Author Topic: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks  (Read 44297 times)

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Online Colin P

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #275 on: August 28, 2020, 11:01:41 »
Don`t forget gazetting and public comments as part of the RIAS

Offline QV

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #276 on: August 28, 2020, 11:09:01 »
For those who are sticklers for rules, would this be a problem? Does the noble end justify the means? I have no horse in this race, and I like the new ranks. But rules are rules, I'm curious what some of you think about that.  Are rules sometimes meant to be bent and broken? 

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #277 on: August 28, 2020, 11:17:11 »
Or they streamline it like they did for the Firearms OIC.

Offline Stonegeneral

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #278 on: August 28, 2020, 11:21:25 »
There has to be something missing here, from QR&Os, it states

"3.01 – RANKS AND DESIGNATION OF RANKS

(1) The ranks of officers and non-commissioned members are set out in the schedule to the National Defence Act which is reproduced in column 1 of the table to this article."

However in the NDA, the Schedule only lists the ranks as set out in Column 1 of the table listed in the QR&O. If you track back older versions of the NDA, they removed the old columns that included things like the old RCAF ranks.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #279 on: August 28, 2020, 11:50:10 »
For those who are sticklers for rules, would this be a problem? Does the noble end justify the means? I have no horse in this race, and I like the new ranks. But rules are rules, I'm curious what some of you think about that.  Are rules sometimes meant to be bent and broken?

Yes, in cases of obvious extreme urgency.

Getting a good score on 'Leading Change' through playing to the ruling party's penchant for virtue signalling?

That's up for debate :)
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Offline stoker dave

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #280 on: August 28, 2020, 12:00:52 »
Are rules sometimes meant to be bent and broken?

Pardon we while I introduce some drift.

In another discussion, there was debate about nuclear powered submarines.  I pointed out that DND does not have the internal discipline to safely operate nuclear reactors.   That is, the rules that determine the operation of a nuclear reactor cannot, shall not and must not be violated.  No one can order the change to those rules, no matter their rank or position.  No one can violate those rules.   Processes for changing the rules exist but the rules, as published and approved, have to be followed. 

So while we are talking about names of ranks - not nuclear power plants - this speaks to me of a culture that acknowledges that changes are difficult, time consuming and bureaucratic.  So short cuts are sought to achieve the desired changes.  This may be ok for some minor administrative things but it is not ok for critical safety-related items. 

So my take-away is again a further reinforcement that DND has to stay away from nuclear power plants if this is the culture.

Sorry for the drift. 


Offline GR66

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #281 on: August 28, 2020, 12:12:48 »
Pardon we while I introduce some drift.

In another discussion, there was debate about nuclear powered submarines.  I pointed out that DND does not have the internal discipline to safely operate nuclear reactors.   That is, the rules that determine the operation of a nuclear reactor cannot, shall not and must not be violated.  No one can order the change to those rules, no matter their rank or position.  No one can violate those rules.   Processes for changing the rules exist but the rules, as published and approved, have to be followed. 

So while we are talking about names of ranks - not nuclear power plants - this speaks to me of a culture that acknowledges that changes are difficult, time consuming and bureaucratic.  So short cuts are sought to achieve the desired changes.  This may be ok for some minor administrative things but it is not ok for critical safety-related items. 

So my take-away is again a further reinforcement that DND has to stay away from nuclear power plants if this is the culture.

Sorry for the drift.

Or maybe it indicates that the organization (and government) as a whole has become so bureaucratic that even non-critical issues are so bogged down by rules and regulations that even seemingly simple changes cannot be made without massive administrative overhead. 

Like you say, some things absolutely should be set in stone and followed to the letter of the regulations.  But when absolutely everything is treated the same way does that not possibly create the "lax" attitude you're concerned about?

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #282 on: August 28, 2020, 12:25:01 »
There has to be something missing here, from QR&Os, it states

"3.01 – RANKS AND DESIGNATION OF RANKS

(1) The ranks of officers and non-commissioned members are set out in the schedule to the National Defence Act which is reproduced in column 1 of the table to this article."

However in the NDA, the Schedule only lists the ranks as set out in Column 1 of the table listed in the QR&O. If you track back older versions of the NDA, they removed the old columns that included things like the old RCAF ranks.

If you read the QR&O complete, there are columns added for ranks and names of ranks for the Navy, Army and Air Force within the table to the article; the old schedule from the NDA moved to the QR&O, essentially.  This is easier to amend than getting Parliament to sit and change the NDA (which would have been required under the old version of the NDA).

Don`t forget gazetting and public comments as part of the RIAS

As a general rule, QR&Os are exempt from gazetting and public comment, as they do not affect the public at large.

Or maybe it indicates that the organization (and government) as a whole has become so bureaucratic that even non-critical issues are so bogged down by rules and regulations that even seemingly simple changes cannot be made without massive administrative overhead. 

Like you say, some things absolutely should be set in stone and followed to the letter of the regulations.  But when absolutely everything is treated the same way does that not possibly create the "lax" attitude you're concerned about?

The Government decided when amending the NDA that the appropriate place to vest authority to change ranks in the Governor in Council.  If that is ignored, then the decision to ignore it is a decision to flout the law.

Other options could have been introduced into the NDA - make the MND the authority.  Order any change of rank names to be selected based on a poll in /r/CanadianForces.  But the Government decided to pass a law instead that says that the GiC is the approving authority.

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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #283 on: August 28, 2020, 12:34:50 »

The problem is that the legal foundation of the ranks is the table to the QR&O.  There is no legal authority to refer to CAF members by ranks/designations other than those within the NDA or within the regulations.  A CANFORGEN doesn't trump the law and its associated regulations.


Similarly tell it to that part of the Canadian Forces that is referred to as the RCAF.  They announced that they were changing the title of their privates to aviator in September 2014; their guidance on implementation said:

https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,16520.msg1331450.html#msg1331450
Quote
ON 21 SEPTEMBER, THE MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE INTRODUCED A NEW RANK TITLE CALLED AVIATOR. THIS TERM REPLACES PRIVATE AND SHALL BE USED AS OF 1 APRIL 2015 IN THE DAILY DUTY LANGUAGE OF ALL RCAF PERSONNEL ADDRESSING THIS RANK

However, the amendment to QR&O 3.01 was not effective, as per the notation, until (G) [P.C. 2015-0566 effective 1 June 2015], though the order in council was actually dated 2015-05-07.



There has to be something missing here, from QR&Os, it states

"3.01 – RANKS AND DESIGNATION OF RANKS

(1) The ranks of officers and non-commissioned members are set out in the schedule to the National Defence Act which is reproduced in column 1 of the table to this article."

However in the NDA, the Schedule only lists the ranks as set out in Column 1 of the table listed in the QR&O. If you track back older versions of the NDA, they removed the old columns that included things like the old RCAF ranks.

No, there was nothing missing there.  That QR&O was only amended to include those additional columns with service specific rank titles in 2015.  The Schedule and Sect 21 of the NDA were amended in 2014 by the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 which provided the following explanation.

Quote
Division 7 of Part 6 amends the National Defence Act to recognize the historic names of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force while preserving the integration and the unification achieved under the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act and to provide that the designations of rank and the circumstances of their use are prescribed in regulations made by the Governor in Council.

That legislation also amended the NDA section on organization that included the titles of commands as RCN, CA and RCAF.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #284 on: August 28, 2020, 12:38:24 »
Quote from: NavyShooter

Fact is that there is no way to enforce it, or punish any who fail to follow the path until the aforementioned steps are actioned and completed.

I disagree a bit here my friend. I think there is no legal way to punish any who fail to do it. There's all kinds of tricks CoCs use to force compliance from members.  We're especially good at subtle read between the lines intimidation and threats IMO.

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald's explanation of the decision, and seeing the Navy's hype and posturing surrounding this, makes me think anyone seen not fully embracing this will be considered prejudiced and full of HATE and should be released from the military. Good luck for anyone caught trying to argue these ranks aren't somehow legitimate because of that whole lack of authority and rules stuff.
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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #285 on: August 28, 2020, 14:05:16 »
If you read the QR&O complete, there are columns added for ranks and names of ranks for the Navy, Army and Air Force within the table to the article; the old schedule from the NDA moved to the QR&O, essentially.  This is easier to amend than getting Parliament to sit and change the NDA (which would have been required under the old version of the NDA).

As a general rule, QR&Os are exempt from gazetting and public comment, as they do not affect the public at large.

The Government decided when amending the NDA that the appropriate place to vest authority to change ranks in the Governor in Council.  If that is ignored, then the decision to ignore it is a decision to flout the law.

Other options could have been introduced into the NDA - make the MND the authority.  Order any change of rank names to be selected based on a poll in /r/CanadianForces.  But the Government decided to pass a law instead that says that the GiC is the approving authority.

Just to add to your explanation note that the NDA provides as follows:

Quote
Ranks of officers and non-commissioned members

21 (1) For the purposes of this Act, the ranks of the officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces shall be as set out in the schedule.

Designation

(2) A person holding a rank set out in the schedule shall use, or be referred to by, a designation of rank prescribed in regulations made by the Governor in Council but only in the circumstances prescribed in those regulations.

R.S., 1985, c. N-5, s. 21R.S., 1985, c. 31 (1st Supp.), s. 602014, c. 20, s. 169

S. 21(1) and the schedule provides for the rank structure (note the absence of Master Corporal as a rank).

S. 21(2) provides for a system by which the various ranks can be given a designation of rank by way of a regulation made by the GiC without any need to amend the schedule to the NDA.

QR&O 3.01 is the current regulation made by P.C. 2015-0566 dated 1 June 2015 .

Quote
PC Number: 2015-0566

Date: 2015-05-07

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of National Defence, pursuant to subsection 12(1) of the National Defence Act, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces.

Sur recommandation du ministre de la Défense nationale et en vertu du paragraphe 12(1) de la Loi sur la défense nationale, Son Excellence le Gouverneur général en conseil prend le Règlement modifiant les Ordonnances et règlements royaux applicables aux Forces canadiennes, ci-après.

A new OiC promulgated regulation will be required to amend the existing Navy rank designations with the new ones.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #286 on: August 28, 2020, 14:48:47 »
Quote from: FJAG
A new OiC promulgated regulation will be required to amend the existing Navy rank designations with the new ones.

Either way...somebody prorogued parliament. No OiC is possible before the announced CANFORGEN.
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #287 on: August 28, 2020, 15:01:52 »
Either way...somebody prorogued parliament. No OiC is possible before the announced CANFORGEN.

Orders in council are not contingent on Parliamentary approval.  There is still a government, still a cabinet and still a Governor General who can sign.  The current NDA already provides the authority for the Governor in Council to make the change.
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Offline boot12

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #288 on: August 28, 2020, 22:22:04 »
Pardon we while I introduce some drift.

In another discussion, there was debate about nuclear powered submarines.  I pointed out that DND does not have the internal discipline to safely operate nuclear reactors.   That is, the rules that determine the operation of a nuclear reactor cannot, shall not and must not be violated.  No one can order the change to those rules, no matter their rank or position.  No one can violate those rules.   Processes for changing the rules exist but the rules, as published and approved, have to be followed. 

So while we are talking about names of ranks - not nuclear power plants - this speaks to me of a culture that acknowledges that changes are difficult, time consuming and bureaucratic.  So short cuts are sought to achieve the desired changes.  This may be ok for some minor administrative things but it is not ok for critical safety-related items. 

So my take-away is again a further reinforcement that DND has to stay away from nuclear power plants if this is the culture.

Sorry for the drift.

While I certainly understand where you're coming from, I don't think that this is a completely fair comparison. At the very least it in my opinion it does not completely reflect the nature of policy and procedural compliance in large organizations/bureaucracies.

There is a significant difference between adherence to administrative policies, and adherence to policies which directly affect operational safety. The question of whether an organization which routinely violates non-operational/safety policy as a matter of necessity (or perhaps more accurately perceived necessity) fosters an organizational culture which thus makes it susceptible to accepting violations of safety-critical policies is an interesting one, and a component of the study of organizational behaviour, but I don't think that we can say that it is a simple direct relationship.

To your example, the USN operates more nuclear propulsion than anyone else in the world, and they have an impressive safety record on this front. Conversely, the USN when viewed as a whole is also an organization which in the last few years has been repeatedly stricken by preventable, tragic accidents (e.g. USS Fitzgerald, USS McCain, etc.) as well as other significant controversies which are at least partially related to deviation from policy and law (e.g. "Fat Leonard" Scandal, Bahrain Prostitution Scandal, USS Theodore Roosevelt/COVID issue, etc.).

It's been some time since I've read the accident reports for Fitzgerald and McCain as well as the associated investigative reporting, but whereas the senior leadership of the USN and DoD focused their investigation of those accidents on errors made by the most proximate operators to the events (e.g. the Officer of the Deck, Combat Information Center personnel, Commanding Officer, etc.), ProPublica and other investigative reporting media organizations made a compelling case for significant systemic issues within the broader 7th Fleet and USN senior leadership. If I recall correctly, those issues included direct operational considerations such as ignoring individual and collective training qualifications and certifications stemming from crewing shortages in order to get a ship out the door on an "essential" mission.

The point I'm trying to make is that the USN is an organization which seems to simultaneously have institutional rot in certain areas, while being able to maintain a strong safety record with their nuke fleet (both surface and subsurface). I can't say for sure why this is, as I have next to no exposure to the USN nuke world, but my suspicion is that the nuke community has instilled an effective safety culture when it comes to maintenance and operation which can robustly defend itself against the seduction to deviate from policy in the interests of efficiency or "mission success". To develop the same organizational sub-culture within DND would take concerted effort to make sure that we are approaching it correctly, but I don't think it's fair to dismiss it as unachievable.


Back to the original discussion, I don't necessarily see an issue with the manner in which Comd RCN instilled this rank change.

Do I think that he was likely advised by his staff of the formal procedure for effecting a change of this nature (as described by dapaterson)? Yes.

Do I think that he assessed that such a relatively minor (with respect to cost and political capital) change required full OiC concurrence (with the associated multi-year timeline prior to announcing it)? No.

Do I think that he likely briefed this plan and received concurrence from the CDS and MND? Yes.

Do I think that this change will be rubber-stamped by the government without much fanfare much like the RCAF Aviator rank change? Also yes.

Again, all of the above are just my :2c: as an interested, outside observer to the process.


P.S. If anyone is interested in organizational behaviour in a military context, and how a number of seemingly minor operational deviations can result in a fatal accident, I strongly recommend the book Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq by Scott A. Snook. It was recommended to me by a former CO of mine, and has dramatically impacted how I view risk, blame, and accountability in a professional context as a Naval Officer.

Offline Ostrozac

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #289 on: August 29, 2020, 11:30:28 »
Until the QR&Os are amended by order-in-council, the use of the new ranks is very slightly illegal. It's a small crime, to be sure, but it's still a crime. But who am I to judge? After all, I've been known to violate a regulation or two in my day. I may refer to the new ranks as the "pirate ranks".

On a more serious note, the RCN is putting itself in an awkward position if, when the rank change proposal eventually gets to cabinet, it is rejected. Either because it doesn't go far enough (is Petty an inherently derogatory term?) or more likely if there is an election and the new Cabinet has a strong social conservative/traditionalist streak. That this decision was in the hands of cabinet should mean that the political risk, and political gain should the new ranks be popular, should be with cabinet. The RCN attempting to gain, very publicly, credit and praise for a decision that isn't actually within their authority just seems odd to me. Shouldn't have this been a recommendation in confidence? It seems to meet the textbook definition of a department's advice to cabinet.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #290 on: August 29, 2020, 12:18:01 »
So, serious question.

Say you intend to issue RM or charges to a sailor. If done before Sep 4, then you can argue that the member was identified with the designations in force at the time. However, if you do this after Sep 4, do you use the new or old titles? An argument could be made that because the rank change is not codified in law at the time the documents were served or created, the measures have no effect.

I know at least two sailors in my unit who I can guarantee would argue this technicality, and they might be successful under the concept of mis-identification.
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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #291 on: August 29, 2020, 13:05:27 »

I know at least two sailors in my unit who I can guarantee would argue this technicality, and they might be successful under the concept of mis-identification.

Talk about accountability....

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #292 on: August 29, 2020, 13:09:48 »
So, serious question.

Say you intend to issue RM or charges to a sailor. If done before Sep 4, then you can argue that the member was identified with the designations in force at the time. However, if you do this after Sep 4, do you use the new or old titles? An argument could be made that because the rank change is not codified in law at the time the documents were served or created, the measures have no effect.

I know at least two sailors in my unit who I can guarantee would argue this technicality, and they might be successful under the concept of mis-identification.

I don't think that is a strong argument, they are not being misidentified as we would still use their proper name and service number. A minor admin error in my opinion does not invalidate the issue that led to the RM in the first place.
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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #293 on: August 29, 2020, 15:00:02 »
Won't stop them from attempting to bury us in admin.

I'm going to send this very question to JAG next week. I'll post what I can of the response.
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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #294 on: August 30, 2020, 16:41:11 »
I will miss the term seaman, but what i don't like is the 1st,2nd and 3rd class bit.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #295 on: August 30, 2020, 17:20:13 »
So, in English in the Navy, junior and senior NCMs will have class, but officers will not...
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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #296 on: August 31, 2020, 01:52:06 »
I will miss the term seaman, but what i don't like is the 1st,2nd and 3rd class bit.

The rank names will likely evolve. I yet to hear anyone call the senior NCM in a HMCShip "Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Coxswain Bloggins" It's always been Cox'n or Swain.

A newby Sailor Third Class Bloggins will never be called that, until all us dinosaurs die, that person will always be an "OD", but if we're whipped enough, we'll likely call them "S3 Bloggins".

My biggest beef with the whole process was the sham survey, and the constant self patting going on.
I expect the doors of the recruiting centres to be crammed with women, POC, and WOKE folks whose sole reason for not joining the RCN was the word "Seaman".  :sarcasm:

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #297 on: August 31, 2020, 08:38:30 »
I think you are mixing apples and oranges, FSTO.

Coxswain is a position, not a rank. And onboard ship, we usually refer to someone with  a "position" by that position's designation, regardless of rank.

However, you are correct that the "class" will not be used, just like we do for Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officers - unlike the Army who is very specific with their warrant officers designation.

In common usage, we call both classes of Petty Officers just PO, and Chief Petty officers just Chief, without referring to class, except in formal circumstances, such as promotion or special announcements (getting a medal or decoration, etc.).

It will be the same with the sailors: we will call them Sailor So-and-So, regardless of their class. That is the way it already is in French, BTW, where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class already is the way the ranks are designated. We call all the "matelots" just matelot So-and-So unless in formal reference.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #298 on: August 31, 2020, 10:51:10 »
I could see this further degrading the rank of Cpl/LS now that there will basically be no difference between the ranks when spoken. Does the Navy have the concept of "Leading Seaman for LIfe" , I could see a few of them being upset about being referred by the same rank as someone who just swore in.

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Re: Navy to consider gender-neutral ranks
« Reply #299 on: August 31, 2020, 11:37:34 »
I could see this further degrading the rank of Cpl/LS now that there will basically be no difference between the ranks when spoken. Does the Navy have the concept of "Leading Seaman for LIfe" , I could see a few of them being upset about being referred by the same rank as someone who just swore in.

I'm sure that there will be an appropriate range of giant patches to show the food chain. Or just tattoo a number between 1 and 3 on your neck :)
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