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Office Production Paths - CFR or Bust?

Lumber

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On this site, we've discussed at lengths whether or not an officer needs a degree, and whether or not that degree should come from a military college. I want to step aside from that for a moment.

For those who have CFR'd, or those who have worked extensively with CFRs, how do you feel about the statement "All officers should have to serve a minimum of 3 years as an NCM before being eligible to become an officer." (or somrething like that)

Most seem agree that RMC educated officers and non-RMC educated officers start on a different foot but tend to equalize after about 6 months, and just about everyone I know agree that the proportion of "good" vs "bad" officers is the same between the two. I'm curious if it's similar between CFRs and DEOs/ROTPs.

I have my own thoughts on the matter, but as an RMC educated never been NCM (former) officer, I'm obviously biased, so I'm I'm really curious for your thoughts!
 
I’m a DEO who has worked extensively with CFRs.

I think it depends on when/what rank they CFR’d, and their personal attitude to the changeover. Huge generalities here, but I don’t think CFR’ing necessarily makes one a better officer, especially if they’re in a trade of mostly officers (aircrew, specialist officers, etc) and you don’t really interact with NCMs as much. If they CFR to a related trade (e.g. Inf soldier to Inf O) then they might know a lot more about the technical aspects, but that‘s not necessarily the job of an officer.

So no, I don’t think that all officers have to serve a minimum of 3 years as an NCM. It might be useful in some trades to see how things work, but only if they become a Commissioned Officer in a related trade.
 
I’m a DEO who has worked extensively with CFRs.

I think it depends on when/what rank they CFR’d, and their personal attitude to the changeover. Huge generalities here, but I don’t think CFR’ing necessarily makes one a better officer, especially if they’re in a trade of mostly officers (aircrew, specialist officers, etc) and you don’t really interact with NCMs as much. If they CFR to a related trade (e.g. Inf soldier to Inf O) then they might know a lot more about the technical aspects, but that‘s not necessarily the job of an officer.

So no, I don’t think that all officers have to serve a minimum of 3 years as an NCM. It might be useful in some trades to see how things work, but only if they become a Commissioned Officer in a related trade.
I think the point of the idea of all officers having to serve a minimum of ____ time as an NCM has almost nothing to do with job proficiency, and is mostly about understanding what it is like at the very bottom of the food chain.

Generally part of the idea is usually also about filtering out those not suited to leadership roles before they go out into the world with a commission and legal authority.
 
CFR v DEO v RMC production officers is a a silly argument IMHO.

Neither has the hold on producing good or bad officers. I've served with both ends of the spectrum and everything in between from all the production methods. To me it has everything to do with upbringing and personal characteristics.

As for having X years as an NCM become a prerequisite to commissioning, seems silly to me.

It's my job as Chief to represent my subordinates. No time spent in those ranks should confuse an officer when they are deciding how we accomplish a mission/task.

I firmly believe in importance and impact of the C&POs mess and I think it's failing ATM. That's the real problem IMHO.
 
I think the point of the idea of all officers having to serve a minimum of ____ time as an NCM has almost nothing to do with job proficiency, and is mostly about understanding what it is like at the very bottom of the food chain.

I think this was the original sentiment.

And for context, this stems from a recent argument on an instagram post where there were a bunch of people aggressively supporting the position that all officers should first have to be NCMs.
 
I think this was the original sentiment.

And for context, this stems from a recent argument on an instagram post where there were a bunch of people aggressively supporting the position that all officers should first have to be NCMs.

I think we follow the same instagram pages ;)
 
No change is 100% positive. In a perfect world, you could make something like that as a rite of passage and using it as a selection tool, it might be 90% positive to 10% negative, which is a huge win.

But in today's climate? Not sure it would be in any way viable. Probably much more viable to try and attract more DEOs so that at least they come in with some outside world experience / have had some more time to mature.


I also think this type of selection process is not comparable to the CFR process. Most CFRs are beyond their best before date.... UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans, in my experience, created much better officers than CFR. I think most people, probably the same thing the OP is doing, intuitively lump UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans in as CFRs - they are not, and like I said, my experience was they produced different products.

Edit to add: beyond their best before date and/or incapable of doing basic admin that requires any level of writing which is necessary for an officer to be even half-functioning... although I think that part may be fading out as the education levels of NCMs increased, as it was clear to me that Ptes/Cpls/Jacks on average were way ahead on written communication skills compared to the average CWO/MWO/WO in The RCR who were of the ripe ol' ages of 50+. By comparison, after I came west and dealt with more Patricias who clearly had a younger average age at all rank levels, even those inbred buck-toothed hillbillies seemed better at such tasks at that rank level, but I'll never admit it.
 
No change is 100% positive. In a perfect world, you could make something like that as a rite of passage and using it as a selection tool, it might be 90% positive to 10% negative, which is a huge win.

But in today's climate? Not sure it would be in any way viable. Probably much more viable to try and attract more DEOs so that at least they come in with some outside world experience / have had some more time to mature.


I also think this type of selection process is not comparable to the CFR process. Most CFRs are beyond their best before date.... UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans, in my experience, created much better officers than CFR. I think most people, probably the same thing the OP is doing, intuitively lump UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans in as CFRs - they are not, and like I said, my experience was they produced different products.

CFRs can create good staff officers and GSOs. And some in the lanes of SCP. But I agree, in general they don't create good line officers.

Just by demographics, you're probably getting someone 40+ in age, settled/established in life, less willing to take postings and probably not interested in standing bridges watches.

But give them a cubicle and let them be staff SMEs on their specialty and they can be excellent in that role.
 
This usually seems like a great idea from infanteers, who have a 1 to 1 into infanteer officers, which really is nothing like most of the CAF occupations where there isn't an officer version of the NCM trade, and most have multiple possible feeder trades. They seem to make up for it though by beating on the officers in battle school harder then the NCMs, so not sure if it makes a difference.

TL:DR; Do hands on training specific to the trade during DP1 as required, don't try and force everyone to take a single approach.

CFRs are a lot more then 3 years in though, so you can look at someone for OLQs after 15-20 years as an NCM and doing WO and other jobs that overlap with juniour officer jobs, you can't really tell that in a brand new Cpl.

A similar debate happens in engineering, in terms of how hands on the programs should be. No one thinks a mech eng has to be a red seal machinist or mechanic first to be a competent engineer, but a lot of programs incorporate things like basic machining and fabrication so that you appreciate the impacts of design decisions on actually making things, and understand why it makes sense to have access to things for maintenance. That's only a small part of being a mech eng though, so I think it's a lot better to give people an overview so they appreciate how little they understand of the practical bits so they actually just talk to people that do before making a decision.

I think the same approach makes sense for the different officer occupations; they need to know enough about the different trades that feed into their area to ask the right questions, but training them to do those jobs is a waste of time. Even the trades that are SMEs like Doctors should know enough that they should probably talk to the nurses because everyone is working together as a team.

The prerequisite education is probably another consideration; if your officer occupation has an 'any degree acceptable' tick in the box, maybe through the ranks would be more useful, but for the rest that have specific education requirements not so much, and then doesn't work for the DEO program at all, which is a large percentage of officer cadre now.

I think my trade (MSEO) does a pretty good job of that in DP1, but it's very time intensive and expensive, and is being reduced down because we don't have the sea days for everyone. We still have one of the longest DP1s though and are only slighly behind pilots, and is becoming unsustainable. I'm reasonably confident though I did every possible shitty job you could do in the department as a trainee, which definitely helped empathize before asking people to do it (but also call BS when there were complaints or overestimates of time required).

I do think everyone should work in retail or as a wait staff at some point in their life though; the first world would be a nicer place I think.
 
Another aspect that comes into play is the time factor.

If all officers have to serve X years as an NCM first, then if more than the number of expected releases happen, then it takes X more years to get new officers rather than getting someone in as a DEO.
 
No change is 100% positive. In a perfect world, you could make something like that as a rite of passage and using it as a selection tool, it might be 90% positive to 10% negative, which is a huge win.

But in today's climate? Not sure it would be in any way viable. Probably much more viable to try and attract more DEOs so that at least they come in with some outside world experience / have had some more time to mature.


I also think this type of selection process is not comparable to the CFR process. Most CFRs are beyond their best before date.... UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans, in my experience, created much better officers than CFR. I think most people, probably the same thing the OP is doing, intuitively lump UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans in as CFRs - they are not, and like I said, my experience was they produced different products.

Edit to add: beyond their best before date and/or incapable of doing basic admin that requires any level of writing which is necessary for an officer to be even half-functioning... although I think that part may be fading out as the education levels of NCMs increased, as it was clear to me that Ptes/Cpls/Jacks on average were way ahead on written communication skills compared to the average CWO/MWO/WO in The RCR who were of the ripe ol' ages of 50+. By comparison, after I came west and dealt with more Patricias who clearly had a younger average age at all rank levels, even those inbred buck-toothed hillbillies seemed better at such tasks at that rank level, but I'll never admit it.

Sigh... I forgot where I was posting! LOL

I didn't literally mean the entry plan known as "CFR", I just used it as a catchall term to mean anyone who was an NCM and then became an officer (ie commissioned from the ranks).

Funny anecdote: we had an officer at my naval reserve unit who transfered in from the army reserves. We noticed that his pay made no sense compared to the other officers of the same rank. It turns out he was an NCM at his army unit before becoming an officer. When he commissioned, the clerks there selected "CFR" as his entry method in HRMS because they figured "hey, he 'commissioned from the ranks'".
 
I'm reasonably confident though I did every possible shitty job you could do in the department as a trainee, which definitely helped empathize before asking people to do it (but also call BS when there were complaints or overestimates of time required).
That's likely the best way to get people the experience required to be better leaders, without going to a complete change in the way we recruit officers. You don't need to be a Mar Tech, but you should understand the reality of the job you're asking them to do in an operational/real world environment. Doing the "shitty" jobs at a school isn't the same at all, training environments aren't usually a good indicator of how things are in the real world.
 
That's likely the best way to get people the experience required to be better leaders, without going to a complete change in the way we recruit officers. You don't need to be a Mar Tech, but you should understand the reality of the job you're asking them to do in an operational/real world environment. Doing the "shitty" jobs at a school isn't the same at all, training environments aren't usually a good indicator of how things are in the real world.
Yeah, especially when it's taken literally; the black water sensors inside the tank won't replace themselves! We also shadowed the roundsman, cert 2 and cert 3, played untrained OD fetching/holding tools during repairs, crawled into the bilges to disconnect things, helped with fuelings, defuelings, shore cable connections etc etc etc so worked well for our specific trade.

And before that in our Phase 2 and 4 we also got to play sailor, so was on line handling teams, bridge lookout, cook, etc so in general did a bit of everything.

Something similar probably is doable for a lot of officer occupations, but it does have a really huge training burden. Glad I got to do it anyway as it made me better at my job, and being able to use multimeter to test circuits at home, rebuild my lawnmower and all sorts of other life skills that come in handy (and when to know when to call an electrician, plumber etc before I make something worse)..

I think overall it was something like a 3.5 year DP1 if you did everything back to back, so 5 years in reality with the gaps between courses. I guess the time I spent shredding paper is still pensionable time, but also made sure that when I could we made gainful employment for any PAT that wanted it..
 
I spent nine years in the ranks before becoming an officer - OCTP(M). Most of my commissioned service was in an occupation (HCA) that (way back when the earth was cooling) was primarily generated from the ranks - CFRs, UTPMs, OCPs/OCTPs (a lot of the OTs from cbt arms were OCTP(M)s) - one study that I saw during the OA we conducted in the 1980s concluded that over 90% of the occupation had Reg F service as an NCO, and not a lot of university degrees among the junior officers (slightly under par back then) but, for senior officers, a comparable level of PG degrees to other occupations.

At one time, I probably would have agreed with the proposition that a degree was not necessary to become an officer. But times have changed. Whether one likes it or not, credentialism exists; not just in the military but also in civilian life. If an organization is going to attract entry level management talent then it must either recruit from where they are usually started (university) or be prepared to provide a similar "credential" (university education) before giving them work experience. However, I don't necessarily agree that we need to operate a military university, It may be more cost effective, as well as better for individual development, to attend a civilian university, but officer "basic training" then should be more like Sandhurst (longer and more comprehensive than our BMOQ). I realize that is army-centric but so am I. There should be comparable training for navy and air force officers that prepares them for more than just their first job (i.e. pl comd, ic photocopying, SLJO).

. . . Most CFRs are beyond their best before date.... UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans, in my experience, created much better officers than CFR. I think most people, probably the same thing the OP is doing, intuitively lump UTPNCM and SEP commissioning plans in as CFRs - they are not, and like I said, my experience was they produced different products.
Just by demographics, you're probably getting someone 40+ in age, settled/established in life, less willing to take postings and probably not interested in standing bridges watches.

But give them a cubicle and let them be staff SMEs on their specialty and they can be excellent in that role.
CFRs are a lot more then 3 years in though, so you can look at someone for OLQs after 15-20 years as an NCM and doing WO and other jobs that overlap with juniour officer jobs, you can't really tell that in a brand new Cpl.

I guess age and personal experience colours one's perspective of what a "CFRP" prospect looks like. As I mentioned above, my former MOC had a lot of CFRs. What they generally looked like when I was commissioned was someone in their early to mid-thirties (maybe in their late twenties), twelve to sixteen years of service (occasionally fewer, sometimes more), Sgt or WO, and, of course, the 6B course (what's now called Physician Assistant). That cohort of talent now flows automatically into an officer MOSID, and continues with a clinical focus rather than administration. That profile may have been different in other corps/branches.

But one of the main generators of officers from the ranks back a few decades, was not the CFRP but Officer Candidate Training Plan (Military) - OCTP(M), the unwashed and uneducated. High school as a minimum, the MOCs open to them were limited to ARMD, ARTY, INF, ANAV, PLT, ATC, AWC, PADM, LOG, MARS, and SEC. There were also "preferred" age limits but that became somewhat flexible, there was a preference for PLT and MARS to be no more than mid-twenties and all others to be under-thirty. One staff paper I saw during the OA outlined an ideal OCTP(M) applicant profile as having two to four years of service at time of application and age 19 to 23. The use of OCTPs (both civilian and military) was supposed to have been a stop gap measure to generate officers when DEO and ROTP could not provide the numbers. After a couple generations of that stop gap, the result was an uneducated uncredentialed officer corps.
 
At one time, I probably would have agreed with the proposition that a degree was not necessary to become an officer. But times have changed. Whether one likes it or not, credentialism exists; not just in the military but also in civilian life. If an organization is going to attract entry level management talent then it must either recruit from where they are usually started (university) or be prepared to provide a similar "credential" (university education) before giving them work experience. However, I don't necessarily agree that we need to operate a military university, It may be more cost effective, as well as better for individual development, to attend a civilian university, but officer "basic training" then should be more like Sandhurst (longer and more comprehensive than our BMOQ). I realize that is army-centric but so am I. There should be comparable training for navy and air force officers that prepares them for more than just their first job (i.e. pl comd, ic photocopying, SLJO).

Just a reminder that Sandhurst has graduate Officers as well as non-graduates, and the breakdown is about 50/50 from what I recall.

The difference between us and them is that, for 99% of the cases, the graduates don't expect the military to pay for their education i.e., they don't need to use bribes. ;)
 
I spent nine years in the ranks before becoming an officer - OCTP(M). Most of my commissioned service was in an occupation (HCA) that (way back when the earth was cooling) was primarily generated from the ranks - CFRs, UTPMs, OCPs/OCTPs (a lot of the OTs from cbt arms were OCTP(M)s) - one study that I saw during the OA we conducted in the 1980s concluded that over 90% of the occupation had Reg F service as an NCO, and not a lot of university degrees among the junior officers (slightly under par back then) but, for senior officers, a comparable level of PG degrees to other occupations.

At one time, I probably would have agreed with the proposition that a degree was not necessary to become an officer. But times have changed. Whether one likes it or not, credentialism exists; not just in the military but also in civilian life. If an organization is going to attract entry level management talent then it must either recruit from where they are usually started (university) or be prepared to provide a similar "credential" (university education) before giving them work experience. However, I don't necessarily agree that we need to operate a military university, It may be more cost effective, as well as better for individual development, to attend a civilian university, but officer "basic training" then should be more like Sandhurst (longer and more comprehensive than our BMOQ). I realize that is army-centric but so am I. There should be comparable training for navy and air force officers that prepares them for more than just their first job (i.e. pl comd, ic photocopying, SLJO).





I guess age and personal experience colours one's perspective of what a "CFRP" prospect looks like. As I mentioned above, my former MOC had a lot of CFRs. What they generally looked like when I was commissioned was someone in their early to mid-thirties (maybe in their late twenties), twelve to sixteen years of service (occasionally fewer, sometimes more), Sgt or WO, and, of course, the 6B course (what's now called Physician Assistant). That cohort of talent now flows automatically into an officer MOSID, and continues with a clinical focus rather than administration. That profile may have been different in other corps/branches.

But one of the main generators of officers from the ranks back a few decades, was not the CFRP but Officer Candidate Training Plan (Military) - OCTP(M), the unwashed and uneducated. High school as a minimum, the MOCs open to them were limited to ARMD, ARTY, INF, ANAV, PLT, ATC, AWC, PADM, LOG, MARS, and SEC. There were also "preferred" age limits but that became somewhat flexible, there was a preference for PLT and MARS to be no more than mid-twenties and all others to be under-thirty. One staff paper I saw during the OA outlined an ideal OCTP(M) applicant profile as having two to four years of service at time of application and age 19 to 23. The use of OCTPs (both civilian and military) was supposed to have been a stop gap measure to generate officers when DEO and ROTP could not provide the numbers. After a couple generations of that stop gap, the result was an uneducated uncredentialed officer corps.
I think that to avoid OCTP altogether is to potentially miss an untapped pool of talent (That pool of talent, BTW, won the Cold War. So there is that).
I am not saying that we should recruit a lot of OCTPs per year, but we should recruit some. Give them 9 years to get a degree, with a hard limit of Captain until they attain a degree.
 
I think that to avoid OCTP altogether is to potentially miss an untapped pool of talent (That pool of talent, BTW, won the Cold War. So there is that).
I am not saying that we should recruit a lot of OCTPs per year, but we should recruit some. Give them 9 years to get a degree, with a hard limit of Captain until they attain a degree.
Don’t we do that already with CEOTP?
 
I am not saying that we should recruit a lot of OCTPs per year, but we should recruit some. Give them 9 years to get a degree, with a hard limit of Captain until they attain a degree.
They tried that with CEOTP — and it failed, because almost no one was actually finishing a degree. The joke we CEOTPs had was “I promised to work on my degree, and the military promised me the time to do it — and we were both lieing”. The op tempo for junior officers just doesn’t lend itself to distance learning. And once you become a senior Captain, the job tempo can even increase. The few real actual quiet positions are cubicles occupied with Majs and LCols, who tend have a deputy they can delegate to if they’re drowned in schoolwork. Lts and Capts don‘t have that option.

You can’t easily fit a four year degree into the occasional few months of post-Latvia reduced op tempo, or in between frigate deployments. The advantage of ROTP and DEO is that education time is front loaded. But whatever model, the time has to fit in somewhere. One model could be enrolment for CEOTP/OCTP, then five years regimental service, then four years IBDP — that gets to a similar end state as ROTP, only with younger and more immature subbies, and older captains as undergrads — but what problem would actually be solved by 18 year old 2Lts and 23 year old freshmen?
 
but what problem would actually be solved by 18 year old 2Lts and 23 year old freshmen?
I don’t know about you, but I would have had a much better time as a 23-year old freshman in Uni bc I’ll not do the “dumb 18 year old stuff”, and focused on “less dumb, better-paid 23-year old stuff”.
 
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