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So You Want to be an officer, eh!

mariomike

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Engineer79 said:
My grandpa always used to say “Education makes the wise wiser and the fool more foolish.” – was a quote by someone who I can’t recall.

Your grandfather sounds like a wise man. That comes with experience. Unfortunately, so does age.  :)

 

Michael OLeary

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Engineer79 said:
As for this thread, Wallace did many people a great favor by bringing out the question MANY of the experienced CF members on here would like to ask every new member that comes on here and asks “I want to be an officer…blah blah…”. Are you fit to lead? This thread will help new members (myself included) understand the meaning of being an officer (or anyone in a leadership position).

The problem is that most have neither the knowledge or context, at that point, to properly understand the question.  No more than the prospective infantry soldier asking about joining to be a sniper understands how out of place his question is.  And yet, they get damned for not understanding what they don't know, and what most of us did not know at that point in our initial inquiries either. 

Very few can say that the basic attraction of joining the CF that first brought them in the door of the Recruiting Centre is the same as their motivation for serving 10 or 20 or 25 years later.  Most who found that their initial desires weren't met, and who who couldn't evolve with changing career expectations slowly disappeared - but too many who remain forget about them and form their expectations on who they want around them (i.e., from new members) based on those around them now (i.e., those with that similar experience).

No-one is born an officer or NCO, we all grow and learn and develop to become what we are.  And we all started out as that recruit who had to be shown how to lace our boots to meet the CF requirement, iron our shirts and got told to get a haircut every once in a while.  If we aren't ready to accept that everyone else needs guidance to find and get on that learning curve too, we are doing a disservice to those who brought us up through the system.

 

tabernac

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the 48th regulator said:
However, after you have been to RMC, for the full term, I want you to come here and validate this post.

I am not busting your balls, but I will say this.  You will not be taught that in RMC, trust me.

And if you go against the grain, you will be a pariah...

Well, I'll start now by saying that while I've only been at the Charm School College for a year, I joined the CF with the mindset that Sr NCOs and WOs are just as important as officers in that jigsaw puzzle we call leadership.

And I can only hope that when I graduate, that concept is still fresh in my mind.

I think one of the reasons I see leadership slightly differently from other people at RMC is that I had years of abbreviated leadership formation before joining the CF. Through years in the scouting and cadet communities, along with having a part time job with a defined CoC that almost paralleled the military, I like to believe I developed a decent notion of what leadership is. This experience of mine is in contrast with my classmates who joined straight off of Civvie street, who had never heard of the "Principles of Leadership" before.

One person in particular had a significant impact on my view of "leadership." I met him long before I knew I would be in the Navy, and before I knew of his career in the military. He was a former Cdr, and NAVRES CO. One thing he ALWAYS impressed upon me was the importance of the guys under one's command, especially the Sr NCM - Jr Officer (Div PO - Div O) relationship.

For the Navy MOC/MOSID weekend, RMC had several Sr Officers and CPOs come up from Ottawa and Halifax. I had the chance to speak to, IIRC, the CMS Command Chief. His take on the Sr NCM - Jr Officer relationship mirrored what my mentor, the NAVRES CO, had said to me. That is to say, they were reading from the same playbook.

It's all in the attitude of the OCdts at RMC to DESIRE and STRIVE to be better officers, to learn as much as they can about leading, while they can. If you go to the College with your nose held high, chances are your troops, once\if you get any, won't be too receptive to you.

Your mileage may vary.

Edit for clarity.
 

X-mo-1979

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I keep seeing the same thing around here.A 17-19 year old who have probably never seen a Canadian soldier asking the same questions about recruiting etc.

I have ZERO background in computer related things but here is a solution (maybe) to try and curb the same questions asked by members joining.

Upon signing up a part of the joining is filling out a brief survey on what the are interested in knowing.I.E Joining as officer and NCM, how long will it take before basic etc.

Put new members on a 2 week no post probation period,as well if it can be set up automatically have the questions in the survey send all the links pertaining to related questions they want to know.2 weeks without posting would allow the member time to take a good look at all the related info,then after 2 weeks of reading they have a better understanding how the board works.As well have a better idea on their main questions.

Let's face it most 18 year olds are not going to look through FAQ's.Before someone dogpiles me and says that doesnt make a good officer etc...look around...it isnt happening.They are going to try and ask real people,as it is dealing with their careers.Maybe it will also direct people more towards their recruiters if they are armed with basic information that they can find here during their read only period...if there is anything left to be answered.

I dunno if it will work,just a suggestion.
 

Marshall

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Nice post George :) Too bad it was not around last year.

I'm going to try and make myself in the first column of Officers if I make it through :)
 

Eye In The Sky

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Dilanger said:
I think everyone just needs to respect each other more, For example the 2Lt fresh out of the RMC, though higher in rank then the sgt should still show a great amount of respect. sr nco's have years up on a lot of jr officer's and have alot they can teach though technically a lower rank, however it is how you said it works both ways, just because someone is a new officer doesn't mean they should be respected less.
I'm of to the RMC in two days and if it's one thing that I've learned for talking with many people in the forces, it's that even thou when you graduate and receive commission you should still respect and listen to your senior NCO's for they have years of experience that you can use and learn from, not only that but with the amount of time some have being serving they deserve and have earned the respect.
As to George's post about people trying to take the easy way. Thinking it was directed to me, It's not that I'm wanting to take the easy way out nor am i going too, I'm just someone new to the military world asking a question. I don't feel it was necessary to criticize someone who just wanted to know how something worked.

I know when you say Snr NCOs  you also mean mbrs of the Warrant Officer\Petty Officer ranks (WO, MWO, CWO Army/Air Force and PO1, CP02 and CP01 for Navy) but technically, WO/POs are not Snr NCOs.  Only Sgts and Petty Officer 2nd Class are Snr NCOs. 

The Officer/NCO relationship is an important one.  Huge.  Personally, when I was army, I always liked new Jr Officer who said things like "ok here is what we are going to do" vice "what you guys are going to do is...".  Big difference to me.  If you are the type of leader that people follow only because of the rank structure, you aren't a true leader IMO.  We've all seen an examples of those.  True leaders are followed because of the respect they earn as a leader, whatever the rank they may be.  Up, down and across their CoC.  As a Jnr NCO years ago, I was taught "the 3 M's" by a former RSM of mine.  The MISSION, the MEN, then MYSELF.  I've served under people who had that concept all messed up and backasswards.

If you notice, all the way thru our Command structure, there is always a NCO/WO paired off with Officer.  CDS/CF CWO.  CO/RSM.  Tp Leader/Tp WO.  I suspect, and hope, that will never change.

 

Pointer

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Eye In The Sky said:
If you notice, all the way thru our Command structure, there is always a NCO/WO paired off with Officer.  CDS/CF CWO.  CO/RSM.  Tp Leader/Tp WO.  I suspect, and hope, that will never change.

The "good idea people" are dangerous if they're not moderated by the "common sense people".

the 48th regulator said:
And, in this day and age, you believe there is room for a separation of leadership, within the Canadian public, based on not scholastic acceptance but how they apply for the military?

Is that not an insult to our military, on how we train our leaders?

A kid, at 17, can apply to be a leader, go to school and be "respected" with an archaic method of recognition, however a cpl. who took the same course has to bow down to him?

Is this modern Canada?

And, if anyone makes a critical remark about this, a reverse discrimination Psychology is applied......pffft.


dileas


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Maybe I'm a little slow - I'm not sure exactly what you're taking issue with: the officer corps in general, how officers are selected, the educational requirement, or all three.

As for the latter 2 issues, I'm not sure who said it first, but my OC explained to me once that the only reason we have young junior officers (particularly in command roles such as pl comding) is so that we can have generals later (or Cols/LCols, what have you).  It's only a grooming stage to provide a basic level of experience and establish if you're a complete *** when it comes to commanding. Snr NCOs are more than capable, and usually better-equipped, to lead a sub-sub-unit at the tactical level (witness: the Austrian military, where infantry platoons are led by NCOs [I'm sure there are other militaries, but that's the only one I'm sure of]). If you made everyone go from Pte - Gen, your senior officers would be broken, bitter geezers (an inaccurate description of many senior officers, but not most).  It's just not practical to make everyone go through the ranks to become an officer.

That being said, I think the education component is necessary to be an officer due to their role as administrators/analysts/strategists /quasi-politicians/theorists etc.  It doesn't make them any "better" - consider university to be an officer's equivalent of an NCO's SA course.  Well... it's probably not quite as useful as that but... meh.  Making officers (most anyway) have degrees just ensures that your officer corps is capable of a certain basic standard of administrative/academic/linguistic ability.  I don't see an issue with that.
 

ajp

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The example I saw in my past was while teaching on a course for Officers and Sgts.  The Lts had to show the POTENTIAL to Lead and the Sgt's had to show the skills.  It truly is a grooming for young officers to develop when they are placed in positions where there are WO's in place to ensure they see what is there. I know I learned a lot of interesting lessons from Sgts and WOs along the way.
 

the 48th regulator

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Pointer said:
The "good idea people" are dangerous if they're not moderated by the "common sense people".

Maybe I'm a little slow - I'm not sure exactly what you're taking issue with: the officer corps in general, how officers are selected, the educational requirement, or all three.

As for the latter 2 issues, I'm not sure who said it first, but my OC explained to me once that the only reason we have young junior officers (particularly in command roles such as pl comding) is so that we can have generals later (or Cols/LCols, what have you).  It's only a grooming stage to provide a basic level of experience and establish if you're a complete *** when it comes to commanding. Snr NCOs are more than capable, and usually better-equipped, to lead a sub-sub-unit at the tactical level (witness: the Austrian military, where infantry platoons are led by NCOs [I'm sure there are other militaries, but that's the only one I'm sure of]). If you made everyone go from Pte - Gen, your senior officers would be broken, bitter geezers (an inaccurate description of many senior officers, but not most).  It's just not practical to make everyone go through the ranks to become an officer.

That being said, I think the education component is necessary to be an officer due to their role as administrators/analysts/strategists /quasi-politicians/theorists etc.  It doesn't make them any "better" - consider university to be an officer's equivalent of an NCO's SA course.  Well... it's probably not quite as useful as that but... meh.  Making officers (most anyway) have degrees just ensures that your officer corps is capable of a certain basic standard of administrative/academic/linguistic ability.  I don't see an issue with that.

Is it fair to say, you glossed over my post, and did not understand what I said?

How does your post answer my question, with the comparison of the Young officer and Cpl.

dileas

tess
 

Park

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To the original post.  I can't say I totally fit paragraph 1, I would like to think I have some of those qualities, and that I aspire to the rest.  I can honestly say paragraph b doesn't apply to me: My choice to enter via the DEO stream was part my local CFRC advice in conjunction with my own personal goals. 

On the comment on young tech-savvy kids who click their way through agreements and such, I can as one of those "kids" empathize.  I would say after a couple stern warnings, someone not adhering to the rules should not be spared community reproach.  Different playground, different rules, eh?

48th: Even though I am applying as an officer, I can see your consternation. A degree is one of a few filtering criteria for choosing a job, just like in the corporate world.  Just like in the corporate world you can start at the bottom and work your way up the ranks, or get a degree (not
even necessarily related to the job) and fast-track to an extent.

It's part of a well-meaning, but inherently flawed system that rewards academic achievement, while discounting those with a wealth of experience but no formal education.  So, under that system, in 3 to 4 years the 17 year old will probably have a head-up on the Cpl in becoming an Officer (I assume that 17yr old would still need to exhibit qualities required in an Officer). 

I personally don't think that is totally fair either, but it is the system our society largely works with, not just the CF. Besides, Officer duty is, what?, 65% garrison, 35% field? Perhaps the degree is also sought due the the extra amount of administrative tasks given to officers.  Officers need to be skilled paper-pushers too :)

Which leaves me with a couple questions for you 48th.  This is NOT a rhetorical question, but how many NCMs join with the primary goal of becoming an Officer one day?  and if Pointer glossed over your issue, what exactly was your issue? To me it seems centered around something like credentials vs. experience, the definition of meritocracy, our overdependence on traditional forms of education....but i'm not entirely sure.
 

The Bread Guy

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Pointer said:
If you made everyone go from Pte - Gen, your senior officers would be broken, bitter geezers (an inaccurate description of many senior officers, but not most).[/color] 
That's a mighty broad brush you're painting with, bud.
1)  I've known (and worked for) several senior officers (Regular and Reserve) who did just that, and they'd be some p*ssed to hear anyone consider them "broken, bitter geezers).
2)  I'll leave your assessment of "many senior officers" in general to other senior officers to critique.

the 48th regulator said:
And, in this day and age, you believe there is room for a separation of leadership, within the Canadian public, based on not scholastic acceptance but how they apply for the military?

Is that not an insult to our military, on how we train our leaders?

A kid, at 17, can apply to be a leader, go to school and be "respected" with an archaic method of recognition, however a cpl. who took the same course has to bow down to him?
Interesting point made, 48th.  Do officers, in general, do "bigger picture" things than NCMs?  Yes.  Do they NEED university to prepare them for this?  Not necessarily. 

Park:  I don't know if you're exactly correct here in why the CF uses university education as a prerequisite for officer-ness:
Park said:
A degree is one of a few filtering criteria for choosing a job, just like in the corporate world. Just like in the corporate world you can start at the bottom and work your way up the ranks, or get a degree (not even necessarily related to the job) and fast-track to an extent.
you're bang on about this being the case in the private sector.
 

Park

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milnews.ca said:
Park:  I don't know if you're exactly correct here in why the CF uses university education as a prerequisite for officer-ness:you're bang on about this being the case in the private sector.

You are quite possibly true.  I am not certain as to the why, but I coudln't discern a clear different reason as to why the would CF prefer university educated applicants as opposed to any other employer.  If I had to guess (the paper-pushing was just in jest) I'd say its because there is a certain favourable preconception about the kind of traits a degree holder has, warranted or not.
 

gcclarke

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It also very much so depends upon the trade. Any of the trades that have a specific degree (or pick one from a range of degrees), is so for a reason. A Pharmacy Officer needs the proper credentials because otherwise it would be illegal for him to dispense prescription medication. Same idea follows for nurses, doctors, lawyers.

I'm an engineer. The degree that is "preferred" for my trade is Electrical Engineering, but I have a Mechanical Engineering degree. Fortunately, Mech Eng is on the list of acceptable degrees, along with a few non engineering degrees, like computer science, and physics. What is (mostly) common between these degrees, is that successfully graduating with one of them should be proof enough that you have an adequate grasp of Math and Physics to be able to not fail your trades training, or at least not fail due to the fact that you're bad at Math and Physics.

As for the issue of real-world experience versus academics, that would be why there are a few other entry plans, such as CFR and CEOTP.
 

the 48th regulator

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the 48th regulator said:
And, in this day and age, you believe there is room for a separation of leadership, within the Canadian public, based on not scholastic acceptance but how they apply for the military?

Is that not an insult to our military, on how we train our leaders?

A kid, at 17, can apply to be a leader, go to school and be "respected" with an archaic method of recognition, however a cpl. who took the same University course has to bow down to him?

Is this modern Canada?

And, if anyone makes a critical remark about this, a reverse discrimination Psychology is applied......pffft.


dileas


tess

Okay,

I have added a word, which may have caused some confusion without it.....


Park said:
To the original post.  I can't say I totally fit paragraph 1, I would like to think I have some of those qualities, and that I aspire to the rest.  I can honestly say paragraph b doesn't apply to me: My choice to enter via the DEO stream was part my local CFRC advice in conjunction with my own personal goals. 

On the comment on young tech-savvy kids who click their way through agreements and such, I can as one of those "kids" empathize.  I would say after a couple stern warnings, someone not adhering to the rules should not be spared community reproach.  Different playground, different rules, eh?

48th: Even though I am applying as an officer, I can see your consternation. A degree is one of a few filtering criteria for choosing a job, just like in the corporate world.  Just like in the corporate world you can start at the bottom and work your way up the ranks, or get a degree (not
even necessarily related to the job) and fast-track to an extent.

It's part of a well-meaning, but inherently flawed system that rewards academic achievement, while discounting those with a wealth of experience but no formal education.  So, under that system, in 3 to 4 years the 17 year old will probably have a head-up on the Cpl in becoming an Officer (I assume that 17yr old would still need to exhibit qualities required in an Officer). 

I personally don't think that is totally fair either, but it is the system our society largely works with, not just the CF. Besides, Officer duty is, what?, 65% garrison, 35% field? Perhaps the degree is also sought due the the extra amount of administrative tasks given to officers.  Officers need to be skilled paper-pushers too :)

Park said:
Which leaves me with a couple questions for you 48th. 

Neat

Park said:
This is NOT a rhetorical question, but how many NCMs join with the primary goal of becoming an Officer one day? 

Not being facetious, you are correct, as the question has no persuasive effect on me….  So why don't you look up the stats, and come back and let us know.  Put some of your book learning to work, and help us here.  Otherwise, I must leave your question as a conundrum.

Park said:
and if Pointer glossed over your issue, what exactly was your issue?

Lemme guess, you did too.  I corrected my error; by adding a word in yellow (See above) does this help?

Park said:
To me it seems centred around something like credentials vs. experience, the definition of meritocracy, our overdependence on traditional forms of education....but i'm not entirely sure.

No no.  It is based on a lost concept of buying your commission.  Only the rich could afford schooling (Seems like that is the case today....but I digress) so, those that could prove they were educated, became leaders.  Now, you would get the occasional battlefield commission, without the education....

So tell me, why do we cling on to archaic values of the commission?  A Cpl can sit in the seat next to a young officer Cadet, at say University of Toronto, taking all of the same courses.  However, because the two applied in different manners they are separate?


 

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Life experiences, what you make of it and common senses that should grow from it worth gold.

I try as much as I can to listen, take in account and acknowledge advices, suggestions and information, from someone that is "below" me or "above" according to administration/social rules. However, if the decision is mine, I'll take the responsibility, as any adult should. I plan to keep it that way if I get in the trade and success at it, which I don't take for granted.

I have decided on the trade based on the information I've found from the CF web site, the information given to me at the CFRC, during the interview and in the present forum.

However, I should have (but didn't) read "The Principles of Leadership". Thus, Thanks Mr Wallace for posting it (no sarcasm intended here), this forum is great, keep it that way!

BTW, many people that I have worked for and who are supposed to be part of the "elite' in the civil world should have a better look at "the principle of leadership".

Cheers
 

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the 48th regulator said:
I corrected my error; by adding a word in yellow (See above) does this help?
That makes it crystal clear now.  If that is the case, then I totally agree with you. Not only would the corporal have an equivalent education, but also have a significant amount of practical experience ahead of the sole student. 

No no.  It is based on a lost concept of buying your commission.  Only the rich could afford schooling (Seems like that is the case today....but I digress) so, those that could prove they were educated, became leaders.  Now, you would get the occasional battlefield commission, without the education....

I would say that most of the population can afford (by afford I mean go into debt) to be educated in Canada today. I consider myself positive proof....but I digress  ;)

It also very much so depends upon the trade. Any of the trades that have a specific degree (or pick one from a range of degrees), is so for a reason.
gcclarke: that totally slipped my mind.  For some reason, I was only thinking of infantry for some reason...
 

Park

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why don't you look up the stats, and come back and let us know.  Put some of your book learning to work, and help us here.

Darm you 48th!!! You stuck this in my head, and I couldn't get it out, so I had to find somewhat of an answer to this. 

This is -at best- a rough estimate.

The Long-Range Planning Model, provides an estimated officer intake mix percentage and total intake. The LRPM uses assumptions based on long-term historical trends in enlistment, attrition, promotion, etc.
It assumes that under a 60,000 strong force, 150 people join the Officer Corps. Scaling up to a 90,000 its 225.
Excluding DEO, ROTP, and OCTP streams 23% of that intake come from UTPNCM, and CFR streams, or 52 out of 225. 
http://pubs.drdc.gc.ca/PDFS/zbb72/p510728.pdf

So, The CF is ~90,000 strong (RegF and ResF), with 20.1% being officers (got it off statcan somewhere...can't find the link) about 4145 were NCM at one point.

The only problem with this (other than accuracy) is that there is no way to tell how many NCMs want to become Officers, just how many NCMs end up becoming officers. 

 

daftandbarmy

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People like to use the phrase 'Mission First, People Always' etc to characterize officer level leadership.

Unfortuantely, it's the reality is a little more fuzzy than that. I kind of like this discussion of a 'Principled Approach to Officership,' which is potentially achieveable by anyone, even a 'callow youth' of 18 years of age:

A Principled Approach to Officership

Thus we offer the following set of principles from which
all officers, and particularly those at pre-commissioning
levels, should draw both their vision and their motivation :

1. The officer’s duty is to serve society as a whole, to
provide that which they cannot provide for
themselves—security. Thus a moral obligation exists
between the officer and the society he or she serves, a moral
obligation embodied in the officer’s “commission.”

Officers act as agents of society, both individually
accountable to them and, as well, serving to strengthen the
claim of the service on the affections of the American people.

2. Professional officers always do their duty,
subordinating their personal interests to the
requirements of the professional function. They serve with
unlimited liability, including life itself. When assigned a
mission or task and particularly in combat, its successful
execution is first priority, above all else, with officers
accepting full responsibility for their actions and
orders in accomplishing it.

3. Officers, based on their military expertise,
determine the standards of the profession, e.g., for
tactical competence, for equipment specifications, for
standards of conduct for all soldiers. Within a
professional self-policing role, officers set/change the
profession’s standards, personally adhere to the standards,
make the standards known to all soldiers, and enforce the
standards.

4. The officer’s motivations are noble and
intrinsic, a love for his or her craft—the technical
and human aspects of providing the nation’s
security—and the sense of moral obligation to use
this craft for the benefit of society. These motivations
lead to the officer’s attainment and maintenance of the
highest possible level of professional skill and
knowledge.

5. Called to their profession and motivated by their
pursuit of its expertise, officers are committed to a
career of continuous study and learning.

6. Because of both the moral obligation accepted and the
mortal means employed to carry out his or her duty, the
officer emphasizes the importance of the group over
that of the individual. Success in war requires the
subordination of the will of the individual to the task of the
group—the military ethic is cooperative and cohesive in
spirit, meritocratic, and fundamentally anti-individualistic
and anti-careerist.

7. Officers strictly observe the principle that the military
is subject to civilian authority and do not involve themselves
or their subordinates in domestic politics or policy beyond
the exercise of the basic rights of citizenship. Senior military
officers render candid and forthright professional
judgments when representing the profession and advising
civilian authorities (there is no public or political advocacy
role).

8. The officer’s honor is of paramount importance,
derived through history from demonstrated courage
in combat—the professional soldier always fights when
called on—and it includes the virtues of honesty and
integrity. In peace, the officer’s honor is reflected in
consistent acts of moral courage.

9. The officer’s loyalty is legally and professionally
to an office, rather than individual incumbents, and in
every case is subordinate to their allegiance to the
ideals codified in the Constitution.

10. The officer’s loyalty also extends downward to
those soldiers entrusted to their command and to their
welfare, as persons as well as soldiers, and that of their
families during both peace and war.

11. Officers are gentle-men and -women—persons of
character, courtesy and cultivation, possessing the qualities
requisite for military leadership.

12. Officers lead by example, always maintaining the
personal attributes of spiritual, physical and mental fitness
requisite to the demands of their chosen profession.

Through leadership, officers invest in their
subordinates, both as soldiers and as persons—and
particularly in the vital noncommissioned officer corps—to
the end that they grow in character, maturity and skill.

Further, we believe that the vocation of officership
should be understood and executed, indeed lived, in a
consistent and principled manner. Given the importance of
the ethical component of American military
professionalism, the connection between the Army’s
professional military ethic and the principles of officership
is very relevant. If a principle cannot logically be derived
from elements of the professional military ethic, then it
should not be part of the self-concept as an officer!

Conversely, however, if the principles of officership are
correctly consistent with the professional military ethic and
supportive of it, then all officers regardless of rank should
reflect seriously on how many of these principles they have
inculcated—are these principles imbedded in their own
self-concept?

Those commissioned by society must
remember that only to the extent that an officer corps is,
each one, loyal to its professional military ethic, can it be
considered professional.

http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB282.pdf
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/Pubs/display.cfm?PubID=282
 

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Park said:
I am not certain as to the why, but I coudln't discern a clear different reason as to why the would CF prefer university educated applicants as opposed to any other employer.

The requirement for all officer applicants to have or get a degree occurred at about the same time that two military colleges were cut.

My theory is that the new requirement was simply a way to justify keeping RMC alive.
 
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