• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

So You Want to be an officer, eh!

Larkvall

Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
0
Points
0
The current system seems very bizarre to me. For example, it seems strange that just because someone has a degree they get inserted into the rank structure above people who have done tours.
 

bdave

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Loachman said:
It does indicate a certain degree of sloppiness and carelessness, and a tendency for that in one area generally carries over into another.
Point taken.

Loachman said:
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.
Maybe i should have used the word "smart" as opposed to intelligent. I personally believe one can be intelligent and a twit. I guess it sort of depends on how you define it.

Loachman said:
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.
This is simply incorrect. Engineers are very much so people oriented. While their focus is finding a solution to the "thing", they must design it with regards to people. They must also supervise, advise and work with people.
My analogy was to basically claim that both are leaders and have tremendous responsibilities.

Loachman said:
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.

I never said it was.
 

Michael OLeary

Army.ca Fixture
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
2
Points
410
Larkvall said:
The current system seems very bizarre to me. For example, it seems strange that just because someone has a degree they get inserted into the rank structure above people who have done tours.

Neither education nor experience at lower ranks are guaranteed sole indicators of who will be a successful leader at higher ranks levels.

 

PMedMoe

Army.ca Legend
Donor
Reaction score
720
Points
940
bdave said:
How do you define intelligence then? Doesn't knowing more mean you have a high level of intelligence?

Realistically, true intelligence cannot be measured.  What I perceive as "intelligence" is the ability to understand something (anything).  I know many people (with and without degrees) who can spew out some quote, fact or statement, but have no idea what it means.
 

Monsoon

Sr. Member
Reaction score
10
Points
230
Loachman said:
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.
Argh! This argument has circled the drain enough times that I can no longer restrain myself.

Studying at university makes someone more intelligent and - yes - even a better person than that person would otherwise have been. Obviously it imputes no specific absolute value on them as compared to anyone else.

It is, however, a handy way of dividing the world when dealing with a group of raw recruits about whom the recruiting system frankly knows very little. Looking at university transcripts is also a handy way to determine how well one performs when working independent of close supervision on a long-term project - a metric that is obviously important to measure when selecting officers. Hence, the CF requires off-the-street applicants to officer positions to have university degrees.

In cases where the CF has had the luxury of long-term observation of officer candidates who have served as NCMs, this requirement is waived - as many members of this forum can attest to.

So, to summarize: if you're coming in off the street you'd better have a degree. If you have exemplary prior service, you may not need one.

Would it be nice if we could tack a couple of years of NCM experience onto the profile of every officer candidate? Sure. Is that manageable from an HR standpoint? Apparently that is thought not to be the case.
 

George Wallace

Army.ca Dinosaur
Reaction score
4
Points
410
bdave said:
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.

We have discussed in other topics the products of our Education System. 


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

Get over it.  I have.  There are many more on the site who have claims of a higher education, who have posted much worse.  Some were so poorly constructed as to be nearly unintelligible.  Yours were relatively minor; but a hasty example.


bdave said:
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. .............................................
......................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.

I disagree.  Schooling doesn't make one intelligent.  It does develop ones thought processes, but it doesn't make one intelligent.  There are many intelligent people who don't have that much schooling, as there are just as many, perhaps more, people who have schooling, but have never been able to develop their intelligence.....but have a piece of paper that says that they spent some time in a school program.  With "Zero Failure" policies in many education systems, one really can not defend them.  That does venture into the curriculum's that you have held high as well.


bdave said:
How do you measure imagination and initiative? This is a straw-man.
Will it make you a leader?

Lack of imagination makes you a dullard.  It stops progress.  Development stops.  Society stagnates.  Lack of initiative combined with lack of imagination halts everything.  A good leader will have both. 


bdave said:
Regardless, officers, like engineers, are made.

Wearing the rank or the white helmet doesn't qualify them as leaders.

bdave said:
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.

What is RMC, and where did these officer candidates come from?


bdave said:
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..

Many courses, outside of university do the same, and often more.  Many offer job placements, that result in full time jobs.  Few universities do this.

bdave said:
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.

Hogwash. 

bdave said:
How would this work for those who are unsure what path they wish to choose?

Does "Career Student" come to mind?

bdave said:
How would this work for the reserves?

It would work quite well for the Reserves.  There are many first year students looking to become Reserve Officers.  Many of these first years, will sum up at Christmas.  Does the Reserves need these types?  No.  Many Reservists have one, two and sometimes three degrees, and are NOT officers.  Some with Masters Degrees, and PLQ, perhaps 6A could make good candates for CT to the Regular Force as an officer. 

bdave said:
You'd be turning away many potentially excellent officer-worthy people.

This isn't news.  It has been happening for over a century.

bdave said:
You would basically force someone to either go military all the way or not at all.

You lost me on that one.



bdave said:
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.

It isn't unfair.  I do not have a strong dislike for officers and those who attend or have attended university.  I dislike incompetence, no matter the rank or position.  90% of the people I work with have a minimum of one Degree, as do I.  I am pressing for many of them to take "Leadership Crses" and for a couple to become officers.  These are people with education, and the ones that show potential having strong leadership qualities are being selected to advance.  I also have some with Degrees, who wouldn't be able to lead you to the toilet after one of your Engineer Kegger's.  ;D

 

bdave

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
PMedMoe said:
Realistically, true intelligence cannot be measured.  What I perceive as "intelligence" is the ability to understand something (anything).  I know many people (with and without degrees) who can spew out some quote, fact or statement, but have no idea what it means.
Are you talking about the quote under my name  :p :threat:


George Wallace said:
Hogwash. 
Hamiltongs put it more eloquently than i ever could:

hamiltongs said:
Studying at university makes someone more intelligent and - yes - even a better person than that person would otherwise have been. Obviously it imputes no specific absolute value on them as compared to anyone else.

It is, however, a handy way of dividing the world when dealing with a group of raw recruits about whom the recruiting system frankly knows very little. Looking at university transcripts is also a handy way to determine how well one performs when working independent of close supervision on a long-term project - a metric that is obviously important to measure when selecting officers. Hence, the CF requires off-the-street applicants to officer positions to have university degrees.

In cases where the CF has had the luxury of long-term observation of officer candidates who have served as NCMs, this requirement is waived - as many members of this forum can attest to.

So, to summarize: if you're coming in off the street you'd better have a degree. If you have exemplary prior service, you may not need one.

Would it be nice if we could tack a couple of years of NCM experience onto the profile of every officer candidate? Sure. Is that manageable from an HR standpoint? Apparently that is thought not to be the case.

 

daftandbarmy

Army.ca Relic
Reaction score
9,059
Points
1,160
Many countries encourage 'non-graduates' to become officers, as well as promoting CFRs. The reason? Leadership strength through diversification.

A great man once said 'When everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking'. It's therefore important to draw people from a wide range of backgrounds to staff an officer corps IMHO.
 

Antoine

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Lets say that a significant amount of university graduates are more intelligent than the average citizen with strong leadership skills.
For fun, let say that they are going to end up as project managers, directors, CEO, administrators of high level in the private as well as public sectors, lets include the medical doctors, lawyers, journalists and other liberal jobs that required university degrees.

Thus we are expecting a minimal amount of (exception of accidents and Murphy law):

Wrong prognostic on economical outcome.
Wrong planning on health care, demography, urban planing, immigrations, foreign affairs
Bridges falling, leaking houses, and so on due to poor engineering design,
Misuses of money, from government to private sector, from profits to investment.

To vote, to start your company, to invest your money, ....guess what, you need at least a university degree?

In French, we call that a demonstration by absurd.

I worked for, with and managed people with and without degrees, and I didn't find it clearly correlates with intelligence, common sense and leadership. To many engineers, scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and so on... I give them the intelligence of using the knowledge of others to solve problem that they can't find in their books, and have been lucky enough to pass through.

I have met incredible smart people that saved my a** many times because despite being "technician" with "only" a college degree, they saw problems or errors that I didn't and they were kind enough to point it out to me.

As a graduate, in the civil work force I can assure you that you might work for someone that has a degree in a field you'll think she/he needs to be smart but she/he's not and make your life a misery because you're gonna have to save his/her b*** many times if you want to keep your job and get a good reference letter.

Sorry for my rants, but I am surrounded by PhD++++ that think in their ivory towers that they are the smartest people on earth and they are educating the leaders of tomorrow. Yes, many are intelligent and smart in their own speciality but even not always.

Graduate from university = future leader having an intelligence above the average is not an hypothesis that I was able to confirm until now in my short life experience, but who I am to judge.

Conclusion: No black and white clear cut, again, the reality of a grey zone.

Regards,
 

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
3,248
Points
1,260
Loachman said:
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.

Quoted for truth.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
927
Points
1,110
George Wallace said:
So You Want to be an officer, eh!

So?  What makes you so special?  Are you articulate and a dedicated Administrator?  Are you a good leader and mentor to your peers and subordinates?  Do you accept criticism?  Are you going to work for the betterment of your men and the CF?  Are you loyal to those below you, as much if not more than those above you?  Do you take responsibility for your own actions, and not try to shift the blame to others?

I'm tracking most of what you are saying, but I have a few points/questions.

I can train somebody to become a dedicated Administrator, and I would not put that in the front of my requirements to become an officer. I do expect an aspiring officer to show leadership potential, although some demonstration of leadership attributes is going to help. The CF will train and develop leadership in that person: I don't expect a perfect young Troop Leader to burst forth fully-formed from the brow of Zeus. Prospective officer applicants should be ready to demonstrate that they have leadership potential and understand that they will enter a rigorous training system which holds them to a high standard. If they are able to attain the standard and are entrusted with soldiers then they should also understand that they will have only begun their development and that they need to be reliant on Canada's professional non-commissioned officer corps that sets up apart from 99% of the world's militaries. If they don't it is my experience that they won't get very far.

I also have a question about the criterion of "being loyal to those below you, as much if not more than those above you." This may be sematics, but what do you mean by loyalty? I expect officers to be loyal to those above them and ultimately to the legal civilian authority. Now, I fully expect/demand that officers promote the welfare of their subordinates and to put the welfare/interests of their subordinates ahead of their own. Is this what you meant by loyalty? If so then I am with you 100%. An officer should be looking after the career of his subordinates and not his own.

Still, at the end of the day as a professional officer my loyalty must be to the chain of command. If I let personal or unit loyalties trump my loyalty upwards to the Crown then I feel that I would be abrogating my duties as laid forth in my commissioning scroll.

"Mission, men, self" in terms of setting priorities in life fits the bill for an officer (or any leader) as far as I am concerned.

Cheers,

T2B
 

bdave

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Antoine said:
Lets say that a significant amount of university graduates are more intelligent than the average citizen with strong leadership skills.
For fun, let say that they are going to end up as project managers, directors, CEO, administrators of high level in the private as well as public sectors, lets include the medical doctors, lawyers, journalists and other liberal jobs that required university degrees.

Thus we are expecting a minimal amount of (exception of accidents and Murphy law):

Wrong prognostic on economical outcome.
Wrong planning on health care, demography, urban planing, immigrations, foreign affairs
Bridges falling, leaking houses, and so on due to poor engineering design,
Misuses of money, from government to private sector, from profits to investment.

To vote, to start your company, to invest your money, ....guess what, you need at least a university degree?

In French, we call that a demonstration by absurd.

I worked for, with and managed people with and without degrees, and I didn't find it clearly correlates with intelligence, common sense and leadership. To many engineers, scientists, medical doctors, lawyers, and so on... I give them the intelligence of using the knowledge of others to solve problem that they can't find in their books, and have been lucky enough to pass through.

I have met incredible smart people that saved my a** many times because despite being "technician" with "only" a college degree, they saw problems or errors that I didn't and they were kind enough to point it out to me.

As a graduate, in the civil work force I can assure you that you might work for someone that has a degree in a field you'll think she/he needs to be smart but she/he's not and make your life a misery because you're gonna have to save his/her b*** many times if you want to keep your job and get a good reference letter.

Sorry for my rants, but I am surrounded by PhD++++ that think in their ivory towers that they are the smartest people on earth and they are educating the leaders of tomorrow. Yes, many are intelligent and smart in their own speciality but even not always.

Graduate from university = future leader having an intelligence above the average is not an hypothesis that I was able to confirm until now in my short life experience, but who I am to judge.

Conclusion: No black and white clear cut, again, the reality of a grey zone.

Regards,

I am not saying that a degree is the end-all-be-all.
I am just saying that people who have a PhD have an advantage and have shown that they offer skills that can be directly measured by the CF.
A man who is a PhD and is a surgeon might not be the nicest guy on earth, he might be a totally twat too but he definitely knows how to deal with large responsibility, laws and paper work. He has subordinates he has to deal with and utilize skillfully. He also has someone's life on his hands. I would assume he'd be a better officer than some guy who was taken from the ranks because he has experience. It goes both ways.

Those who are saying bridges are falling down and all that, i ask you: where?
The viaduc/overpass in Montreal broke down. This is true. However, how many of the buildings in your city collapse? How many bridges have fallen down? A handful, at most. The confederate bridge in PEI still stands. The Olympic stadium in Montreal, while a waste of money, still stands. Many other buildings, bridges, overpasses/viaducs and tunnels...still stand!
These people with PhDs and degrees have tremendous responsibility. It is very easy to point the finger and say "they suck" when they have a million things to take care of. They are human, some of them will make mistakes. To take the few and say it is all, is something that is not right.
I think many of you are undermining the achievement that is a degree.

Again, in the end,a degree is something you can show to the CF. Something that is tangible.
 

Larkvall

Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
0
Points
0
bdave said:
I am not saying that a degree is the end-all-be-all.
I am just saying that people who have a PhD have an advantage and have shown that they offer skills that can be directly measured by the CF.
A man who is a PhD and is a surgeon might not be the nicest guy on earth, he might be a totally twat too but he definitely knows how to deal with large responsibility, laws and paper work. He has subordinates he has to deal with and utilize skillfully. He also has someone's life on his hands. I would assume he'd be a better officer than some guy who was taken from the ranks because he has experience. It goes both ways.

Whoa. I don't know about this. I for a fact some people get a Phd so they can delay 'having to deal with the real world'.

What I find puzzling is somebody with no experience is inserted into the rank structure above those with considerable experience automatically.
I hear that people entering Int Op almost always enter at the bottom or close to it and they prefer to recruit people from the combat arms (at least in the reserves). It sounds close to what George is proposing. This concept has a certain logic to it.
 

Antoine

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
bdave, I hear you and I can see that you are an enthusiastic student, you are proud of your work, education and you would like to contribute to CF and that is great.

My English is not great, so not easy to being clear for me. I might have misunderstood you, but I just warn you that you should not cut the world in two, with on one side the Engineers, Doctors in sciences (PhD) or health care (MD,..) and the others. Many people have a lot of responsibilities, and as an engineer, your boss might even not be one of yours, but will carry on his shoulder your responsibility and his own. You'll find that for example the electrician or any technician below you might have also huge responsibility, and also have to work with finance, administration and so on if he has his own company.

If all the buildings stay in place, it is not only due to engineer but all the team behind, from the carpenter to the architect and so on.

Don't cut the world in two, because again by doing so you might piss off some of your subalterns that from your book are not "intelligent" and are out of their lane outside as soon as they give you suggestion if it is what your were suggesting by your post, but I might have misinterpret it.

In conclusion, I respect all professions, they have all their own challenges and we need all of them, what I don't like is the incompetent that hide behind his degree and claim that is never his fault and is in the know, that I can't stand it and I witness this situation many times a year. Having a degree assess that you are qualify in this field, period and they is manyways to be a successful incompetent professional, and they are not an exception, not an anecdote.

However, keep your enthusiasm, and I wish you the best in your career, and hope that you'll get in the trade of your choice in the CF, after all it is who you are and not necessary what you know that is going to make you a great leader. What you know or don't that is workable, who you are that is more difficult to change.

Regards,
 

Roy Harding

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
0
bdave said:
...

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

Um, no.  It just means that you know more.  How you APPLY that knowledge is a measure of intelligence.

There are many valid arguments to be made on both sides of the degreed officer corps debate - personally, I like George's idea outlined earlier in this thread.  But what I like is hardly germane to how the CF is going to recruit its' officers.
 

TangoTwoBravo

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
927
Points
1,110
bdave said:
I am not saying that a degree is the end-all-be-all.
I am just saying that people who have a PhD have an advantage and have shown that they offer skills that can be directly measured by the CF.
A man who is a PhD and is a surgeon might not be the nicest guy on earth, he might be a totally twat too but he definitely knows how to deal with large responsibility, laws and paper work. He has subordinates he has to deal with and utilize skillfully. He also has someone's life on his hands. I would assume he'd be a better officer than some guy who was taken from the ranks because he has experience. It goes both ways.

The surgeon with a PhD (can you be a surgeon without one?) has also had practical experience to go with his education (his long education includes experience). In any case, his awesomeness at surgery may or may not have any bearing on his ability to be a leader. I would not assume that he would be a better officer than an individual promoted from the ranks. Without knowing anything about the two if I had to bet I would probably put my money on the former Sgt. Now, if the surgeon was a head surgeon or something like that it might change but then we are getting into experience vice education.

While it is hard to see a direct link between having a degree and the ability to execute the tasks required of junior combat arms officers, a degree in any field can help an officer later on. Obtaining a degree should, hopefully, impart the ability to think critically. This can help protect the officer later on from falling victim to the latest management/leadership fads and the packs of consultants that gather around the campfire.

I will back up a bit, however, and offer that some of the so-called "soft" degrees such as Political Science and Anthropology can help young officers on today's battlefield. Other Social Sciences can give the officer some perspective with which to look at issues. I still find it odd that we have degrees as a pre-requisite, but since degrees are obtainable I don't see it as a barrier.
 

Infanteer

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Donor
Reaction score
2,989
Points
1,160
Interesting turn in the discussion.  Somewhat echos a real good one we had here:

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/23230.0.html

As well, if one looks though some of the repositories for Staff Colleges (such as the US Army CAC Library) there is some really good thesis papers on the selection, training and accession of officers; many having some more qualitative data then we've seen here.

 

Gunner98

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Mentor
Reaction score
1
Points
360
"The surgeon with a PhD (can you be a surgeon without one?)"

Most doctors and surgeons have M.D.  A surgeon with a PhD would be a Dr. Dr.!
 

Park

Guest
Reaction score
0
Points
0
George Wallace makes mention of knowing a lot of twits with degrees.  I don't think anyone would doubt this statement.  Idiots abound in this world, educated or not.  However, I bet an educated idiot was an idiot before being educated, and there is a good chance that he was less of an idiot after being educated.  Someone who is naturally intelligent will probably be even more intelligent after being educated.

Hamiltongs said it best when he said that you cannot compare the intelligence of a formally educated person to one that isn't (sorry I am paraphrasing here).  You can only compare the intelligence of an individual before and after being educated.  Its purely an individual matter. Arguing the intelligence of a university grad compared to a high school grad is a moot point.  You are comparing apples to oranges.

There has been a lot of contention of what 'intelligence' really means.  That being educated is not intelligence.  Which is true, but education has an affect on intelligence.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is a incontrovertible fact.  If anyone here thinks that they would be just as intelligent as they are now without the benefit of being taught by parents as a child, or without an elementary or high school education, please say so now.  I find the problem is that there are diminishing returns the more advanced the education you get.

I also read a strange comment on people not being promoted to CEO from high school, or something like that. I am assuming that was meant to be an extreme analogy between DEOs and civilian career paths (correct me if I am wrong).  Sure, a high school student wouldn't become a CEO, but then a university grad wouldn't become a General either.  However, a university grad can start at a higher position than a college or high-school grad.  A graduate student will have opportunities to start even higher up the food-chain, even without prior experience (these examples are particularly true for business-related degrees). 

Here is the kicker for me, despite what I said above, despite applying as a DEO myself, I am more of the persuasion that Officers should come from the ranks, at least as far as the combat arms are concerned.  If anyone with a degree should get an advantage when becoming an Officer, it should be the NCM with a degree.  For those applying straight to the Officer Corps without prior military experience, I would think having to do a couple years as an NCM would be an excellent idea.  I think that would be a fair compromise between those wanting to join to Regular Officer Corps from university and NCMs wanting to become Officers.     

The CF offers pretty competitive salaries, but obviously less than some civvy jobs.  But i think a big part of joining the CF is a lifestyle choice, and less of a compensation issue.  If you are concerned about what you will be paid joining the CF (especially the combat professions, where a specific education is not required) straight from university then perhaps you should reconsider your career choice. Or be like me and join the ResF, where you can earn your desired salary in your civvy job and still be part of the CF.

The jury is out on the topic of leadership for me.  Very few educations prepare you to be a leader. Knowing how something works in theory doesn't really prepare you for practical application.  Experience as a subordinate does not translate into leadership ability either.  Some of the worst managers are ones promoted from the ranks.  Just because you are good at your job, doesn't mean you will be able to lead people in doing that job.
 
Top