Organization of the Canadian Forces: Canadian Forces vs. Canadian Armed Forces and the Report of the Special Staff Assistance Visit

Organization of the Canadian Forces: Canadian Forces vs. Canadian Armed Forces and the Report of the Special Staff Assistance Visit

Posted April 19, 2017 Category: Businesses
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Sections 14 through 54 of the National Defence Act (NDA) comprise Part II of that Act, sub-titled ‘The Canadian Forces’.  It is from this Part of the NDA that we derive much of Parliament’s legislative direction concerning the constitution and administration of the Canadian Forces.  It provides the building blocks of the Canadian Forces.  The term ‘Canadian Forces’ seems to have fallen out of fashion recently, supplanted by the term Canadian Armed Forces or CAF.  This shift in terminology arose under the previous government and, at the time, the presumed explanation was that it purportedly portrayed a more aggressive Canadian Forces.  Frankly, the principal effect of this ‘name change’ has been an increase in confusion.  Certainly, the adoption of the nomenclature Canadian Armed Forces or CAF was not followed by an alteration of the various Canadian Forces schools, training establishments, or units that incorporated the term ‘Canadian Forces’.

So what, exactly, is the difference between the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces?  Is there a difference?  This shift in terminology arose contemporaneously with – though distinct from – the introduction (or re-introduction) of the use of the terms Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force.  What exactly do these terms mean, and how should they be used in the administration of the affairs of the Canadian Forces? This link leads to a brief ‘rant’ about the organization of the Canadian Forces and, more particularly, the nature of the terms Canadian Forces, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and Royal Canadian Air Force.

Staying with the theme of ‘organization of the Canadian Forces’, the recently released Report of the Special Staff Assistance Visit (SSAV) at Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) offers a specific context in which to discuss the practical implications of misconceptions concerning the organization and establishment of the Canadian Forces.  The fact that the inquiry at RMCC was conducted as a Staff Assistance Visit, rather than a legislatively based Board of Inquiry, is worthy of discussion.  A brief comment is offered through this link.  While this comment is not a comprehensive review of the issue, it does offer a starting point for discussion.

Finally, this link leads to a related discussion of two specific issues raised or discussed in the RMCC SSAV Report.

The first issue concerns the odd term ‘Military Personnel Generation’ or MILPERSGEN that has purportedly been adopted to describe the grouping of Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) and the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.  The second issue relates to the nature of the unit that is RMCC and its governance.  This latter issue is broad and complex, and could easily be the subject of a comprehensive analysis running to dozens of pages (not unlike the SSAV Report).  However, the intent in the attached article is principally to introduce a couple of salient examples in order to demonstrate potential shortcomings of the SSAV Report.

Consequently, in order to keep the attached commentary sufficiently brief, I have chosen to restrict my comments to two discrete subjects: (i) whether there is a legislative basis for a distinct ‘disciplinary code’ at RMCC, apart from the Code of Service Discipline; and, (ii) whether there is a legally sustainable basis for the enforcement of the so-called ‘Four Pillars’ of training at RMCC.  The problems arising from the justification of the ‘Four Pillars’ are – to use a common legal expression – joint and several.  Consequently, I offer comments of a general nature and draw an object example using a particular aspect of the ‘Four Pillars’ – the RMC Physical Performance Test (PPT).

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Posted April 19, 2017 Category: Businesses

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