Thursday, March 12, 2009

CF to "mess with" the Army Reserve

The more time I spend here at CFB Greenwood, the more impressed I am with the folks who work here. This afternoon at French class, one of our students, a pilot with 413 Search and Rescue Squadron, did not return after lunch. He and his crew are probably out as I type this, circling over the Atlantic looking for survivors of the helicopter that crashed today en route to a Hibernia oil rig. God speed them.

However, the concerns of an Air Force base in the Reg Force are quite different from those in the Army Reserve. While the following is not on the radar screen here at Greenwood, I've no doubt that at a lot of armouries and drill halls across the country, this story, carried on CBC News Wednesday of this week, is being discussed with much apprehension and emotion.

Army looking to overhaul reserves through amalgamation

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | 11:35 AM ET

The Canadian Armed Forces are set to amalgamate some of the current 140 regiments into a smaller number of bigger units, CBC News has learned.

The changes would come into effect after Canada concludes its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2011.

"We are going to mess with the basic structure of the army reserve," Brig.-Gen. Gary O'Brien, the head of the army reserve, told CBC News in an interview. "It isn't about closing more locations or getting smaller — it's about getting more efficient."

Many of the army's reserve units have about 100 soldiers each, and those regiments are often too small to train for large operations, O'Brien said.

He also said it's hard to find qualified soldiers to lead units, and creating a smaller number of larger units is an attempt to address that problem.

Changes 'would be an upsetting manoeuvre'
But Lt.-Col. John Selkirk, executive director of Reserves 2000, an interest group that lobbies on behalf of reservists, said the plan could backfire.

"It certainly would be an upsetting manoeuvre for many, many units," Selkirk told CBC News. He said many units are institutions that bring soldiers and veterans together through shared identity, geography and history.

"If you start to tamper with that, then the very fabric that makes up our Canadian army could be torn," he said.

Selkirk says the proposed plan may cause an exodus of experienced troops from the army.

Canada's Armed Forces currently employs around 65,000 full time personnel, and there are an additional 24,000 reservists.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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