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

OldTanker

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I joined under OCTP. I picked up a BA later in my career under UTPO. In my view there was no requirement for a combat arms junior officer to have a degree. For those chosen for higher command and staff positions where critical thinking was required, absolutely. But not for cannon fodder (which OCTP was in brutal terms). From my OCTP perspective, RMC was more of a boys' club than anything else. We should have used the excellent educational resources of RMC to educate officers who were moving beyond regimental duty.
 

daftandbarmy

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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).

The example of 'languages' is a good one. This should not be such a huge barrier for any Officer - with a degree or not. In many other countries only being able to speak one language is seen as a disability. It wouldn't be hard to change that.

Prior to overseas exercises etc, I had to learn Malay and Arabic. It was not a huge deal. I was assured 'these are easy languages to pick up and, if you speak them even a little bit, you will gain huge street cred with the locals'.

They chucked me a few cassette tapes (remember those?) with some standard phrases, and a handout, and then I had to participate in a couple of classes then sit an exam in a room with a speaker of that language who put me through my paces. For some reason this 'native speaker' was usually a middle aged woman with a frown, which helped me focus ;)

Pass: Military Language Aptitude Tests. And there I was, a month later in one case, in a village at 5000ft elevation in the Jebel Akhdar, having a chin wag, coffee and dates supplied, with all the head guys in various villages.
 

KevinB

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Education does not equal Intelligence, and neither equal Wisdom.

I am a firm believer that the current method of NCO and Officer is decades obsolete, as such I would burn the entire system (including the Military Colleges) down.

Everyone would go on a common recruit/basic course. During that aptitude testing, psychological testing would be conducted in detail.
Then upon completion members would be offered contracts for their appropriate fields.

Every Basic Pet would then go to trade training for their selected occupation.
They would then serve a min of 18months in that role - depending on progress, testing, and desires they could then chose from a NCO or Officer stream.

*I don't think one needs to be an officer to fly a plane or helicopter and especially a Drone, I'd have flying WO's like the US Army.
** I would also have Technical Specialists - who are specialists in their fields - but aren't necessarily Command Rank personnel.

The days of peasant armies are over - and the CAF needs major reform at this point.
 

rmc_wannabe

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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).

Forgive me my ignorance on the matter, but I was educated on "work habits and critical reasoning" throughout my 14 years of formal education up to secondary school. I received a fancy piece of paper stating so in the form of a high-school diploma.

Does one need a fancier piece of paper to be a leader of men, or are we trying to move the goal posts?" Training and experience are also valuable metrics for how well an officer can perform staff duties, and I would argue seeing how well a recruit manages time on kit and quarters is a better metric of their multitasking skills than if they can sit a mid-term between bouts of alcohol poisoning.

We need to do a better job of finding the right people with the right qualities to lead, than finding the "right" people with the most qualifications. The very public downfall of "qualified" men like Vance, MacDonald, Edmunson, Fortin, et all show that you can have a Masters Degree and still be a terrible leader.
 

Brad Sallows

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Some people finish high school with good work habits, but "critical reasoning" ... not really, at least not in the public high schools of Canada, even the advanced courses. Maybe some exceptional courses in exceptional schools. And people who found school easy - high grades without effort - will not reach full potential until they are thrown into an environment where they can't coast any more.

Leadership has nothing to do with learning to think rigorously. And what I mean by being effective staff is not mere staff duties. Those can be learned even by officers fit only for "regimental duty".
 

Edward Campbell

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Education does not equal Intelligence, and neither equal Wisdom.

I am a firm believer that the current method of NCO and Officer is decades obsolete, as such I would burn the entire system (including the Military Colleges) down.

Everyone would go on a common recruit/basic course. During that aptitude testing, psychological testing would be conducted in detail.
Then upon completion members would be offered contracts for their appropriate fields.

Every Basic Pet would then go to trade training for their selected occupation.
They would then serve a min of 18months in that role - depending on progress, testing, and desires they could then chose from a NCO or Officer stream.

*I don't think one needs to be an officer to fly a plane or helicopter and especially a Drone, I'd have flying WO's like the US Army.
** I would also have Technical Specialists - who are specialists in their fields - but aren't necessarily Command Rank personnel.

The days of peasant armies are over - and the CAF needs major reform at this point.
I like what you're saying, Kevin, but I believe that the "offer" isn't appropriate and should not be made until the member has about two years of service.

Think back, old chum: you (and I) were hugely different after two years of service than you (and I) were after four to eight months of initial training ... we started to grow up. A kid who looks great at 18 may be a dud at 21; conversely the kid ~ I'm thinking of myself, I suppose ~ who looked unremarkable at 18 may be just what we want after he's grown a bit.
 

daftandbarmy

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Forgive me my ignorance on the matter, but I was educated on "work habits and critical reasoning" throughout my 14 years of formal education up to secondary school. I received a fancy piece of paper stating so in the form of a high-school diploma.

Does one need a fancier piece of paper to be a leader of men, or are we trying to move the goal posts?" Training and experience are also valuable metrics for how well an officer can perform staff duties, and I would argue seeing how well a recruit manages time on kit and quarters is a better metric of their multitasking skills than if they can sit a mid-term between bouts of alcohol poisoning.

We need to do a better job of finding the right people with the right qualities to lead, than finding the "right" people with the most qualifications. The very public downfall of "qualified" men like Vance, MacDonald, Edmunson, Fortin, et all show that you can have a Masters Degree and still be a terrible leader.

... women, BIPOC, LGBTQ2S etc etc
 

OldSolduer

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Education does not equal Intelligence, and neither equal Wisdom.

The days of peasant armies are over - and the CAF needs major reform at this point.
Bang on on point 1.

The issue is with point 2 is that the culture of an institution cannot change over night. Its a long process.
 

KevinB

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I like what you're saying, Kevin, but I believe that the "offer" isn't appropriate and should not be made until the member has about two years of service.

Think back, old chum: you (and I) were hugely different after two years of service than you (and I) were after four to eight months of initial training ... we started to grow up. A kid who looks great at 18 may be a dud at 21; conversely the kid ~ I'm thinking of myself, I suppose ~ who looked unremarkable at 18 may be just what we want after he's grown a bit.
Honestly I would accept even three years.

Personally I have not seen Universities or Colleges offer anything special -- certain courses and professors yes, but I'm significantly less impressed by Degrees (inc Advanced Degrees and even some Doctorates) than I was years ago.

I believe that intelligence, experience and education are necessary to make someone wise, but I don't necessarily think a 4 year degree is required by anyone in the Military to actually do their job. Unless you are looking at certain specialties - but I'd argue that even the Engineer trade - an officer could take equivalent courses more designed to the needs of the CAF outside of an Engineering Degree.

Note I am not knocking Degrees - I think everyone should get one, or more, but I see a lot of Ivy League duds when it comes to understanding the world.
 

dapaterson

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Reflecting back on the 1997 report, the intent of the degreed officer corps was not credentialism, but rather seeking out individuals with the ability to reason and work in uncertainty. The old concept of a broad based liberal education.

It rapidly deteriorated into mere credentialism, though, and a bludgeon for RMC to exert increased influence through its colocated and thoroughly subservient HQ, CDA.
 

Edward Campbell

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Honestly I would accept even three years.

Personally I have not seen Universities or Colleges offer anything special -- certain courses and professors yes, but I'm significantly less impressed by Degrees (inc Advanced Degrees and even some Doctorates) than I was years ago.

I believe that intelligence, experience and education are necessary to make someone wise, but I don't necessarily think a 4 year degree is required by anyone in the Military to actually do their job. Unless you are looking at certain specialties - but I'd argue that even the Engineer trade - an officer could take equivalent courses more designed to the needs of the CAF outside of an Engineering Degree.

Note I am not knocking Degrees - I think everyone should get one, or more, but I see a lot of Ivy League duds when it comes to understanding the world.
For many, many years in the Signal Corps (in Canada and in the UK) engineering degrees were relatively rare. In addition to rather a lot of OCP (Serving Soldier) types, like me and the friend I mentioned earlier, we had a fair number of Gen Sci degrees (RMC types who found engineering a bit too hard) and one of my classmates (and a damned good regimental officer) had a degree in music (he left the Army after a few years and went to Foreign Affairs where he ended up as an Ambassador to a second rate country).

We did, indeed, have courses to teach us what we needed to know and, for those who needed to know a bit more there were courses in the UK: Long Tels was 22 months long ~ three seven month terms with a two week break separating them ~ which was considered to make one an "engineering manager" which meant the equivalent to a MSCEE and able to supervise ALL engineering officers and warrant officers. (Our Formmen of Signals (WOs who had done their own two year course in the UK) didn't take kindly to being supervised by officers unless they had advanced degrees ... and then not very much.)

It was a very good system ... but expensive. Electrical Engineers and Computer Science grads from RMC are, on the other hand, quite cheap but they need years of "seasoning" in the field before they are useful in a project office ~ see TCCCS for what happens when inexperienced, but very well educated engineers are allowed to mess with user requirements.
 

KevinB

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For many, many years in the Signal Corps (in Canada and in the UK) engineering degrees were relatively rare. In addition to rather a lot of OCP (Serving Soldier) types, like me and the friend I mentioned earlier, we had a fair number of Gen Sci degrees (RMC types who found engineering a bit too hard) and one of my classmates (and a damned good regimental officer) had a degree in music (he left the Army after a few years and went to Foreign Affairs where he ended up as an Ambassador to a second rate country).

We did, indeed, have courses to teach us what we needed to know and, for those who needed to know a bit more there were courses in the UK: Long Tels was 22 months long ~ three seven month terms with a two week break separating them ~ which was considered to make one an "engineering manager" which meant the equivalent to a MSCEE and able to supervise ALL engineering officers and warrant officers. (Our Formmen of Signals (WOs who had done their own two year course in the UK) didn't take kindly to being supervised by officers unless they had advanced degrees ... and then not very much.)

It was a very good system ... but expensive. Electrical Engineers and Computer Science grads from RMC are, on the other hand, quite cheap but they need years of "seasoning" in the field before they are useful in a project office ~ see TCCCS for what happens when inexperienced, but very well educated engineers are allowed to mess with user requirements.
I would hazard a guess that change from the "expensive" system has actually been more expensive in the long run...

The CAF isn't huge, and it doesn't have an Up or Out system like the US MIL does - so it can afford to train people amply and retain them for life (you know what I mean).

Seeing everything going into stuff on the CIO and G6 side here, I think that a lot of the Tech Degreed Birds and above are wasting their degrees for the most part trying to manage or "orient things" my own opinion is they have been promoted too high for their leadership abilities - because at the lower levels they where using their tech knowledge - and not really commanding anything.

Which makes me feel that there is a better position for these people than Rank - that allows their expertise to be used (and rewarded) yet doesn't saddle the system when they get promoted (due to competency) beyond their competency.

Hence why I feel some trades shouldn't be necessarily officers at a certain point - but Advanced Technical Officer L 1-whatever.
 

Weinie

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Honestly I would accept even three years.

Personally I have not seen Universities or Colleges offer anything special -- certain courses and professors yes, but I'm significantly less impressed by Degrees (inc Advanced Degrees and even some Doctorates) than I was years ago.

I believe that intelligence, experience and education are necessary to make someone wise, but I don't necessarily think a 4 year degree is required by anyone in the Military to actually do their job. Unless you are looking at certain specialties - but I'd argue that even the Engineer trade - an officer could take equivalent courses more designed to the needs of the CAF outside of an Engineering Degree.

Note I am not knocking Degrees - I think everyone should get one, or more, but I see a lot of Ivy League duds when it comes to understanding the world.
I came out of the ranks, through the OCTP program; no degree, not bilingual, and sucked when it came to SCRITS points. Yet held my own with Masters and PhD's in any fora where I was expected to perform. It ain't what's on the wall, it is what exists between the ears that makes a good Officer and good leader.

My 0.02
 

rmc_wannabe

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Reflecting back on the 1997 report, the intent of the degreed officer corps was not credentialism, but rather seeking out individuals with the ability to reason and work in uncertainty. The old concept of a broad based liberal education.

It rapidly deteriorated into mere credentialism, though, and a bludgeon for RMC to exert increased influence through its colocated and thoroughly subservient HQ, CDA.
Bingo!

We care less about the content and character of the people we have leading our organization and more about their merits.

The mark of a great leader is not how they excel in personal endeavors, but in how they get others to overcome adversity and accomplish a goal; without losing the faith and trust of their people.

Our recent crises in the GOFO realm show how true the old adage about bridgebuilding really is...
 

Ostrozac

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Hence why I feel some trades shouldn't be necessarily officers at a certain point - but Advanced Technical Officer L 1-whatever.
We kind of already have that in the form of the ‘traditional’* double-dippers, annuitants that are out of uniform and working as civil servants or contractors to allow DND/CAF to take advantage of their decades of experience while the retired member gets cash and an opportunity to grow their hair long. It’s been part of the landscape for a long time, and seems to be baked into some parts of Ottawa.

Of course, that does raise the interesting question of how to change the organizational culture if you are heavily reliant on such retirees to hold the organization’s corporate knowledge.

*as oppposed to the less-traditional “retired but back in uniform on Class B“ double-dipper
 

Weinie

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Reflecting back on the 1997 report, the intent of the degreed officer corps was not credentialism, but rather seeking out individuals with the ability to reason and work in uncertainty. The old concept of a broad based liberal education.

It rapidly deteriorated into mere credentialism, though, and a bludgeon for RMC to exert increased influence through its colocated and thoroughly subservient HQ, CDA.
The Fraser report relied heavily on a U.S. model, which was flawed. I attended a 3 month course in Ft. Meade in 1996, where I was one of two of the non-U.S. candidates on a course load of 36. On the first day, we were asked to stand up and identify ourselves and give a brief description of our lives to date. I was stunned by how many of the 2Lt's and Lt's had Masters degrees. I had no degree. About halfway through the course, I found out that most U.S. universities granted a shit pile of credits towards a Masters to military folks; most had to take one or two courses to be granted a Masters (basically pay for the sheepskin). I finished second on the course.

I confronted Mr. Fraser on a call-in show on CBC TV with the above info. He didn't take it well.
 

KevinB

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We kind of already have that in the form of the ‘traditional’* double-dippers, annuitants that are out of uniform and working as civil servants or contractors to allow DND/CAF to take advantage of their decades of experience while the retired member gets cash and an opportunity to grow their hair long. It’s been part of the landscape for a long time, and seems to be baked into some parts of Ottawa.

Of course, that does raise the interesting question of how to change the organizational culture if you are heavily reliant on such retirees to hold the organization’s corporate knowledge.

*as oppposed to the less-traditional “retired but back in uniform on Class B“ double-dipper
I'm talking about at Captain level they would split -- I am not talking about retired COL's etc.
Same way I see zero reason for ranks for Doctors or Nurses - they should hold a technical rate of something - but you want a good doctor or nurse doing their thing - not necessarily becoming and administrator.
 

dapaterson

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There were multiple academics providing input into the 1997 report.

I have heard that Jack English later recanted and sent a letter to MND objecting that his report was used to justify the degreed officer corps. There's apparently a faxed copy of it that some staff officer scrawled on "Frame this!"
 
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