Report of the RMC Board of Governors By the Withers' Study Group

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Balanced Excellence Leading Canada's Armed Forces In The New Millenium

4500-240 (ADM (HR-Mil))
24 September 1998
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Officer Education and Training - Planning for the Future - Lieutenant-General Dallaire

References: A. Report to the Prime Minister on the Leadership and Management of the Canadian Forces dated 25 March 1997

B. Report of the RMC Board of Governors' Study Group (Withers' Report) dated 30 April 1998

  1. The RMC Board of Governors' submitted their Study Report entitled 'Balanced Excellence: Leading Canada's Armed Forces in the New Millenium' to the Minister of National Defence on 22 Jun 98 (Hereafter referred to as the Report). The study focused on ensuring that RMC graduates were fully prepared to undertake all responsibilities expected of newly commissioned officers. It in fact goes well beyond. While some of the recommendations apply only to the RMC, the principles that guided the study group and the concepts that they have developed are applicable across the officer corps. Further still, they indicate measures that would provide a much improved basis for the continuing education and professional development of the officer throughout his/her career.
  2. Fundamental to the Report's conclusions was the recognition that an officer's accreditation (granting of a commission) is based on the principle that all officers must be clearly cognizant of their status within the "profession of arms". This must be based on candidates having acquired not only relevant knowledge, but that they embrace an ethos which is derived from the leadership responsibilities of the profession and which emphasizes service before self and acceptance of a contract of unlimited liability. This is the essence of "officership" as I see it.
  3. The Minister of National Defence approved the Board's Report, with minor exceptions on 15 September 1998. He directed the Chairman of the RMC Board of Governors to implement those recommendations within his authority. He also concurred with the Board's conclusion that the rationale for the Balanced Excellence Model (Recommendation #1) was sound; this being, "to achieve excellence through balancing both the military and academic requirements for the development of a modern professional officer; as well as, RMC's on campus program with CF operational requirements". He noted, however that further analysis and development were required before making a decision on implementation. The model defined in recommendation #1 constitutes a dramatic departure from current practice and has significant implications not only for RMC but also for junior officer training across the Forces as a whole. These must be identified in detail, assessed against the needs of the three Services and the proposed model modified as necessary to clear the way ahead for progress.
  4. The Chief of the Defence Staff has appointed me as the OPI for overall coordination of the implementation effort. In particular, I will oversee the implementation of those recommendations requiring extra-Board authority, as well as to continue the work on recommendation #1. The RMC Board of Governors and Comd CFRETS will obviously play a predominant role in the further development and implementation of approved measures.
  5. To facilitate continued progress across the broad front of officer professional development the attached Tasking Matrix was developed and is executive direction to proceed. I have established a Project Team under DRET who will report to me through DGMP. They will need to closely liaise with Comd CFRETS in accomplishing the following tasks:
    1. Assist in the coordination of all aspects of the implementation of the RMC Report;
    2. Identify areas where the Report's philosophy, concepts and recommended practices are applicable to wider officer development issues such as those addressed in recommendations 10, 16 and 24 (amongst others) in the MND Report to the Prime Minister; and
    3. Work, in close cooperation with the three Services, to achieve a broadly supported officer education and training model based on the RMC Report's Balanced Excellence Model, incorporating conclusions from (b) as appropriate.
  6. With regard to recommendation #1, initial discussions have already taken place with representatives of the three Services. The key issue is the Services' requirement to achieve the highest quality MOC/Occupational Training possible while ensuring the resultant model incorporate all officership elements necessary to fully accredit an officer in the profession of arms in the CF. I wholeheartedly endorse the RMC Report's conclusion in this respect that states:
    "At the first stage of the CF officer's professional development they must possess a certain body of professionally relevant knowledge, a keen understanding of the corporate nature of the profession and a thorough awareness of the social responsibilities it entails."
  7. I intend to report the preliminary results of this work to AFC in November 1998. Supplementary guidance will be issued, as necessary, following AFC consideration and direction.
  8. A few words of elaboration on selected aspects of the matrix will underscore the rationale behind crucial elements of my overall approach as well as further illuminate my priorities.
  9. The concept of a CF University, raised at recommendation #7, merits careful study and early action. An officer's professional education must be a seamless web with each component building on previous achievement. The practical way to achieve this objective is to assign the coordinating responsibility to a clearly identified authority, which for the time being is to be Comd CFRETS. The approach suggested in the RMC Report is one I will pursue with determination.
  10. I am committed to the establishment of the Leadership Institute described at recommendation #22 by September 1999. It will occupy a prominent place in any CF leadership structure and the CF University. The CDS has noted the concept and the VCDS supports it in principle. Detailed planning has commenced under the direction of Comd CFRETS. The institute will be recognized as the source from which radiates the philosophy of leadership and command that drives the Canadian Officer Corps and in fact, will play a significant role in the overall development of all CF officers and NCMs. Positioning the Leadership Institute on the grounds of the RMC will ensure that it has a particular impact at the earliest possible point in a young officer's professional development.
  11. A militarily oriented 'core curriculum' as described in recommendation #13, will not only enhance the RMC graduate's understanding of and commitment to the profession of arms, but serve as the foundation for the professional development of officers throughout their career. This more than any other measure will help to create the link between the elements of a CF University structure. A concerted effort is needed to ensure that this curriculum is in place at RMC by academic year 99/00.
  12. Finally, recommendation #3 means that as serious stakeholders in RMC the most senior leadership of the CF must remain actively engaged in its continued development. Communication with the College will be as comprehensive and as detailed as necessary to ensure that RMC is made fully aware of what is expected and that it is afforded the wherewithal to accomplish established goals.
  13. Clearly all recommendations approved for implementation are closely linked. Their incorporation, not only into the RMC program, but also more importantly, into the wider officer education system is to proceed without delay. OPIs indicated in the matrix are to take, within their scope of responsibility and authority all necessary action, seek policy clarification if required and identify resource implications to COS ADM (HR-Mil) in accordance with the aggressive milestones indicated. Clearly, we are entering a period of significant reform of the essential elements and focus in the preparation and development of officers for the CF.


R.A. Dallaire


Annex A: MND #12 Tasking Matrix

Distribution List (Page 4)

Distribution List

  • Action
  • COS ADM (HR-Mil)
  • Comd CFRETS
  • DGMP
  • DGMC
  • DOL
  • DRET
  • Information
  • CDS
  • VCDS
  • CMS
  • CLS
  • CAS
  • Chairman RMC Board of Governors
  • ADM (Pol)
  • ADM (Mat)
  • ADM (IE)
  • ADM (Fin (CS))
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