The Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels were originally to be entirely crewed by reservists. But over the years that has changed.
|HMCS Moncton sits at anchor in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. CAF File Photo (2015)|
In a recent interview with Defence Watch, Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, the head of the Royal Canadian Navy, explained what is happening with the MCDV crews and what will take place in the future. Here is what he had to say:
“Just recently we’ve taken a look at our experience with the MCDVs since their introduction. When we introduced that ship, we said we would have a reserve crewing model; my assessment would be that it probably worked for about the first five years. And then after that, essentially, rather than having a part-time crewing model, we ended up going to basically a full-time sailor.
We took a look at the training and what was required and we were always short of engineers. I think the initial crewing model was extraordinarily logical at the time we went with the reserve crewing model. Over the last several years it’s become clear that it’s unsustainable.”
Lloyd said about two years ago the RCN introduced the 60/40 construct. That saw the MCDV crews made up of 60 percent reserves, 40 percent regular force. “It’s been tremendously popular because the reserves are learning a lot from the regular force, and the regular force are learning a lot from the reserves,” Lloyd explained. “For a regular force sailor to be exposed to those leadership opportunities early in their career, it’s a great developmental opportunity for them.”
So what comes next on the MCDV crewing issue?
“We will continue to look at what the best mix is in terms of regular (and) reserve, recognizing that, as the Chief of Defence Staff and the Minister have said, reserves are more of a part-time, strategic augmentation force,” Lloyd explained. “Currently one could argue that the crewing model for our MCDVs isn’t in keeping with leadership intent. So we’ll be looking at that over the next little bit.”