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Rebuild Basic Officer training: {SPLIT from:] Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

FJAG

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... After competing the long, gruelling “basic leadership/selection” course the candidates will be commissioned as Acting Sub-Lieutenant or 2nd Lieutenants and will go off to university for four years. ...
I was on board with you up to that point. My problem comes with the four-year university requirement.

I understand how the Somalia crisis got us to that point and I do understand the benefits of a broad general education. I just don't buy the fact that sending someone to a civilian university (or a four-year RMC program) will provide a sufficient enough benefit to the Forces to justify making someone spend four prime years of their service life in a diversion.

There is nothing that four years of university will teach you that a concentrated one-year Sandhurst-like program won't if you tailor the program right. It also gives you the ability to create an initial assessment of which of your candidates are destined for leadership, which are destined for higher "management" and which ones should be shown the door.

The engineers and other specialists that we need can be brought in through DEO programs.

If we have officers that do wish to avail themselves of a higher education then there are numerous extension programs available to them. RMC could offer the Sandhurst program and CDA the extension programs tailored to benefit senior defence and public service leadership.

🍻
 

Edward Campbell

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I was on board with you up to that point. My problem comes with the four-year university requirement.

I understand how the Somalia crisis got us to that point and I do understand the benefits of a broad general education. I just don't buy the fact that sending someone to a civilian university (or a four-year RMC program) will provide a sufficient enough benefit to the Forces to justify making someone spend four prime years of their service life in a diversion.

There is nothing that four years of university will teach you that a concentrated one-year Sandhurst-like program won't if you tailor the program right. It also gives you the ability to create an initial assessment of which of your candidates are destined for leadership, which are destined for higher "management" and which ones should be shown the door.

The engineers and other specialists that we need can be brought in through DEO programs.

If we have officers that do wish to avail themselves of a higher education then there are numerous extension programs available to them. RMC could offer both the Sandhurst program and CDA the extension programs tailored to benefit senior defence and public service leadership.

🍻
I understand your point, but I don't think that an honours BA (or BSc, or BComm or so on) is too much to demand from someone who aspires to be a leader/manager in our Armed Forces.
 

PPCLI Guy

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If we have officers that do wish to avail themselves of a higher education then there are numerous extension programs available to them. RMC could offer both the Sandhurst program and CDA the extension programs tailored to benefit senior defence and public service leadership.

🍻
I was granted a commission with Gr 11 Quebec. I eventually acquired a Bacc and a Masters, but not until well into my not altogether unsuccessful career, and I'd like to think that the troops I served with did not suffer unduly from my lack of formal education..

Education is over-rated, and learning is under-valued.
 

dapaterson

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And the two are often mistakenly conflated.

In the late 90s, attempts at modest reform of RMC foundered on the "always done it this way" reef. Concepts like realignment of the academic year, fully integrating military training into the progression so a RMC grad could walk off grad parade and into a serial in a unit as a trained 2Lt never came to fruition.
 

FJAG

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I understand your point, but I don't think that an honours BA (or BSc, or BComm or so on) is too much to demand from someone who aspires to be a leader/manager in our Armed Forces.
True enough as far as the individual's commitment is concerned and maybe that's how we judge those who show the right commitment - by getting it in their own time.

My concern is simply from the life cycle of an officer. If you front-end load a lengthy education/training program then you end up the latter part of the career in just short-tour ticket punching of leadership experience roles or as more senior directors and department managers. A man's life is short. There's a delicate balance in how that is spent so that the CAF gets the maximum benefit from it.

I was granted a commission with Gr 11 Quebec. I eventually acquired a Bacc and a Masters, but not until well into my not altogether unsuccessful career, and I'd like to think that the troops I served with did not suffer unduly from my lack of formal education..

Education is over-rated, and learning is under-valued.
Like you I'm a product of the OCTP system. I did my real learning after I got my commission including two years pre-law while serving in the Reg F and then three years LLB while in the Res F. As a subaltern I felt that I could run circles around my RMC peers. In the end some of them turned out better than me but a lot of them didn't. That still colours my view of mandatory university for officers.

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dapaterson

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We should not conflate the degreed officer corps with ROTP.

And Jack English repudiated the current construct, correctly noting that there's a need for multiple commissioning sources.

Nothing wrong with company grade officers without degrees pursuing them on their own time; maybe give them a year paid to complete them.
 

Weinie

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PAO's and MP's are there to cover for the Brass.
The nature of the structure means they are beholden to the ones in power - and do what they are told.
I never covered for the brass, through Somalia, through the Macleans articles, and all the other shyte that occurred. As a staff officer and advisor to commanders, I made recommendations, whether the CoC accepted them was on their shoulders. Some of them wore the consequences of their decisions.
I never was put in a dilemma such that I felt that a Commander was acting illegally; though I had on several occasions to advise how his/her direction would be perceived.
PAO's/JAG/Engr's/MedO's at the staff level are advisors......period. I have a very clear conscience after almost 39 years in this outfit, 25 plus as a PAO.
 

Ostrozac

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When considering the Sandhurst model, it should be noted that approximately 80% of UK Officer Cadets now enter RMAS with a degree, so they rely heavily on the equivalent of DEO. In effect, what the British Army has is what we used to have in Chilliwack with CFOCS, only with a significantly longer commissioning course at 44 weeks.

The key difference is that the British Army attracts university graduates instead of maintaining its own universities. Maintaining a military university seems very difficult to defend. Even putting aside the embarrassing and harmful discipline issues, if it is important to educate officers, isn’t it important that they be exposed to the outside world as part of that education? Civi U is cheaper, and is where Canadian society gets their degrees. Seems a no brainer.
 

dimsum

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if it is important to educate officers, isn’t it important that they be exposed to the outside world as part of that education? Civi U is cheaper, and is where Canadian society gets their degrees. Seems a no brainer.
Bingo.

And if location is so important (it shouldn't be, because the whole point is to be exposed to the outside world), Queens is pretty much next door.
 

FJAG

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I never covered for the brass, through Somalia, through the Macleans articles, and all the other shyte that occurred. As a staff officer and advisor to commanders, I made recommendations, whether the CoC accepted them was on their shoulders. Some of them wore the consequences of their decisions.
I never was put in a dilemma such that I felt that a Commander was acting illegally; though I had on several occasions to advise how his/her direction would be perceived.
PAO's/JAG/Engr's/MedO's at the staff level are advisors......period. I have a very clear conscience after almost 39 years in this outfit, 25 plus as a PAO.
During the Winnipeg flood, our AJAG cell shared an office with the PAOs directly across from the Div Comd and COS. The four of us met several times a day on various issues where advice on both law and public perception played a part. I always chuckled at our combined shoulder flashes of "Veritas" and "Justitia" - "Truth" and "Justice".

😁
 

captloadie

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Whether the officer core needs to be degreed or not is an argument I'll not wade into, but let's address the issue at hand. We are blaming the institution of RMC for the actions of the students attending the institution, and the leaders running the institution. Like it or not, the academic side of RMC provides a stellar education for those who attend. It also serves, or at least it should, to provide both physical fitness training and second language training, so that when 2Lts show up at their units, they should be able to keep up to, and converse with, their subordinates.

But where the institution is failing is holding those Ocdts accountable for their actions, something that is deplorable. LCol Popov should have been allowed to keep the 200ish individuals confined to base, but also initiated the process for the whole lot to be released. Individuals would have then come forward and pointed out the offenders. The leadership failure falls directly on the shoulders of the Commandant, who appeared to be more concerned about personal advancement than developing leaders of tomorrow.

This issue highlights one of the biggest problems we have within the CAF - an outdated conception of what Loyalty means, and where it belongs in the hierarchy of the fundamentals of leadership. If you have to lie, or withhold information to be loyal, you aren't getting it.
 

Edward Campbell

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In my law enforcement career, the two best, most effective and most successful (operationally and organizationally) leaders I worked for; one had high school and the other had a BA he got on his own time. Managers may need degrees; leaders not so much.
I have a lot of sympathy for this position. It also reflects some of my own experience. One of the best generals with whom I ever had the privilege of serving (and the godfather to one of my sons) enlisted at 16 as an Apprentice Soldier (you may have to Google that) and managed to finish high school. He never attended any university. What he brought to the Army was honesty, enthusiasm, commitment and common sense. He and I both served with an officer who had three, count 'em, three degrees and was totally devoid of effective leadership or good sense.

Like some others here I served in the ranks, first, and was then commissioned and then got a (second class) degree some years later. My model is based, somewhat, on my son's career: he enlisted as a sailor, began officer training when he entered university and has had a wholly acceptable career in terms of what he offered the Navy and what it offered in return. It worked for him and the Navy.
 

Remius

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Whether the officer core needs to be degreed or not is an argument I'll not wade into, but let's address the issue at hand. We are blaming the institution of RMC for the actions of the students attending the institution, and the leaders running the institution. Like it or not, the academic side of RMC provides a stellar education for those who attend. It also serves, or at least it should, to provide both physical fitness training and second language training, so that when 2Lts show up at their units, they should be able to keep up to, and converse with, their subordinates.

But where the institution is failing is holding those Ocdts accountable for their actions, something that is deplorable. LCol Popov should have been allowed to keep the 200ish individuals confined to base, but also initiated the process for the whole lot to be released. Individuals would have then come forward and pointed out the offenders. The leadership failure falls directly on the shoulders of the Commandant, who appeared to be more concerned about personal advancement than developing leaders of tomorrow.

This issue highlights one of the biggest problems we have within the CAF - an outdated conception of what Loyalty means, and where it belongs in the hierarchy of the fundamentals of leadership. If you have to lie, or withhold information to be loyal, you aren't getting it.
The degree of nepotism and concern for recruiting varsity sports players emanating from that institution when I was a recruiter some years ago would make you sick.
 

daftandbarmy

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I have a lot of sympathy for this position. It also reflects some of my own experience. One of the best generals with whom I ever had the privilege of serving (and the godfather to one of my sons) enlisted at 16 as an Apprentice Soldier (you may have to Google that) and managed to finish high school. He never attended any university. What he brought to the Army was honesty, enthusiasm, commitment and common sense. He and I both served with an officer who had three, count 'em, three degrees and was totally devoid of effective leadership or good sense.

Like some others here I served in the ranks, first, and was then commissioned and then got a (second class) degree some years later. My model is based, somewhat, on my son's career: he enlisted as a sailor, began officer training when he entered university and has had a wholly acceptable career in terms of what he offered the Navy and what it offered in return. It worked for him and the Navy.

Before launching into an endless round of 'this is how I went through Officer training so that's what we should do' (not that I'm guilty of that at all ;)) ....

....there might be a need for some analysis to define a desirable vision/ end state, identify the key issues and opportunities, and develop a plan to 'get there from here'.

Of course, I realize this is likely impossible given the strength of the various interests involved. However I do note that, after the Falklands War, the British revised their Officer training - not just at Sandhurst but along the whole 'supply chain' - as a result of deficiencies noted during the war.

If they can be self-critical leading to an improved end state, so can we.

Can't we?

Whether the officer core needs to be degreed or not is an argument I'll not wade into, but let's address the issue at hand. We are blaming the institution of RMC for the actions of the students attending the institution, and the leaders running the institution. Like it or not, the academic side of RMC provides a stellar education for those who attend. It also serves, or at least it should, to provide both physical fitness training and second language training, so that when 2Lts show up at their units, they should be able to keep up to, and converse with, their subordinates.

But where the institution is failing is holding those Ocdts accountable for their actions, something that is deplorable. LCol Popov should have been allowed to keep the 200ish individuals confined to base, but also initiated the process for the whole lot to be released. Individuals would have then come forward and pointed out the offenders. The leadership failure falls directly on the shoulders of the Commandant, who appeared to be more concerned about personal advancement than developing leaders of tomorrow.

This issue highlights one of the biggest problems we have within the CAF - an outdated conception of what Loyalty means, and where it belongs in the hierarchy of the fundamentals of leadership. If you have to lie, or withhold information to be loyal, you aren't getting it.
I don't have a ton of exposure to RMC other than knowing a couple of graduates, but I understand that it is well regarded in acedemia for a number of its programs. I get the sense that it has shifted from being a military installation that offers post-secondary education to a post secondary facility that has some military trappings (and guaranteed employment). If recent student events at other institution, particularly Queens, is any indication, if they are using them as an exemplar they might be on par.
 

FJAG

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... If they can be self-critical leading to an improved end state, so can we.

Can't we?
We do not have a good track record of self-examination. Most of the changes in the CAF culture come as a result of outside examination which generally finds us lacking.

I know I overuse the frog and boiling water analogy but in many more ways than one I tend to think of the CAF as a one large pot of uncomfortably warm water filled with frogs that don't yet realize that the burner is still on.

:cautious:
 

rmc_wannabe

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I think that we have made a two-headed monster by assuming personal merit = good leadership potential. We feed the egomaniacal and the sociopath by rewarding personal accomplishment, vice personal impact on subordinates and thus the organization as a whole.

Do you need a degree to serve as a leader? No. Here's why: we instill leadership from the day people walk through the green door at CFLRS. I was 3 minutes in the Army and was given the responsibility of Course Senior. I had to ensure my people were where they needed to be, in the right dress, at the right time. If I failed that task, I was personally responsible. This is Mickey Mouse compared to being a Platoon or Company Commander, but the principles remain the same: either you step up and lead, or you flounder and screw the people beneath you.

Having a B Sc. or and MBA doesn't change that. It may help with the managerial duties of a Pl Comd or OC of a Coy, but it does not equal to personal characteristics (humility, dedication, a "stewardship" mentality, etc.) that we need of our leaders. We do very well at writing a checklist to say "this is we are looking for" to assess personal achievements that might make you successful at the next level. What needs to happen, in light of that blowing up in our face, is having your personal character assessed as well. Even on enrollment, we need to ask the questions and get the background to see if this person is in it to better the organization, or if they're in it to be in command/make a higher pay day.

Ambition is not something to be derided, however, if its the sole motivating factor of an individual, you're going to see the ill affects felt throughout the organization before that person in a position of power even thinks "oh... hey... maybe I'm part of the problem?"

I would love to see more CFRs, have OCTP return, and have a mechanism to recruit from those already out in the job market; but promote laterally vice from the ground floor. There is no reason an IT Manager for a Fortune 500 company should need to "learn" the ropes as a 2LT after BMOQ. Promote straight to Captain and employ these folks straight away. You might see that the "rock stars" aren't the ones with a ring to knock.
 

Brad Sallows

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Academics, language, opportunities to be/become fit: these are all commonly available at almost all such institutions. The CAF doesn't need to be in that business. Other parts of the CAF can teach all the required military fundamentals.

The excuse for a military institution rests on inculcating a culture. If the institution isn't primarily in that business, it shouldn't exist.

The point of an educated officer corps is to provide a pool of people from which to draw well-prepared staff officers (work habits, critical reasoning).
 
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