Saw this post by FSTO in the Army Reserve Restructuring thread and thought we could expand a bit here on the naval aspect:
Well actually NAVRES pers now have opportunities to sail in all platforms (even subs if a reservist could get qualified) in the RCN.
The original concept of the MCDV's (reserve only ships) damn near destroyed the NRD's. They are still recovering from that decision and some units may never fully recover.
I'll start by disagreeing, a bit, with FSTO. What nearly destroyed the NRD's is not the original concept that the MCDV's were reserve only ship's, it was the Regular Force imposed concept that they all
had to be reserve only and all
had to be available operationally 24/7/365.
We begin by remembering that the 12 MCDV's replaced an equal number of 12 minor warships: 5 Gate Vessels, the FORT STEELE (class of one) and 6 PB's (the old Bay class minesweepers), of which four at a time were manned by the Reg Force as training vessels and two kept in reserve in rotation, with a fifth one activated for the summer from time to time using reservists.
Let's now look at the Naval Reserve manning before and after the entry in service of the MCDV. We see that the overall number of naval reservist hasn't changed and is more or less the same before and after.
This leads to the obvious question: If the NRD's could barely man six, sometimes seven minor warships during the high availability period of the summer (May to August, inclusively) and then manned only six on week ends only from mid-Sept to mid-Dec and then mid-Jan to mid-Apr, then what on earth made the Reg force believe that the same number of reservists, with the same work/school constraints could man twelve on a permanent basis?
To ask the question is to answer it: It could not be done.
That is why a working group of naval reserve MWV Command Qualified officers put out a service paper proposing that the MCDV's be split 50/50 between the Regular and Reserves. The way the split was to be done, however, was to have the positions onboard the MCDV alternated between Reg and Res during the "high" season of four months. For instance, one ship would have a Reg CO with a Reserve XO, and a Reg Combat O, reserve NavO, etc. while the next ship would have the reverse. During the low season, the Reg force crews would be brought back together to man three MCDV's on each coast, or possibly four by using a smattering of reservists doing a few weeks stints here and there or doing an exceptional four months or eight months between school programs or for other reasons. The last two MCDV's on each cost would then be used to do NRD's week end training like the old gate vessels did before.
As part of that plan, there was to be an exceptional surge of two years of full manning by NRD personnel at the beginning of the MCDV era, with personnel doing a 6 month to one year tour, the whole in order to build a NRD knowledge base.
Problem is we never got out of that original period, and the result of the ongoing full time manning by reserve was the development of permanent reserve personnel (really, cheap reg force that could not be used anywhere else since they were on reserve contract at a specific MCDV billet) to the exclusion of the NRD personnel who could barely get access.
In my view, it could have been possible to go back to the original proposal of the paper at any time (could still today) but it was never done.
For reason I will develop later, I don't believe the current "reserve on any platform" system is going to help the NRD's either.
Ball is in your camps, gentlemen and Gentlewomen.