Vanguard Magazine

Feb/Mar 2013

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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L Land Force Reloaded: PositionING the army for 2021 As the Canadian Army transitions out of its combat role in Afghanistan, it is incorporating hard learned lessons, institutionalizing critical enabling capabilities and positioning itself for a construct it calls Force 2021, built on a concept of adaptive dispersed operations, or ADO. The army, an integrated force of 20,000 Regular and 20,000 Reserve soldiers, with 5,000 Ranges and 5,000 civilians, now has 76 percent of its people in the field – just three percent work in headquarters – and is revitalizing environment-specific training for a range of lethal and non-lethal operations in what it views as the complex battle space of tomorrow. Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, Commander of the Canadian Army, will be retiring this summer. But during his tenure he has positioned the service for Force 2013, a critical step in its drive to Force 2021. He spoke with editor Chris Thatcher about ADO and what is required to achieve it. 12 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2013 Q Is ADO still valid or have experiences in Afghanistan changed the way you approach that concept? No, I think adaptive dispersed operations is still very valid. As the commander of the army I deliver readiness to the CF and to Canada across the spectrum, from peacekeeping to combat, with the soldiers and the equipment to be able to do that. The future security environment is filled with uncertainty, complexity and volatility. As a result, the army is looking to be agile, versatile and scalable to be able to deal with that uncertainty. Coming out of combat in Afghanistan, I've used the term "reloaded Force 2013." We brought back the equipment and the people, and just as important, the ideas and lessons learned to be able to have Force 2013, which has all the CF enablers that we employed and matured in Afghanistan – we invested 1,500 positions in enablers like intelligence modernization, force protection, counter-IED, helicopters, UAVs, influence activities. We have designed and implemented a contemporary training environment, one that is way beyond counterinsurgency and very respectful of those challenges of tomorrow.

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