THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES:
THE ROLE OF THE RESERVES
Political and Social Affairs Division
29 November 1999
TABLE OF CONTENTS
B. Mobilization Strategies
1. Force Generation
2. Force Enhancement
3. Force Expansion
C. Organizational Structure
b. Militia (Land Force or Army Reserve)
d. Communication Reserve
a. Supplementary Ready Reserve (SRR)
b. Supplementary Holding Reserve (SHR)
Instructors Cadre (CIC)
D. Operational Issues
5. Pay and Benefits
with Regular Force
SUMMARY OF OPTIONS
THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES:
THE ROLE OF THE RESERVES
throughout the world are structured around defence strategies that seek to address both
external and internal pressures on a countrys national security.(1) These pressures change with the international security environment,
new means of warfare, and evolving societal values. Consequently, the structure of armed
forces also changes with time.
Canada have struggled over the years to define both the structure and role of the
military. Part of this challenge has been to find an effective and efficient balance
between "regular" and "reserve" components in the midst of deep cuts
to defence spending and a constantly changing strategic environment. Lately, this has been
a recurrent theme in Canadian defence policy.
examines the history and current status of the reserves in the Canadian Forces. It
provides basic information on the role, mobilization strategies and organizational
structures of the reserves, in particular the Militia, as well as an overview of several
operational issues related to their administration. Finally, the paper details a number of
options for restructuring the Canadian Forces and, more specifically, the role of the
reserves in implementing Canadian defence policy.
reserve forces represent a tradition of part-time military service that goes back to
before Confederation. Based initially on the principle of levée en masse,(3) militia service was compulsory for all able-bodied males
between the ages of 16 and 60 from the early 1600s until 1855, when a large part of the
British Army withdrew from Canada. Subsequently, the Militia Bill of 1855 officially
established a small body of volunteer active Militia not to exceed 5,000 cavalry,
artillery and infantry troops. By 1866, however, as a result of tensions between America
and Britain following the Civil War in the United States, the active Militia had expanded
to 33,000 to serve as a deterrent force.
Confederation, the first Federal Militia Act (1868) was adopted. While it retained
the principle of a levée en masse using untrained civilians, it placed greater
emphasis on a core of volunteers - the Militia. As a new country, Canada was forced to
meet its own defence costs, and the expenses of equipping, administering and training the
Militia were far less than those for developing a comparable standing army. With the 1883 Militia
Act, Canada added additional units to the "active" Militia - that is, the
small permanent force whose primary task was to train organized volunteer regiments (the
"sedentary" Militia) in the event of a mobilization. During the Boer War in
South Africa (1899-1902), Great Britain paid the costs of 8,372 men from the Canadian
Militia who volunteered to fight - effectively Canadas first expeditionary force.
Canada had developed two separate mobilization plans. One, which would provide for
territorial defence, involved the complete mobilization of the Militia with civilian
augmentation. The other sought to develop an expeditionary force for the dispatch of
troops and reinforcements overseas. With the outbreak of war in Europe, however, these
plans were abandoned. Many of the Militias best soldiers volunteered for service
overseas in the early stages of the war. By 1917, the number of casualties had forced the
introduction of conscription.
with the end of World War I, "war weariness and budgetary constraints led Canada once
again to revert to a large and relatively untrained Militia of some 50,000 officers and
men, and a tiny permanent force (some 4,500 in 1939) that trained the Militia."(4) Policymakers, more concerned with demobilization,
largely ignored mobilization planning in the immediate postwar period. In addition, the
effects of the 1930s Depression raised economic and social issues above defence; money
could not be spared to train or equip the armed forces. Despite these realities, Canada
developed the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve and the Auxiliary and Reserve Air
Force, and numbers were raised from pre-war levels to 10,000 regulars and 120,000 Militia.
continued to depend heavily on the mobilization of reserves and civilians to meet wartime
needs, with defence planning focused predominantly on the preparation of an expeditionary
force. During the Second World War, the Canadian forces grew from 7,945 regulars in 1939
to a total force of 838,119 by mid-1945. Although the overwhelming majority of these were
civilians with no military training, this expansion would not have been possible without
the contribution of the reservists.
World War II, Canada became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) and entered into a number of military alliances, such as the North American
Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which required the establishment of a comparatively
large, permanent regular force in all three services, as well as reserves. Faced with the
possibility of yet another major war in Europe, reserve personnel made up the majority of
Canadians who fought in the Korean War; regular forces were saved for Europe. For the
first time in Canadian defence, "[t]he focus had shifted from the reserves to the
regulars, although the Militias role was still the mobilization of a larger force
for prolonged or large-scale conflict."(5)
The onset of
the Cold War (or the "Long Peace") brought the threat of nuclear war. Within
NATO countries, there was an increasing emphasis on the need for a "ready force"
or "forces-in-being" - perceived as basically regular, full-time professional
soldiers immediately available for war. Such high levels of readiness were not possible
from a part-time reserve force. It was also assumed that any nuclear war would be short,
giving insufficient time to mobilize, train and equip a reserve force at combat-capable
levels. In these circumstances, planners did not conceive of the reserves as a
"ready" force and consequently, in 1956, assigned them (primarily the Militia) a
new primary task - "national survival" or civil defence in the event of a
nuclear war. By the mid-60s, neglect and reductions had led to the demoralization of
reserve forces; they were without any real sense of purpose and had little in the way of
Review in 1969 suggested that focusing solely on "forces-in-being" would not be
sustainable in the long term because of the high costs of maintaining expanded, standing
armed forces which were in any case insufficient to meet non-nuclear wartime needs. At the
beginning of the 1970s, the White Paper Defence in the 70s reconsidered the
role of the reserves, whose total forces had been reduced to fewer than 21,000. The White
Paper outlined this role as being to support, augment, reinforce and expand (in an
emergency) the regular force and affirmed that reserves would continue to be employed for
internal security contingency plans.
forces in other NATO countries, the Canadian Forces first attempted to adopt the concept
of "Total Force" in the late 1970s; this was the most significant change in
Canadian defence policy since the unification process of the late 1960s. By the early
80s, however, the theory had yet to be put into practice.(6) Regular and reserve structures had not been integrated and the
reserves remained well below their establishment strengths. The 1987 White Paper on
defence policy, Challenge and Commitments, reaffirmed the Total Force concept,
whereby reserve and regular forces were to be integrated. It also called for (among other
things) the revitalization of the Reserve Force and assigned new tasks and expanded roles
to the naval, air and land reserves. The end of the Cold War in 1989, together with the
national debt crisis in Canada, increased pressure to reduce defence expenditures. This,
combined with the fact that Canada had over-committed itself for international
peacekeeping, led to an increased use of reservists in operations.
reservists increased exposure to operations, a detailed study by the Auditor
Generals office in 1992 painted a bleak picture of the readiness, equipment, and
training of the Reserve Force as well as the lack of departmental planning on its behalf.
The Auditor General recommended a review of the roles and cost-effectiveness of the
reserves and pointed out the inadequate promotion policies, training standards and levels
of readiness. The Department of National Defence agreed that there were some serious
problems, but claimed that reforms were already underway. However, in his 1994 follow-up
(paragraphs 2.192 to 2.219), the Auditor General reported that the Department had done
little on issues other than training.
Also in 1994,
Canadian defence policy (including the issue of the reserves) underwent a thorough review
by a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons. In Chapter IV of its
report, the Committee called for "a significant rationalization, reorganization and
retasking of the Reserve Forces."(7) The
subsequent Defence White Paper (1994) reaffirmed Canadas commitment to the Total
Force concept, but noted that the new strategic situation and demands placed on the
ready-response capabilities of both the reserves and the Regular Force required
modification of the plans for mobilization. As a result, the White Paper detailed a new
four-stage national mobilization plan. It also announced a reduction of both the Regular
Force and the Primary Reserve and recommended a thorough examination of all elements of
the Primary and Supplementary Reserves with a view to streamlining both organizations.
On 5 April
1995, the Minister of National Defence established a Special Commission on the
Restructuring of the Reserves (SCRR) to respond to two fundamental imperatives:
1987 White Paper on defence called for the establishment of a Total Force in Canada
]. By 1995 this integration process had not been fully realized. Secondly, the 1994
White Paper on defence called for a reduction in the cost and number of reservists while
increasing their overall efficiency, thus echoing the 1992 Auditor Generals Report.
Moreover the 1995 budget imposed further financial constraints on the Canadian Forces.(8)
Commission - composed of the Right Honourable Brian Dickson (Chairman), Lieutenant-General
Charles H. Belzile (Retired), and Professor Jack Granatstein -held public hearings
throughout Canada before presenting its report, with 41 recommendations, to the Minister
of National Defence on 3 October 1995. One of the major recommendations was that the
mobilization plan outlined in the 1994 Defence White Paper be amended so as to define more
clearly the role that reserve units would be expected to play at various stages. Most of
the other major recommendations dealt with the Militia, since the Special Commission found
few problems with the Naval, Air and Communication Reserves.
In late 1995,
the Special Commissions report was reviewed by both the House of Commons Standing
Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs (SCONDVA) and the Standing Senate
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. The former committee presented its
report to the Minister of National Defence in January 1996, calling for most of the
SCRRs recommendations to be implemented, with some modifications. The latter
committee tabled its report on 14 December 1995. Like the House committee, it
accepted most of the SCRRs recommendations with some modifications. Critics of the
Special Commission had been quick to point out that its report did not provide any
estimate of costs or anticipated savings; among other recommendations, SCONDVA called for
an analysis of these costs and other effects of implementation.
At a SCONDVA
meeting on 7 May 1996, then Minister of National Defence (MND) David Collenette announced
that, of the 41 SCRR recommendations, the Department of National Defence agreed to
implement all but two. A recommendation concerning job protection legislation (Number 41)
was rejected on the grounds that implementing such legislation would be difficult. The
other rejected recommendation (Number 17) called for all military personnel to be enrolled
in the Supplementary Ready Reserve upon their honourable departure from the Regular Force;
this was rejected as being contrary to Canadian tradition. According to the Minister, some
of the remaining recommendations, in particular those involving the Militia, would require
additional study or modification. By October 1996, the Minister had announced that the
Militia would be restructured to implement the Total Force concept and to address chronic
administrative and command deficiencies.
On 14 October
1997, MND Art Eggleton established a "Monitoring Committee on Change in the
Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces" (MCCDND). The MCCDND serves
as a window through which the Canadian public can follow the Departments progress in
the implementation of recommendations accepted from various commissions, inquiries and
panels, including the Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves. The
Committee has a two-year mandate, during which it is to produce four semi-annual reports
for the Minister, who will then make them public. The first report - essentially a work
plan - was delivered in March 1998. According to the Monitoring Committees November
1998 interim report, "[t]he implementation of recommendations relating to the
reserves has been slow. A considerable amount of work remains to be done, for example, in
connection with the implementation of the Total Force concept, and regarding the
definition of the role of the reserves in the new four-stage national mobilization
plan."(9) The Committees most recent
review reports that, in spite of the Departments assertion that it has acted on
recommendations to address problems with the reserves, many plans for change do not meet
the original requirements, have not yet been implemented fully, or have been delayed.(10) A final report card is to be delivered in the fall of
nations, enlistment in Canadas Reserve Force is strictly voluntary. Reservists are
citizens who devote a portion of their spare time to military service and in doing so play
a vital role in linking the Canadian Forces with Canadian society. Moreover, reservists
provide skills and knowledge that the Regular Force cannot cost-effectively maintain, thus
allowing the CF to become more efficient in the use of its human resources. The link
between the two components is further strengthened by former Regular Force members who
have chosen to continue to serve as members of the Reserve [and vice versa].(11)
Total Force concept, both the Regular and Reserve Forces support the ongoing peacetime
tasks and activities of the Canadian Forces. The 1994 Defence White Paper defined the
primary role of the Reserve Force as augmentation, sustainment and support of deployed
forces. In some cases, the Reserve Force also undertakes tasks that are not performed by
the Regular Force. According to the findings of the Special Commission on the
Restructuring of the Reserves, the Primary Reserve is currently to perform three distinct
roles: "to serve as the basis for augmenting the Regular Force in the first and
second phases of mobilization ... as the basis for full-scale mobilization [and]
the link between the military and the community at large."(12)
Force is responsible for augmenting the Regular Force for operations in the first and
second stages of mobilization (see below). Typically, this means that reservists take
part, often on an individual basis, in peacekeeping missions and assist with natural
disasters and national crises (e.g., the Oka incident in 1990). By augmenting regulars in
their operational commitments, reservists receive training that they cannot obtain within
their units and are able to hone skills necessary for the later stages of mobilization.
2. Mobilization Base
the NATO definition of mobilization:
The act of
preparing for war or other emergencies through assembling and organizing national
resources; the process by which the armed forces or part of them are brought to a state of
readiness for war or other national emergency. This includes assembling and organizing
personnel, supplies and material for active military service.(13)
mobilization of armed forces beyond simple augmentation of the Regular Force is required,
the Reserve Force serves as the primary base for trained personnel.
3. Community Link
The last, and
to some the most important, role of the Reserve Force is to serve as a link between the
Canadian Forces (CF) and the community at large. Reservists have become the de facto
ambassadors of the CF to the public because of their dispersed locations. They are a force
for national unity and a reminder to local communities of the work of the Department of
National Defence and the services it provides. Through the Reserve Force, the CF can
participate in and garner the support of local communities and maintain a presence
throughout the country.
B. Mobilization Strategies
In his article
on Canadian military mobilization, Peter Dawson observes that:
possess the resources to maintain standing armed forces in peacetime, on a scale
sufficient to support protracted or large-scale military action. It would make neither
military nor economic sense to use wartime standards to determine peacetime needs.
Peacetime levels are based on certain commitments and on the need to maintain a
training base (for later expansion), to deploy forces rapidly in an emergency,
and to uphold the deterrent value of the forces. Wartime levels are determined by most of
the above, plus the need to increase existing commitments, to replace losses, and to
expand to meet new commitments.(14)
approach is reflected in the 1994 Defence White Paper, which announced the Canadian
governments intention to introduce a new four-stage framework for mobilization
planning (detailed below) and made up of force generation, force enhancement, force
expansion and national mobilization. This framework provides for "a graduated and
orderly transition from routine peacetime operations to higher levels of involvement,
which ultimately could include the total mobilization of the nation."(15)
Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves approved the revision of DNDs
mobilization plans in accordance with this new framework but observed that the Reserve
Forces structures and tasks would also need to be adjusted to conform to the four
phases. Furthermore, the process would need to give priority to the fundamental role of
the Reserve Force as a mobilization base for war.(16)
1998, the Committee monitoring the implementation of change in the Department wrote that
it was not convinced that mobilization planning had received sufficient priority. Although
the Minister had directed the Department of National Defence "to draft and implement
a national mobilization plan with all dispatch," several deadlines for
doing so had not been met.(17) For example, the
Minister had decided that stages 3 and 4 of the mobilization scheme should be amended
immediately to define clearer roles for the Reserve Force (especially the Militia) as the
basis for recruitment, training and the provision of formed units required in the event of
a major conflict. Plans for the revision of stage 3 were to have been completed by April /
May 1998 and for stage 4, by June 1998. By November 1998, neither commitment had been
fulfilled. On 18 March 1999, the Vice Chief of Defence Staff issued an "action
directive" which seemed "to abandon development of a national mobilization plan
per se" and provided "a rather sparse framework of vague intentions."(18)
Committee stressed in its 1998 Interim Report that the "absence of a plan creates
uncertainty for the Reserves. The Reserves are, by virtue of Government policy, the basis
for national mobilization, or stage 4: in practice, however, the Department has paid
attention to their augmentation role almost exclusively
and fails to mention the
Militias primary role: to be the basis of national mobilization."(19) This vagueness with respect to the national
mobilization role of the reserves continues and, furthermore, their specific role in the
other stages of mobilization continues to be ill-defined. Responding to the
Departments insistence that it cannot plan force structures until operational
situations and other factors are known, the Monitoring Committee suggests that the
Department "identify likely situations and
processes and, most importantly, force structures, to respond to them."(20) This would include a clear role for the
reserves at all stages.
descriptions of the four stages of mobilization are taken primarily from the 1994 Defence
1. Force Generation
stage of a response to any crisis of emergency is force generation which
includes all measures needed to prepare elements of the Canadian Forces to undertake,
sustain and support new operational tasks. These functions will be undertaken within the
existing resource framework of the Canadian Forces and will include the training and
preparation of volunteer reservists, often on an individual basis, to augment the Regular
2. Force Enhancement
In the second
stage of mobilization, force enhancement, the operational capabilities of the
existing forces are improved through the allocation of more resources. Such action will be
undertaken without permanent change in the structure or roles of the Canadian Forces,
although the formation of temporary units or specialist elements may prove necessary. This
level of mobilization would be similar to action taken in response to the 1990 situation
in the Persian Gulf and all current peacekeeping commitments. Once again, the Reserve
Force is expected to provide personnel, predominantly on an individual basis, to augment
Regular Force units.
3. Force Expansion
stage, force expansion, involves the enlargement of the Canadian Forces - and
perhaps selected elements of the Department of National Defence - to meet a major crisis
or emergency. It would likely involve permanent changes in the roles, structure and
taskings of the Canadian Forces and could call for the formation of new units, the
enhancement of existing facilities and the procurement of additional equipment. This stage
would include structural and role changes similar to those undergone by all elements of
the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence in 1950-1952 when Canada
provided armed forces to the United Nations multinational force in Korea and to the then
newly formed NATO in Europe. In stage 3, selective activation of reservists individually
and in units would be effected by call-up under the terms of an order in council.
4. National Mobilization
a major global war is highly unlikely at this time, it remains prudent to have
"no-cost" plans ready for total national mobilization. This fourth stage
could touch all aspects of Canadian society - including reserves, as well as civilians
without military training - and would only come into effect with the proclamation by the
Governor-in-Council of a war emergency under the Emergencies Act. The SCRR reported
that, "surprisingly, there is no detailed plan in existence for a stage 4 national
C. Organizational Structure
As detailed in
the National Defence Act, the Reserve Force is one of the three components of the
Canadian Forces.(23) The Reserve Force is composed of
officers and non-commissioned members who are enrolled for other than continuing,
full-time military service when not on active service - that is, generally on a part-time
basis. The Reserve Force is divided into four sub-components:
descriptions were compiled using various recent Department of National Defence sources.
1. Primary Reserve
in the Ministers address to the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans
Affairs in November 1996, the planning level for the Primary Reserve Force is 30,000
personnel. Currently, the Primary Reserve consists of approximately 31,600 officers and
non-commissioned members who have agreed to train and perform duties as required.
three classes of service under which a Primary Reservist may be employed:
Class B: This requires
service of 13 consecutive days or longer, normally performed away from the
reservists unit, in support of Regular and Reserve Force activities. A longer-term
Class B enables reservists to serve for periods in excess of six months to a year or
longer alongside their Regular Force counterparts. The reservist on Class B is paid at the
same rate as that which applies to Class A service, and from the same budget. Class B
annotated "A" service involves service in established positions in support of
Primary Reserve or Cadet activities. The annotation "A" indicates that these
positions must be filled by reserve personnel and that they are authorized for continuous
service 365 days per year. These members are paid on the same basis as Class B reservists.
Class C: This class entails
full-time reserve service in a Regular Force position, normally for a period in excess of
one year, with entitlement to all Regular Force benefits. Members on Class C service are
not restricted in the length of time they may serve, so long as the position is vacant,
funding is available, and filling the position can be justified. The governing factor for
Class C is the non-availability of a Regular Force member to fill the position. Class C
reservists are paid at the regular rate of pay from the Regular Force budget.
Reserve - subdivided into four main elements - consists of:
as well as
approximately 250 positions assigned to the National Defence Headquarters Primary
Reserve List (rather than to a reserve unit).
a. Naval Reserve
strength of the Naval Reserve is between 4,000 and 5,000 personnel, with a current level
of approximately 4,000.
Reserves mission is to provide Maritime Command with trained personnel for the
staffing of combat and support elements. In addition, Naval reservists are primarily
responsible for providing trained crews for the 12 Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels
(MCDVs), which undertake surveillance missions, fisheries protection, drug interdiction,
environmental monitoring, apprehension of illegal immigrants, and search and rescue. In
addition, the Naval Reserve is responsible for Harbour Defence, Naval Control of Shipping
(NCS), Mine Countermeasures, and Administrative and Logistic Support or "augmentation
of the fleet."
Reserve consists of 24 divisions spread across Canada under the command of the Chief of
the Maritime Staff. The divisions - sometimes referred to as "stone frigates"
(static units named as ships but housed in buildings) - enable the Canadian Forces to
maintain a naval presence throughout Canada, thereby fostering community and public
the Special Commission, the Naval Reserve is in "good order, thanks to the assignment
of specific tasks to the reserve, especially the manning of MCDVs. This role has had a
positive impact on morale and training. Naval reservists are generally satisfied that they
are needed and that they can meet their commitments."(24)
b. Militia (Land Force or Army Reserve)
structure, aligned under the Land Force Commands geographic area concept, is now
organized into ten Canadian Brigade Groups (to be reduced to nine by November 1999),(25) commanded by an officer of the rank of colonel, under
the Chief of the Land Staff. This change eliminates the former "District"
structure. Other changes include the retention of four existing Area Headquarters, which
will be reorganized and renamed Divisional Headquarters.
currently a total of 133 Reserve units in 115 locations across the country. For the
purposes of restructuring, each Militia units viability will be assessed on the
basis of operational requirements; capacity to recruit and retain effective strength;
capacity to train individually and collectively; Regular Force support; cost
effectiveness; historical performance and battle honours; and footprint and link to the
community.(26) Total Army Establishments (TAE)
involving common rank structures for Militia and Regular Force units will be implemented
and new Contingency Support Wing (CSW) units will be reviewed so that redundant Militia
units can be considered for CSW roles. This restructuring will take place according to
plans developed by the Land Force Command and is intended to create a more cohesive army
structure with less infrastructure and overhead.
personnel levels stand at approximately 24,000 - including non-effective personnel and
those undergoing release from the service - making the Militia the largest element of the
Primary Reserve. For the first time in many years, the number of personnel in the Militia
exceeds that of the regular army. According to DNDs Performance report for the
period ending 31 March 1998, plans call for Militia numbers to be eventually reduced
to 18,500 (with the capacity to expand to 20,500).
The mission of
the Militia is to enhance the war deterrence capability of the Canadian Forces and to
support the Regular Force in ongoing peacetime tasks - including periodic operational
deployments, peacekeeping and aid to civil power operations (emergencies) - by providing
trained individuals, sub-units and units to augment the Regular Force component.
Deployments might involve elements of the armoured corps, artillery, engineers or
infantry, as well as service battalions and medical companies. The Militia can also serve
as a mobilization basis.
With its small
regular army and a vast, sparsely populated landmass, Canada can only maintain an army
presence in many communities through the Militia. Support is provided to activities that
build citizenship and advance national unity, including ceremonial representation for
events such as Remembrance Day.
c. Air Reserve
The role of
the Air Reserve is to enhance the national emergency capability of the Air Force and to
support the regular component in ongoing peacetime tasks under the command of the Chief of
Reserve planning level allows for an increase to 2,500 personnel for fiscal year 1998-1999
and 3,000 personnel for 1999-2000. As of 31 May 1998, the total strength of the Air
Reserve was 1,785 personnel.
Reserve is an integral part of the Total Air Force; most reserve units have been
consolidated with their Regular Force counterparts into integrated units. Air reservists
are now employed on almost every type of aircraft in the Canadian Forces inventory. The
Air Reserve component of these units keeps the cost affordable, while the mix of regulars
and reserves allows the optimization of readiness and sustainment levels needed to fulfil
the Air Force mandate. Many air reservists have assisted in recent UN, NATO and domestic
operations - including search and rescue, light transport and maritime surveillance -
providing relief to Regular Force support personnel and air and ground crews.
d. Communication Reserve
Communication Reserves annual average strength stands at approximately 1,900
personnel organized into 23 units within five regional groups. According to the DND/CF
Information Kit available from the Departments website, militia field signal
squadrons are to be re-established and the Communication Reserve reduced to 1,500.
The role of
the Communication Reserve is to provide individual and sub-unit support to augment and
sustain combat-capable Information Management and Information Operations. For example, it
provides personnel to augment the Regular Force units of Communication Command and Land
Force Command and takes part in peacekeeping/making and civil emergency operations. The
Communication Reserve also supports other Regular and Reserve Force units during exercises
and operational deployments. It is equipped with strategic communications equipment and
the vehicles necessary for training and deployment.
Commission affirmed that the Communication Reserve "is in good shape and is well
advanced towards the implementation of Total Force" and recommended that the signal
component be transferred to the Land Force Command.(27)
2. Supplementary Reserve
the Special Commission, "considerable numbers of skilled personnel can be found in a
restructured Supplementary Reserve." Consequently, it recommended "that all
honourably released personnel be automatically transferred to the Supplementary Reserve
which] can make a significant and essential contribution to national
mobilization."(28) The Minister did not
accept this recommendation.
Supplementary Reserve comprises some 15,000 officers and non-commissioned members, who may
be retired members of the Regular Force, the Primary Reserve or the Cadet
Instructors Cadre. Members are not required to perform duty or training except when
on active service. They provide a pool of personnel with previous military training who
could be recalled in an emergency. Civilian specialists are also enrolled when there is a
Supplementary Reserve is further divided into:
a. Supplementary Ready Reserve
The SRR is
composed of personnel who have current military qualifications, are medically fit, and are
immediately available for duty. SRR personnel are former Regular Force or Primary Reserve
members, qualified members of other Reserve Force sub-components, and selected personnel
without previous military experience who possess special skills or expertise for which
there is a military requirement. These reservists have volunteered to report for duty
during times of national emergency or mobilization, prior to being placed on active
service by the Governor-in-Council.
b. Supplementary Holding Reserve
includes former members of any component or sub-components of the Canadian Forces, and
selected personnel without previous military experience who possess special skills or
expertise. These members have no current military qualifications nor are they deemed to be
immediately available to undertake duty in time of national emergency, should they be
called up to active service by order of the Governor-in-Council.
3. Cadet Instructors Cadre (CIC)
Instructors Cadre (also known as the Cadet Instructor List or CIL) consists of
approximately 6,500 officers who have undertaken to perform military duty and training as
required but whose primary duties are the supervision, administration and training of Sea,
Army, and Air Cadets. Annually, from September to June, as many as 62,000 cadets aged 12
to 18 parade and train on a weekly basis. More than 20,000 cadets attend summer camps each
year. Although CIC officers are members of the Canadian Forces, the cadets they oversee
are not. The Special Commission stated that the CIC was doing "first-class
4. Canadian Rangers
1947, the Canadian Rangers in all ranks now number almost 3,000. The Rangers are organized
into five Patrol Groups consisting of 130 patrols located across British Columbia, the
Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and
volunteers are prepared for service in the event of an emergency, but are not required to
undergo annual organized military training in order to be considered effective. They are
obliged to serve only when placed on active service. Rangers must be in good health and
must be able to live effectively off the land. Their role is to provide a military
presence in the sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada that
cannot conveniently or economically be covered by other elements of the Canadian Forces.
usually function as individuals and, in conjunction with their civilian occupations,
report any suspicious or unusual activities in their respective areas. They also collect
detailed local information that may be of assistance in their other tasks, or of value to
the Canadian Forces. According to the Department, "[t]hese tasks are generally
performed without pay. The appropriate rate of Reserve pay is paid for local training
exercises, ground search and rescue and participation in other Canadian Forces exercises
where they act as guides, advisors and survival instructors."(29) In an emergency, Rangers assist in immediate local defence
until other forces arrive.
Commission "[found] the Canadian Rangers to be doing valuable work, and commend[ed]
both its enhancement program and the Junior Rangers program trials."(30)
program of note is the Bold Eagle Program which, originating in Saskatchewan and later
extended throughout the Prairie provinces, represents an attempt to recruit Aboriginal
Canadians into the CF Reserve.
D. Operational Issues
the Ministers Monitoring Committee on Change in the Department of National Defence
and the Canadian Forces:
of the Reserves provides a good spot-check of the Departments implementation of the
Total Force concept, which has been in place since the 1987 White Paper on Defence.
Presently, the Navy and Air Force appear to be functioning well as Total Force commands,
but this does not appear to be the case for the Army, where leadership seems reluctant to
accept the broad ramifications of Total Force.(31)
recruitment in the reserves was previously undertaken by individual reserve units,
responsibility for recruiting was transferred to local Canadian Forces Recruiting Centres
(CFRCs) in the late 1980s. Currently, these CFRCs select and enrol personnel for both the
Regular and Reserve Forces. The recruiting process for all services of both forces is
identical, using the same requirements and the same standard.
As Canada is
an increasingly urban country, with between 78% and 85% of the population living in major
urban centres, recruiting in smaller rural areas has become more difficult. To address
this, CFRCs send mobile recruiting teams into remote areas and to individual armouries.
Detractors of this process argue that it somewhat ignores the potential in rural parts of
Canada, but others counter that this imbalance is addressed by efforts like the Rangers.
Furthermore, under the current recruitment system, local militia units are still largely
responsible for attracting recruits; the CFRC tends to handle only the paperwork - for
interviews, documentation, medicals and the recommendation of a military occupation code.
According to the Special Commission, this centralization "should produce savings, and
it is appropriate in the Total Force context that attempts are made to minimize the
differentiation between the regular and the reserve components."(32)
the downside to the process is that bureaucratic delays - such as conducting a reliability
check within the department before a recruit is enrolled - can take at least six months.
As a result, many promising candidates abandon the process for other opportunities. For
the local reserves, this is a source of continued frustration and personal embarrassment
over which they have little or no influence or control, given the autonomy of the CFRCs.
The Special Commission heard numerous complaints about this; many reserve Commanding
Officers argued that recruiting "should be returned to the armoury floor." The
Commission was not convinced that this would be an appropriate solution, however. Instead,
it recommended that the Department of National Defence consider adopting a policy of
"conditional enrollment" and endeavour to complete the process "within one
recruitment issue facing the Reserves is the trend within government, including the
Regular Force, to contract out short-term specialist services to civilians. According to
the Special Commission, this gives rise to two inter-related sub-issues. First, reserve
units could, if advised of the Regular Forces specialist needs, target their
recruitment appropriately. Second, the Regular Force could look first to reserve units
before recruiting specialists directly from the civilian world. The Special Commission
recommended that these outcomes could be facilitated by the harmonization of military and
civilian trade standards.(34)
the Minister has adopted a number of policies seeking to ensure that the Regular Force
will attempt to meet its specialist needs first with reservists, to assist the Reserve
Force to target recruitment of required specialists, and to harmonize civilian and
military qualifications under the Canadian Forces Military Equivalencies Programme
(CFMEP). CFMEP is a CF-wide umbrella program granting partial or full CF qualifications
for recognized civilian qualifications and experience. Guidelines are being developed for
assessing potential equivalencies and it was planned that the necessary policy and program
would be implemented by April 1999. Difficulties with administering proper data and
management systems for the reserves, however, mean that the necessary systems for
administering this will not be operable until 2003. The Monitoring Committee reports that
progress in this (and other) area(s) of administration "appears to be slow" and
that, unless attitudes and institutions change, "reserve issues in the personnel area
of the Department remain low in terms of priorities."(35)
2. Training and Equipment
Total Force concept, the Canadian Forces have established the principle that Regular Force
and Reserve Force members should be trained to the same standard or occupational
specifications for the same tasks. Furthermore, given the increased emphasis on the
augmentation role of the reserves, the quality of training is critical. According to
evidence presented to the Special Commission, it is possible for reserves to achieve
effectiveness "roughly equivalent" to that of regular forces, "at least
after their three months work-up training."(36)
However, many argue that there are too few days available for reservists to train,
largely because of budget constraints.
appears that the current training system is not flexible enough to meet reservists
special needs. For example, it was said that the courses offered by the Regular Force to
upgrade a reservists technical and leadership skills were too long, especially for
those with full-time jobs. To address this problem, the Commission recommended that these
courses be broken into smaller modules offered in shorter segments.
one of the Commission members, the reserves need both to "rethink the individual
training system" and "refocus on team learning."(37) Possibilities for improving the efficiency, cost-value and
effectiveness of reserve training include: using standard training packages, simulators
and modular training aids; exploring the potential for distance education, employing
inter-active video teaching systems and specialized computer software for individualized
training; and ensuring the availability of sufficient weapons and other equipment, high
technology instructional facilities and qualified instructors (who could be drawn from the
local community). Such improvements do not come cheaply, but many have argued that the
cost of not modernizing the reserve training support system would likely be greater.
frequent common training periods integrating both Regular and Reserve Force components at
all levels could result in better training that would be more cost-effective, as equipment
and expertise would be shared. This is important to the effective implementation of the
concept of Total Force, whereby regulars and reservists would serve and work together in
all units and at all levels of headquarters.
the findings of the Special Commission, "one of the principal problems affecting the
reserves was the ease with which one could, with impunity, avoid attending regular
training sessions or, alternatively, simply leave the reserves after a short period of
time." This perceived lack of commitment on the part of some reservists can
contribute significantly to inefficient training, particularly in the Militia, as it means
that basic training must be repeated, leaving little or no time remaining for more
advanced and stimulating work. (Ways to address attrition in the reserves are discussed
better training, however, the reserves can be neither more credible nor more effective
without proper equipment. The Special Commission was told "that some soldiers had
never seen, let alone trained on, the type of military hardware they are expected to
handle proficiently."(38) The establishment
of Militia Training Support Centres (MTSCs) in each of the five Command Areas following
the 1987 White Paper has significantly improved the quality and efficiency of training and
has addressed, to some degree, problems with or lack of equipment. Given current budgetary
constraints, additional arrangements, such as common training periods and pooling of
equipment between units within the same geographic area, could address these shortages at
the local level.
In response to
these recommendations, the Minister of National Defence has agreed to make courses more
accessible to reservists by carving them into two- to three-week segments, where possible.
The Minister has also decided to further integrate regulars and reservists by requiring
that they serve in each others formations. To facilitate this, the administrative
membrane that divides the Regular Force and the Reserve Force will be made more permeable,
allowing consecutive and uninterrupted service between the two components. Finally, the CF
will identify equipment required for training and make pooling arrangements so that units
can have access to that equipment on a regular basis.(39)
In much of the
world, it is common practice for armed force reserves to be "composed of regular
citizens who have other full time occupations but who are trained and equipped so that
they can be deployed if they are needed."(40) This
is not the case in Canada where, except by an order in council, the reserves, though
trained, cannot be deployed unless they volunteer. Thus, service as a Primary Reservist in
Canada can be consensual or obligatory. A member of the Primary Reserve may be employed
with another sub-component of the Reserve Force or with the Regular Force on a voluntary
basis. At the same time, according to the National Defence Act, Primary Reservists
are liable to be called for obligatory service and training in the following
in any case in which a riot
or disturbance of the peace is beyond the powers of the civil authorities to suppress,
reservists may be called out in aid of the civil power (in such an event, a provincial
Attorney General must formally requisition the aid of the reserve in writing to the Chief
of Defence Staff or his designate);
particular regard to deployment of the Militia on United Nations operations, the Chief of
the Land Staff (CLS) released a policy statement on 8 May 1998 authorizing deploying
commanders to include up to 20% reservists in their unit(s). The Armed Forces Council
eliminated this maximum limit in September 1998, but confirmed that 20% was still to be
used as a planning figure.(42)
Canadas operational commitments have received a very positive response from
reservists and the target of 20% for reserve participation in any overseas commitment has
at times been exceeded. For example, reservists comprised over 40% of the battle strength
in Canadas early deployments to the former Yugoslavia and one of every six land
force personnel deployed overseas since 1991 has been a reservist. Reserves have also been
active in national emergencies such as the Manitoba floods in 1997, when they made up some
10% of the total military personnel deployed.
statement also gave deploying commanders discretion, based on mission success and the
welfare of unit personnel, to use formed reserve elements (i.e., sections or platoons) and
to employ qualified junior reserve officers in command positions. In using reservists,
commanders are to take a number of factors into account, including "incremental costs
of reserve augmentation, time available to bring reservists to a ready state, and the
ability of the field force to sustain itself without augmentation."(43) While this implies potentially increased roles for the
reserves in operational missions, the discretionary nature of a commanders decisions
on the size and role of the reserve contribution will not necessarily encourage the use of
formed Militia elements. The Ministers Monitoring Committee has expressed concern
that, "by not dedicating a pre-determined status to the Militia for operational
deployments, commanders have little motivation to include formed Militia elements
[platoons or sections]."(44) The Monitoring
Committee has since argued that by including formed elements in at least the first and
second stages of mobilization (generation and enhancement), the Department could, among
other benefits, create "a planning and deployment regime [that] would enhance reserve
leadership and training."(45)
related issue involves post-deployment treatment. Some have expressed concerns that
reserves participating in operational missions have on their return not received treatment
comparable to that of their regular counterparts. As a result, the Special Commission
recommended that, following deployment, "[s]ufficient time must be allowed for an
orderly transition for the regular to the reserve unit, for adequate medical and dental
assessments, and for a proper evaluation of the individuals susceptibility to
post-traumatic stress syndrome."(46) The
Department has accepted this recommendation without modification.
Defence Planning Guidance indicates that, in contrast to the Regular Force, which is
allocated definite personnel levels, Reserve Force levels remain dependent on funding.
Such ad hoc funding compromises the capacity of the reserves to fulfil their three
roles. Furthermore, the future ability of the reserves to provide high quality personnel
for augmentation purposes (which is their predominant role at present) depends directly on
their ability to recruit, train, advance and retain personnel. All of these activities
have been harmed by cutbacks. Thus, it is difficult to hold reserve units accountable for
the resulting command and control deficiencies. The Ministers Monitoring Committee
has suggested that ensuring that the Reserve Force remains effective will require it to be
included at the front-end of the overall budget process.(47)
of National Defence has acknowledged that the allocation and control of Militia funding
(in particular) needs to be assessed, given that the Regular Force tends to pass cuts
through to the reserves without being fully aware of their effects. In response, the
Minister has accepted the Special Commissions four recommendations in that area.
First, every Militia unit is to be guaranteed funding - which must be devoted entirely and
directly to training - of four training days per month for each of its effective members
between September and May. Second, the Department will "quantify" the level of
funding necessary to exercise command, control and administration of units and units will
be funded accordingly. Third, any delegation of tasks (such as collective training) to
units will be accompanied by the necessary funds. Finally, reserve units will be delegated
with increased authority and flexibility to manage the operations and maintenance costs of
their units and their infrastructure.(48)
the Monitoring Committee remains unconvinced that the Army will be able to implement these
budget-related recommendations. Further uncertainty regarding Reserve Force funding may
compromise the ability of many units to remain viable according to DND standards, so that
even units steeped in historical prominence and battle honours may become vulnerable to
being disbanded or amalgamated.(49)
5. Pay and Benefits
complaint heard by the Special Commission related to the pay system for the reserves:
"reservists frequently went unpaid for many months, or
when they were paid,
the amount was inaccurate and had to be reprocessed."(50)
The Commission made several recommendations to address this situation, one of which was
that the Department totally integrate the pay and personnel systems for the Reserve and
Regular Forces, a recommendation that it is currently implementing.
Commissions report reaffirmed the Departments position that pay for reservists
should continue to be slightly less than Regular Force pay (about 85%). The rationale for
this discrepancy is that Regular Force personnel must be available to be deployed at any
time to operations within and outside Canada. However, despite the 85% rule, the
Commission also noted several inequities in reserve pay scales, which varied not only
according to rank and pay categories, but also according to the number of hours on duty.
For example, reserve corporals received 67.7% of the Regular Force pay rate, whereas
entry-level reserve privates received more than their Regular Force counterparts. In light
of this disparity, the Special Commission recommended that the Department ensure that the
85% guideline be treated as a minimum for the pay rate for each rank.
In 1997, the
Department established a multi-phased Revised Pay System for the Reserves (RPSR),
reaffirming its commitment to bring pay for all reserve ranks into line with the 85% rule.
Further wage-comparability adjustments formerly restricted to Regular Force members now
apply to reservists: pilots, medical and dental officers and lawyers get extra pay, and
holiday and specialist pay are being introduced for all members of the reserves. The RPSR
first became operational in the Land Force Atlantic Area and was expected to be in place
throughout the country by the end of 1997.
In addition to
dealing with pay disparities, the Department was to adopt a Reserve Integrated Information
System Project (RIIP) which would maintain data concerning personnel and training
management, budget control, and logistic support for the reserves. However, RIIP has been
cancelled and is to be replaced by Peoplesoft, a human resource software package
currently used by other Government of Canada departments. This integrated pay system for
the Regular and Reserve Forces is set to be on-line by April 2001.(51)
years, the benefits program for reservists has been improved extensively. According to the
Special Commission, "[t]here is a common perception among reservists that their
benefits are significantly out of step with those afforded regular members of the Canadian
Forces."(52) For the most part, however,
reservists benefits have been comparable to those of regular members since the
introduction of a new benefits package in 1990. This includes Provincial Health Insurance
Coverage and participation in four group insurance plans: the Group Surgical Medical
Insurance Plan, the Canadian Forces Dependants Dental Care Plan, the Reserve Long
Term Disability plan, and the Reserve General Officers Insurance Plan. There are
also the Reserve Term Insurance Plan (RTIP) which provides life insurance coverage, and
the Canadian Forces Reserve Dental Care Plan. More recently, the right to non-duty travel
on Service air flights and additional health benefits have been extended to reservists.
These benefits include the Public Service Health Care Plan, the Service Income Security
Insurance Plan, and Long Term Disability and Maternity Leave/Allowance benefits.(53)
The area of
pension benefits is one where reservists benefits have differed notably from those
of the Regular Force members.(54) Reservists are
not covered by the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act and do not qualify for any
kind of pension following their service with the Reserve Force. Furthermore, unlike
regular CF members, reservists can have their reserve service recognized for the purpose
of an elective contribution to the pension plan only if they serve for a continuous period
of at least six months. In an attempt to address this issue, the Department created the
Reserve Force Retirement Gratuity (RFRG) in September 1997. In essence, the RFRG (which
does not apply to the 5,000 officers of the Cadet Instructor Cadre) is not a pension, but
rather a form of severance pay based on the regular CF severance package. This package is
retroactive to April 1997 and allows a reservist with 30 years and more of service to
receive seven days pay per year of service to a maximum of 210 days. Persons with at
least 10 but fewer than 20 years of service can receive 3.5 days worth of pay per
year. Reservists with less than 10 years of service do not qualify for this benefit.
who suffers an injury, disease or illness during reserve service will be paid while in
hospital or while waiting to return to civilian employment. In cases of a serious
disability, this compensation can cover the period until the payments of a disability
pension under the Pension Act begin. Such compensation is paid at the rate of pay
at the time of the injury or illness leading to the disability.
the mid-1990s, it was recognised that some personnel involved in peacekeeping operations
needed help to deal with critical incident stress. Measures were taken to prepare
personnel more adequately prior to deployment. Many returning reservists who had
previously not had access to services for coping with critical incident stress are now
part of a program designed to contact all individual peacekeepers on a regular basis after
they have been deployed.
There is very
little discussion in the literature of the promotion system within the Reserve Force.
However, two areas of concern that affect rank appear to recur. The first is the lack of
availability and access to the technical and leadership training necessary for
advancement. Many reservists progress through the ranks appears to be impeded by
their inability to attend training offered by the Regular Force. Solutions for this, such
as making training more flexible, have already been discussed above.
issue hinges on the fact that many reservists are reduced by a rank while on operational
missions such as peacekeeping duties. Currently, Class "C" reservists are paid
the existing Regular Force rate for which they qualify according to Regular
Force standards. This is not necessarily the rate applicable to the reservists
substantive rank. While many reservists accept the rationale that this treatment is based
on the fact that they have less experience than regulars for filling a particular
position, the Special Commission maintained that such reductions constitute
discrimination. The Ministers Monitoring Committee has reported that the Assistant
Deputy Minister for Human Resources is reviewing this policy. If it is amended, reservists
on Class "C" service will not be required to drop their rank in order to fill
Canadas rate of attrition in the military is roughly comparable to that of other
countries - between 25% and 30% annually - attrition is considered a problem in the
Canadian reserves, especially within the Militia. Part of this can be explained by the
fact that around 35% of reservists are high school and college students whose attrition
levels rise once their education is completed. As well, as with any volunteer
organization, dissatisfied members are likely to vote with their feet. These departures
can be costly to the Canadian Forces, since low retention rates bring the obvious and
recurring cost of continually having to train new personnel.
frequently cited reasons for leaving the reserves include conflicts with a civilian job,
educational and/or family commitments, and, on a positive note, the decision to join the
Regular Force. Most reasons are beyond the control of the Canadian Forces, with the
exception of the lack of job security. This is a major obstacle for reservists, who must
request leave from their civilian work for annual training courses or deployment. The
Canadian Forces Liaison Council or CLFC (formerly the National Employer Support Committee)
has attempted to persuade corporations and businesses to add job security to the contracts
of their reservist employees. Unfortunately, the moral suasion of the CFLC has not
significantly improved such voluntary support for reservists by employers. The government
has attempted to lead the way by including special provisions for its employees who serve
with the Reserve Force. The Special Commission recommended that the government go further
by enacting some form of legislation - such as that in Australia, Britain and New Zealand
- to protect reservists civilian jobs; however, this suggestion was rejected by the
Minister of National Defence as being too difficult to implement. Alternatives might
include providing tax incentives or other bonuses to businesses who employ and guarantee
the job of a reservist.
leading to attrition include problems with the pay system, the lack of guaranteed minimum
days of employment, and unclear or unenforceable training obligations. Members of the
Militia also cite the lack of a defined role and inadequate training equipment.(56) Many of these issues are currently being
addressed by the Department, as described elsewhere in this document.
extremely costly to maintain regular armed forces, not just in Canada, but throughout the
world. Thus, a fundamental tenet supporting the use of the Reserve Force is that "the
cost to the country and its taxpayers is less than having a standing contingent of
full-time Regulars."(57) The country still
has guaranteed personnel with military training who can be deployed on operations when and
for as long as they are needed and can then be removed from the full-time payroll and
returned to their civilian employers and part-time reserve service.
according to the 1992 Auditor Generals Report, the Department of National Defence
"[did] not know the true costs and capabilities of the Reserves or how they compare
with Regular Forces, because its accounting and management information systems [could not]
readily produce the necessary data."(58)
According to the Departments 1998-99 Report on Plans and Priorities, "[t]he
Primary Reserve accounts for approximately 9.6% of the total Defence Services
Program"(59) with a total actual expenditure in
1997-1998 of $978,464,000. Recent changes to reporting provide greater clarity on the make
up of the total costs of the Primary Reserve. Nonetheless, the 1995 Special Commission
reaffirmed that the Departments budgeting process was unable to distinguish all
items intended for reserve use and had particular difficulty with evaluating the
operational or capital costs shared with the Regular Force. While precise accounting has
not so far been possible, the issue is currently being addressed by the Reserve Advisor to
the Chief of Land Staff.(60)
its inability to establish the "precise total cost of the reserve," the Special
Commission concluded that reservists are a "good bargain."(61) By contrast, while it is true that individual reservists receive
less pay than their Regular Force counterparts, the Auditor General "could find no
analysis to support the Departments assumption that, collectively, Reserves cost
significantly less than Regulars for a comparable level of capability"(62) (emphasis added). Although some dispute these
figures, the Auditor Generals report further concluded that, according to a case
study, maintaining Regular Force units was less than 10% more expensive than maintaining
their Militia counterparts; reserve units are not as cost-effective as Regular Force
units; and, when operational readiness is included in the calculation, the Regular Force
outstrips the Reserve Force. Thus, it might be difficult to determine "the actual
costs of realigning the regular/reserve mix."(63)
cost, according to the Special Commissions Report, is that basic military training
for each Militia recruit costs approximately $20,000. The costs in the other services are
similar. Given that number, and the knowledge that reserve costs are increased by
attrition and the consequent need to retrain, the Special Commission recommended that a
system of bonuses be developed to encourage longer service with the reserves. For example,
a lump sum of $2,000 could be payable upon completion of a three-year term. The Commission
argued that this would represent "a clear saving: the cost of the bonus is
substantially less than the cost of training a new recruit."(64)
9. Relations with Regular Force
between the regular and reserve components of the Canadian Forces (particularly in the
Land Force) began when "permanent force" Army units were demarcated from Militia
units. This distinction was further exacerbated by the concept of a "30-day war
syndrome" whereby it was established that soldiers in Militia units could not meet
appropriate standards for deployment within a 30-day timeframe. Militia units were hence
not viewed as useful for combat purposes and resources were directed to the development of
regular forces. Consequently, the Militias capability further degenerated, real
differences "became chronic," and two separate cultures emerged.(65)
fact that the Regular and Reserve Forces now increasingly work together on operations,
this separation persists today. According to the Special Commission, it "remains a
major impediment to the ideal of Total Force."(66)
Interestingly enough, it appears that, while the Naval and Communication Reserves and the
Air Reserve have mostly overcome these divisions, the gap between regulars and reserves is
most pronounced in the Land Force.(67) Most
observers agree that reconciliation between the reserve and regular components of the Air
Force and Navy has been possible because of the development of distinct yet complementary
roles for each component of those services; this has not been achieved in the Land Force.
the Regular Force cite recent audits of Land Force elements in the United States and
Canada that reveal significant weakness in the abilities of reserve officers.(68) They point out that the reserves have
traditionally had lower individual physical and training standards, thereby endangering
unit efficiency and morale; moreover, Militia officers and non-commissioned members (NCMs)
tend to be viewed as "militarily inferior," with lower levels of discipline and
inadequate experience.(69) To be fair, regulars
have an edge over reservists in terms of the amount of time they can devote to training
and all things military. Indeed, "the ability to be "professional" at any
is directly proportionate to the amount of time awarded to it."(70) However, according to Major General S.T. MacDonald,
while there is a difference between reservists and regulars on the day a unit comes
together for its initial three-month pre-deployment training, there is no appreciable
difference at the end of that three months. Differences may remain in terms of experience,
but in terms of standards and battle task skills, reservists and regulars are
"comparable," particularly at the lower levels of non-commissioned members.(71)
appreciate that a unique understanding of local communities and traditions is possessed by
the reservists. By the nature of their ability to lead "double lives,"
reservists are well-organized and effective time-managers, well equipped to deal with
day-to-day issues. As a result, according to the Special Commission, "[t]he Militia
] resents what it sees as the condescending attitude of regulars [
] And it
holds that the Militia have been maltreated or misused by regulars."(72)
between CF components, which has developed over several decades, will take time to change.
Reconciliation might be facilitated by increased permeability between the Regular and
Reserve Forces. The Special Commission observed the benefits of contact between the two,
finding that, "after an initial period of mutual accommodation, regulars and
reservists treated each other, at least at the lower rank levels, as if they were one and
the same, all genuine members of Total Force."(73)
Thus, each of the regulars and the reservists can come to know and increasingly
accept the limitations and strengths of the other. According to the Ministers
Monitoring Committee, "[t]he Director General (Reserves and Cadets) reports that
cross-posting between the Regular and Reserve Force is an established policy."(74) This effort recognizes that "mutual respect
comes from working together to a common goal, as much as possible to a common standard,
and as much as possible with a common set of [but not identical] compensations and
benefits in place."(75) It be hoped that the
development of identical training and equipment standards, qualifications and benefits
will put Reserve and Regular Forces on a more equal footing and contribute to more unified
SUMMARY OF OPTIONS AND COMMENTARY
In the past,
Canadian defence policy has mobilized regular full-time armed forces, primary active
reserves, secondary reserves and civilians in various configurations to respond to crises,
both internal and external to the country. Certain benefits and limitations characterize
each of these sectors, depending on the situation in which they are placed.(76)
Force is fully capable of meeting expanded peacetime commitments. In time of war, regulars
require little mobilization and can achieve necessary strengths through augmentation of
their numbers and appropriate deployment. The relatively small size of the Regular Force,
however, limits the scope of its operations. In wartime, Canada would have to go beyond
the augmentation and deployment of the Regular Force in order to mobilize adequate numbers
The benefit of
involving Primary Reserves lies in the speed with which they can be mobilized for service.
In addition to the augmentation of the Regular Force, some mobilization of the Primary
Reserves is essential for situations of home defence requiring a lower training standard
than is necessary for regular forces. For wartime activities, however, the Primary
Reserves will often require training, equipment and experience if they are to be used for
immediate expansion of the regulars. In this scenario, it is the regular force that
"is committed to battle" and the Primary Reserves that are "capable of
to sustain fighting elements and to expand
Supplementary Reserves have significant military training and experience. Their
potentially high numbers reflect attrition from both the Regular Force and the Primary
Reserve components of the armed forces, and they incur costs only through maintenance of
an accurate and current list. However, as is currently the case in Canada, "[t]his
list has often been neglected, and its members do not receive instructions for
mobilization."(79) Otherwise, the
Supplementary Reserves would provide a significant, well-trained and inexpensive base for
Canadian civilian population with no military experience represents the largest resource
in the event of a national mobilization. However, variables limiting the use of civilians
include "the length of time needed to train them, the disruption of the work force,
the uncertain supply of volunteers, and the political risks of conscription."(80)
country in the world, "the proportional allocation of population in the above
categories differs."(81) Each state gives
different weight to the various components that can serve for mobilization and defines the
values that will confine its options. Nonetheless, many options do exist. There is a wide
variety of possible force configurations, beginning with the basic battalion with "a
minimum ratio of 10% full-timers to 90% part-timers."(82)
peacetime conscription - the norm in most NATO states (although many are now moving away
from it) - is not an option. Rather, Canadians have opted for a relatively small,
all-volunteer force. Recent strategic, geopolitical and financial realities have meant
that it is less and less possible to meet all personnel requirements through the Regular
Force. The current ratio of active regulars to reservists in Canada is approximately 2
to1. If one includes the supplementary forces in this calculation, the ratio of regular to
reserve drops to 1.4 to 1. The current trend in Canada is shifting increasingly toward
greater use of the Reserve Force, particularly the Primary Reserve, to achieve a Total
argue for a reversal of this trend, citing the fact that reservists "still fall very
short of the equal partnership envisaged by government officials," that "combat
reservists and regulars are not interchangeable, nor are they equals," and that
over-reliance on reserve units "would be foolhardy" in a time when rapid
deployment remains a requirement. These proponents of a larger standing army (and, one can
assume, air force and navy) maintain that reserves are inadequate "[i]f Canada wants
a well-trained, well equipped, world class [force] that can serve
on a full time
for a return of the army "to a territorial configuration [with] the militia [as] a
fundamental and irrevocable cornerstone,"(85)
asserting that "[r]educed manning and readiness levels in
the Regular Force
are givens" and that the reservists are the only option to fill the capability gap.(86) Advocates of the reserves would be quick to point out
that "Canadas reserves are now providing good return for the relatively low
investment by the Canadian Government in defence budget"(87) and that "[r]eserves give greater flexibility, more [and]
longer term options to government."(88) They would
also be sure to assert that the reserves provide the only visible presence of the Canadian
Forces in most of Canada and, beyond their military value, serve the more general
objective of national unity.
between these two perspectives falls the effort to restructure the reserves, and indeed
the entire Canadian Forces, into a configuration that will best respond to Canadas
defence needs within current fiscal and social confines. Efforts will seek to preserve
tradition as much as is possible and to ensure that all members of the Canadian Forces
receive proper treatment. According to the Special Commission, "regulars and reserves
must serve together in headquarters and in units, and
the possibility of a career
pattern permitting greater movement between the Regular and the Reserve Forces [must] be
explored."(89) Inequities and inefficiencies
must be addressed and balanced against cost and operational effectiveness. Both Regular
and Reserve Forces must remain flexible enough to adapt to inevitable changes.(90)
Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves wrote that "Canada is an unmilitary
nation. Though Canadians have a proud record of service in war and, more recently, in
peacekeeping operations, there is no doubt that, wartime aside, the public is now and has
been remarkably uninterested in the Canadian Forces."(91)
This lack of public interest, combined with the Canadian tradition of avoiding high
defence spending in peacetime, has expressed itself in recent years in the form of massive
cuts to the defence budget. Restructuring the Canadian Forces in this context is
the Canadian army, in particular, has always taken the shape of some variant of the
"Total Force" concept. It has consisted of a partnership between both permanent
and reserve components, in varying strengths and capabilities "depending on the world
situation and our national agenda."(92) Indeed,
just like the regulars, the reserves have been and continue to be a vital component of the
commentators agree that the Government of Canada must define more clearly its expectations
for the various stages of mobilization and the relative importance of the components of
its armed forces. Only with an effective mobilization strategy will Canada be sufficiently
prepared to defend its national security.
Lt.-Gen. C.H. "Single Force, Multiple Problems." Forum 8:12-16 (Fall
Department of National Defence. Backgrounder. The Canadian Forces Reserves.
Document BG98-032(A), 25 June 1999
Department of National Defence. Backgrounder. The Reserves. 9 December 1993.
Department of National Defence. Backgrounder. Update on Restructuring of the Reserves.
Document BG-96.043. 21 November 1996
Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Information Kit. Restructuring the
Reserves. Electronic version http://www.dnd.ca/menu/infokit/2_6_e.HTM,
as of 22 February 1999
Department of National Defence. "Land Force Reserve Restructure (LFRR)
Commanders Planning Guidance." Document 3372-1901-6-1. 4 February 1999
Department of National Defence. Ministers Monitoring Committee on Change in the
Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Interim Report - 1998.
Chapter 8, ("The Reserves").
as of 4 February 1999
Department of National Defence. Ministers Monitoring Committee on Change in the
Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Interim Report - 1999.
Chapter 8 ("The Reserves and Cadet Issues").
as of 12 July 1999
Minister of Public Works and Government Services. National Defence 1998-99 Estimates:
Part III - Report on Plans and Priorities. Part 11 (p. 122-128)
Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. National Defence Estimates:
Performance Report for the Period Ending March 31, 1998. Annex A (Reserve Force)
of the Auditor General. 1992 Report of the Auditor General. "Chapter 18:
Department of National Defence - The Canadian Forces Reserves."
of the Special Joint Committee on Canadas Defence Policy: Security in a Changing
World. Publications Service, Parliamentary Publications Directorate, 1994
Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves. Report. Canada
Communication Group - Publishing, Public Works and Government Services, Ottawa, 1995,
Institute of Strategic Studies (CISS). Jim Hanson and Peter Hammerschmidt (eds.). The
Past, Present and Future of the Militia. CISS Annual Spring Seminar 1998
R.W. "Citizen Soldiers." Forum 8:23-31, Fall 1993.
Defence Associations (CDA). Institute for Security and Defence. XII Annual Seminar: The
Future of the Reserves (Seminar Proceedings). January 1996.
F. "Canadian Military Mobilization." Armed Forces and Society,
Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 1989, p. 37-57
J.C. "Moving Slowly toward Total Force." Forum 7(2):12-14, June 1992
"Summary of the Report from the Special Commission on the Restructuring of the
Reserves." Canadian Defence Quarterly, 25(3):15-18, March 1996
LGen. D. "Canadas Air Reserve: A Continuing Success Story." Forum
7(3):13-16, September 1992
Lt.-Col. A.R.W. "Conference of Defence Associations, Task Force Study of Reserves in
the Total Force." Forum 7(4):12-14, January 1993.
Michael. "Revitalizing the Reserves: Lets Get Going." Defence
Associations National Network, National Network News, Vol. 4, No. 2, April
Commodore J.-C. "La Réserve Navale Canadienne: Une partie constituante
" Forum 8:30-34, Spring 1993
"A Never-Ending Study: The Reserves." Defence Associations National Network,
National Network News, Vol. 4, No. 3, July 1997.
"Canadas Army of the Future - a New Concept." Defence Associations
National Network featured article.
(Ret) R.I. "Army Regular and Militia as a Team?" Defence Associations
National Network, National Network News, Vol. 4, No. 1, January 1997.
Roger. "Teaching Reservists to Fight." Forum 8:32-35, Fall 1993
Roger. "Total Force Army or Total Farce: A Critical View of Canadas New
Military Structure." Forum 7(2):15-16, June 1992
Laurie. "Canadas Reserve: A Tale of Woe." Forum 7(1):18-19,
Willett, T.C. A
Heritage at Risk: The Canadian Militia as a Social Institution. IUS Special Editions
on Armed Forces and Society No.1, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1987, 269 p.
Terence C. "The Reserve Forces of Canada." Armed Forces and Society
16(1):59-76, Fall 1989
Additional sources of information on the Canadian Forces Reserves current as of September
1996 are included on an electronic list at http://www.cfcsc.dnd.ca/irc/bib/reserv.html
(1) See Peter F. Dawson, "Canadian Military
Mobilization," Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Fall 1989),
p. 38. According to Dawson, "[e]xternal factors largely determine the demand
for, rather than the supply of, forces. They involve the nature, strength, and direction
of threats against which the use of force is anticipated." These include the type of
threat, the variety of responses required, the time available between the manifestation of
the threat and the requirement for forces to be mobilized, and the gap between peacetime
and wartime strength requirements. Dawson claims that, of these, the most important is
change in the perception of threat. Alternatively, "[a]lthough internal factors
affect requirements by influencing foreign policy, their impact is largely on the supply
side - the ability to meet needs." Internal factors include economic costs (defence
spending), public opinion (on the need for defence), and internal politics; the most
important of these is cost.
(2) Dawson provides a detailed version of the history of the reserves
in Canada up to 1989 and includes analyses of the factors that have influenced the various
approaches to Canadian defence.
(3) "Levée en masse" refers to a situation in which
every citizen, "though effectively untrained in formal military operations, was
expected and required to defend both [
] home and [
] community against the
enemies that threatened the tiny colonies." Canada, Special Commission on the
Restructuring of the Reserves: Report, Canada Communication Group - Publishing, Public
Works and Government Services, Ottawa, 1995, p. 10 [hereafter SCRR].
(4) Ibid., p. 11.
(5) Dawson (1989), p. 46.
(6) One definition of the Total Force concept is: "A force
composed of two mutually supporting and complementary components (Regular and Reserve)
which together can provide one integral operational army during emergencies and
wartime": Col. R.W. Chisholm, "Citizen Soldiers," Forum 8:23-31
(Fall 1993), p. 24.
the 1987 White Paper on defence: "The Canadian Forces are a unified force of
maritime, land and air elements. Their structure is based on a Total Force concept that
integrates full- and part-time military personnel to provide multi-purpose, combat-capable
armed forces. Under the Total Force concept, Regular Forces are maintained to provide the
Government with a ready response capability; Reserve Forces are intended as augmentation
and sustainment for Regular units, and, in some cases, for tasks that are not performed by
Regular Forces [
]. The concept also provides the framework for training and
equipping the Reserves."
(7) Canada, Report of the Special Joint Committee on Canadas
Defence Policy: Security in a Changing World, Publications Service, Parliamentary
Publications Directorate, 1994, p. 36.
(8) SCRR, p. 10.
(9) Canada, Department of National Defence, Ministers Monitoring
Committee on Change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces, Interim
Report - 1998, Chapter 1, p. 2; electronic version http://www.dnd.ca/menu/press/Reports/Changes/Eng/reserv_e.htm
[hereafter MCCDND (1998)].
(10) Canada, Department of National Defence, Ministers
Monitoring Committee on Change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian
Forces, Interim Report - 1999, Chapter 8 (The Reserves and Cadet Issues), passim;
[hereafter MCCDND (1999)].
(11) DND Backgrounder, The Reserves, 9 December 1993, p. 2.
(12) SCRR, p. 18.
(13) MCCDND (1999), p. 103.
(14) Dawson (1989), p. 37.
(15) 1994 Defence White Paper, p. 44.
(16) SCRR, p. i.
(17) MCCDND (1998).
(18) MCCDND (1999), p. 103-104.
(19) MCCDND (1998).
(20) MCCDND (1999), p. 104.
(21) 1994 Defence White Paper, p. 44.
(22) SCRR, p. 20.
(23) The other two are the Regular Force and the Special Force.
"The Regular Force is defined as a component of the Canadian Forces that
consists of officers and non-commissioned members who are enrolled for continuing,
full-time military service. The Special Force is a component of the Canadian Forces
which the Governor-in-Council may establish in an emergency or in response to
Canadas international commitments, as occurred, for example, in the Korean
conflict." See ibid., note 3, p. 13.
(24) SCRR, p. i.
(25) The Special Commission recommended in 1995 that the "Militia
districts be disbanded and replaced by seven Militia Brigade Groups, with Land Force
Atlantic Area having one brigade group and the other areas each having two. Each brigade
group would be responsible for the training and administration of nine to eleven
units." Ibid., p. ii.
number of Militia Brigade Groups was one of the most controversial issues discussed during
the examination of the Special Commission report by SCONDVA. The Committees own
report called for the replacement of the Militia Districts by nine rather than seven
Militia Brigade Groups, arguing that, because of population distribution and geographic
considerations, both the Western and Central Areas should have an extra Brigade Group. The
members of the Reform Party on the Committee issued a separate report calling for the
Western Area to be divided into two Areas, one for British Columbia (with one Brigade
Group) and one for the rest of Western Canada.
(26) MCCDND (1999), p. 105.
(27) SCRR. p. ii.
(28) Ibid., p. i.
(29) Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada,
National Defence Estimates: Performance Report for the Period Ending March 31, 1998,
Annex A (Reserve Force), p. A-5 [hereafter PWGSC, Performance Report FY98].
(30) SCRR, p. iii.
(31) MCCDND (1998).
(32) SCRR, p. 52.
(34) Ibid., p. 52-53.
(35) MCCDND (1999), p. 110-111.
(36) SCRR, p. 55.
(37) Lt.-Gen. C.H. Belzile, "Single Force, Multiple
Problems," Forum 8, Fall 1993, p. 15.
(38) SCRR, p. 56.
(39) MCCDND (1998).
(40) Buzz Nixon, "A Never-Ending Study: The Reserves", Defence
Associations National Network, National Network News Vol. 4, No. 3, July
1997; electronic version http://www.sfu.ca/~dann/nn4-3_4.htm
(41) SCRR, p. 60-61.
(42) MCCDND (1999), p. 102.
(43) MCCDND (1998).
(45) MCCDND (1999), p. 102.
(46) SCRR, p. 19.
(47) MCCDND (1999), p. 107-108.
(48) MCCDND (1998).
(50) SCRR, p. 65.
(51) MCCDND (1999), p. 112.
(52) SCRR, p. 62.
(53) DND Backgrounder, The Reserves, p. 2.
(54) PWGSC, Performance Report FY98, Annex A (Reserve Force),
(55) MCCDND (1998).
(56) SCRR, p. 57.
(57) Chisholm (1993), p. 31.
(58) OAG, 1992 Report, para.18.30.
(59) Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, National
Defence 1998-99 Estimates: Part III - Report on Plans and Priorities, Part 11,
(60) MCCDND (1998).
(61) SCRR, p. 15.
(62) OAG, 1992 Report, para. 18.30.
(63) LGen J.C. Gervais, "Moving Slowly toward Total Force," Forum,
Vol. 7, No. 2, June 1992, p. 13.
(64) SCRR, p. 57.
(65) Belzile (1993), p. 13.
(66) SCRR, p. 15.
(68) Roger Thompson, "Teaching Reservists to Fight," Forum,
Vol. 8, Fall 1993, p. 33.
(69) SCRR, p. 16.
(70) Chisholm (1993), p. 24.
(71) SCONDVA, 9 December 1997, Evidence, electronic
(72) SCRR, p. 16.
(73) Ibid., p. 55.
(74) MCCDND (1998).
(75) SCONDVA, 9 December 1997, Evidence, electronic
(76) Dawson (1989), p. 38-39 and 52-54.
(77) Ibid., p. 52.
(78) Ibid., p. 55.
(79) Ibid., p. 53.
(80) Ibid., p. 54.
(81) Ibid., p. 39.
(82) Belzile (1993), p. 15.
(83) DND Backgrounder, The Reserves, p. 6.
(84) Thompson (1993), p. 35.
(85) Belzile (1993), p. 13.
(86) Laurie Watson, "Canadas Reserve: A Tale of Woe," Forum,
Vol. 7, No. 1, February 1992, p. 19.
(87) Chisholm (1993), p. 31.
(88) Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) Institute for Security
and Defence, XII Annual Seminar: The Future of the Reserves (Seminar Proceedings),
January 1996; electronic version
(see Klepaks presentation at http://www.cda-cdai.ca/library/klepak.htm).
(89) SCRR, p. iii.
(90) For example, according to a DND document, "Land Force
Reserve Restructure (LFRR) Commanders Planning Guidance" (4 February 1999),
p. 11-12, "[u]nit identity need not be lost due to a change in unit role.
Re-roling or conversion of units to new roles (such as infantry to armour or air defence)
is not new to the Reserves. As much as possible, unit identity and insignia will be
retained, even if the unit is converted to a new role in a different branch."
(91) SCRR, p. 10.
(92) Gervais (1992), p. 14.
(93) DND Backgrounder, The Reserves, p. 6.