Recruitment, retention and equipment the focus of the Canadian Army Reserve renewal

Article / June 30, 2016 / Project number: 16-0209

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Ottawa, Ontario  - Upgraded radios are just one part of a multifaceted effort by the Canadian Army (CA) to ensure the Army Reserve remains well-equipped and have all resources necessary to fulfill its mandate to support the Army’s mission.

Radios currently in use by Reservists are being upgraded and installed in vehicles. Officials are currently shopping for brand new ones for dismounted operations that will be available in 2017. The quantity of radios available during the upgrade period will be reduced but the CA will ensure, through careful management and planning, that enough are available for the highest priority training and tasks.

Reservists continue to benefit from training courses available that are necessary to maintain a trained force for operations.   In fact, the Canadian Army trains 11,000 reservists annually on courses from Private to Lieutenant Colonel.  The number of courses increased in 2014/15 from the previous year and will see a steady state in 2015/16.  The CA continues to generate and train ten Territorial Battalion Groups and four Arctic Company Response Groups each year.

Professional development for commanders and non-commissioned members are a high priority in the CA and Reserve members benefit from the Unit Commanders Training Course (UCTC). Offered at the Canadian Army Command and Staff College in Kingston, the UCTC is a course for Regular and Reserve Force members that delivers high quality, relevant and progressive education and training to prepare officers and non-commissioned members for command and staff positions at the tactical level.

Improving recruitment and retention in the Army Reserve are also high priorities for the CA. General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), issued a directive last year to address issues in this area. In response, recruiting and retention strategies are being implemented that will remove hurdles associated with the recruitment process and a retention strategy has been developed for current members.

That CDS directive also gave specific guidance to add 1,500 personnel to the overall Reserve Force, 950 of which will be assigned to the Army Reserve. In addition to this, and the refreshed recruitment strategy, the Reserve will expand its Civil-Military Pilot Initiative, which seeks to attract student recruits, to include the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia as well as a location in Atlantic Canada.

These efforts are all in support of an overall effort to increase the Army Reserve ranks to 21,000 personnel.

The CA is now reviewing its Reserve funding model as part of an initiative launched by the Deputy Commander of the Army earlier this year. That process is currently in an information gathering stage that includes consultation with key personnel, including the Deputy Commanders of all Reserve Brigades.

Brigadier General Rob Roy MacKenzie, Chief of Staff of the Army Reserve and principal advisor to the Commander of the Canadian Army on Reserve issues said the CA has been given seven specific tasks with regard to Reserve enhancement.

“The Reserve is an integral component of the Canadian Army,” he added. “We are one Army, one team, one vision.”

Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander of the Canadian Army, said leadership has been one of the foundations of his command and that he is confident “we have the right type of leaders in the Army team to overcome our current challenges.”

“While there remains work to be done,” he added, “I am proud of the recent initiatives and ongoing changes we are making to the Army Reserve so that they may continue to support the needs of the Government of Canada.

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

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