Author Topic: Concerns Prompt Sweeping Review of Royal Military College- Nov. 2/ 2016  (Read 27931 times)

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And we have some recommendations - this from the Info-machine today:
Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) General Jonathan Vance today met with staff and students at the Royal Military College of Canada to announce upcoming changes as a result of findings and recommendations outlined in a recent report on the College.

The report, which was commissioned by General Vance on August 30, 2016, identifies areas of improvement to better enable the College to prepare future Officers of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Produced by a Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV), an expert team of former and current military experts, the report contains 79 recommendations, all of which have been accepted by General Vance for implementation where it is within his authority to do so.


    “As the Chief of the Defence Staff, I am responsible for ensuring that we produce the best possible professional leaders as commissioned Officers in the Canadian Armed Forces. The report has provided me with excellent insight into the challenges faced by the College students and staff in meeting this intent, and I am taking the necessary actions to set them up for success in the future.”

    — General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff

    “The SSAV team spoke to nearly a quarter of the College’s Officer Cadets as well as military and academic staff and a variety of other stakeholders. We immediately recognized that there are a lot of good things happening at RMCC. However, there are challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed  and I am confident we provided the CDS with frank and honest insight. I am encouraged that General Vance has accepted the recommendations and personally invested himself by taking immediate action in a number of areas, demonstrating the commitment needed to ensure a strong future for the College.”

    — Vice-Admiral (Retired) Greg Maddison, SSAV Team Leader

Quick Facts

    The CDS ordered the deployment of a SSAV in response to growing concern over the learning environment at RMCC.

    Led by former Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral (Retired) Greg Maddison, the SSAV Team was made up of experienced and highly knowledgeable former and current CAF members, supported by a civilian and academic advisor Dr. Phill Bates, RMCC Vice-Principal Academic.

    More than 400 interviews with students, staff and stakeholders were conducted by the SSAV

    Although some changes will be implemented before the next academic year, others, such as improvements to infrastructure will take more time. Examples of what to expect include:

        Officer Cadets will receive more regular, focused mentoring and coaching to better prepare them for their military careers.

        Better services to Officer Cadets on campus, such as medical, dental, administrative support, and food services.

        Improvements to staff levels at the College to ensure better administrative training support to the Officer Cadets.

        Investments in infrastructure to ensure the Officer Cadets have access to modern, well-maintained facilities.

        The Canadian Defence Academy, the command responsible for the delivery of basic and higher education for the Canadian Armed Forces, will report directly to the CDS.

        The leadership training model within RMCC will be changed to provide a better overall experience that is focused on a positive learning environment to ensure that the higher standards required for commissioning in the Canadian Armed Forces through the RMCC program are met ...
Statement from the CDS:
Dear students, staff, families and friends of the Royal Military College of Canada,

The Officer Cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) are a distinguished group of young Canadians who have dedicated themselves to the service of our country. I am proud of their commitment, and as the Chief of the Defence Staff, I want to ensure we continue to educate, develop and prepare Officers who will excel in an ever-evolving world.

As you may know, on 30 August 2016, I ordered a Special Staff Assistance Visit, or SSAV, to RMCC. I did this to fully assess and understand the situation at the College. A team of highly experienced military leaders, both serving and retired, was sent to RMCC. They interviewed approximately 400 people, including academic and training staff and a quarter of the student body.

I have their final report, which I invite you to read here. Thanks to their excellent work, I have a clear understanding of the environment at the College, and what we need to do to improve it. Here are some of the report's key findings:

    RMCC continues to provide Officer Cadets with the education, development and preparation they need to succeed as Officers in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    The college environment is challenging and complex, with many expectations and rules. We can improve on how the program is supported, delivered and resourced‎.
    We need to better manage schedules – The priority for Officer Cadets while at RMCC is earning their degree and we need to ensure that they are provided with an environment that permits them to excel both academically and militarily.
    While support services such as medical and dental care are provided to the Officer Cadets, these services are not readily available on campus.
    We need to improve College infrastructure, in particular the library. Officer Cadets need more study space.

Life at RMCC is challenging and demanding.  It’s supposed to be. Both higher education and military training are hard work – and that hard work has meaning; it helps young men and women grow into leaders.

In light of the findings, it is my intent to make significant improvements to RMCC. Some of the changes will be implemented immediately, while others will take more time. ‎Some of the improvements are as follows:

    Making changes to the leadership training model to provide a better overall experience that is focused on a positive learning environment and achieving the standards necessary to graduate with a commission in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    Providing more regular, focused mentoring and coaching to Officer Cadets to prepare them for their military careers.
    Providing improved coordination of schedules, such as academic and training, as well as limiting the number of external activities requiring Officer Cadet participation.
    Providing better services to Officer Cadets on campus, such as medical, dental, administrative support and food services.
    Improving staff levels at the College to ensure better administrative and training support to the Officer Cadets.
    Making the necessary investments in infrastructure to ensure the Officer Cadets have access to modern, well-maintained facilities and living quarters.

I am personally invested in the success of implementing these recommendations and will keep a close eye on the progress at RMCC. This is why I’m writing to you about these changes – you need to know about them and to know that I remain committed to providing the best possible leadership and support to our Officer Cadets attending RMCC as they meet the many challenges before them on their way to graduation and commissioned service in the Canadian Armed Forces.

They will be the face of our tomorrow so let's fulfil our commitment to them today.

Jonathan H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff
And the executive summary of the report:
... The Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV) Team was mandated to assess the overall climate, training environment, culture, and Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) programme construct at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), and how these factors impact the morale, welfare and success of the Naval and Officer Cadets (N/OCdts) at the College.

As the institution responsible for developing these future military leaders, RMC must provide a positive and healthy learning environment for N/OCdts to ensure they have a solid grounding, both academically and militarily.  It was with growing concern over the climate at the College that the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) directed a SSAV, a unique tool used by the senior leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to obtain an understanding of the state of a unit or function.  In that regard, the SSAV Team, supported by a civilian and academic advisor, Dr. Phil Bates, RMC Vice-Principal Academic, endeavoured to conduct a thorough assessment, the results of which form the basis of the analysis and recommendations contained in this report.

RMC is a unit of the CAF facing challenges similar to those faced by any other military unit across Canada, including aging infrastructure, resource pressures, lengthy and complex processes mandated throughout the Government of Canada relating to administration, financial expenditures, information technology, and ongoing challenges in staffing both civilian and military positions.  However, with the mandate to deliver university level academic programmes in addition to military training and education, RMC is unique amongst other CAF units operating in this complex environment.

The SSAV Team interviewed and received input from more than 400 stakeholders including the leadership and staff from Canadian Defence Academy / Military Personnel Generation headquarters, RMC military, academic, and support staff and most importantly, more than 200 of the N/OCdts themselves. The Team’s open and consultative approach allowed for valuable and frank insight into the challenges and constraints, the positive and negative views and opinions, and the strengths and weaknesses of the training and learning environment at RMC.  This aided the SSAV Team in reaching a solid consensus regarding the assessments and recommendations that the Team believes are needed to address the challenges they observed. 

In broad terms, the overall climate at RMC has been influenced by a decade of resource pressures and higher priorities at the strategic level, which has resulted in RMC operating in an environment that has generally placed a lower degree of priority on the College. In that regard, the SSAV Team noted uncertainty amongst stakeholders regarding RMC’s mission and priorities, a significant level of tension between the Academic and Training Wings, N/OCdts who are cynical about their experience at RMC, and disconnects between how RMC employs more traditional learning and military training techniques, and the expectations of a new generation of tech-savvy and multi-tasking N/OCdts.

This report provides assessments and recommendations in five areas: (1) RMC’s Command and Control and Governance Framework; (2) Stressors affecting the N/OCdts; (3) Morale at the College; (4) Selection process and training of the military staff;  (5) Support programmes available to the N/OCdts; and (6) The Four Pillars programme where N/Cdts are required to meet established standards in four key areas considered germane to service as an officer in the CAF: academics, military training, physical fitness, and bilingualism (French and English) ...
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