What role does SA CPO1/CWO have in a new reformed recruiting system that respects the current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society, toward attaining our goal toward our 71,500 Total Regular Force Size?

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Par pm 1 Bouillon
Programme de nominations supérieures (PNS)
5 septembre, 2022


1. The operational success of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) begins with a robust recruiting system that engages and attracts the best and brightest. Day after day, the CAF recruit new civilian members who are ready, willing, and able to serve their country. These people need to be attracted to a career in the military, recruited into the military, and then trained to perform specific jobs. The challenge of producing more recruits than veterans has long been recognized as a systemic problem (Gov. of Canada, Auditor General 2002). However, progress to resolve multiple recruiting issues has been slow, and we are still encountering, systemic recruiting challenges for the Regular Force. Multiple armed forces across the globe are in the same predicament that we are. They constantly need to review their recruitment processes and procedures to ensure that they can recruit the best possible individuals, but like us, they are finding it increasingly difficult to attract people, and more importantly, they are also failing to recruit and attract the specific groups they need. Simply explained when our Armed forces or any forces around the world don’t recruit enough or carry the appropriate number of trained members, this could lead to devastating results, for example, the possibility of not being able to carry out our current and future mission effectively, therefore, we are not maintaining our capability and readiness.

2. Currently, if you want to join the CAF, you might find yourself waiting between a few months up to two years. It all depends on your application, what you applied for, your security clearance and if you have a negative criminal record check. The first steps of the process for applying can be done online, or at the recruiting centre. Then a recruiter will give you a call to write some tests, and inform you of what positions is available to you. The following step will be that you attend the recruiting centre for a medical appointment to make sure you are physically and biologically healthy for service. When this is all completed, you will receive an offer of employment. Once your offer is accepted, congratulation! You’re part of the CAF family. But again, as mentioned, this process is taking too long and not meeting our CAF's current recruiting demand. To analyze this issue, this paper asks the following question: What role does SA CPO1/CWO have in a new reformed recruiting system that respects the current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society, toward attaining our goal toward our 71,500 Total Regular Force Size?

3. The approach, I used to address my question was analyzed and separated into three sections. First, we will present the Institutional Initiative. I will be diving in and looking at the institutional changes necessary for the achievement of an effective recruitment system to help grow by 3,500 and attain the objective of 71,500 for the Regular Force military personnel. As stated in the Defence Policy. Then, we will present the CAF Effectiveness Framework Dimension. We will be detailing the dimension under the military ethos, what it means and why, and I will try to link the dimension and your recruiting issue. Finally, we will analyze the SA CPO1/CWO Role. In this section, I will explain what is an SA CPO1 in the CAF. Then define his role concerning the dimension and toward an effective recruitment system.

Section 1: Initiative

4. Military recruitment in general is the act or the process to fulfill a military position, that is, the act of requesting people, to join the military voluntarily. Involuntary military recruitment is known as conscription. Our Canadian Armed Forces recruitment process is a selection process with a five-stage process. One: Application. Two: Reliability. Three: Canadian Forces Aptitude Test. Four: Medical Examination. Five: Interview. All applicants must complete each stage to go on to the next stage. The selection process is very competitive and the successful completion of each stage does not guarantee an offer of employment. To be eligible for consideration for the Canadian Forces you must be a Canadian Citizen, must be seventeen years of age, and you must meet the minimum education requirements for the intended occupation. For this current method to work effectively, every new candidate is required to follow each step properly with all their dedication necessary to complete each step by providing all the required documents promptly (Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Recruitment & Selection Overview, 2016)

5. Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), includes long-term investments to enhance the Canadian Armed Forces’ capabilities and capacity. It offers a clear direction on Canadian defence priorities with a vision that includes more features for flexibility to respond to our ever-changing world. Under the Well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families umbrella in this policy, and toward attaining our goal of 71,500 Total Regular Force Size we must ensure effective recruitment, training and retention of the future workforce. One way to accomplish this endeavour mentioned in the policy is the CAF must reduce significantly the time to enroll in the Canadian Armed Forces by reforming all aspects of military recruiting.

6. The current problem at hand is the system is too slow to compete in Canada’s highly competitive labour market and does not effectively communicate the exciting and fulfilling employment opportunities offered by military service. Little has changed in the recruiting process over the past several decades. The issue in the past was a constant shortfall in recruiting for specific trades and a constant push for the increased enrolment in those occupations. Combine with the major problem of a lack of applicants, and, and we are still seeing some of those problems. In our defence policy initiatives for the CAF, it is clearly stated, that our recruiting process, if we want to reduce the time to enrol, without a doubt, must be reformed. (Department of National Defence, 2017, p. 20) Currently, nobody is questioning, that our recruiting process needs to be reformed, however, the problem might not be as clear as water and maybe again in this time and age, not a hundred percent attributable to the length of the enrolment process, but quite possibly with also a lack of suitable applicants.

7. In committee testimony, John Forster, our then deputy minister of National Defence said it best: “ It’s an exacting, sometimes hazardous profession. Realities such as deployment, separation from family, relocation and the general rigours of military life do not appeal to everyone.” The bottom line, the CAF is on an infinite loop of difficulties in attracting the best person for CAF career opportunities. If you combine this, with a pool of applicants deciding to show up to one of our recruiting across Canada, and gets an unsatisfactory experience with the quality and timelessness of the recruiting services, then it is quite possible, multiple applicants could stop their recruiting process, resulting to a loss for the CAF in our recruiting effort.

Section 2: CAF Effectiveness Framework Dimension

8. The Minister’s Monitoring Committee on Change in the DND and the CAF said in his Final Report: “Ethos is the heart of the military profession and operational effectiveness.” We can find Military Ethos explained very well in detail in the 2009 document Duty with Honours, showing us how it serves Canada and Canadian interests, and what it means to be a Canadian military professional. Summering up some excerpts will help us understand the essentials of the Military Ethos. Specifically Chapter 2: The Statement of Canadian Military Ethos explains the following: “The military ethos comprises values, beliefs and expectations that reflect core Canadian values, the imperatives of military professionalism, and the requirements of operations. It acts as the centre of gravity for the military profession and establishes an ethical framework for the professional conduct of military operations. In establishing desired norms of behaviour, the military ethos acts as an active and unifying spirit that brings all members of the Canadian Forces together from their different environments and branches. At the same time, the ethos permits environmental distinctiveness and allows for cultural adaptation.” (Department of National Defence, 2009, p. 21) More specifically, the ethos is intended to create and establish trust between the Canadian Forces and the general population of Canadians. In details from Section 3, Canadian Values: “The values held by Canadians play a fundamental role in determining the ways and means by which the military function is exercised. Indeed, the legitimacy of the profession of arms requires that it embody the same values and beliefs as the society it defends.” (Department of National Defence, 2009, p. 30)

9. National Defence Minister Anita Anand says there is an urgent need to attract more Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel “We’ve got to grow this thing,” she said at an Ottawa-based defence conference “And I’m going to do everything I can with General [Wayne] Eyre and the broader defence team to make sure that happens.” Our current objective would be a reformed recruiting system that respects the current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society process through section 3 Canadian values found under the Military Ethos umbrella, hoping that a more in line organization with our Canadian society and reform recruiting system might convey the expected recruiting goals in the future. As highlighted before potentially, our current issue is our current recruiting system within the CAF, is experiencing difficulties due to the fact our current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society are currently on the same path and creating a burden on CAF recruiting system, therefore from the Principles functions of leaders under the Military Ethos, Leading the Institution it is our responsibility as senior leaders to: “Clarify responsibilities, enforce accountabilities. Develop & maintain professional identity, align culture with ethos, and preserve CF heritage. Exemplify and reinforce the military ethos, develop & maintain military justice system and establish an ethical culture.” (Department of National Defence, 2005, p. 49) accomplishing this while leading the institution. “To support the objective of mission success, senior leaders must perform the roles of visionary, entrepreneur, and political advisor. In the visionary role, the senior leadership team must anticipate the future, both realistically and imaginatively, and establish a comprehensive strategic direction for the CF over the long term.” (Department of National Defence, 2005, p. 51) in the process of managing our required changes The CAF must establish a clear understanding within the CFRG organization of why things must change, build and develop a clear vision and strategic plan to guide them through the cultural adjustment. Our senior leadership must enable the process at all levels, communicating throughout, empowering action, while implementing and sustaining the necessary efforts finally the processes must be monitored to ensure the desired effects are being achieved.

Section 3: Role of SA CPO1/CWO

10. General (Retired) W.J. Natynczyk wrote: “CPO1/CWOs represent a substantial and significant body of knowledge and professional expertise within the Canadian Forces, and I believe that they must feature prominently during the period of continuing transformation. While remaining co-stewards of the traditions, standards and ethos of the CF, they must also demonstrate leadership when addressing the uncertainty and complexity of future CF challenges.” (Department of National Defence, 2011, p. 4) As such the SA CPO1/CWO is to be their commander’s eyes and ears, gauge the proper progression of the ongoing institutional Initiative and engage all levels of leadership with the proper council for ensuring its success. The SA CPO1/CWO is now part of a Senior Leadership Team, having a commander, who engages at the political level in determining how outside the guardrails priorities are to be converted into possible institutional initiatives. While also relying on several layers of operational and tactical level Command Teams to turn them into operational practices. A real difficult task if you ask me. This is where the strategic level commander(s) must depend on their most senior and experienced SA CPO1/ CWOs to have a broad understanding of this strategic level context, to maintain a comprehensive an understanding of how this strategic context will impact the operational and tactical levels while keeping their commander’s informed therefore helping his decision processes.

11. To accomplish this the SA CPO1/ CWOs engage their network of CPO1/CWOs from all levels, to leverage their professional expertise, technical knowledge and operational experience to recommend potential courses of action. As such in this context the SA CPO1/CWO can create team optimization cultivates commitment, and augment team momentum and performance towards achieving a reform recruiting organization in line with our Canadian society helping achieve one of our strategic priorities. “CPO1s/CWOs are key enablers and change agents who exert influence upon conditions of service, as well as upon the formulation and implementation of policy changes that affect uniformed personnel, civilian employees, and their families. (Department of National Defence, 2015, p. 72) coming from a “unique position of credibility when communicating” because of their trusted position as senior advisors and confidants. In line with our military ethos” (Department of National Defence, 2015, p. 73) Every CPO1/CWO must possess the moral courage to speak truth to power. This trust must also be maintained throughout the NCM Corps by consistently being an example of professionalism in all circumstances. The CPO1/CWO must be able to bridge the gap between both the Officer and NCM Corps by communicating up and down the chain of command, using an extensive network that is based on the relationships they have been built over the span of their careers.

12. Finally, the CAF must fulfill its obligation to reform all aspects of military recruiting as required in the SSE policy, while accommodating new values, laws and ethnocultural diversity when possible. Reforming our recruiting system will allow the CAF to advertise itself in a manner that will convey the message that the CAF values, respects and embraces diversity and is an inclusive organization that welcomes all Canadians to serve Canada. Some standing committees might be required to detail all the necessary steps required. Chaired by military members, and civilian academics, making all the proper recommendations for the changes that our CAF recruiting systems required. The recommendations would be overseen by our environmental SA CPO1/ CWO where each new step will be discussed, therefore creating the proper advice, vision and momentum required to support the mission success of the SSE initiative regarding recruiting (Franklin J., 2020, p. 9).


13. I created this Research Paper to examine the role of the SA CPO1/CWO in an institutional initiative in light of a specific dimension from the CF Effectiveness Framework, divided into three specific sections: Analyze an institutional initiative, with a dimension of the CF Effectiveness Framework, while focusing on the strategic-political perspective of the SA CPO1/CWO Role. While maintaining my main focus to potentially answer this question: What role does SA CPO1/CWO have in a new reformed recruiting system that respects the current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society, toward attaining our goal toward our 71,500 Total Regular Force Size? My current findings on the subject did reveal, that for a more effective recruitment system some sort of reform might be required. We have to remember that our CAF recruiting has evolved in Canada over the year, just not enough to counter our recruiting need. We have to remember that the people of Canada constitute the pool where our recruits come from, CFRG did develop some ways of adapting their correct methods, but with minimal result. Highlighted in this research was that our recruiting objectives of reforming our recruiting system need to respect the current values, laws, and culture of the broader Canadian society to entice more Canadians to enroll in the CAF. This is where it might be possible for the SA CPO1 / CWOs to aid and support while he is the eyes and ears, of his commanders, by engaging his network and giving his expertise, and experience to follow the following recommendations.

14. First, a more complete and accurate picture of the current recruiting system will facilitate the evaluation of our current situation and lead to a more complete knowledge of our recruiting processes from the inside. Utilizing the SA CPO1 / CWOs network for standing up and superintend some committees could help accomplish this. Secondly, we must measure the extent to which our strategies are effective in achieving our recruitment targets or anything branded recruiting. Governance by the SA CPO1/CWOs and proper dissemination of the results of those measurements across the CAF could help break the silo effect and improve collaboration of all stakeholders creating momentum to make and create a better recruiting process. Finally, The SA CPO1/CWOs must keep is communication fluid from top to bottom while tracking progress and help develop and implement an action plan with their commander if recruiting needs are not met, and take corrective action where necessary, year after year to help attain our 71,500 Total Regular Force Size. We all play a key role in shaping what the future of the CAF and what it will look like in the near future. With the help of the SA CPO1/CWOs, we can together create some positive outcomes regarding recruiting and make a difference where it counts.


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