A new Basic Military Qualification for the naval reservists

LINK - April 2017 / May 31, 2017

By Lt(N) Benoit Plante, NAVRESHQ

In the last few years, the senior leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) provided direction for the future of the Naval Reserve. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) made it clear that the Reserve Force needs to became a "Strategic Reserve" and the Commander RCN told the Naval Reserve that it need to transform itself to be fully integrated into a "One Navy".

From those directives, the Naval Reserve began an important transformation all across the organization to meet the intent of higher leadership. One key aspect of the transformation is the training of the sailors and officers, and that starts with the Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) or (BMOQ) training for officers.

For the last year, the Naval Fleet School (Quebec) has worked closely with the Naval Personnel and Training Group in order to review the previous BMQ/BMOQ in use by the RCN and to develop a revised delivery strategy of the BMQ/BMOQ that will better serve the Naval Reserve and the new generation of recruits who are choosing to join the organization while maintaining the CAF BMQ/BMOQ equivalency.

The updated BMQ/BMOQ delivery plan will be implemented as soon as possible with the residential phase commencing in summer 2017. The courses have been restructured to be conducted in three phases. The first two phases will take place at the Naval Reserve Division (NRD) of the recruits with the support and instructional staff from the unit.

During the phase 1, the recruit will have six (6) training days to complete distance learning (DL) at the Naval Reserve division (NRD) level. The DL training will mainly be oriented toward general CAF knowledge including, but not limited to, ranks and command structure, Dress and Deportment regulations, Code of Service Discipline, personal administration and basic practical knowledge such as C-7 parts, Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear (CBRN) concepts.

Following the completion the first phase, they will move on the second one. The phase 2 will also be conducted at NRD level over 18 training days. In order to be flexible with recruits' schedule, this training will be done either over 18 separated days or a condensed period of training (Class B). Phase 2 will mainly consist of drill, first aid, correspondence, harassment/Operation Honour lectures.

Finally, the new members will move on the third and last part of the BMQ/BMOQ. Phase 3 will consist of 3 weeks residential phase in a Training Establishment. For 2017, the BMQ/BMOQ residential portion will take place at Naval Fleet School (Quebec). However, in the future, this phase could be taught elsewhere in Canada if all required resources are available. The training during the phase will mainly consist of practical CBRN training, maps and compass orientation, weapon stripping and maintenance, Test of Elementary Training (TOETs), firing drill, battle procedures and a field exercise.

The transformation of this aspect of training will have positive outcome for the recruits, the NRD and the overall organization alike. For the recruits, it will offered them unprecedented flexibility to received their initial training and therefore be able to progress to their trade training stage more quickly.

The NRDs will also benefit from this new course as their members will have more opportunities to fill instructional and leadership role during both phase 1 and 2. Ultimately, this will increasing the overall training capabilities of the NRDs.

In conclusion, this transformation of the BMQ/BMOQ delivery approach will allow the Naval Reserve to get a step closer to the higher intent of the CDS and Commander RCN, offering more flexibility to train new recruits on a part-time basis is directly in link with the vision of a more strategic reserve. Also, this fresh strategy to delivery BMQ/BMOQ should bring the sailors to occupational functional point quicker which will in turn enable the Naval Reserve trained personnel to augment RCN on different platforms more efficiently; which is core to the One Navy concept.