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NCM Regard for Officers; Army vs RCAF vs RCN

PPCLI Guy

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I know that I am an outlier, making it to LCol with Gr 11 Quebec.  I get that.  But still. 

Not sure it makes much of a difference in every case.  My BA was a degree in tick in the box from RMC - I did a 3 year BA in 10 months by correspondence as a prerequisite for command.  Not sure I learned a whole bunch in that time...and that same RMC refused to accept their own degree as a prerequisite for my Masters.  Fortunately, I got one from a really good university instead.

Just saying
 

Brash

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PPCLI Guy said:
Not sure it makes much of a difference in every case.  My BA was a degree in tick in the box from RMC - I did a 3 year BA in 10 months by correspondence as a prerequisite for command.  Not sure I learned a whole bunch in that time...and that same RMC refused to accept their own degree as a prerequisite for my Masters.  Fortunately, I got one from a really good university instead.

You did a three year BA in 10 months.
Between 30-42 credits of classes in 10 months.
That doesn't fit.

What degree exactly was this?
 

PPCLI Guy

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A BMASc with a lot of PLAR.

The last two months of that 10 month BA were spent in the field standing up a TF to go to AStan.  I took a day off just before the final ex to write 4 exams.  Like I said - I am an outlier.
 

reveng

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SupersonicMax said:
The only difference is that they are commissioned from the ranks, don’t need a degree and cannot command (although this is changing).

To be fair, those are pretty big differences...and it doesn't have to be done the exact same way as they do it.

I was merely suggesting that something along those lines might do a better job of providing an experienced leader/technical manager to fill certain positions, and that might have knock-on effects with the retention of experienced operators & techs.

But at the same time, you're probably right. Not worth pursuing, and even if it was, not likely to happen.
 

Navy_Pete

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PPCLI Guy said:
I know that I am an outlier, making it to LCol with Gr 11 Quebec.  I get that.  But still. 

Not sure it makes much of a difference in every case.  My BA was a degree in tick in the box from RMC - I did a 3 year BA in 10 months by correspondence as a prerequisite for command.  Not sure I learned a whole bunch in that time...and that same RMC refused to accept their own degree as a prerequisite for my Masters.  Fortunately, I got one from a really good university instead.

Just saying

I think most CFRs retire at two ringer or two and a half; usually an age thing. Have learned a lot from some of them, but numbers wise for the most part them switching to officers would just leave us short of PO1s and up, while we can fill the eng/log jobs with uni grads easily enough. I think the fact that we have a mix of CFRs, UTPNCMs and ROTP/DEOs is healthy, but can't see any reason why you wouldn't listen to a MS or juniour public servant actually doing the job if you are doing something policy wise. In a related note, think everyone should have to work some kind of retail/customer service job early in life; nothing like being at the bottom of the hill to figure out how not to treat people.
 

FJAG

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BurmaShave said:
... We could make a special category for pilots, like the US Army Aviation Warrant Officer, and vest that category with the aforementioned authority to command aircraft. Of course, they'd have to be paid appropriately (otherwise Air Canada comes knocking, a unique pressure of the trade), so really you're not changing anything. It solves "officer bloat", and replaces it with "AvWO bloat", while limiting your selection pool for promotion and command.

I'm actually quite a fan of the warrant officer concept as its used in the US Army.

Pay wise, the US Army W1 to W5 classifications are roughly on par with the O1 to 05 pay categories (i.e 2nd Lt to LCol) Aviation WOs are entitled to the same aviation incentive pay as commissioned officers (USD 125 to 1,000 depending on years of experience [as a side note AvIP decreases after 22 years of aviation service]). Their rank puts their authority above all enlisted members and below all commissioned officers. They can enroll with a high school education and are immediately put through a warrant officer qualifying course and then aviation training.

What I like about the concept is that it allows individuals to obtain major technical skills and expertise and continue to be employed throughout their careers in that field without frequently being hived off on staff appointments or courses designed for general leadership or administrative or academic upward movement. It allows the force to balance it's leadership arm between those requiring a high degree of technical skill and knowledge and those required to acquire broader service knowledge to prepare them for higher office.

We could have many uses for the rank structure over and above aviation such as higher paid technical specialist which could be recruited from the street for such things as cyber warfare, antonymous and semi antonymous weapons and sensor systems operators, criminal investigation services, equipment maintenance services etc.

I would think as well, with a US style WO system there would be a lesser need for low level command positions to develop the large herds of officers that we now put through the system and therefore provide a greater opportunity for Snr NCOs (for convenience sake lets call them staff sergeants) to be put into platoon commander positions within battalions and regiments.

As an OCTP graduate myself (who earned his professional degree after commissioning and several years of service) I've never truly understood the current degreed officer requirement. Yup. I've read the rationale and understand fully what it says but I find it unconvincing. There are significantly better ways to develop officers then by having them take what is essentially a four year mostly civilian degree program. All the marching around the parade square in a red uniform and doing beast barracks (or its subdued equivalent) does not create an officer. It's the DP1 summer course and time with the troops that does that. WIMHO, we're essentially wasting some very valuable formative years on "could knows" rather than "must knows".

:cheers:
 

Good2Golf

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FJAG said:
I'm actually quite a fan of the warrant officer concept as its used in the US Army.

Pay wise, the US Army W1 to W5 classifications are roughly on par with the O1 to 05 pay categories (i.e 2nd Lt to LCol) Aviation WOs are entitled to the same aviation incentive pay as commissioned officers (USD 125 to 1,000 depending on years of experience [as a side note AvIP decreases after 22 years of aviation service]). Their rank puts their authority above all enlisted members and below all commissioned officers. They can enroll with a high school education and are immediately put through a warrant officer qualifying course and then aviation training.

What I like about the concept is that it allows individuals to obtain major technical skills and expertise and continue to be employed throughout their careers in that field without frequently being hived off on staff appointments or courses designed for general leadership or administrative or academic upward movement. It allows the force to balance it's leadership arm between those requiring a high degree of technical skill and knowledge and those required to acquire broader service knowledge to prepare them for higher office.

FJAG, care to guess which Mess a WO1 through CW5 is a member of? ;)

I agree that for a highly specialized, technically demanding operator MOSID, the US Army Aviator WO program is an excellent variant to the standard Officer-only or Officer-NCM blended MOSIDs.  I suspect, however, it would never be looked into seriously by Canada for three reasons: 1) Canada would most likely be inclined to us the UK Army Air Corps model of existing NCM ranks; 2) Canada’s existing NCM rank structure already have several degrees of warranted and petty officers, where as the US Army has only a plethora of Sergeant grades, so there was no confusion as to where the WOs sat in the pecking order; and 3) it only works because the US Army has an aviation branch of its own, unlike Canada.  My experience with US Army Aviator WOs has been outstanding. There is minimal ‘us-them’ type of interaction in any form across the three rank groupings (Offr/WO/NCM) and the universal near-reverence of the CW5 at unit-level up to the CSA is impressive to see in action.

Regards
G2G
 

Journeyman

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PPCLI Guy said:
My BA was a degree in tick in the box from RMC
Did you buy a ring from the kit shop so people would respect you more?  :whistle:
 

Old Sweat

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This true story illustrates a bit of the officer/NCM relationship, at least as it was 50 years ago.

Scene: the Canadian Forces School of Artillery (daren't use Royal anymore) in its last months in CFB Shilo. I had just finished instructing on the 6B course and had moved across to assist on the final phase of the IG Course. Break time, and I had just finished a coffee in the stand easy area and was waking my cup in the adjacent recycled old laundry tubs/entrance area.

I heard a party of three or four AIsG Warrants and Sergeants enter the stand east. This is a short time after the devastating 1970 force cuts and three year budget freeze had been announced. The Land element (use of the terms navy, army, and air force were verboten.) was loosing maybe 25% of its establishment, and the gunners were hit harder than that. Morale was lower than whale poop, and the future of the forces and of our regiment was very much in doubt. DArty had just sent out a missive full of gloom and doom, suggesting member should consider remustering so as to preserve their careers.

I was about to join them, when a voice I recognized said, words to the effect, "This is really bad. I've never seen anything like it. We are really going to have to bear down and work our butts off to get the artillery through this" and the others agreed. "Oh no" thinks me, "if they knew an officer had heard them, there would be mass suicides". So, I reached behind me, opened and shut the entry door, scruffed my feet, and entering the stand easy said "Any coffee?" This provoked a predictable burst of bitching about the system, and how it had let them down, and if they had any brains, they would get out, etc, etc, etc.

I had known the sergeant who started the exchange since I was a second lieutenant. He was very good at everything he touched, even with a reputation as a world class motor mouth. He went on to be BSM of the Airborne Battery in 1974 in Cyprus and RSM of 2 RCHA. Hopefully he is still happily bitching away on one hand, and providing an example of dedication and integrity on the other.
 

Halifax Tar

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Old Sweat said:
This true story illustrates a bit of the officer/NCM relationship, at least as it was 50 years ago.

Scene: the Canadian Forces School of Artillery (daren't use Royal anymore) in its last months in CFB Shilo. I had just finished instructing on the 6B course and had moved across to assist on the final phase of the IG Course. Break time, and I had just finished a coffee in the stand easy area and was waking my cup in the adjacent recycled old laundry tubs/entrance area.

I heard a party of three or four AIsG Warrants and Sergeants enter the stand east. This is a short time after the devastating 1970 force cuts and three year budget freeze had been announced. The Land element (use of the terms navy, army, and air force were verboten.) was loosing maybe 25% of its establishment, and the gunners were hit harder than that. Morale was lower than whale poop, and the future of the forces and of our regiment was very much in doubt. DArty had just sent out a missive full of gloom and doom, suggesting member should consider remustering so as to preserve their careers.

I was about to join them, when a voice I recognized said, words to the effect, "This is really bad. I've never seen anything like it. We are really going to have to bear down and work our butts off to get the artillery through this" and the others agreed. "Oh no" thinks me, "if they knew an officer had heard them, there would be mass suicides". So, I reached behind me, opened and shut the entry door, scruffed my feet, and entering the stand easy said "Any coffee?" This provoked a predictable burst of bitching about the system, and how it had let them down, and if they had any brains, they would get out, etc, etc, etc.

I had known the sergeant who started the exchange since I was a second lieutenant. He was very good at everything he touched, even with a reputation as a world class motor mouth. He went on to be BSM of the Airborne Battery in 1974 in Cyprus and RSM of 2 RCHA. Hopefully he is still happily bitching away on one hand, and providing an example of dedication and integrity on the other.

Kind of like "Treat officers like mushrooms, feed them Sh!t and keep them in the dark" ?

I dont like that method.  But I have def heard it thrown around in the C&POs messes.
 

PPCLI Guy

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Journeyman said:
Did you buy a ring from the kit shop so people would respect you more?  :whistle:

I did think about getting one made with a giant zirconium so I could knock it loudly....
 

Navy_Pete

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I've only ever seen that once; the guy got laughed out of the weirdroom and roundly ridiculed.

Was pretty funny, didn't realize people thought that was a real thing.
 

FJAG

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Good2Golf said:
FJAG, care to guess which Mess a WO1 through CW5 is a member of? ;)

They're members of the Officers' Club on post. Although my understanding is that Officers' Clubs themselves are dying out and being replaced by all ranks' clubs on most posts.

Good2Golf said:
I agree that for a highly specialized, technically demanding operator MOSID, the US Army Aviator WO program is an excellent variant to the standard Officer-only or Officer-NCM blended MOSIDs.  I suspect, however, it would never be looked into seriously by Canada for three reasons: 1) Canada would most likely be inclined to us the UK Army Air Corps model of existing NCM ranks; 2) Canada’s existing NCM rank structure already have several degrees of warranted and petty officers, where as the US Army has only a plethora of Sergeant grades, so there was no confusion as to where the WOs sat in the pecking order; and 3) it only works because the US Army has an aviation branch of its own, unlike Canada.  My experience with US Army Aviator WOs has been outstanding. There is minimal ‘us-them’ type of interaction in any form across the three rank groupings (Offr/WO/NCM) and the universal near-reverence of the CW5 at unit-level up to the CSA is impressive to see in action.

Regards
G2G

I sincerely doubt we'll do it either for the same reason.

I like the variety of uses of WOs in the US Army. For example, in my more recent book series which involve a Florida detachment of the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) a number of my key characters are WOs. Within CID none of the investigators are "MP officers". Each battalion has an "MP officer" as CO who essentially does command and administrative functions (as do other MP officers on the staff) however, all investigations are handled by WOs or NCOs (or civilian) special agents. Detachments are commanded by WO2s or 3s and the overall OiC of investigations in the battalion is the Ops O who is a WO, generally a WO4 with a WO5 generally being the Ops O for a CID Group. (Note that there are also MP NCOs in non-investigation staff positions up to and including a battalion or group Command Sergeant Major)

There are WOs in some 21 branches in the US Army from special forces, to artillery, to the JAG, to military intelligence, to the cyber corps etc.

I like that system.

:cheers:
 

daftandbarmy

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Lumber said:
A junior enlisted member of the US army commented on a facebook post I saw (about what I can't even remember), but his comment read simply "Why do we even have Officers"?

I discovered the answer to that question in 1982, in Northern Ireland.

I was posted there fresh out of training and took over a platoon that was, well, p*ssed off, tired and a little bit scared.

The previous Pl Comd had been 'reassigned' for performance issues unknown to me, and they had been driven like cattle by an Acting Pl Comd, the Pl Sgt, who was a bully and had also, apparently, stolen the Platoon Fund. On a previous tour, a very busy one not too many months previously, a few had been blown up by a moderately sized RCIED (no serious casualties fortunately).

So I started off by going first and last. All the time. I went through every hedge first and got on every extract chopper/ covert vehicle pickup last. On permanent VCPs I was the first one to start picking up garbage left around by the locals ('could be booby trapped sir!') and basically shamed them into doing the same until the place started looking good. This also removed any possible obvious cover for IEDs. I took the crappiest shifts on patrol and search programs and, on route clearance ops, I was the first to clear any suspicious pieces of flotsam that looked a bit dodgy, and forced everyone to wade through rivers and swamps where they were less likely to be nailed by an IED. Pretty soon, no surprise, others took their turns going first too. I was the last one to go on leave (which wasn't such a big deal as I got there about three weeks late).

I ignored the Pl Sgt (when I finally got around to watching 'Platoon' I noted that he was the spitting image of Sgt Barnes) and led through the Section Commanders who were all very capable, experienced and ethical/honourable men. I elevated several of the best Private soldiers to 'brick commander', our standard four man team, and asked them and the other leaders for input before we issued the patrol programs or conducted other tasks, 99% of which were routine.

I don't know if they liked me or not and couldn't really care less. I tried not to play favourites, drove everyone pretty hard, made my fair share of mistakes and owned up to them and learned, and just kept moving forward.

No one died. No was injured. No one even got sick which, in the Northern Irish cow pastures/ rain forest, was more of a miracle than the IRA not trying us on. We accomplished every task we were handed. I even managed to talk the OC into letting me take the platoon on a hill walking adventure training exercise for a couple of days in the Mourne Mountains, a particularly surreal little excursion to undertake in the middle of a war (that required every soldier to already walk hundreds of miles as part of their daily jobs :) ).

I was 21 years old. I'm pretty sure most of my colleagues were doing pretty much the same thing as I was.

So that's how I figured out what Officers were for. Going first, and last, mostly. :)
 

SeaKingTacco

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Junior Officers in the Army provide a useful combination of youth, energy and eagerness that most Pl/Tp WOs no longer possess.

Harnessed and channelled correctly and in combination with the wisdom and experience of good Sgts/WO to provide advice and guidance, it can be a force for good.
 

FJAG

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SeaKingTacco said:
Junior Officers in the Army provide a useful combination of youth, energy and eagerness that most Pl/Tp WOs no longer possess.

Harnessed and channelled correctly and in combination with the wisdom and experience of good Sgts/WO to provide advice and guidance, it can be a force for good.

Ran into that in the late 70s when I was a battery captain and had to sort it out. At the time we had a battery consisting of herds of new junior officers and young fresh gunners but a senior NCO group on the gun line who'd been around since the late 50s and had seen it all dozens times over.

Their lack of interest in doing anything on the gun position beyond the bare minimum to get rounds downrange was palpable. Took a few quiet cups of coffee with the BSM at the battery's field kitchen to sort it out.

:cheers:
 

MilEME09

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hattrick72 said:
I've have seen, this is why we have officers. They need to communicate effectively :p

In my experience its not that they don't communicate, it is that they do not ask the right questions. I have seen a fair number of bad officers become good ones because they started asking the right questions to their Jr and Snr NCO's.

"In regards to officer training, the role of the NCO is to advise the the officer on issues that effect non commissioned members. If the officer is unwilling to act, or listen it is time to find a new officer" -  J. D. Pendry, The Three Meter Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs
 

rmc_wannabe

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My experience with officers and NCOs has been one of 3 distinctions: Leadership, Responsibility, and Command Authority.

Firstly, leadership is a trait we instill in all CAF members from day one. Being a good follower is part of being a good leader. Motivating peers, Course Senior, all of it lends to developing leadership and followership in every rank from Pte to General. Some are better than others, however, this is especially crucial for Officers and Snr NCOs.

Secondly, responsibility is something anyone put in a position of authority must maintain. Ultimately, being put in charge of people, whether its a fireteam or a Brigade lends itself to having good leadership qualities that are not mutually attributable to Officer or NCO alike.

Where it comes down to the major difference, I have to say its the burden of command authority. When things go completely south, someone needs to be able to step forward and say "I told them to do it. I will take the heat." The RSM has responsibility, he's a leader in his own right, but he doesn't have Command Authority. The CO does. Any decisions or orders passed can have the advice and input of the RSM, but ultimately, its the CO that is putting his own personal capital forward and signing his name to it. That is the major difference I see. Having aptitude to command, much like D&B said, is taking one for the team, and taking ownership for the shortcomings of your team. Some do it very well, others do not.
 

SeaKingTacco

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MilEME09 said:
In my experience its not that they don't communicate, it is that they do not ask the right questions. I have seen a fair number of bad officers become good ones because they started asking the right questions to their Jr and Snr NCO's.

"In regards to officer training, the role of the NCO is to advise the the officer on issues that effect non commissioned members. If the officer is unwilling to act, or listen it is time to find a new officer" -  J. D. Pendry, The Three Meter Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs

I disagree with your quote, because it is incomplete. In most units, NCOs are the repository of both corporate knowledge and technical expertise. So, it is not (narrowly) advising officers on issues affecting non-commissioned members (which sounds a bit like a shop steward) that is the really important bit, it is the other two.

In units that I have seen that seem to run like a swiss clock, the constant is a deep respect between officers and NCOs and easy, frank communication. It is not that NCOs always get their way: it is that they always feel that they were heard.
 
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