Author Topic: "Towards a New Model Army? The Benefit of Direct Entry Senior Officers"  (Read 3814 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Post by Thin Pinstriped Line--actually covers all services, relevant to CAF?  Brief excerpt:

"...In a further 15-20 years time, the pool of officers able to contend for the CGS or CDS posts is limited by those that you have left in your pool of talent – not helpful if the best officers of that generation all left the Army decades previously as Lieutenant Colonels...What then is the solution to the problem of manpower, and how do you create a culture of fresh thinking and challenge? The simple answer is to think radically and change the career structure of the Armed Forces to permit direct entry at points other than as a junior officer..."
https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.com/2018/08/towards-new-model-army-benefit-of.html

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Offline SupersonicMax

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Absolutely.  There are a lot of options for people outside the military.  I know two folks that refused commands of Squadrons (in one year!) and got out instead, to lucrative civilian jobs.  And we have no way to replace them or their experience in the long run. 

Some of the issues is the lack of appeal of the senior appointments (Col+) when the hours are crazy and there is no perceived payback.  People are more family oriented and don't want to work 60-70 hours a week, dealing with the politics, for sub $250K.

This system could bring in outside talent at levels where a lot of people get out to avoid progressing.

Offline PuckChaser

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Nobody joins the CAF for the money. Nobody stays in the CAF for the money. Paying senior officers more isn't going to create better combat effectiveness. We have a finite pool of cash, so every Snr Officer you pay $250K means there's 4 less technicians available to repair your aircraft.

Offline FJAG

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We don't need more administrators/managers; especially ones that have never served. We have way too many already in the way of civilian DND folks.

What we need is fewer regulations and programs and make-work projects that take valuable people and resources away from units and formations.

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Offline SupersonicMax

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Nobody joins the CAF for the money. Nobody stays in the CAF for the money. Paying senior officers more isn't going to create better combat effectiveness. We have a finite pool of cash, so every Snr Officer you pay $250K means there's 4 less technicians available to repair your aircraft.

Well, you and I live in different worlds.  A lot of people leaving leave because they make better money on the civilian side amongst other things.

Offline MJP

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Absolutely.  There are a lot of options for people outside the military.  I know two folks that refused commands of Squadrons (in one year!) and got out instead, to lucrative civilian jobs.  And we have no way to replace them or their experience in the long run. 

Some of the issues is the lack of appeal of the senior appointments (Col+) when the hours are crazy and there is no perceived payback.  People are more family oriented and don't want to work 60-70 hours a week, dealing with the politics, for sub $250K.

This system could bring in outside talent at levels where a lot of people get out to avoid progressing.

Plus it means we are not getting the best folks at our senior ranks as we bleed them at lower ranks.  Add in our ridiculous increase in Senior Officers/GOFOs over the past tenish years and we truly have to ask ourselves do we have the best people or just the best of the worst?
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Offline SupersonicMax

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We don't need more administrators/managers; especially ones that have never served. We have way too many already in the way of civilian DND folks.

What we need is fewer regulations and programs and make-work projects that take valuable people and resources away from units and formations.

 :cheers:

I would argue we need good managers/administrators, regardless of where they come from.  I feel some of our senior leaders were promoted to their current level because of their skills in their technical trades and lack some of the managerial skills which sometimes make them micro-managers.  Granted, some positions would need to have a military-bred officer but many managerial positions could use good outside talent, looking for a second career.

Those people could be the ones that would destroy those walls that we built over the years that makes our daily lives somewhat of a struggle, by bringing fresh ideas from the industry.

Offline PuckChaser

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Well, you and I live in different worlds.  A lot of people leaving leave because they make better money on the civilian side amongst other things.

You will never stop attrition to the civilian sector from those that just want a pay cheque. The CAF cannot and should not ever try to "keep up with the Joneses" WRT pay compared to the private sector. If people want to be airline bus drivers, go ahead. The remainder will take a pay cut to fly Mach 1 and blow crap up.

Offline dapaterson

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Major, pilot, basic is $10K/month, before any allowances or benefits - or $120K per year.

The average salary for a Pilot is $90,041 per year, ▲20% Above national average. https://ca.indeed.com/salaries/Pilot-Salaries,-Ontario


The grass is not always that much greener...
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Offline Thucydides

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A hybrid path might be to put officers on Reserve status and then place them in executive positions in large corporations with similar issues (logistics companies, Wal-Mart, Human Resources, construction/engineering) to learn how things are done in the real world, with the opportunity and even expectations that they will cycle back into the military with their new found knowledge and experiences.

Working for a company like Wal-Mart requires understanding a global logistics chain, working in a "just in time" environment, managing a mixed full and part time staff, dealing with HR issues across multiple jurisdictions, understanding marketing etc. etc., all of which have analogues to operating at higher levels inside the CAF. And the other lesson for taking on private sector work is there are true incentives to learn and get things right: screw up and you're fired. Certainly operating in a very different incentive environment is clearly a major change, and will teach people to think very differently about the way things are done.

I will caveat this by saying this carrier option should not be opened to working for defence contractors, if only to avoid obvious conflict of interest problems.
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Major, pilot, basic is $10K/month, before any allowances or benefits - or $120K per year.

The average salary for a Pilot is $90,041 per year, ▲20% Above national average. https://ca.indeed.com/salaries/Pilot-Salaries,-Ontario


The grass is not always that much greener...

At the experience levels people have getting out, they make north of 150K.  For the heavy folks, they will make sub-100 for 4 years before exceeding their salary. With the state if the industry these days, progression is rather quick to say the keast (3-4 years before becoming an Aircraft Captain)

Offline MJP

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You will never stop attrition to the civilian sector from those that just want a pay cheque. The CAF cannot and should not ever try to "keep up with the Joneses" WRT pay compared to the private sector. If people want to be airline bus drivers, go ahead. The remainder will take a pay cut to fly Mach 1 and blow crap up.

That is the issue though, we have excellent tactical leaders up to Unit/Bde/Wing/Div at least IMHO.  Where we consistently fall short is leading the institution past that.  Excellence at that tactical/Bde/Wing/Div level doesn't always translate well at more complex institutional posts.  Plus add in that we lose excellent institutional leaders because they can do better on civvy side or have more normal lives as they leave that tactical level and in turn we end up with folks that may not be suited to lead the CAF institutionally.

There is a reason CEOs & other senior corporate posts are headhunted for rather than promotion from within.  They often bring a fresh new way of looking at things, or just simply can do an assessment of a company without the blinders many that grew up in the org have. 
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Offline SupersonicMax

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You will never stop attrition to the civilian sector from those that just want a pay cheque. The CAF cannot and should not ever try to "keep up with the Joneses" WRT pay compared to the private sector. If people want to be airline bus drivers, go ahead. The remainder will take a pay cut to fly Mach 1 and blow crap up.

Except that we are now at levels that put our capabilities in jeopardy, and most leaving state three things that would keep them in:

1- More money
2- More manageable hours
3- More flying/less bullshit (AFOD, APOC, Section 32/34, etc)

Those staying in are in three categories:

1- Can't leave (oblig service)
2- Are within 2-3 years of pension
3- Don't want to go to civilian world (minority these days)

Offline PuckChaser

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There is a reason CEOs & other senior corporate posts are headhunted for rather than promotion from within.  They often bring a fresh new way of looking at things, or just simply can do an assessment of a company without the blinders many that grew up in the org have.

Those CEOs aren't magically created though, they have both practical work experience and leadership ability, just typically not derived from work at the company they'll be the CEO. It's also difficult for me to see a link of someone being a successful CDS without ever having been a Pl Comd or ASlt and knowing what its like at the bottom of the totem pole. The MND is our CEO, he doesn't need practical hands on experience. The CDS on the other hand should have tons of it.

Offline Cloud Cover

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That is the issue though, we have excellent tactical leaders up to Unit/Bde/Wing/Div at least IMHO.  Where we consistently fall short is leading the institution past that.  Excellence at that tactical/Bde/Wing/Div level doesn't always translate well at more complex institutional posts.  Plus add in that we lose excellent institutional leaders because they can do better on civvy side or have more normal lives as they leave that tactical level and in turn we end up with folks that may not be suited to lead the CAF institutionally.

There is a reason CEOs & other senior corporate posts are headhunted for rather than promotion from within.  They often bring a fresh new way of looking at things, or just simply can do an assessment of a company without the blinders many that grew up in the org have.

With such a tiny Air Force, the complexity seems to be with the management/ institutional rationalization to begin with. Why does everybody need to have a 30 year career path. Very few civilians have that luxury of thought, never mind reality.
About 1 in 100 senior executives in C level positions that bring new ideas and different perspectives are actually able to force real change for the good of the business. Ruthless, disruptive techniques are also not always as effective even with complimentary technologies or techniques. Some or maybe even eventually all businesses fail, and a few manage to survive and regenerate. An Air Force cannot be allowed fail ( although Canada is coming close to a decision about that income respects)  but it can regenerate- that means not everybody gets a long term career, no matter how much has been invested in their training. Just reading this thread I find myself wondering if the RCAF is a purpose driven military organization or an inefficient railroad with more accountants than locomotive engineers, brakemen and track workers who seem to work miracles against all odds.
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Offline MJP

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With such a tiny Air Force, the complexity seems to be with the management/ institutional rationalization to begin with. Why does everybody need to have a 30 year career path. Very few civilians have that luxury of thought, never mind reality.
About 1 in 100 senior executives in C level positions that bring new ideas and different perspectives are actually able to force real change for the good of the business. Ruthless, disruptive techniques are also not always as effective even with complimentary technologies or techniques. Some or maybe even eventually all businesses fail, and a few manage to survive and regenerate. An Air Force cannot be allowed fail ( although Canada is coming close to a decision about that income respects)  but it can regenerate- that means not everybody gets a long term career, no matter how much has been invested in their training. Just reading this thread I find myself wondering if the RCAF is a purpose driven military organization or an inefficient railroad with more accountants than locomotive engineers, brakemen and track workers who seem to work miracles against all odds.

I think the 1 in 100 is a bit hyperbole1 and change doesn't always have to drastic and dramatic.  I agree that change that isn't managed well, given the support or gained support from followers/shareholders is doomed to failure.  Well the article linked isn't scholarly, it says that roughly early half of top executives say they weren’t effective at earning support for their new ideas when they moved into C-suite roles—and more than one-third say they have not successfully met their objectives during their tenures.  It is self reported though so I would bump the numbers up a bit as people had reporting that they didn't succeed.

That said, I agree with you on the second part and FWIW you could expand your RCAF ponderings to the whole CAF, it certainly doesn't feel like we are purpose driven military organization, rather an org that just meanders from crisis to crisis just barely scraping by.     

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/ascending-to-the-c-suite
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Offline SupersonicMax

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That said, I agree with you on the second part and FWIW you could expand your RCAF ponderings to the whole CAF, it certainly doesn't feel like we are purpose driven military organization, rather an org that just meanders from crisis to crisis just barely scraping by.     

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/ascending-to-the-c-suite

I think part of the issue is two-fold:

1- We are a process-driven organization.  We let processes decide the outcome.  While we need processes in this large an organization, we need some flexibility in operating outside the processes to make things work. We reward and encourage completion of a process over results.

2- We lost, somewhere along the way, our organizational agility.  We live and die by processes even when they don’t result in the desired outcome.  There is no easy way to change those processes in a timeframe that will allow subsequent tasks to execute to successful completion.

Offline dapaterson

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We are hidebound and bureaucratic.  And can work around those systems when there is a need to do so.  But too often that "need" is "I never planned or prepared properly, so bail me out - and stop working on the files that were planned properly, and leave them to fall into panic after me".

Changing our leadership entry plans does nothing until the institutional biases and motivators are changed.  And as long as new capability (of uncertain validity and limited planning) is prioritized and rewarded over sustainment of replacement capability, we'll continue to have TAPVs and no logistics vehicles,or no mukluks, rucksacks or sleeping bags.
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Offline SupersonicMax

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We are hidebound and bureaucratic.  And can work around those systems when there is a need to do so.  But too often that "need" is "I never planned or prepared properly, so bail me out - and stop working on the files that were planned properly, and leave them to fall into panic after me".

While it may sometimes be the case, I am talking about the one size fits all approach to processes.  Even when considered in planning, there is generally no way, according to some people, to deviate from processes, even when a commander supports.

Offline daftandbarmy

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My consulting company worked with the BC Public Service Agency on a similar issue - how to ensure the seamless succession of Senior Executives in the public service.

The Senior Executives with the highest attrition rates were those who joined directly from the private sector. Based on my knowledge of the CAF, I'm pretty sure that the experience would be far worse for anyone joining the CAF 9or British Military) at a senior position from outside; even worse if they are not already with another public sector organization prior.

That doesn't mean that nothing can be done to make the experience more successful, of course, it's just pretty much impossible to be successful without paying (that means investing time and resources) a lot of care and attention to both the new hire and the gaining organization. Ideally, organizations need to 'grow their own' for long term success.

The report's published here if you're interested: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/organizational-structure/public-service/executive_transitions_report.pdf



 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 21:23:06 by daftandbarmy »
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Offline Journeyman

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The remainder will take a pay cut to fly Mach 1 and blow crap up.
       ???

Personally, I have never, ever  seen a CF-18 on any of my deployments (which is why I stepped out of the F-35 as CAS 'discussion').  Given our government's priority focus on percentage of females deployed in Mali, and saying "we're back" in Pavlovian form whenever "UN" is mentioned, I doubt "blowing crap up" will proceed far beyond sites like this.

Cynicism off, please carry on with 'WalMart CEO as next CDS' debate. :salute:

Offline SupersonicMax

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       ???

Personally, I have never, ever  seen a CF-18 on any of my deployments (which is why I stepped out of the F-35 as CAS 'discussion').  Given our government's priority focus on percentage of females deployed in Mali, and saying "we're back" in Pavlovian form whenever "UN" is mentioned, I doubt "blowing crap up" will proceed far beyond sites like this.

Cynicism off, please carry on with 'WalMart CEO as next CDS' debate. :salute:

Bitter much?

For the record, I haven't seen anyone advocating for an outsider as the CDS but to fill senior appointments with outsiders when appropriate. 

Offline Journeyman

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Bitter much?
Not in the slightest;  my most recent deployment was supported by A-10s and F-15Es.

If you want to discuss why we bother having an RCAF that doesn't deploy (unless the aircraft are green or Trenton-based) I'll weigh in, but not interested in further derailing a British thread.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Bitter much?

For the record, I haven't seen anyone advocating for an outsider as the CDS but to fill senior appointments with outsiders when appropriate.

Okay, so there are limits?  What senior appointments are appropriate?  The L1s?  Probably not, because they should have a detailed understanding of "warfighting" in their particular spheres.  Their deputies or chiefs of staff?  Though COs (LCols) are not "senior executive equivalent", could that be the entry level for "outsiders"?  What would an employment competition for the CO of an infantry battalion consider as "equivalent education and experience"?  (yes, I'm being deliberately facetious - my apologies)  There seems to be a disconnect between what some think is the purpose of this proposal and what others think?  And is it appropriate in the Canadian context - specifically the small, small world of the CAF?

If, as I understand it (as in the linked article and others similar), the intent is to provide an appropriate recognition of the education and experience of mid-career level civilians who wish to transition to military service without having to start as a subaltern, then, yes it is workable.  It should be relatively easy to provide a mechanism that can start someone off as a senior Captain or (in exceptional cases) junior Major - in other words the equivalent mid-career point for the majority of officers.  If the individual is a "rock star" in his civilian career with remuneration to match and he wants a rank that has a salary to match, well he should just f**k off at the high port.

Or if, as some here seem to postulate, that the organization could benefit from some fresh thinking, high performing executives with outstanding records of change in their civilian career, then it's another matter.  Where would they start?  At what level does "leading change" transform from a box to be checked on an evaluation to being in a position to actually implement change organization wide?  And in what sphere could someone without any prior military experience (or the need for it) be parachuted in to affect such change?  Since the common complaint usually points to piss poor equipment and the procurement of same, then many will point to the logistics world.  But how much of the problem with procurement is actually within the CAF?  The department maybe to an extent, and probably including some uniformed types but most of it is the rules imposed from outside the organization.  So, does the parachuted-in rock star have to be in uniform?  It's not like he would be expected to command a task force on an international operation after he managed to establish a workable standard for boots or project managed a boat that wouldn't sink.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Okay, so there are limits?  What senior appointments are appropriate? 

Anything that does not involve leading troops in battle, or supporting troops in battle, or requires them to sentence soldiers to be 'shot at dawn' if required to ensure national survival/ national interest achievement etc.

You know, 'Commissioning Scroll' stuff ....  :nod:
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon