A reply to Eric Lerhe

Thank you for your comments but I feel compelled to respond to some of your statements, particularly those involving the 'part-time' and 'relevant' reserves.

1) I agree with your comment that there should not be a 'choice' between TRUMP replacements and A/OPVs but I fear such a choice has already been made. If (and only if) this is the case, then employing an additional 1500 people to fill another 500 sea-going billets (or so) seems a bit redundant. The fact remains that while the TRUMPs are due for retirement no replacement has been announced, nor are there any indications that they are likely to be replaced soon. In fact the recent FELEX announcement included some mention about an enhanced command and control suite/ability. This could indicate that like it or not none will be coming soon. Even in the best-case scenario and an announcement was made today on a replacement, we are talking about a fairly long period after the TRUMPs have retired and when replacements will arrive. My math seems to indicate that at least 675 billets will be freed up for at least some time. Doesn't it make sense to use at least some of these?

2) Your comment indicates that you feel that (if necessary) the naval portion of the Reserve Force should be grown by another 1500 'full time' positions in order to man both A/OPVs and MCDVs. This means (all other factors being the same) that the naval reserve may have to grow by about another 3000 - 4000 total in order to meet this task. This also assumes (I gather) that the MCDVs will continue to be manned at the level and in the way they are manned now. I personally don't see how it is any easier to recruit reservists than it is Regular Force sailors. As NRD CO I was actually responsible for recruiting and can tell you that the process for both is identical. In point of fact it may be more efficient to simply recruit an additional 500 (or more) full-time sailors rather than another 3,000 - 4,000 'reserves'.

3) Throughout your response you use the term 'relevant' to describe those who man the MCDVs. You also use this to describe those army reservists in Kandahar. Logic then indicates that you feel that 'part-time' sailors (and soldiers) are largely 'irrelevant'. Personally I find this just a tad offensive. I can say that as a 'part-time' reservist on an old, tired YNG I was twice tasked as part of an NRD crew (out for two week period) to act as an on-scene commander for at least two, multiple ship, multiple aircraft SAR incidents as well as providing a platform for OGDs. These events all occurred prior to my service as a 'full-time reservist' on an MCDV. We were in fact fulfilling the navy's number one job: manning ships. Should I also mention those 'irrelevant' part-time sailors who worked during the Winnipeg flood, or Swiss-air? The 'heavy price' I mentioned earlier is that as a result of the current MCDV manning regime few NRDs are currently capable of providing this level of manning any more. The personnel who manned those old vessels (who filled those sand bags and operated those boats) have long since changed trades, gone 'full-time' or left altogether. This has had an impact on NRD unit cohesion and morale. Few part-timers remain in this organization for the sheer joy of writing PERs and not surprisingly more and more of these 'part-time' positions are having to be filled by 'full-timers, regardless of their service. As a result, I believe, based on both my full-time and part-time experience, that the NRDs are less capable of their 'core' tasks of recruiting, retention and training of sailors for the fleet than they were ten years ago.

4) In your response you mention: "the immense dedication required by every naval reserve to balance home, civilian job, and naval duties." However, as I discussed the sailors assigned to the MCDVs largely work full time for the navy with little or no civilian careers/educational pursuits. When you exclude the students undergoing initial trades training there are actually few (very few) personnel who 'transition' on to these vessels for a few months and then return to their other lives and they are extremely rare. As an MCDV CO I saw few personnel living this way and as an NRD CO I saw even less. In this sense the term 'reserve', particularly for the 'full-time', 'relevant' reservists, is immaterial.
The reality is that if we have to crew the A/OPVs, and the MCDVs (and by the way we only man 10 of them at a time) and the TRUMP replacements at the same time then we will need more sailors. The question should really be: what is the best way of doing this? If my guess is correct and the TRUMPs are going, and if the MCDVs are due to end their life span in 10 years or so then I suggest that one of the most economical sources for these sailors is the 675 or so currently on the TRUMPs. This is particularly as the 'full-time' reservists assigned to MCDVs are paid the same as their Regular Force counterparts. I also agree that there are a lot of ifs here.