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It’s 2017. The Military Still Requires Officers To Have College Degrees. Why?

dimsum

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Spectrum said:
We should be comparing ourselves to Americans, Brits, Aussies etc. And I personally know at least one officer or NCO from each of those countries that think we are a joke.

I've worked with Americans and I've worked with a lot of Aussies in all three services, and I don't believe we are worse than either of them.  We are generally more experienced at each rank level compared to the Americans (especially in the NCM world) and are on par with the Aussies.  I've worked with members of both militaries that I would follow, but only out of morbid curiosity. 

I'll admit that when I first started working with the Brits, their accents (perhaps b/c of the whole "to make yourself sound smarter, adopt Received Pronunciation) made me subconsciously think they knew what they were doing, but after a little while I noticed that they bumble around just as much (if not more in some cases) as we do. 

The "joke" goes both ways.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Dimsum said:
I've worked with Americans and I've worked with a lot of Aussies in all three services, and I don't believe we are worse than either of them.  We are generally more experienced at each rank level compared to the Americans (especially in the NCM world) and are on par with the Aussies.  I've worked with members of both militaries that I would follow, but only out of morbid curiosity. 

I'll admit that when I first started working with the Brits, their accents (perhaps b/c of the whole "to make yourself sound smarter, adopt Received Pronunciation) made me subconsciously think they knew what they were doing, but after a little while I noticed that they bumble around just as much (if not more in some cases) as we do. 

The "joke" goes both ways.

People are people, the "we're a joke" perception comes more from our lack of certain core combat capabilities and national political posturing.


 

CombatDoc

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dapaterson said:
Some of this comes down to philosophical concepts of education vs training.  Simplified, training improves performance of specific tasks; education develops reasoning and judgement.

Ideally, if we truly believe in Mission Command, we want an officer corps with those qualities (reasoning and judgement), so they are adaptable to changing situations.

http://keydifferences.com/difference-between-training-and-education.html#ixzz4W0ZEK5oD
I find it interesting that the advocates for a non-degree Officer corps generally are those without a degree, while those supporting degrees for officers typically have a degree (of some sort) themselves.

My preference would be to have all members - officers and NCM alike - obtain some sort of degree or professional certification during their career path. For some, cooks for example, this could their Red Seal certification. A degree is likely not required (or a realistic option for all recruits, recognizing that some will have a degree on entry) for your typical combat arms Pte/Cpl, but a degree or diploma would certainly be beneficial at the MWO/CWO rank when much of their work milieu involves working with (degrees) officers. For officers that enter with a Bachelor degree, perhaps progression to the General/Flag Officer ranks should require a Masters (beyond a RMC MDS) or PhD, similar to the US Military model. Everyone benefits from education in some form.

In terms of a university degree, the skills gained should include critical reasoning, the ability to synthesize large amounts of information, develop arguments for/against various positions, writing and communication skills, research competencies (beyond Google) and the ability to select the best ‘evidence’, and exposure to a broad variety of ideas.

So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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ArmyDoc said:
. Everyone benefits from education in some form.

Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?
 
J

jollyjacktar

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The taxpayers don't necessarily lose by having people who return to civilian life with more education.  They're also going to get a better military as well with their being more educated.
 

Old Sweat

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I can accept, with the number of educational opportunities available, that officers should have a degree these days. Waaay back when, the ROTP system was as much a means of providing Federal assistance to education, which was a Provincial responsibility, as it was "the" primary officer production system. An officer only had to serve three years commissioned time after university graduation, and many, perhaps even the majority, joined for the free education and then pursued civilian careers. Of the ROTP graduates of my vintage I served with in 1 RCHA in Gagetown 1961-1964 perhaps about ten made it a career, while the number of "short service" OCP officers who qualified for permanent commissions must have numbered close to forty. A few from both streams became GOs and Cols, while most of us retired as LCols and Majs, and some peaked at Capt for life.

So my experience was quite different than most of yours, and that coloured my attitude. Again, it was a different era, and degrees were far less common in Canadian society. The army admitted that there was no difference in ability and performance after the rank of captain, but the ROTP graduates who stuck around did have an edge on us.
 

the 48th regulator

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?

That they are tax payers as well, that chose a vocation and an employer that provides that.  Just because other Canadians do not receive it should not be a reaon to feel guilt or that the individual must justify it.

You have issues, take it up with your own employer.

dileas

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Bruce Monkhouse

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Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

I mean they're taxpayers working for an employer whom provided it.......
 

the 48th regulator

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

I mean they're taxpayers working for an employer whom provided it.......

Don't compare illegal activities with an employer offering employees an avenue to improve themselves.  That is just sour grapes, from someone who does not have it.

dileas

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Bruce Monkhouse

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Didn't say illegally did I?
Cancelling the gas plants wasn't illegal but a lot of people made good money on it......and I'll bet they knew somebody.

If you actually paid attention you'd see that my original response  was to a scenario where ALL members should be offered degrees.........something that ISN'T presently offered.  Hard to have sour grapes over something that doesn't exist.

Now, back on subject matter perhaps?
 

Infanteer

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ArmyDoc said:
So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.

Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.
 

RocketRichard

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Infanteer said:
Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.
Great points Infanteer. I use the skills (hard and soft) I learned from university all the time.


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the 48th regulator

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Didn't say illegally did I?

Bruce Monkhouse said:
Under those conditions I guess you'll never complain about a Govt. official lining his/her's or thier friends pockets again?

So what exactly were you trying to say?


Bruce Monkhouse said:
Cancelling the gas plants wasn't illegal but a lot of people made good money on it......and I'll bet they knew somebody.

If you actually paid attention you'd see that my original response  was to a scenario where ALL members should be offered degrees.........something that ISN'T presently offered.  Hard to have sour grapes over something that doesn't exist.

Bruce Monkhouse said:
Except the taxpayers whom you serve.  What makes you so special over other employee's in this great country?

Don't know what your trying to sell, but your produce has a tangy taste.....

Bruce Monkhouse said:
Now, back on subject matter perhaps?

Yes, please let us get back on the subject matter, as your contributions are so delusional, they are even confusing you! As for this thread, I am paying attention, unfortunately your white noise is making it harder to enjoy a good conversation regarding education requirement in the officer corps for CAF. 

It's Not for whiny posts about not getting any, and Government pocket lining.

dileas

tess

 

FJAG

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ArmyDoc said:
I find it interesting that the advocates for a non-degree Officer corps generally are those without a degree, while those supporting degrees for officers typically have a degree (of some sort) themselves.

. . .

So, I am in the camp that wholeheartedly disagrees with the sentiment that “there is no absolutely need for officers to have a degree”. Times have changed and that ship has sailed.

I'm an advocate for non-degree officers. I may have enrolled as one initially but since then have completed five years of university and achieved an LL.B. My opinion that we could make much better use of those four years comes entirely from having my feet solidly planted in both camps.

As to the ship having sailed; I regretfully agree that it has. I sincerely doubt that we will ever go back to another non-degree program unless there is a national emergency which would require the rapid development of a large officer corps. I don't see that happening.

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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The British discovered the hard way that it’s a good idea, for any ‘big business’, to diversify your risk in the leadership department. Hence, they continue to recruit Officers both with and without degrees.

Having said that, I was one of the latter and, while I had a great time over the almost 9 years I was there, one of the main reasons I left was the fact that there was no way they were going to suiport me to get a degree.
 

CombatDoc

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daftandbarmy said:
The British discovered the hard way that it’s a good idea, for any ‘big business’, to diversify your risk in the leadership department. Hence, they continue to recruit Officers both with and without degrees.

Having said that, I was one of the latter and, while I had a great time over the almost 9 years I was there, one of the main reasons I left was the fact that there was no way they were going to suiport me to get a degree.
To be clear, I support all members (Officer and NCM) being able to access and pursue formal post-secondary educational opportunities. For some, this will be a professional certification or diploma. For others, it will be a degree program.

Some educational programs should be sponsored as full-time for selected candidates e.g. take two years from your regular employment and get an MBA. For others, likely the vast majority, learning will occur on your time after hours, but on the company dime (as occurs with the current Individual Learning Plan System)  e.g. take two to four years part-time to obtain a Masters.

Regarding the comment about about it “wasting taxpayers money”, all of us in the military pay taxes, too, so we are interested agents also. In addition, many of us came into the CAF already possessing a degree that we obtained without CAF assistance. 

The CAF is competing with the civilian market for potential employees, and if a robust educational upgrade path - both academic and professional- gives us an advantage in being “the employer of choice”, I’m in favour.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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FJAG said:
The real question though isn't whether more education may have some value. The question is can the military make better use of those years especially since they are some of those where we are at our most vigorous and most impressionable. Why should we let them be spent sitting on our butts in a classroom?  :pop:

:cheers:

Officers pursuing a degree through ROTP or RESO are not just sitting on their butts. They are spending four months each year learning their branch and going through some "vigorous" training. The 22 year olds have at least a little more maturity once they begin Troop Leading/Platoon Commanding, all else being equal of course.

I think that planning to have officers wait to obtain a degree is a mistake. There is always something pressing for our Captains in terms of time - sending them off to school for four years is a non-starter. Its hard enough to get second language and staff training time.

Cheers

 

Infanteer

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Infanteer said:
Myself as well - if you can't be bothered to put the effort into gaining an undergraduate education in this day in age (not the 1950s-60s), then its one less thing you're doing to prove that you are a good candidate for the profession.  The basic skills in critical thought and writing are useful tools with which to pile a professional military education upon.

I caught this article and it brought me back to this thread.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/whats-college-good-for/546590/

The part that caught my was "The labor market doesn’t pay you for the useless subjects you master; it pays you for the preexisting traits you signal by mastering them. This is not a fringe idea. Michael Spence, Kenneth Arrow, and Joseph Stiglitz—all Nobel laureates in economics—made seminal contributions to the theory of educational signaling."
 
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