Author Topic: It’s 2017. The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?  (Read 12799 times)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Good question.....

It’s 2017. The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?

In 1940, fewer than one in 20 Americans had four years of college. By 2000, it was one in four.  A college degree was once widely seen as proof of membership in the nation’s intellectual (and  financial, gender, and racial) elite. Now, being a college graduate just means someone is able to pay tuition and wake up in time for at least 50% of their classes. And still, with very few exceptions, we require degrees of our commissioned officers. A guy can come off the street with a degree from the University of Phoenix (acceptance rate: 100%) and be closer to getting a commission than an experienced NCO with outstanding evaluations. Officer selection boards might do just as well if they required a note from an applicant’s mom saying “He’s probably not a complete dumbass.”

Academic degrees aren’t great markers of leadership quality… and requiring degrees shuts out a lot of potential officers with a talent for the work. It’s time we changed that.

http://taskandpurpose.com/2017-military-still-requires-officers-college-degrees/
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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: It’s 2017. The Military Still Requires Officers
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2017, 10:34:33 »
Good read.  It raises some valid points. 

Thanks for sharing!
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Offline dapaterson

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Unfortunately, the Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces is no longer available online; recommendation 10 of that report is what drives the CAF "Degreed Officer Corps".  Unfortunately, the intent of building a more robust intellectual underpinning to the Profession of Arms has been reduced to a checklist item.


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Offline Old Sweat

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Let me, as someone who was commissioned and served without a degree, offer a few thoughts from back when the earth was still cooling. I remember any number of briefings by the high-priced help in which they remarked that there was no guarantee that any one candidate for officer training would make a useful and successful officer. Over the years various armies tried all sorts of election criteria, and all proved to be equally mediocre: breeding; degrees; military academies; selection boards; practical tests - none were infallible and most were a waste of time and resources. It all depended on how the candidate performed under tons of stress during their training, and even then performance on regimental duty was the ultimate test. Maybe we you have got smarter and discovered the magic solution since I came through in 1960-1961, but somehow I doubt it.

Does that mean we should just arbitrarily grab people out of the line at recruiting stations? Nope, there is room for some sorting process, but dependence on a degree is not the answer, it is an answer.

Offline dapaterson

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Nope, there is room for some sorting process, but dependence on a degree is not the answer, it is part of an answer.

I'd add the bold bit above.  A degree an and of itself is not an answer; you can earn a degree but still be in the bottom 2% of applicants.
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Offline Chris Pook

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....Over the years various armies tried all sorts of election criteria, and all proved to be equally mediocre: breeding; degrees; military academies; selection boards; practical tests - none were infallible and most were a waste of time and resources. ....

I think you missed one - the ability to finance your own battalion.
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I think Gault did all right with the PPCLI.

Offline FJAG

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Like Old Sweat, I'm a product of the OCTP system where only education requirement was to have junior matriculation which back the was grade 12 (Ontario).

In the summer of 1970 we graduated roughly 10 OCTP and 10 ROTP Phase 4 Arty Officers who all went to regiments and subsequent to that we seemed to parallel the numbers that quit early or went on to middling success. Can't recall any of us that hit the stratosphere as a general.

The only thing that I ever thought might have given the ROTP guys a bit of an edge was that they were all, on average, four years older (and therefore slightly more mature) than we OCTP guys. After a year or two with the regiment that counted for nothing and their degrees were of zero value to them and the CF and if anything gave them more incentive to leave the CF early for a civilian career.

I still don't understand why we would waste the first four youthful years of an officer's career in a classroom.

In my mind we would do better if we took in a large number of physically fit eighteen year olds with good levels of high school education, aptitude test scores etc and have them enroll as privates, complete basic and corps training and serve with a battalion for a year or so before being finally evaluated for acceptance as officers and then sent on leadership and corps training before commissioning.

But then, since our big brother down south demands that all junior officers have a college or university degree, we'll probably just stay the course.

 :cheers:
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Offline Pusser

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I think Gault did all right with the PPCLI.

Yes, but he had the good sense to find an experienced officer to command it.  He did not immediately take command.
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Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: It’s 2017. The Military Still Requires Officers To
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2017, 06:05:38 »
Like Old Sweat, I'm a product of the OCTP system where only education requirement was to have junior matriculation which back the was grade 12 (Ontario).

In the summer of 1970 we graduated roughly 10 OCTP and 10 ROTP Phase 4 Arty Officers who all went to regiments and subsequent to that we seemed to parallel the numbers that quit early or went on to middling success. Can't recall any of us that hit the stratosphere as a general.

The only thing that I ever thought might have given the ROTP guys a bit of an edge was that they were all, on average, four years older (and therefore slightly more mature) than we OCTP guys. After a year or two with the regiment that counted for nothing and their degrees were of zero value to them and the CF and if anything gave them more incentive to leave the CF early for a civilian career.

I still don't understand why we would waste the first four youthful years of an officer's career in a classroom.

In my mind we would do better if we took in a large number of physically fit eighteen year olds with good levels of high school education, aptitude test scores etc and have them enroll as privates, complete basic and corps training and serve with a battalion for a year or so before being finally evaluated for acceptance as officers and then sent on leadership and corps training before commissioning.

But then, since our big brother down south demands that all junior officers have a college or university degree, we'll probably just stay the course.

 :cheers:

And, perhaps, recognize NCMs who show a penchant for wardroom activities and talent manage them towards that avenue if they so wish ?

I feel we have a plethora of NCMs who would make excellent officers.  But getting them into that stream is not as easy as it should be.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Where the degree comes in useful though is preparing officers for the mountains of staff work they will be required to do as they progress in their career.

The military used to have junior staff colleges which were sufficient in length to prepare someone for this; however, the institution has largely outsourced this now. 

This puts us in line with many corporations who up until just before the turn of this century also offered large corporate training packages to its employees.  What was happening is employees would receive the training and then leave the company.  It is a waste of resources to train someone only to have them leave and work for a competitor or start their own company.

At the end of the day, anyone who wants to can pursue higher education and put in the time to get a degree and become an Officer. 

The military doesn't need to get rid of the degree requirement but it needs to get a heck of a lot better at talent management.  I can think of one success story I had a small part in a few years ago.

We had a soldier (corporal), who was a very capable individual, who had a Bachelors and Masters Degree.  He was spotted and offered a CFR which he took and is now an RCR Captain.

Offline Loachman

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Where the degree comes in useful though is preparing officers for the mountains of staff work they will be required to do as they progress in their career.

I've done "mountains of staff work" reasonably well without a degree, and seen many degreed officers who suck at staff work.

The military used to have junior staff colleges which were sufficient in length to prepare someone for this; however, the institution has largely outsourced this now.

The CF Staff School on Avenue Road in Toronto was an eight-week course. That's a lot less of a waste of time and money than a degree.

Offline dapaterson

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Some of this comes down to philosophical concepts of education vs training.  Simplified, training improves performance of specific tasks; education develops reasoning and judgement.

Ideally, if we truly believe in Mission Command, we want an officer corps with those qualities (reasoning and judgement), so they are adaptable to changing situations.

http://keydifferences.com/difference-between-training-and-education.html#ixzz4W0ZEK5oD
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Offline Baz

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I've done "mountains of staff work" reasonably well without a degree, and seen many degreed officers who suck at staff work.

I total y concur, but...

My experience is that one thing that happened is that the definition of "staff work" became muddied.

People now group admin and technical work in with staff work, I don't think it is:
- admin work is supporting your people and unit administratively
- technical work is supporting your weapon systems
- staff work is supporting your commander

Staff work is not just about producing paper; it is understanding your part of the problem as a SME, then presenting the problem and COAs as a unified understanding to the commander, and implementing the solution.

It is not about the paper, it is about *thinking*.

I had an interesting discussion once with a person he was Wing A3 while I was at HOTEF (Operational Test): it was about Aircrew Allowance and staff work.  He thought HOTEF shouldn't get it because they were in "Staff" positions.  Hopefully you can see the irony: he was in a numbered staff position and should have known his *primary* job was to support his commander and secondary job was flying, whereas HOTEFs primary job is to fly the aircraft for testing and needs to produce paper in order to support their technical role.

A culture of staff work being paperwork (of any type) has developed.  The ultimate expression of this is that I was told that I hadn't done any staff tours, despite being in a planning group in NORAD and a an operations group at SHAPE, because I hadn't been to NDHQ or 1CAD.

Very little of what ADM(MAT), for instance, does is staff work... it is important paperwork that keeps the technical wheels on the track so that the weapon system functions, but it isn't staff work.

Given that, if actual staff work is important to support Commander's critical decision making is important (and I think it is incredibly so, but not being done very well), then an appropriate degree from a institution that supports decision making skills (not a degree mill...) is part of a well rounded officer's repertoire.

By the way, this problem also exists in large civilian (public and private) institutions from my experience; possibly more so.

Disclaimer: OCTP (1990), BSc (Comp Sci) Dalhousie (1999); some of my most useful courses were third year Poli Sci seminar courses on Maritime Strategy and Law (I was only allowed in due to my military background)...

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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I've done "mountains of staff work" reasonably well without a degree, and seen many degreed officers who suck at staff work.

The CF Staff School on Avenue Road in Toronto was an eight-week course. That's a lot less of a waste of time and money than a degree.

This is opinion, just because you did it and it worked for you doesn't mean everyone should. 

Not saying it's right, just explaining why it is the way it is. 

Remember, your salary is tied to the public service rates.  No way the government pays a Captain 90k a year without a University Degree.

Almost any management level position anywhere requires at least a BA as a minimum. 

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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I fully concur with Baz's explanation of what constitutes staff work as opposed to administrative/keeping technical records work.

All officers should be able to do their administrative work, with or without a degree.

All officers should be able to lead their "troops" in their operational field at a level commensurate with their rank, with or without a degree.

All officers in technical fields should have a degree in their field, because that is a requirement of their technical field and for the technical record keeping associated with it.

All Staff officers, as Baz has defined staff work, should have a degree because their fundamental staff work require them to be able to, on their own, recognize the topic at issue, formulate the right question to be answered, independently research material they may or may not have ever seen before, compile the relevant material, analyst it  and draw conclusions from the analysis, identify possible solutions, recognize the pros and cons of each, then draft or otherwise present the whole to their commanders in a cogent and comprehensive fashion. I am sorry to say that these skills are not taught in any way form or shape at the High School level, only at the University level.

And Humprey, I disagree that captains (as an example) need degrees because of the correspondence with civil service managers. Officers that fulfill the first two roles I mentioned above don't need a degree - but it is because they don't manage anything - they lead soldiers/sailors or airmen.

So there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree and there is another way to deal with the requirements for well developed staff officers: The continental European model of General Staff. Officers, with degrees and a record early on of skill at writing tactical or strategic papers, get tested in national level tests for their specific abilities fro staff work and, if selected, are "career managed" through a series of staff courses, staff positions and field position in an accelerated fashion to get to the level where their staff abilities will serve the armed forces the best. Now that is talent management.

   

 

Offline quadrapiper

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I fully concur with Baz's explanation of what constitutes staff work as opposed to administrative/keeping technical records work.

All officers should be able to do their administrative work, with or without a degree.

All officers should be able to lead their "troops" in their operational field at a level commensurate with their rank, with or without a degree.

All officers in technical fields should have a degree in their field, because that is a requirement of their technical field and for the technical record keeping associated with it.

All Staff officers, as Baz has defined staff work, should have a degree because their fundamental staff work require them to be able to, on their own, recognize the topic at issue, formulate the right question to be answered, independently research material they may or may not have ever seen before, compile the relevant material, analyst it  and draw conclusions from the analysis, identify possible solutions, recognize the pros and cons of each, then draft or otherwise present the whole to their commanders in a cogent and comprehensive fashion. I am sorry to say that these skills are not taught in any way form or shape at the High School level, only at the University level.

And Humprey, I disagree that captains (as an example) need degrees because of the correspondence with civil service managers. Officers that fulfill the first two roles I mentioned above don't need a degree - but it is because they don't manage anything - they lead soldiers/sailors or airmen.

So there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree and there is another way to deal with the requirements for well developed staff officers: The continental European model of General Staff. Officers, with degrees and a record early on of skill at writing tactical or strategic papers, get tested in national level tests for their specific abilities fro staff work and, if selected, are "career managed" through a series of staff courses, staff positions and field position in an accelerated fashion to get to the level where their staff abilities will serve the armed forces the best. Now that is talent management.

 
Would removing the non-technical degree requirement at the entry level, supplementing initial officer training to support whatever "staff" work is likely in ship/battalion/squadron service, and running an in-house degree program (perhaps two-year condensed Bachelors and Masters, at re-purposed military colleges?) for people at appropriate steps on the "staff" stream work?

Offline dapaterson

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Or do we need to rethink how we're structured?  We have more senior officers in the Reg F (Maj and above) today than we did when the Reg F was over 90,000 strong.  Nearly 10% of the Trained Effective Establishment is senior officers.  Can we streamline HQ functions and reduce the size of that cohort?

Maybe we need to get officers doing more officer stuff (and in smaller numbers), and empower senior NCMs more.  Where necessary, provide those SNCOs with training or education to enable them.
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Offline Underway

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Professions require education.  Higher education.  You cannot be a professional (in the proper definition of the term) without it.  See Drs, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Nurses etc... Therefore the "Profession at arms" needs an education because minimum literacy and numeracy standards have to be met.

University education all but guarantees this where high school does not.  It also means that when you were out there in the world doing school you were also exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking, which is valuable to any organization.  It also generally demonstrates your ability to self learn and manage your time. 

There is research held by the PSel branch that proves university educated officers are more likely to succeed in training and have the skills necessary to succeed in their first posting after OFP (65% predictive when combined with CFAT and new interview process).  This isn't to say that if you don't have one you are incapable or worse, just less likely to succeed.

Finally the real reason we have university educated officers is because of the Somalia Report which pointed out that the Canadian Forces officer corps were highly resistant too and lacked higher education (the groupthink problems referenced earlier).  IIRC it was below 40% of officers who had a degree.  The recommendation that came out of that was that all officers must have a university degree, which DND accepted with the goal that 95% of officers would have a degree of some type.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Finally the real reason we have university educated officers is because of the Somalia Report which pointed out that the Canadian Forces officer corps were highly resistant too and lacked higher education (the groupthink problems referenced earlier).  IIRC it was below 40% of officers who had a degree.  The recommendation that came out of that was that all officers must have a university degree, which DND accepted with the goal that 95% of officers would have a degree of some type.

Bad leadership begets bad leaders.

No amount of education can address that issue. Blanket policies like 'everyone will get a degree so we don't have any more war crimes' is a cop out, as well as being naïve.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Loachman

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Professions require education.  Higher education.  You cannot be a professional (in the proper definition of the term) without it.  See Drs, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Nurses etc... Therefore the "Profession at arms" needs an education because minimum literacy and numeracy standards have to be met.

How did we ever win the Second World War with so few degrees among so many Officers?

"Drs, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Nurses" are educated/trained as such in universities, yes. There are no other venues. We provide our Officers with the necessary education/training to perform effectively, and at the appropriate levels. Universities do not do that, as they do for the non-military occupations that you mentioned.

I've never had to apply "literacy and numeracy standards" above what I learned in public school, let alone high school, in thirty-five years in flying and staff positions. Perhaps the quality of education has slipped a lot in public schools since I was there. I did have the benefit of beginning my education in England, and was thus quite ahead of my age group in Canada post-immigration.

University education all but guarantees this where high school does not.  It also means that when you were out there in the world doing school you were also exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking, which is valuable to any organization.  It also generally demonstrates your ability to self learn and manage your time.

Nothing guarantees anything. There are also many ways in which one can be "exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking" - seeing the world and interacting with different cultures as part of one's career comes to mind. The various Officer selection and training programmes should "generally demonstrate(s) your ability to self learn and manage your time" as well.

There is research held by the PSel branch that proves university educated officers are more likely to succeed in training and have the skills necessary to succeed in their first posting after OFP (65% predictive when combined with CFAT and new interview process).  This isn't to say that if you don't have one you are incapable or worse, just less likely to succeed.

And what was the success/failure rate like in the "bad old" pre-every-Officer-must-have-a-degree days? If it was worse, is the difference worth the time and cost of putting every single Officer through three or four years of university?

Finally the real reason we have university educated officers is because of the Somalia Report which pointed out that the Canadian Forces officer corps were highly resistant too and lacked higher education (the groupthink problems referenced earlier).  IIRC it was below 40% of officers who had a degree.  The recommendation that came out of that was that all officers must have a university degree, which DND accepted with the goal that 95% of officers would have a degree of some type.

There were far more serious problems in Somalia than Officers without degrees, and I've seen plenty of "groupthink" in university-trained professions as well.

I've had quite an exposure to the medical community over the last five years, and it's far from perfect. There is much resistance to new ideas, especially the simple, cheap, and effective ones as opposed to those that come from drug- and equipment-manufacturers accompanied by slick advertising campaigns, don't really solve the underlying problem, are often accompanied by a lengthy list of side-effects, and cost a lot of money.

What's the difference between doctors training doctors and lawyers training lawyers in universities and military Officers training military Officers in military training establishments?

Why don't we recognize the equivalent value of our own training - initial Officer training, whatever OPDP is called now, and the various staff courses, instead of blindly worshipping civilian degrees? Why not rename the Infantry School "Infantry University" or 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School "2 Canadian Forces Flying Training University" and issue a military degree along with a Commissioning Scroll? Our programmes are a lot more intensive and much harder to get through, if somewhat shorter.

I am not anti-education, but highly sceptical of any claim that a random degree makes one a more effective Officer, or is the only means by which one can become knowledgeable and well-rounded.

My daughter was the first one in my family to get a degree. I took a fair amount of pride in her accomplishment, but she remains somewhat bitter about her inability to find a decent job afterwards, and it took her many years to pay off her student debt. So many have BAs that prospective employers basically dismissed hers, and she feels that her teachers who pushed the value of an education lied to her. That old cliche about the person with a BA asking "Do you want fries with that?" That's the rut in which she's still stuck, and nothing that she spent all of that money and effort on has given her any practical benefit.

In comparison, I have Grade 12 and four Grade 13 credits and was making $111,000 and change when I got punted for exceeding my allowable allotment of birthdays, and now receive more in pension money than many with degrees will make for many years. I would not have given up any four years of the career that I had in exchange for a degree. I'd certainly have learned a lot less.

Offline Loachman

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Bad leadership begets bad leaders.

Mefloquine didn't help, either.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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A few extra remarks at this point:

First one goes to something Quadrapiper said: There is no "staff" work on a warship because there is no "staff" as that term is defined by Baz (except, maybe the captain's steward if you look at it as he is supporting the captain's command work  :king:: "You're up early, sir. Let we fetch you a coffee - I had it ready just in case" or "That's alright, sir. I'll let your wife know you'll be late again, and I will pick up your dry cleaning at Canex on the way so you'll have it for tomorrow." Etc. etc.). Or if you look at it in reverse, everybody is staff to the captain.

Anyhow, second point concerns what Underway just mentioned about the profession of arms. While it is true that all "professions" have education requirements, it is also true that some will graduate at the top of their class while others will graduate at the bottom. Some will go on to be the chiefs of their medical field in teaching or research hospitals, while others will either be competent for, or satisfied with receiving people with the little ailments and pains and prescribe a bunch of pills based on the say so of drug companies. In law, some will be the top corporate lawyers in a large National firm, while others will do divorce/family law work in a small local practice. My experience is that where people graduate is actually not an indicator of which of those doctors or lawyers will end up being one or the other I described above.

So, yes, "higher" education is required for the profession of arms, but unless we define "higher" as transformative education that "makes the educated person a man-of-the-world (sorry for women here, I don't know what a gender neutral expression would be), then the narrowly focused "training" that professionals like doctors or engineers get in university can only be looked at as advanced technical training and not "higher education". If so, why can't the military take people who graduated high school with good marks and actually be the ones providing the "higher" education of a professional type?

I don't know when you joined, Underway, but in my early days, the Navy used to take high school graduates right off  and pass them through a program (NOTP) that was about a year long, given at VENTURE, that would get them ready to go to sea onboard the old MACKENZIE class ships for a further 26 (I think) weeks to then stand a BWK board. They would then be sent to an operational ship to pass their "full" BWK. They off course would then have their OPDOPIEs, their basic training course in their "field", their "D" level. In all they probably got a good three years of actual formal "education" in the field of naval operations by the time they did all this, and frankly - onboard a ship - you couldn't tell them apart from those officers who had university degrees. Few of them made it past Commander, but almost all of them stayed in and made some of the best  seaman officers in the fleet. What's wrong with that?
   

Offline Underway

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How did we ever win the Second World War with so few degrees among so many Officers?

If we are oversimplifying, with massive industries that out produced the Japanese and Germans, oil and a nuclear bomb.  If you would like to bring up the value of university education of officers then you need to look no further than the Battle of Ypres where a Canadian chemist told the men to piss in their hankies so the urea in it could counteract the worst effects of the gas. 

"Drs, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Nurses" are educated/trained as such in universities, yes. There are no other venues. We provide our Officers with the necessary education/training to perform effectively, and at the appropriate levels. Universities do not do that, as they do for the non-military occupations that you mentioned.

University education is the first step in your professional life.  Engineers are not legally engineers until they do 4 years of experience in industry under a PEO and pass an ethics and law exam, Dr's must do a residency in a hospital outside of school etc...  and if you want to get technical you can go to milcol to get a military focused education.

I've never had to apply "literacy and numeracy standards" above what I learned in public school, let alone high school, in thirty-five years in flying and staff positions. Perhaps the quality of education has slipped a lot in public schools since I was there. I did have the benefit of beginning my education in England, and was thus quite ahead of my age group in Canada post-immigration.

This is going to come across insulting but it's not intended that way.  You're a pilot.  If you can make it through pilot training you had to read and understand technical manuals, airfoil science etc...  That points to the fact that you were educated enough or just generally very bright.  However how much does pilot training cost.  Are you willing to increase the cost to the training system because someone doesn't have the basic literacy to read a technical manual.
  Education standards reduce that risk significantly.


Nothing guarantees anything. There are also many ways in which one can be "exposed to new ideas and different ways of thinking" - seeing the world and interacting with different cultures as part of one's career comes to mind. The various Officer selection and training programmes should "generally demonstrate(s) your ability to self learn and manage your time" as well.

They do demonstrate that, but we don't hire people to fail them out of training if they can't.  We hire them with the goal that they can successfully complete training and do our best to ensure we have the new Jr. officers that can succeed.  Every person who fails out of training is a waste of resources, time and a spot where another person who was qualified could have succeeded.  It's impossible to perfectly predict success in training, but education reduces the risk of a training failure.  That's not made up the PSels have the data.  And its statistically significant.  As for seeing the world etc... well that's great after you have finished training, and that's experience.

And what was the success/failure rate like in the "bad old" pre-every-Officer-must-have-a-degree days? If it was worse, is the difference worth the time and cost of putting every single Officer through three or four years of university?
Doesn't really matter does it.  The training and the requirements are completely different today then the "bad old days". But you can compare between new officers who are going to get their degree within their first engagement period vs the ones who already have their degree.  There is a reason that the DEO and ROTP numbers at the recruiting level are much higher than those other programs.

There were far more serious problems in Somalia than Officers without degrees, and I've seen plenty of "groupthink" in university-trained professions as well.

I've had quite an exposure to the medical community over the last five years, and it's far from perfect. There is much resistance to new ideas, especially the simple, cheap, and effective ones as opposed to those that come from drug- and equipment-manufacturers accompanied by slick advertising campaigns, don't really solve the underlying problem, are often accompanied by a lengthy list of side-effects, and cost a lot of money.

What's the difference between doctors training doctors and lawyers training lawyers in universities and military Officers training military Officers in military training establishments?

Dr's and lawyers have to get a degree from another institution before they go to med or law school.  And as such their second degree is the one taught by their profession.  Exactly like Officer training.  Engineers have math, science, history and engineering profs teach them during their undergrad with a high credit requirement for arts courses to make them well rounded.

Why don't we recognize the equivalent value of our own training - initial Officer training, whatever OPDP is called now, and the various staff courses, instead of blindly worshipping civilian degrees? Why not rename the Infantry School "Infantry University" or 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School "2 Canadian Forces Flying Training University" and issue a military degree along with a Commissioning Scroll? Our programmes are a lot more intensive and much harder to get through, if somewhat shorter.

We do something like that at Ryerson with their flight school program.  And RMC is still a military college and a civilian degree granting institution.

I am not anti-education, but highly sceptical of any claim that a random degree makes one a more effective Officer, or is the only means by which one can become knowledgeable and well-rounded.

It isn't, but it increases the chances of that happening.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 18:25:21 by Underway »

Offline sidemount

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Not to mention that other Professions such have been listed require university education that directly relates to the specific job.

How many jobs do the CAF have that are "any degree"

For example, the Infantry are like that. You can have a degree in basket weaving that in no way relates to the profession of being an Infantry officer.

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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Not to mention that other Professions such have been listed require university education that directly relates to the specific job.

How many jobs do the CAF have that are "any degree"

For example, the Infantry are like that. You can have a degree in basket weaving that in no way relates to the profession of being an Infantry officer.

This is actually changing, different MOS will require specific degree programs.

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I've done "mountains of staff work" reasonably well without a degree, and seen many degreed officers who suck at staff work.

The CF Staff School on Avenue Road in Toronto was an eight-week course. That's a lot less of a waste of time and money than a degree.

Truer words were never spoken.

When I finished high school and my OCTP training I was a fully qualified gunner but didn't start thinking beyond my own little world until I went to Staff School (which then was done at Avenue Rd and was more like three months I believe)

Staff School was the first time I was teamed up with Navy and Air Force and Purple personnel so gave me a rounded understanding of the Forces as a whole. Besides teaching staff duties it taught us how to organize our thought processes, taught us how to analyse situations (beyond basic operational appreciations of the situation)taught us how to study properly, taught us how to create and present persuasive arguments and deliver presentations.

Subsequently, as a Battery Captain I became the supervisor and mentor of a number of young subbies who were all graduates of RMC or civilian universities who, quite frankly were next to illiterate when it came to writing PERs or any type of staff paper. I was only a year or two older then them but by then my artillery training and experience had made me a far better gunner then them and my Staff School course a far better administrator. Their four years of university had provided them with very little of value to their units.

I think one has to keep in mind that other professions who require degrees (lawyers, doctors, engineers) have degree programs that are specifically aimed and tailored at teaching the knowledge and skills that the professions need. General university courses may teach things of interest but little of value. (I look back to my own two years of pre-law and can attest to the fact that I earned sixty credit hours of interesting stuff that has furthered me zero percent in either my military or law careers. I sometimes joke that the only thing that gives me an advantage is that a geography course I took taught me what "albedo" is and I doubt if 5% of the population does.)

I also am a great believer in higher education and believe that the professional faculties and the community college programs provide value for money for the individuals and for the country as a whole. On the other hand I also believe that the bulk of the courses offered at universities are the biggest con that we run on our students and taxpayers. Courses that warehouse young people for four years (or more) and provide them with no marketable skills are ridiculous and are being pushed on us by a system that's designed to perpetuate the system rather than benefit the students and country in general. 

I can't help but believe that if we were to develop our young officers ourselves over those four years we would probably get a much better product in half the time and they could use the other two years in gaining practical experience in their chosen fields :2c:

Incidentally, I also agree with the comment above about being more flexible about commissioning from the ranks. Our program right now is heavily weighted towards taking very senior and older NCO. The problem regarding taking younger MCpls and Sergeants is very much tied to the education requirements. If we had a better internal junior officer development process then taking younger NCOs who lack university education and even a year or two of high school would be simpler and lead to more success.

 :cheers:
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 19:19:09 by FJAG »
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Offline dapaterson

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This is actually changing, different MOS will require specific degree programs.

Which speaks to senior leadership confusing education and training, to my mind.  Unless there's a professional certification required - in the CAF, Doctors and Lawyers and Nurses and Pharmacists and Dentists are all I can think of - we should not be using the type of degree as a filter.  (I'm excluding Engineers from that list, since most CAF engineers do precious little engineering.  And most of the engineering could probably be done more effectively by civilians).

The most humorous part of some of those efforts is that they would disqualify the highest ranking Logistics officer in the CAF from being a Logistics officer.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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I was only a year or two older then them but by then my artillery training and experience had made me a far better gunner then them and my Staff School course a far better administrator. Their four years of university had provided them with very little of value to their units.

Except as a warning to others? :)
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Staff work= glorified clerk.

Get over yourselves.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Staff work= glorified clerk.

Get over yourselves.

Sorry, Bruce, but properly done staff work is nothing of the sort. Properly done staff work is a decision making tool for Commanders. Improperly done staff work is all too common today and it just gums up the works of the CAF.

Clerks do administration. Which is also vital. But it is not staff work.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?
« Reply #31 on: October 20, 2017, 12:17:44 »
Reading through the original article, there is another way to look at the changes in educational attainment and officer programs. It is true that more people now have degrees than in 1940, but there are also many more people who have completed high school than in the 1940s. It may be that a degree is "worth less" comparatively than seventy years ago, but that does not make a degree less important as an officer program entrance requirement. A high school diploma also meant more in 1940 than it does in 2017 as a discriminator.

That degree on its own does not make somebody an officer, but it is a useful entrance requirement. They must go through CAF/branch education and training. One aspect of the greater percentage of folks with a degree is that some of the barriers from 1940 are gone or lessened.

We do have outstanding leaders in the CAF who do not require degrees - they are our great NCO corps. The  high school grad with leadership qualities will make a great MCpl/Sgt in a few years - they don't all have to go officer! We are blessed with both a professional officer corps and a professional NCO corps and we should be comfortable with that.

Cheers

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Offline Good2Golf

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Staff work= glorified clerk.

Get over yourselves.

Not sure even the best of clerks could, for example, liaise with Treasury Board and the Finance Ministry to shape a $0.5B short-notice capital procurement for a 5th C-17.  Could even be a Sr. NCM, but such an individual (NCM v Offr) would also have one (or more in my experience) relevant degrees.

:2c:

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Offline Spectrum

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The CAF is a pretty diverse workplace. We have needs for leaders, administrators, and technical experts. Yet I see plenty in the CAF that can't fill any of those roles competently. And that's not just a shot at officers. We have plenty of sh*tty NCMs too.

I'd rather see young officers get qualified first before we put them through university. Let them lead and be exposed to basic administration. Once they are ready to be Capt, we can look at getting them a public admin/finance/engineering degree (please no art history majors) so they can go fight the bureaucratic battles for us. And if they really suck, we can boot them out before this threshold is reached.

And don't even get my started on the NCMs. I have no idea where they found some of my peers. Sure they are better than many from **** countries, but some are "professional" in terms of service only. We should be comparing ourselves to Americans, Brits, Aussies etc. And I personally know at least one officer or NCO from each of those countries that think we are a joke.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Though the article referenced in the OP is written from the perspective of the US military since the discussion here has veered more to the Canadian experience, I'll provide a link to a couple of ORA reports that may provide some background.

An Assessment of the University Degree Policy for Canadian Forces Officers  (Sept 1997)
http://cradpdf.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/PDFS/zbb62/p508505.pdf

Models of Canadian Forces Officer Occupations Most Affected by University Degree Requirement  (May 1998)
http://cradpdf.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/PDFS/zbb61/p508381.pdf

Like a number of other "old timers" (maybe not when the earth was cooling, but there was still one or two dinosaurs roaming the earth) on this means I saw no problem with officers without degrees.  I was one of them, OCTP(M) - the "M" meaning "Men", in the days when men were men, and women were women, and officers were neither (according to my changing I-card anyway).  One of the things to remember in this discussion, which is more than about the singular issue of degreed officers, is that the pro non-degreed side of the argument seems to focus very much on the benefit of in-service evaluation and commissioning.  Back in the old days, with the exception of CFRP and SRCP,  all the Regular Force in-service commissioning plans mirrored a plan for candidates from civvy world (or the Reserves).  The non-degree option, OCTP, was usually limited to classifications (occupations) that most would term "pointy end" - Inf, Armd, Arty, Pilot, Air Nav, AEC, MARS - all the rest needed degrees to get in the door, though once in the door there were the odd few who moved between classifications still lacking a degree.

While there was a high percentage of officers lacking a university degree, they were mostly in the MOCs above and in a couple of odd occupations that mostly generated officers in-service through CFR and by voluntary (usually) transfer from those non-degreed MOCs.  Even though one may assume that since those many non-degreed officers were generated through OCTP (and the similar pre-unification separate services commissioning programmes that preceded it), it was the primary source of officers, that would be incorrect.  My assumption (I don't have the data at hand, only memory of studies/reports from the 1980s when I was part of an occupational analysis) is that a higher percentage of OCTPs stayed following their initial engagements when those with degrees left following completion of compulsory service.  The OCTPs were only meant to be the short term measure to fill the gaps left when enough university graduates (or individuals willing to exchange a paid university education for a period of service) could not provide sufficient officers.  Well, the requirement changed with society.  Back 30, 40, 50 years ago getting that university degree was a significant event, now not so much.  While we may have lost some good potential officers through the cracks because of the education requirement in the years since the policy change, is the CF so short of potential officer applicants who either have a degree or is willing to go to school to get one.  The CF was always wanting officers to have education, just, like in a lot of things it did, it got lazy and accepted the easy fix of non-degreed officers that ended up being the norm.  For those who say that more opportunity for commissioning for deserving currently serving NCM should be provided, I ask, is the purpose of any commissioning plan to generate officers or to reward soldiers?

And to get back to the OP article and it's American focus, though the US military was always more education (credential) demanding than us, they also commissioned individuals with degrees during times when there was a shortfall in recruiting university graduates.  And not during the World Wars.  As an individual example (and one that proves nothing about correlation of education and officership - their shades of Somalia), quite a few non-degreed individuals were commissioned through Officer Candidate School during the Vietnam War.  They were selected often on the basis of aptitude test scores and many went there straight from basic training (other ranks basic as privates) or perhaps after completing initial trades training.  One of them, who had dropped out of community college after a few months but got through basis and training as a company clerk but had high test scores, was Lieutenant William Calley.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2017, 15:07:15 »
Reading through the original article, there is another way to look at the changes in educational attainment and officer programs. It is true that more people now have degrees than in 1940, but there are also many more people who have completed high school than in the 1940s. It may be that a degree is "worth less" comparatively than seventy years ago, but that does not make a degree less important as an officer program entrance requirement. A high school diploma also meant more in 1940 than it does in 2017 as a discriminator.

That degree on its own does not make somebody an officer, but it is a useful entrance requirement. They must go through CAF/branch education and training. One aspect of the greater percentage of folks with a degree is that some of the barriers from 1940 are gone or lessened.

We do have outstanding leaders in the CAF who do not require degrees - they are our great NCO corps. The  high school grad with leadership qualities will make a great MCpl/Sgt in a few years - they don't all have to go officer! We are blessed with both a professional officer corps and a professional NCO corps and we should be comfortable with that.

Cheers

The real question though isn't whether more education may have some value. The question is can the military make better use of those years especially since they are some of those where we are at our most vigorous and most impressionable. Why should we let them be spent sitting on our butts in a classroom?  :pop:

 :cheers:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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And, for Gawd's sake, let's hope that no one starts a discussion about the merits of 'Sergeant Pilots'. :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_pilot

"They were not paid much, their opportunities for promotion were limited, and they were treated harshly in training, but that did not stop three generations of enlisted aviators from becoming pilots in the Army Air Corps."

https://archive.is/20120717164532/http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=31103853

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Offline FJAG

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And, for Gawd's sake, let's hope that no one starts a discussion about the merits of 'Sergeant Pilots'. :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant_pilot

"They were not paid much, their opportunities for promotion were limited, and they were treated harshly in training, but that did not stop three generations of enlisted aviators from becoming pilots in the Army Air Corps."

https://archive.is/20120717164532/http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=31103853

Or like Warrant Officers in US Army Aviation? That's a US idea that I would support here (although, of course, their warrant officers are quite different from ours since under the Warrant Officer Flight Training Program the only educational requirement is grade 12 and there is no previous military experience required)

 :cheers:
« Last Edit: October 20, 2017, 18:43:41 by FJAG »
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Offline Navy_Pete

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Which speaks to senior leadership confusing education and training, to my mind.  Unless there's a professional certification required - in the CAF, Doctors and Lawyers and Nurses and Pharmacists and Dentists are all I can think of - we should not be using the type of degree as a filter.  (I'm excluding Engineers from that list, since most CAF engineers do precious little engineering.  And most of the engineering could probably be done more effectively by civilians).

The most humorous part of some of those efforts is that they would disqualify the highest ranking Logistics officer in the CAF from being a Logistics officer.

Wrt the engineers portion, I think it's important to note a lot of engineers don't do much 'pure engineering'. Design is only one portion of the types of work you can do, and a lot of it is project management, business development, contract management, etc where you take your technical background lets you understand the issue without going full slide rule to redesign everything. :geek:

Very little of the CAF engineering work is what you would learn about in schools, but our training relies on a lot of background knowledge, and within DND we are increasingly going towards aligning a lot of our stuff with commercial practices, so having a P.Eng is already desirable and may become mandatory for certain positions. Sure, you can have the same job done by a civilian, but having someone that has been in the field doing it gives them a good appreciation of all the stuff that you wouldn't know otherwise because it won't be written down on a performance requirement anywhere. A good example is helmets that met all the requirements but failed field testing miserably because they didn't account for people using them as seats. Also, from a SWE point of view, we are cheaper than civilians doing the same jobs on the salary, with no concerns about OT etc when things get busy, and with the DEO stream, you don't actually pay for the education or have any 'lost time' for the paid degree.

I've used the stuff I learned at school a few times to do a bunch of calculations and verify our plan worked and would be safe, but I use the general skill sets I picked up while getting my education that were improved during my training every day. I can say the CAF has been great for developing the soft skills needed to actually lead people, and overall makes me a lot more effective now than if I had done just 'pure engineering' as a civilian and been put in the jobs I'm in now.

Probably a lot of officer roles that don't strictly need degrees, but I'd say the engineering jobs aren't one of them. We could train that internally, but it would probably cost way more and not really save any time, so not necessarily any real savings or net benefit.

Offline dapaterson

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If the majority of a trade is employed in administrative functions in Ottawa, it is questionable whether that function should be military.

But that's another discussion entirely...
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Offline Dimsum

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We should be comparing ourselves to Americans, Brits, Aussies etc. And I personally know at least one officer or NCO from each of those countries that think we are a joke.

I've worked with Americans and I've worked with a lot of Aussies in all three services, and I don't believe we are worse than either of them.  We are generally more experienced at each rank level compared to the Americans (especially in the NCM world) and are on par with the Aussies.  I've worked with members of both militaries that I would follow, but only out of morbid curiosity. 

I'll admit that when I first started working with the Brits, their accents (perhaps b/c of the whole "to make yourself sound smarter, adopt Received Pronunciation) made me subconsciously think they knew what they were doing, but after a little while I noticed that they bumble around just as much (if not more in some cases) as we do. 

The "joke" goes both ways.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:26:54 by Dimsum »
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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I've worked with Americans and I've worked with a lot of Aussies in all three services, and I don't believe we are worse than either of them.  We are generally more experienced at each rank level compared to the Americans (especially in the NCM world) and are on par with the Aussies.  I've worked with members of both militaries that I would follow, but only out of morbid curiosity. 

I'll admit that when I first started working with the Brits, their accents (perhaps b/c of the whole "to make yourself sound smarter, adopt Received Pronunciation) made me subconsciously think they knew what they were doing, but after a little while I noticed that they bumble around just as much (if not more in some cases) as we do. 

The "joke" goes both ways.

People are people, the "we're a joke" perception comes more from our lack of certain core combat capabilities and national political posturing.



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Some of this comes down to philosophical concepts of education vs training.  Simplified, training improves performance of specific tasks; education develops reasoning and judgement.

Ideally, if we truly believe in Mission Command, we want an officer corps with those qualities (reasoning and judgement), so they are adaptable to changing situations.

http://keydifferences.com/difference-between-training-and-education.html#ixzz4W0ZEK5oD
I find it interesting that the advocates for a non-degree Officer corps generally are those without a degree, while those supporting degrees for officers typically have a degree (of some sort) themselves.

My preference would be to have all members - officers and NCM alike - obtain some sort of degree or professional certification during their career path. For some, cooks for example, this could their Red Seal certification. A degree is likely not required (or a realistic option for all recruits, recognizing that some will have a degree on entry) for your typical combat arms Pte/Cpl, but a degree or diploma would certainly be beneficial at the MWO/CWO rank when much of their work milieu involves working with (degrees) officers. For officers that enter with a Bachelor degree, perhaps progression to the General/Flag Officer ranks should require a Masters (beyond a RMC MDS) or PhD, similar to the US Military model. Everyone benefits from education in some form.

In terms of a university degree, the skills gained should include critical reasoning, the ability to synthesize large amounts of information, develop arguments for/against various positions, writing and communication skills, research competencies (beyond Google) and the ability to select the best ‘evidence’, and exposure to a broad variety of ideas.

So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.

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. Everyone benefits from education in some form.


Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?
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The taxpayers don't necessarily lose by having people who return to civilian life with more education.  They're also going to get a better military as well with their being more educated.

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I can accept, with the number of educational opportunities available, that officers should have a degree these days. Waaay back when, the ROTP system was as much a means of providing Federal assistance to education, which was a Provincial responsibility, as it was "the" primary officer production system. An officer only had to serve three years commissioned time after university graduation, and many, perhaps even the majority, joined for the free education and then pursued civilian careers. Of the ROTP graduates of my vintage I served with in 1 RCHA in Gagetown 1961-1964 perhaps about ten made it a career, while the number of "short service" OCP officers who qualified for permanent commissions must have numbered close to forty. A few from both streams became GOs and Cols, while most of us retired as LCols and Majs, and some peaked at Capt for life.

So my experience was quite different than most of yours, and that coloured my attitude. Again, it was a different era, and degrees were far less common in Canadian society. The army admitted that there was no difference in ability and performance after the rank of captain, but the ROTP graduates who stuck around did have an edge on us.

Offline the 48th regulator

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Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?

That they are tax payers as well, that chose a vocation and an employer that provides that.  Just because other Canadians do not receive it should not be a reaon to feel guilt or that the individual must justify it.

You have issues, take it up with your own employer.

dileas

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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

I mean they're taxpayers working for an employer whom provided it.......
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Offline the 48th regulator

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Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

I mean they're taxpayers working for an employer whom provided it.......

Don't compare illegal activities with an employer offering employees an avenue to improve themselves.  That is just sour grapes, from someone who does not have it.

dileas

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Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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Didn't say illegally did I?
Cancelling the gas plants wasn't illegal but a lot of people made good money on it......and I'll bet they knew somebody.

If you actually paid attention you'd see that my original response  was to a scenario where ALL members should be offered degrees.........something that ISN'T presently offered.   Hard to have sour grapes over something that doesn't exist.

Now, back on subject matter perhaps?
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Offline Infanteer

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So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.

Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline RomeoJuliet

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Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.
Great points Infanteer. I use the skills (hard and soft) I learned from university all the time.


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Offline the 48th regulator

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Didn't say illegally did I?

Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

So what exactly were you trying to say?


Cancelling the gas plants wasn't illegal but a lot of people made good money on it......and I'll bet they knew somebody.

If you actually paid attention you'd see that my original response  was to a scenario where ALL members should be offered degrees.........something that ISN'T presently offered.   Hard to have sour grapes over something that doesn't exist.

Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?

Don't know what your trying to sell, but your produce has a tangy taste.....

Now, back on subject matter perhaps?

Yes, please let us get back on the subject matter, as your contributions are so delusional, they are even confusing you! As for this thread, I am paying attention, unfortunately your white noise is making it harder to enjoy a good conversation regarding education requirement in the officer corps for CAF. 

It's Not for whiny posts about not getting any, and Government pocket lining.

dileas

tess

I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

Offline Infanteer

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Ok.  Its done.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline the 48th regulator

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I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

Offline FJAG

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I find it interesting that the advocates for a non-degree Officer corps generally are those without a degree, while those supporting degrees for officers typically have a degree (of some sort) themselves.

. . .

So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.

I'm an advocate for non-degree officers. I may have enrolled as one initially but since then have completed five years of university and achieved an LL.B. My opinion that we could make much better use of those four years comes entirely from having my feet solidly planted in both camps.

As to the ship having sailed; I regretfully agree that it has. I sincerely doubt that we will ever go back to another non-degree program unless there is a national emergency which would require the rapid development of a large officer corps. I don't see that happening.

 :cheers:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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The British discovered the hard way that it’s a good idea, for any ‘big business’, to diversify your risk in the leadership department. Hence, they continue to recruit Officers both with and without degrees.

Having said that, I was one of the latter and, while I had a great time over the almost 9 years I was there, one of the main reasons I left was the fact that there was no way they were going to suiport me to get a degree.
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Offline ArmyDoc

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The British discovered the hard way that it’s a good idea, for any ‘big business’, to diversify your risk in the leadership department. Hence, they continue to recruit Officers both with and without degrees.

Having said that, I was one of the latter and, while I had a great time over the almost 9 years I was there, one of the main reasons I left was the fact that there was no way they were going to suiport me to get a degree.
To be clear, I support all members (Officer and NCM) being able to access and pursue formal post-secondary educational opportunities. For some, this will be a professional certification or diploma. For others, it will be a degree program.

Some educational programs should be sponsored as full-time for selected candidates e.g. take two years from your regular employment and get an MBA. For others, likely the vast majority, learning will occur on your time after hours, but on the company dime (as occurs with the current Individual Learning Plan System)  e.g. take two to four years part-time to obtain a Masters.

Regarding the comment about about it “wasting taxpayers money”, all of us in the military pay taxes, too, so we are interested agents also. In addition, many of us came into the CAF already possessing a degree that we obtained without CAF assistance. 

The CAF is competing with the civilian market for potential employees, and if a robust educational upgrade path - both academic and professional- gives us an advantage in being “the employer of choice”, I’m in favour.

Offline Tango2Bravo

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Re: The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?
« Reply #58 on: October 21, 2017, 20:06:16 »
The real question though isn't whether more education may have some value. The question is can the military make better use of those years especially since they are some of those where we are at our most vigorous and most impressionable. Why should we let them be spent sitting on our butts in a classroom?  :pop:

 :cheers:

Officers pursuing a degree through ROTP or RESO are not just sitting on their butts. They are spending four months each year learning their branch and going through some "vigorous" training. The 22 year olds have at least a little more maturity once they begin Troop Leading/Platoon Commanding, all else being equal of course.

I think that planning to have officers wait to obtain a degree is a mistake. There is always something pressing for our Captains in terms of time - sending them off to school for four years is a non-starter. Its hard enough to get second language and staff training time.

Cheers

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Offline Infanteer

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Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.

I caught this article and it brought me back to this thread.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/whats-college-good-for/546590/

The part that caught my was "The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them. This is not a fringe idea. Michael Spence, Kenneth Arrow, and Joseph Stiglitz—all Nobel laureates in economics—made seminal contributions to the theory of educational signaling."
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Bruce Monkhouse

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"Critical thought"??  Apparently only allowed if you tape all your conversations. ....
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Offline Journeyman

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https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/whats-college-good-for/546590/

The part that caught my was "The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them."
Good article, thanks; it mirrors much of what I think, particularly:

a) "Instead we must ask ourselves what kind of society we want to live in—an educated one or an ignorant one?"

b)  "I’m a cynical idealist. I embrace the ideal of transformative education. I believe wholeheartedly in the life of the mind. What I’m cynical about is people. I’m cynical about students. The vast majority are philistines. I’m cynical about teachers. The vast majority are uninspiring. I’m cynical about “deciders”—the school officials who control what students study. The vast majority think they’ve done their job as long as students comply."


I believe that university education can add to society in general, and the military in particular, because of "a."  However, the overarching system is broken because of "b"... in addition to the other points raised by the author.

First, our choice of society.  Look at many of the posts made on this site (or if a glutton for punishment, the comments section to CBC articles).  Charitably, some are based on naiveté or not staying in one's lane.  Many, unfortunately, come across as uninformed bigotry, obtuseness, or lack of exposure to other thoughts (and actually making informed judgements upon them).  I believe that further education could help all but the most determined to defend their right to be stupid.

However, our educational systems are failing, not merely because of uninspiring teachers, but because so many feel that their role is to provide ideological indoctrination rather than cultivating informed reasoning.  As a military person at a civilian university, I often heard about how I was personally responsible for all the world's problems and oppression.... often with significant venom.  I'm not sure if the graduates from those circles can be considered educated rather than ignorant, because there is no other side to their coin to be considered -- you either hug trees or you're irredeemably evil; one must always be offended on behalf of someone or something.

But even an awareness of their perspectives can assist in producing valid counter-perspectives and, as such, better leaders.  And I'm not advocating education just for officers, but for NCMs as well.  Some troops wouldn't believe an officer if he said the sun rises in the east, but the informed views of a respected Sgt will carry much weight.


As such, the more education the better..... hell, even the person who takes Art History can be beneficial when playing trivia in a bar.  :cheers:
Sadly amazed at people cheering on the spread of kakistocracy.   :not-again:

Offline daftandbarmy

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But even an awareness of their perspectives can assist in producing valid counter-perspectives and, as such, better leaders.  And I'm not advocating education just for officers, but for NCMs as well.  Some troops wouldn't believe an officer if he said the sun rises in the east, but the informed views of a respected Sgt will carry much weight.

In the world of the Reserves it is possible to come across PhDs who also happen to be good machine gunners. It's an idea well past its time, to open up more educational opportunities to all ranks based on merit. We may even see Sergeant pilots (but I'm not going to bet my retirement on it.)

One of these days we'll have a ruthlessly rigorous 'University Program Selection' as well as CSOR, JTF2, etc etc selection course that has hundreds of well qualified applicants. That's when you know we're probably headed in the right direction, intellectually as well as technically.

"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Journeyman

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In the world of the Reserves it is possible to come across PhDs who also happen to be good machine gunners.
To be fair, I had the real  military in mind.    :stirpot:

...besides where did they possibly get sufficient ammo and actual Sp Wpn range time to become good machine gunners?    :worms:



Disclaimer: First part is a joke; second part..... well....  :dunno:

 ;D 
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Well, one of our PO2 at MONTCALM was a Ph.d. student in nuclear physics. I can tell you that NBCD School was more than happy to see him back every summer to help making sure all the course materials were up to date and to make sure the staff was up to date on safety precautions.

Offline Rocky Mountains

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In 2017 the average young person has about 2 years of post-secondary.  Why wouldn't the military want officers to have an above average education?  As someone said, when you're paying a captain $90,000 why wouldn't you expect a degree?   I was in the reserves in an age when maybe somewhat less than half the officers had degrees and I saw no difference in capabilities.  Having a degree wasn't the only requirement, there were also interviews and boards to impress other officers that I had something of a personality capable of leadership and I fooled them.  What is the magic in a degree?  In my life, I've managed to earn 4 of them.  A whole whack of people I started university with failed to earn one.  Maybe persistence is a valued virtue.

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