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So You Want to be an officer, eh!

daftandbarmy

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Loachman said:
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.

I have to agree with that one. I've seen many 'non-graduate' officers, in several armies, do a better job of being an Officer than graduates, except for Loachman of course  ;D. But I may be just a bit biased there having spent alot of time as a commissioned non-graduate.

As an aside, does anyone know why the only candidates who made it through Phase III (or whatever we're calling it these days) in Gagetown last summer were Mil Col? Just sayin'....
 

prima6

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Loachman said:
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.

No, it's actually because it was one of 100 recommendations in then-MND Douglas Young's "Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces" following the "Somalia Affair" (released 25 May 1997).  The PM accepted all of the recommendations.

 

gcclarke

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prima6 said:
No, it's actually because it was one of 100 recommendations in then-MND Douglas Young's "Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces" following the "Somalia Affair" (released 25 May 1997).  The PM accepted all of the recommendations.

Ahhh I was wondering about that. Do you happen to know if there was any legislation changed, or merely policy amendments?
 

Loachman

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prima6 said:
No, it's actually because it was one of 100 recommendations in then-MND Douglas Young's "Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces" following the "Somalia Affair" (released 25 May 1997).

And that particular recommendation had exactly what to do with Somalia, and methods of preventing future occurrences?
 

gcclarke

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Loachman said:
And that particular recommendation had exactly what to do with Somalia, and methods of preventing future occurrences?

Well, I cannot seem to be able to find a copy of the actual report, as it appears that every single link on the internet to it is pointing to a 404 Error on DND.ca. That having been said, Dr David Bercuson, O.C. wrote what appears to be a rather decent summary of the rationale behind the decision for the Canadian Military Journal. It is entitled "Up From the Ashes: The Re-Professionalization of the Canadian Forces After the Somalia Affair" and can be found here: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo9/no3/06-bercuson-eng.asp. Here is what I consider to be they key few paragraphs.

The Cold War Canadian Forces – and the army in particular – was losing touch with an increasingly vibrant, educated, and sophisticated society. And there were other problems. The system of military justice was out of line with an evolving rights-based Canadian criminal justice system. There was no recognition of the importance of military families in a military that increasingly consisted of married members, which is almost always an outgrowth of a long-standing volunteer force. Physical fitness standards fell. There was widespread drinking, alcoholism, and spousal abuse. A number of efforts to initiate reform of officer professional development, officer education, the general officer specification, and the Canadian military ethos were launched from within the military, and suggestions were made to begin the teaching of international law and ethics. However, virtually every suggestion for change was met by apathy and hostility, or was spurned as being unnecessary and time- consuming.10 Very little consideration was given to the basic question of what sort of person would seek a career, or would stay with a career, in a hide-bound, restricted military that discouraged self-advancement, undercut family life, paid very poorly, and offered virtually no intellectual nourishment – where the ultimate in professional achievement appeared to be drinking beer on the sandy beaches of Cyprus, or plowing up farmer’s fields in tracked vehicles in north-central Germany.

Certainly, the Canadian military continued throughout the Cold War to attract some very good people. Some of them were determined to raise the standards of education and professionalism. A few even put themselves through graduate school while still in uniform. A number of these individuals eventually helped to carry through some of the reforms of the post- 1997 era, or distinguished themselves in the very tough operational environment of the 1990s in Bosnia and elsewhere. But the military also attracted the type of officers and troopers who beat Shidane Arone to death, who stood around while it was happening, or who tried to cover it all up.

The Canadian military’s anti-intellectual conservatism, its rejection of reform, its failure to engage in challenging thinking – even of the basic strategic norms that disappeared as the Cold War ended – flew in the face of rapid change in Canadian society itself. In the 20-year period from, roughly, 1960 to 1980, a wave of immigration from non-European countries accelerated demands for a written charter of rights and freedoms. Feminism, student unrest, the increasingly progressive politics of the ‘baby boomers’ who were now reaching university age, and a rapidly growing percentage of Canadians attending post-secondary educational institutions, brought rapid societal change. One prominent Canadian journalist and social critic summarized this 20-year period in Canada as a move from deference to authority to defiance of authority.11 The inauguration of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, with its catalogue of guaranteed rights and its entrenched freedoms, both epitomized and drove social and political change. But the military itself resisted the change. Degree-holding officers sank to less than 40 percent of the total establishment. Court judgments that soldiers enjoyed the same rights and protections as all other citizens under the new Charter of Rights and Freedoms were often bitterly resented in military circles. After all, many officers asked, how could discipline be maintained if soldiers actually had exactly the same rights as all other citizens?

So, to sum up, the idea of a degreed officer corps was instituted to liberalise the officers, and help bring their thinking more in line with the attitudes and values of the Canadian populace in general. What better way to do that than a good old liberal arts education, eh? Makes me feel sorry I've only got a B.Sc.
 

Gunner98

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http://www.ndu.edu/chds/REDES2001/Papers/Block1/Canadian%20Plenary/Barrett.Canadian%20Plenary.rtf.

Mandate for Change
In March 1993, two soldiers of the Canadian Airborne Regiment murdered a Somali teenager while on a mission in Somalia . This tragic event and subsequent cover-up allegations in National Defence Headquarters created a scandal. A resulting Commission of Inquiry in full public view produced a robust program of reform within the Canadian Forces, much of it focussed on officer professional development. In 1995 an Officer Development Review Board noted the lamentable state of education of Canada’s officers, some 53% of whom hold a university degree . This compares unfavorably with many of our allies, notably the United States, virtually all of whose officers hold such a degree, and most of whose senior and general officers hold a postgraduate degree. 

As previously stated the major report on the subject was (although many CFC papers cite it, it does not seem readily accessible on Internet):

Department of National Defence, Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces by the Honourable M. Douglas Young, P.C., M.P. Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, 25 March 1997
 

bdave

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Loachman said:
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.

I don't know about that. Don't many countries require officers to have a university degree?
I think a university degree is supposed to prove something. It says "when I am committed to something, I will put the necessary amount of work and time to complete my objective. I have learned to assume responsibility and take care of myself in many matters".
Taking 4 years out of your life to secure a degree, that has to be worth something.

I assume it also works as an incentive. I am going to university to become an engineer and wish to become an infantry officer (then after my service ill go back to engineering). I would probably feel cheated if after getting my degree i had to start as a private at the bottom of the ladder after 4 years of ball busting hard work. Why would i accept such a position and salary when i could just work in the private sector and make much more money and live more comfortably?


Also, while i understand that NCOs could be allowed to be promoted to officer, wouldn't that also be somewhat of a waste?
Officers and NCM/Os are two very different animals.
Why would you want to wait years and years to turn that sergeant or WO into a lieutenant or captain when you could train a young buck from day 1 on how to be an officer?
Saves time, money and resources. You will then have good officers and you can keep the good sergeants/WO aswell. This also allows officers to behave as officers and NCM/Os to behave as NCM/Os.

Would you rather have a sergeant of 15 years who became a lieutenant just recently commanding over you or an officer of 15 years commanding over you?


My two cents.
 

George Wallace

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bdave said:
I don't know about that. Don't many countries require officers to have a university degree?
I think a university degree is supposed to prove something. It says "when I am committed to something, I will put the necessary amount of work and time to complete my objective. I have learned to assume responsibility and take care of myself in many matters".
Taking 4 years out of your life to secure a degree, that has to be worth something.
:rofl:

Surely you jest.  You don't even have to leave this site to see the product of these "institutes of higher learning".  The value of the paper that they are awarding, to be hung on walls, has been greatly devalued. 

bdave said:
I assume it also works as an incentive. I am going to university to become an engineer and wish to become an infantry officer (then after my service ill I'll go back to engineering). I would probably feel cheated if after getting my degree i had to start as a private at the bottom of the ladder after 4 years of ball busting hard work. Why would i accept such a position and salary when i could just work in the private sector and make much more money and live more comfortably?

I didn't have to go far.  I didn't bother with correcting all your spelling without "Capitalization", but you could have at the very least capitalized your "I's".  Will your piece of paper that you hope to hang on the wall some day make you any more intelligent?  Will it mean that you have more imagination and initiative?  Will it even make you a "leader"?  I think the answer to all those questions, we can safely say is: NO.



bdave said:
Also, while i understand that NCOs could be allowed to be promoted to officer, wouldn't that also be somewhat of a waste?
Officers and NCM/Os are two very different animals.
Why would you want to wait years and years to turn that sergeant or WO into a lieutenant or captain when you could train a young buck from day 1 on how to be an officer?
Saves time, money and resources. You will then have good officers and you can keep the good sergeants/WO aswell. This also allows officers to behave as officers and NCM/Os to behave as NCM/Os.

I could just as well ask you, what Corporation in the whole wide world hires its CEOs from High School?  What organization in the whole wide world hires its senior people out of High School with no job experience in the field that they are entering?


bdave said:
Would you rather have a sergeant of 15 years who became a lieutenant just recently commanding over you or an officer of 15 years commanding over you?


As a matter of fact I would.  I am of the opinion that all our troops should join at the bottom as Combat Arms and then after their first or second Engagement be allowed to choose a Trade.  I am of the opinion that we should make RMC a real Military University by selecting candidates from the CF Leadership Crses.  Pick the most promising candidates from our Leadership Crses and give them the option to choose their own career path; they could stay in the NCO stream or go into the officer stream and be sent to RMC to earn a Degree.  That would do away with the need for OCdts going through St Jean, and BMOQ.  They would still need to do CAP and Phase Crses, but much of the other basic military training that is extracurricular at RMC could be cut.  This would give us proven "leaders" who are being educated and trained to be officers.  They would bring the knowledge and experience so many current officers lack to the officer ranks.

This is not a novel idea.  Many foreign militaries select their officers in this manner.
 

gcclarke

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Personally, I'd rather have the Lt who just moved up from Sgt than an Lt who's been an officer for the last 15 years, as if the guy is still stuck at Lt after 15 years, he is clearly hopelessly incompetent.
 

Michael OLeary

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George Wallace said:
As a matter of fact I would.  I am of the opinion that all our troops should join at the bottom as Combat Arms and then after their first or second Engagement be allowed to choose a Trade.  I am of the opinion that we should make RMC a real Military University by selecting candidates from the CF Leadership Crses.  Pick the most promising candidates from our Leadership Crses and give them the option to choose their own career path; they could stay in the NCO stream or go into the officer stream and be sent to RMC to earn a Degree.  That would do away with the need for OCdts going through St Jean, and BMOQ.  They would still need to do CAP and Phase Crses, but much of the other basic military training that is extracurricular at RMC could be cut.  This would give us proven "leaders" who are being educated and trained to be officers.  They would bring the knowledge and experience so many current officers lack to the officer ranks.

This is not a novel idea.  Many foreign militaries select their officers in this manner.

That's one theory, except that the average success rates of NCOs turned officer vice those recruited as officers does not appear to support out any suggestion that it's a guaranteed better plan.

If you have statistics to substantiate your opinion, I'd like to see them posted.

 

Michael OLeary

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gcclarke said:
Personally, I'd rather have the Lt who just moved up from Sgt than an Lt who's been an officer for the last 15 years, as if the guy is still stuck at Lt after 15 years, he is clearly hopelessly incompetent.

And do you have a number of years for each other rank (officer and NCO) at which you would also declare them "hopelessly incompetent"?
 

George Wallace

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Michael O'Leary said:
That's one theory, except that the average success rates of NCOs turned officer vice those recruited as officers does not appear to support out any suggestion that it's a guaranteed better plan.

If you have statistics to substantiate your opinion, I'd like to see them posted.

Of course I have no statistics to substantiate it.  I also realize that this would not be a solution that the current "Mcdonalds Generation" could impliment at the snap of a finger.  It would be a lengthy evolution. 
 

mariomike

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George Wallace said:
I am of the opinion that all our troops should join at the bottom as Combat Arms and then after their first or second Engagement be allowed to choose a Trade.

Of course I agree, but I do have a question. How many applicants could/would handle Combat Arms? Would not the medical, eyesight for example, disqualify many?
 

George Wallace

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mariomike said:
Of course I agree, but I do have a question. How many applicants could/would handle Combat Arms? Would not the medical, eyesight for example, disqualify many?

Yes.  That makes this an imperfect solution under any form of Human Rights Challenge. 

For more information on this discussion, a Search will turn up many of these same questions, proposed solutions and comments, as well replies that show their strengths and weaknesses.  My comments and those of Michael O'Leary have been made before, as well as some very enlightening views on their pros and cons by other well informed members.

 

bdave

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George Wallace said:
:rofl:

Surely you jest.  You don't even have to leave this site to see the product of these "institutes of higher learning".  The value of the paper that they are awarding, to be hung on walls, has been greatly devalued. 

That's quite insulting. I like the way you paint university students and graduates with such a large brush.
If you are referring to certain degrees and fields, then i would partially agree. If you are referring to any and all degree/field of study, then i strongly disagree.

George Wallace said:
I didn't have to go far.  I didn't bother with correcting all your spelling without "Capitalization", but you could have at the very least capitalized your "I's". 

Oh my lord, stop the presses! I made a few mistakes hence my argument is completely invalid.
Very mature.

George Wallace said:
Will your piece of paper that you hope to hang on the wall some day make you any more intelligent?  Will it mean that you have more imagination and initiative?  Will it even make you a "leader"?  I think the answer to all those questions, we can safely say is: NO.

Yes, it will, actually. Are you arguing that having an education does not make you more intelligent? Might as well abolish high school while we're at it.
Maybe university does not make you WISE but that is something that comes with time, regardless of whether you go to university or not.
How do you measure imagination and initiative? This is a straw-man.
Will it make you a leader? Depends on what you graduate in.
An engineer has the same responsibilities as an officer. (S)He must overlook and approve designs and procedures. (S)He must adhere to laws, rules and regulations. (S)He is responsible for their "team" that will be working on whatever project. If anyone gets hurt or dies due to work accidents or faulty design, which can and does happen, (s)he is directly responsible.
They must use their knowledge and creativity to design something that solves a problem while abiding to laws, regulations and standards and satisfying the customer's needs.
Engineers are problem solvers. Officers, in my opinion, are also problem solvers.

Regardless, officers, like engineers, are made.


George Wallace said:
I could just as well ask you, what Corporation in the whole wide world hires its CEOs from High School?  What organization in the whole wide world hires its senior people out of High School with no job experience in the field that they are entering?
I am talking about university, not high school. I fail to see the relevance. What a company, interested in maximizing profits, does in terms of hiring people should not matter.
For the record, university gives you specific work experience. Especially as you approach the end of your studies. Many universities assign their engineering students with projects with budgets and goals while being sponsored by actual companies. This helps in developing many skills: learning to work as a team, to manage legal affairs, to manage monetary affairs, how to plan, how to execute said plan, etc..

Regardless, whether someone walks out of university or high school, you cannot expect them to be able to be a superb soldier right off the bat.
You can, however, expect someone who just walked out of a university, with a respectable degree, to have many advantages over someone who just walked out of high school.

George Wallace said:
As a matter of fact I would.  I am of the opinion that all our troops should join at the bottom as Combat Arms and then after their first or second Engagement be allowed to choose a Trade.  I am of the opinion that we should make RMC a real Military University by selecting candidates from the CF Leadership Crses.  Pick the most promising candidates from our Leadership Crses and give them the option to choose their own career path; they could stay in the NCO stream or go into the officer stream and be sent to RMC to earn a Degree.  That would do away with the need for OCdts going through St Jean, and BMOQ.  They would still need to do CAP and Phase Crses, but much of the other basic military training that is extracurricular at RMC could be cut.  This would give us proven "leaders" who are being educated and trained to be officers.  They would bring the knowledge and experience so many current officers lack to the officer ranks.

This is not a novel idea.  Many foreign militaries select their officers in this manner.

How would this work for those who are unsure what path they wish to choose? How would this work for the reserves? You'd be turning away many potentially excellent officer-worthy people. You would basically force someone to either go military all the way or not at all.

Other than that, i think it would be a good idea. Maybe you could have both? You could have RETP, DEO and this method you described.




I am aware that many foreign militaries select their officers in this manner. However, many foreign militaries also require their officers to have degrees. By saying that you prove nothing.



I will admit that i probably do not know as much on this subject as you do, seeing as I'm only 21 years old and just recently became interested in the army. I am also seeking higher education, which amounts to nothing, according to you.
Regardless, I am getting the impression, and strongly so, that you have a strong dislike for officers and those who attend or have attended university.
That is your opinion, you are entitled to it, and i can respect that. :salute:
I just think it's a little unfair.

gcclarke said:
Personally, I'd rather have the Lt who just moved up from Sgt than an Lt who's been an officer for the last 15 years, as if the guy is still stuck at Lt after 15 years, he is clearly hopelessly incompetent.

Isn't one permitted to refuse a promotion? I have heard that officer positions beyond captain are more administrative (less field work). If that were the case i would gladly stay as lieutenant or captain.
If i am wrong, someone correct me.
 

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bdave said:
Are you arguing that having an education does not make you more intelligent?

Actually, I will argue that having an education does not make you more intelligent.  It may mean you know more or are aware of more, but not more intelligent.
 

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Although George is a lot more over the top with his arguement than I would be I think what is unfair is you telling this forum about what an Officer is.........................


bdave said:
Will it make you a leader? Depends on what you graduate in.

..and this one stuck in my craw, lets see, I graduated in longhairedpunkgoingtojailat16 yet somehow have managed quite well at any leadership projects I have tried over the 30+ years since then. 
[sorry Folks if this sounds like self back patting, just wanted to show the lad something]
 

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Bruce Monkhouse said:
Although George is a lot more over the top with his arguement than I would be I think what is unfair is you telling this forum about what an Officer is.........................


..and this one stuck in my craw, lets see, I graduated in longhairedpunkgoingtojailat16 yet somehow have managed quite well at any leadership projects I have tried over the 30+ years since then. 
[sorry Folks if this sounds like self back patting, just wanted to show the lad something]

What? Where did i say anywhere what an officer is? If you are referring to the part where i wrote I BELIEVE (hence, stating an opinion) that officers are similar to engineers, then i am unable to see what is wrong with what i wrote.
What i meant by depends on what you graduate in is that if you graduate as an arts major, it will not be something that could be directly applied to being a leader.

PMedMoe said:
Actually, I will argue that having an education does not make you more intelligent.  It may mean you know more or are aware of more, but not more intelligent.

How do you define intelligence then? Doesn't knowing more mean you have a high level of intelligence?
 

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bdave said:
I made a few mistakes hence my argument is completely invalid.

It does indicate a certain degree of sloppiness and carelessness, and a tendency for that in one area generally carries over into another.

bdave said:
Yes, it will, actually. Are you arguing that having an education does not make you more intelligent?

I'll make that argument.

A formal education will impart knowledge and skill (which can be gained through other means as well), but it will not make anybody more intelligent. I've seen plenty of twits with degrees.

And the inverse of your claim, that lack of a formal education makes one stupider, is no less false.

bdave said:
An engineer has the same responsibilities as an officer.

Hardly.

Engineers are thing-oriented. Leaders are people-oriented.

Very few engineers have to order people to undertake activities of great, and even life-threatening, risk.

When I went through basic officer and flying training, most officer candidates were either DEO or OCTP, the latter having no degree. Far more DEOs did not complete flying training than their OCTP counterparts, on my courses. A degree is no predictor of success as a Combat Arms Officer, or Pilot, or many other classifications.
 

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I've served under some Engineer Officers who couldn't lead their way out of a wet paper bag.  Knowing a lot of stuff is not intelligence, it's education.
 
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