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Arbour Report - Recommendation #29: Future of Military Colleges

Jarnhamar

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90/10 rule:

-90 percent of the people you will work with/for are decent human beings and will be looking out for your best interests.
-10 percent of the people you will work with/for are not and will not.

The 10 percent of those folks are the reason we are all getting tarred with the same brush. Those 10 percent are also the source for 90 percent of the headlines you've seen over the past 18 months. Its those 10 percent that we as an organization need to reform or remove to see things move forward.

Every course has bad students that shouldn't pass (and sometimes shouldn't be in the CAF). Sometimes they get removed and sometimes, no matter how much cause there is to boot them, they squeeze by.

One of my issues with RMC is that these bad students aren't squeezing by a 3 month course, or even 6 month course. Somehow they're squeezing by for 4 years.

Do the powers that be think these people become squared away once they graduate?
 

FJAG

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Another is that the presumed undergraduate education prerequisites/gatekeepers for law and medicine are not as relevant to the profession of arms.
Note, however, that law schools all have a pre-law requirement of two years on undergraduate studies. They don't care what field. The intent is to ensure that law students and future lawyers will have had exposure to some thing other than law in their education.

I view RMC as doing just that through its education program. IMHO that is undercut by the general environment of RMC which is counterproductive to a general education and immersion in civilian society. My preference is let cadets go through a civilan post secondary education coupled with intensive military only courses in the summer.

The fact it produces a substantial portion of our Country's Naval Officers, yet offers no relevant degrees or programs that cover Naval Issues, is telling.

Meanwhile, I can go to the CCG College in Cape Breton and receive a four year degree in either Marine Navigation or Marine Engineering that is University Accredited and also meets Transport Canada and IMO/STCW certification requirements expected of a professional mariner.
I've always thought that sending other ranks through community colleges to learn trades that have military usefulness (trucking, food services, paramedics, mechanics) would be worth us spending money on for their tuition. I can see the same for specialized professional knowledge gotten through university programs.

Yes, but a civvy company can fire you with cause for any number of reasons that we in the CAF give 2nd, 3rd, and 17th chances to fix.
a lot of the crap I have seen in my military career would see a meeting with HR at 10 followed by a security escort at 1430 at my previous civilian employer.
We have a system for counselling and correcting people to get them back on track. Giving people second and even third chances is every bit as important as removing people who don't respond to that.

Our problem is that we don't do it well and our revolving leadership posting cycles has a lot to do with that in that institutional memory of a person's failings is fleeting. On top of that perceptions of a subordinate's failings are highly subjective amongst leaders.

Don't for a minute consider civilian employers as the paragons of personnel management. Very few have had any of the leadership training that even a junior NCM gets. They are generally notorious for failing to document or deal with personnel issues until they hit the "straw that broke the camel's back moment". Their major advantage is that they mostly have lengthier periods of contacts with their employees and can better evaluate their long-term strengths and weaknesses.

🍻
 

daftandbarmy

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Every course has bad students that shouldn't pass (and sometimes shouldn't be in the CAF). Sometimes they get removed and sometimes, no matter how much cause there is to boot them, they squeeze by.

One of my issues with RMC is that these bad students aren't squeezing by a 3 month course, or even 6 month course. Somehow they're squeezing by for 4 years.

Do the powers that be think these people become squared away once they graduate?

Well, at least we can offload them to the units and blame the SNCOs for not 'mentoring' their new Officers properly ;)
 

OldSolduer

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Well, at least we can offload them to the units and blame the SNCOs for not 'mentoring' their new Officers properly ;)
Actually it is not a Senior NCOs job to mentor the new platoon commander. That job is the Platoon 2 I/Cs which in an Infantry Pl is a WO. Now a Sgt may do the job if he is a Pl 2 I/C. Section commanders do have input however.
 

Navy_Pete

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Doesn't matter if we have invested 40 Mil into developing a Senior Officer/NCM: the effects of their toxic leadership, especially if they're causing harm to their subordinates, costs us more in losing large numbers of middle and lower end employees due to a lack of confidence in their leaders.
I would rather see us eat the cost of a shitty leader early on than to bleed the middle dude to systemic issues caused by not ripping the band-aid off in the pre-OFP to DP1 arena.
I think very few people have developed any leadership skills by the time they hit high school, and really depends on what kind of examples you had to follow.

So shitty leaders not only turn into toxic assholes that impact a lot of people as they get promoted, they also set a pretty bad example that some will inevitably follow. So to keep going with the LCol Popov situation, I'm sure a bunch of the students felt like assholes and hopefully hoisted it in, some probably just had it bounce off and carried on, but I'm sure there were a few whose take away was they can get away with things and the old boys club will protect them. Similarly when they see people that that were jerks get promoted, it kind of reinforces that.

Know a few people who were terrible COs, but they started out as jerks as a D level (think new two ringer), were pricks as OROs, and graduated to intolerable assholes as XO. And when their behaviour kept getting them advanced in their career, not really a surprise, but it's not like they were great people that suddenly flipped when they got Command.

Personally found the 'unofficial' 360 feedback as a subbie probably the best thing ever at adjusting course as I tried to figure things out. Hopefully that still happens (but probably a lot more politely than what I got 15 years ago from people that had 20-30 years in at that point) but honestly think it's too late in someone's career when they hit the senior officer level, which is what they are talking about in the report.

All that to say is that RMC seems even more resistant to change than the CAF in general, so if they can't apply even a normal standard of behaviour for a university, let alone the high ethical standards of the CAF probably time to divest ourselves of a lead weight. We can easily divert the same folks to ROTP and ramp up other entrance plans to make up for it, and just partner with the many other researchers and organizations to keep looking at niche subjects with a focus on something particular to the CAF.

As an aside, it was actually a lot of extra work to do a thesis with experiments directly relevant to the Navy instead of just applying for the numerous industry grants, so tweaking the sponsored PGT program to streamline being able to put together a proposal and get funding would probably provide a lot of bang for the buck.

(edited a bit for some particularly bad run on sentences, but probably time for bed)
 

daftandbarmy

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Part of the problem is we need to shift away from the corporate "Credentials" based management model that was adopted in the early 2000s and adopt a more "Effects" based leadership model.

I say Effects based in the sense of "What are the effects of this person leading the organization? Are they positive? Toxic? Do people want to work with/for this person? Let's take a look at the health and morale of the group you command; discipline problems? Administrative Actions? Merely having having them aren't a reflection of your command ability, but they do speak to the environment you're fostering."

The ability to competently lead isn't vested in topping ALP, JCSP, or having a CCE Language profile or Masters of Defense Studies; they compliment it for sure, but the true metric of a leader's ability should always be reflected primarily in the personnel they're responsible for.

I agree!

And of course you know this would mean doing away with the military colleges, which are a good example of a 'credentials' versus 'effects' based approach to leadership.
 

MilEME09

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I agree!

And of course you know this would mean doing away with the military colleges, which are a good example of a 'credentials' versus 'effects' based approach to leadership.
Get rid of degreed officer requirenent, nothing an officer learns absolutely requires a degree.
 

The Bread Guy

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How would you determine who would be an officer then?
Well, since at least a BA is an entry-level requirement for loads of positions not requiring management or leadership these days outside the military, is it the ideal "first hurdle" to becoming an officer? Anyone have any data on degrees are statistically more likely to lead to better officers? I ask because my anecdotally limited evidence from 30 years ago showed me both good and bad officers with and without degrees.
 

Jarnhamar

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I wouldn't go so far as to say I feel bad for these leaders getting in shit ("duh I didn't know better" ) but when you think of it our culture in the CAF creates a lot of these "rank has privileges" types who routinely don't practice what they preach. They're brought up through the ranks getting away with "cause I'm a *$#@in sergeant major" or "cause I'm the CO" double standards.

I can imagine the rank privilege is so ingrained in the people that they're genuinely surprised when they get in shit for something.

The whole rank has privlage is a cornerstone of our culture problem.
 

dapaterson

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The degreed officer corps was a recommendation from the 1997 Report to the PM on the Leadership and Management of the CAF. There were a series of reviews which, taken together, recommended that a broad based liberal arts education would give institutional leadership the ability to understand complex environments and make appropriate decisions instead of resorting to war crimes (baiting, sodomizing and murdering teenagers in your custody, lying and covering up activities, creating fraudulent documents...)

Naturally, that became corrupted from "education" to more of a "training" perspective, where specific degree programs are now used to select for specific occupations. To the point where the Royal Canadian Logistics Service adopted degree standards that excluded the senior serving logistician at the time.
 

Colin Parkinson

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But that can also mean 'punishing' those who didn't take time off. I remember a girl who as soon as she got full time had 3 children in 5 years. Now has the same seniority for job picks/ etc as those who worked all of those five years.
Yet as a society we need those kids, because they are going to help pay for your pension and healthcare. If we want to have women in the workplace, then you need to accommodate for childbirth and child raising. Allowing men to share in that accommodation has been beneficial as well.
 

rmc_wannabe

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The degreed officer corps was a recommendation from the 1997 Report to the PM on the Leadership and Management of the CAF. There were a series of reviews which, taken together, recommended that a broad based liberal arts education would give institutional leadership the ability to understand complex environments and make appropriate decisions instead of resorting to war crimes (baiting, sodomizing and murdering teenagers in your custody, lying and covering up activities, creating fraudulent documents...)

Naturally, that became corrupted from "education" to more of a "training" perspective, where specific degree programs are now used to select for specific occupations. To the point where the Royal Canadian Logistics Service adopted degree standards that excluded the senior serving logistician at the time.
It's similar to the CAFJOD/ALP/ILP/PLQ/GBA+ belief that experiential learning over the course of years can be condensed into a certification or credential.

Leadership, good leadership, is based on being of good character, sound judgement, and a willingness to learn and grow with experience.

A BA or finishing a 200 slide CAFJOD isn't going to do that, no matter what we mandate.
 

Brad Sallows

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We need thinking officers. If there are ways to find and develop those people other than using a university education as a proxy, run with it.

The "credentials" based model has to remain to the extent that it ensures officers are competent to do staff and command work commensurate with rank/appointment. Most staff officers don't have to "lead" anything; they have to be intelligent, educated, industrious, objective, and detail-minded.
 
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