Special Commission on the Restructuring of the
In April 1995 the Honourable David Collenette,
Minister of National Defence, appointed an external review committee to be known
as the Special Commission on the Restructuring of the Reserves, chaired by the
Right Honourable Brian Dickson. The Minister also appointed Lieutenant-General
Charles H. Belzile (Ret.) and Professor Jack L. Granatstein as Co-commissioners.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee noted
that the Government's 1994 White Paper on Defence identified "the need to
restructure Canada's Reserve Forces, notably the Militia, with the aim of
enhancing their ability to respond to the requirements of the new global
The Terms of Reference also referred to 1992
Auditor General's report stating that the Department of National Defence was not
getting full value for money spent on the Primary and Supplementary Reserves.
The Committee felt that while increasing the reserves' effectiveness both
operationally and economically justified the establishment of the Commission,
the Terms of Reference underscored the importance of maintaining the traditions
of the reserves "that make them so important a bridge between the Canadian
Forces and the people they serve."
The Terms of Reference also set out some
``general restructuring guidelines
Reservists were essentially part-time
servicemen and servicewomen.
The Primary Reserve and the Supplementary
Reserve were to be structured to provide a greater contribution to existing
operational commitments. Since various elements of the Primary Reserve
supported different Regular Force missions, hence different organizational and
managerial approaches were seen to be possibly necessary.
The structure of the Primary Reserve and the
Supplementary Reserve was to be fully compatible with a new mobilization
concept, but given resource limitations, any capability beyond that required
for "force enhancement" was to be achieved at nominal cost.
The review was to address ways whereby the
Primary Reserve command, control and administrative and support "overhead"
could be reduced. Command and control elements were to be streamlined and
officer/NCM ratios reviewed, with the goal of reducing command and control
elements to a level consistent with operational and administrative
The new Reserve structure was to be compatible
with the "Total Force" concept.
Consideration was to be given to the idea of
assigning selected Regular Force service support tasks such as medical,
logistics, communications, information services and transportation to the
Primary Reserve "where this (made) operational and economic sense."
Improvements in effectiveness and efficiency
were to be sought in all aspects of the operations and the structure of the
Primary Reserve, including rationalization of infrastructure, consolidation of
units, and the elimination of any redundant elements or sub-components.
A strength of 23,000 for the Primary Reserve
noted in the White Paper was to be the maximum (ceiling) to be funded in the
immediate future. The revised structure was to be designed to ensure that the
majority of Reserve funding available was used to engage the maximum number of
reservists, consistent with operational requirements and the training and
employment opportunities available to Reserve personnel.
Although unit traditions, heritage,
socio-economic factors and regional sensitivities were to be considered in
restructuring options, the overriding criteria was to be CF [Canadian Forces]
operational requirements: unit effectiveness and efficiency, the demographic
distribution of reservists, available infrastructure and the location of
Regular Force bases and units.
Consideration was to be given to establishing
differing levels of ``readiness for the various elements of the Reserves.
In this context the Commission was given the
The Commission will examine and make
recommendations concerning the role, structure and employment of the Canadian
Forces Reserve Force and options for restructuring the Force, notably the
Primary and Supplementary Reserve sub-components thereof, to maximize their
operational and cost effectiveness and, without restricting the generality of
the foregoing, the following matters:
The most suitable roles, missions, tasks and
structure for each element of the Primary Reserve and of the Supplementary
Reserve under the new mobilization concept.
The most suitable command and control
arrangements to achieve an effective and efficient use of scarce Reserve
The level of training required within all
components of the Primary Reserve to achieve maximum effectiveness and
How the elements of the Primary Reserve can
contribute more effectively and efficiently to Canada's defence commitments,
and support other government departments and agencies.
Specialist functions, if any, that could be
effectively performed by elements of the Primary Reserve.
The options available to the government on the
organization and control of the Primary and Supplementary Reserves.
Ways and means whereby the responsiveness and
productivity of the Primary and Supplementary Reserves can be enhanced.
Methods to reduce overhead in the Primary
Reserve structure and program.
Changes in regulations, orders, procedures or
administrative approaches to implement the recommended Primary Reserve