Enabling Full-time Capability through Part-time Service

A New Vision for the Reserve Force

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The Canadian Armed Forces strategy to achieve the fundamental change for the Reserve Force outlined in Canada’s Defence Policy and integrated into Objective Force 2030 and Future Force 2040.

Cat. No.: D2-457/2023E-PDF (Electronic PDF, English)
ISBN: 978-0-660-46545-6
Cat. No.: D2-457/2023E (Print, English)
ISBN: 978-0-660-46546-3
DGM No.: DGM-8922-3MJ
NDID: A-PP-107-000/AG-001_EN

CDS Intent for A New Vision for the Reserve Force

Canada’s Defence Policy: Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) articulates an overarching future vision for Defence – Strong at home, Secure in North America and Engaged in the World. Nested within our Defence Policy is the foundation for implementing “fundamental change” for Canada’s Reserve Force, to best support the ability for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to deliver on future capability needs. This fundamental change will be through an even-greater integration of the whole of reserve capacity into both ongoing Force Development and Design efforts and future Force Posture and Readiness directives, while ensuring the overarching premise of remaining in reserve until needed.

As one of the two standing components of the CAF, the Reserve ForceFootnote 1 role is to train until placed on active service for operations, to support training and fill institutional needs on a continual or temporary basis. While these roles are directed towards the Primary Reserve, other Reserve sub-components are mandated to deliver specifically defined operational and program outputsFootnote 2.

Canadians continue to witness significant global socioeconomic, environmental, and geopolitical change. Today, the potential for the CAF to concurrently execute its assigned or implied missions has significantly increasedFootnote 3. Such a demand will quickly consume the capacity of our standing high-readiness component, the Regular Force, to both initiate and sustain. This has put the CAF at a crossroads, and it is time to ensure that a renewed path to reconstitution and modernization efforts is taken. The ability to quickly mobilize additional capacities and capabilities must become the key overarching Reserve Force focus to ensure CAF resiliency. In line with existing reconstitution and modernization efforts, any planning for a future integrated CAF must not solely be limited to the twinning of Reserve Force units, or Reservists, into Regular Force units or formations as a persistent means of addressing shortfalls or replenishments. In the end, the whole of the CAF and all members, must become a provider of operational outputs, some of which do not currently exist within the CAF of today. The primary aim of A New Vision for the Reserve Force, and where available resources must be applied, is focused on the building of a stronger operational-level Reserve (described below) and provide a basis for large-scale mobilization.

The Structural Approach to the Reserve Force and the need for fundamental change in each

As CDS, I approach the structure and employment of the Reserve Force from a tactical, operational, and strategic-level perspectiveFootnote 4. In describing each level below, it should not be seen to classify individual Reservists into any one of these levels; indeed, the nature of flexible Reserve service will see an individual Reservist move across levels, being employed across classes of service or even CAF components over an adaptive career path. As such, career management and succession decisions must not become driven solely by what level or class of service a Reservist is situated in at any one time.

To fully enable fundamental change in our approach to our forces held in reserve, I envision change across all three levels must be undertaken to best enable our Reserve Force to be operationally relevant and ready in the future.

  1. Tactical Level (Committed). At any one time, a significant cadre of Primary Reservists, and a small number of the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service (COATS), will consent to serve full-time in the CAF. Reservists serve full-time at Reserve or cadet program training establishments, perform duties of a temporary nature where it is not practical to employ members of the Regular Force on those duties or serve in full-time positions supernumerary to Regular Force establishmentFootnote 5. In addition to filling institutional needs across Regular Force units and headquarters, many of these Reservists fulfill vital day-to-day administrative and training support requirements within Reserve Force units themselves.

    CDS Intent. While individual augmentation will remain as an enduring ask of Reservists, there will be a need to balance the assignment of available full-time capacity towards the most critical areas, including establishing and maintaining emerging capabilities in the Primary Reserve. I intend to review the full- time employment structure to ensure those available are assigned to the most critical functions, balancing career aspirations for those who do serve this way. The CAF must undertake the necessary work to ensure a flexible employment model for those who have volunteered to serve on a full-time basis, and that remuneration and benefits are aligned where matching demands of full-time service exist. This will include an up-front review of personnel policies and programs to ensure these conditions are in place.

  2. Operational Level (Ready Capacity and Capabilities). Primary Reservists not on full-time service (i.e., Class A serviceFootnote 6) form the majority of CAF capacity, training in their assigned roles, held in reserve, until called out in an emergencyFootnote 7. In units and formations across Canada, Reservists at this level maintain operational and administrative readiness through ongoing training and education, concurrently providing a combination of their presence living and working within Canadian communities with regular deployment on domestic operations. Outside an emergency, many of these part-time Reservists regularly consent to fill either temporary augmentation tasks in support of training or operations (as described above) or to undertake their own training, returning to part-time status and their civilian obligations afterwards. Such service has been instrumental to the ongoing capacity for the CAF to deploy on operations and/or meet short-term institutional needs.

    CDS Intent. The development of new or enhanced capabilities assigned to the Reserve Force is a key to successful CAF reconstitution and modernization. I therefore expect force development activities to immediately adapt towards assigning appropriate CAF capabilities or distinct elements of capabilities to the Reserve Force, specifically the design of fully equipped force packages that are successfully integrated into force elements or task forces deploying on operations. While the asymmetric models for training and employing Primary Reservists across the services is recognized, force development planning must not be unnecessarily limited by it. I further expect that this includes consideration for the full establishment of new, joint enabling capabilities not currently resident in the Reserve Force.

  3. Strategic Level (Base for late-stage mobilization). Increasingly, the scale and scope of global challenges and conflict means the CAF and Canada must be ready for a level of mobilization beyond existing standing and Reserve Forces. As such, more formal preparation for late-stage mobilization must be considered a key New Vision deliverable. Focused on increased capacity to both generate and regenerate capabilities when needed, this level consists of:

    • Current Reserve Force members and units not deployed or assigned to specific capabilities.
    • Members of the Supplementary Reserve; and
    • Members of the Canadian population writ large, both citizens and permanent residents who either volunteer or, if the Government direct, are otherwise engaged for military service.

    Once the need is established, this level of force will need to be authorized by the Governor in Council outside current force structure limits, necessitating the use of existing Reserve units as a basis of expansion.

    CDS Intent. CAF structure must be in place to manage the doctrinal, personnel and Defence Industrial Base readiness needs for a more generalized national mobilization. I intend to update existing CAF mobilization doctrine and establish a strategic readiness level within the CAF to, when the strategic indicators and warning dictate, quickly enroll, train, equip, lead, and deploy a significantly increased CAF in later-stage mobilization.

    Figure 1


Description of Reserve Force Levels

Tactical Reserve (Committed): Definition - Reserve Force members that serve full-time at reserve or cadet program training establishments, fill positions temporarily where it is not practicable to employ members of the Regular Force, or serves in a position within or supernumerary to the Regular Force establishment. In addition to institutional backfills across Regular Force units and headquarters, many of these reservists also fulfill vital day-to-day administrative and training support requirements within Reserve Force units themselves. Readiness - Reserve Force members who consent to full-time or significant part-time service shall maintain individual, technical and/or professional readiness levels as for Regular Force members. Those who consent to a period of full-time service do so IAW with their SOU and, where the SOU allows, may be employed anywhere in or outside Canada.

Operational Reserve (Ready Capacity and Capabilities): Definition - Primary Reservists not on full-time service (i.e., Class A service) form the majority of CAF capacity held ‘in reserve’ until called out in an emergency. Employed in units and formations across Canada, Reservists at this level maintain operational and administrative readiness through ongoing training and education, concurrently maintaining a close connection between the CAF and Canadians through its significant footprint across Canada. Many of these part-time reservists regularly consent to fill temporary augmentation tasks in support of training or operations (as described above) or to undertake training, returning to part-time status and civilian employment or educational obligations upon completion. Readiness - Units or individual reservists are assigned relevant, achievable complementary or supplementary capabilities, deployable in line with whole-of-CAF needs at the appropriate readiness level.

Units or individuals are appropriately prepared to meet specified personal, professional and operational demands. Predictable notices to move (managed readiness), full-time support, training, equipping, infrastructure and socioeconomic support is provided in order to enable potential deployments. Members must consent to serve on full-time service, unless called out.

Tactical and Operational Reserve - Standing Primary Reserve Strength: 30 000 Avg*

*APS = Average Paid Strength. 30,000 represents the size of the Primary Reserve authorized by Government as of the publication of this Vision. This is subject to change over the 20-year horizon of the Defence Policy.

Strategic Reserve (Base for mobilization) - strength dependent on needs: Definition - Focused on increased capacity to both generate and regenerate capabilities when needed, this level consists of:

  • Current members and units of the Reserve Force not deployed or assigned to specific capabilities.
  • Members of the supplementary reserve; and
  • Canadians who otherwise have not served in the CAF, both individually and from within Canada’s industrial complex

Readiness - Once the need is established, this level of force would be authorized by the Governor in Council outside current force structure limits and may use existing reserve units as a basis of expansion.

Serving individuals not assigned to a specific capability are appropriately prepared to meet specified personal, professional and operational demands. Members must consent to serve on full-time service, unless called up. No other assigned forces in advance of Stage 3/4 mobilization. Once mobilized (e.g., recruited, called up), forces are placed at readiness levels parallel to those on fulltime service.

A Renewed Purpose for the Supplementary Reserve

Eligible members who would otherwise release from the Regular Force or Primary Reserve may choose to remain in the CAF, at a lower readiness level by becoming a member of the Supplementary Reserve, available to augment the CAF with specific skills when needed, or to form part of a base for greater mobilization in times of significantly increased operational demand. In some cases, Canadians who possess specialized skills that may be beneficial to the CAF on operations can be enrolled directly into the Supplementary Reserve. For the CAF, but specifically for Reserve units, capacity shortfalls for assigned capabilities can be overcome by engaging members of the Supplementary Reserve who have indicated a willingness to further engage in CAF service at times of increased need. Given the significant potential of this Reserve sub-component to support CAF operations and for mobilization, I intend to undertake a detailed examination of the Supplementary Reserve mission, enrolment, structure, and barriers to continuing service, with a view to making a larger pool of both former CAF members and Canadians who may choose to serve in specific situations available for times of greater need.

A Whole-of-Defence Team Initiative

This Vision aims to guide and support Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), force generator and force employer planning efforts, enabling the change envisioned across the three levels of Reserve described above. It provides CDS guidance for implementation, ensures key tenets are expressed and identifies priorities for action and investment. In doing so, resourcing decisions related to people and people management, equipment, infrastructure, information technology and training are best aligned with the development of new or enhanced Reserve Force roles, in parallel with concrete efforts to minimize the administrative burdens that besiege the Reserve leaders and members. Policies and programs from across the Defence Team must adapt to ensure a long-term interest in CAF service, the integration of new skills, ensure success in delivering on those new or enhanced capabilities and shape the future Reserve Force to be reflective of Canada’s diversity. Follow-on implementation directives, to be issued by the VCDS, will provide further direction, guidance, context for change and more specific milestones.

General Wayne Eyre
Chief of the Defence Staff

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Charter for A New Vision for the Reserve Force

A New Vision defined: A Reserve Force better situated to deliver on its strategic purpose and contribute to a wider range of operational and institutional demands. Remaining able to meet standing augmentation needs, it will be resourced to deliver assigned capabilities fully integrated into readiness directives and support potential mobilization or specialized needs. In parallel, CAF policies and programs are renewed, providing the incentives for successive generations of Canadians to join, contribute and remain in an inclusive, purpose-driven Reserve Force

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."

- Edward de Bono

A New Vision for the Reserve Force provides this very opportunity: to ensure we exercise creativity in establishing a fuller whole-of-CAF capacity by approaching force capability planning, in a different way. New capability will require more than just simply assigning roles or tasks. True change will need a concerted effort across the full spectrum of capability development needs - doctrine, structure, training, and capital investments - planned and executed in parallel. Finally, the Reserve Force, and its units, must be enabled to serve as the basis for a larger-scale mobilization when the situation dictates.

A Mutually Supporting Relationship – A New Vision for the Reserve Force nested within the Vision for Defence and key CAF focus areas

Both the four CAF strategic focus areas of reconstitution, culture, operations and modernization, and the standing New Vision for DefenceFootnote 8 outlined in the Defence Policy present a significant challenge for the CAF. This challenge becomes even greater when we choose a simple status quo approach. A reimagined Reserve Force provides the opportunity to realize a deeper contribution to each of these strategic ends. The graphic below summarizes how advancing on a New Vision for the Reserve Force can best contribute to these two key strategic and policy ends. Advancing each of these CAF focus areas will be best supported when the development, management and employment of the Reserve Force and individual Reservists is considered in an integrated manner. In short, such development must be deemed a key enabler.

Figure 2


A New Vision for the Reserve Force and Strategic Change

Within The Vision for Defence as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged defence policy are the Chief of the Defence Staff’s priorities which are outlined in the Canadian Armed Forces Focus Areas; and within the CAF Focus Areas we find A New Vision for the Reserve Force.

CAF Focus Areas

Reconstitution: A New Vision for the Reserve Force affords the opportunity to reimagine the CAF future force, by better recruiting, retaining and managing Reservists who contribute value through a full spectrum of new or enhanced operational capabilities, held in reserve until required.

Culture: Building the Reserve Force in a manner that fully reflects and lives up to our values and professional expectations. Additionally, the New Vision will enable a culture of operational readiness within the Reserve Force.

Operations: A Reserve Force is better situated to contribute to a wider and increasing range of operational and, at times, institutional demands. Remaining able to meet augmentation needs, it will become resourced to deliver defined capabilities fully integrated into readiness directives and support potential mobilization needs.

Modernization: Placing equal emphasis on supporting today’s needs by the CAF and enabling a fully agile, flexible, responsive and digitized Reserve Force to uncertain and evolving threats and capability needs. The Defence Services Program will include modernized infrastructure and the necessary deployable equipment to contribute in a new manner to Objective Force 2030 and Future Force 2040.

The Vision for Defence

Engaged in the World (International Operations): A New Vision for the Reserve Force, speaks specifically to the delivery of select expeditionary missions in a primary role such as capacity building in SSE 77. The Reserve Force is also well suited to provide diverse representation at multi-lateral organizations as well as support to a whole-of-government initiative to increase women’s participation in United Nations peace operations.

Secure in North America (Continental Operations): Being secure in North America means modernizing NORAD and our defence partnership with the US to enable continental defence without sacrificing sovereignty. A strong Reserve Force enables these priorities through capabilities held ‘in-reserve’; ready to respond.

Strong at Home (Domestic Operations): A New Vision for the Reserve Force builds upon the reputation that CAF has for being there for Canadians in time of need, be it related to physical security of our territory or in response to situations that are beyond the capacity of civil authorities to deal with.

Other enablers/dependencies:

  • Strengthened partnerships with allied Reserve Forces (e.g., NATO National Reserve Forces Committee)
  • Employer Support and Job Protection Legislation
  • Realignment of the current Reserve Service Model with that which is defined in Kings Regulations and Orders
  • Socioeconomic policies and programs designed to attract and retain highly skilled, purpose driven Canadians

Strategic Imperatives for the future, fully integrated Reserve Force

There are four strategic imperatives necessary to succeed in executing fundamental change outlined in the Defence Policy:

  1. Approaching fundamental change through a new lens. In parallel to enduring individual augmentation needs, placing the right proportion and types of overall CAF output held in reserve, and ensuring that those capacities are ready to deploy voluntarily or if called out, is how we will better approach the goal of enabling Regular and Reserve Force units and formations to provide “full-time capability through part-time service.” Moving forward it cannot be simply defined as a permanent generation of full-time augmentation from the part- time component. Concurrently, Reserve Force members themselves, who serve voluntarily, must also adapt to both changing accountabilities and the need to address greater public expectations of our profession. It is only through a change in our collective cultural view of Reserve service – one that incorporates an even greater sense of purpose – that the CAF can be successful in assigning new or enhanced roles to be held ‘in-reserve.’
  2. A disciplined Reserve Force policy and force development process. Successful capability development in the Reserve Force will require speedy, up-front efforts to best integrate innovative ideas within CAF reconstitution and modernization planning. Full-time capability through part-time service must ensure that units and its members are appropriately trained and administered, equipped with sufficient deployable equipment, and supported throughout with integrated technologies, infrastructure, the right full-time/part- time balance, and third-party support that enables these expectations while reducing management and maintenance efforts and cost.
  3. A real opportunity for the Reserve Force to expand its contributions. Integrating new and enhanced Reserve capabilities into overall CAF Force Posture and Readiness will aid in addressing persistent shortfalls that exist across both components. When not specifically needed on operations, these capabilities can positively contribute to wider national resilience and socio- economic needs of the communities in which they reside. In many cases the capacity can exist for Reserve units, their equipment and infrastructure to support other whole-of-government efforts, including in underserved, remote regions of Canada.
  4. Applying innovative thought to the challenges of CAF reconstitution and modernization. A flexible, diverse, and dynamic Reserve must be an ‘organization of firsts’ – firsts through true change and not simply doing more of the same. While development must be disciplined in its approach, a level of ambition and imagination in the design and implementation of the future Reserve Force must, by necessity, take a long view that is inclusive of future generations of CAF members who will realize the full benefit of implementing much of this fundamental change.

A fully integrated Reserve Force within a more diverse, inclusive CAF

A New Vision for the Reserve Force presents the opportunity to address issues surrounding our culture, focusing on establishing a renewed trust in the institution and a greater sense of belonging. Up front, we must ensure that the Reserve Force contributes to an even-more gender-balanced, diverse, and inclusive Defence Team, in a workplace free from discrimination and other harmful practices. The full integration of Gender-Based Assessment Plus (GBA+) into Reserve-focused capabilities is necessary to ensure that new and emerging roles for the Reserve Force are designed to both attract and respond to the needs and aspirations of future generation of Reservists. Implementation of this Vision must incorporate Government direction related to GBA+ commitments and principles outlined in the Defence PolicyFootnote 9. This includes capabilities that can contribute to advancing the Women, Peace, and Security agenda (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325).

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Delivering A New Vision for the Reserve Force: Four Objectives

The Defence Policy has outlined the need for fundamental change for the Reserve Force, through eleven initiatives that partially or fully target the Primary Reserve (Initiatives 70, 74–82, 90)Footnote 10. Concurrently, the Policy identified one additional initiative focused on enhancing the Canadian Rangers sub-component (Initiative 108) and, outside a formal initiative, directs the controlled growth of the Cadet and Junior Canadian Ranger Programs (delivered by the COATS sub-component and the Canadian Army, respectively). This section aims to guide the implementation, and the use of allocated resources from the fiscal framework towards these directed initiatives and activities. Additionally, a detailed review of the 111 initiatives and 26 activities shows that over forty other initiatives and activities have a potential Reserve Force nexus. Each of these initiatives must consider how the future, integrated Reserve Force may contribute to their realization.

This Vision has grouped these initiatives and activities into four objectives, each detailed below:

  1. Engage and retain highly skilled, flexible, and operationally ready Reservists;
  2. Design and implement new and enhanced roles for Reservists, Reserve Force units and formations;
  3. Career and socio-economic policies reflect an integrated CAF; and
  4. Integrate Reserve Force capabilities into CAF Force Posture and Readiness.

Objective 1: Engage and retain a generation of highly skilled, flexible and operationally ready Reservists (now – 2025)

Newer generations of Canadians are increasingly diverse, highly educated, purpose-driven and volunteer focused. They bear an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, an ever-increasing understanding of technology, contemporary work skills and a global perspective. These are many of the characteristics we seek in our Reservists, and the CAF can play a role in supporting their ambitions through opportunities to contribute, accept risk, and access modern equipment and work opportunities, applying them to the defence and security of Canada. In demonstrating an increased authenticity, relevance, and workplace culture in the Reserve Force to these contemporary needs, Canadians will continue to be attracted to join the CAF and stay for a long-term career. Without such relevance or the right cultural and professional conduct context within the Reserve Force, however, many will look elsewhere for these life experiences. The current Defence Policy identifies three direct and up to ten indirect initiatives and activities to support the realization of this objective (see Annex) and an end-state of a 30,000-strong Primary Reserve.Footnote 11

In advancing this objective, the following specific points are to be included in follow-on implementation:

“Capability is a description of the military operational output or outcome that a unit, force or organization is able (and usually constituted or organized) to deliver. Within the context of [Capability Based Planning], ‘capability’ is further defined as the ability to contribute to the achievement of a desired effect in a given environment within a specified time and sustainment of that effect for a designated period.”

- CBP Handbook, 2019

Objective 2: Design and implement new and enhanced roles for Reservists, Reserve Force units and formations (now – 2034)

As outlined earlier, the primary aim of A New Vision for the Reserve Force is focused on building of a stronger operational-level Reserve and on providing a basis for larger-scale mobilization. This Vision considers new or enhanced operational outputs in support of the CAF future force concept, and is best delivered by individual Reservists, Reserve sub-units or units assigned specific capabilities that are aligned with and managed by the right service branch. These roles must supply either niche, complementary, sustainment or surge capability. The current Defence Policy identifies four direct and up to ten indirect initiatives and activities to support the realization of this objective (see Annex). Most of the fiscal framework funding for A New Vision for the Reserve Force, along with other Reserve-centric funding across CAF/DND, will be directed towards this objective.

In advancing this objective, the following specific points are to be included in follow-on implementation direction:

Objective 3: Career and socio-economic policies reflect an integrated CAF (now – 2025)

Developing and integrating Reserve Force capability and capacity needs a fresh look at the full suite of personnel management, employment and compensation and benefits policies as they pertain to both Reservists and Reserve service. Current and future strategies related to our people and their families (such as the Defence Team Human Resources Strategy, Total Health and Wellness Strategy and the CAF Retention Strategy) and standing policies (including employment, career and talent management, compensation and benefits, member, and family care) must be fully reflective of the contributions to CAF operational and institutional successes made by Reservists and their families, whether serving part or full-time. The current Defence Policy identifies four direct and up to ten indirect initiatives and activities to support the realization of this objective (see Annex).

An overarching and influential Reserve ‘offer’ (environment, motivators, opportunities, and reward) must be aligned with future demands for readiness. In advancing this objective, the following specific points are to be included in follow-on implementation direction:

Objective 4: Integrate Reserve Force Capabilities and Capacities into Force Posture and Readiness (2024-2037)

Outside of mobilization, the CAF must deliberately plan for the force employment of capabilities utilizing the entirety of the institution in an expanded way. Force posture and readiness – whether for training, operations, defence diplomacy or other needs of the nation – must be viewed and planned inclusive of emerging Reserve Force unit capabilities, beyond the individual level. Future managed readiness cycles must incorporate Primary Reserve capabilities, with a specific focus on deploying them on capacity building missions. To enable this, future global engagement planning must reflect this new role being assigned to the Reserve Force. This should include consideration for the establishment of more concrete partnerships to engage with allies, partners, and the broader international community in addressing common security challenges; all of which can support training needs in parallel.

The current Defence Policy identifies two direct and up to six indirect initiatives and activities to support the realization of this integration objective (see Annex). Additionally, the CAF must consider the strategic imperative of ensuring it is well situated to deliberately, and quickly, mobilize Canadian institutions, the defence industrial base and the Canadian population at large to contribute to the nation’s defence when demand exceeds the capacity for the existing CAF to deploy and sustain operations. In the short term, CAF joint doctrine and strategic-level planning structure must be updated to reflect how both new Reserve capabilities, and this more general call to Canadians, will be called upon in times of greater demand.

In advancing this objective, the following specific point is to be included in follow-on implementation:

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Guiding Principles And Key Tenets

Designing the Modernized, Sustainable, And Integrated Reserve Force

Realizing a modernized, sustainable, and fully integrated Reserve Force is a multi-year, complex endeavour. DND/CAF-wide planning and implementation of this Vision must posture individuals, units, and formations to sustainably deliver the integrated capabilities needed by the right CAF component at the right time. Key capability design principles must be integrated into force capability and force development planning to set the conditions for successful outcomes.

  1. Showing an integrated policy and program framework. Within an integrated CAF, Reserve-centric policy and program development must no longer be an adjunct to other actions and must reflect early on that the Reserve Force and Reservists themselves are unique identity factors in planning.
  2. Focus both growth and full-time positions on capabilities being held ‘in reserve’. Realizing the full potential from the Primary Reserve will need a disciplined, institution-wide review of where the existing Reserve Force establishment and approved growth is distributed, ensuring future needs are met. Planning future Reserve Force needs must overwhelmingly prioritize full-time Reserve positions towards enabling Reserve Force capacities.
  3. Designing units and formations to ensure future capabilities are fully realized. Ultimately, Reserve (and, in some cases, Regular Force) unit command teams must be increasingly focused on the capacity to deliver on assigned capabilities, furthered by an emphasis on inclusive leadership and redeveloping public trust in our institution. We must look for opportunities to reduce barriers and eliminate inequities that can impact the capacity for the Reserve Force to deliver on these accountabilities, as well as how they may be best structured and resourced to contribute to late-stage mobilization, when needed.
  4. Capitalizing on the potential for an even more diverse and dispersed Reserve footprint. The Reserve Force is currently resident in more than 100 communities, large and small, across Canada. With an opportunity to become increasingly reflective of today’s society, steps must be taken to expand the fullness of Canada’s diversity into the CAF through the Primary Reserve footprint, specifically and directly in communities where new Canadians and underrepresented populations (e.g., remote, and indigenous communities) now reside.

Enabling Fundamental Change Within A New Vision

Fundamental change is about creating a new standard and creating new norms: inter-component, cultural, social, with a focus on innovative thought and the Reserve Force experience. There is a need to enable deliberate culture change, capability planning, policy development, governance, risk management and financing. In some cases, projects within the Defence Services Program must be established to realize success.

  1. Understanding ourselves and our environment better. An integrated CAF requires policy and operational decisions to be made for both the Regular Force and Reserve Force in parallel. In recognition of the increased roles that the future Reserve Force may play, decision support tools – readiness reporting, studies and data gathering – must by default always be inclusive of the whole-of-CAF in scope.
  2. Establishing new Reserve-centric partnerships. The Reserve Force is well poised to act as a bridge between DND/CAF and Canadian civil society. Opportunity exists at home with those interested in defence and security issues, those engaged in societal change as well as allies and international partners, many of whom are also looking to enhance the role played by their Reserve forces.
  3. Integrating modern technologies and other enabling resources. In realizing A New Vision for the Reserve Force, technology can be the great differentiator. The CAF however must look beyond the digitization of existing analog processes. Technological and other advances (e.g., artificial intelligence, leadership assessment) can support decision making and fundamentally redesign how a time and resource-constrained Reserve Force is best employed. Outsourced (i.e., private sector) solutions for non-core capability functions that severely impact unit resources must be considered. In short, if a function within a Reserve unit is not ultimately deployed on operations (e.g., pay for Reservists using the Revised Pay System for the Reserves), they are undertaken at the expense of individual and collective training. In these cases, alternate means to deliver them (i.e., private sector/outsourced) must be considered.
  4. Communicating change, maintaining visibility, and recognizing excellence. The primary communication objectives related to A New Vision for the Reserve Force must be to engage, inform and inspire from across our institution. Moving forward, communicating the New Vision for the Reserve Force must be a key component of overarching internal and external communications planning, focused on communicating institutional integration, trust in the institution, a sense of belonging, and supporting our recruitment and retention efforts.

CDS End State

Successful fundamental change: Between now and 2037, relevant Primary Reserve capabilities are identified and fully integrated into CAF Force Posture and Readiness and managed readiness cycles. Resulting from a full analysis, capabilities best deemed to be joint are developed as such and integrated into CAF joint structure. With increased predictability, these capabilities are ready to deploy in support of CAF outputs and missions with minimized pre-deployment requirements. Individual augmentation remains an enduring ask of the Reserve Force but is employed in a manner that also enables training and experience, building of internal capacity and ensures that forces ‘in-reserve’ are regenerated at times of high demand. A renewed Supplementary Reserve provides the capacity to maintain lower-demand individual enablers and to support late-stage mobilization. Through separate initiatives, other sub-components are better enabled to deliver on their mandated roles. Concurrently, gaps in key enablers specific to Reserve Force members − personnel policies and programs, recruitment and attraction practices, compensation, benefits and incentives, and family care – are immediately integrated into updated policies, practices, and programs. In the future, this will unfailingly be done in parallel to those for the Regular Force.

  1. A bold, innovative pan-CAF difference. As outlined in Defence Policy, capabilities being held ‘in-reserve’ by Primary Reserve members and units are to be fully integrated into a total force which looks beyond the Reserve component as an augmentation pool. Strategically, the force development process shared by the Chief of Force Development and force generators must together identify, fully define, and develop capabilities that may be held ‘in reserve,’ assigned to Primary Reserve units who are accountable for assigned training and readiness objectives. Unit leaders assigned the responsibility for specific capabilities will be afforded the necessary resources to enable success: focused full-time staff, enabling and inclusive infrastructure and equipment, access to world-class training and other necessary enablers. To ensure the overarching aim of ‘full-time capability through part-time service,’ each capability resident within the Primary Reserve must be developed in sufficient capacity to provide an enduring availability while not placing any one individual or unit in a state of perpetual higher readiness. Finally, a reimagined Supplementary Reserve provides a greater capacity than today.
  2. Reserve capabilities and capacities within Regular Force units. While much of this Vision is focused on building or enhancing Reserve Force unit capabilities, it is recognized that some ‘in-reserve’ capabilities and capacities may best be assigned to the Reserve component but grown and maintained within Regular Force units. This will be the case for formed capabilities needing relatively small numbers or where capacity will not be able to be built and maintained through Reserve Force units. Many of these capabilities are in areas that operate and maintain high value and complex platforms to deliver combat outputs (e.g., aircraft, unique vehicles and ships, and special operations) that would be a challenge for Canada to hold fully within the Reserve Force. In these cases, planning must consider how such capacities are best managed and administered for long-term success, and consideration for when it may be best to alternatively form new Reserve Force structure to best deliver these capabilities.
  3. The Reserve Force offer and experience. Over time, Reservists serving within an integrated CAF are best recognized for their ongoing or new contributions, including, at times, a higher-than-normal operational or training demand. Such recognition serves to enhance the experience for Reservists as members of a singular CAF. Actions taken to support CAF members must be inclusive of the contributions made by Reservists and ensure the rights to access all applicable programs and services. Services directed primarily at the Reserve Force (e.g., employer support) are to be fully integrated into appropriate CAF-wide programs. Changes or new services in any program, policy, service, or communications products are to be reflective of both the Regular and Reserve components and promulgated in parallel. Where the demands of service are similar, the scale and scope of support must too be similar. In doing so, Reservists will increasingly see themselves as members of a fully integrated ‘One-CAF.’ The VCDS Implementation Directive will direct specific priority actions to be taken early in the life span of this Vision.

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Governance and Resource Management

A New Vision for the Reserve Force necessitates a whole-of-Defence Team approach to implementing within what is a complex and dynamic opportunity space. This requires a team able to exercise divergent thinking and that is dedicated to convergent action, an adapted culture and attitudes, and a commitment to communicating change across the institution. Following well-established development and governance structures, persistent, robust communications will aid both current and future Defence Team leadership to advance this Vision with purpose. As implementation progresses, reporting on the Reserve Force must become less about the number of Reservists and more about the state of capabilities held in-reserve.

  1. Centralized coordination, decentralized execution. The VCDS, assisted by Chiefs of Reserves, Force Development, Programme and Combat Systems Integration, is accountable for leading the implementation of this Vision. Force generators, force employers and program policy leads are accountable to work with the appropriate VCDS leads in achieving the specific deliverables for each of the four objectives outlined above. A VCDS-issued implementation directive will be promulgated to coordinate efforts across DND/CAF, ensuring decisions related to the future of the Reserve component are aligned with this Vision and informed by CAF modernization needs. Chief of Reserves is assigned the day-to-day centralized coordination function for Reserve centric initiatives and shall adopt a program management function throughout the lifespan of this Vision. Responsibility for the execution of all fundamental change initiatives remains with designated functional authorities.
  2. Managing assigned resources. The current Defence Policy provides funding from the fiscal framework for ‘Enhanced Reserves’ to be specifically applied to capability development. Much of that funding has already been assigned to growth and remuneration changes. To the maximum extent possible, the remaining funding will be privileged as seed funding for building capability, primarily through both capital and noncapital projects. Access to this funding will be based on individual capability project needs, centrally coordinated through Chief of Reserves and in close coordination with Chief of Programme. Specific needs by force generators must be identified through standing DND/CAF project management practices. The funding, however, is only one part of the overall resource solution – one that incorporates appropriate parts of existing funding envelopes. Capital equipment, IM/IT and infrastructure programs and the allocation of Reserve Force and supporting Regular Force positions are needed to build and sustain capability. In addition to the core funding found in the Defence Policy, infrastructure and equipment capital investments and operating funding must be informed by A New Vision, and not vice-versa. Finally, change initiatives must incorporate a full understanding of existing Reserve funding (C127) and how it is best used to support the force generation of the Reserve. This will require a holistic understanding of where the current resources base – funding and positions – are and where decisions will be needed on future requirements across the institution.
  3. Strategic guidance, consultation, and updates. In addition to regular engagements across the policy and force development communities, corporate governance wiIl be engaged on a regular basis to provide updates on in realizing the four objectives outlined above. This will entail regular engagement with those ‘Level 0’ and ‘Level 0.5’ committees that drive force development and policy issues: Armed Forces Council (and Executive), Investment and Resource Management Committee, Defence Executive Policy Committee, Defence Team People Management Committee, Defence Capability Board, and the Program Management Board. Details for status updates and means to consult across the Defence Team will be issued by the VCDS through the forthcoming implementation directive and integrated into look-ahead agendas managed by both the VCDS and Corporate Secretary. Finally, the extent of change proposed in this Vision will require regular review to advise on the currency and effectiveness of reaching the overarching goals and targets set throughout implementation. Chief of Reserves shall maintain close coordination with the Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) team throughout, designing and implementing appropriate reviews and evaluations for consideration by the Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee.


Summary Of Direct And Indirect Sse Initiatives And Activities For The Reserve Force
Strategy Objective Direct Defence Policy Initiatives
(as part of A New Vision for the Reserve Force)
Direct Activities
(from VCDS Directive 2017)
Indirect Defence Policy Initiatives
(outside of A New Vision for the Reserve Force but having a Reserve Force nexus)
1 – Engage and retain a generation of highly skilled, flexible and operationally ready Reservists
  • 74 - Increase the size of the Primary Reserve Force to 30,000 (an increase of 1,500) and dramatically reduce the initial recruitment process from a number of months to a matter of weeks. (Note: 30,000 currently refers to APS but will transition to TES)
  • 81 - Offer full-time summer employment to Reservists in their first four years with the Reserves commencing in 2018.
  • 90 - Use Reservists with specialized skill sets to fill elements of the Canadian Armed Forces cyber force.
  • B - Increase the size of …the Reserve Force (1,500 to 30,000) (Note: 30,000 refers to Average Paid Strength)
  • 2 - Implement a recruitment campaign to promote the unique full- and part-time career opportunities offered by the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as to support key recruitment priorities, including hiring more women, increasing diversity, addressing priority occupations and the requirements of the Reserve Force.
  • 10 - Promote diversity and inclusion as a core institutional value across the Defence team.
  • 11 - Appoint a Diversity Champion who will oversee the implementation of all aspects of the Diversity Strategy and Action plan including instituting mandatory diversity training across all phases of professional development.
  • 12 - Integrate Gender-Based Analysis – Plus (GBA+) in all defence activities across the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, from the design and implementation of programs and services that support our personnel, to equipment procurement and operational planning.
  • 13 - Place a new focus on recruiting and retaining underrepresented populations within the Canadian Armed Forces, including but not limited to, women, Indigenous peoples, and members of visible minorities.
  • 14 - Aspire to be a leader in gender balance in the military by increasing the representation of women by 1 percent annually over the next 10 years to reach 25 percent of the overall force.
  • 25 - Establish a Personnel Administration Branch of experts in military human resources and personnel administration to focus and improve military human resource services to all Canadian Armed Forces members.
  • 26 - Allocate some of the growth in the Medical Services Branch to support transition care.
  • 61 - Increase Special Operations Forces by 605 personnel.
  • 89 - Grow and enhance the cyber force by creating a new Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator occupation to attract Canada’s best and brightest talent and significantly increasing the number of military personnel dedicated to cyber functions.
2 – Design and implement new and enhanced roles for Reservists, Reserve Force units and formations
  • 70 - Establish up to 120 new military intelligence positions, some of which will be filled by Reservists, and add up to 180 new civilian intelligence personnel.
  • 75 - Assign Reserve Force units and formations new roles that provide full-time capability to the Canadian Armed Forces through part-time service, including: Light Urban Search and Rescue; Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence; Combat capabilities such as direct fire, mortar, and pioneer platoons; Cyber Operators; Intelligence Operators; Naval Security Teams; and Linguists
  • 76 - Enhance existing roles assigned to Reserve Force units and formations, including: Information Operations (including Influence Activities); Combat Support and Combat Service Support; and Air Operations Support Technicians.
  • 108 - Enhance and expand the training and effectiveness of the Canadian Rangers to improve their functional capabilities within the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • P - Examine establishment of a Reserve Force CANSOFCOM sub-unit in a metropolitan area*
  • 34 - Acquire ground-based air defence systems and associated munitions capable of protecting all land-based force elements from enemy airborne weapons.
  • 35 - Modernize weapons effects simulation to better prepare soldiers for combat operations.
  • 38 - Acquire communications, sustainment, and survivability equipment for the Army light forces, including improved light weight radios and soldier equipment.
  • 40 - Modernize logistics vehicles, heavy engineer equipment and light utility vehicles.
  • 41 - Improve the Army’s ability to operate in remote regions by investing in modernized communications, shelters, power generation, advanced water purification systems, and equipment for austere environments.
  • 43 - Acquire all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles and larger tracked semi-amphibious utility vehicles optimized for use in the Arctic environment.
  • 65 - Improve cryptographic capabilities, information operations capabilities, and cyber capabilities to include: cyber security and situational awareness projects, cyber threat identification and response, and the development of military-specific information operations and offensive cyber operations capabilities able to target, exploit, influence and attack in support of military operations.
  • 66 - Improve Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive detection and response capabilities.
  • 67 – Invest in Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, including next generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems, and space-based surveillance assets.
  • 68 – Integrate existing and future assets into a networked, joint systems-of-systems that will enable the flow of information among multiple, interconnected platforms and operational headquarters.
3 – Modernize career and socio-economic policies
  • 78 - Create an agile service model that supports transition between full- and part-time service and provides the flexibility to cater to differing Reserve career paths.
  • 79 - Align Primary Reserve Force remuneration and benefits with those of the Regular Force where the demands of service are similar.
  • 80 - Revise annuitant employment regulations to attract and retain more former Regular Force personnel to the Reserves.
  • 82 - Work with partners in the federal government to align Federal Acts governing job protection legislation. Subsequently, we will work with provinces and territories to harmonize job protection for Reservists at that level.
  • O – Institutional integration, defined in SSE as “further integrating the Reserve Force into the Total Force.”
  • 15 - Augment the Canadian Armed Forces Health System to ensure it meets the unique needs of our personnel with efficient and effective care, anywhere they serve in Canada or abroad. This includes growing the Medical Services Branch by 200 personnel.
  • 16 - Implement a joint National Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Suicide Prevention Strategy that hires additional mental health professionals and implements a joint framework focused on preventing suicide across the entire military and Veteran community.
  • 17 - Remove barriers to care, including creating an environment free from stigma where military members are encouraged to raise health concerns of any nature and seek appropriate help when they need it.
  • 19 - Provide a full range of victim and survivor support services to Canadian Armed Forces members.
  • 20 - Deal with harassment complaints in a clear and timely manner by simplifying formal harassment complaint procedures.
  • 22 - Implement teams at Wings and Bases across Canada, in partnership with Military Family Resource Centres, to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.
  • 23 - Improve access to psychological services through social workers and referrals to community programs and services.
  • 24 - Develop a Comprehensive Military Family Plan to help stabilize family life for Canadian Armed Forces Members and their families who frequently have to relocate.
  • 27 - Create a new Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group that provides support to all members to seamlessly transition to post-military life. This Group, commanded by a General Officer and staffed from experts in human resources and personnel administration, will be approximately 1,200 personnel strong and include specialized staff and holding positions for ill and injured who are preparing to return to duty or transition out of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Group will provide a fully engaged, personalized, guided support to transition all Canadian Armed Forces members, with special care and attention being provided to those who are ill or injured, including those with psychological or critical stress injuries.
  • 28 - Ensure that all benefits will be in place before a member transitions to post-military life.
4 – Design and implement a model for employing the resultant Reserve Force
  • 77 - Employ the Reserve Force to deliver select expeditionary missions in a primary role such as Canadian Armed Forces capacity building.
  • 90 - Use Reservists with specialized skill sets to fill elements of the Canadian Armed Forces cyber force.
  • O – Institutional integration, defined in SSE as “further integrating the Reserve Force into the Total Force.”
  • 84 - Work with partners to promote Canada’s national interests on space issues, promote the peaceful use of space and provide leadership in shaping international norms for responsible behavior in space.
  • 87 - Protect critical military networks and equipment from cyber-attack by establishing a new Cyber Mission Assurance Program that will incorporate cyber security requirements into the procurement process.
  • 88 - Develop active cyber capabilities and employ them against potential adversaries in support of government-authorized military missions.
  • 89 - Grow and enhance the cyber force by creating a new Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator occupation to attract Canada’s best and brightest talent and significantly increasing the number of military personnel dedicated to cyber functions.
  • 106 - Enhance the mobility, reach and footprint of the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada’s North to support operations, exercises, and the Canadian Armed Forces’ ability to project force into the region
  • 110 - Conduct joint exercises with Arctic allies and partners and support the strengthening of situational awareness and information sharing in the Arctic, including with NATO.

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