis is very different from one that is small, thinks small, and plans for very little.

The Canadian Forces needs a plan.[1]

Introduction

Canada's current defence policy—Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE)[2]—issued in 2017, identifies several security threats with the most significant coming from Russia and China.

The re-emergence of major power competition has reminded Canada and its allies of the importance of deterrence. ... A credible military deterrence serves as a diplomatic tool to prevent conflict and should be accompanied by dialogue. NATO allies ... have been re-examining how to deter a wide spectrum of challenges to the international order by maintaining advanced conventional military capabilities that could be used in the event of a conflict with a “near-peer.”[3] (Emphasis added).

While Canada has committed itself to be the framework nation of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) multinational battalion in Latvia (eFP-L)[4], it has done little since 2017 to create a sustainable advanced conventional military capability within the CAF that would form a credible deterrent to Russia.[5]

The Baltics present a unique challenge to NATO. On the one hand, an increased NATO military presence in the Baltics would be seen by Russia as an escalation against its interests in the region while a drawdown of troops by NATO would be seen by the Baltic States as abandonment.[6] Notwithstanding the former, and because of the latter, NATO must provide a credible deterrence to keep Russian activities in check.

... the challenge NATO confronts is not successfully to deter on an average day; it is to deter on the one day out of a thousand, or 5,000, when Moscow, for whatever reason, sees the prospect of a crushing win over its most dangerous adversary as an attractive prospect. ...

... RAND’s wargaming suggests that NATO needs to be able to rapidly mobilize, deploy, fight, and sustain up to 21 maneuver brigades, ... in a full-scale conflict with Russia in the Baltics. Given current plans and capabilities, the U.S. Army might be expected to supply up to 12 of those brigades:

up to three ABCTs[7] stationed in the Baltics—the “stay in the game” force.

three more ABCTs drawn from secure brigade-sized propositioning sites

• up to six additional armored, infantry (IBCT), or Stryker brigade combat teams. [8] (Emphasis Added)

Of the necessary 21 manoeuvre brigades required, the three Baltic States themselves can realistically provide a total of only six to ten infantry or mechanized brigades and some minor reserve forces. In the aggregate, the three NATO eFP battle groups could be counted as one additional armoured brigade. With it’s more recent focus to draw down its forces in Germany in favour of some modest support for Poland, it is not realistic to expect that the US will, in fact, commit the requisite six ABCTs.

In a recent report[9] into the NATO eFP initiative, the authors made the following key recommendation about the Baltics:

Plans should be made for the rapid augmentation of the eFP from battalion to brigade-size formations in the event of a deteriorating security environment. These plans should be fully and regularly exercised in all host nations.[10] (Emphasis added)

The question of whether or not Canada, as the eFP-L framework nation, should increase its NATO commitment and furnish one of those additionally needed armoured brigades and whether such brigade should be prepositioned in Latvia or Poland[11] is, of course, political. However, since the Canada doesn’t currently have an armoured brigade, per se, to furnish, nor the means to deliver it there, the issue becomes practically moot.

The purpose of this article is to show one way forward whereby a transformed Canadian Army would, at least, have an armoured force capable of operations in Europe and particularly, for the Baltics. Left for the time being is the case of what land forces Canada needs for the looming threats in the Pacific.

Read full article here.

[1] Russian Strategic Intentions: A Strategic Multilayer Assessment 9SMA) White Paper May 2019, Ch 6 Goure, Dr. Daniel, Russian Strategic Intentions SMA Publications NSI Inc., Boston p.32

[2] National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged Canada's Defence Policy Ottawa, 2017 http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-eng.pdf and http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-fra.pdf

[3] Ibid at p. 50

[4] Riedel, Wolf, Unsustainable at Any Price: The Canadian Armed Forces in Crisis Amazon, 2020, pp. 3-11 https://www.amazon.ca/Wolf-Riedel-ebook/dp/B086HXC66Q



Canadian Leopards and LAVs on exercise


Re-establishing a Canadian Armoured Brigade Group in Europe: Sustainable Options

by Wolfgang W. Riedel

Colonel (ret’d) Wolfgang W. Riedel, OMM, CD, QC has served for forty-four years in the ranks and as an artillery, infantry and legal officer in the Regular Force and the Reserve Force. As Deputy Judge Advocate General – Reserves he was Canada’s Senior Reserve Force Legal Officer and was a member of the Chief of Reserves and Cadets Council.

One cannot understand how the Russian leadership thinks strategic issues without appreciating the fact that the Kremlin sees itself as being at war with the West.[1]

Introduction

Canada's current defence policy—Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE)[2]—issued in 2017, identifies several security threats with the most significant coming from Russia and China.

The re-emergence of major power competition has reminded Canada and its allies of the importance of deterrence. ... A credible military deterrence serves as a diplomatic tool to prevent conflict and should be accompanied by dialogue. NATO allies ... have been re-examining how to deter a wide spectrum of challenges to the international order by maintaining advanced conventional military capabilities that could be used in the event of a conflict with a “near-peer.”[3] (Emphasis added).

While Canada has committed itself to be the framework nation of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) multinational battalion in Latvia (eFP-L), it has done little since 2017 to create a sustainable advanced conventional military capability within the CAF.[4] Amongst the disparate group of tanks and tracked infantry fighting vehicles within the eFP-L, Canada’s contribution consists of no tanks, a company of LAV6.0 light armored vehicles and a flyover four-gun battery of towed artillery. Latvia itself can muster but one lightly-armoured mechanized brigade and four even more lightly manned and equipped National Guard brigades. On the other hand, Latvia has recently acquired two battalions of M109A5O self-propelled artillery from Austria.

Read full article here.

[1] Russian Strategic Intentions: A Strategic Multilayer Assessment 9SMA) White Paper May 2019, Ch 6 Goure, Dr. Daniel, Russian Strategic Intentions SMA Publications NSI Inc., Boston p.32

[2] National Defence, Strong, Secure, Engaged Canada's Defence Policy Ottawa, 2017 http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-eng.pdf and http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2017/mdn-dnd/D2-386-2017-fra.pdf

[3] Ibid at p. 50

[4] Riedel, Wolf, Unsustainable at Any Price: The Canadian Armed Forces in Crisis Amazon, 2020, pp. 3-11 https://www.amazon.ca/Wolf-Riedel-ebook/dp/B086HXC66Q


DND photo RP16-2018-0059-114 by Corporal Desiree T. Bourdon

Canadian Armed Forces artillery soldiers on exercise in Latvia, June 2018.

The Canadian Army Needs a Paradigm Shift

by Wolfgang W. Riedel

Colonel (ret’d) Wolfgang W. Riedel, OMM, CD, QC has served for forty-four years in the ranks and as an artillery, infantry and legal officer in the Regular Force and the Reserve Force. As Deputy Judge Advocate General – Reserves he was Canada’s Senior Reserve Force Legal Officer and was a member of the Chief of Reserves and Cadets Council.

“Our defence policy is predicated on the kind of asymmetric warfare we have faced since the end of the Cold War and it really ignores the looming strategic threats that Russia, China and maybe some others pose as well.

~ Richard Cohen1

Introduction

Paradigm Shift – a radical change in personal beliefs, complex systems or organizations, replacing the former way of thinking or organizing with a radically different way of thinking or organizing.2

Is the Canadian Army ready for the next conflict? Does it project a credible deterrence? This article argues that the answer is, clearly, no. As a consequence, Canada must re-assess what the Canadian Army’s structure ought to be, and, in particular, critically examine the role and organization of the Army’s Primary Reserve component (ARes).


Read the rest of this article in the Canadian Military Journal Vol 20 No 4

English Version: www.journal.forces.gc.ca/page19-eng.asp

Version française: www.journal.forces.gc.ca/page19-fra.asp



Are the Canadian Armed Forces ready for the next conflict? Do they project a credible deterrence? Are they value for money? This book argues that the answer is clearly, no. Canada has built an ineffective force structure that is quickly becoming unsustainable both as combat forces and as a line item in Canada's budget. As a consequence Canada must reassess what it's military's structure should be and, in particular, must critically examine the respective roles and organization of it's Regular Force and Reserve Force components. To be blunt, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are in a crisis but refuse to face the issues involved.

Canada's current defence policy concedes that: "The re-emergence of major power competition has reminded Canada and its allies of the importance of deterrence. ... NATO allies ... have been re-examining how to deter a wide spectrum of challenges to the international order by maintaining advanced conventional military capabilities that could be used in the event of a conflict with a “near-peer.""

Canada, however, has done little since 2017 to confront the situation. It neither maintains credible “advanced conventional military capabilities” nor can it be considered as having a military that is capable of “near-peer” combat with either Russia or China. It's forces were structured and trained to meet the challenges of an asymmetric war in Afghanistan and have changed little since they left that country.

Canada's defence outputs do not match the significant financial input made by the government each year primarily due to devoting the majority of its defence budget to the high costs of maintaining a professional full-time military and civilian bureaucracy and a bloated headquarters system that continues to draw funds away from much needed equipment acquisition programs and operations and maintenance expenses.

The book proposes a plan whereby Canada can double its effective combat strength by forming five fully manned and equipped brigades, two combat and three support from within its current authorized strength if a number of changes are made to the overall structure of the Department of National Defence; headquarters are downsized to provide the necessary funding for equipment; and a tighter integration between the Regular Force and Reserve Force.


Now Available: The Beach, A Mark Winters, CID Novel

Palm Beach, Florida: sun, surf, sand and home of the entitled rich. It is also the base of operations of a white supremacist organization, with ties to fugitive Nazi war criminals in Argentina, striving to indoctrinate Americans with their views.

Amongst them is a group of conspirators with an even more radical agenda and with both the desire and the ability to wage violent war against their elite, liberal opponents.

When a young National Guardsman is found murdered on the beach, US Army CID Special Agent in Charge Mark Winters and his team—including their newest member, WO Alex Vlachos, Miami’s resident special agent—are set on the trail of a factious crew who have committed not just one murder but several and who are well on their way to their next one.